Tag Archives | Constitution
It’s been widely reported that President Obama’s top political adviser, David Axelrod, attended the Obama adminstration’s “kill list” meetings. Imagine if the names in this recent news report instead were President George W. Bush and Karl Rove … Ralph Nader writes on Nader.org:
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The rule of law is rapidly breaking down at the top levels of our government. As officers of the court, we have sworn to “support the Constitution,” which clearly implies an affirmative commitment on our part.
Take the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The conservative American Bar Association sent three white papers to President Bush describing his continual unconstitutional policies. Then and now civil liberties groups and a few law professors, such as the stalwart David Cole of Georgetown University and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, have distinguished themselves in calling out both presidents for such violations and the necessity for enforcing the rule of law.
Travis Kelly writes on AntiWar.com:
If the founding fathers were spinning in their graves like centrifuges over recent assaults on the Constitution, their RPMs slowed down a bit last Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled that Section 1021 in the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing military detention of American citizens without due process, is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was brought by veteran journalist Chris Hedges, with attorneys Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran doing the heavy lifting without compensation. None thought they had a chance to win, given the juggernaut of military and police-state abuses that have rolled over us in the decade since 9/11. But as Hedges said after the verdict, “A stunning and monumental victory … every once in a while the gods smile on the damned.”
The defendants, President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, had argued that this new NDAA merely codified what the panicked 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) had spawned over the last decade: indefinite military detention, unwarranted searches and seizures, assassination, torture — only now it all could be employed on American soil, against American citizens, however or whenever the president and Pentagon saw fit…
Opponents of a U.S. law they claim may subject them to indefinite military detention for activities including news reporting and political activism persuaded a federal judge to temporarily block the measure. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Defense Department, claiming a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Dec. 31, puts them in fear that they could be arrested and held by U.S. armed forces. The complaint was filed Jan. 13 by a group including former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The plaintiffs contend a section of the law allows for detention of citizens and permanent residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to people engaged in hostilities against the U.S., such as al-Qaeda.
“Believe me, you don’t want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. And yet, it’s exactly what is happening…” Naomi Wolf writes in the Guardian:
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In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the “trespass bill”, which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement.
Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit, Albert Florence, described having been told to “turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.” He said he felt humiliated: “It made me feel like less of a man.”
In surreal reasoning, justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because the 9/11 bomber could have been stopped for speeding.
Robert David Steele Vivas writes on Reality Sandwich:
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The National Security Agency (NSA) mega-data center, combined with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) special relationship with Google, and the federalization of local police using Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funds to pay for monitoring both the locations and the conversations of anyone they wish — without a warrant — suggest that the government of the United States of America (USA)-from local to national-is no longer in friendly hands.
As a professional intelligence officer and a retired Marine Corps officer, I am deeply offended, personally threatened, and patriotically alarmed. Evil has triumphed across the United States of America. Every single institution — from academies to civil society to commerce to the government and law enforcement at all levels, the media, the out of control military-industrial complex, and the bottom-feeding non-governmental and non-profit organizations that suck at the federal government tits gorged with printed money — has failed to respect the Constitution.
Michael Lind writes on Salon:
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On Monday, we had another example of the Supreme Court’s ideological division: a 5-4 ruling, along partisan lines, giving police the right to conduct strip searches for any offense. This came on the heels of last week’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, which led many observers to predict that the nation’s highest judicial body will strike down part or all of the controversial healthcare reform package.
But the hearings were instructive in other ways. They showed once again that political partisanship is closely correlated to a justice’s view of the law. And they proved that the Supreme Court once again is functioning, not as a court, but as a third house of the federal legislature.
The U.S. Constitution, like many state constitutions, really is two constitutions in one. There is the black-letter constitution, which consists of rules about which there is little or no dispute.
Food critic and blogger extraordinaire Mark Bittman makes the point that a Constitution protecting corporations’ right to inundate children with junk food is wack (especially because the obesity and other health problems it leads to will require health care, which the Constitution may or may not allow the government to provide), in the New York Times:
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The First Amendment to the Constitution, which tops our Bill of Rights, guarantees — theoretically, at least — things we all care about. So much is here: freedom of religion, of the press, of speech, the right to assemble and more. Yet it’s stealthily and incredibly being invoked to safeguard the nearly unimpeded “right” of a handful of powerful corporations to market junk food to children.
It’s been reported that kids see an average of 5,500 food ads on television every year (sounds low, when you think about it), nearly all peddling junk. (They may also see Apple commercials, but not of the fruit kind.) Worse are the online “advergames” that distract kids with entertainment while immersing them in a product-driven environment.
Scott Horton wrote in Harper’s Magazine:
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… I wrote about how the Obama Administration has insisted that its deal with Yemen’s dictatorship concerning the use of drones there is a secret, and how it has been wielding that specious claim to justify withholding publication of a controversial Justice Department memo that outlines the president’s supposed authority to order the assassination of an American citizen abroad. Jeremy Scahill has published an important study of what the Obama Administration is prepared to do to journalists who expose its hit operations in Yemen:
On February 2, 2011, President Obama called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two discussed counterterrorism cooperation and the battle against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At the end of the call, according to a White House read-out, Obama “expressed concern” over the release of a man named Abdulelah Haider Shaye, whom Obama said “had been sentenced to five years in prison for his association with AQAP.” It turned out that Shaye had not yet been released at the time of the call, but Saleh did have a pardon for him prepared and was ready to sign it.