Saturday, May 25, 2013

You have no rights

Freedom of religion — Only if you're a Christian. Not a good time to be a Muslim.

Trailer for, "The Relectant Fundamentalist":

Free speech — Refused OWS a megaphone. We assassinated Anwar al-Aulaqi for his speech. We routinely harass activists and documentarians. Laura Poitras routinely has her camera equipment, laptop and cell phone seized at the border coming into the US. Jacob Appelbaum has seen similar harassment, surveillance and detainment.
"You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists." —Abbie Hoffman
Freedom of the press — We now have a corporate media system that acts as the propaganda wing of America's plutocracy. It comes in two flavors: Republican and Democratic. Don't expect to see any support or a lot of coverage for third parties. The press serves as stenographers and hagiographers for the government and corporations. The corporate media's job is to manufacture consent for the government and the elites who control the government. Self-censorship and soft censorship rules the roost.

The latest assault is on investigative journalists. James Rosen was targeted as a co-conspirator for doing his job: chasing a story. The good news is that he most likely will not be charged. (Source.) James Risen subpoenaed in CIA leak case. The DOJ is actively going after journalists under the Espionage Act and trying to force them to reveal their sources which leads to a climate of fear for the journalist as well as any possible leaker. This would be fine except that the government operates in almost total secrecy with "some 77 million documents stamped classified in 2010."

From Obama DOJ formally accuses journalist in leak case of committing crimes:
"The alternatiave to 'conspiring' with leakers to get information: Just writing what the government tells you." —Karen Tumulty

"That, of course, is precisely the point of the unprecedented Obama war on whistleblowers and press freedoms: to ensure that the only information the public can get is information that the Obama administration wants it to have. That's why Obama's one-side games with secrecy - we'll prolifically leak when it glorifies the president and severely punish all other kinds - is designed to construct the classic propaganda model." —Glenn Greenwald
While the DOJ can't quite get its paws on Julian Assange, there is some evidence that a Grand Jury indictment exists accusing Assange as a co-conspirator in the Bradley Manning case. The message is clear —watch out investigative journalists, we don't like what you are doing. A chilling deep freeze climate of fear has been created for investigative journalist which was precisely the intent.

Freedom to peaceably assemble — Police routinely break up protests as well as harass, beat up and pepper spray protesters. The police will also confiscate and recording devices. Dept. of HLS advised raids on OWS. The Pentagon considers protests as low-level terrorism.

Right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances — Sure, just ask Saadiq Long who happens to have the double strike of being black and Muslim:
No redress, no appeal process, no judges. Just government decisions in secret.

Right to bear arms —existed for those in militias. That was the original intent. That was how early Supreme Court decisions ruled. See: Overview: America's Gun and Violence Crisis; And: How the 2nd Amendment Got Hijacked by the NRA and Antonin Scalia

Right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures — The NSA now records every single phone call, email, tweet, text, chat without a warrant. The former code of the NSA was that it doesn't spy on Americans. Not anymore! See: Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government? When the telecoms were caught spying on Americans and started to lose court cases over it, the petitioned the US government to retroactively make their actions legal. And so it became legal.
"Mass surveillance is the hallmark of a tyrannical political culture." —Glenn Greenwald
The New York City stop and frisk program targets blacks and Latinos at a rate of 84% despite lower statistics for being found with a weapon (half of whites stopped) and being found with contraband (one-third less than whites stopped). The NYPD was surveilling Muslim communities in New Jersey.

The final frontier is the Internet. The government has been desperately trying to get a bill passed that will give them the power to black out websites easily. COICA, SOPA, PIPA were early attempts that failed. CISPA passed the House but is dead in the water in the Senate. But that is just partisan politics. The Senate plans to introduce its own cyber-related bills. (Source.)

Right to due process of law and a Grand Jury presentment/indictment for a capital or otherwise infamous crime — Ask the four Americans killed by drone strikes without any kind of due process: Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, Jude Kennan Mohammed and Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki. See: Obama administration acknowledges drone strikes killed 4 Americans since 2009

Right to a speedy trial — Ask Bradley Manning who was imprisoned almost three years without a trial.

Right to an impartial jury — All-white jury pools still abound with poor statistics: Study: All-White Jury Pools More Likely To Convict Black Defendants.
Right to counsel and a fair trial — African Americans have always received inferior justice in America. See: The South Has Been at Civil War for 150 Years African Americans receive higher conviction rates, longer sentences for the same crimes as their white counterparts. Many African Americans are often forced to accept a plea deal for a crime they didn't commit as they rightfully don't have confidence in the American justice system for African Americans. Even though whites commit more crimes, over half the prison population is black even though blacks are only around 9% of the population. Most black crimes are victimless crimes. See: Whites Commit More Crimes Than Blacks, FBI Says and On MLK Day: How a Racist Criminal Justice System Rolled Back the Gains of the Civil Rights Era

Right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment —Bradley Manning was kept in solitary confinment for 23/24 hours and forced to sleep without clothes. The UN and human rights groups considered this cruel and unusual punishment. Jose Padilla was arrested, designated an enemy combatant and detained without trial in a military prison and tortured. After three and a half years the case was dropped and he was moved to civilian court where he was later convicted for different charges and sentenced to 17 years in prison. 

Final thoughts

While We The People's rights are diminishing, our government and corporate elites are now getting away with crimes that mere citizens would be put away for life creating a two-tiered justice system. The Obama administration shielded the former Bush administration from any criminal prosecution just as Ford did for Nixon when he pardoned him. No major banker was prosecuted for the financial meltdown. In other words, the rule of law no longer holds for our elites and that's no way to run a democracy.

The Police State in the news...

Just read the headlines:
"SILVA'S DEATH: Accidental -- that's the cause of death of a man beaten by Kern County Sheriff's Deputies. Sheriff Donny Youngblood said Thursday that the cause of death for 33-year old David Silva was accidental. The coroner's report showed Silva to be overweight and had hypertension of the heart. Youngblood says that all of the baton strikes used by the deputies were within policy. Youngblood adds Silva's blood alcohol content was .09 and he had methamphetamine in his system. Silva died May 8 at Kern Medical Center after being beaten by law enforcement officers near the hospital in east Bakersfield...." —The Bakersfield Californian
Or this one: California Cops Break Into House Without a Warrant, Tase Man Who Complains About Police State and It’s All on Video (Must watch 1:35 min. video)

The government's one-way mirror:
[T]he essential expression of the American Surveillance State: we can and will know everything about what you do, and you will know virtually nothing about what we do. In a healthy society, that formula would be reversed: the citizenry (with rare exceptions) would know most everything about what their government does, while the government would know nothing about what citizens do in the absence of well-grounded suspicion that they have done something wrong. —Glenn Greenwald

A kinder gentler presidential visit:

United States Bill of Rights

I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

II A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

III No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

VII In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

VIII Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.