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Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

Recently, there has been much discussion of possible attacks on U.S. citizens by drones operated by the U.S. government. This became the “issue of the day” when Attorney General  Eric Holder told Congress that he would not rule out the use of drones to attack American citizens. This of course conjures up images straight out of films like War of the Worlds or Independence Day. Imagine unmanned space ships,or government drones, taking potshots at panicked and unsuspecting U.S. citizens. There would be no place for anyone to hide! And of course, that’s OK with Eric Holder, and presumably President Obama, for whom he works. The media of course loved it because it is a story sure to stir up emotions and then people will watch the television news or buy a newspaper and the sponsors and advertisers will capture a large audience and sell more product. It’s a great story and sure to sell as long as it remains in the minds of the public, which it is certain to do for at least a day two until they are distracted by something else, like maybe the resignation of the Pope, and then the media will have to find a way to turn that story into some sort of advertising or commercial success.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering. What about the drones? Will they be used against U.S. citizens in the future? I think the answer is this: No. There is a good reason for that – it doesn’t make sense. The principal advantage of a drone is that it doesn’t have a pilot, so it can fly into really dangerous skies and if it gets shot down by the enemy, there is no pilot to get killed. In the U.S. it is unlikely that criminals or others who are enemies of the state would be walking around with anti-aircraft weapons. So, the government can easily use a small piloted airplane or helicopter to watch people and launch missiles at them if they want to. However, it is more likely that airborne platforms would be used for surveillance and ground forces, like the FBI or State Police would be guided by the pilot to the location of the bad guys. That’s what happens now and it seems to work pretty well. It’s hard to see why a drone would be be any better.

The real thing people should be afraid of is not whether the government has the right to track down and apprehend criminals, either from the ground or the air, or whether the government has the right to shoot it out with a criminal. This happens all the time. There are even times when the government launches an attack that will likely kill a criminal when it is deemed too dangerous to try to capture the criminal alive. Just recall Bonnie and Clyde.

So, should we be afraid of the U.S. Government? You bet we should be. Should we be afraid of President Obama? You betcha there too. Why? Well, it’s not because of drones; its because of the law and the Constitution. Let me give you an example: the Iraq War. Let me give you another: The Afghanistan War. Let me give you another: Guantanamo. How about one more: locking up American citizens by the U.S. military on U.S. soil without a trial on order of the President. So what is wrong with these? They are all in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Only Congress can declare war according to the Constitution of the United States, yet Congress has not done so since World War II. Instead, Congress has sidestepped its responsibility and delegated authority to the various Presidents to do as they see fit whenever military action might be required.

Similarly, the indefinite imprisonment of people, whether they are U.S. citizens or not, without a trial is also a violation of the U.S. Constitution – something that the President and Congress seem quite comfortable with.

The recent uproar about the use of drones against American citizens is silly. It doesn’t even make tactical sense. If the government wants to come for you via the air, you can bet they will be using manned helicopters or maybe small spotter planes and a whole bunch of people on the ground. The drone thing is fiction. Unfortunately, the gradual dismantling of the Constitution by the current and several former Presidents, with the spineless acquiescence of Congress, is something we should all fear. Yet, the media never mention it at all. Could it be they are too afraid to bring the issue up?

Or is it just not the sort of news that will sell product?

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Or should I have entitled this, “The Insane Right Has Guns”?

The recent events in Tucson, Arizona will be argued – they are already being argued – by both sides of the gun issue. Nevertheless, all must agree that this event should not have happened. Was it the fault of Sarah Palin just because she labeled Representative Gabrielle Gifford’s district with a gunsight? Let’s not be silly, right Sarah? After all, just because Gabrielle complained about the gunsight  imagery and that it would have consequences does that really mean that anyone would have somehow been inspired by that? Does it? Surely no crazy person would have been influenced by that, right Sarah? Sleep well, Sarah. It was just a horrible coincidence – wasn’t it?

It would be easy to talk about the current political climate and how ever since the Tea Party spun itself up that politics have become ugly. There is a lot of nastiness in general, untrue accusations about the birth of our President, untrue accusations about health care and “Death Panels”, and untrue accusations about the disastrous state of the economy being due to President Obama instead of the insane economics of George Bush. It goes on and on. Gross lies and misrepresentations from the extreme right. Its proper name is propaganda. The question we must ask now is this: have they finally gone too far?

However, before we go there, we need to take a look at one of America’s sacred rights (it seems to have the same quality as a religious belief), the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment to the Constitution (apparently the writers of the Constitution had forgotten about this, so they had to put it in as an amendment). The entire extent of the Second Amendment reads simply, “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.” That’s it. A couple of years ago the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrated its knowledge of the English language by ruling that the right to bear arms has nothing to do with being in a Militia. This is the same Supreme Court that recently ruled that corporations have the same free speech rights as living people. Our Supreme Court is undoubtedly inspired by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, where he says, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – nothing more nor less”.

Speaking of the Constitution, would it be possible to talk about it rationally for a moment? Let’s face it. It is a document written by people who lived in the U.S. over 200 years ago and it was written to address their needs. They were intelligent people, these writers of the Constitution, and they knew that times change and needs change. So, they put in the ability to amend the Constitution by their successors. The people who wrote the Constitution did not believe they were writing as religious document that could not be questioned, modified, or improved. That is the whole reason they built in the capability to write amendments. They were sensible people. Unlike a lot of people we hear on far-right-wing television and radio today. You know who I mean.

We seem to have reached a point where we are unable to conduct intelligent discourse amongst ourselves. Everything is presented as a life or death decision. I guess that’s how you sell “news”. The problem is that this is poisonous news and it is poisoning our country. A case in point is the recent mass murder that took place in Tucson. The killer, by all accounts, is nuts. His classmates in school were afraid of him. One of them even said they thought he might bring a gun to class. He was, by all accounts, nearly incoherent. He couldn’t say a complete, meaningful sentence. Oh, and another thing – he had a gun. And he used it. Now, any sensible person would say that crazy people should not have guns – but not the gun lobby and the far extreme right. For these people guns are a sacred right enshrined in a sacred document – the Constitution.

“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of other things”. Indeed. We Americans need to begin a sensible discussion about this subject, the subject of guns. I don’t want insane people to have guns. I also don’t want insane people to be brain surgeons or airline pilots. The airlines have figured out how to keep the insanity out of the cockpit. Same for the hospitals – there’s no insanity in the operating room. So why can’t we keep guns out of the hands of the criminally insane? And please, don’t tell me because it is our God-given right for all Americans to bear arms. The more we, as a people, persist in deluding ourselves about issues that only require common sense solutions, the more we will find that we are building an insane culture that can’t even make sense of the English language (sort of like the Supreme Court). It’s time for the ranting fanatics like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and the rest of the Fox mob to just back off – they are stirring up the crazies – and I suspect they know it. It is time for a little civilization in America.

As Lewis Carroll said, “If you drink much from a bottle marked ‘poison’ it is certain to disagree with you sooner or later”.

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OK.  I admit it.  I was wrong.  In my defense, all I can say is that it made so much sense to me at the time.  I suppose I shouldn’t have spoken so rashly – I should have carefully considered my words and considered all sides of the argument.  I have done so now.  Indeed, not only have I given much more careful consideration to the issue; I have had an epiphany.  Not an epiphany of the type for sale on this page in the right margin. (This book is on sale at Amazon.com for a mere pittance and might provide many hours of enjoyable reading – if you have a Kindle. It is also soon to be available on Amazon as a paperback.) But an epiphany nonetheless.

My realization is this: CORPORATIONS ARE MADE OF PEOPLE!  Don’t you see?  They have inalienable rights too! Yes, yes.  I know. You might think that these people, who own the corporation, have all been granted their own right of free speech individually already, as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.  And they have, but the insight that the supreme pontificus maximus of the U.S. Supreme Court shows us is that corporations are like super-people.  They also get to have super-rights.  They get to speak twice.  I didn’t realize that at first, but then I saw the movie Avatar, and it was then that I realized that corporations are in fact avatars themselves. They are full of little people!  That is the deep insight of our pontificus maximus of our Supreme Court and of my own individual epiphany.  All I can say is mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Let me try to make amends by perhaps pointing out a couple of things that their supreme highnesses of the Court might not have considered.  Given that the super-people we call corporations are in fact avatars and given that these avatars now have the right of freedom of speech, shouldn’t we further extend to these super-people some of the other rights that we mere, and mostly worthless, little people also enjoy?  For example, why not give corporations the right to bear arms too? Doesn’t this make sense? After all if Northrop Grumman can build nuclear powered aircraft carriers for the government, shouldn’t they be allowed to have their own nuclear-powered aircraft carriers too? And what about Boeing and Lockheed Martin, those builders of our magnificent war machines of the air? Shouldn’t they also be allowed to have their own private fleets of fighter planes, bombers, drones, and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, just in case?

Then, of course, there is the right to assemble peacefully. Why can’t they do that? Shouldn’t we allow these corporate avatars to come together at times? Maybe in a really big field? I know it might be hard to move all the buildings for a meeting like this, but surely with the know-how of American corporations it could be done, couldn’t it? It would be like Tolkien’s ents coming from all corners of Middle Earth in times of great danger to have a meeting about what to do about the Dark Lord.  When you start to think about it, you begin to feel sorry for the long-suffering corporations (the very word corporation coming from the Latin word corpus, meaning “body”.) How long have we allowed them to suffer, devoid of their long unrecognized avatarial rights?

Then, of course, there are the issues that the Constitution does not address, but which are burning issues all the same. Take, for example, the marriage rights of corporations. We all know that they have been practicing some sort of “merging” for some time – but are these “mergers” really true and blessed marriages? And, I don’t want to go here, but I feel I must, what about the appropriateness of the partners? I mean, look.  Don’t we often see “mergers” of like or of very similar corporations? Here we must look at a long neglected issue: the sexuality of corporations. First, how do we determine whether a corporation is male or female? Or to put it a little more exactly, but crassly, what do we look under?

Clearly, there is a host of issues concerning the human rights of corporations that has been long neglected. I can only admire the deep insight of the pontificus maximus of the Supreme Court and his minions. They clearly have courage, foresight, and true patriotism.  My guess is that they probably watched Avatar as I did, and received the same glorious epiphany that I have, only recently but thankfully, received.

I am, indeed, enlightened at last. Gaudeamus igitur.

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