2012: Supreme Court Guts Due Process Protection

Reader Walter passed along this distressing sighting from Chris Floyd’s blog. American civil liberties were gutted last week, and the media failed to take note of it. The development? If the president or one of his subordinates declares someone to be an “enemy combatant” (the 21st century version of “enemy of the state”) he is denied any protection of the law. So any trouble-maker (which means anyone) can be whisked away, incarcerated, tortured, “disappeared,” you name it. Floyd’s commentary: After hearing passionate arguments from the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court acquiesced to the president’s fervent request and, in a one-line ruling, let stand a lower court decision that declared torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention, while introducing a shocking new precedent for all future courts to follow: anyone who is arbitrarily declared a “suspected enemy combatant” by the president or his designated minions is no longer a […] Read More

Our Hidden History of Corporations in the United States

When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society. Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these: * Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws. * Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their […] Read More

COMMENT UPON VOLUNTARY NATURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY

    Today, everyday Americans are constantly confronted with greater and more frequent requests from all too many sources that they provide to the inquiring parties their “Number of the Beast,” the Social Security number (“SSN”). The examples of this modern day phenomenon are numerous and known to all. Many States are now moving to ostensibly require the display of SSNs upon drivers’ licenses. Public school officials demand that school age children obtain SSNs before those children may be enrolled in any public school. Hospitals seek to obtain SSNs for each child born in their facilities. Private parties of all kinds, from banks to employers, deem it essential that they obtain the SSN of everyone with whom they may conduct any business. With all these entities making these demands, surely “the law” must contain a requirement that everyone have the “Number of the Beast”[1]. Or, is it possible that everybody […] Read More

Supreme Court to Rule on Terror Detainee

Fri Jan 9, 8:30 PM ET By ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear the case of a U.S.-born man captured during fighting in Afghanistan and held without charges, the latest setback for the Bush administration and its assertion of broad new powers to prosecute the war on terrorism. Over the administration’s objections, the court said it will consider the treatment of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a suspected Taliban foot soldier held at a U.S. naval brig in South Carolina. The government calls Hamdi an “enemy combatant” and says he is ineligible for ordinary legal protections. The administration says it is reluctant to allow enemy combatants access to lawyers because that could greatly inhibit efforts to obtain information from them about potential terrorist operations. Unlike almost all the others picked up overseas since the Sept. 11 attacks, Hamdi is an American citizen. He […] Read More