Archive for Bill of Rights

U.S. Supreme Court Set Trap for Democracy

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, culture, freethought, Government, history, humanity, life, lifestyle, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by chouck017894

In the closing chapter of Time Frames and Taboo Data a speculative scenario of the future for democracy was ventured.  Forgive this intrusion of a book quote:  In the corporate empire that is being hard-pressed upon the world, the dispensing of “justice” would be a mockery, for the courts would do only what corporate bigwigs instructed.   Further on it continues: In a corporate (run) empire all major media would be owned or manipulated by corporate outfits, much as  it is in the US today, with the only “news” given prominence being the happenings that affected corporate investments (page 474).

Flashback:  The founding fathers of the United States, after enduring the war for national independence, labored long and hard to set up a form of government that would be controllable by citizen majority consent.  As safeguards against abuse of citizen power, the organizing of the governing process was  wisely structured with three divisions to provide as much insurance of stability as possible for the citizens against future tyrannical assaults upon the concept of a democratic government.  Those three branches of democratic govern ment—the executive, the legislative, and the judicial—were also intentionally shielded from religious authoritarianism through cautionary provisions to keep church and state separate.  This avoidance of doubtful claims of supernatural “guidance” provided the foundation that made the United States the  most diverse, accommodating and powerful nation in history.  National strength was proven through succeeding centuries with those unique democratic principles working miracles, not from other-worldliness but achieved from the unity of diverse and liberal-minded individuals

Flash forward, early 21st century, USA:  Corporate greed has recently virtually emasculated true democracy in the United States, and religious fanatics continue to lust to downgrade democracy into a theocracy.  Using the Bible as a governing tool would open to them the means for a few to inflict biblical-approved inhumane treatment on any “unbelievers,” “infidels,” or non-believers which the in-crowd chose to believe was sanctioned by God.  We saw how far and how fast the consequences of that type of mentality could go during the god-inspired  GWB administration.  For an example of governing by some “revealed word” text, simply observe the divine condition of Iran today. 

On January 21, 2010, five of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices (John G. Roberts, Samuel A. Alito, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas) decided to overrule TWO long-standing central precedents about the First Amendment Rights and bestowed upon corporations the equivalent of citizen rights which the nation’s forefathers intended only for individuals.  Thus was opened the means for corporations to pour multibillion of dollars into voting advertisements!  Is it merely coincidence that each of the five favoring Justices, who are supposed to be guardians of the people’s rights, happened to be appointed through Republican recommendation?  Is it coincidence that all five also happen to be Catholic? This colossal imbalance certainly does not reflect the overall spiritual/financial composition of the nation’s citizens whom they are supposed to shield from abuse of power.  Whatever their personal beliefs may be, they each took an oath, hands upon a Bible, and swore the following:

I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the  poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties  incumbent upon me as (a Supreme Court Justice) under the Constitution and laws of the United States.  So help me God.  

Giving corporations citizen rights is not democracy.  Corporations are not meant to have free speech rights.  Big Oil, big pharmacy, CIGNA, Merrill Lynch, insurance companies, AT&T, and all the rest of the for-pay conglomerates are not individual citizens and should never have been given the unconstitutional right to manipulate the democratic voting process.  In the elections of 2007-2008 the amount for all 468 congressional races and the presidential race combined totaled $5.2 BILLION.  As an example, even without the Supreme Court attack on citizens’ Constitutional rights,  AT&T alone contributed the legal maximum to both Bush-Cheney national election campaigns, and AT&T also contributed the legally permissible amount for John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid.  The grand prize that the US got for that multibillion dollar expenditure was the profound political intellect of Sarah Palin.

As another example of the inequity in this Supreme Court subversion of constitutional order, the corporation that is Exxon Oil could alone chalk off all that 5.2 billion dollars as a mere dribble in their  $85 billion profits for one year.  Clearly, the  five Republican-placed justices on the US Supreme Court who gave corporations free pass into national election processes were not concerned that the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights could not possibly apply to the multi-rich-for-profit corporations.  The decision was a sharp, vicious doctrinal shift of law interpretation.  As Justice John Paul Stevens wisely observed in his dissent, “The court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.”  Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor were in accord.  Even so, deliberate undermining of citizen rights seems to have been the intent of the five other justices. 

The only thing in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights that may be legitimately extended to corporations has to do with the freedom of the press.  No persons that genuinely loves this democratic nation could have so deliberately spurned  the “We the People” principles upon which the United States was founded and upon which it grew to world power.

It is alarmingly clear that steps must be taken to correct the abuse of  power and the mockery of justice that was handed down by the third branch of government, the U.S. Supreme Court, that spurned distinction of what makes for individual rights.  The high Court’s overturning of longstanding individual rights amounts to an attack on everyone’s personal freedom and a denial of genuine justice.  Isn’t that ruling only a heartbeat away from treason?

Burden of Proof

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, history, humanity, politics, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2009 by chouck017894

In a court of law, at least in the United States, there is declared an obligation to prove affirmatively a disputed claim relating to an issue that is being contended in court. Because it is always the plaintiff (claimant) that brings the action, it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to persuade the court of the merits (truth) of his case. The plaintiff must therefore establish his case beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a civil case, however, the claimant is allowed what is called “a fair preponderance of the evidence” to establish the truth of his claim. In other words, reasonable doubt can be muddied and manipulated by legal theatrics.

How do these rules of “justice” stand up when questions regarding religion are presented? Unfortunately, history shows repeatedly that in cases debating issues of “belief” the scales of rational justice too often suffer considerable abuse.

In a theocracy, for example, where some religous faction holds iron-fist control of the state, “justice” is balanced against a defendant’s acceptance of the in-power’s religion. In such a religion-dominated governing setup, if one is charged with even a misdemeanor and does not subscribe to the prescribed manmade dogma, the defendant has virtually no chance of receiving genuine justice. When a faith system—any faith system—exerts muscle over the balance of national inquiry, neither spiritual nor human welfare is being served: only those in the seat of power benefit.

So it was considerably alarming in the United States when, in the opening days of the 21st century, the citizens of the U.S. found religious fundamentalists actively seeking to destroy the whole foundation of democratic principles in hopes of imposing their narrow concepts of a “Bible-based” nation. Through their clamor and forgery of the nation’s true history they thus placed themselves in the role of plaintiffs in the court of popular evaluation. Unfortunately for them, the claim of “revealed” wisdom and guidance made by these would-be controllers is not a premise that can be advanced beyond reasonable doubt. Presenting the Bible as their authority is not persuasive either, even in a civil court, for there are countless translations and interpretationsof that book. Moreover, the original authors of those stories were convinced that Earth was the center of all Creation.

But there still remain reasons to worry about the religious fanatics seeking to chip away at the principles set forth in the U.S. Constitution and in the Bill of Rights. The heavy-handed manner of the Supreme Court in the 2000 election belied the noble principles of “goverment of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and by Supreme Court rule a man was set in the Oval Office who brazenly claimed to be chosen by God! Inspired by biblical tales no doubt, he and his cohorts quickly mired the nation neck-deep in an illegal war; those who were taken prisoner were held without charge and without access to legal counsel; torture was approved and indulged in; citizens’ rights to privacy were betrayed—and numerous other biblical niceties were extended. Meanwhile the rich quickly got richer as they sank even deeper into spiritual poverty.