Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The King needs a third message

Things which the Magna Carta didnt do, but are needed.

Message one was the Magnat Carta, message two was the Declaration of Indepdence.

The third message needs to resolve these problems:

- To prevent an executive that is supposely being overseen by the legislature and the judicial branch, from violating the laws of war.

- To prevent, and impose sanctions for, providing unfounded reasons to use power, deploy forces, and engage in foreign adventures;

- To prevent viooations of the laws of war and the constitution;

- To prevent holding people without evidence to inavde, detain, and abuse. Clearly the current mechanisms were not timely, nor effective barriers. Rather, the abuses had to be numerouse, broad in scope, and high in number before action could be taken. There need to be mechanisms to swiftly bring these deivations before the courts, and not allow the executive to provide new excuses to avoid accountability before the courts.

- To prevent misrepresnations before the Supreme Court of the status of personnel held in violation of the constitution; or held in a manner that is outside the standards of treatement as afforded under the Constitution;

- To prevent, and bring meannigful swift santions for, providing false, misleading, threatening, intimidating information to Congress to get Congress to grant power, options that are not constitutional;

- To provide for consequences on lawmakers for passing legilsation at odds wtihteh constitution and clearly established rights;

- To ensure that when the Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law," that anyone who allows such legislation to be passed shall be held criminally liable for the passage of laws which violate the constitution;

- To create situation where absolute immunity is lost in situations where legislation volates the constitution and crimminal abuses are allowed to be endorsed, perpetuated, and continued;

- To create standards and criteria whereby legislators could be charged with crimes for crafting and approving legislation that permits these criminal and unconstitiontal abuses to continue.

- To reward citizens with limited immunity in situations where they act in good faith, to intervene, and attempt to prohibit unlawful acts, abuses, misonduct by government officials.

- To provide citizens with limited immunity in cases where they take action to protect the innocent from abuse, unconstitutioal treatment, and criminal acts by government officers.

- To provide citizens with heightened immunity when they come to the aid, rescue, assistance of fellow citizens who they believe are being abused, threatened, mistreated, harassed by government agents or its officers.

- To afford citizens the right to act in a quasi-judicial manner allowing them to arrest, detain, and imprison government officials when the public reasonably believes the system of checks and balances has failed, and that patterns of abuses are not being adequately investigated or prevented by government agents, officers.

- To afford citizens with the legal right to reciprocate the actions of government officers who are engage in a pattern of abuse, misconduct, patterns of intimidation when the existing system of checks and balances fails to timely remedy, prevent, stop, or sanction that pattern of misconduct on part of government officers.

- To afford citizens the same right to impose on government officials the standadrs of "reasonable concern" and "reasonable suspicion" when taking actdion against government officials which the public reasdonably believes in engaging in a pattern of abuse, and misconduct; but the system of checks and balances has failed to timely intervent to ensure the government misconduct is adequately sanctioned, prohibited, disciplined, or prevented.

The time for unfettered government abuses needs to ebb. If this government chooses to allow its officers to engage in misconduct, and those agents, officers, and governmetn workers are not adequately disciplined, then the Congress needs to provide the tools and defenses to free citizens so that they can lawfully act to intervene.

It is absurd that we are asked to wait for three years to prevent these abuses; the lawyers' and law enforcmenet associations have failed to act.

Officers should not be given a blank check on absolute or qualified immunity; nor should the public be told to "put up with the abuses until the courts can get around to it."

It has been three years, yet each day the legal community and law enforcement has to be reminded of both the constitution and their duty to uphold it. When the officers within their own assocations fail to act, the free citizens should be given the same immunity to impose discipline on the officers. The officers, when they fail to self-regulate or assent to the law of the land, should be immediately stripped of their immunity and brought before a judicial council in a manner that is consistent with the law.

It is inexcusable that this nation three years after 9-11 has suddenly been "priviledge" to hear a mindless rant from the American Bar Assocation on "why it;'s a bad thing" to hold people in contravention to the constitiont in Guantanamo. It has been three years of abuses.

It is also inexcusable that despite passage of 42 USC 1983, and clearly promulgations in the Bill of Rights, that this country in each situation has to 'take the aofficer abuses on a case by case basis', all the while affording the officers the right to judicial review, yet denying that same consideration to the public.

The public has not "time" to review the matters; the public is imediately challenged with threate of infinite detention, the requirement to submit to the force and abuses of the officers. Yet, despite the clear constitution and 42 USC 1983, the officers continue their abuses.

New tools need to be given to citizens so that they can turn the tables on the officers; and so that the officers know there is a credible threat to their own civil liberties in situations where the officers take action that is abusive, unfounded, unreasonable, in vioaltion of the constitution.

Clearly, the courts would prefer these "substantive decisions related to legality" be a matter forthe ocurts to decide.

Indeed, that is preferable. Yet, why should the public "have confidence" what the officers have the immediate right to abuse, but the public must "put up with" the glacial possibilyt that "maybe" three years down the line, something might happen.

There needs to be a narrowing between the time the officer engaes in abuse, and the sanctions that are imposed on the officers. It is all well and good to talk about the rule of law and the threat of "vigilantism" -- but if the officers know that it is lawful for citizens to arrest them when the abuses are profound, the officers might have some second thoughts about engaging in conduct that so clearly violates the Bill of Rights.

Unconstitutional laws like the Patriot Act would lose their force if they are, simply, not eforced because the officers know that they could face immediate, swift, and sever repercussions by citizens protected under immunity for coming to the aid of those so oppressed by thse criminal statutes.

This is not to say that all laws are criminal, and that all police conduct is worthy of second guessing. Rather it is to say that given the clearly promulgated Bill of Rights and 42 USC 1983 both being ineffectual in barring unconstitutional legislation and abusive actions of government officers, there needs to be another mechanism or rubric that permits the citizens to step in where the three branches have failed.

The solution is not to embrace the constitution in its present form and say, "nothing shall be changed" when the very constitution as it exists is ignored.

What needs to happen is that there be a frank discussion about the abuses which have occurred under the Patriot Act, and a reasoned discussion about solutions which need to be protected by statute that give the free citizens swift mechanisms to combat abusive conduct which POST, the courts, and the legislature have sanctioned.

Moreover, in cases where the military is requried to engage in unlawful wars, or compelled to act in a manner in contravention to the Geveva Conventions, tehre need to be mechanisms by which individuals, even in combat are given the full protection of the mightiest US firepower in defense of those constitutional protections.

Indeed, there is a great considertion for "order and good discipline," but this should not come as a premium over the document to which we called to serve. Rather, people in the armed forces when called to engage in combat, should have the tools and rubrics in hand to make an honest assessment whehter they are being asked to engae in combat that is lawful, consistent with our constituiton, and supported by credible reasons that would stand up in court.

At this juncture, it is clear that the war in Iraq was not founded on reason, and the sytem of checks and balances failed to vett the information; and the war was initiated on teh basis of faulty information, no credible threat, and no imminent threat.

No service member should ever be compelled to fight in situations that are antithetical to the Genevea Convention, just war theory, or the constitution which mandate high, clear, standards.

There needs to be more effective mechanism to ensure that teh military personnel are not required to fight, train, and equip themselves to engage in wars that are unlawful, outside the bunds of international law, and so contrary to the standards of evidence so as to require silence as the "only option" military personnel are afforded when faced with such a disasterous, ill-founded mess.

No, "good order and dsicipline" cannot trump the constitution; nor can the government be rewarded for cotinuing to engage in unlawful wars by silencing those who put the constitution before the nebulous "good order and dscipline." Troops have the obligation to stand up commanders who order them into unlawful combat; and troops shluld know that the free citizens are going to back them up: Protect the eivdnce, provide them lawful-safe harbor, and ensure that the nation's constitutional principles are protected, not explained away.

The three branches of government have failed to preserve teh constition. Prior to 9-11, the many problems known were not fixed, and all three branches failed to ensure a credible plan was in place.

What is needed is for there to be lawful tools in the hands of free citizens who are statutorily protected from liablity when they act in good faith to preserve the consttutition, combat government abuse, and put an end to government practices that violate the constituion. When the three branches, their officers, and their agents collectively fail to act, there should be clear criteria that we all agree that says, "Now is the time for the citizens to step in."

When all three branches fail, there needs to be another solution. What we have is not solution. But merely excuses to avoid solving what needs to be reformed.