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No particular incident sparked this diary. It's frankly been a long time coming; however, I was particularly inspired by a piece by Glenn Greenwald the other day, one entitled "Obama's new view of his own war powers." In it, he briefly paraphrases Adams' words from Article 30 of the Massachusetts Constitution: The powers shall be seperated among the branches, he wrote,

to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.

Let's take a look at how that's working out, shall we?

The rule of law: not being held to the tyrannical fancies of some monarch or being subject to the dictates of some demagogue, but being bound by the product of a principled and fair legislative process. Doesn't that just sound great? Granted, the law may have some (big) flaws from time to time, but on the whole, living by the laws passed by our representatives with the ability to appeal to an independent judiciary is a better system than crossing our fingers for a better philosopher-king the next time around.

That's why it's a shame when it doesn't work out like it should. I like the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, and I don't like it when certain people drag it through the muck. I don't like it when certain states try to bar undocumented students from the right to an education or the right to citizenship to their American-born children, in flagrant violation of Supreme-Court-affirmed constitutional principles. I don't like when some legislators think they can nullify federal legislation. I don't like it when lawmakers pass laws in flagrant violation of Roe v. Wade, and I don't like it when my Congress stands up in a sicking defense of bigotry, apparently in complete ignorance of the judicially established executive's non-prosecutorial power.

But it's not just them. I don't like it when Dennis Kucinich and other groups are denied "official visit" status to see Bradley Manning, especially when the law explicitly states that they be permitted to do so.

Quantico Brig Order P1640.1C, paragraph 3.17b:
b. Official: These visits are for the purpose of conducting official government business, either on behalf of the prisoner or in the interest of justice. Visits from lawyers, military officials, civilian officials, or anyone listed as a privileged correspondence in paragraph 3.17f [see below] of this regulation, having official business to conduct are considered official visits and may be authorized by the Commanding Officer to visit at any time during normal working hours.
Privileged Correspondence: All incoming and outgoing correspondence (mail) between a prisoner and the following is privileged and not subject to inspection unless reasonable doubt exists as to the correspondence being bona fide:
a. The President or Vice President of the United States.
b. Members of Congress of the United States.
c. The Attorney General or the United States and Regional Offices of the Attorney General.
d. The Judge Advocate General of each military service or his/her representatives.
e. Prisoners Defense Counsel or any military/civilian attorney of record.
f. Any attorney listed in professional or other directories or an attorney’s representative.
g. Prisoner’s clergyman, when approved by the chaplain.

I don't like when a President and his Secretary of State not only claim power under the law that simply is not there, but admit that they will ignore Congress even if it were to proceed according to the law and pull the plug on our operations in Libya. I don't like it when my government, after swearing to be the most open administration in American history, prosecutes more whistleblowers than any other administration in American history. I don't like when criminal telecoms are given a pass by my government. I don't like in when several lawmakers jump on to a blatantly unconstitutional measure (See the 27th Amendment) to score political points (though I don't mind it at all when they take the legal route.). Overall, I don't like the tacit acceptance of such a decline by the vast majority of our ruling elite.

I don't like it when my government continues down the path of secrecy, deceit, and outright criminality that it promised to change. I like the Law. Don't you?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter:

    by JackinStL on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:32:35 PM PDT

    •  Kucinich, Amnesty, and the UN are not allowed (0+ / 0-)

      I am getting sadder and sadder about what is happening in this country, it is much more heart rending that this is happening under Obama.

      Under Bush, there was no hope.

      Under Obama, hopelessness has returned, once again.

      Manning’s attorney stated that Kucinich, Amnesty, and the UN are not allowed to have an official visit “because none of these individuals are conducting ‘official government business.’”

      This is, of course, ludicrous. Rep. Kucinich is a sitting Member of Congress with a seat on the Oversight Committee, and he submitted official notices to the Department of Defense that he wanted to inspect the conditions of Manning’s confinement. Additionally, the UN Special Rappateur on Torture has opened an investigation into Manning’s detention and would be visiting in his official capacity.

      What is the government afraid that Manning will say to these officials when the Brig isn’t able to record his every move? If Manning’s torture is “meeting our basic standards,” as President Obama says, what is there to hide?

      Rhetoric has to be matched with actions. "Only actions don't lie."

      by allenjo on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:46:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Law is great (0+ / 0-)

    It's the people enforcing the law that are the problem.  And not just at the micro level, but at the macro level as well.

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:41:50 PM PDT

  •  Clap louder! What are you, some kinda terist. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:04:18 PM PDT

  •  The Law is for the little people (0+ / 0-)

    The big people must not be shamed nor penalized for the risks and the responsibilities they bear on behalf of us all.

    The necessities of the Bradley Manning case are unfortunate but they'll put others on notice about how risky it is to expose wrongdoing in high places.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:22:15 PM PDT

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