Law and Order

Boston And A Fear Based Constitution

 I wrote this about 2 1/2 years ago for a book I was working on.  It seems appropriate to post now in lieu of the tragic  events in Boston.

Al-Qaeda carries off a new series of attacks in New York City. First there is the bombing of a NYC MTA Transit Bus killing all hostages and a terrorist. The FBI determines that there is a cell of 5 involved. Next is a subway bombing. The 3rd is a Broadway bombing killing everyone in the packed theater.

Intelligence develops that it is a cell out of Yemen. The FBI is unable to locate it and seems powerless to stop the next attack.

The last explosion is the FBI building itself killing hundreds. Panic grips the nation. Pursuant to the War Powers Resolution, and executive authority to use military domestically in emergency situations, President Obama acts. He declares a state of national emergency. The National Guard and regular military are called in. The next morning, tanks are rolling down Broadway and across the Brooklyn Bridge. In response to outcry from the ACLU and human rights groups, President Obama releases the following statement:

We are in a time of national emergency. Extraordinary measures are needed to ensure the security of our nation and prevent further loss of life. Furthermore,domestic use of the military against Al-Qaeda is legal because it serves a national security, rather than a law enforcement, purpose. I have constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States”

Military intelligence further determines that they are looking for 4 Muslim males between 18-30 living somewhere in Brooklyn. Nothing more is known.

The military begins house to house rounding up all Muslims fitting that profile and putting them in the new Yankee Stadium for interrogation. The U.S. borders are closed to anyone flying in from selected “Muslim Countries”.

In “ripple in the water panic reaction” localities such as Deaborn Michigan with large Muslim populations begin rounding up all Muslims and placing them in their own detention facilities for interrogation and questioning.

Constitutional? Outrageous? Reasonable given the fact scenario?

When we are afraid it becomes all so disturbingly easy for us to dismiss out of hand the blood, sweat and tears that were put into the Constitutional rights we have today . Our rights when we are at peace and feel safe. Our rights when we are at war and/or a large portion of us are living in fear. Should it make a difference? It certainly has made a difference in our past. Who can forget The Sedition Acts of 1798 and 1918, The McCarthy Hearings or Korematsu v. United States where Justice Black writing for the majority stated that:

Korematsu was not excluded from the Military Area because of hostility to him or his race. He was excluded because we are at war with the Japanese Empire”

While it has been frowned on publicly in every sense, it should be noted that Korematsu has never been overruled. Are we at war now? Certainly not in the traditional Congressional declared sense. If we are, how easy would it be to substitute names and nationality in Justice Black’s statement. There is no doubt that we have trended towards more power to the executive during times of “war” and national emergency.

No one wants to live in fear. That is what terrorists want but on a much broader scale than you and I. They want chaos at airports. They want us to engage in pure racial and ethnic profiling. They want us to round people up and put them in stadiums. They want our Constitution to change for the worse so that we feel less afraid, lulled by into a false state of calm by our new “Fear Based Constitution” They know that it’s always easier to justify a Fear Based Constitution when we are on the outside of the barbed wire looking in.

THAT is the fear they shoot for when bringing down planes. That is how they win. By bringing about fundamental changes to our way of life. What is a more fundamental than a change in our Constitutional Rights solely out of fear.

As we stand united this moment , Is our “Cup Of  Constitutional Rights” half-full or half-empty? One thing is certain. Whether the “water-level” rises or falls in the near future will be impacted by whether voices of calm and reason or voices of knee-jerk fear are doing the pouring.

Our Constitution has been around for well over 200 years and while getting its edges torn now and then has always managed to withstand moments in history of and moments of great fear. I hope it will escape this fearful moment in-tact.

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Oklahoma State Rep Dennis Johnson Wants To “Jew You Down”

The video speaks for itself. Apologies aside, its a safe bet its not the first time he’s said it and not the only antisemitic stereotype in his arsenal.  Occurs at 20 Seconds.

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Is New York City’s “Stop And Frisk” Policy Unconstitutional?

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Soccer Nazi?

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 1.23.21 PMI hate soccer.  Did not grow up with it.   Don’t watch it. Don’t want to.  Bores me to death.  That’s just me.  It takes a riot or in this case,  a player getting banned for life for making a “Nazi Salute” to get my attention.  It certainly got everyone’s  attention when a Greek soccer  player made such a arm/hand gesture recently.  AEK Athens midfielder,  Giorgos Katidis set fellow athletes,  fans and the Twitter-sphere ablaze when he made a  “Nazi salute”  in celebration of a goal he scored in the Greek league.  He was banned from the national team for life as a result.  His coach,  AEK’s German coach Ewald Lienen, said the player doesn’t have an “idea about politics.”  Ok. I can except that.  Is he saying Katidis is also  ignorant of world history?  For his part, Katidis proclaimed ignorance on his Twitter page:

“I am not a fascist and would not have done it if I had known what it meant,” Katidis said on his Twitter account”

If this had happened  on a US team, while I still think that there would have be repercussions for a player doing it, he most certainly would not have received a lifetime ban. For better or worse, we as a society are much more tolerant of words and actions that may be construed as hate speech.  As a nation,  the United States was formed amid a battle for free speech.  Countries in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean regions have a different “free speech”  genesis. A different speech culture. They also have the first hand, on-soil experience with  the Holocaust. Many have Anti-Nazi hate speech laws. Greece, the country for which Katidis  played a part in that experience.  Between 60k and 70k Greek Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Most sent to their death at Auschwitz.  Many Greeks died resisting Fascist Italy and Nazi oppression.

One would think that  Katidis would be aware of this as compared to what he claimed on his Twitter page.  The Holocaust and by implication,  World War II, is taught in Greece starting the 6th grade.  It strains credibility that he could be part of this system and claim to not understand the implications of the Nazi salute unless he was our version of home schooled or has simply not attended any school. The lesson here? The notion of acts having consequences is universal.  Giving Katidis the benefit of the rubber-band stretch benefit of the doubt,  if he was ignorant as to the Nazi salute before, he has now received an expensive education that he will never forget.  It would have been a cheaper lesson to pay attention in 6th grade.

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