Journal: MILNET–Loss of Rule of Law, Aviation Insecurity

Ethics, Government, Law Enforcement, Military

Judge Tosses NSA Spy Cases

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision was a major blow to the  two suits testing warrantless eavesdropping and executive branch  powers implemented following the 2001 terror attacks. The San  Francisco judge said the courts are not available to the public to  mount that challenge.

“A citizen may not gain standing by claiming a right to have the  government follow the law,” (.pdf) Walker ruled late Thursday.

Cindy Cohn, the legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation that brought one of the cases, said the decision means “when you’re trying to stop the government from doing something illegal, and if the government does it to enough people, the courts can’t fix it.”

The Rule of Law Has Been Lost: Security Fools

The greatest human achievement is the subordination of government to law. This was an English achievement that required eight centuries of struggle, beginning in the ninth century when King Alfred the Great codified the common law, moving forward with the Magna Carta in the thirteenth century and culminating with the Glorious Revolution in the late seventeenth century.

The success of this long struggle made law a shield of the people. As an English colony, America inherited this unique achievement that made English speaking peoples the most free in the world.

As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000), the protective features of law in the U.S. were eroded in the twentieth century by prosecutorial abuse and by setting aside law in order to better pursue criminals. By the time of our second edition (2008), law as a shield of the people no longer existed. Respect for the Constitution and rule of law had given way to executive branch claims that during time of war government is not constrained by law or Constitution.

Emergency doors, karaoke bombers and other false alarms: When did we become such a nation of scaredy-cats?

This country needs to get a grip. We need a slap in the face, a splash of cold water.

On Saturday, 57-year-old Jules Paul Bouloute opened an emergency exit inside the American Airlines terminal at Kennedy airport. Alarms blared and sirens flashed. Bouloute later told police that he’d opened the door by accident.

Which is what you’d assume. Sure, the exit was clearly marked, but it happens all the time, does it not?

All of Terminal 8 was evacuated for more than two hours. Police then swept through the building with dogs and SWAT teams (because, you see, a terrorist wouldn’t quietly drop an explosive device into a trash barrel; he would first set off alarms, in order to…?). Before being allowed back in, thousands of travelers were forced to undergo rescreening at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, giving guards a chance to snag any butter knives or 4-ounce shampoo bottles they might have missed the first time. Inbound planes were stranded on the tarmac and departures were delayed for several hours.

Phi Beta Iota: The Judge as a reasonable proposition, to wit, the legislature is the “general” representative of the people, and when the Executive violates the legal rights of so many, it is the legislature that should act.  Unfortunately, as others have documented (see recommended sources below), both the Legislature and the Executive have moved beyond the procedural soverign authority of the public.  Therein lies the American political dilemma of the near-term.  As for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that is merely idiocy incarnate–tens of thousands of gerbils doing the best they can in following top-down orders from people without a clue.

See Also:

Review: Running on Empty–How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It (Paperback)

Review: Grand Illusion–The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny

Review: Breach of Trust–How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders (Hardcover)

Review: The Broken Branch–How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy)

Review: Losing America–Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency

Review: How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok (Paperback)

Review: VICE–Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency

Review: Gag Rule–On the Suppression of Dissent and Stifling of Democracy

Review: National Suicide: How Washington Is Destroying the American Dream from A to Z

Review: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

Review: The Edge of Disaster–Rebuilding a Resilient Nation

Review: Give Me Liberty–A Handbook for American Revolutionaries

Review: Crashing the Gate–Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics (Hardcover)

Review: The People’s Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy

Review: VOICE OF THE PEOPLE–The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life

Review: We the Purple–Faith, Politics, and the Independent Voter

Review: Getting a Grip–Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad

Review: Cracking the Code–How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America’s Original Vision

Review: The Revolution–A Manifesto

Review: Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me!

Reference: Electoral Reform Act of 2009

Review DVD: Idiocracy

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists