“OBAMACARE” on the Downturn: Awareness on the Rise?


(Note: The following commentary is meant to convey my OPINION on what I perceive to be a matter of significant public importance. If, in this commentary, I have erred by misstating or misrepresenting anyone or anything, please know that that was unintentional. I hasten to add that I have no affiliation with any party, pro or con, involved in this issue. Also, you may, if you wish, submit your comments, if they are within generally acceptable standards of decorum, via a clickable link that is either just below this commentary or perhaps is in the column at the right. Thanks! And so, now, to begin:)
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"Obamacare": In some aspects, a laudable goal - but could it also be that "the Devil in the details"? (Photo: Whitehouse.Gov)

(NY, NY, 10/28/11) — Obamacare”:    So now, say surveys, Americans are increasingly seeing it as a negative.

But on what basis might that reported shift be justified?

Is “Obamacare” really that bad?

Isn’t it supposed to improve the nation’s, and our, “healthcare” system, for the benefit of us all?

Well, on the one hand, doing away, as it does, with the restriction on “pre-existing conditions” seems, in my view, to be a strongly positive, important, humanitarian, and eminently constructive move, one that, by itself, should theoretically — if we put aside other considerations (such as this action possibly increasing our costs or reducing the quality and availability of our care) — be welcomed and valued by everyone who’s desperate to be covered by healthcare insurance in this country.

But please take note of the above word “should“. Because if doing away with the “pre-existing conditions” requirement also happens to generate a decidedly customer-unfriendly increase in the cost of premiums, or a patient-hostile reduction in the degree or scope or availability of coverage — well, there again,  it would seem, “the Devil is in the details”.

But certainly an end to the “pre-existing condition” requirement, as “Obamacare” mandates, is, at least in theory, an important and positive step — in my opinion — toward hopefully creating a more equitable, more compassionate, system of healthcare for all.

In addition, as I see it, designing a healthcare system that would provide truly great healthcare, affordably and accessibly, for every American — including, without restriction,  for “the elderly” — and which would provide that care without damaging the insured’s pocketbook, privacy, freedom of choice, and other such freedoms and rights — must certainly also be an admirable goal.

But does “Obamacare” do that?

IMO, not quite. And in some ways, perhaps it does quite the opposite.

And that’s on top of the various calculations, from critics and other sources, that the numbers are now increasingly showing that “Obamacare” is already in some ways damaging the current American healthcare system; shredding Obama’s oft-touted promise that under this Plan “you can choose your own doctor”; harming seniors’ (and Medicaid recipients’) ability to get necessary healthcare or even be seen by a doctor; forcing numerous businesses to shut-down their employees’ healthcare-coverage by the tens of thousands of policies; generally raising healthcare premiums all across the country; forcing many Americans who are studying medicine — and forcing many Americans who are already in the medical profession in this country — to rethink their career-choices and abandon it (or the United States) for other pastures; and on and on.

And that’s aside from the Plan’s various mandates that , say critics, tear into the privacy and confidentiality rights of healthcare consumers (which would, by force, under “Obamacare”, be every American); of doctors; of hospitals; of the until-now-sacrosanct doctor-patient relationship; and would even intrude into the full panoply of — in case you hadn’t noticed this part of the “Obamacare” law — every American’s personal finances, via a first-ever-in-history authorization and systematization, by “Obamacare”, of using the IRS as an enforcement-arm of this purportedly wonderful new “healthcare plan” that’s supposed to be so good for “We, the People”.

Got that?

Not that some of the prominent “healthcare plans” proposed by the Republican Party are quite the solution either, in my opinion; aspects of those plans, too, in my view, leave much to be desired. But that’s a subject for a separate analysis.

"... to promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity ..."

In the meantime, say some critics, “Obamacare” — regardless of whether or not the impetus behind its initial conceptualization may have been one of “political one-upsmanship” or of honor and high moral principle — appears to instead be constructed in such a way as to violate both the spirit of the Constitution and the letter of the Constitution; and in so doing, say critics, “Obamacare” thereby unConstitutionally aggrandizes to the Federal Government — and unConstitutionally takes away from “We, the People” — an enormous chunk of power over our lives.

“Obamacare”, critics additionally charge, does this not only “in the moment”, as its elements go into effect, but also in that it establishes, most concerningly, a dangerous precedent — one that they say could easily provide the basis for, even invite, this current or future Administrations (or a “central government” of whatever form it may take at the time) to assert even greater, more extensive, more intrusive, more overbearing, more “control-oriented”, and more threatening, authority, over “We, the People” — and we may not be quite pleased with where that path may lead.

If this current Government can do this, say critics, just imagine what that knowledge can empower this Government, or any of its successors, to do next.

And then: whither us?

"... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." (Photo: NPS.Gov)

Is this what “We, the People”, really want? The promise — but in many ways not quite the reality, and in some ways quite the reverse — of the presumably well-intentioned goal of providing “healthcare for all”?

In pressing for an improved healthcare system, did we really mean to push for a huge and ever-expanding encroachment by a Central Government on our individual freedoms and rights?

Did “We, the People” also ask for, cry for, stand up with one voice to call for, a healthcare system that would raise our healthcare-costs (as is reportedly already happening due to “Obamacare”), reduce the amount of time and guidance and services that our doctors and hospitals could provide for us at our times of need (much as reportedly is currently already happening, or will  increasingly be happening, due to “Obamacare”)?

Did we somehow fail to take into account warnings, by critics and even by the CBO, that the shifting, by this Administration, of enormous sums of money away from Medicare in order to help fund “Obamacare” would be tremendously harmful to an already-stressed Medicare system — warnings which, according to news reports, are now coming true?

Did we really, with full understanding of the consequences, opt for a system that would especially reduce and with even greater constraints ration the amount of time and guidance and services that our doctors and hospitals will provide to our elderly – an entire class of our fellow human beings which would include not only our elderly friends and loved ones but also, sooner or later, us?

Or, for anyone who, under this Plan, becomes (un)fortunate enough to reach the Medicare-age of 65, and then at some point needs serious medical care, will a denial of needed medical treatment, or a prescribing of what in essence might be an open-ended period of physical or psychological suffering (even if on the Obama-suggested “painkiller”), or a hastening of that individual’s death, be presented to that individual (or to his or her doctor) as, essentially, the only viable options?

Did “We, the People” – who, according to polls at the time the “Obamacare” bill was being shunted through Congress, expressed in overwhelming numbers opposition to various key provisions of the then-proposed bill, such as —

* the “individual insurance-purchase mandate”, or

* the IRS tie-in as an enforcement-arm of the mandate, or

* the mandatory periodic “end of life” planning-reviews, or

* the digitization and centralization (and consequent data-sharing risks and the loss of doctor-patient privacy) of all our medical records, or

* the provisions that threaten doctors for noncompliance with mandates that  require that they cast aside their own best medical judgment in order to instead defer to Federally-generated, middle-management-driven, bureaucratically-determined, medical “guidelines” … 

— did we really agree to all that? 

(Photo: by "Friend of Wikimedia User Ysangkok")

Did “We, The People”, in wanting “healthcare for all”, really want our “representatives in Washington” to instead devise a law which, while answering some of our healthcare-needs, might also, as critics claim, reduce the overall quality of our healthcare, take away key aspects of our personal freedoms, take away (and possibly put at great risk) a vital component of our privacy, take away even a single one of our Constitutional rights (as via the “personal purchase-mandate”), damage our doctor-patient relationship, and also create the potential to bring the full force of a powerful Governmental agency down on us for our own “noncompliance”?

Uncle Sam wants YOU.

Did we really want our Government to establish a law that would automatically declare every citizen of our nation as, in effect, a potential criminal, subservient to the long arm of the law via the IRS, if we fail to comply with the “Obamacare” mandate that requires, under penalty of law, that we purchase — at our own expense no less — a product from a private company?

Is that what we wanted?

Is that to be “the new face” of our “Uncle Sam”?

But wait a moment; how about the positive side to this “Obamacare” coin — the side that many millions of Americans resoundingly praise as being one of this nation’s most profound, most compassionate, most revolutionary, most urgently needed, advances?

Certainly it appears that there are positive aspects, in principle and also in fact, within parts of the system known as “Obamacare”. And, as I would also agree, a healthcare-coverage system that would improve on what, in the view of many, is currently a deeply flawed healthcare-coverage system in this country, is intensely and urgently needed; in my view, it is unacceptable that this nation — traditionally (until recently) one of the most widely admired countries on this planet — has such an apparently difficult, costly, problematic, system of providing decent healthcare to its own citizenry.

"No Solace", by fallingwater123 / ©

I also concur in any heartfelt desire to extend a compassionate, healing, uplifting, saving-grace, to all who are in need; how, I wonder, can anyone be so heartless as to “turn a blind eye” to someone who, regardless of age or standing, and through no fault of his or her own, desperately needs appropriate medical care but doesn’t otherwise possess the ability to obtain it?

How could “We, the People”, as a nation, be so callous as to turn our backs on so many millions of our fellow Americans who are currently trapped in, or are even now falling into, that abyss?

What fate has befallen that phrase of conscience that exclaims “There but for the grace of God go I”?

And where is there any shred of “humaneness”, of any thought of extending some compassion to our fellow human being, in coldly declaring that if those who are less fortunate than us weren’t able to earn the ability to pay for needed care, then who are we to care a whit about their agonized pleas for a helping hand?

Perhaps, these thoughts, even if viewed through a political lens, are what may have been going through Obama’s mind as he conceptualized and pressed for his vision of a healthcare system that would potentially be accessible to, and empowering for, us all.

Perhaps.

Too, in my view, the goal of extending healthcare – or what, in my preference, should be the goal of extending great healthcare – to all of our nation’s people, including to the poor, the ill, the currently uninsured, the elderly, and all of us – is a goal that is eminently worth striving for and achieving — if we can do it without concurrently causing ourselves harm.

But what if our perception of reality, and the underlying reality itself, are two distinctly different things, each potentially leading to profoundly divergent life-altering outcomes?

Should the goal of attaining “universal healthcare” — the general perception of which seems to paint a highly positive picture — be sought at the cost of a reality that may well include our loss, to even a partial but significant degree, of portions of our freedoms, of our civil liberties, of our Constitutionally established rights, of our ability to access and afford or receive the quality of medical care that our condition actually demands?

Elderly Woman - Photo by Chalmers Butterfield

And what if, despite all the comforting speeches and promises, the reality of the plan is such that its very design threatens the fate of our elderly loved ones (and at some point possibly ourselves) by consigning them to be eligible to receive only increasingly restricted, increasingly narrowed, “rationed”, care — a diminished level of care that, in practice, may possibly have the effect of intensifying their suffering and/or hastening their demise?

And why should this be?

Might it, even in a purely medical context, be the wisest and most compassionate choice possible and truly in that patient’s best interest?

Or might that rationing essentially be enacted not because of the patient’s true needs but instead because a bureaucratic and politically-directed system has decided, for coldly calculated non-medical reasons, that this, perhaps, is the “most expedient way” for “the system” to cut costs, to juggle expenses, to help other parts of the system work (or appear to work), or even to fulfill a momentary — or personal — political need?

Note: As to that latter possibility, you might recall the fact that this Administration, in starting to enable elements of “Obamacare”, chose to remove approximately $500,000,000 from Medicare and Medicaid, in order the shift that money into supporting “Obamacare”. Is this how they plan to “support” healthcare “for all” — and especially healthcare for the elderly?

In my mind, that one action alone certainly is a major clue — and it is frightening.

Or does no one recall that uniquely-concerning 2009 statement by Obama — the one in which he suggested, in an ABC NEWS “Questions for the President” piece, that for some elderly persons, it might be appropriate for the Government to advise that person’s doctor that it makes more sense to have the elderly patient to “forego the surgery” and instead opt for “the painkiller”?

Or am I the only one — and the answer is no, I am most assuredly not — who sees that admonition, especially when it’s coupled with certain related components of “Obamacare”, as yet another possible warning as to how our elderly might actually be treated under “Obamacare”?

But judge for yourself — view and listen to the Youtube video-clip in which Obama makes that statement. It’s at this URL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-dQfb8WQvo

So I ask: 

"Big Brother": Is this how it begins -- or is it where it can lead? (Photo = from 1955 film of George Orwell's "1984")

Is this what we are now being conditioned to meekly accept as the predestined, carved-in-stone, fate of our elderly — and of the powerlessness of ourselves to generate the courage to come up with — and to push for — a better path for all?

When, in American history, or in our current times, did “We, the People” decide that it was a good idea to take some of our most cherished humanitarian principles – principles that we have traditionally held most dear – and simply dump them for the sake of “expediency”?

For those who are still fortunate enough to have decent healthcare coverage in this country, especially the kind (if such exists) which the insurer will not pull out from under us when we need that coverage the most, I propose that we can be thankful for those aspects of our healthcare system that work for us and which — to a point, at least — are usually there for us when we need it.

I also do grant, from personal experience, that although my healthcare coverage over the years has not, in my view, been perfect, and has cost me significant funds, it absolutely helped me at times of great need; without it, I expect that I would have had impactful problems, financially and, possibly, healthwise as well. So I do give the system, and my insurers in those instances, a great deal of credit.

But at the same time, I also see — as do many other fellow Americans — a great many deeply concerning faults with this nation’s contemporary, pre-“Obamacare”, so-called “healthcare insurance” system: faults that, in some instances, as have been shown in various news reports, are enough to make a person scream in outrage, crumble in sorrow, suffer in agony, or, for some, even die.

Yet, nothing is perfect. And most (or all?) healthcare insurers,  in this country, are, essentially, businesses, and as such, presumably they must operate on a profit-making basis in order to remain viable. But at whose cost?

That our nation’s current, traditional, healthcare system would also be structured in such a way as to, in effect, facilitate or even promote such negative outcomes as those mentioned above, especially when more humane, more healing, paths might otherwise have been made available by those same insurers; and when, at the same time that a person’s coverage is being unfairly dropped or the cost of his or her premium is, through no fault of his or her own, skyrocketing, while the insurance company is pulling in huge profits and its CEO is taking home a multi-million dollar salary and a wealth of perquisites — this situation, in my view, is unacceptable and a clarion call for reform.

Against such a backdrop, it’s no wonder that Obama — even if purely or primarily for political reasons — is pushing for an overhaul of the American healthcare system — and, in my view, it’s no wonder that such movements as “Occupy Wall Street”, within  their apparent multiplicity of goals, are pressing for a what they believe can be more equitable system of financial and social structures for the nation — and for ourselves.

Whether they’ll get it right, of course, remains to be seen.

So let’s probe just a bit further, for a moment , some of the downsides of the current system. And then let’s take a closer look at “Obamacare” to see if it, too, offers — or mandates — any corollaries to those negatives. Because, in my view — and apparently unlike Nancy Pelosi — who, as you may recall, urged the House to first pass this “Obamacare” bill and then, after passage, get to know what’s in it — it is important that we get a handle on this situation before it gets its hands on us.

So, consider:

How horrendous it is that, for example, if, in this nation, an insured person – one who has somehow been fortunate enough to even be able to afford coverage by a health-insurer – can in some instances be unceremoniously, and, in my view, inhumanely, forced out of that coverage, or be simply dropped from that coverage, through no fault of his or her own, particularly when he or she needs that coverage most.

How terrible it is, in my view, that a person who, through no personal fault, contracts an illness or undergoes some physically (or psychologically) damaging trauma or injury, and then, because that problem becomes classified by the insurer as a “pre-existing condition”, is unable to obtain health-insurance coverage at his or her time of great need — or is “kicked out of coverage”, on the insurer’s excuse that there was some alleged discrepancy in the person’s application.

Plus, how positive is it – and in my view the answer is that it is the opposite of positive – that our nation’s system of “healthcare insurance” relies primarily on “allopathic” (i.e., “western”, pharmaceuticals-based) medicine and provides essentially no — or very limited — coverage for non-allopathic, non-pharmaceutical, alternative approaches to healthcare, even though, in the opinion of many proponents of such alternate approaches, those alternate approaches can often be superior to, safer than — and cheaper than — the allopathic paradigm.

But what about “Obamacare”? As per my understanding, it seems that it, too, overall, fails to give any real support to those alternate approaches – meaning that once again, “We, the People”, under “Obamacare”, and whether we like it or not, will primarily be stuck with just a “new version” of the same old western medical paradigm. But the “packaging” will be different.

Then the question becomes, to what extent do you trust — or fear — the packager? And how confident do you feel about the efficacy and safety — and accessibility — of what may be in the package?

However, on the positive side, “Obamacare” does appear to have some good within it. And, IMO, the idea of creating a system that would provide “quality healthcare for all” is hard to fault.

And under “Obamacare”: No coverage-denial based on “pre-existing conditions”. No dropping an insured’s coverage without cause (or at all?). Presciptions drugs, well, maybe mostly covered, but the formula is unclear (at least to me at this moment). Coverage: available to every American, including — by whatever the title of the moment — “illegal aliens”.

But funded? Supported? Well-planned? Ready to go? All of it supportive of and respective of our freedoms and liberties and Constitutional rights? And all of it in our best interests? Who’s kidding who?

Plus:

Suddenly offer the promise of heathcare coverage to an additional — depending on whose numbers you believe are accurate — between approximately 15-million and 48-million currently uninsured people, and where is the Plan supposed to get the money to do this? Where, for that additional estimated 15-to-48-million people, is the nation supposed to find the doctors, the nurses, the rest of the needed medical staffs, the hospitals, the medical supplies and equipment, the facilities, the medicines?

Take more money from Medicare and Medicaid?

And that’s not to also mention that insurers — who, because of the Plan’s personal- purchase-mandate, stand to rake in a veritable fortune once the Plan goes fully into effect — have already been raising their premiums to counter, they say, the costs that they are now being forced to absorb because of the Plan’s mandate that the insurers do away with their “pre-existing conditions” rule.

Nice.

What a mess. Um, in my opinion.

But, aside from the allegation, according to critics, that “Obamacare” will be massively underfunded and, by sheer numbers, will vastly overwhelm the nation’s already-overburdened and severely-stressed medical personnel and resources, there is the following assertion that some critics have also advanced: that despite whatever lofty goals may have propelled this Plan into law, “Obamacare” is dangerously suffused with  freedoms-destructive, privacy-shredding, healthcare-quality-reducing, end-of-life-promulgating, authoritarian-power-centralizing, flaws – flaws that, for what is supposed to be a “free society”, can well instead create a chilling counterpoint to the Plan’s purported benefits.

So, which way to go?

Should we be psychologically “locked into” thinking that there are only two paths to consider – the contemporary, still primarily operative, private insurance-companies system, versus the “Obamacare” system?

Or might there be a better, third path, even a fourth or a fifth path, that we should open our minds to conceiving and to consider pursuing?

Must whatever “healthcare” plan we, or “They”, come up with, be infused with – along with “the good stuff” – a really dangerous load of bad stuff?

Must every field of beautifully blossoming, heavenly-scented flowers have vicious venom-fanged snakes slithering in the grass?

Can’t we create a reality that’s better than that – or which at least diminishes the flaws to insignificance?

Whatever the answer, one particular image comes to mind that perhaps illustrates, at least for me, the heart of my concern in this whole matter:

Picture, if you can, that indelible moment in the  classic 1950s film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, as actor Kevin McCarthy, in his role as the lone alien-pursued survivor who has discovered the truth,  seeks in vain to warn people of the invasion that’s taking place right before their eyes, as he turns to the camera and declares:

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers": A parable for our times?

“You’re next!

You’re next!

— Just a thought.

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DID TROY DAVIS DESERVE TO DIE?


 9/22/11 – A date to remember. For on this date, TROY DAVIS — convicted as a cop-killer by the State of Georgia, despite his claims, and evidence, of his innocence — was put to death by the State.

Like  9/11, perhaps the date 9/22 will also be emblazoned upon people’s minds, both in the U.S. and the world over, as the date when a new spark was lit to a blazing wildfire that may soon follow: a massive, and unrelentingly intense,  probe of the forces — above-board and perhaps also in the shadows — that actually drove Troy Davis to his death.

And into the entire system of American (and other nations’) jurisprudence, particularly in regard to how various forces may combine to codify, uphold, and act on, decisions whose result may be, in even one case, the taking of an innocent person’s freedom — and life.

Thus, some of my observations herewith. Please note that these observations are purely my expressions of my opinion, and if there are any factual errors, they are unintentional.

From my reading of the case, I strongly believed, that at the very least, Troy Davis deserved clemency or, at a minimum, a reprieve and an opportunity for a FAIR hearing  or re-trial in which to make his case. In my view, there was just too much evidence in his favor to NOT grant him that critically important opportunity to defend his right to live.

Yet, in the final analysis, it would appear that the State denied him that request.

Yes, according to reports. he had been granted some rehearings over the past years. But as his attorneys reportedly pointed out, new evidence continued, over the years, to surface, that he was unjustly convicted — evidence of which the relevant authorities were either unaware or to which they had not yet given requisite attention.

So if Troy Davis did have those previous retrials and hearings, what — if anything — went wrong? Was he, or were his lawyers, denied the right to bring certain evidence into those hearings? Did the courts essentially rule that “procedure” must take precedence over “fact”? Did some vital evidence come to light only after those hearings were history?

Were his lawyers, in essence, muzzled by restrictions placed upon them by the courts?

Or, did his lawyers simply not fight well enough?

Or was the actual evidence, ALL of it, truly overwhelmingly persuasive that Troy Davis was the killer as charged?

 Perhaps these, and other such issues, now merit a laserbeam of scrutiny — particularly if it turns out that Troy Davis was right and that he was unjustly incarcerated — and executed — on fatally flawed grounds. In which case, the State of Georgia — whether through proper (though incorrect) decisionmaking or through procedures and motivations that should themselves be placed on trial — has now murdered an innocent man.

I too signed online petitions urging the Georgia authorities to block this execution, to grant clemency, or to at least grant Troy Davis additional time and opportunity to have a new and FAIR trial in which to present his case.

It seemed to me that even if he were guilty, he should have had the right to present — in  a FAIR setting — important new exculpatory evidence — evidence of a nature that at the least might cast sufficient “reasonable doubt” as to whether the case against him was strong enough to merit his demise.

With most of the original witnesses, who had initially testified against him, now recanting part or all of their previous testimony, and with there also being an allegation by a witness that another person had personally confessed to the crime, and with the man’s life on the line, how, I wondered, could a fair and objective judiciary NOT see fit to grant him a full and fair opportunity to present this new evidence?

How, at the least, could the authorities NOT choose to at least grant the man this one, last, wish?

Interestingly, as some petitions urged us to fax our requests to Larry Chisolm, the Chatham, GA, District Attorney, I also made multiple efforts at doing so on the day prior to the execution-date — with the result being that apparently NEITHER of D.A. Chisolm’s official FAX numbers (which I’d gleaned from petitions and also from his office’s pages on the net) were working, and that my multiple efforts at faxing him therefore FAILED.

And I thought to myself: Was this fax-nonfunctionality an error? Did he, or his office, decide that they just couldn’t handle what may have been an onslaught of pro-Troy-Davis fax-after-fax coming in, and so they turned off the fax-answering systems? Did the D.A. decide that since he — as he publicly reported — was “powerless” to act in defiance of the Superior Court’s ruling on the execution, that receiving any further fax-requests on the matter would be useless, and so he thus ordered that his office’s fax-reception be deactivated?

Or, I wondered, was this fax-reception nonfunctionality planned because “the die had already been cast”, and that it had “already been made clear” — or, in some way, “ordered from above” — that NO plea for clemency or delay was to be considered, and that Troy Davis — despite any relevant evidence of his possible innocence — MUST die?

United States Supreme Court -- The Justices as of 2011

I also find it more than merely interesting that the U.S. Supreme Court, when it ordered, a few years ago, that a lower court must grant Troy Davis an “evidentiary hearing”, the U.S. Supreme Court — according to news accounts — “raised the bar” in what strikes me as a very peculiar, unfair, chilling, and perhaps unConstitutional, way:

They ordered that the hearing be restricted to presenting evidence proving (if such were the case) that Troy Davis was INNOCENT — which is a tremendously different standard than the one that has for centuries been the underpinning (when used) of American jurisprudence: that of raising “REASONABLE DOUBT” that the defendant is “GUILTY AS CHARGED”.

And so came 9/22, and the authorities offered him a “last meal” — why not instead offer him a last, and full, shot at justice?

How many times have we seen, in TV courtroom dramas — or in actual courtroom events — or been otherwise made aware of in the American legal system — that a judge, or jury, will be given the choice of declaring either of ONLY TWO alternative judgments: “Guilty” or “Not Guilty”?

Never is a defendant, who is exonerated of the charged offense, officially declared “Innocent”. Maybe that itself is a fundamental flaw of the system — but nevertheless, it is a fact.

So how is it, I wonder, that in Troy Davis’ case, the U.S. Supreme Court, in that 2007 instance, had ruled that Mr. Davis must provide convincing evidence of his INNOCENCE, rather than be required only to provide REASONABLE DOUBT as to his alleged GUILT?

As to his request, in the past few days, to be given a polygraph test — a request that the prison authorities reportedly rejected:

On the one hand, it is my understanding that polygraph test-results are usually inadmissible as evidence in a courtroom-trial. But what would have been the problem for officials to have granted Troy Davis this last simple request? Would it, in their view, have “opened the doors” to a “flood” of prisoners, across the state and nation, demanding that they (the prisoners) too be granted a polygraph-test, especially if they themselves might be headed for “Death Row”? So was it a question of “precedent”?

And, for that matter, why not grant such a precedent?

Maybe this is an issue too that should now become part of the public debate.

Or might it be that the authorities, in Troy Davis’ case, did not want to “open a Pandora’s Box” by permitting a polygraph-test that might possibly provide new evidence — for all the world to see — that, despite the state’s pronouncements to the contrary, Troy Davis was NOT GUILTY OF THE CRIME?

And how many other “Troy Davises” are similarly convicted, locked up, and serving time or headed for execution — or have already been executed –, by judicial/penal systems that seem unethically stacked against them, despite legitimate and substantial evidence that these persons too are, perhaps, NOT GUILTY OF THE CRIME?

But where are the petitions, the mass media coverage, the national or global concern, over THEIR fate? And where, in all those cases, is the widespread cry for a weeding-out of the flaws, unethical practices, erroneous decisionmaking, and, as some might allege, less-than-wholesome motivational factors, in the systems that have possibly driven those victims to their unjust fates?

 Yes, there are cold, brutal, even savage, criminals whose very nature demands that they be locked away and prevented from ever committing another such crime.

But there are also people who are swept up by a “justice system” and, for whatever the reasons, locked away, even though they are innocent of the alleged crimes for which they have been convicted. What about THESE people?

Or, as would APPEAR (at least from my reading of the questions raised) to be the case in the matter of the conviction and execution of Troy Davis, have we now, publicly, and essentially worldwide, witnessed an instance in which the state — having long ago “made up its mind” in the matter, and in which the state also long ago decided to unbendingly adhere to its own initial interpretation of its own (and possibly flawed) rules, and in which the state, in this long and loudly clanking ghostly chain of actions that it’s hammered out and dragged behind it over these years, link-by-link, felt that it had no choice but to continue justifying every previous FLAWED link that it had locked into place at each step in this saga — decided that EVEN IF NOT GUILTY OF THE CHARGED CRIME, TROY DAVIS MUST DIE?

Did the state of Georgia make the right decision? Was Troy Davis really guilty as charged? Or did the state of Georgia, and all those authorities involved in sending this man to his death, do so along the lines of the scenario suggested above?

Guilty or innocent, his reported last words included a request that the search for the truth of his case continue to be vigorously pursued. Sounds like a good idea to me.

ADDENDUM: I wonder how quickly this case, and key elements involved in it, will be legitimately and thoroughly investigated in regard to how this entire situation came about.

I also wonder how quickly — and how accurately — the tale will be converted into a made-for-TV movie or a Hollywood major motion picture — and what messages that production will (or will not) convey.

QUESTION: Might this Troy Davis case become the spark of a wildfire of revelations and reforms to come?

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(NOTE: Comments, if they are reasonable and respectful,  and not slanderous, libelous, or obscene, are welcome. There should be a link, somewhere below this post, for submitting them. Thanks.)

(Copyright Protonius at protonius.wordpress.com 2011.)

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I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN: SCANS, NANOBOTS, COMPUTERIZED IMPLANTS … and the BORG?


(New York, 08-13-2011) — Major new science/technology advance: a thinner-than-a-human-hair, cellophane-like, nearly completely transparent, stretchable, flexible, computer-circuitry device that can be naturally “glued” to human skin by the Van der Waals Force — a natural, sort of “magnetic” force that … Continue reading

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The Ghost of Osama: Be Afraid — Be VERY Afraid?


(NOTE: As with all my posts on this blog, what I post here are my opinions, based on what I believe to be the facts of the matters at hand; if I have misconstrued those facts, please be assured that it was unintentional. Oh, one more thing: Constructive (non-obscene!)  feedback is appreciated, so if you’d like to offer some comments, please use the “Comments” link somewhere below the bottom (or to the right) of the commentary; there, click the link, register, log-in, and post your comment. Thanks!)

Blog & Commentary:© protonius.wordpress.com, 2011 & 2013, all rights reserved.

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(NOTE: 09-28-2013 Update to my Commentary below: According to today’s edition of Infowars.Com, “Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh says that the raid which killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011 is “one big lie” and that “not one word” of the Obama administration’s narrative on what happened is true”. Source: http://www.infowars.com/seymour-hersh-bin-laden-death-one-big-lie/).

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The Ghost of Osama: Be Afraid — Be VERY Afraid?

BIN LADEN -- OR IS IT HIS "GHOST"?(New York, 05-04-2011, with subsequent updates) — So, today, the alleged body of Osama Bin Laden — or what may be left of it by now — or of his double, or of somebody, or of anybody who “just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time” — or even of nobody — is, allegedly, somewhere in the depths of, allegedly, the Arabian Sea. 

Or is it?

But, whatever has been the fate of Bin Laden himself, where, in effect, is Osama’s GHOST?

Could it be, perhaps, ululating a ghostly, reverberating, call, to Osama’s followers around the world, that the time for a renewed and revitalized “jihad” is “now“?

(August 2011 Update: Along those lines, isn’t is interesting that since that alleged “liquidation” of Bin Laden, the Department of Homeland Security has ratcheted the warning of terrorist-attacks on the U.S. upward, declaring that, as a result of this purported killing of Bin Laden, the U.S. and all Americans are now under greater threat of terrorist-attack than if he had been left free and alive?)

Talk about the power of a ghost!

If Bin Laden is dead (or alive) — which is still open to debate — or if he was indeed killed in this alleged raid (or perhaps has been dead since December 2001, as some allege) — could it be that his Ghost, perhaps, is nonetheless continuing to serve its intended purpose — roaming the halls of the White House, the Pentagon, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, and much of the mainstream media, whispering influential “guidances” into political decisionmakers’ ears, and appearing before worried — or pleased — Government officials as a politically convenient bone-chilling phantasm whose “Threat From the Grave” gives them power to do things that the American people would otherwise never let them do?

Is his Ghost, even now,  forcibly altering the course of American politics? (SUGGESTION: Ask a guy named Snowden).

Is Osama’s Ghost, in the darkness of his spirit, sauntering with even greater determination — and breadth of impact — than before, through our lives and former freedoms, as it continues to spread fear wherever it goes — fear that, as this Ghost — and those persons in political leadership positions well know — can so easily be utilized to vastly increase a Government’s control over the nation’s people and can, also by design, transmogrify a nation’s previous traditions of openness and freedom into an all-consuming, society-distorting, nightmare for its people, one of near-total subservience to and dependence on that same Government?

Could it be that Osama’s Ghost may even now be silently knocking at your  door — or even, and without your conscious knowledge, be letting himself in — as he, in spectral form, and with the full backing of _______ (Fill-in the blank), surreptitiously glides into your life and observes — and reports on — your every move?

The U.S. (and parts of Europe) have now been reportedly ratcheting-up their “terror-alerts”, based upon, they say, just the possibility — but no specific threat — that supporters of the allegedly assassinated Bin Laden may now, as a consequence of his newly-alleged assassination, have become so “fired-up” by that alleged killing that they are now likely hurrying to launch some horrendous, massive, new attack or attacks against the U.S. (and the West).

Talk of “hidden nuclear bombs”, those devices to be exploded somewhere in the U.S. and Europe, perhaps, is also an element of this newly-released cloud of fear.

So, to what extent, if at all, is the story of Bin Laden’s recent alleged capture and “liquidation”  real?

SO MANY QUESTIONS:

Was this really Osama Bin Laden who, allegedly, this past weekend, was summarily executed and dumped in the sea?

Is the renewed, heightened, alleged “terror-threat” real, and if so, to what extent, if any, does it merit a ratcheting-up of our nation’s  systems of surveillance and detection?

Or, whether false or real, how can we know whether or not the threat was facilitated not so much for purposes of security as for purposes of advancing a political agenda?

It would seem that in politics, some ghosts — even the Ghost of Osama — can also serve a political goal.

Again, it would seem that this issue comes down to the key question of whom, and what evidence, one chooses to believe.

Even if this latest alleged execution of Bin Laden was genuine — although, at present, that’s debatable –, to what extent might it, and the alleged renewed terror-threat, also be used as a convenient excuse by the “powers-that-be” — particularly in the U.S. — to empower the Federal Government and various of its agencies to clamp-down yet further on the rights of the American people?

For example, might the TSA, for instance, consequently be given yet greater authority to institute yet more stringent “protective” measures that, arguably, would  further impinge on the Constitutional rights and health-freedoms of the American people?

Or that other methods and systems of surveilling American citizens will be empowered to take another step forward? 

Could it be that such a hypothesized — or even real — increase in the “terror-threat” might also be employed, by the “powers-that-be”,  to justify the implementation of the equivalent of yet another, perhaps even more far-reaching, rights-diminishing, PATRIOT ACT, and other such impingements on our traditional Constitutional freedoms?  

Just a Thought…?

Or, along those lines, might we expect to soon be experiencing an expanded and intensified observational intrusion — as has already been happening — by elements of the Federal Government, into every American’s communications, financial transactions, and various other previously “private” activities, perhaps soon also including, among other things, into where we travel, with whom we associate, what our political views may be, and more?

Aren’t those the very things that the Constitution is said to prohibit, and which the United States — until Bush II — has traditionally and vociferously opposed as constituting a fundamental violation of human rights? 

And, for that matter, what about the use of torture as a tool to obtain information from a person? Much of the American news media, and the Obama Administration, are now saying that much of the information that lead to the identification of Bin Laden’s Abbottabad wherebouts was revealed via the application, on various “enemy combatants” imprisoned at Guantanamo, of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — techniques which you and I would probably call “torture”. 

Yet, how does this sudden, glowing praise of the use of torture, square with the fact that the use of torture has been decried, by many experts, as being not only unjustifiably cruel but also, in almost all cases, as being essentially ineffective as a means of extracting truthful information, such that, typically, a person being tortured will fabricate and confess to just about anything, just so long as doing so may grant that person a relief from pain?

So is it true that, in the current case, the use of torture — by whatever the name — actually did work?

Or, even if it did work, that it is therefore now considered to be acceptable as a tool for extracting “the truth”? If that’s the case, then how far down into our civilian judicial system might that acceptance of torture also travel?

What is the precedent here?

In other words, in what ways and to what extent does this whole thing — including the use of torture to extract information, plus the manner of, and official justification of, the alleged killing and disposal of the person that the Obama Administration says is Osama Bin Laden — provide a precedential basis for this Government to redefine, and possibly reduce, our range of rights and freedoms? 

And what does this affair demonstrate to the world about this particular — and now Presidentially reinforced — American view of “justice”?

How can it not be logically expected that, in particular, this affair may well be interpreted — even if the view it out of balance with the rest of reality –, by much of the world, as indicating that the United States of America now demonstrably believes that “justice” comes not from “the fair, objective, and impartial, application of the law” but from the use of torture and “from the barrel of a gun”?

How about the global ripple-effect that such an example might generate — and which it is already generating?

And how might this particular version of  “justice”, if it’s permitted to serve as an acceptable precedent, someday personally affect us all? 

But, for that matter, is this form of American “justice” all that new? Perhaps not quite — or did the eight years of the Administration of George W. Bush, with its acceptance of the use of “torture” (albeit by other names) and “rendition”, and, reportedly, its authorizing extra-judicial executions of high-level “terrorists” — even if those targets might be American citizens –, not happen? And, too, did Obama, as President, not only continue that policy of “rendition” and of permitting the extra-judicial killing of high-level “terrorists” and of Americans citizens deemed to be involved in or carrying out terrorist acts against the U.S.?

There is, of course, an on-going debate as to whether or not, or to what degree, these policies are justified, much as there is also an on-going debate as to what and from where the threats to the United States may actually be.

If the threat to the nation is as terrible as we’ve generally been lead to believe, then certainly it would seem that our Government must be permitted the tools necessary for the nation’s defense against that threat. But, at the same time, shouldn’t our own personal, Constitutionally guaranteed, rights and freedoms also be protected?

In that context, what may be the impact on those rights and freedoms, as a consequence of how the Obama Administration has now been handling this Bin Laden affair, including the alleged raid, extra-judicial summary judgment and execution, and rapid disposal of the body, as well as the outpouring, in the U.S., not only of jubilation at this alleged set of events but also at how, reportedly at least, in this case the use of torture (of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay) actually worked??

How much of a “leap of imagination” might it be to also ask if this Obama-Osama development, this renewed and heightened fear of “terrorism”, predicated on this event that took place at the behest of the highest levels of the nation’s Government, might now also be used as a means of persuading the American public to relinquish yet another aspect of personal security and protections of law to what seems, to some, to be an increasingly authoritarian-prone Government?

Or, conversely, might this entire “End of Bin Laden” episode somehow actually strengthen our freedoms, our nation, and the positive values that most Americans have traditionally held dear?

I would certainly hope that the latter choice is the case.

For that matter, suppose that this proverbial, widespread, collective “sigh of relief” — if justified and not rooted in a primal “blood-lust for revenge” — does take hold:

How far might it go toward, at the least, reducing the kind of psychological tensions that hold a people — and a nation — back from pursuing what could be a wonderful destiny?

And, who knows? Perhaps it could also enable the “ratcheting-down” of all those freedoms-sucking, finances-draining, controversial anti-terrorism “protections” that most Americans seem to dislike or even despise — including the idea of “Constitution-free zones” within the U.S., or those roving warrantless police-roadblacks and searches, or those infamous TSA “pat-downs” and x-ray scans at airports and train stations.

And that’s just for starters.

Well, it’s a nice dream, anyway. A more peaceful, friendly, freedom-cherishing, world would be nice, for a change, wouldn’t it?

But, getting back to reality:

What’s the more likely truth of the matter?

WAS THIS ACTUALLY BIN LADEN — OR HAVE WE BEEN FED SOMETHING THAT’S LESS THAN THE TRUTH:

As to whether or not the executed person whom this Administration identified as Osama Bin Laden was actually Osama Bin Laden, for example, presumably somebody knows for sure. But who? And whose version should we trust to be the true one?

This Administration says that the man whom it executed was indeed Osama Bin Laden.

Strikes on Tora Bora, December 2001

Yet critics point to evidence that, they say, shows that Bin Laden has in fact been dead and gone since the 2001 Battle at Tora Bora, where he was allegedly killed, or that he died of an incurable medical condition not long thereafter.

And what about the claims of various critics why maintain that the subsequently-released audio- and videotapes of, supposedly, Bin Laden, show definite indications of being fraudulent, one of those videotapes even featuring, allegedly, an Osama look-alike, and not a very convincing one at that?

According to these critics, it is only the the myth that “Osama lives” that has been intentionally kept alive, by the Bush II and Obama Administrations, among others, in that the myth, whenever needed, could usually be relied upon to serve the tremendously valuable purpose of mobilizing the public behind — or misdirecting them away from interfering against — policies and actions that the “powers-that-be” wished to implement.

So how can we, the public, determine whom best to trust? How can We, the People, who have been so long the target of misinformation and manipulations emerging from the mass media, Madison Avenue, and the realm of realpolitik, ascertain that what we are being told about this whole affair — regardless of which point of view we are being presented with — is indeed the unvarnished, complete, truth — if indeed, it is the truth, which it may or may not be?  

So this, we are told, was Osama Bin Laden. Was it?

And now, with this latest event, in which even the body — of whomever this purported person was — was allegedly quickly, summarily, and irretrievably, disposed of, without so much as an independent, professional, full medical autopsy, what are we to believe is the truth?

At the very least, the summary judgment, on-the-spot execution, and hastily dumping the body at sea, would certainly seem to cast a justifiable pall of suspicion over not only the Obama Administration’s view of justice and the application of law, but also over this Administration’s credibility — because now — even if they were acting honestly and honorably — it begins to look as though this Administration had something to hide — such as the facts as to (a) whether this murdered man was the real Osama Bin Laden or (b) whether this Administration thought that Bin Laden — if that’s who this man was — may have possessed secrets which the Administration preferred should never be revealed.

So are either of those latter two possibilities at play? I don’t know — I just read the news like everybody else. 

But in any case, it certainly would seem to me that the summary judgment, execution, and quick disposal of the body, now justifiably gives rise to the appearance, and to the consequent suspicion, that something “untoward” may have been afoot in how this affair was planned and managed.

What really happened? Was the disposed-of victim really Bin Laden — and if not, who was it, and where is the real Bin Laden? Or has the real Bin laden not only been really been dead, but also “really most sincerely dead”, and gone, all these years?

The whole affair would seem to cry out for careful examination. 

Too, a key part of that concern revolves around how, in this affair, the American concept of “justice” appears to have taken yet another step away from the pre-Obama, pre-Bush II, concept of the importance of not only affording an accused a fair trial, but also of, at the least, assuring that the evidence involved is accurate, independently verifiable and fully available for subsequent re-analysis and review: 

Rather, and even if this was Bin Laden and even if it had already been proven, for the sake of discussion, that he is a mass murderer, this current affair seems to suggest that the concept of “justice”, under Obama, has now been reshaped to fit a perceived predetermined goal — a situation not unlike the Bush II effort to reshape reality to fit a predetermined pro-invasion policy-goal, as evidenced in the “Downing Street Memos”.

With that particular issue in mind, I can almost picture the Ghost of Osama — even aside from whatever punishments he may be receiving as a consequence of the evils that he himself wrought — accusingly haunting the American political discourse for years to come.

SO, THE TRUTH AS TO EACH OF THESE ISSUES IS … WHAT?

I recently sought to explore possible answers to that question, in a forum at NaturalNews.com. There, a writer asserted his belief that the official excuse for the current raising, instead of there being a lowering, of the “terror-alert”, in the U.S., is, in essence, part of a Governmentally-run fraud, which he asserted is little more than an intentional power-grabbing ploy, by the Government, in its effort to yet again take freedoms away from the American people.

Here — with some modifications — is the essence of my response: —————————————————————————— 

IMO, you’re half wrong and half-right:

(1) RIGHT about the assertion that this”War on Terrorism” is predicated on fighting against a quality, rather than targeting on a specific tangible physical entity, and that, as such, this is a ploy that allows the “war” to become essentially endless and to be manipulated as the given situation (as defined by whomever are the “powers-that-be” of the moment) warrants.

(2) RIGHT – in a sense – about what appears to be a contradiction between the assumption that –         

     (a) once Bin Laden is out of the way, the “terrorists” will presumably have consequently lost one of their most important strengths, versus           

     (b) the fact that the U.S. is now ramping-up, instead of reducing, the “terror-alert”, whereas logic – at least in part – would seem to suggest that now is the time for the U.S. and the West to reduce their concerns over the “terror-threat”.

(3) WRONG at least partly so — in your implied assumption that the removal of Bin Laden will throw the “terrorists” into disarray, resulting in their sudden major weakness and, presumably, loss of heart, from which we can then all relax. That assumption, in my view, is at least to some degree wrong because of many factors, including the fact that –            

     (a) Ayman Al Zawahiri, who in recent years came to the fore as a major Al Quaeda mastermind perhaps equal or complementary to Bin Laden, is still presumably out there;            

     (b) Al Quaeda, and related elements of the so-called “terror networks”,  have long been said to be running their operations on a sort of cell-based, insular, confederational, almost “holistic”, system of command-communications-control, such that if one unit – even Bin Laden – is “taken out”, the system nevertheless purportedly has alternate, parallel, operational mechanisms in place and can thus continue to successfully function.

That’s not to say that the sudden removal of Bin Laden’s mindset, knowledge, connections, and “hands-on” influence, is having no effect on those “terror networks”. Nor is it to say that the U.S. gain of access to Bin Laden’s computerized and other such operational data, as a result of this raid, will not potentially have a huge impact on this “terror-network”.

Because, logic would also seem to dictate, that if that alleged “treasure trove” of digital data taken in the raid is deciphered and gives massive and critically important information about these terror-networks and their operations, those participants in those terror-networks may well soon meet their end.

But to what extent will that now happen?

And how quickly and effectively, if at all, will new networks, with “new” “terrorists”, spring up to replace them?

However, I would say that it remains to be seen whether the removing of Bin Laden, by itself, will also defuse — or further inflame  the anti-West and anti-U.S. beliefs, intentions, desires, and, efforts, of his supporters.

But certainly, it would appear to me that there is, as yet, no informed basis upon which to make the assertion that any possible “terrorist-initiated “ attacks against the U.S. and the West have now, suddenly, become purely and exclusively the phantasms of a paranoid imagination, and that we now, as of the day of Bin Laden’s alleged death, no longer need to have any “anti-terrorist protections” in place.

The “bad guys” are still “out there”.

Are they as much of a threat as we’ve been told? That’s another issue.

But consider this: 

Much of this planet’s population – even many of those persons who, in the name of “freedom”, are battling against their nation’s own dictatorial regimes – despise the U.S. and the West with a passion.

For that portion of the populace who are already, or who will now become, supporters or admirers of Bin Laden, and who may possibly come to despise the U.S. with an even greater, or more immediate, passion than they had already possessed, the issue is not so much that their ire has been inflamed by the Bin Laden’s execution, but that their heightened ire, coupled with a sense of time-urgency, may now likely spur them to desire to initiate actions against the U.S. at this time – e.g., to do it “now”, because of either of three powerfully motivating reasons: 

(1) In the “terrorists’ ” view, to wait would be to disrespect and betray, rather than honor, Bin Laden, their “brothers”, their God, and all that they and, in their view, hold dear;

(2) Now that the U.S. authorities have gained access to Bin Laden’s trove of digital terror-data — assuming that the data is still timely and can now be deciphered and used — the survivability of many of these “terrorists” and “terror-cells” may soon, at any moment, be brought to an abrupt and deadly end — making the initiation of any terrorist-desired action and of any effort to block such an action an imperative race against time.

(3) But even putting those rationales aside, there’s this: Even at its most simple level, have you never heard of the game – and unfortunately, on the global-level, it’s also often a deadly game – of “tit for tat”?

Or, more simply put, of how hatred, anger, violence, and fury, feed on hatred, anger, violence, and fury?

So, is there legitimate reason to believe that there may now be increased efforts, by “terrorists”, to inflict damage on American interests in the very near future? I suspect that the answer is “yes“.

Will there consequently be an increase in actions by the U.S. Government (and by various of its agencies, such as CIA, DoD, DHS, FBI, and TSA) to detect and block — or to appear to detect and block — those possibilities, even if it means enacting yet further intrusions into the American people’s lives, and energizing a further tightening of restrictions on Americans’ freedoms, and a putting Americans’ health further and more deeply at risk? In my view, the answer to that question too is, most probably,  “yes“.

But I also ask this:

Should those negatives, of our rights of privacy and our personal liberties being taken away, and of our Constitutional freedoms being diminished and our health being threatened by carcinogenic and in other ways harmful x-rays and millimeter waves (and who knows what else will be “coming down the pike”), all in the name of “security”, be considered “acceptable risks” — somewhat, perhaps, akin to “collateral damage” — by us or by our Government?  Do we really wish to live as an increasingly and overbearingly subjugated, life-threatened, people? Especially if there are better alternatives?  

Or, if, hypothetically, the Ghost of Osama Bin Laden were to be able to make that choice for us, what do you suggest should be our answer?  —————————————————————————–

SO, WHERE IS, ACTUALLY, THE “GHOST of OSAMA”?

Alive and gleefully active in the “terror-alert” machine? Insidiously roaming the nooks and crannies of a fear-driven American psyche? Wildly dancing in the hearts and minds of his “terror-attuned” supporters? Lounging happily in 72 mansions (perhaps not unlike the “mansion” of his alleged Abbottabad compound?) in which each room has 72 virgins (but virgin what?)?

Or someplace where it’s, perhaps, just a bit exceptionally warm?

Haunting, perhaps, our very psyche? 

Home, Sweet Home?

Or, perhaps, just fading away, bit by digestible bit, inside a school of wide-eyed fish happily swimming along the bottom of a sea?

Boo, anyone?

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RETURNING AMERICANS BEWARE? Or is it time to BRING AMERICA BACK?


© protonius.wordpress.com

FOREWORD: The following commentary is purely an expression of my opinion as an avid follower of issues that I think are important and worthy of analysis. But I hasten to point out that I am not a lawyer, nor do I have any “inside information” or affiliations of any kind with any persons or entities in this commentary; I simply am seeking to offer my thoughts on what I believe is a timely and important matter at hand, in the hopes that my observations may help generate some positive directions worth considering. — Protonius.

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(April 8, 2011) – Thanks to a recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit Federal Court, U.S. Customs agents at border-crossings have now been further empowered – unConstitutionally, in my view – to seize, examine the contents of, and indefinitely (or for an extended period of time) confiscate, any digital-data storage-device in the traveler’s possession, without a warrant and without a reasonable basis of suspicion (except that the person is desiring entry into the United States) [1].

Because, with this judicial ruling, which adds “the force of law” as an additional support for operational procedures reportedly already in effect at U.S. Customs entry-points into the U.S., it would seem that in these locations the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution has now been officially declared to no longer apply.

Can they really do that?

I also recall reading, over the past couple of years, reports asserting that  Customs makes a point of applying those “search and seizure rules” especially to American citizens attempting to return to the United States. If those assertions are true, I, as an American citizen, find this disparity very disconcerting. However, as I am currently unable to re-locate those informational sources, I cannot at present say if the above claim is fact or fiction. Perhaps some readers of this blog can offer some clarity on this point?

Nonetheless, as an American citizen – and even though, should I find myself traveling back to the U.S. after a sojourn abroad, “I have nothing to hide” – I believe that this Court’s ruling is not only Constitutionally improper but also a significant and unwarranted encroachment on my, and every American’s, Constitutional  rights – and that what it portends for the character of our nation (outside of possibly “catching the bad guys”) — and our freedoms — is not encouraging.

There must be a better way to keep the nation safe — a way that also preserves our Constitutional rights!

The unConstitutional (in my opinion) creation of “Constitution-free zones” – such as a 100-mile-wide strip along (but within) the continental U.S. borders, and now, in effect, the U.S. Customs-controlled points of entry into the U.S. [2] – constitutes yet another insidious step toward – and a worrisome, and in my view unConstitutional, codification of a “danger-point” – a condition which, in my view, all concerned Americans must start to realize (if they haven’t already done so) is a very real threat to the nation and to their freedom.

But wait, it gets better: it’s not only digital devices:

As I’ve read in other accounts of this trend in recent years, U.S. border-agents also have been tacitly given the authority – or at least they have exercised that authority – to seize and confiscate any data-storage “device” that anyone – especially (?) returning Americans – seeking to enter the U.S. may be carrying – and that even includes paper notebooks, writing-pads, and any other paperworkeven scraps of hand-written-notes that might be in the individual’s pockets. [3]

Agreed, U.S. Customs has a tremendously difficult job, especially in today’s terror-fear world, to “weed out” — and safeguard the nation from attack by — unsavory characters who, presumably, would like nothing better than to blow up airliners, spread a path of panic and destruction, bring our nation to its knees, and, ultimately, to murder us all. So, screening an estimated 50-million incoming passengers each year [4], and “getting it right”, cannot be an easy job. So I give Customs much credit for seeking to do its best to fulfill that mission.

Further, in fairness to Customs, I feel it only proper to note that Customs has an extensive online explanation and defense of its border-control operations, which is well worth reading. The URL is http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/congressional_test/laptop_searches.xml.

And I agree that is it vitally important to uncover dastardly plots, and prevent the “evil-doers” from gaining entry to the U.S., and that Customs must be empowered to do that as effectively as possible.

However, the problem arises – same as it has arisen in many other aspects of the national debate – when the methodology of providing those protections violates some of the core-principles and foundational law upon which this nation, and the nation’s very identity, rests.

Or, piece-by-piece, are we to continue to throw our fundamental freedoms – the very principles and foundations that have defined our nation and our way of life as being uniquely open and committed to the rights of the individual as established in the United States Constitution, its Amendments, and the Bill of Rights– out the window, as a way of somehow “protecting” those freedoms?

In terms of safeguarding our borders and our rights, isn’t there a better way?

Conversely, as we blindly trundle yet further down that darkening path — a dangerous pathway on which we’ve already embarked, thanks to such things as the Patriot Acts, the Military Commissions Act, massive Federal eavesdropping on our electronic communications, the “Obamacare” insurance-purchase mandate and the related establishment of the IRS as a political/financial-enforcement tool, to name a few — all these being steps that are increasingly “chipping away” at our rights in the name of some aspect of “security” — when should it be most appropriate to ask “Where does it end”?

And, for that matter, if we fail to ask that question — and to demand of ourselves an answer — does it end?

I, for one, am not so wealthy that I can afford, as a traveler, to let someone just confiscate my notebook computer. Nor do I harbor any unsavory desires or have any unsavory data stored on my computer.

But I also believe that I, as an American, have a Constitutional right to privacy and to be secure from unwarranted, warrantless, searches and seizures. And I think that a policy that permits Customs to warrantlessly override those rights is wrong and should be reversed.

But couple a policy of such warrantless search and seizure with, for example, the highly controversial treatment of airline passengers (and now beginning to extend to train-passengers and even to automobile passengers and pedestrians) by the TSA, and this complex of an increasing threat to our freedoms becomes significantly more clear.

Yes, agreed that “the bad guys” must be stopped. But isn’t there a better way — one that also respects and safeguards our Constitutional rights and freedoms?

Imagine this scenario:

Customs agent to a returning American citizen:

“Welcome to Checkpoint America! Now, give me your computer, your portable hard-drives, your flashdrives, your camera, your memory-cards, any photographs, any notations, any paperwork, that you may have in your possession, reveal to me any and all passwords or other such privacy-protections that you may have set-up for any of these items, and I will have some specialists examine them all, we may or may not eventually return any of these items to you, and, for your digital devices, we make no guarantees that if we return them to you that we will not have first extracted and copied any of your data or installed any clandestine eavesdropping-programs in those devices. Plus, if we determine, according to our own subjective standards, that any information that we find in any of your items is, in our view, questionable, please expect to promptly or eventually possibly be hauled before a Federal Court or a Special Investigative Body where you may or may not be given an opportunity to know what the charges against you are, or on what basis those charges were generated, or how to defend yourself against those unrevealed charges, and possibly you may or may not be entitled to be represented in those hearings by a lawyer who possibly will not be of your choosing, and most likely any effort to defend yourself will be quite costly to you, as you may thus find yourself to be a lone and rightless individual pitted against the unbridled and vast power of a Government agency replete with its own motivations and capabilities, such that your loss may well ultimately be a foregone conclusion. Oh, and by the way, if you do enter the U.S., and later wish to leave, our colleagues at the TSA checkpoints will have other pleasant surprises in store for you too. Just thought you’d like to know. Now, do you have anything to declare?”

Well, of course I’ve exaggerated somewhat; and Customs agents do have to be especially, and cleverly, vigilant. But the idea is there.

And you thought that leaving the U.S., which, these days, entails being subjected to arguably cancer-generating, privacy-invasive, full-body X-ray and millimeter-wave scans, or the possibly disease-transferring and generally unpleasant (and arguably unnecessary) sex-organ gropings by TSA agents, on the way out, was problematical enough. Just wait until, after an overseas trip, you want to return to “the Homeland”.

The trend started under George W. Bush. It continues, and apparently is becoming more intrusive, under Obama. And, it seems, the respective sessions of Congress have further empowered this trend, either by voting in favor of such developments or by condoning these developments by not seeking to reign them in.

Proper and caution-based inspection, yes; but based on violation of Constitutional rights, no!

What, after all, can be said of a nation that professes to honor its Constitution, when, by contrast, the nation’s Government and Judiciary somehow choose to permit the carving-up of the nation and its related territories (such as its Customs-checkpoints and that 100-mile land-strip along the nation’s continental boundaries) into “Constitution-free zones”?

Is it beyond reason to view this recent Federal Circuit Court ruling as yet another step toward similar freedom–diminishing actions to come?

President Harry Truman had a slogan mounted on his desk: “The Buck Stops Here!”

Yet now, with these actions, it seems that we’re being faced with a new slogan: “The principles inherent in the U.S. Constitution, and which were designed to protect your own personal freedoms and rights, stop here!”

Is that really what we want?

One has only to study the lessons of history to see where this trend of “legalizing” of the ripping-away of the American People’s freedoms may lead.

Perhaps it’s time that we follow the admonition of “Howard Beale”, the fictional network news commentator in the film “Network” [5], in which he declared that it is time to “get mad as hell” and decide for ourselves that “We’re not going to take this anymore!”

And use every legal, nonviolent, political tool possible, to force a reversal of this dangerous freedom-destroying trend, and work to put respect for the Constitution and the Rights of the Individual back on track where they belong!

I remember when Ronald Reagan was President. Regardless of one’s views about his Presidency, one thing about Reagan always seemed to stand out: He consistently expressed a positive personal view about the nation, a personal enthusiasm toward generating a better time to come.

It was a view that came across especially forcefully — and upliftingly — as he proudly declared: “America is BACK!”.

It is time that we press hard to restore our Constitutional rights. It is time that we BRING AMERICA BACK!

– Protonius, 9 April 2011.
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Footnotes:

[1] http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20110407/sc_livescience/laptopsandotherelectronicsmaybeseizedonentrytous#mwpphu-container and http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/040611-us-can-conduct-offsite-searches.html

[2] http://www.naturalnews.com/024734_America_americans_government.html and
http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/are-you-living-constitution-free-zone

[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/content/article/2008/08/01/laptops.html

[4] http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/how-many-people-visit-the-united-states-from-other-countries-every-year

[5] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/content/article/2008/08/01/laptops.html
and http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechnetwork2.html
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Posted in POLITICAL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE MAN IN THE OVAL OFFICE – And a Court, and a Congress, and a Guy Named Trump


© protonius.wordpress.com

FOREWORD: I am not a lawyer. Nor do I have any affiliations connected with this matter. Nor do I possess any “inside knowledge” as to this long-standing controversy over whether or not the man currently occupying the Oval Office (as of this writing) is legally eligible to serve as this nation’s President.

Nor, I hasten to point out, is my analysis below meant to fully explore the question of whether this individual is Constitutionally empowered to hold the reigns of the Presidency.

However, I do have a great concern as to how this issue has been, and is being, generally handled, as the potential consequences of that process are, in my view, bound to be far-reaching. And that is the focus of what my analysis below – which is purely an expression of my opinion as to the underpinnings and potential impact of those issues – is meant to be about.
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(April 10, 2011) –

The Man in the Oval Office: Is he, or isn’t he, legally entitled to serve as President of the United States? A Question of Controversy – and of Exploration:

On May 2nd of this year, according to WorldNetDaily, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hold hearings (with invited parties) for oral arguments as to whether a lower-court ruling – which stated that any questions about Obama’s eligibility to serve as President should be directed not to the courts but to Congress – should be overturned. [1]

This is a major step forward in possibly getting to the truth of the matter. Or at least to exposing, for the public to witness, some of the most factually illuminating arguments on both sides of the issue.

Or – as has happened in so many of the previous court-cases in which the eligibility-issue was raised – not.

If these hearings take place as scheduled, and if all sides in this case are fully permitted to present their arguments and information, without restraint, in these hearings, and if the arguments and information presented therein are permitted, without restraint, to be concurrently (or promptly thereafter) fully open to the mass media and the public – and if the mass media presents, to the public, those arguments and points of information in a manner that is honest, comprehensive, and objective – then at least we may be getting somewhere.

Perhaps to where no court – or occupant of the Oval Office – has gone before.

Or not.

Just watch any episode of “The Practice” or its successor “Boston Legal” – or even watch just a few hours of debates in the U.S. Congress – or follow this unbelievably long and, so far, continuing chain of actual refusals by numerous Federal courts to even address this Presidential-eligibility issue, no matter who had brought the charges and no matter the basis of the claims – and perhaps you’ll begin to get the picture:

Regardless of the facts of the matter: a case, or even the possibility that a court will permit or refuse either side’s request to present its evidence, and even the question of whether a court will allow a case to even be heard, can go either way. Sometimes the outcome reveals the truth – and sometimes the outcome has nothing to do with the truth.

Just look at the trial of O.J. Simpson. Or the trial of Reuben “Hurricane” Carter.

On cases in which the current Oval Office occupant’s eligibility to serve was the issue, guess which way those cases went?

Away. Far away.

But to Oblivion? Not by a long shot.

Because still, at least as per my understanding of the pros & cons of the matter, at least four fundamental things are still true:

(a) The actual, long-form, original, official, genuine, “Birth Certificate” – not the purported (whether genuine or not) “Certificate of Live Birth”, and not the statements by some officials asserting (but not stating in sworn testimony before a court, where evidence of making a false statement can be grounds for a ruling of Perjury) that they “have seen” the original, genuine, “Birth Certificate” – has not been publicly revealed. And all it would take for that original, genuine, “Birth Certificate” to be able to be publicly revealed would be for the person whom it’s all about to authorize its release. But instead that person has reportedly been spending millions of dollars to keep it sealed from public view! Why?

Or, as some have asked, might he be waiting “for the opportune moment” – such as at a moment shortly prior to the next Presidential election – to make it (or an approximation thereof) public? And if he is indeed waiting for that opportune moment, what does that say about his sense of concern over the fact — again, if this is the case — that his years-long refusal to release that document has put the nation through a continuing, costly, divisive, and totally unnecessary, trauma?

Too, as many critics are asking, what if there never existed this alleged “Birth Certificate”, or if that document does exist but shows him to not be eligible for this high office, and what if he was aware of these points when he ran for and assumed office: then what?

But maybe those issues are the heart of what this controversy is all about.

Why would a President of the United States – a person who, with, more or less, a phone-call or a stroke of a pen, can institute an international “Kinetic Military Maneuver” and commit this nation to a conflagration with potentially huge consequences – find it so hard to do what any American citizen can easily do regarding their own birth-documentation: request that his official, genuine, Birth Certificate be released for the mass media, and the public – and independent forensics experts – to see?

(b) The eligibility-issue further centers not just on where and when the current person serving as President was born; it also centers on his alleged parentage and their citizenship, as those factors, too, bear directly on whether or not he meets the Constitutional requirement that he be a “natural born citizen”.

(c) There are many other issues involved in this eligibility-debate too; but what particularly bothers me about them all is how, at least as I gather, most of the nation’s major media seem to have chosen to give this person in the Oval Office a “free pass” on this issue, and that they – as I see it – have largely abdicated their responsibility to honestly, diligently, thoroughly, and, most of all, objectively, dig for the truth of this matter.

Or has their “sense of responsibility” been redefined, such that, for whatever the reason, they have decided that their “responsibility” is not to the uncovering of the objective truth but instead is to accept as truth what they wish to be the truth — or what the financial, political, and market forces controlling them are directing them to accept as their definitions of “truth”?

Please note: I also do believe that various persons in the major media are, in their view, fully and conscientiously doing what they believe is their journalistic best to get at the root of these issues.  I have also seen publicly available information that, to some degree, appears to persuasively refute some popular — but arguably less-than-valid — claims that the current occupant of the Oval Office is not eligible to occupy that office. And I’m doing my best to be open to exploring the eligibility-evidence from all sides.

And, I also recognize that I, too, am fallible.

But even so, in my view, the preponderance of coverage (or lack thereof) by the major media in the U.S. — and the often-dismissive attitudes expressed by a variety of prominent players on the national stage — appears to be along the lines that I’ve already mentioned above: they seem, by and large, to be giving this individual occupying the Oval Office a “free pass”.

And, as no doubt even Donald Trump must know – regardless of whatever the merits of his arguments may or may not be –, this particular issue, of whether or not the current occupant of the Oval Office was ever, or currently is, legally entitled to serve as the nation’s Chief Executive and to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s military, is just about as politically entangling and explosive as a case can get.

And now it seems to be reaching the stage of – in political terms at least – war. And what’s that little homily about war?

Actually, a few come to mind:

“All warfare is based on deception.” – Sun Tzu (Chinese Military General, 544–496 BC)

“In war, truth is the first casualty.” – Aeschylus (Greek tragic dramatist, 525 BC – 456 BC)

“…among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.” – “The Idler” magazine (11/11/1758)

To which I would add the following, more contemporary, quote from an April 24, 2006 commentary in the New Statesman, by journalist John Pilger. His commentary was written as the Bush-Cheney-Blair military action in Iraq was still in full-swing – but, in my view, the essence of Pilger’s words is also worth note in regard to this current “eligibility controversy” today:

“The oldest cliché is that truth is the first casualty of war. I disagree. Journalism is the first casualty. Not only that: it has become a weapon of war, a virulent censorship that goes unrecognised in the United States, Britain and other democracies; censorship by omission, whose power is such that, in war, it can mean the difference between life and death for people in faraway countries, such as Iraq.”

For clearly, whether it is ultimately decided, with the force of law, that the man in the White House must stay or leave, the consequences will be profound.

Yet, in what way has much of the major media in America – at least as I’ve observed – been dealing with this “eligibility” issue?

With ridicule.

Ridicule — of the issue itself.

Ridicule — of those who would question the process by which the current man in the White House was deemed to be eligible to serve as President.

Ridicule — typically by those who, as it seems to me, would apparently more prefer to accept, on its face or with only cursory review or less than rigorous logic, the claim — even if it might be true — that the current occupant of the Oval Office is Constitutionally eligible to serve as President.

Ridicule of critics — denigratingly labeled, by those who would ridicule them and shut their voices down, as “Birthers” — who maintain that there is fully valid and substantial evidence that opens the whole claim of “eligibility” to legitimate — and necessary — question.

And then, of course, we have the courts:

Yes, the courts, to which a whole chain of independent cases, questioning that Oval Office occupant’s eligibility to serve, have been brought. And how have the courts, even including the United States Supreme Court, so far responded?

The Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, as noted above, has scheduled oral arguments for a date in early May. It will be interesting to see whether that hearing-schedule holds and what then transpires.

But moving one step backward in time, to the most recent court case dealing with this eligibility-issue, what do we find?

On November 23, 2010, one of those cases finally received some consideration by the United States Supreme Court, which reportedly then “conferred … on whether arguments should be heard on the merits of Kerchner v. Obama, a case challenging whether President Barack Obama is qualified to serve as president” [2].

The outcome? On November 29, 2010, according to WorldNetDaily:

“The court effectively killed the Kerchner case with one terse statement: ‘The motion of Western Center for Journalism for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.’” [3]

As far as this eligibility-issue goes, this seems to be “par for the course”.

And the arguments presented by Donald Trump? At least he, seemingly alone amongst all the prominent players on the U.S. political turf today, is making what appears to be a concerted, no-holds-barred, all-out effort – whether for personal principle or for political gain – to raise these critically important questions, and to bring attention to the valid issues involved, on the national stage.

Trump, in my opinion, is single-handedly doing what no other major national figure has dared to do or succeeded at doing: He is throwing the spotlight, with what many see as legitimate substantiation, on one of the most profound political questions of our time.

Gulf of Tonkin? Watergate? The Ellsberg Papers? Weapons of Mass Destruction? The whole controversy about 911? Like these, how could legitimate questions, with arguably valid supportive substantiation, about the eligibility of a President, not be of profound public importance?

Now, what if it turns out – as many say is already the case and that it has long been “a done deal” – that the current occupant of the Oval Office is, indeed, completely Constitutionally eligible to serve?

Well then, like him or not, he is President, and, as a consequence, perhaps a modicum of a sense of stability is applied to every law and situation that has been based on, or yet may pivot on, the certainty that he is indeed the Constitutionally-authorized President of the United States.

But what if it turns out that, according to the courts or the Congress (as in an impeachment and conviction), it is determined that he never was – and is not – eligible to serve as President?

In such a situation, of those Members of Congress (current or in the prior term) who, having had the opportunity and the responsibility to prevent or correct this situation in which an ineligible person was allowed to assume the reigns of the Presidency, what political and/or legal repercussions – if any – might, or perhaps should, befall them?

But, then again, how many such Members of Congress would want to set a spark to a political conflagration whose blowback might also burn them?

Could it be that such a potentially unpleasant vision might persuade them to seek to “play down”, or take no part in, this eligibility issue, and to seek to defuse any thoughts of impeachment or even of investigation?

Can you imagine the massive and incredibly convoluted tangle of “fallout” that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling – or a Congressional impeachment and conviction action – in which it is ruled that the current Oval Office occupant was not and is not eligible to serve as President, would generate?

For example, how many of these Government officials, and whatever projects or decisions they have generated or participated in or that they are currently tasked to pursue, would be affected by a U.S. Supreme Court verdict that declares that:

(a) a Constitutionally ineligible person is illegally serving as President,

(b) this same individual possibly knew he was ineligible to serve but accepted the nomination and election and Presidential position nonetheless, and

(c) this same individual thenceforth continued to knowingly illegally serve as (or usurp the functional authority of) the President of the United States?

And, would each and every such official then agree that each and every political project or decision that he or she participated in – as a consequence of any given action or influence by the individual who had unConstitutionally assumed the role of President – should now be nullified and invalidated?

How do you un-bake a cake?

Or might those same persons choose to keep those projects and decisions in place, maintaining — truthfully or otherwise — that those projects and decisions would have come about regardless of any Presidential action or influence? Or that, as a realistic and practical matter, it would just be an impossibility to undo everything that’s been done?

How do you undo the effects of an accomplished military attack? How do you undo already-spent expenditures that have already generated a multi-trillion-dollar Federal deficit? How do you pretend that alliances that have been made, or damages that have been done, never existed?

How do you undo the present and turn back time?

Against that backdrop, is it at all possible that if a Federal Court, especially the Supreme Court of the United States, were to rule that the current person serving as President is holding that position unConstitutionally and therefore illegally, that such a ruling would automatically carry within it a stipulation that each and every of this individual’s actions and points of influence as President — past as well as present — must automatically be made null and void?

And, too, what of the fate of Vice President Joe Biden? Since Biden ran on the same ticket with this individual and attained the Vice Presidency on that basis, and if the Supreme Court, for example, rules that the individual now serving as President is doing so unConstitutionally, would Biden be Constitutionally authorized to become Acting President — or would Biden’s very election to the Vice Presidency, despite his personally meeting all Constitutional requirements, be ruled to be unConstitutional as well?

What a tangle.

But somehow, I suspect that the Court, much as it did in generating a concatenation of questionable (and some might say “bizarre”) rulings in regard to the vote-count in the first George W. Bush election, would find a way to avert this problem, and would equally find a way to rule that this now-ruled-ineligible person’s actions and influence as putative President must instead be permitted to remain intact.

Who knows? Perhaps the decision could be that it is entirely reasonable to leave the effects of all the actions  of the individual occupying the Presidency intact, based on the Court’s possible assumption (or “finding of fact”) that it was broadly believed, in good faith, by the nation and the world at large – and possibly even by he himself – that he was fully Constitutionally authorized to serve as the nation’s President and as the Armed Forces’ Commander in Chief.

Too, whether or not the Court were to rule that he is, or is not, ineligible to serve as President, might the basis for that ruling be founded not solely on the canon of law but also on a perceived superior foundation of “a need to maintain political and social stability”?

Or, in other words, a tendency to accord a particular primacy to the thought that “Discretion is the better part of valor”?

The question also arises as to what such a decision might mean for the operations of, and the impact on, the Supreme Court itself, not just in terms of how it reached that decision but also in terms of the aftermath that its process of reaching that ruling, and the effects that the ruling itself, might generate.

For the Supreme Court to, essentially, “throw a President out of office”, may well quickly spark a huge Constitutional crisis, one with vast and possibly drastic repercussions.

Perhaps, to some observers, the Court’s action would be viewed as a “judicial coup d’etat” – an aggression, by the Judicial Branch, with the goal of usurping the legal and Constitutional authority of the Executive Branch, an act that could send the nation into a political tail-spin.

But if the Court will have “done the right thing” – which is what it is supposed to do – quite possibly the outcome would not be so drastic, in that they will perhaps have been widely perceived as having set the country back onto a positive and broadly-welcomed track.

For example, during a time of tremendous national turmoil, largely culminating with Richard Nixon resigning from the Presidency (even though he was not forced out by the Supreme Court), the nation did not fall apart.

Rather, the nation, and its system of Government, prevailed. As his successor, President Gerald Ford, then said:

“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.” [4]

Perhaps, similarly, if it is legally determined that the current person in the Oval Office must go, we will survive through that too, and the nation will move on.

But getting back to an issue as to the mechanics of how the Supreme Court, if it accepts a case about this eligibility-issue, might proceed – this too is of critical importance:

Two of the current justices on the Supreme Court – Justices Sotomayor and Kagan – were appointed to those positions by the same person whose eligibility to serve as President – and whose authority to have nominated and appointed them – is the very question that would be confronting the Court.

Unless these two justices were to recuse themselves from this case, is it possible that their participating in the case would constitute, as some have argued, a “conflict of interest”?

Even so, whether or not they were to recuse themselves, what if the Court were to rule that the person in the Oval Office was not, and is not, eligible to serve as President? Might such a ruling have the effect – unless the Court figures a way around this conundrum – of nullifying those same two justices’ appointments to this Court?

Would it put them out of a job?

But, then again, as this issue is such a monumental “hot potato”, will the case even be heard?

And, whether in the Judicial System, or in the Congress, or in “the Court of Public Opinion”, when and how thoroughly and how accurately will this Constitutional eligibility-issue finally and convincingly be resolved?

Inquiring minds want to know.

I want to know.

Isn’t it amazing:

All this individual had to do was to publicly release his actual, official, verifiably genuine, “Birth Certificate”. But, it seems, he chose another route. And look where that has lead us now.

Just as a tiny acorn can grow into a mighty oak, and as a small truth can grow into a mighty shield of honor, so can a small misdeed or error grow into something monstrous.

John Lennon said it best: “All I want is some truth!”

Whither the truth?

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=281301

[2] http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=232073

[3] http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=234433

[4] en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Gerald_Ford
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