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Thread: Is it legal because the government says so?

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    tWebber
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    Is it legal because the government says so?

    I thought this was interesting

    Who Gets To Make The Call?

    The latest Wiki-leak reminds us: "If you don't step up, then you're doomed to be stepped on."

    IF THE GOVERNMENT or its courts don't respect your rights, does that mean that you don't have them? Or is it within the purview of the government or its courts to decide what rights you have, and therefore to authoritatively determine whether yours are being respected or not?

    If the government or its courts refuse to obey the Constitution, does that mean the Constitution is not the law? Or are the government and its courts the proper authorities to decide what the Constitution requires of them, and therefore to determine whether they are obeying it or not?

    If the government or its courts treat words of the law as meaning something they don't say and demonstrably didn't mean when they were written (or as not meaning what they DO say), do those words then actually not mean what they say? Is everyone supposed to respectfully say, "Gee, I would have thought... Oh, well. Guess I was mistaken..."

    I COULD POSE THESE QUESTIONS on a daily basis in regard to news from Washington and various state capitals with equal relevance. Today it is the latest Wikileaks whistleblowing that prompts these reflections.

    Last week the heroic exposé organization revealed that the CIA has been engaged in an utterly despotic and downright psychopath-creepy spying program involving invasions and data-seizures--or efforts to become capable of invading and plundering-- of and from every smart-phone in America (as well as other places. The program even goes so far as to involve hidden remote switch-ons of "smart"-TV microphones for the purpose of surreptitiously recording conversations in the homes of anyone with a susceptible device.

    Understand that these are not tools needed for conducting legitimate, warranted surveillance. Any legitimate, warranted surveillance has no need of broad, indiscriminate capabilities.

    Legitimate, warranted surveillance is accomplished by the narrow application of court-approved, target-specific equipment or other tools. Broad, indiscriminate capability is only necessary for conducting broad, indiscriminate surveillance without authorization.

    Further, the CIA's program pre-emptively-- and without the knowledge or approval of any court or any cause whatsoever-- puts its ears in everyone's house. This is done through a deliberate deception practiced upon every consumer, not one of whom would knowingly purchase the compromised device (or one capable of being compromised).

    The program pre-emptively imposes nakedness upon a broad swath of people on the proposition that no one will look. We are to imagine that the saintly and law-respecting folks who work at the spy agency will forbear looking and listening through these pre-installed peepholes without gaining probable cause to do so in some other way, and then seeking and getting permission from an institutionally-skeptical higher authority.

    The rationale and the mythology supporting it are bs on stilts. There is no valid purpose for a program like this; the program's offense is complete before and without regard to whether anyone is actually spied upon. In its pernicious essence, this program is indistinguishable from chipping everyone like a dog.

    BUT HEY! It's the government doing it, so that means it's legal, right?

    What's more, this panopticon program is of the same character as the broad, hoover-it-all-up NSA surveillance that has been approved in its indiscriminate darkness by the FISA courts and a couple of select congressional committees and the last several presidents, too. So, again, it must be what the law allows, right?

    Well, that's actually going to be the unspoken functional conclusion, or underpinning, of most of the discourse concerning the CIA peep-hole program. Some talk of the Fourth Amendment will take place but it won't amount to much, because too many Americans abdicate their power and responsibility and answer "Yes" to those six questions with which I began this commentary. I hope you won't do that.

    I STRONGLY urge everyone to instead complete the picture I'm painting with a careful read-through of the short and straightforward study found here. I urge you all to recognize that what you read there is 100% fact.

    I also urge you all to understand that what you read there is utterly unknown by pretty-much 100% of the lawyers who take on Fourth Amendment violations. More to the point, what you read there is utterly unknown by pretty-much 100% of the lawyers who don't take on Fourth Amendment violations, even when they have happened, because they don't know this material and therefore don't know that a violation has occurred.

    The reason for that latter problem is that lawyers, more than any others, are conditioned to the rule-of-law-crushing habit of deference to government and its courts as the determiners of what is and isn't the law. Lawyers are trained to answer "Yes" to each of the six questions with which I began this commentary.

    So, being victims of bad habits and deep conditioning, lawyers don't generally look past what the government and its courts have said when forming their own opinions of what is and is not actually the law. It's up to the rest of us to know the truth and set these folks straight.

    The exposé of the CIA's pernicious panopticon program offers a great chance for accomplishing that virtuous educational task. Send this material to everyone that you know, especially "public interest" and "Constitutional" law firms.

    Remind these folks of a truth Thomas Jefferson articulated on all our behalf:

    "A free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."

    and,

    BTW, there isn't likely to be a judge in the country who knows the truth about the Fourth Amendment any more than the lawyers do. Nor are there any journalists who know it, even though the Fourth Amendment and the government's various illegal search and seizure practices will be the subjects of much scribbling for a while now, as it has been many times before.

    The judges may not be very accessible for education except when cases begin being brought before them by lawyers who have become able to knowledgeably brief the subject. But journalists can be made aware just from having an ear to the ground, if the ground has a bit of a knowing buzz going on. You can make that happen, if you'll do some buzzing.
    This link for this post likely will expire soon but it is http://losthorizons.com/MidEditionUpdate.htm
    Last edited by mikewhitney; 03-18-2017 at 06:34 PM.

  2. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
  3. #2
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    I thought this was interesting
    Remind these folks of a truth Thomas Jefferson articulated on all our behalf:

    "A free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."

    Actually:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Rights come from God, or God given laws of nature.
    "Heaven offers nothing that the mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to. There are rewards that do not sully motives. A man's love for a woman is not mercenary because he wants to marry her, nor his love for poetry mercenary because he wants to read it, nor his love of exercise less disinterested because he wants to run and leap and walk. Love, by definition, seeks to enjoy its object.” C.S. Lewis

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Legally speaking, something is deemed legal because the government says it is legal. That, however, has nothing whatsoever to do with whether something is right or wrong.

    I'm always still in trouble again

  5. Amen Boxing Pythagoras amen'd this post.
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    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    Legally speaking, something is deemed legal because the government says it is legal. That, however, has nothing whatsoever to do with whether something is right or wrong.
    What is the government basis for legality? Is it not Constitution? What happens when, as is the case today, "courts refuse to obey the Constitution . . ." The question becomes blurred. If the Constitution is the basis for law, then government actions in conflict with the Constitution are not legal. It is indeed a valid question. Murder is not legal. Abortion is legal. These according to the law. They are inconsistent so the question is quite blurred today.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

  7. Amen LostSheep amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Meh Gerbil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedidiah View Post
    What is the government basis for legality? Is it not Constitution? What happens when, as is the case today, "courts refuse to obey the Constitution . . ." The question becomes blurred. If the Constitution is the basis for law, then government actions in conflict with the Constitution are not legal. It is indeed a valid question. Murder is not legal. Abortion is legal. These according to the law. They are inconsistent so the question is quite blurred today.
    The Constitution was a treaty between the governors and the governed.
    The U.S. Government quit honoring that treaty a long time ago - the government is now an oligarchy and no longer a democratic republic.
    Actually YOU put Trump in the White House. He wouldn't have gotten 1% of the vote if it wasn't for the widespread spiritual and cultural devastation caused by progressive policies. There's no "this country" left with your immigration policies, your "allies" are worthless and even more suicidal than you are and democracy is a sick joke that I hope nobody ever thinks about repeating when the current order collapses. - Darth_Executor striking a conciliatory note in Civics 101

  9. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
  10. #6
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedidiah View Post
    What is the government basis for legality? Is it not Constitution? What happens when, as is the case today, "courts refuse to obey the Constitution . . ." The question becomes blurred. If the Constitution is the basis for law, then government actions in conflict with the Constitution are not legal. It is indeed a valid question. Murder is not legal. Abortion is legal. These according to the law. They are inconsistent so the question is quite blurred today.
    I was speaking in broader terms than just the U.S. As for the Constitution... keep in mind that we have one branch in charge of interpreting it and deciding what is and is not constitutional. So in effect the government is deciding what is legal.

    I'm always still in trouble again

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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    I was speaking in broader terms than just the U.S. As for the Constitution... keep in mind that we have one branch in charge of interpreting it and deciding what is and is not constitutional. So in effect the government is deciding what is legal.
    Again I say, "If the Constitution is the basis for law, then government actions in conflict with the Constitution are not legal. It is indeed a valid question. Murder is not legal. Abortion is legal. These according to the law. They are inconsistent so the question is quite blurred today." If they are falsely interpreting what is legal, then what is 'really' legal after all.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

  12. Amen LostSheep amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Actually:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Rights come from God, or God given laws of nature.
    Not your god, seer.

    “Thomas Jefferson [the author of those words] was raised as an Anglican, but was influenced by English deists such as Bolingbroke and Shaftesbury. Thus in the spirit of the Enlightenment, he made the following recommendation to his nephew Peter Carr in 1787: "Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

    https://www.monticello.org/site/rese...igious-beliefs

    Thomas Jefferson also advocated separation of Church and State, which has been incorporated into the US legal system...so keep your god to yourself.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    Not your god, seer.

    “Thomas Jefferson [the author of those words] was raised as an Anglican, but was influenced by English deists such as Bolingbroke and Shaftesbury. Thus in the spirit of the Enlightenment, he made the following recommendation to his nephew Peter Carr in 1787: "Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

    https://www.monticello.org/site/rese...igious-beliefs

    Thomas Jefferson also advocated separation of Church and State, which has been incorporated into the US legal system...so keep your god to yourself.
    Tass, I did say it necessarily was the Christian God (though as we have discussed he borrowed from Locke which was the Christian God), but that our rights came from God. Not man. And since our rights do come from God (a religious principle) you can not divorce the source of our rights from the political since we have no rights apart from God. And as we have discussed in the past Jefferson had no problem using biblical morality when he revised the Virginia Law Code.

    From you link:

    Jefferson believed in the existence of a Supreme Being who was the creator and sustainer of the universe and the ultimate ground of being.
    Last edited by seer; 03-19-2017 at 03:30 PM.
    "Heaven offers nothing that the mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to. There are rewards that do not sully motives. A man's love for a woman is not mercenary because he wants to marry her, nor his love for poetry mercenary because he wants to read it, nor his love of exercise less disinterested because he wants to run and leap and walk. Love, by definition, seeks to enjoy its object.” C.S. Lewis

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    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    Thomas Jefferson also advocated separation of Church and State, which has been incorporated into the US legal system...so keep your god to yourself.
    What exactly was the "separation of Church and State" that Jefferson advocated?
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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