Tag Archives: due process

The Scent of Patriotism

 

 

Have you seen this 4th of July themed candle? As soon as I saw this red, white and blue jar of love in the store, I felt compelled to rush up to it, yank it off the shelf, and deeply inhale its fragrance. My libertarian friend happened to be there at the time and of course she had the perfect response. Here is how the actual conversation went down.

 

Me (finally exhaling): Ah — the scent of patriotism.

Friend: Umm — I’m pretty sure patriotism smells like blood and sweat.

Me: Hello? Bottom layer — tears.

 

The Scent of Patriotism

 

On that note, let’s give thanks today, and not for scented candles. For those who’ve bled for us, sweated for us, and cried over the loss of people they loved who were happy to die, not so that they would enjoy freedom but so that we would.

 

We get to vote – because people died for this freedom.

We get to complain (out loud, in writing, on twitter, via a blog, in letters to the Editor) about the government — because people died for this freedom.

We get to complain TO the government and petition it for a redress of grievances — because people died for this freedom.

We get to have a jury trial if accused of a crime and all 12 people have to be convinced of our guilt before we are deprived of our life, liberty and property because we are presumed innocent until the burden of proof is met by the government — because people died for this freedom.

 

And more. Much more. I get to have a gun if I want, I get to face my accuser if accused of a crime, I get to remain silent when the police try to get me to self-incriminate, I get a lawyer even if I can’t afford one, I get to accuse someone if they hurt me, and the government pays for that trial, I get paid money to work and I can quit anytime I want to if I don’t like that job (because slavery is illegal), I get to worship God in any manner I choose and government can’t keep from worshiping that way, and if I don’t want to participate in religion, government can’t force me to; and I get to gather with fellow concerned citizens in front of government buildings to protest corruption if I do it peacefully.

 

If you follow me on twitter, you know I’m quite concerned with a number of unconstitutional laws, such as the PATRIOT Act, NDAA, the FISA amendments, and more — but today is a day for gratitude. And here’s why: any freedoms we lose will not be lost because there weren’t enough patriots happy to die for our freedom on the battlefield of war. Our freedoms will have been lost because there were not enough patriots happy to endure the pain involved in objecting to abuse of power by authority and enduring the consequences of petitioning that authority for a redress of grievances — while still alive. So on this day, Independence Day, I celebrate all of those Revolutionary War Vets who gave their lives so that 237 years later, I could tweet @whitehouse every single day to remind the President that indefinitely detaining people without charge or trial is unconstitutional. If there’s a way to measure the intensity and quantity of thankfulness I feel for these Revolutionary War patriots every time I speak up, out, and against government injustice and don’t get get publicly executed to set an example for anyone else who thinks they might want to follow suit, or disappear, I haven’t figured it out yet.

 

Also on this day, let’s remember that “freedom” is not intangible. People who are patriotic to the point of being happy to die for their country have assigned a value to their own lifespan, viewing those potentially lost years of life as currency they can use to pre-pay to insure that no government does to us the people — ever again — what the government we originally revolted against did to us, including our own.

 

 

Happy 4th of July.

UPDATE: Nathan Hale Park Interviews Are ON!

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve been in the planning stage as far as getting my NHP interviews off the ground for about 3 months, getting people to agree to dates and times, and finally, this past Wednesday, the very first interview took place!!

 

 

My good friend “m” (who voted for the first time in November because someone she knew, someone close to her, someone blonde, enticed her into casting that very first ballot ever of her life by offering to buy* her Perkins in exchange for enduring the long line at the polls) is helping me do all the filming. And it’s in gorgeous hi-def thanks to my newly upgraded smartphone! (I asked myself, what’s more important? food or an iPhone 5? I don’t think we need to take a voice vote to know the answer to that question.)

 

 

And Aaron Tovo, a local Amnesty International organizer, was super enthusiastic about being interviewed on the 3 D’s: Drones, Due Process and Detention of an Indefinite Nature. It’s split into 2 parts. At the end of the 2nd one, watch for my Progressive Patriot Reflections, a segment I’ll do at the close of every video where I talk about my own gratitude for all the freedoms we enjoy in the United States, how they have been endangered, and how that paradox relates to that particular interview’s topic(s).

 

 

Here’s the first half:

 

 

 

And here’s the second half:

 

 

And here’s the link to the Amnesty International petition on Drones I talk about with Aaron: Take Action to Prevent Unlawful Drone Killings

 

 

Thanks for watching, everybody! I’ll keep you posted on when the next interview will be up. The 2 postal carriers I had ready for my Save USPS video bailed on me, so I need a new one or two who are fed up with the 2006 mandate that requires retiree healthcare benefits to be prefunded 75 years in advance, a law that was passed because some greedy individuals realized, “Holy crap, they’re making $900,000/year at 40 cents a letter!” and then asked themselves, “How much could we make if we cut union pay out of the deal and jacked the price up to $3.00 a letter? A crapload!” So if you are a postal service employee and are interested in being interviewed or know someone who would be, comment below and provide your email address and twitter handle, please please please!

 

 

Talk soon!

~Sarah

 

*you can’t technically call this a bribe because we ended up splitting the check anyway (plus I barely tried to influence her vote)

Take Action: Ask Senator Franken & Judiciary Subcommittee to Release the Memos on Obama Administration’s Targeted Killing Program Using Drones

From my friends at the ACLU: Help the ACLU of Minnesota protect civil liberties

Ask the hard questions about the government’s secret killing program.
On Tuesday, April 23, the Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on drones and the targeted killing program in which an estimated 4,700 people across two continents have been killed, including four American citizens.  Please send Senator Franken a clear, strong message that you are watching and are expecting him to ask the hard questions about the government’s secret killing program.  And, on Tuesday at 10 am, you can tune in to the hearing here. 
Here’s the letter I sent to Senator Franken; part of it is form letter that the ACLU provided. The parallel drawn between viewing bin laden’s 9/11 airplanes as manned aerial vehicles and viewing drones as unmanned aerial vehicles is my own.
Dear Senator Franken,
I am thrilled that the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee is about to hold its first-ever hearing on drones and the killing program that has killed an estimated 4,700 people across two continents, including four American citizens. I am grateful to the many Senators who have been calling on the Obama administration to release its legal memos on when it believes any president can order the Pentagon and the CIA to kill people far from any battlefield.

Terrorists are supposed to be the ones who execute people they determine to be criminals without the charging of the accused with a crime, without affording them a jury trial, and without obtaining a guilty verdict first. Not the United States.Whether terrorists orchestrate flying manned aerial vehicles (airplanes) into buildings in order to execute people they believe to be guilty or our government orchestrates flying unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) into sovereign airspace in order to execute people it believes to be guilty, the result is the same: the violation of the longstanding principles of the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof, and due process via jury trials in courtrooms where evidence of premeditation and guilt are presented. When bin laden’s attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 led to the onset of the War on Terror, he was attempting to achieve the eventual financial destruction of our country. He didn’t succeed. Let his legacy not be the destruction of our 5th Amendment and due process in a court of law. Let bin laden’s legacy not be the destruction of what President Obama called in 2009 our strongest currency in the world, our moral authority.

 

 

Ordering the execution of human beings without charge or trial is what bin laden would have done — and did do. Targeted killing via the usage of drones is not only unconstitutional, immoral and unjust, it’s what terrorists would do.

While some senators have seen a handful of the eleven legal memos, it is imperative that all of the memos be available to all members of Congress and that minimally redacted copies be made public. And it is paramount that the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee charged with enforcing the rule of law, conduct robust oversight of the killing program.  I will be watching the hearing on Tuesday, and I want to hear you ask hard questions and demand clear answers about when the administration claims broad authority to kill people, including American citizens, far from any battlefield.
Sincerely,
Sarah Reynolds

Navy SEAL who killed bin Laden is on his own, says the Government (allegedly)

 

The Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden tells Esquire that he was thanked by the Federal Government for his 16 years of service and has now essentially been informed that, to paraphrase the President in an ironic way, “You’re on your own.”

 

 

If this is really true, it’s really horrifying and makes me sad. Let’s remember to extend the benefit of the doubt here (remember, the benefit of the doubt — the doubt of someone’s guilt until there’s proof of it beyond a shadow of a doubt — along with the presumption of their innocence are two of the most patriotic ideals we could ever uphold as Americans and as American Millennials who will eventually be predominant representative generation of our country to the world). And, if this degree of injustice really happened, which we can only know for certain once the evidence is out and available for full examination, let’s remember to request that the government make amends and do the right thing, a.k.a., petition it/them/ourselves for a redress of grievances (see the First Amendment).

Post Election: Relief and Resolve

President Obama won re-election on Tuesday night and I was overwhelmed with relief. The next morning, I was filled with resolve.

There are humanitarian and constitutional rights issues where the President has taken actions I morally object to, the first being the use of weaponized drones; and the second being the unlawful detention of alleged criminals — that is indefinitely detaining them without charging them of a crime in the first place and then denying them a trial in a court of law (denying “due process”) in the second place.

I don’t have a problem with the collection of information that aids the government in preventing terrorist attacks, a.k.a. intelligence gathering. Maybe be it’s sneaky and shady. And maybe it IS. (Yeah, it is.) I do have a problem with killing innocent civilians by dropping bombs on them. It makes a kill list look like a grocery list you’d jot down for a going away party on a post-it note. At least the kill list doesn’t say, “A. Smith and everyone else in a 1 mile radius who happens to be there. And B. Jones and everyone else in a 2 mile radius who happens to be there.” Wow. The moral compass on meth. Using weaponized drones is immoral, unethical, unjust and absolutely unconstitutional in the absence of a declaration of war (which requires an Act of Congress) on the country whose people our government is killing.

And Gitmo. Guantanamo Bay. It’s time for this “detention facility” to get shut down. Charge everyone there with a crime in a federal court of law (the good people of Texas or New York would be happy to be on that jury, so send ’em over), get them convicted or acquitted and let’s be done with it. The system is awesome. The system is not broken. But there are people — like the President — who are either being threatened in order to keep them from allowing the system to work and achieve justice or too morally weak to uphold its innate greatness.

It’s time to demand greatness.