Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Its Official government officials are above the law in the US, all men are not equal under the law

We might have be told that government officials follow the all men under  the law principle. However many people don't know about is that what really happens? The truth would be shocking to many.

Here are some examples of the hard truth. Increasingly on the news there had been cases where the at fault party happens to be an member sent by a federal state or even local organization. Even though they are 100% at fault and in criminal violation under the law they had gotten away from sentences, fines, and often exempt from responsibility for what they done to their victims.

During the time when many countries had a single entitled ruler such as a King, Emperor, or a dictator they had a concept of Sovereign Immunity.  Sovereign immunity, or crown immunity, is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution. In constitutional monarchies the sovereign is the historical origin of the authority which creates the courts. Thus the courts had no power to compel the sovereign to be bound by the courts, as they were created by the sovereign for the protection of his or her subjects.Essentially this translates to the King being able to murder, steal, torcher, destroy with impunity as much as he wants.

The concept of Sovereign immunity is why constitutional monarchs are so scary in the past. As Kings or Tyrants have complete control and no one can accuse them of doing anything. He is above the laws he make therefore he can break them with impunity. Therefore the founding fathers of the US had objected to monarchy as it know how dangerously powerful and uncontrollable monarchies can get depending what kind of King gets on the throne given that most immigrants fled to the New World to escape the abuses from these rulers. Therefore the idea that George Washington should become King George Washington had been turned down by the country's founding father and remarkably this is George himself. In other words George Washington had rejected offers to become king and instead became President. George Washington insisted that he would become a honored public service man instead of a ruler. Washington even decided to not run a third term insisting that presidents should only run two terms max. However while the constitutional Monarchy never existed in the US the concept of crown immunity for some unknown reason crippled into the federal government in the decades following the Declaration of Independence of the United States possibly starting from 1821 when Chief Justice John Marshall rewrote the rule book. It wasn't always the case though as in 1793 when the first suit was filed against a government organization four out of five justice members ruled governments can be sued regardless of whether they consent it or not. Though a backlash caused by this incident lead to the ratification of the 11th amendment to the constitution two years later which  barred suits from foreign countries or other states.

In the past three centuries any countries in the last three countries has either completely abolished monarchies altogether thereby eliminating such ridiculous doctrine. It is hard to believe that the United States, the country that rebelled against such policies in the first place ended up not only adopting it but keeping it unto modern times. It actually had been reinforced in 1945 by the Supreme Court as "embolded" in the constitution though there is no proof of this anywhere. Essentially from time to time this has been abused as a license to inflict injustice.This however let to uprising and in 1946 Congress enacted the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) in 1946 to permit lawsuits against the federal government. However, Congress specifically exempted 13 classes of tort claims from government liability. Citizens are not permitted to sue the federal government for “any claim arising out of assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel, slander, misrepresentation, deceit, or interference with contract rights.” In effect, the FTCA covered only “accidental” wrongs or abuses or injuries that were inflicted by government agencies or agents on citizens. If some government agent actually intended to shaft or oppress a private citizen, then the citizen is almost certainly out of luck. This essentially government officials impunity under the law.

Corrupt government personnel shift responsibility to the taxpayer or to the victim even though they are 100% at fault for mishaps. Essentially they can get away with crime if they want to. Some states such as Tennessee actually give government authority to burn down houses without just compensation in the event of emergency. The most famous case of this happened during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The second case happened in the Great Mississippi Flood in 1927 where the poorer wards of New Orleans were sacrificed under a wall of water when Army corp of engineers blew up levees to try to save the wealthy parts from complete flooding. Remembrance of this incident has people very suspicious that the levee was purposely blow up in secrecy after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  In contrary to the fifth Amendment in the constitution that states private property is not to be taken, damaged, or deprived without Just compensation. People's rights don't disappear at the whelm of the government at a stroke of a pen or just because the government declares an "emergency" at least not according to the constitution. The government essentially has placed their foot onto the constitution saying that they can do what ever they want with it. Its up to them whether to go by it or not or how they define it. In modern times sovereign immunity has been used to acquit officials of criminal and financial penalties, liabilities, and responsibilities convicted of dangerous driving causing crash and injury, improper control of weapons, illegally raiding the wrong house and shooting owner, destroying private property without just compensation claiming it is for the public good, getting away with malpractice in public hospitals. The list goes on and on.

 Sovereign immunity creates two classes of people. People above the law and people below it. Those whom the law seems to bind and those the law fails to protect. Sovereign immunity has the wrong concept that the government has to be above the law and can harm anyone they want to well serve the public. The fact that government can escape criminal and financial responsibilities for recklessly endangering citizens will mean that there is no need for them to observe the rule of due care for them even if it is required on their books. Therefore the more power the government has more people will be killed or injured and/or forced to live without jobs or homes. There are cases of government agencies not carrying insurance for activities where liability insurance is required by law such as driving a vehicle sand expect the citizen's insurance to cover the consequences of their recklessness forcing the citizen to pay higher premiums and suffer in the long run without proper compensation. Or taxpayer funds garnished for compensation due to the intentional inexcusable actions of a personnel. The doctrine of “sovereign immunity” illustrates how power corrupts. If government officials did not already feel far superior to private citizens, they would not have the audacity to claim a right to injure them without compensation. That some government agents, are punished on rare occasion for example San Francisco County's Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi(for domestic violence) merely shows that the power of contemporary governments is not absolute. Even tyrants occasionally find it in their interest to sacrifice one of their underlings to placate public wrath.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bag bans go too far? An act of communism? Censorship on the media

Plastic Bag  bans and totalitarian control plus censorship
A golden hammer and sickle inscribed within a red star
Recently in the state of California and a number of other states and countries there is a new fad. That is to ban the bag. Originally this was to stop plastic bag pollution. However do to disputes between the plastic bag industry and environmentalists do to unfair favoring of other bags essentially the issue gradually emerges a war on all "single" use shopping bags.

These years in addition to many political and social problems being discussed around the world. Now the new fad for those with authority and control in the world is. The plastic single use shopping bag. It once started as movement to limit plastic bag distribution now however do to industry concerns has become a issue of socialism in the commercial world. The term "single" use is a misnomer as bags are in fact one of the most practical reusable items around the house and elsewhere. 

There are really some issues about this trend to worry about. It is not just about banning a particularly shopping bag. However it is about the constitutional rights that are being infringed. There are many provisions in many ban ordinances tend to be ideas from a communist government. It seems like the government is going too far with power especially in capitalist "free" economies. Essentially there has been ordinances that require all bags sold be registered with the agencies in charge with the quota on bags sold that need to be given to the municipality or county from time to time for examination.  Usually there has never been a government requirement that a minimum price is charge on merchandize in a private enterprise. In other words a store can hand out free merchandise as it wish after all its the stores own possession not the governments. There has not and should not be a requirement that a cafe/eatery/restaurant not giveaway a free meal as it wishes. What is next have government set the price of clothing artificially higher so people would repair the old worn clothes instead buying new as it costs resources to make new clothes?

It would be hard to imagine if a locality requires all stores including Nordstrom to cap return time to 15 days to prevent unfair competition. This would means that Nordstrom would be forced to give up its famous unlimited return policy by the government and adopt the 15 day policy like every other store in town. We don't live in a backward communist state where the central government essentially owns everything so making bad service mandatory is just a big step backwards. 

The most scary issue is the censorship on the media that is associated with the ban. When the ban starts to go to effect in different areas much of the population of those areas actually oppose and often complain of the problems as a result of the ban. However not only their voices fall on deaf ears, news sources often refuse to publish or show the people who are opposing it and intentionally try to show that the ban has much public support and the population goes along well with the new ordinance and complaints are far and few in between except for bag companies or Save the Bag organizations. This clearly reveals censorship on the news sources just like what happens in totalitarian states such as past years in communist China where the state controls the mass media to avoid revealing the truth and to put the governments official's decision in constant false positive view. This also gets the public or the politicians to accept moving forward with the plans which would result in progressively tougher measures. To get an example of this one easily go to a major new website of an area that started the bag ban. Type grocery bag ban and read the article and compare it with the comments after the article. You will be guaranteed to find up to hundreds of comments saying that shopping has been made horrible and people are running out of bags for trash, pet cleanup, and many household purposes. Yet the article would say most people are happy. Also mainstream media also seem forbidden to show negative consequences of the bag ban often highlighted in parts of news sources by environmental studies reports showing that plastic waste has actually skyrocketed after the bag ban as recycling efforts go out the window as funding to improve bag recycling get withdrawn with the passage of bag bans also the population is buying larger thicker bags when they found they have to use plastic bags for trash and many other purposes that store bags once sufficed. In the end garbage dumps are still filled with plastic bags but now thicker and harder to decompose.

In stores buy their items and sell them at the price they set according to market needs as well as covering their stores expenditures while turning up a profit. Therefore aside from taxes government should not be there to set minimum pricing on store products. Though that's what a number of cities with bag bans decide to do. In those places stores would actually need to register their bags with the city so the city can decide the pricing and count how many they sold. This is completely overstepping control in a capitalist world. A much  more appropriate method in a free economy is to reward citizens, manufactures, and corporations for good behavior such as subsidizing the study and manufacture of real environmentally safe and recyclable plastic or plastic replacing products and giving citizens money for bring them in for recycling or composting. It is not just about bags but also many of the food containers that hold food to be sold at supermarkets. These are really harmful to health and are single use only they are the real landfill clutters. Even the photos used to argue the plastic bag nightmare situation shows very little actual plastic bags compared to the mountains of random garbage of all sorts. Therefore to have any positive environment impact all these products should be considered in the environmental plan not just bags. Rewards can do wonders. Think about how the environment and human health can improve if food and drink containers are made biosafe and people actually bring them back for proper composting. Homeless people could be put to work just like how they do collecting cans and bottles for recycling refund. Streets would be much cleaner and landfills would be less crowded and pristine environment will be spared all while keeping the fundamentals of a free economy and preserving the rights of the people.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Liberal facism: Socialism, excessive lawmaking, caused by Special Interest groups

Special Interests Groups now owns power hungry Politicians,

No more free checkout bags at checkout counter, No smoking in ones own home, Mandatory to install carbon monoxide detectors at home,  No cell phones or electronic devices while driving, riding, or even walking down the street, no wood burning on holidays. Must wear helmets for riding anything on wheels, No lighting consumer safety approved forth of July sparklers, Buy private health insurance or pay a tax penalty, The list goes on and on

Have we embraced Socialism? Everything is now de facto owned by the government and citizens would need to play "Mother may I" just to simply live our everyday lives?

It is a nobrainer that citizens would be wondering where does all these nonsense nosepicking legislation comes from. I am sure people would first blame the power hungry people of position whether elected or unelected. Though whats behind this is what most people overlook is whats driving the legislation in the first place especially when the politicians has much greater issues to worry about and citizens are struggling to make ends meet. Countless families today are bankrupt from loans mortgages given by fraudulent organizations, losing their jobs or homes and faced with poverty and violence overrun the neighborhoods they live in wonder just why are governments focusing on such frivolous topics that citizens did not push for when there are so many issues citizens want resolved for a long time. The answer is what we call Special Interest groups. Special Interest groups are the activists who milk the politicians with large amounts of money for new ideas to put into legislation. A major special interest groups example is the ones who sponsor "There's ought to be a law" contests in California. Special Interest Groups might not even be locals of the government they are in. This is particularly the case in the event of states, provinces, and municipalities where there is really no formal criteria for citizenship unlike nations.  i.e Austin, Texas city officials just passed the toughest shopping bag bans in the nation not even allowing paper bags to be distributed or sold and outlaws everything other than whats defined as reusable bags. However, there is very little support from local Austinites for this ban. It is all driven by 15 Special Interest group members who might not even be Texas residents who started no excuses campaign for plastic bags. The council meeting happens to be scheduled at 2am  in the morning intentionally to avoid citizen attendance in order to guarantee its success. Many residents of Austin are very angry of the passage of this bill especially given how Texans are and many outsiders move in to escape "California. " The hard truth is that this is not a majority or even a considered minority of citizen supported measure. Just special interest groups buying off with big bucks and hypnotizing all those in power of the city. Therefore "it is all about the money" slogan couldn't be more true. This is really not how a republic or a democracy should act. It is strictly just socialism in the wrong direction.

Nowadays the real dire example of this topic is the Healthcare reform by Congress. This reform which is to take effect at 2014 has been completely taken over to side with the already corrupt private health industry that ruined US heathcare in the first place. Isn't the original intent of the reform supposed to give citizens a escape route to affordable and quality medical care away from the clitches of the evil health insurance industry? However the results are the opposite way around, all chances for a public non profit option for the masses has be eliminated by the big giant corporation known as the private health insurer industry which has already caused the US population to have one of the most expensive yet low quality health care in the world despite harboring leading medical technologies within its borders. Now they have successfully controlled congress via bribes and funding to keep them from expanding Medicare to those without insurance and often difficulting affording it, and force all citizens to purchase their insurance causing them to have complete tyrannal control over healthcare in the US backed by Congress. The influence of the health industry giant on Congress, which is not much different from big oil, has sadly make healthcare reform instead more of a healthcare "deform."

All these examples show that we the people are being trampled by such corporations and special interest groups who buy off our "representives" with money. This is no different from bribry or corruption.
This also shows that politicians are getting lazy and money hungry. As to actually do something that makes a difference cost them time and money while extra legislation would bring money to their own pockets via new fines. This is just no different from corruption. So I believe excessive bans are the example of a irresponsible government. The appropriate way is to work with citizens or corporation in the jurisdiction to gradually resolve issues. A more serious matter is that frivolous legislation turns the officials away from issues that really needs attention. Criminalizing personal activities such as nosepicking in public would only turn city enforcers away from more severe issues in the city such as gang violence. By common sense it is impossible to enforce legislation such as smoking at ones own home therefore the law would not bring any benefit and only result in an excuse to profile and distracts government agents from more important duties.  Also it would result in citizens being rebellious and disrespect even basic laws as they think what is the difference as the legislators and councilman criminalized practically every routine activity in their daily lives making it simply impossible to avoid being a "criminal" in one way or another. 

In today's situation where many needs to be guarded from jaws of big corporations the government should step in to help not make things worse. Therefore the citizens should really stand up against these special interest groups and show the government officials who they should be representing. While education and working with citizens for better cost time and money than to simply sign to pass a new ban or legislation it is what a responsible politician should do in a Republic Democracy. Besides the officials should really take a look at existing legislation before they even think of making new ones as the code of law is in desperate need of extensive overhaul with so many vague, ineffective, even barbarically unreasonable contents in there which can shock people in a modern civilized society(such as execution by hanging)therefore they should focus on fixing the existing instead of putting new bills into a cluttered broken system.