Tag Archives: 14th Amendment

Habeas Corpus is Like Car Insurance

Habeas Corpus is like car insurance—you don’t worry about it much until you have an accident; or, in the case of habeas corpus, until you get arrested for peaceful protest and hauled before a military tribunal.  Sound preposterous?  Isn’t this the United States, the land of the free?  Well, no, actually.  Not anymore.  Not since the Patriot Act, the NDAA 2012 Act, and the Trespass Bills (HR 347, S 1794), AKA the “anti-Occupy bills”.

Now, in the United States of America, U. S. citizens can be indefinitely detained, without charge or trial, for a “belligerent act”.  What is that?  Well, no one quite knows for sure.  Want to stage a protest at the Democratic convention, or question your representative on where your tax dollars are going?  Be careful, you could be guilty of “knowing” you are entering a government building or within proximate space of someone guarded by the Secret Service (if they aren’t in their hotel rooms with prostitutes), and therefore in violation of a federal crime that could land you in prison for ten years, in which case I guess at least you wouldn’t be paying taxes!

Add to this the attacks on our privacy and free speech by the SOPA, PIPA, and now CISPA legislation, which if passed, would eviscerate our ability to voice our outrage and connect with one another on the Internet, and a frightening picture of a world dominated by Big Brother watching and controlling our every move begins to take shape.

These laws make a mockery of our Bill of Rights by violating our First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and whether you are a Tea Partier or an Occupier, your civil liberties are under assault.  We the people need to demand that these unconstitutional laws be rescinded before we find ourselves in Nazi Germany, or worse, living out an Orwellian nightmare.

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Filed under Civil Liberties, Occupy Movement

Sexism vs. Racism: A Study in Contrasts

Despite the common perception that racism is a worse problem than sexism, there are a number of historical and current facts that support the argument that sexism is far more entrenched than racism. The current war on women in congress ought to be enough to end any debate.  Can anyone imagine what might be happening if this kind of discrimination were aimed at an ethnic group?  The arrogance of these lawmakers to openly attack all the gains of the women’s movement to date exposes the incredible level of sexist mentality to which they fall prey and the widespread acceptance of it.  But to remind everyone that this has long been the case historically, let me point out some facts:  black male former slaves got the right (at least on paper) to vote 50 years before women did, got recognized under the 14th amendment as “persons” over a century before women did, black civil rights got recognized before women’s civil rights, we still don’t have the equal rights amendment which would be equivalent to the Civil Rights Act, we have two holidays set aside for men of color (in addition to all the ones for white men) and not a single one recognizing a woman, we elected a black male President before a white female President, women are far less represented in Congress per capita than are blacks and latinos, pompous talk show hosts who would be afraid to raise the issue of race mock and denigrate women with impunity, race-motivated crimes make big news while violent crimes against women are so commonplace they are not even considered newsworthy, crimes targeting women just recently were recognized by congress as hate crimes while crimes targeting racial groups have long been seen as such, and the murder of the tens of millions of women during the witch hunts is barely spoken of while we hear endlessly of the suffering of other groups.

Some interesting history is that the Civil Rights Act (passed in 1964) is the rough equivalent to the ERA (first introduced in 1923 and still not passed), while the 15th amendment assuring the vote for men regardless of race (passed in 1870) is the equivalent of the 19th amendment for women (not passed until 1920).  The  passage of the 14th amendment actually made things worse for women by specifically guaranteeing the rights of men (regardless of race) while leaving women out, despite the efforts of suffragists to get women included as citizens and to use it to exercise the right to vote.  Some woman suffragists even opposed the 15th amendment because they wanted voting rights extended to everyone, but had to abandon this as black men getting the vote had more public support.  The 2008 elections are one of the most recent blatant examples of sexism being more pronounced than racism with a previously unknown black male candidate muscling out the white female frontrunner, elbowing her aside and getting fawned over by news anchors while she was severely scrutinized and criticized at every turn.  Even many bigoted white men were willing to vote for a black man over a white woman and people on the left, blind to their sexism, saw voting for a black man even greater proof of their open-mindedness than voting for a white woman.

In the spirit of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Women’s History Month, I say it is high time that women be recognized under the law as having equal rights to men, that women’s rights finally be given the attention they deserve, and that sexism be identified and denounced as much as racism is.  We demand equal acknowledgment and protection by society and under the law.  It is time to pass THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT!

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Filed under Civil Rights, Women's Rights

Women’s Access to Birth Control & the Blunt Amendment

The recent effort to deny women access to affordable birth control is an affront to women’s basic human rights. The message is clear:  these right-wing extremists want to deny a woman access to health care and  her basic human right to sovereignty over her own body, and to make her own medical decisions.  It is an outrage!

The true intent of the radical religious right-wing behind the birth control battle is to “expose” pro-choice representatives so they can be targeted by these zealots and in order to try to pass their “Life at Conception Act” in an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.  They plan to abuse the 14th amendment as their legal argument, which has been used to achieve corporate “personhood”, in order to deem a fertilized egg as a “person”.  These are the same people who claim to be “Constitutionalists”, when neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights mentions corporations or gametes, zygotes, or fetuses.

We must stand firm in our support of a woman’s right to self-determination and renounce each and every attempt to erode women’s rights and to return women to being chattel.

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Filed under The Radical Religious Right, Women's Rights