Deja Vu

Sometime last week, I remember seeing a reference to the Declaration of Independence.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,

At the time, I was reading through my daily list of politcal blogs, which led to a daydream about the current administration occupying the White House. Let’s say I had a full blown Walter Mitty moment, lasting quite awhile.

While I think I’ll save my ‘vision’ for another post, the reason I mention it, it compelled me to visit, which is a great resource for documents regarding American History.

So, on to my point. Which I’m sure some have deduced from the title of this post.

Let’s begin with the opening put forth by the congress of men, who on July 4, 1776, unanimously declared for the thirteen United States of America:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

If you think you’re being governed unfairly, out of respect for public opinion, you should put forth your reasons for saying so. Straightforward.

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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Here are the rights in question, and an explaination on who and how they are enforced. Which brings us to the section which leads this post.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;

Anytime the government disregards our rights to such a degree that it’s harmful for the population at large, we reserve the right to remove it from governance. This we will not do for minor or petty reasons. This next part is where we get to the meat of the affair.

and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

History has shown us that men have suffered at the hands of tyrants, and have found it easier to suffer than fight back. But, if it goes on too long, they have the right and duty to rid themselves of the tyranny, and establish a new order to protect their rights for the future.

So, there we have the basis for our split from King George. What follows in the Declaration, is the exacting reasons he has impinged on the above. And the point of my title.


dé·jà vu
1. Psychology The illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time.
a. An impression of having seen or experienced something before: Old-timers watched the stock-market crash with a distinct sense of déjà vu.
b. Dull familiarity; monotony: the déjà vu of the tabloid headlines.
[French : déjà, already + vu, seen.]

Please remember, the following was written over two hundred years ago.

The transgressions of King George III:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

If you have been paying attention these past six years, the bold lettering above should have make you sit up a little straighter. We have all heard the line that failing to remember history will doom us to repeat it, or similar words. The fact that we’re ignoring such obvious history may mean we’re already doomed.

I’ve highlighted sixteen or so of the twenty-seven listed greivances that appear to have relevance to current events. How is it we fought off one King George two hundred plus years ago over these, and are again having another George commit these very same acts upon the American people?

To quote an American sports icon,

It’s like deja vu all over again

And it’s scary as hell.

“Clarifying” the Geneva Convention

Bush is saying we need to clarify parts of Article 3, and even became visibly angry at a press conference today when questioned about it. I’ve read and reread the Article, which is quite plain in it’s text, and am at a loss to find something that needs to be “clarified”…
Unless you want to do things that are covered in the Convention, there is no reason to change a single word. I’m not even sure if you can make changes or interpretations to the Geneva convention without a majority consensus of all abiding bodies.

Here is the full text of Article 3 of Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.:

Art 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

Knowing this administration, I’m pretty sure they’re confused with Paragraph 1, subsections (a), (c) and (d). From reading it, and remembering numerous news articles from the past 4 years, it’s a pretty safe bet that America has violated all three of those subsections.

I’m only guessing, but I think Bush wants to redefine certain words or actions…..namely “torture”, “cruel treatment” and “humiliating and degrading treatment”. Why? Could it be because everyone knows these things are occurring, probably while I write this blog, and they are trying anything and everything to cover their asses from war crimes accusations? Bush kept saying he wants to make sure the intelligence community uses legal means to get information from suspected terrorists. What better way to make torture legal than by redefining the word “torture”.

I need to do more research, (and add my findings to this post in the future), but by changing the Geneva Convention to fit their view, would the Bush administration be voiding our participation in it? Even if that is the case, nothing would change in respect to our participation to any part of it, because of Article 142:

Art 142. Each of the High Contracting Parties shall be at liberty to denounce the present Convention.

The denunciation shall be notified in writing to the Swiss Federal Council, which shall transmit it to the Governments of all the High Contracting Parties.

The denunciation shall take effect one year after the notification thereof has been made to the Swiss Federal Council. However, a denunciation of which notification has been made at a time when the denouncing Power is involved in a conflict shall not take effect until peace has been concluded, and until after operations connected with release and repatriation of the persons protected by the present Convention have been terminated.

The denunciation shall have effect only in respect of the denouncing Power. It shall in no way impair the obligations which the Parties to the conflict shall remain bound to fulfil by virtue of the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity and the dictates of the public conscience.

As I see it, Bush is trying to accomplish two things with this strategy. On the one hand, he wants to appeal to the uninformed American population by appearing as if he’s concerned with our treatment of P.O.W.s, but on the other, he’s trying to change the Convention to allow the mistreatment of P.O.W.s to gather intelligence.

Religion under attack by ……gays?

From AP(Washington) Religious conservative leaders, sensing declining alarm over same-sex marriage, are warning that the debate over homosexuality has prompted attacks on religious freedom.

Whenever questions are raised about issues affecting more than just the religious, it soon turns into “A War on Christmas”, “A War on Easter”, “A War on …”, you get the point.

Our good friend, Tony Perkins has this to say:

“There are a number of pastors that said, ‘Look, we don’t get involved in politics, I’m not going to get involved in this issue, I just want to preach the gospel.’He adds, “When they realize their ability to preach the gospel may very well be at stake, they may reconsider their involvement.”

In a word, ridiculous. How is allowing same-sex marriage going to lead to stopping preachers from preaching? While I’m atheist, I respect the fact that people have the right to do as they please. If that means joining together once a week in a designated building and praying to an invisible being, fine. Perkins tries to equate opposition to their religious beliefs, which not all Americans hold, as an outright attack on them. Poor persecuted christians.

This is just the same crap of an ongoing attempt at the religious right to try to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. To put their attempts in a more understandable light, try this: Whenever you see a headline or quote stating this or something similar,

“They are trying to remove God from public schools.”

Just slip in the word “our” in front of any reference to a god.

“They are trying to remove our God from public schools.”

Notice how that gives possession? Which is who it is….their God, and they should keep him to themselves, out of respect for other Americans who don’t share their particular belief system.