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Question: Snowden - Patriot or Traitor? :: Total Votes:18
Poll choices Votes Statistics
Patriot 11  [61.11%]
Traitor 7  [38.89%]
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Topic: Snowden - Patriot or Traitor?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 11:29 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've only picked up bits and pieces of this story, but it seems to me this guy is a patriotic whistleblower who exposed an unconstitutional surveillance program aimed against the citizenry.

Some are accusing him of treason. But isn't treason offering comfort and aid to an enemy? And isn't Snowden offering comfort and aid to the American public? So are citizens now the enemy?

Why is it that I fear government assaults to my life, liberty, and happiness more than terrorist attacks? Somewhere, Bin Laden is smiling.

If this program can be shown to actually catch terrorists, then maybe I can agree with the storage of records. But the entire process should be subject to several checks and balances. Warrants would be required to retrieve records.

Gotta go... someone's ringing the doorbell.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 12:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"I've only picked up bits and pieces"
"unconstitutional surveillance program aimed against the citizenry."

Then you need to read a lot further.

FISA has been a law since 1978.  And that "F" stands for foreign for a reason, it is foreign nationals that are the subject of the surveillance.. Read the Church Committee report, which triggered the writing of FISA.

Oh and warrants ARE required to retreive records. The challenge is the service providers discard data after 60 days, so the data is collected for later, under warrant analysis. Now that needs to be monitored for compliance, but that IS the process.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 12:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 11 2013, 9:25 am)
QUOTE
"I've only picked up bits and pieces"
"unconstitutional surveillance program aimed against the citizenry."

Then you need to read a lot further.

FISA has been a law since 1978.  And that "F" stands for foreign for a reason, it is foreign nationals that are the subject of the surveillance.. Read the Church Committee report, which triggered the writing of FISA.

Oh and warrants ARE required to retreive records. The challenge is the service providers discard data after 60 days, so the data is collected for later, under warrant analysis. Now that needs to be monitored for compliance, but that IS the process.

Part of the problem here is that the initial reporting was grossly inaccurate (which is pretty much standard for anything Glenn Greenwald "reports"). The Prism program described in initial reports would have been an outrage; the actual program (which we've known about since 2008), less so.

(Not that it's completely unobjectionable, of course; but valid objections should focus on the program as it actually exists, not as it's described by a guy whose business model is based on perpetual mass outrage about this sort of thing.)

Anyway, back to the original question..."self-righteous narcissist" isn't one of the options, but that's what I'd pick.

ETA: And while I certainly don't consider him a "patriot" for violating his confidentiality obligations in order to "expose" a legally-sanctioned program that was already public knowledge, I'm very hesitant to use the word "traitor" in any but the most clear and extreme cases.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 12:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
"self-righteous narcissist" isn't one of the options, but that's what I'd pick


I'm going to wait and see, before I pass judgement, but Snowden is not Thomas Drake.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 4:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Patriot or traitor are not good descriptors. His actions are akin to Daniel Ellsburg in the 70's.

You can agree or not with what he gov't is doing with the data but there is no question that the Americam public was either lied to or mislead. To that end Snowden brought the info to the press and the press decided the public had a right to know. If I was on the jury my vote is an unequivocal Not Guilty. I know he violated the law, but I think he did the right thing.

There is an interesting paradym with this story because there is no united front from either party. Significants parts of both parties support and condemn the activity and secrecy. Glad to see our representative expressing their core beliefs rather than party talking points.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 4:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Daniel Ellsburg  didn't reveal anything close to an ongoing national intelligence anti-terrorism program that I'm aware of. That's not what the Pentagon Papers contained at any rate.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 4:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 11 2013, 12:25 pm)
QUOTE
"I've only picked up bits and pieces"
"unconstitutional surveillance program aimed against the citizenry."

Then you need to read a lot further.

Today, I learned that his girlfriend is a pole dancer.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 4:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WalksWithBlackflies @ Jun. 11 2013, 1:44 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 11 2013, 12:25 pm)
QUOTE
"I've only picked up bits and pieces"
"unconstitutional surveillance program aimed against the citizenry."

Then you need to read a lot further.

Today, I learned that his girlfriend is a pole dancer.

Okay, plus one for him.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 4:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 11 2013, 1:45 pm)
QUOTE

(WalksWithBlackflies @ Jun. 11 2013, 1:44 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 11 2013, 12:25 pm)
QUOTE
"I've only picked up bits and pieces"
"unconstitutional surveillance program aimed against the citizenry."

Then you need to read a lot further.

Today, I learned that his girlfriend is a pole dancer.

Okay, plus one for him.

Not necessarily--he ditched her when he ran off to Hong Kong.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 4:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Maybe I have not read enough details, but all that was "exposed" is the fact that the US government is collecting data.

Here's a guess: our enemies already suspected the US government was listening in on all phone calls and reading all email.  

So the only harm to the intelligence effort is that the citizens of the US now know what their government is doing.  And that may impinge on their ability to continue doing it in the future.  But that is a national discussion we should have.

I have no problem with the government trying to convict of violating whatever laws the government thinks might have been committed.  But if I am on the jury the government will also have to convince me that there was some real harm to the security effort.

The fact that the government is inconvenience by having to respond to the concerns of US citizens isn't going to be enough.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 5:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There have been folk I admire for making a decision to violate the law.  e.g., helpers in the Underground Railroad.

So far, for me, this guy is not one of them.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 5:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(nogods @ Jun. 11 2013, 1:56 pm)
QUOTE
I have no problem with the government trying to convict of violating whatever laws the government thinks might have been committed.  But if I am on the jury the government will also have to convince me that there was some real harm to the security effort.

I don't think that's the legal standard, though. Disclosing classified information is illegal regardless of harm (or absence thereof).

For me, the burden works the other way: if you choose to break the law, you have the burden of demonstrating that doing so was necessary and beneficial.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 5:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

OK, I think I get some of the rhetoric, but clue me in.  Congress passed a law and the President at that time signed it.  The law allows certain agencies to collect data before it is dumped, so they can have it if need be, but to open it and use it, they have to get a court warrant.  As directed by this law, those agencies have been doing their due diligence.

Now, along comes a guy who thinks we do not know the half of what is going on, so he decides to blow the whistle.  But doing so, he thinks is a big NO-NO, so he hides in some foreign land where he may or may not be safe for a time being.  Now, there seems to be some uproar over What Are They Doing? and How Come He Told People?

I mean, it isn't like no one ever reads anything about what Congress is doing, right?  We do not pass laws in dark rooms.  Only budgets get worked out that way.  

I may be a Leftist, and I may not want folks of Dick Cheney's ilk in my Gov't, but I really do not see the reasons for the Big Hullabaloo.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 6:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hullabaloo ol-zeke ? That way they can pass a half trillion dollar farm bill that cuts food stamps with no one noticing.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 7:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's a little ill-conceived, IMO, to think that "Traitor" and "Patriot" are the only possible two options.  The truth usually resides somewhere in the nuanced gap between.

No-vote for me, although I don't pretend to be completely informed about this case in particular (I've read a handful of news articles, but that's about it).


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2013, 9:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hero, I don't know... but the swift accusations of "TRAITOR!!" coming from some officials and even lawmakers are alarming.

As individuals, we feel pretty powerless.  But I am heartened by organizations like the ACLU.  Are they right and the government wrong?  No, not necessarily.  But those organizations have enough clout to put into motion the checks and balances built into our system -- such as the courts.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 8:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Jun. 11 2013, 7:11 pm)
QUOTE
It's a little ill-conceived, IMO, to think that "Traitor" and "Patriot" are the only possible two options.  The truth usually resides somewhere in the nuanced gap between.

No-vote for me, although I don't pretend to be completely informed about this case in particular (I've read a handful of news articles, but that's about it).

You're either with him or against him.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 8:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TehipiteTom @ Jun. 11 2013, 5:39 pm)
QUOTE

(nogods @ Jun. 11 2013, 1:56 pm)
QUOTE
I have no problem with the government trying to convict of violating whatever laws the government thinks might have been committed.  But if I am on the jury the government will also have to convince me that there was some real harm to the security effort.

I don't think that's the legal standard, though. Disclosing classified information is illegal regardless of harm (or absence thereof).

For me, the burden works the other way: if you choose to break the law, you have the burden of demonstrating that doing so was necessary and beneficial.

You are correct, that is not the "legal standard" - but we have a long tradition in this country, one that goes back to when we were colonies.

A jury may acquit for any reason or for no reason.  It's called jury nullification.  There is no issue over whether jurors have that power.  The only issue is whether judges should be required to give that instruction.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 10:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WalksWithBlackflies @ Jun. 11 2013, 4:44 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 11 2013, 12:25 pm)
QUOTE
"I've only picked up bits and pieces"
"unconstitutional surveillance program aimed against the citizenry."

Then you need to read a lot further.

Today, I learned that his girlfriend is a pole dancer.

That is one seriously self-absorbed drama queen. No wonder she was clueless as to what her closest companion was doing.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 11:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(nogods @ Jun. 12 2013, 5:22 am)
QUOTE
You are correct, that is not the "legal standard" - but we have a long tradition in this country, one that goes back to when we were colonies.

A jury may acquit for any reason or for no reason.  It's called jury nullification.  There is no issue over whether jurors have that power.  The only issue is whether judges should be required to give that instruction.

Okay, then. Let's just say that if he is prosecuted, I hope the jury takes their responsibilities a whole lot more seriously than you would in their place.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 11:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TehipiteTom @ Jun. 12 2013, 11:26 am)
QUOTE

(nogods @ Jun. 12 2013, 5:22 am)
QUOTE
You are correct, that is not the "legal standard" - but we have a long tradition in this country, one that goes back to when we were colonies.

A jury may acquit for any reason or for no reason.  It's called jury nullification.  There is no issue over whether jurors have that power.  The only issue is whether judges should be required to give that instruction.

Okay, then. Let's just say that if he is prosecuted, I hope the jury takes their responsibilities a whole lot more seriously than you would in their place.

Let's hope anyone on the jury is more informed than you, and that they take their responsibility as jurors seriously:

Prior to U.S. independence, the English Law of seditious libel carried grave consequences for colonists who spoke out against British rule of the colonies. In 1735, defense counsel for John Peter Zenger, at Zenger's trial for seditious libel, contended that:

[Juries] have the right beyond all dispute to determine both the law and the facts, and where they do not doubt of the law, they ought to do so. This of leaving it to the judgment of the Court whether the words are libelous or not in effect renders juries useless (to say no worse) in many cases.

The jury acquitted Zenger, and every subsequent colonial jurisdiction that confronted the issue of the jury's right to decide both the law and the facts also came to the conclusion that jurors could decide matters of law.

John Adams, one of the more conservative leaders of this period, expressed the prevailing sentiments in his diary in 1771: "Now, should the melancholy case arise that the judges should give their opinions to the jury against one of these fundamental principles, is a juror obliged to find his verdict generally, according to this direction, or even to find the fact specially and submit the law to the court? Every man of any feeling or conscience, will answer no. It is not only his right, but his duty, in that case to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the directions of the court."

In the 1794 case of Georgia v. Brailsford (1794) Chief Justice John Jay charged the jury for the unanimous court, "It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. On this, and on every other occasion, however, we have no doubt, you will pay that respect, which is due to the opinion of the court: For, as on the one hand, it is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumbable, that the court are the best judges of the law. But still both objects are lawfully, within your power of decision."
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 12:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No, Edward Snowden probably didn’t commit treason
An examination of the issue:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs....treason

"Of course, Snowden could always be charged under the Espionage Act or another, less sexy law than the treason provision of the Constitution. But if Julius Rosenberg, who almost certainly spied for the Soviets, couldn’t be tried for treason, it’s hard to see how Edward Snowden could be, or why federal prosecutors would want to introduce a charge that would be so difficult to prove."
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 4:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

nogods: anyone who starts out with the express intention of nullifying the law (as you say you would)--as opposed to arriving at the reluctant conclusion after careful deliberation that the exigencies of the case require deviation from the legal standard--absolutely does not belong on any jury.

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(TehipiteTom @ Jun. 12 2013, 1:09 pm)
QUOTE
nogods: anyone who starts out with the express intention of nullifying the law (as you say you would)--as opposed to arriving at the reluctant conclusion after careful deliberation that the exigencies of the case require deviation from the legal standard--absolutely does not belong on any jury.


My reading of your post, you seem to assume right off the bat that all laws are right and just -- unless and until proven otherwise after careful deliberation.

I take almost the opposite view.  To me, the burden is not on the individual at all, but on the law itself to be convincingly open, just, and necessary.  A law should come into effect only after careful, open deliberation that the exigencies of that law require deviation from individual freedom and dignity.  In other words, every law is an infringement on liberty -- and thus the careful deliberation must be done on the front end.

In the context of this thread, there appears to be reasons for suspecting  that the executive branch and/or its agencies may be involved in widespread snooping beyond the scope of laws promulgated by the legislative.  At the very least, suspicion is warranted by the very secrecy  of these programs -- only now admitted by our government after the cover is blown!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 4:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There's an article out there somewhere tiltled roughly, "why was this classified?", and there's a point to a degree: the 2007 Protect America Act was written and passed into law specifically to address concerns that then recent court decisions had impeded this VERY activity. So that these data collections are now going on was obvious from the law's passage and content!

I beleive I hear Claude Rains off in the distance...
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 4:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 12 2013, 1:37 pm)
QUOTE
There's an article out there somewhere tiltled roughly, "why was this classified?", and the writier has a point to a degree: the 2007 Protect America Act was written and passed into law specifically to address concerns that then recent court decisions had impeded this VERY activity. So that these data collections are now going on was obvious from the law's passage and content!

I beleive I hear Claude Rains off in the distance...

And yet, our esteemed congressional representatives seemed genuinely surprised by the breadth and depth of the data being collected -- as well as the number of people being watched electronically ("millions")!

Some reps are calling Snowdon a traitor.  Others are calling for changes to limit this sort of surveillance and data gathering!

The executive and/or its agencies may have overreached.  Or perhaps Congress may have failed in the way it debated / crafted the pertinent laws??

Thanks to Snowdon, we are NOW getting to debate all this as a nation -- not just in concept but in practice and how real people are being affected.   All quite twisted, IMO.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 4:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Jun. 12 2013, 1:54 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 12 2013, 1:37 pm)
QUOTE
There's an article out there somewhere tiltled roughly, "why was this classified?", and the writier has a point to a degree: the 2007 Protect America Act was written and passed into law specifically to address concerns that then recent court decisions had impeded this VERY activity. So that these data collections are now going on was obvious from the law's passage and content!

I beleive I hear Claude Rains off in the distance...

And yet, our esteemed congressional representatives seemed genuinely surprised by the breadth and depth of the data being collected -- as well as the number of people being watched electronically ("millions")!

Some reps are calling Snowdon a traitor.  Others are calling for changes to limit this sort of surveillance and data gathering!

The executive and/or its agencies may have overreached.  Or perhaps Congress may have failed in the way it debated / crafted the pertinent laws??

Thanks to Snowdon, we are NOW getting to debate all this as a nation -- not just in concept but in practice and how real people are being affected.   All quite twisted, IMO.

"and yet.."

Hence my Claude Rains reference and, more specifically Casablanca

"Shocked, simply shocked..." right before he get's handed his winnings....

As long as the "millions" being "watched" are foreign nationals, per FISA, I'm not all that concerned.

As to the context of "Others are calling"..., people taking advantage of the latest outrage dejour to pose and posture?

Now I'm shocked, simply shocked....
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Ben2World Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 5:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 12 2013, 1:57 pm)
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Casablanca

"Shocked, simply shocked..." right before he get's handed his winnings....

Indeed.   :;):


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The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.  -- St. Augustine
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 5:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In additon there is absolutely nothing wrong with revisiting and ensuring any such FISA or NSA program has not and will not "leak" over to unauthorized, uncontrolled, surveillance of United States citizens. The courts must be involved.

The initial Washington Post article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/investi....ry.html
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TehipiteTom Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2013, 5:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Jun. 12 2013, 1:20 pm)
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(TehipiteTom @ Jun. 12 2013, 1:09 pm)
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nogods: anyone who starts out with the express intention of nullifying the law (as you say you would)--as opposed to arriving at the reluctant conclusion after careful deliberation that the exigencies of the case require deviation from the legal standard--absolutely does not belong on any jury.


My reading of your post, you seem to assume right off the bat that all laws are right and just -- unless and until proven otherwise after careful deliberation.

I take almost the opposite view.  To me, the burden is not on the individual at all, but on the law itself to be convincingly open, just, and necessary.  A law should come into effect only after careful, open deliberation that the exigencies of that law require deviation from individual freedom and dignity.  In other words, every law is an infringement on liberty -- and thus the careful deliberation must be done on the front end.

Um, Ben? What you're talking about there? That's called the legislative process. That's where people debate the merits of any given law "on the front end". And sure, it should be done thoughtfully and carefully and perhaps with some skepticism.

And of course after a law is enacted, there is potentially another check on it in the form of the court system, which invalidates anything they deem incompatible with the constitution (Federal or state, depending).  

And finally we have yet another check in the form of the voting populace, which can use its power to register an opinion on the laws its representatives have (or have not) enacted.

But a law enacted through the standard democratic processes and deemed constitutional by the applicable courts has to be given the presumption of validity--a rebuttable presumption, certainly, but a presumption. Society would be far more dysfunctional than it already is if people routinely substituted their own judgment for the law, and the legal system would be a shambles if juries routinely substituted their own judgment for the law.

(Truth be told, human judgment is notoriously unreliable. That's why laws exist in the first place.)

And by the way, your philosophical aside ("every law is an infringement on liberty") is demonstrably untrue, since in the complete absence of laws liberty (in any meaningful sense of the word) does not exist. Laws are necessary to create liberty in the first place. (For example: do you think "property" "rights" are an essential aspect of liberty? Well, "property" is entirely an invention of laws.)


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Conservatives are the whiniest whiners in the wholy whiny history of whiny-ass whinerdom.
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