Friday, January 01, 2010


Today starts a new decade. The fifth one I've been there as it began. Paul Krugman named the past ten years as the zero decade. We ended this span of ten years just about even on the stock market and on every other economic catagory we are in the negative.
For eighteen years when I taught what made the U.S. different from most other countries I could proudly explain that our Constitution prevented many of the abuses encountered throughout history and in much of the rest of the world. Our Bill of Rights prevented the use of torture, indescriminate dentention, unauthorized surveilance and that the will of the people determined who was elected President. All of that changed in December of 2000 when nine people tore up the Constitution and made it a museum exibit.
All of the abuses militarily, economically, politically and morally that have turned the strongest military and economic country the world has ever seen into a banana republic can be traced to that one fateful decision. The Supreme Court's ruling to stop the recount in Florida and making George W. Bush the first President elected by a committee instead of the electoral college as created by the founding fathers.
This brings up the two movies above. It's an interesting movie, done twice. I prefer the one with Spencer Tracy. He was such a superb actor. It's long and tedious without the gun battles and explosions that movie viewers demand today. It's about the trial of the German judges after WWII during the Nuremburg trials. Interesting that they'd make a movie about those trials and not portray the policital leaders, many of whom were hanged. The movie focuses on the judges. What many people today forget is that all the abuses that Hitler committed started in 1936 when the German Supreme Court issued a number of decisions at the behest of the Nazi party. Jews were declared subhuman, all their businesses were confiscated and they were deprived of all civil rights. Military rule was established abolishing any sense of due process. To celebrate the Nuremburg Decision the Nazi's attacked all Jews in what became known as Krystalnacht (night of broken glass) destroying most of their businesses.
In the culmination of the prosecutions case the the footage of the death camps were shown. After the verdict one of the judges speaks with Spencer Tracy who was the lead prosecutor. He says, "We had no idea that our decisions would lead to this."

Spencer Tracy answers him in the most important legal statement of the entire Twentieth Centruy, "When you allowed the first innocent man to be condemned you made this possible." (or words to that effect I haven't had time to rewatch the movie for the exact wording)
It took the Supreme Court failing to do its job (uphold the Constitution) to allow all the abuses of Darth Cheney and his band of thugs. In a matter of four years we stopped being a country that championed human rights and became a violator of them. Of being a shining beacon for enlightened civilization to barbarism.

This is a decade that will be remembered as a decade of shame. It was hoped that when Barack Obama was elected that he would restore what had been rendered obsolete. That the Constitution would once again be the document by which all Americans are governed. Sadly he has dragged his feet on doing that which is so important for all our futures.
The Nazi's needed to be made to account for their barbarism, when will the necons face a similar fate?


swordfish1543 said...

from imdb:
Herr Janning, it "came to that" the *first time* you sentenced a man to death you *knew* to be innocent.

P M Prescott said...

Thank you Russ.