(This is the transcript, it’s true that the sound quality is awful. But you may want to hear him passionately quote abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglas words when speaking at a Fourth of July celebration, beginning with: “Your Fourth of July is a sham!”.)
I’d received an email from CCR on 6/17, including this:
“I am thrilled to share a piece of good news and a significant victory for CCR. Today, in a case we brought over 13 years ago in the dark days after 9/11, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated claims against high-level government officials – former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI director Robert Mueller, and former INS Commissioner James Ziglar – for their roles in the post-9/11 immigration detentions, abuse, and religious profiling of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men. It is exceedingly rare for a court to allow claims against such high-ranking officials to proceed.”
Rather than reproduce the Court’s ‘final thoughts’ section he’d included, I’ll link to another Ratner interview on TRNN from yesterday: ‘Court Reinstates Case Against Former Attorney General, FBI Director and INS Commissioner’
The Wiki gives this simplified explanation of The Charter of the Forest; creating Commons for lands encroached upon by the Royals:
“The King was required to “disafforest” Royal Forest, which meant (rather than chopping trees down) a requirement to give up possession of forest land. This might or might not have trees: it could also be heathland. In doing so the land became available to commoners.
The Charter provided a right of common access to (royal) private lands. Only with the Acts of Union 1707 between England and Scotland were these rights equalled within the realm.
It also rolled back the area encompassed by the designation “forest” to that of Henry II‘s time, essentially freeing up lands that had become more and more restricted as King Richard and King John designated greater and greater areas of land to become royal forest. Since “forest” in this context did not necessarily mean treed areas, but could include fields, moor or even farms and villages, it became an increasing hardship on the common people to try to farm, forage, and otherwise use the land they lived on. The Charter specifically states that “Henceforth every freeman, in his wood or on his land that he has in the forest, may with impunity make a mill, fish-preserve, pond, marl-pit, ditch, or arable in cultivated land outside coverts, provided that no injury is thereby given to any neighbour.”
Clause 10 repealed the death penalty for capturing venison (deer), though transgressors were still subject to fines or imprisonment for the offence; it also abolished mutilation as a lesser punishment. Special Verderers’ Courts were set up within the forests to enforce the laws of the Charter.”
(Well, at least it went that far…)
Pablo Julián Davis’s ‘The Deafening Silence: Magna Carta At 800’ notes that in further self-parody, the MSM hasn’t taken note of the anniversary, save for:
“All the New York Times website could manage was an op-ed by Tom Ginsburg scolding us to “stop revering Magna Carta.”
(Credit where credit is due: National Review and The Nation, at least, have given the anniversary some of the serious attention it deserves. But from what this writer could tell from checking on a dozen mass media sites, the anniversary has passed almost entirely unnoted and unnoticed.)
He highlights some of the 63 Articles, most importantly, the 39th (as did Michael Ratner):
““No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised [deprived, dispossessed] or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” The 40th article is often cited as well: “To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.”
The “freemen” referred to were, of course, English barons. Still, in that localized conflict in A.D. 1215 between two groups of the privileged, is the germ of constitutional law, the model of due process, and the ultimate source of our Bill of Rights. Magna Carta establishes the bedrock principle that no one—not even the sovereign—is above the law.”
Why the Silence?
“In the US, the groundwork has been laid for a state of exception by reason of a “war” vaguely defined, against no specific enemy, and of quasi-perpetual duration. A Republican president launched, and his Democratic successor has deepened, the practice of perpetual imprisonment without charge, and even of summary execution, as legitimate presidential powers. Could it be that Magna Carta has become an embarrassment? Or that its name troubles the conscience of at least some of our leaders?”
Now both of these documents are exquisitely relevant today, not only in regard to the Empire’s war on brown people™ around the planet, but domestically, aren’t they? For the thousands of political prisoners held for long periods at Riker’s Island and other jails/prisoners without due process: neither charges nor trials. In the practice of ‘Negro-farming’ in the St. Louis environs: warrants galore, failure to appear because: “in jail”, with fines adding up beyond measure; snatch and grabs of demonstrators on the street; people of color and those miscreants ‘protesting the state’ held incommunicado and/or tortured at Chicago’s Homan Square and other jail and prison hell-holes; modern-day debtors prisons, and we could go on ad nauseum. America’ Favorite Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s racist fukkery in Maricopa County? ‘No Worries; He’s Only Racist Against Mexicans‘. Subprime mortgage rates for Negroes and Hispanics who qualified for prime, which then wwere sliced and diced for credit default swaps, and boy, howdy: they were guaran-damn-teed to fail) making many people of color the first to be foreclosed up post 2008?
(Please add to the list at will.)
I did search the cache to see if I could find evidence Obama noting the day (as Mr. Ratner had hoped), and in an admittedly quick search, all I found was this graphic from a self-avowed right-wing author on Twiiter (perhaps he missed his guess?):
and from the Hashtag: