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#566#567#568#569 Episode #570 - The Fundamental Wrongness of 'Rights'
(Law as Fiction)



Sat 24 September 2011  George Carlin, Philip K. Howard, Charles Eisenstein (reading), Jeff Schmidt (reading), Jonathan Turley, Scott Nicol, Ron Paul
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2The show this week looks at the ideas of 'law' and 'rights'. As George Carlin says, if the government can take it away, it isn't a right, it's a privilege. A disturbing but important thought in these days in which governments worldwide are becoming more open about their subservience to expediency. We hear from a range of speakers, and our material ranges from the comic to the deadly serious.
We start this week with George Carlin's pithy and humorous but insightful criticism of the idea of government- (or God-) given rights; if your rights are up to them, then they're not rights, they're privileges.

Next we hear from Philip K. Howard on the effects of increasing legalism and litigious mania in modern USA, speaking from the 2010 Ted conference. We put this in the much broader context of the desire to replace the unpredictable spontaneity of life by a giant Newtonian machine, programmable and perfectly predictable - by rereading Life Under Contract, from chapter 5 of Charles Eisenstein's Ascent of Humanity. Eisenstein makes the point that any effort to definitively legislate every aspect of behavior is doomed by life's inherent ambiguities.

We reflect on the phenomenon of 'diplomatic immunity' as an example of entrenched privilege in the legal system, which allows people to get away with murder. Then we hear a reading of Jeff Schmidt's Disciplined Minds in which he notes the de facto offense of contempt of cop, and examines systemic bias in law enforcement as an example of the culture of systemic bias by all professions.

Our second hour looks at the reality of law in 21st Century focusing on USA. We review a case last week in which a judge ridiculed the right of citizens to record police in public, something which is protected by innumerable legal precedents. We hear how details of a recent case in which a wiretapping law designed to prevent clandestine audio recordings was used against a lawyer who videoed an arrest in plain sight and start his conversation by informing police that he was recording.

We then hear the first half of an April 2011 interview by Sheila Dean of Scott Nicol from No Border Wall about how easily statutes are being suspended under the pretext of protecting border security. Then we hear the converse, a December 2010 report of how the Canadian police used The Public Works Protection Act (of 1945) to suppress demonstration at the G20 demonstration in Toronto.

We conclude with a recording of Ron Paul speaking on the erosion of the American Republic. He focuses on war powers, reminding us that the erosion of laws is not merely a matter of civil liberties but a matter of life and death.
Thanks to Sheila Dean of Waking Up Orwell
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