Stephen Hawking’s recently warned us about contacting aliens. The consequences of contact with extraterrestrials might turn out for humanity the way it did for native North Americans when western Europeans came in contact with them. He might be right even if the negative consequences were unintended like an extraterrestrial virus. In both film versions of the War of the Worlds our pathogenic organisms killed the invaders, but it could have just as easily been the other way around. The warning about extraterrestrials and now the idea that humans might be able to time travel have the appearance of press release teasers for Stephen Hawking’s “Universe” coming up on The Discovery Channel. Whatever, the pronouncements are getting some attention for a program that will likely be worth watching, Hawking hurls us superfast into the future
Hawking’s views on time travel could be just as provocative. He suggests humanity could build a giant “relativistic” spaceship, so called because it would exploit the science set out by Albert Einstein in his theories of relativity.
Einstein found that as objects accelerate through space, the rate at which time passes for them slows down. For objects such as cars and aircraft the effect is negligible, but Hawking’s spaceship would exceed 98% of the speed of light, when such effects would be extremely powerful.
Hawking rules out traveling to the past via wormholes or any other method because of the paradoxes; in Hawking’s view, “I believe things cannot make themselves impossible. So it won’t be possible to travel back to the past ..”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Sen. McCain (R-AZ) have declared citizens of the United States should not be read their Miranda rights ( given a Miranda warning) upon arrest. There is no excuse for either, but especially not Cornyn since he was previously a judge on the Texas Supreme Court and knows the legal precedents involved. Miranda rights have been declared by the SCOTUS as an extension of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution. Challenges to the Court’s ruling have always been defeated. Though there is some leeway from state to state on exact wording.
Cornyn’s sneering disregard for the rule of law became clear in December 2005 during his knee-jerk defense of President Bush’s regime of illegal domestic surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA). Along with Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Cornyn was among the first Republicans to mouth the GOP’s “give me death” defense:
“None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.”
That disdain extends to the United States Supreme Court as well. When the Roberts’ Court in the 2006 Boumediene case ruled that Guantanamo detainees have habeas corpus rights, Cornyn blasted the decision as “both troubling and disappointing.”
Cornyn’s bed wetting take on balancing liberty and security were a swipe at Patrick Henry’s ‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech (March 23, 1775) and his disgust at hapeas corpus, one of history’s milestone toward a rediscovery of democracy that had died with the ancient Greeks of Athens. The concept of hapeus corpus – unlawful detention – dates back to 1215 and the Magna Carta. The principles in the 5th and 6th Amendments and hapeus corpus were the result of hundreds of years of struggle that included torture and war. Opinions upon those principles which blow with the political winds are a betrayal of millions who died to preserve them. Cornyn and McCain are part of the mainstream of Conservative political thought. Their opinions have been echoed by others this week in response to the very successful conclusion of the Times square bomber arrest and his subsequent cooperation. Ironically the same political movement that damns the a fore mentioned rights in some blatant pandering to their base have also declared terrorists have the right to purchase weapons, Bloomberg ‘Terror Gap’ Argument Shot Down By Pro-Gun GOP Senators
“Shouldn’t FBI agents have the authority to block sales of guns and explosives to those on the terror watchlists — and deemed too dangerous to fly? I actually believe that they should,” Bloomberg told senators. Federal law currently only allows the government to block guns sales for a very limited number of reasons, and being on that list is not one of them.
[ ]…”This common-sense legislation is not anti-gun — it’s anti-terrorist,” chimed in Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the sponsor of a bill that would close what Bloomberg has called a “terror gap.”
But GOP Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina wouldn’t go along.
Admitting that “at first blush” the bill “seems to be an obvious step that we should take,” Collins said that many people on the FBI’s watchlist don’t belong there. “None of us wants a terrorist to be able to purchase a gun, but neither should we want to infringe upon a Constitutional right of law-abiding Americans,” she said.
Graham described the bill as an instrument of those who would ban guns altogether. “We’re talking about a constitutional right here,” he said, explaining that he could not support a bill that would force “innocent Americans” to “pay the cost of going to court to get their gun rights back.”
Graham wasn’t nearly as concerned about rights when he launched into a disquisition on the treatment of American citizens accused of terrorism. “I am all into national security,” he said. “I want them to stop reading these guys Miranda rights.“
Conservatives claim to be originalists and experts on how the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted. The experts have so far this week judged two Amendments in the Bill of Rights and a 600 year old legal principle – a corner stone of democracy – to be obsolete, ignorable, not worth the paper Jefferson and Madison wrote them on. On the other hand, the 2nd Amendment and their questionable interpretation of it, sacrosanct. While I generally agree with the right to bear arms, restrictions on what that right constitutes has been before the courts and has not been deemed unlimited,
In United States v. Miller,4 the Court sustained a statute requiring registration under the National Firearms Act of sawed-off shotguns. After reciting the original provisions of the Constitution dealing with the militia, the Court observed that ”[w]ith obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted with that end in view.”5 The significance of the militia, the Court continued, was that it was composed of ”civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.” It was upon this force that the States could rely for defense and securing of the laws, on a force that ”comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense,” who, ”when called for service . . . were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.”6 Therefore, ”[i]n the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than 18 inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well- regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.”
I guess we should Remember November and Conservatives fighting for the rights of terrorists to buy arms and against your right not be unlawfully detained..