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Separate Religion From Government

OVERVIEW

“Separation of Church and State” aka separation of Religion from Government… a philosophical overview. 

Given the dangerous potential of Religions to punish “beliefs” that contradict their own unprovable “beliefsystem, I say… separate the “power" of Religion from the “power” of the Government at every turn, every juncture and at each and every opportunity. The power of the Government must never include the power that religious organizations embrace… the power to punish, ostracize or shun individuals for what they “believe." Our freedom to be free and to freely pursue “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” requires (no… make that demands) the separation of Religion from Government (aka Church from State).  Our “unalienable” God given rights include “free will” and the freedom to use that free will to... (1) respect, yet reject, the religious "beliefs" of others or, alternatively, (2) to be free from being punished for our own “beliefs”… no matter how bigoted, short sighted or irrational our own beliefs may  seem to others… at a given point in time.

So, we must stand and demand... separation of Church and State. Put your religious symbols on your lawns, in your windows and on your roofs (along with Santa Claus and his reindeers), and I will fight to the death for your right to place your religious symbols on private property no matter how offensive I or others might find them to be. But, keep the symbols of religion out of the public square. Those religious symbols serve no purpose in the public square… other than to give a governmental venue for religious groups to tout the claimed superiority of their unprovable “beliefs" to the rest of the world.

 

RELIGIONS DICTATING AND PUNISHING BELIEFS

Religion dictates “beliefs”… unprovable “beliefs (repeat for emphasis "unprovable beliefs”), with every Religion touting the superiority and the exclusive truth of their own particular “belief" system. Religions then punish disbelievers as heretics or infidels. That also bears repeating… Religions have a long history of punishing people for what they “believe” or “don’t believe.” 

Think……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(1) Jesus of Nazareth was crucified because he harbored the “belief” that he was God and the "Messiah”… a violation of Jewish law against blasphemy. Therefore, the Sadducees, the religious leaders who ran the Sanhedrin (the Jewish judicial system), condemned Jesus to death via crucifixion (with the necessary approval of Rome from their local prefect, Pontius Pilate). With the separation of Church and State, Jesus would never have been crucified… at least not for "believing" he was the Messiah or God. But, in the Jewish State, Government and Religion were under the same umbrella, so Jesus was crucified for what he "believed”…  the “blasphemy" that he was God and the Messiah,” a religious heresy in the eyes of the Jewish Sanhedrin (and with the Romans only to happy to see that rabble rouser and agitator, Jesus of Nazareth, gone).

 

I do not single out the Jewish Religion. I love and respect their Holy books, their culture, their history, their strong willed, long-suffering survivors and my many dynamic Jewish friends who taught me the fundamentals of financial survival through risk-taking and entrepreneurship. And, I especially love the story of Rabbi Hillel who was confronted by a gentile who told Rabbi Hillel that he would convert to Judaism... if the good Rabbi could explain the entire Torah to him while he stood on one leg. Rabbi Hillel accepted that challenge, and, while the gentile stood on one leg, Rabbi Hillel said… “That which you don’t want done to you, don’t do to others. The rest of the Torah is merely commentary.” As I say, my comments do not single out any one religion, but rather are addressed to all religions.

(2) Think of Galileo who (following Copernicus) “believed" the Sun was the center of our Universe (really the solar system)… another religious heresy, with the Christians telling Galileo that his scientific “belief" contradicted the Bible ("from the rising of the Sun to the going down thereof”… meaning the Earth was at the center of the Universe). Therefore, Galileo’s scientific “belief" put him on the horns of a dilemma: (1) either be a victim of Capital Punishment for harboring and proclaiming his scientific “belief" that the Sun was the center of the Universe or (2) recant his heresy and save himself by accepting the “unprovable religious belief” (of the moment) that the Earth was the center of the Universe… a dilemma that arose because the Christians put the power of Religion and the power of the Government under the same umbrella. Ditto for the Salem Witch Trials… 20 Capital Punishment executions, mostly women, all based on the hysteria of the moment and the false premise of witchcraft.

(3) Think of ISIS (who also combine Religion and Government under the same umbrella), and who, therefore, continue to administer Capital Punishment to non-believing infidels because those infidels don't "believe” the same unprovable beliefs” that ISIS holds near and dear to their corrupt and vicious hearts.

(4) Think of the never ending battle of Shia versus Sunni Muslims across the globe, both of whom put Religion and Government under the same umbrella and use State sponsored Capital Punishment, jail, torture and other punishments to punish each other’s “beliefs”…  century after century after century. And, the real enemy in the Middle East and the biggest offender of issuing death warrants for non believers??? No, not Iran, but rather our allay, Saudi Arabia, whose citizens brought down the Twin Towers and, most recently… their Crowned Prince, Mohammad bin Salman (a Sunni), had journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, tortured and murdered at the Saudi embassy in Turkey because… well, because Khashoggi’s “beliefs” expressed in his journalistic writings differed from the "beliefs" of the Crowned Prince and the Royal Saudi Family.

(5) Think of the Taliban in Afghanistan who combine Religion and Government under the same umbrella and who use State sanctioned, Capital Punishment to eliminate... who??? Afghan citizens who “believe” that women should have the right to an education, citizens who “believe” that music is good for the soul and citizens who "believe” that centuries old, mountain carvings are fine art.

(6) Think of George W. Bush who tells us that his "preemptive strikes” and invasions brought “Democracy” to Iraq and Afghanistan. Not true!!! The right to vote does not constitute a “Democracy” where the Constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan specifically allow the Mullahs’  "subjective beliefs" of what the Koran (supposedly) says… to trump the Constitutional rights and freedoms of its own citizens, because, again, Religion and Government are under the same umbrella aka a Theocracy.

 

THE STATE PUNISHING ACTIONS...

The power of the Government aka the State is... to punishactions," notbeliefs.” That is an awesome power to unleash against an individual’s “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness"… limited only by the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof on the accuser. The Government (aka the State), unlike Religion (aka the Church), does not and should not punish our freedom to “believe” to believe whatever we want believe... “Communism,” “Socialism,” Capitalism,“ Koran, Bible, Torah, Global warming, no Global warming etc, etc, etc. 

 

I CLOSE…

So, I close. Keep the power of Religion (aka the Church) to punish “beliefs” and the power of the State (aka the Government) to punish "actions", separate and apart… if you treasure your “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” Thank heaven for those Supreme Court Justices who interpret the “fill in the blanks,” cryptic language of the First Amendment Establishment Clause in a fashion that protects all of us lovers of freedom from the power of Religions, who, if you do not continue to stand on guard, will start exercising their power to punish our mere “beliefs” that differ from their own “unprovable beliefs.” As far as humanly possible, guard against mix of Religion and Government and  stand up for “Separation of Church and State." 

Outline & Syllabus For Original Thinking

When I open the door for "original thinking" and invite you in, I give you the gift (the permission and encouragement, if you will) to start to become your own person with your own original thoughts... although I fully understand that, in the pursuit of "originality," we are all "standing on the shoulders of giants" who came before us.

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2nd Amendment Cage Fight

SECOND AMENDMENT… STATE OF THE LAW

Today’s Second Amendment jurisprudence says the government is forbidden from banning handguns. See Heller One, 554 U.S. 570 (2008-- a 5 to 4 decision written by Justice Scalia who, with an eye toward the future, indicated that, even the “inherent” right to bears arms under the Second Amendment, is not an absolute ”right to keep and carry any weapons whatsoever, in any manner whatsoever, for whatever purpose”). But, Government can, however, ban AR15s, like the one used in Parkland Florida to take 17 lives on Valentines Day 2018-- at least until the U.S. Supreme Court says otherwise, if they ever do. See Heller Two, 670 F3d 1244 (2015 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals).

 

THE ROLE OF HARD-WIRED DNA

There may be a semblance of logic and law in both the majority and the dissenting opinions of Heller One and Heller Two. But, for most Americans, logic, law, deductive reasoning and legal analysis take a back seat to long-seated, preexisting, emotional biasthatsurrounds firearms and the SecondAmendment. My 75 year understanding of human nature tells me thatheredity aka DNA hard-wiringcreates a primitive, preexisting emotional response that predisposes Americans to either favor the NRA position of a Second Amendment on steroids with its absolute right to bear arms of any and all kinds whatsoever, or, alternatively, predisposes Americans toward the banning of military type weapons in the hands of civilians.

While the Second Amendment battle for the hearts and minds of Americans rages on, I foresee an upcoming battle to end all battles… an “Armageddon in the Octagon” that will decide once and for all whose DNA hard-wiring will ultimately prevail in the American, Constitutional landscape that seeks to define the contours of the Second Amendment.  

 

ARMAGEDDON IN THE OCTAGON

Tonight’s a night that will be remembered in infamy. 100,000 “standing room only” spectators, stand shoulder to shoulder, elbow to elbow, packed into the Roman Colosseum to watch the “battle of all battles.” These present-day lovers of epic violence and daring have paid $3,000 a ticket just to stand in the shadow of history and bask in the days of glory gone by-- days when ferocious lions devoured the early Christians and days when Gladiators fought to the death against wild beasts as well as against one another… “mano e mano”.

 

Today’s spectators of the octagon are the successors of those who relished the historic battles of old. Today’s spectators are the new-wave followers of “Texas Death Matches” (whatever that’s about). These spectators of today have come from continents across the globe to witness this Armageddon in the Octagon. They have already whipped themselves up to fever pitch, as impresario Vince McMahan takes the microphone and begins the introductions that will begin the “battle that will end, all the battles”.

    

INTRODUCTIONS

Out of the red corner.Laaaaadieeeees aaaaand gennnntlemen. This is the cage fight to the death that we have all been waiting for. So lets get riiiiight to it. Fighting out of the red cornerand representing the Second Amendment warriors of the NRA, we have many familiar faces, starting with the much hyped, bellicose citizens of America "armed to the teeth" as they are with AR15s and other military style weapons, all wearing tee shirts emblazoned with a scull and cross bones and all shouting out the war chant, “NRA!!! NRA!!! NRA!!! NRA!!! NRA!!! NRA!!!” I can see everyone is revved up and ready for tonight’s “Arrrrrmaaaaageeeeedon in the Occccctaaaaagon”!!!

Supporting America’s “armed to the hilt” citizens and also fighting out of the red corner of death and destruction, are the likes of which have filled our world with horror and terror for as long as human time can remember. Although these household names need no introduction, I give you Geeeeenghiiiisssss Khaaaaannnnn, Alexxxxxaaaaanderrrrr the Grrrrreat, the one and only Caeeeeesarrrrr of Rooooome, his crucifying corner men spitting out nails of crucifixion, rat ta tat tat!!! Take that… “smack”!!! Also in the red corner, I give you that king of barbarism, Aaaaattilllllaaaaa the Huuuuunnnnn, standing alongside those much feared explorers and occupiers of new world America, the fearless Connnnnquiiiiistaaaaadors of Spain, and their one time foe, the "Colonizers" from Great Britain, along with some new charter members, the Taliban and ISIS, plus some Christian Crusaders who have already registered for tonight’s event, but who have yet to pay their entrance fee to the NRA. We are assured, as we speak, that they are returning from the Holy Land with a goodly fortune from the selling of indulgences to the infidels. These ever- dangerous Crusaders should be here momentarily and pay their NRA membership fees, square up with the promoter, Don King, and jump in the affray. Let's hear it for this line-up of "over the top," pure pedigree, DNA, NRA charter members of death and destruction… all fighting out of the reeeeeddddd corrrrrnerrrrr!!!  

 

The Second Amendment crowd and their groupies in residence roar with "stage door Johnnie" approval, NRA!!! NRA!!! NRA!!!... as the “rapture” of anticipated violence, death, dismembering and destruction hits a resounding cacophony in an  “over the top” crescendo of NRA!!! NRA!!! NRA!!!   

            

Aaaaaaaaaand, nowwwww, fighting out of blue corner, if you even want to call it fightin,’ I give you a disparate bunch of pacifists and bleeding heart liberals, well known for their chicken-hearted failure to stand up with the violence of arms, AR15s and bump stocks... those who fail again and again to worry enough about dominating God’s children of color. I now give youuuuu those weak kneed pacifists ... Jesus of Nazareth, Mahatma Gandhi, the wise and gentlemanly Rabbi Hillel, the always “something to hide” Dali Lama, who once dodged the Special Prosecutor’s question, “What religion are you”???... by inappropriately responding with the irrelevant answer, “My religion is kindness.” Joining those historical enigmas of non-violence is South Africa’s notorious black, long-time convict, Nelson Mandela, who appears along with America’s ineffective, “just havin’ a daydream” Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, accompanied by his like minded and just as ineffective preacher, the Reverend Mr. Black, who got knocked on his back by a hard punchin’ lumberjack and, just “turned the other cheek.” Finally, the last two contestants fighting out of the non-fighting blue corner are that chicken hearted, draft dodger, the "Champ" aka Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, out of Louisville, Kentucky and, last and certainly least, that sweet, but naïve, Pollyanna-ish, Catholic nun who foolishly claims… “the meek will inherit the earth.” All the way from the slums of Calcutta, now Kolkata, I give you the mother of all mothers, Moooootherrrrr, Teeeeerrrrreeeeesa!!!

 

No discernible response other than few barely audible "amens" and some mumbles about walking through some lonesome valley of their enemies while showing no fear. 

                   

NATIONAL ANTHEM

Please rise for the National Anthem to be sung by that genius of unending opinions and verbal attacks who calls 16 year-old high schoolers “soulless” because they dare take to the streets to protest against the NRA. I give you the one and only, NRA poster boy and fearless big game hunter who courageously guns down our unarmed white tail deer friends with his bevy of high-powered rifles. I give you the one and only “Motor City Madman”-- Ted (don’t call me Theodore the Chipmunk) Nugent. He will be accompaniedon piano and backup vocals by Kid "Made in America" Rock-- just off one of his memorable skirmishes in one of Detroit’s topless joints. After the singing of the National Anthem by the dynamic duo of the “Tedster” and the “Kidster,” the blue corner will give you the loser song of all time by John "just trying to give peace a chance" Lennon.

 

AND THE WINNER???

Damn it. I fell asleep during the first round. But, as I eventually awake and the fog of battle lifts, I see that Vince McMahan’s verbal assault of the night before has left me shipwrecked on some desolate island in the Caribbean, surrounded by 30 or 40, six inch tall Lilliputians who have traded in their miniature bow and arrows of yesterday for the real life AR15s of today. 

 

Now!!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about.         

Walking The Honduran Caravan

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming… four dead in Ohio

I awoke at 5: A.M. in the middle of a fitful, full blown nightmare. I sat up on my five star, tempur-pedic mattress, threw off my cushy down comforter, turned the heat up a notch on my furnace and put my little dog Shadow's new winter coat on her... when, suddenly, I was somehow teleported to the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. There I sat under a jeweled sky of a billion stars at some impromptu desert camp fire surrounded by my successful lawyer buddies... Charles Leahy, an “intellectual property” lawyer, educated at MSU college of law (formerly known as DCL) and residing in Harbor Springs, Michigan and Mark Bucchi of the very Catholic Notre Dame University and Rutgers Law School and Charles Kronzek, a Divorce Lawyer of many skills, whose web site tells us he represents “clients with substantial assets” while for diversion he is a swimmer “as long as the water is warm.” 

The conversation of my erudite lawyer friends was hard to hear and even more difficult to decipher, but I heard phrases like “invasion"… of the body snatchers, "neutering” (or, perhaps, it was "neutralizing”) the Constitution with Presidential-imperial edicts and rocks as projectiles that must be answered with military rifles, the “Rule of Perpendiculars” and Posse Comitatus. I thought to myself… “Whoa…how did I get invited to this strange dream???"

I knew I was socially and intellectually over my head with this group so (as Robert W. Service said in The Ballad of Sam Mc Gee) "I took a hike.” As I wandered about the desert of darkness and on a land many forlorn sounds, I remembered how cold and unforgiving the desert can be at night and how overwhelming hot during the day. I felt something scurry over my Adidas footwear… a furry like, brown creature of many legs and about the size of a tomato. Suddenly, I was lost and on my own, not sure if I was safer alone than back at camp with my distinguished, erudite lawyer friends. 

Suddenly, without warning, I was surrounded by a sea of broken humanity… a sea of brown people crying out for help and clinging to me. They were weak, hungry, thirsty, cold, dehydrated and exhausted. Many had no shoes and, even those with shoes, had blistered feet that could no longer carry them over the harsh terrain of the desert. Rashes and abrasions of the skin were beyond repair, Disorientation, post traumatic emotional shock and fright took over their souls and the light of God was slowly being extinguished from within them. One of their younger children, a seven-year-old girl with sand filled, matted, black hair and parched skin, Guadalupe Sandoval, had been bitten by a tarantula while she slept on the desert floor and was in end stage, anaphylactic shock with her throat swollen closed and the light within her hopelessly burning out as her family desperately clutched her and wailed as the others said a Spanish rosary. The lifeless child, who had only known heartache and suffering in her abbreviated lifetime, had to be pried in death from her unconsolable mother, so little Guadalupe could be buried under the scrub of the Sonoran Desert as... “Seven Spanish Angels took another angel home." The “homeless, tempest tossed” troop of "poor, huddled masses” of brown skinned men, women and children "yearning to breathe free” left little Guadalupe behind and continued their desperate walk toward the shores of their Galilee.  

As they continued their desperate walk North, God's brown skin children turned toward me, and with all their rawness of their exposed, soulfulness cried out, “You are an Americano, please help us. We will work hard and do what you tell us to do. Please save us.” Well, I immediately went back to the place where my erudite lawyers friends were comfortably basking in the fire light… because I intuitively knew that those well educated lawyers and their “clients with substantial assets" would have all the answers... even if the music died. But, as hard as I tried, I could not get my lawyer friends to divert from their legalese… “Rule of Perpendiculars,” “Rule against Perpetuities,”  Posse Comitatus, Presidential edicts and from their preconceived notions of dangerous marauders, invaders and Middle Eastern ISIS hidden within the brown skin caravan. I was overwhelmed and defeated by the obtuse language of the law and the spin of the facts. I went back to the brown skinned caravan and apologetically told them the bad news… my powerful, rich, lawyer friends can be of no help because they are men of the law and they are hopelessly entangled in the words of the law. 

But, the brown skinned souls asked me to please go back and give it one more try… this time using the “message” of the “Man walking in sandals.” I thought… “It can’t hurt.” I went back and told my lawyers friends they had to do something because the “message" of the “Man walking in sandals” supports the brown skin caravan... “When I was hungry, you gave me to eat, thirsty, you gave me to drink and even imprisoned as an outcast you visited me.” And, "whenever you do these things for these the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it for me.” 

Well, my erudite lawyer friends, at least, agreed to put the matter up to a vote before the American people. The ordinary Christians of America and the voices of our Jewish brothers and sisters begrudgingly relented and said… “We will help. If Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey are taking in millions of forlorn masses, we must do our part until we can figure out a better way forward.” But the Evangelical Christians who support President Trump said “no way. Let them eat cake. We comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted and we only believe in the ‘right to be born', not the right to quality of life after birth, so make sure those brown skinned babies keep getting born into hopelessness and despair.” I left the brown skinned caravan to fend for themselves and me to fend for myself. “God save those forlorn masses and God save us for ignoring them." 

The evangelicals finished with a prayer of support… “Donald, Donald… he’s our man. Donald, Donald, he’s got the plan to bring down the caravan. Call in the United States Army. Don’t give a damn and don’t give a hand. Just whack the brown man... again and again. Besides we generous white Americans have already done our fair share by letting the black man into America... all those centuries ago.”

Tin soldiers and the Donald coming… how many dead in Texas??? 

I am afraid that my erudite lawyer friends have, by and large, known only good times in life and swam only in “warm waters” and have suffered very little. As Mahatma Gandhi said, it is only human suffering that opens hearts, changes minds and allows us to see ourselves in the faces of migrants and immigrants... “Mere appeal to reason does not answer where prejudices are age-long. The penetration of the heart comes from suffering.” 

The Greek poet, Aeschylus, also knew the value of “suffering."

Even in sleep

Pain which cannot forget

Falls drop by drop

Upon the heart

Until... in our own despair

Comes wisdom…Through the awful grace of God

 As I said months ago in another post, would that there was a Night Beatitude…"Blessed are those who have not suffered, but understand the plight of those who do.”

Supreme Court's Assault on Michigan Children, Seniors and the Disabled

What kind of legal system would play "Russian Roulette" with the lives of our children, our seniors and the disabled? The answer: Michigan and it's John Engler appointed Judges. Harsh criticism? It is. But, necessarily harsh because the loss of life and the loss of quality of life that those Judges condone, day in and day out, is a scandal that has existed way too long.

Under the law established by Engler-appointed, Republican Judges and their successors, the lives and safety of our children, our seniors and our disabled... are all left unprotected. When the John Engler Supreme Court Judges set up shop, they dismantled prior Michigan law— authoring 26 cases in a five year period (1998-2002) that overruled settled precedent. See Stare Decicis v the "New Authority": the Michigan Supreme Court's Practice of Overruling Precedent (1998-2002). The new wave of Engler Judges gave Engler everything he wanted and everything he counted on... a rigged legal system that allowed Corporate America, Government and their Insurance Carriers to escape Jury trials, a rigged legal system that told the American public that Trial Lawyers who attempt to make the rich and powerful "accountable" to the rest of us were the enemy and a rigged legal system that did away with the very "accountability" that Tort Law is suppose to insure. See the Ideology of Textualism by Professor Joseph Kimble (Lawyers Weekly... 8/21/17) where Professor Kimble demonstrates that when the Engler Judges interpreted Michigan statutes, Corporate America, Insurance Carriers and Michigan Government won 78 out of 81 cases over a 15 year period (2000–2015). What a statistical coincidence eh? Examples of the John Engler rigged legal system, include:

(1) Elderly left to fend for themselves. See Estate of Koetsier v Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School (Lawyers Weekly No. 08-98265, 4 pages, decided this August 2018). An 85 year-old grandmother who was going to see her grandson play basketball, slipped and fell on "black ice" while traversing the school parking lot, hit her head and was dead within 24 hours. Her case was dismissed under the "open and obvious" doctrine with a parting shot by the Court of Appeals that the danger was certainly "avoidable" because the Grandmother didn't have to go to the basketball game of her grandson. WOW!!! Eighty five years-old and the message from the Michigan Courts is "stay home Grandma." The message should have been one of "accountability" to the Defendant school, maintain your parking lot for the safety of all, including the elderly and then let the jury, the conscience of the community, figure out who is at fault and the percentage of fault.

(2) Kids left to fend for themselves. See Beals v State of Michigan (497 Mich. 363... 2015) where an autistic teenager drowned in the pool of his group home because the State of Michigan lifeguard was not at his post as he (admittedly) flirted with the girls and threw the football around, while the kid drowned. The kid's case was dismissed because, as the Michigan Supreme Court said, the lifeguards desertion of his post was not the "most immediate, efficient and direct cause" of the drowning because some other "unidentified" force caused the autistic kid to drown. "Unidentified" force? Like what your Honors? Gravity?— the ultimate cause of all drownings. Again, the message of the case should have been one of "accountability" for lifeguards so the lives of our autistic children are not necessarily at risk. Let the Jury figure out who is at fault and the percentage of fault.

(3) Disabled left to fend for themselves. See Sidorowicz v Chicken Shack (469 Mich. 912... 2003) where a blind man's case was dismissed on the grounds that the dangerous condition on the bathroom floor (that existed for some time) was "open and obvious" and should have been seen by the blindman. "I see" said the blindman who really couldn't see at all. The message should have been that Corporate America has a duty to guard against dangerous conditions which can injure their disabled customers and, again, let the Jury decide who was at fault and the percentages of fault.

The bottom line. While the Court's should be insisting on "accountability" for premises owners, life guards, Government and Corporate America and on Trial by Jury for those killed or injured by dangerous conditions, Engler and his appointed Judges "rigged" the system of Justice so that "Big Guy, Bad Guys" can just sit back, do nothing to protect our children, our seniors and our disabled community and roll the dice with their lives by just ignoring easily correctable, dangerous conditions. Reading between the lines, you can hear the Court telling the "Big Guys, Bad Guys"... "don't worry about 'accountability,' we've got your back." Typical of a legal system of "who knows who," rather than the "rule of law" for all.