Scorecard: How Many Rights Have Americans REALLY Lost?

http://www.theispot.com/images/source/FredaLibertyUpended1.jpgPainting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com

How Many Constitutional Freedoms Do We Still Have?

Preface: While a lot of people talk about the loss of our Constitutional liberties, people usually speak in a vague, generalized manner … or focus on only one issue and ignore the rest.

This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.

First Amendment

The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

However, the government is arresting those speaking out … and violently crushing peaceful assemblies which attempt to petition the government for redress.

A federal judge found that the law allowing indefinite detention of Americans without due process has a “chilling effect” on free speech. And see this and this.

There are also enacted laws allowing the secret service to arrest anyone protesting near the president or other designated folks (that might explain incidents like this).

The threat of being labeled a terrorist for exercising our First Amendment rights certainly violates the First Amendment.   The government is using laws to crush dissent, and it’s gotten so bad that even U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying that we are descending into tyranny.

For example, the following actions may get an American citizen living on U.S. soil labeled as a “suspected terrorist” today:

And holding the following beliefs may also be considered grounds for suspected terrorism:

Of course, Muslims are more or less subject to a separate system of justice in America.

And 1st Amendment rights are especially chilled when power has become so concentrated that the same agency which spies on all Americans also decides who should be assassinated.

Second Amendment

The 2nd Amendment states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Gun control and gun rights advocates obviously have very different views about whether guns are a force for violence or for good.

But even a top liberal Constitutional law expert reluctantly admits  that the right to own a gun is as important a Constitutional right as freedom of speech or religion:

Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda.

***

It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right. It is true that the amendment begins with a reference to militias: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Accordingly, it is argued, this amendment protects the right of the militia to bear arms, not the individual.

Yet, if true, the Second Amendment would be effectively declared a defunct provision. The National Guard is not a true militia in the sense of the Second Amendment and, since the District and others believe governments can ban guns entirely, the Second Amendment would be read out of existence.

***

More important, the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.

Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.

None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that … here’s the really hard part … the NRA may have been right. This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it.

The gun control debate – including which weapons and magazines are banned – is still in flux …

Third Amendment

The 3rd Amendment prohibits the government forcing people to house soldiers:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Hey … we’re still honoring one of the Amendments! Score one for We the People!

 In America, Journalists Are Considered Terrorists
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com.

Fourth Amendment

The 4th Amendment prevents unlawful search and seizure:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

But the government is flying drones over the American homeland to spy on us.

Senator Rand Paul correctly notes:

The domestic use of drones to spy on Americans clearly violates the Fourth Amendment and limits our rights to personal privacy.

Paul introduced a bill to “protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles commonly called drones.”

Emptywheel notes in a post entitled “The OTHER Assault on the Fourth Amendment in the NDAA? Drones at Your Airport?”:

http://www.emptywheel.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Picture-7.png

***

As the map above makes clear–taken from this 2010 report–DOD [the Department of Defense] plans to have drones all over the country by 2015.

Many police departments are also using drones to spy on us. As the Hill reported:

At least 13 state and local police agencies around the country have used drones in the field or in training, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an industry trade group. The Federal Aviation Administration has predicted that by the end of the decade, 30,000 commercial and government drones could be flying over U.S. skies.

***

“Drones should only be used if subject to a powerful framework that regulates their use in order to avoid abuse and invasions of privacy,” Chris Calabrese, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said during a congressional forum in Texas last month.

He argued police should only fly drones over private property if they have a warrant, information collected with drones should be promptly destroyed when it’s no longer needed and domestic drones should not carry any weapons.

He argued that drones pose a more serious threat to privacy than helicopters because they are cheaper to use and can hover in the sky for longer periods of time.

A congressional report earlier this year predicted that drones could soon be equipped with technologies to identify faces or track people based on their height, age, gender and skin color.

Even without drones, Americans are the most spied on people in world history:

The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email,  text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information,  employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American. [And see this.]

Some also claim that the government is also using facial recognition software and surveillance cameras to track where everyone is going.  Moreover, cell towers track where your phone is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. (And – given that your smartphone routinely sends your location information back to Apple or Google – it would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way.)    Your iPhone, or other brand of smartphone is spying on virtually everything you do  (ProPublica notes: “That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker“).

As the top spy chief at the U.S. National Security Agency explained this week, the American government is collecting some 100 billion 1,000-character emails per day, and 20 trillion communications of all types per year.

He says that the government has collected all of the communications of congressional leaders, generals and everyone else in the U.S. for the last 10 years.

He further explains that he set up the NSA’s system so that all of the information would automatically be encrypted, so that the government had to obtain a search warrant based upon probably cause before a particular suspect’s communications could be decrypted.  [He specifically did this to comply with the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure.] But the NSA now collects all data in an unencrypted form, so that no probable cause is needed to view any citizen’s information.  He says that it is actually cheaper and easier to store the data in an encrypted format: so the government’s current system is being done for political – not practical – purposes.

He says that if anyone gets on the government’s “enemies list”, then the stored information will be used to target them. Specifically, he notes that if the government decides it doesn’t like someone, it analyzes all of the data it has collected on that person and his or her associates over the last 10 years to build a case against him.

Wired reports:

Transit authorities in cities across the country are quietly installing microphone-enabled surveillance systems on public buses that would give them the ability to record and store private conversations….

The systems are being installed in San Francisco, Baltimore, and other cities with funding from the Department of Homeland Security in some cases ….

The IP audio-video systems can be accessed remotely via a built-in web server (.pdf), and can be combined with GPS data to track the movement of buses and passengers throughout the city.

***

The systems use cables or WiFi to pair audio conversations with camera images in order to produce synchronous recordings. Audio and video can be monitored in real-time, but are also stored onboard in blackbox-like devices, generally for 30 days, for later retrieval. Four to six cameras with mics are generally installed throughout a bus, including one near the driver and one on the exterior of the bus.

***

Privacy and security expert Ashkan Soltani told the Daily that the audio could easily be coupled with facial recognition systems or audio recognition technology to identify passengers caught on the recordings.

RT notes:

Street lights that can spy installed in some American cities

America welcomes a new brand of smart street lightning systems: energy-efficient, long-lasting, complete with LED screens to show ads. They can also spy on citizens in a way George Orwell would not have imagined in his worst nightmare.

­With a price tag of $3,000+ apiece, according to an ABC report, the street lights are now being rolled out in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh, and may soon mushroom all across the country.

Part of the Intellistreets systems made by the company Illuminating Concepts, they have a number of “homeland security applications” attached.

Each has a microprocessor “essentially similar to an iPhone,” capable of wireless communication. Each can capture images and count people for the police through a digital camera, record conversations of passers-by and even give voice commands thanks to a built-in speaker.

Ron Harwood, president and founder of Illuminating Concepts, says he eyed the creation of such a system after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He is “working with Homeland Security” to deliver his dream of making people “more informed and safer.”

Fox news notes that the government is insisting that “black boxes” be installed in cars to track your location.

The TSA has moved way past airports, trains and sports stadiums, and is deploying mobile scanners to spy on people all over the place.  This means that traveling within the United States is no longer a private affair.  (And they’re probably bluffing, but the Department of Homeland Security claims they will soon be able to know your adrenaline level, what you ate for breakfast and what you’re thinking … from 164 feet away.)

And Verizon has applied for a patent that would allow your television to track what you are doing, who you are with, what objects you’re holding, and what type of mood you’re in.  Given Verizon and other major carriers responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011, such information would not be kept private.  (And some folks could be spying on you through your tv using existing technology.)

Of course, widespread spying on Americans began before 9/11 (confirmed here and here. And see this). So the whole “post-9/11 reality” argument falls flat.

And the spying isn’t being done to keep us safe … but to crush dissent and to smear people who uncover unflattering this about the government … and to help the too big to fail businesses compete against smaller businesses (and here).

In addition, the ACLU published a map in 2006 showing that nearly two-thirds of the American public – 197.4 million people – live within a “constitution-free zone” within 100 miles of land and coastal borders:

The ACLU explained:

  • Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.
  • The border, however, has always been an exception.  There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply.  For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”
  • But what is “the border”?  According to the government, it  is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States.
  • As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
  • Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship.  Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders.  They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
  • However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose.  On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
  • The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.

Computer World reports today:

Border agents don’t need probable cause and they don’t need a stinking warrant since they don’t need to prove any reasonable suspicion first. Nor, sadly, do two out of three people have First Amendment protection; it is as if DHS has voided those Constitutional amendments and protections they provide to nearly 200 million Americans.

***

Don’t be silly by thinking this means only if you are physically trying to cross the international border. As we saw when discussing the DEA using license plate readers and data-mining to track Americans movements, the U.S. “border” stretches out 100 miles beyond the true border. Godfather Politics added:

But wait, it gets even better!  If you live anywhere in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey or Rhode Island, DHS says the search zones encompass the entire state.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have a “longstanding constitutional and statutory authority permitting suspicionless and warrantless searches of merchandise at the border and its functional equivalent.” This applies to electronic devices, according to the recent CLCR “Border Searches of Electronic Devices” executive summary [PDF]:

Fourth Amendment

The overall authority to conduct border searches without suspicion or warrant is clear and longstanding, and courts have not treated searches of electronic devices any differently than searches of other objects.  We conclude that CBP’s and ICE’s current border search policies comply with the Fourth Amendment.  We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits.  However, we do think that recording more information about why searches are performed would help managers and leadership supervise the use of border search authority, and this is what we recommended; CBP has agreed and has implemented this change beginning in FY2012.

First Amendment

Some critics argue that a heightened level of suspicion should be required before officers search laptop computers in order to avoid chilling First Amendment rights.  However, we conclude that the laptop border searches allowed under the ICE and CBP Directives do not violate travelers’ First Amendment rights.

The ACLU said, Wait one darn minute! Hello, what happened to the Constitution? Where is the rest of CLCR report on the “policy of combing through and sometimes confiscating travelers’ laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices—even when there is no suspicion of wrongdoing?” DHS maintains it is not violating our constitutional rights, so the ACLU said:

If it’s true that our rights are safe and that DHS is doing all the things it needs to do to safeguard them, then why won’t it show us the results of its assessment? And why would it be legitimate to keep a report about the impact of a policy on the public’s rights hidden from the very public being affected?

***

As ChristianPost wrote, “Your constitutional rights have been repealed in ten states. No, this isn’t a joke. It is not exaggeration or hyperbole. If you are in ten states in the United States, your some of your rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights have been made null and void.”

The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the entire DHS report about suspicionless and warrantless “border” searches of electronic devices. ACLU attorney Catherine Crump said “We hope to establish that the Department of Homeland Security can’t simply assert that its practices are legitimate without showing us the evidence, and to make it clear that the government’s own analyses of how our fundamental rights apply to new technologies should be openly accessible to the public for review and debate.”

Meanwhile, the EFF has tips to protect yourself and your devices against border searches. If you think you know all about it, then you might try testing your knowledge with a defending privacy at the U.S. border quiz.

Wired pointed out in 2008 that the courts have routinely upheld such constitution-free zones:

Federal agents at the border do not need any reason to search through travelers’ laptops, cell phones or digital cameras for evidence of crimes, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, extending the government’s power to look through belongings like suitcases at the border to electronics.

***

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the government, finding that the so-called border exception to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches applied not just to suitcases and papers, but also to electronics.

***

Travelers should be aware that anything on their mobile devices can be searched by government agents, who may also seize the devices and keep them for weeks or months. When in doubt, think about whether online storage or encryption might be tools you should use to prevent the feds from rummaging through your journal, your company’s confidential business plans or naked pictures of you and your-of-age partner in adult fun.


Paintings by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com.

Fifth Amendment

The 5th Amendment addresses due process of law, eminent domain, double jeopardy and grand jury:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

But the American government has shredded the 5th Amendment by subjecting us to indefinite detention and taking away our due process rights.

The government claims the right to assassinate or indefinitely detain any American citizen on U.S. citizen without any due process. And see this.

As such, the government is certainly depriving people of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

There are additional corruptions of 5th Amendment rights – such as property being taken for private purposes.

The percentage of prosecutions in which a defendant is denied a  grand jury is difficult to gauge, as there is so much secrecy surrounding many terrorism trials.

Protection against being tried twice for the same crime after being found innocent (“double jeopardy”) seems to be intact.

HUNG LIBERTY (NYSE)Image by William Banzai

Sixth Amendment

The 6th Amendment guarantees the right to hear the criminal charges levied against us and to be able to confront the witnesses who have testified against us, as well as speedy criminal trials, and a public defender for those who cannot hire an attorney:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Subjecting people to indefinite detention or assassination obviously violates the 6th Amendment right to a jury trial.  In both cases, the defendants is “disposed of” without ever receiving a trial … and often without ever hearing the charges against them.

More and more commonly, the government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.

The government uses “secret evidence” to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorism charges (even against U.S. soldiers) and even assassinate people.  And see this and this.

Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are not even allowed to read their own briefs.

Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret.  And it’s about to get a lot worse.

True – when defendants are afforded a jury trial – they are provided with assistance of counsel. However, the austerity caused by redistribution of wealth to the super-elite is causing severe budget cuts to the courts and the public defenders’ offices nationwide.

Moreover, there are two systems of justice in America … one for the big banks and other fatcats, and one for everyone else.   The government made it official policy not to prosecute fraud, even though fraud is the main business model adopted by Wall Street.  Indeed, the biggest financial crime in world history, the largest insider trading scandal of all time, illegal raiding of customer accounts and blatant financing of drug cartels and terrorists have all been committed recently without any real criminal prosecution or jail time.

On the other hand, government prosecutors are using the legal system to  crush dissent and to silence whistleblowers.

And some of the nation’s most powerful judges have lost their independence  … and are in bed with the powers-that-be.

Seventh Amendment

The 7th Amendment guarantees trial by jury in federal court for civil cases:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

As far as we know, this right is still being respected.  However – as noted above – the austerity caused by redistribution of wealth to the super-elite is causing severe budget cuts to the courts, resulting in the wheels of justice slowing down considerably.

Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com

Eighth Amendment

The 8th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Indefinite detention and assassination are obviously cruel and unusual punishment.

The widespread system of torture carried out in the last 10 years – with the help of other countriesviolates the 8th Amendment.  Many want to bring it back … or at least justify its past use.

While Justice Scalia disingenuously argues that torture does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment because it is meant to produce information – not punish – he’s wrong.  It’s not only cruel and unusual … it is technically a form of terrorism.

And government whistleblowers are being cruelly and unusually punished with unduly harsh sentences meant to intimidate anyone else from speaking out.

Ninth Amendment

The 9th Amendment provides that people have other rights, even if they aren’t specifically listed in the Constitution:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

We can debate what our inherent rights as human beings are.  I believe they include the right to a level playing field, and access to safe food and water.  You may disagree.

But everyone agrees that the government should not actively encourage fraud and manipulation.  However, the government – through its malignant, symbiotic relation with big corporations – is interfering with our aspirations for economic freedom, safe food and water (instead of arsenic-laden, genetically engineered junk), freedom from undue health hazards such as irradiation due to government support of archaic nuclear power designs, and a level playing field (as opposed to our crony capitalist system in which the little guy has no shot due to redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the super-elite, and government support of white collar criminals).

By working hand-in-glove with giant corporations to defraud us into paying for a lower quality of life, the government is trampling our basic rights as human beings.

Tenth Amendment

The 10th Amendment provides that powers not specifically given to the Federal government are reserved to the states or individual:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Two of the central principles of America’s Founding Fathers are:

(1) The government is created and empowered with the consent of the people

and

(2) Separation of powers

Today, most Americans believe that the government is threatening – rather than protecting – freedom … and that it is no longer acting with the “consent of the governed”.

And the federal government is trampling the separation of powers by stepping on the toes of the states and the people.  For example, former head S&L prosecutor Bill Black – now a professor of law and economics – notes:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the resident examiners and regional staff of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [both]  competed to weaken federal regulation and aggressively used the preemption doctrine to try to prevent state investigations of and actions against fraudulent mortgage lenders.

Indeed, the federal government is doing everything it can to stick its nose into every aspect of our lives … and act like Big Brother.

Conclusion: While a few of the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights still exist, the overall scorecard of the government’s respect for our freedom: a failing grade.

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  • Washington76

    It sure does continue today!

    John Brennan, CIA nominee, may have converted to Islam: report Tuesday, 12 February 2013

    http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2013/02/12/265874.html

    Valerie Jarrett (also known as: Valerie Bowman Jarrett, Valerie B. Jarrett) born November 14, 1956 in Shiraz, Iran is an American politician . Valerie Bowman Jarrett is a senior advisor and assistant to the president for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Obama administration. She is also a Chicago lawyer, businesswoman, and civic leader. Prior to that she served as a co-chairperson of the Obama-Biden Transition Project.

    http://www.browsebiography.com/bio-valerie_bowman_jarrett.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carl-Herman/100000930261713 Carl Herman

    Awesome work, GW! I’ll share it. Thank you!

  • wunsacon

    As usual, great work, GW.

  • dave

    this is a brilliant article. I am going to share it with every person I know

  • nveric

    The 9th and 10th Amendments are key provisions rarely covered anywhere but Constitutional blogs. It’s imperative everyone understand the significance of these two priceless provisions.

    I’ll not bore the people here, but greatly suggest reading up on them.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/ is where many papers have been provided to glean reference to the understanding of the US Constitution, the document laying plain the rules we used to be governed by.

    The Constitution was written to RESTRICT the newly created federal government, however, the People have forgotten this key element, and so believe they are granted things by the federal government rather than possessing all and loaning some to the federal government. Current practices and beliefs are irrelevant to the truth that the People are in control, however, too many don’t want the responsibility or don’t understand their role.

    And yes, very good work here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

      What good are the Amendments when you can not enforce them, I have been trying to enforce my Rights, exposing Corruption and it is costing us our lives !! at pradera123

      • nveric

        What Rights do you refer to?

        Self-government requires people to be involved with its operation. The 20th Century marked a decline in voting, at the federal level, of 20%-30% to be around 50%-60% of potential voters. At the state and local levels it’s lower.

        As to enforcement when needed, the People must make an amendment for it. Decency and self-interest were to provide honest government, however, in my learned opinion, the rise of political parties destroyed this original concept. The simplistic use of political parties created competition and thus became entrenched and an evil to the system. Balancing between two things makes bigger rises and bigger falls and reduces choices verses a multi or no party system. An all or nothing mindset is very unhealthy. Greed is not good.

        The lust for money/things corrupts. Until decency and self-interest prevail in the American population, these violations and corruptions will continue.

        Self-interest must be tempered by not only decency, but also by knowing that mutual benefit results from cooperation. Individualism is over-sold as is self-interest. Those to are never packaged with provisos to restrain and control them, much like saying “If you’re cold, start a fire.” But, then no one watches the fire and it burns the city down.

        Freedom and Liberty are fine concepts, but they’re not absolutes or to be used without supervision or controls.

        • usvietnamvet

          When I hear people gripping about things I always ask if they vote. When they say they don’t I say you’re part of the problem. You need to vote and vote intelligently. How many of us donate our time to manning the election stations? How many educate people about voting? I became a independent because I lost faith in both parties. I have voted in every election since I was legally able to vote. I actively work toward an America in which EVERY American citizen is able to live as they wish as long as they do not infringe on the rights of other citizens.

    • MOPstr

      Similar to the 9th and 10th is the 11th amendment that protects states from encroachment from a single branch of the big brother feds. For example the Supreme Court has mandated not just the corruption of federal elections, but has also taken on itself to corrupt state elections when the federal government has no constitutional role in state elections, other except as the states accepted by adopting the enfranchisement amendments.

      For a complete explanation of the 11th Amendment see

      http://tinyurl.com/EI-Am2

      http://tinyurl.com/EAM-amicus

      • nveric

        OK, Thank you.

  • rwbenjamin

    What rights have we LOST ? None… I am 53 years old and I still can do everything today that I did when I was a youngster. I go to work, go to the stores, visit friends and family, go fishing, watch tv…. The only things that have really changed is the conspiracy nuts ranting because of the internet…

    • MadAsHELL

      Sir did you read the article? The things which you can still do are not politically controversial and you represent no threat to the state. You are in fact the prototypical new american century citizen…. so applause for you. Wake up out of your own self absorbed, egotistical life for just one minute and try to conceptualize the ramifications of these infringements. I really hope you’re a shill….. if not god help us.

    • Chris Edwards

      That’s taking a very narrow view of the situation. It also suggests that you may be ignoring what has changed in this country since 1960. I’d list some of the important things that have changed but your reply would no doubt be “it makes us safer”. If you don’t immediately see that your response is a problem, there’s no use explaining that to you either. Good luck in the future; it’s going to be harder to get along as you narrow the blinders.

    • lifeofliberty

      So you’re an ignorant sheep with permission to buy useless shit. Good for you. All your “rights” are protected by Corporate Amerika, ensuring that your wage slavery remains intact, you can buy poisonous food at the supermarket, visit your sheeple friends while driving your fuel subsidized car, obtain a permission slip to catch a fish, and watch mind-numbing propaganda and brainwashing idiocy on the stupid box. Go back to sleep now.

  • Mike

    The article glosses over the Seventh Amendment but that, too, is under assault through “tort reform.” Putting arbitrary caps on damages certainly infringes upon our right to a jury trial in civil cases. Forced arbitration clauses. This amendment is definitely under attack.

    • wunsacon

      Agreed, Mike. And that reminds me…

      GW, some jurisdictions outlaw citizen recordings of either each other (that is, even during conversations they take part in) or of police/government. That deprives citizens of evidence they might submit in future court cases and, by turning those cases into “he said, she said”, dramatically alters their outcomes. I believe cogent arguments can be made to say those laws infringe on a number of rights, including rights to fair trial and right to “due process”.

      • usvietnamvet

        That’s why we need to change such laws. Companies always record you (for quality assurance purposes only of course). Here in Colorado as long as one person (you) knows the conversation is being recorded (by you) you’re within the law. This should be the law everywhere. I suppose we could always ask the NSA for a copy………………….

    • wunsacon

      Agreed, Mike. And that reminds me…

      GW, some jurisdictions outlaw citizen recordings of either each other (that is, even during conversations they take part in) or of police/government. That deprives citizens of evidence they might submit in future court cases and, by turning those cases into “he said, she said”, dramatically alters their outcomes. I believe cogent arguments can be made to say those laws infringe on a number of rights, including rights to fair trial and right to “due process”.

    • wunsacon

      Agreed, Mike. And that reminds me…

      GW, some jurisdictions outlaw citizen recordings of either each other (that is, even during conversations they take part in) or of police/government. That deprives citizens of evidence they might submit in future court cases and, by turning those cases into “he said, she said”, dramatically alters their outcomes. I believe cogent arguments can be made to say those laws infringe on a number of rights, including rights to fair trial and right to “due process”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/herren Matthew Herren

      Tort reform does not limit actual damages… it limits punitive (i.e. court ordered fees assessed above and beyond actual losses and restitution)

      • wunsacon

        Punitive damages serve important purposes that actual damages do not.

        - Juries often impose punitive damages to penalize recidivism.

        - Juries often impose punitive damages to penalize outrageous behavior.

        - Many injured parties often aren’t motivated enough to bring lawsuits against defendants who deserve to be sued, because attorneys usually take 1/3rd of the award fee *after* costs. That means we probably don’t see the “optimal” number (or kind) of lawsuits in the court system. An award of punitive damages can make up for this.

        What’s more, punitive damages were always reviewable on appeal for excessiveness. And very large awards are regularly struck down. State legislators aren’t doing us a favor by capping punitive damages. When they do so, they’re acting on behalf of large corporate interests — the same people that go out and try to convince rank-and-file voters that plaintiffs attorneys and punitive damages are out of control.

      • wunsacon

        Punitive damages serve important purposes that actual damages do not.

        - Juries often impose punitive damages to penalize recidivism.

        - Juries often impose punitive damages to penalize outrageous behavior.

        - Many injured parties often aren’t motivated enough to bring lawsuits against defendants who deserve to be sued, because attorneys usually take 1/3rd of the award fee *after* costs. That means we probably don’t see the “optimal” number (or kind) of lawsuits in the court system. An award of punitive damages can make up for this.

        What’s more, punitive damages were always reviewable on appeal for excessiveness. And very large awards are regularly struck down. State legislators aren’t doing us a favor by capping punitive damages. When they do so, they’re acting on behalf of large corporate interests — the same people that go out and try to convince rank-and-file voters that plaintiffs attorneys and punitive damages are out of control.

        • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

          They all eat in the same plate !!

          • wunsacon

            I’m not familiar with that phrase and the choice of preposition (“in”) throws me off. Do you mean “eat at the same table” or “eat from the same plate”? Probably a little bit true. But, not true enough. Even if you think “all the people involved suck”, I’d still rather fashion the laws to cajole them into doing right than doing wrong.

          • usvietnamvet

            Not so. There are many attorneys who fight on the side of good and the same goes for judges. I had a wonderful judge at my last work comp hearing who yelled at the opposing attorney and told him to shut up and sit down, that he was tired of his behavior.

        • Flybob

          Your statement is only partially true. Punitive damages should only be awarded when you can PROVE malice. Otherwise you see a product and buy it then you’re pretty stupid if you didn’t check it out before you buy it. When companies ar misleading like in some cases of medicines or health related cases then punitive damages may be in order but we just plain have WAY too many lawsuits and WE all pay for those. You think lawsuits limit the corporations? Not very smart, they simply pass the costs to the consumer. Every lawsuit in this country drives the cost of something up and the only ones that win are the lawyers. If you think otherwise you better look around you. Why do you need homowners insurance beside coverage for damage to the home or burglury? Because lawyers sue for some moron that comes to your property and isn’t smart enough to look where their going and that’s YOUR fault. It’s COMPLETELY out of control. It’s going to end up that you can’t invite friends over or even have your mail box on your property for fear of being sued. It’s just stupid on our parts for allowing this to get this far. lawyers will even put rest homes out of reach for most people or even out of business. Now they make the law and they’re above it.

          • wunsacon

            >> Punitive damages should only be awarded when you can PROVE malice.

            ??? No. Organizations of all stripes — private and public — make zillions of bad decisions and CONTINUE to make bad decisions not because anyone wants to act maliciously but because there is insufficient penalty to do the right thing.

            >> You think lawsuits limit the corporations? Not very smart, they simply pass the costs to the consumer.

            The corporations also change their behavior.

          • Flybob

            No question that you are either a lawyer that is trying to convince us of your bullsh*t or studying to be one. Lawyers benefit almost NO one except themselves. And the cost of litigation IS passed on to the consumer and you’re right about the corporations changing their behavior, they make US pay for it. If there IS malice then there SHOULD be punitive damages but ALL people make mistakes and those that do not take responsibility for their actions (like using an ironing board for a surf board and then suing because THEY were stupid) does not justify the abuse that occures in our “justice”(yeah right) system today. When someone falls in a hole in someone’s yard and then sues them it is a TRAVESTY of the system. Many people have lost their homes and futures because of stupid lawsuits and loser pays system would rid the system of most of those suits. But being an attorney you would never support anything logical. When the sh*t hits the fan I would rather be a duck than a lawyer. At least there are seasons for ducks

          • Flybob

            No question that you are either a lawyer that is trying to convince us of your bullsh*t or studying to be one. Lawyers benefit almost NO one except themselves. And the cost of litigation IS passed on to the consumer and you’re right about the corporations changing their behavior, they make US pay for it. If there IS malice then there SHOULD be punitive damages but ALL people make mistakes and those that do not take responsibility for their actions (like using an ironing board for a surf board and then suing because THEY were stupid) does not justify the abuse that occures in our “justice”(yeah right) system today. When someone falls in a hole in someone’s yard and then sues them it is a TRAVESTY of the system. Many people have lost their homes and futures because of stupid lawsuits and loser pays system would rid the system of most of those suits. But being an attorney you would never support anything logical. When the sh*t hits the fan I would rather be a duck than a lawyer. At least there are seasons for ducks

          • usvietnamvet

            Isn’t it a shame that when punitive damages are assessed against a company that it doesn’t come out of the personal assets of those in charge?

          • Flybob

            You’re only preachin to the choir there brother. What I wanna know is when the fork are we going to do something about it? Lawyers have taken our lives and bank accounts and we’re just standing by and letting them. I fly lawyers sometimes and I HATE them!!! You have NO idea how much corruption I see and hear. I have two friends that passed the bar exam and quit the profession because they just couldn’t stand the lies and corruption. VERY dirty business. They care about NOTHING but billable hours and more than half are illegitimate. It’s the biggest wealth redistribution scheme in the history of man. From US to THEM! We need some lawyers because there are some that just can’t think well enough to represent themselves and or read certain contracts (which shouldn’t be difficult anyway) and they need smarter people to protect them but for the most part they are a bunch of crooks that cover for each other in every way. And guess what? ALL judges are LAWYERS! We’ve allowed them to convince us that we need them to live and we don’t. Most contracts would be fine with little more than a handshake but they have to throw a bunch of bullcrap in there so there are loopholes and lies that the ordinary person can’t understand. It’s all a lie. Not only that but guess who makes the laws? LAWYERS!!! If that aint a direct conflict of interests then I don’t know what is. ALL cases should be loser pays in EVERY case. The the guy that GETS sued doesn’t have a costs incurred if he’s innocent. I’m talking about criminal cases as well. That way they won’t bring a case against you unless they have absolute proof of guilt. You can be innocent as hell and STILL lose everything you have worked all your life for just because of lawyers fees. Crooked bastids all! Loser should pay attorney fees in ALL cases PERIOD! That alone would straighten out a bunch of this crap.

          • usvietnamvet

            It’s not all lawyers. There are lawyers who work on the side of good. Not all judges are lawyers. In some states judges are appointed and are not lawyers. There is no requirement that Federal Judges be lawyers.

          • usvietnamvet

            Not necessary. If they jury feels that the defendant’s willful acts were malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton or grossly reckless.They are sometimes given even when not asked for simply because the jury felt that the actions of the defendant were outrageous. This is why I wish we were allowed to have juries in work comp cases. People are always shocked when they hear what I’ve gone through.

        • usvietnamvet

          And many people are finding out that they’ve signed away their right to sue (the clauses are hidden in the fine print of many agreements.) in favor of Forced arbitration.

        • usvietnamvet

          Amounts that the attorney can take are limited by state laws. They can vary widely depending on the type of case and the state. In addition to the % the attorney gets if you win, usually you’re responsible for ALL the out of pocket expenses (FedEx, phone, copies, etc).

    • Flybob

      Mike, Are you on drugs? LAWYERS ARE the problem in this country! THE only tort reform we need is loser pays all fees! What is wrong with that? I’ll tell you exactly what’s wrong with that, the lawyers can only collect from one of the litigants which effectively limits the funds available. Damn the guy that didn’t do anything except defend himself. Let’s just take EVERYONE’S money! AND LAWYERS MAKE THE LAW! Anyone else think that’s a direct conflict of interests? When are you going to wake up Amerika? Commrads?

      • http://twitter.com/ClintJCL ClintJCL

        The problem with loser pays all fees is you could be dirt poor, and sue me without a lawyer: No fees. I then hire a million dollar lawyer. So now, the threat of you losing is that you pay a million dollars even though you haven’t spend a single dollar of your own! And if you’re too poor to afford a lawyer, having a million dollar bill may mean starving your family.

        A straight “loser always pays” system still favors the rich and does not favor all people fairly.

        This is unfortunate, but true.

        • Flybob

          Clint That’s just not true at all. So what if the loser can’t pay the fees, then he shouldn’t sue at all unless he’s got a REALLY good case. First off no lawyer is going to take a case he’s not going to be pretty damn sure of winning so the ludicrous lawsuits would just come to a halt. YOUR lawyers will not have to put up much of a fight to save your bacon if the other guy doesn’t have a case and ANY suit should have merit before it even gets to court, plus the plaintiff shoule prove ability to pay before ANY case goes to court. Part of the problem is the judges letting stupid suits in court like burning your genitals driving down the road with hot coffee in your lap…STOOOOPID and not worthy of ANY conpensation whatsoever except to slap your momma for bearing stupid children. Loser pays is working VERY well in New Zealand and other countries and it would work here just fine. SURE there would be some injustice but nothing like the injustice we’re living with now that’s COMPLETELY crippling the ocuntry. Lawyers ARE killing our country in many ways. Even in the battlefield. To shoot the enemy a lawyer has to PERMIT it and if the enemy lays his weapon down you can’t shoot them. We need some lawyers but having 5% of the world’s population and almost 90% of the world’s attorneys is just plain upside down. Beside that the supreme court has declared themselves the supreme law of the land instead of US Constitution. It’s all a big lie and we’re stupid enough to allow it. Patrick leahy agreed with the in public and it has stuck very well ever since. It has basically been like that since 1803 but it has gotten a lot worse in the last few decades. The SCOTUS IS making law from the bench and not in any way adhering to their oath of office. THAT is the real problem. THEY ALL should be immediately impeached for treason to their oaths and the US Constitution. It’s a drity shame we have allowed this to happen. SHAME on us for what we’re leaving our kids. SHAME

          • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

            And who is going to take them down !? I have been exposing Corruption for over 10 years and is costing my family lives, Killing us slowly !! and who give a …..?

          • Flybob

            I give a sh*t mam! God bless the ones that have the guts to stand up against this tyrannical government. You don’t notice the little things like seat belt laws but we can’t even put a water heater in where I live without a permit. THEN you get to the bigger things like obamacare and an ineligible president. The very worst thing that has ever happened in this country is the supreme court becoming the ruling entity. They claim THEY are the supreme law of the land and so long as we agree they are. Think we’re free? Try renting a house to who YOU want instead of who the government TELLS you to. How about handicapped parking? Maybe it makes you feel good but it’s UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!! What about king bloomberg stopping the sale of large soft drinks? MORON! LAWYERS ARE KILLING OUR COUNTRY! Our system has turned into lawyers on all sides becoming one entity that covers their every move. We now live in an oligarchy made up of the 3 branches that were supposed to patrol each other to keep each branch accountable to the US Constitution. We’re screwed if we don’t get a hold of our government. WE OWN THEM! NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!

          • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

            How does it HELP (few giving a S…) those loosing their lives?! We of course appreciated !
            were you able to watch the short video, find it in my tweets at pradera123 Please read more of our situation, how even using our medical records to hurt us, google my name or go to my FB page to read more….

          • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

            How does it HELP (few giving a S…) those loosing their lives?! We of course appreciated !
            were you able to watch the short video, find it in my tweets at pradera123 Please read more of our situation, how even using our medical records to hurt us, google my name or go to my FB page to read more….

          • usvietnamvet

            Want to see a corrupt system. Look at the Workers Compensation laws. The insurance companies are killing people in the name of profits while injured workers and smaller businesses are screwed.

          • usvietnamvet

            Many of us stand up for what’s right and we do give up a lot but if no one else gives a crap I know that I DO. And I’ll fight until my last breath.

          • http://oahutrading.blogspot.com/ steveo77

            Lawyers will take any case in which they think they can earn money from any source. In this era of arbitrary and corrupt “justice” every trial is a crap shoot.

          • usvietnamvet

            There are still attorneys who donate their time and energy to the poor. The attorneys who man the various legal services offices or who donate a bulk of their time to pro bono cases. I served on the board of a Rural Legal Services offifce. The attorneys there work long hours for little pay.

          • usvietnamvet

            Even a good case can be lost because one side can afford lawyers who know the loopholes in the law. Look at the O. J. Simpson murder case. Do you think there was real justice in that case? What if OJ had been a poor black man…do you think the outcome would have been the same?

          • usvietnamvet

            Having a great case is no guarantee that you’ll win, especially when the rich have 25 top notch lawyers, PI’s, investigators, and researchers and you have 1 attorney with limited resources.

        • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

          If you are poor, you will always loose !!

          • usvietnamvet

            Not necessarily. I’ve seen our attorneys at the rural legal services win some cases that were stacked against them. My attorney has gotten me permanent total disability which I didn’t think was a big thing until I talked with other attorneys who said it’s rare to win that against the insurance companies. I’ve had the same attorney for 20 years (that’s how long we’ve been fighting work comp) and the insurance company is on its 10th attorney. And I’m poor.

      • usvietnamvet

        That only works if the courts are not corrupted. Have you looked at some of the decisions of our supreme court lately?

      • usvietnamvet

        First making the loser pay all the fees isn’t OK. The companies have limitless money to hire lawyers and the victim not so much. So an innocent person may lose the case and he/she should have to pay everything?

        And it’s not the lawyers who make the laws. It’s the PEOPLE WE VOTE IN that make them (Remember the 3 branches of government). WE’RE RESPONSIBLE for lawyers being elected as legislators. Perhaps we need to start using some common sense when we vote. You’re usually wrong when you say ALL are the problem. And what happens when that guy who just defended himself is poor? Thankfully there are attorneys who don’t just practice law to make money. Some actually donate time to keep our RIGHTS secure and to make sure everyone has their day in court. Don’t like the laws being made then quit voting for idiots.

        Not all lawyers are the problem. I know lawyers who donate their time to help those who wouldn’t be able to afford an attorney otherwise. I served on the board of a Rural Legal Services Agency. I saw attorneys not making a lot of money just to insure that people got their day in court and were represented. I was injured at work and because the work comp laws are skewed in favor of the insurance companies (not the victim and not the business but the insurance companies) I needed an attorney to help me. The insurance company has been held libel for my treatment and compensation. Yet they “forget” to send checks, they have hired 3 PI’s to follow me and watch me, they’ve had me travel 400 miles to see a doctor and then canceled the appointment 10 minutes before. Every time they forget to pay me or they forget to pay my doctors we have to go to court. They’ve wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to wear me down. I’ve been seen by their doctors who all agree that my injury was caused by work and I’m totally disabled. Even though, according to their own stats, less then 1% of injured workers are frauds, they treat every worker as a cheat. And that costs everyone.

  • Linda E

    Most excellent article!!! THANK YOU!!!

  • John

    Separation of powers is dead since political party loyalties span these boundaries

  • 3rd

    Soldiers took shelter in non-occupied houses and churches during Katrina. – 3rd Amendment.

  • imdabluez

    So…in the Constitutional Free Zone…we don’t have to pay attention to the16th Amendment?

  • jj

    just to say thanx for the article, you hear about little things here and there but no one ever puts them all in one article, so the f ing sheeple might actually wake up before were being loaded onto trains………………..learn from history people, same damn things we are doing now, is the same damn thing the nazi started doing then. this admin is turnigng this into a fascist country and quickly

  • jj

    just to say thanx for the article, you hear about little things here and there but no one ever puts them all in one article, so the f ing sheeple might actually wake up before were being loaded onto trains………………..learn from history people, same damn things we are doing now, is the same damn thing the nazi started doing then. this admin is turnigng this into a fascist country and quickly

  • Warren Celli

    Good article — great article — but I would take issue with saying the “government”, or the “American government” is shredding all of these rights.

    This is comparable to calling media the “mainstream media”. There is nothing mainstream about the media, it is a media hijacked and controlled by super size corporations and the aberrant sociopathic self anointed piggish elite who own them. It is, in reality, a corporate, despotic, media.

    It is well past time to recognize that our American government has been hijacked — just like the media and most all other social institutions — and is similarly controlled by the same super size, self serving, traitorous, secessionist corporations, and the aberrant sociopathic self anointed elite who own them (I believe that these aberrant few are affected by a recognizable disease called Xtrevilism).

    If you want peaceful reform you will have to begin to call the government what it now is — a corporate despotism (or Scamerica for short) — and seek remedy out side of the now totally captured system. Here are the symptoms of Xtrevilism…

    http://www.boxthefox.com/deceptionology/11pigism.html#pigism7

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  • Warren Celli

    Good article — great article — but I would take issue with saying the “government”, or the “American government” is shredding all of these rights.

    This is comparable to calling media the “mainstream media”. There is nothing mainstream about the media, it is a media hijacked and controlled by super size corporations and the aberrant sociopathic self anointed piggish elite who own them. It is, in reality, a corporate, despotic, media.

    It is well past time to recognize that our American government has been hijacked — just like the media and most all other social institutions — and is similarly controlled by the same super size, self serving, traitorous, secessionist corporations, and the aberrant sociopathic self anointed elite who own them (I believe that these aberrant few are affected by a recognizable disease called Xtrevilism).

    If you want peaceful reform you will have to begin to call the government what it now is — a corporate despotism (or Scamerica for short) — and seek remedy out side of the now totally captured system. Here are the symptoms of Xtrevilism…

    http://www.boxthefox.com/deceptionology/11pigism.html#pigism7

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    • MOPstr

      Scamerica is considered to be illegitimate by about 80% of voters. But they keep re-electing incumbents because those who vote see no other alternative. In this corrupt system there is a alternative, described here:

      http://tinyurl.com/MOPSIVO (short version, no links, comments)

      http://tinyurl.com/MOP2SIV (long version, copious links, no comments)

      • usvietnamvet

        If you don’t like the choices push for election reform and legislation reform. Run for office. There are things we can do to change what’s going on. We just have to be willing to do them.

  • Warren Celli

    Good article — great article — but I would take issue with saying the “government”, or the “American government” is shredding all of these rights.

    This is comparable to calling media the “mainstream media”. There is nothing mainstream about the media, it is a media hijacked and controlled by super size corporations and the aberrant sociopathic self anointed piggish elite who own them. It is, in reality, a corporate, despotic, media.

    It is well past time to recognize that our American government has been hijacked — just like the media and most all other social institutions — and is similarly controlled by the same super size, self serving, traitorous, secessionist corporations, and the aberrant sociopathic self anointed elite who own them (I believe that these aberrant few are affected by a recognizable disease called Xtrevilism).

    If you want peaceful reform you will have to begin to call the government what it now is — a corporate despotism (or Scamerica for short) — and seek remedy out side of the now totally captured system. Here are the symptoms of Xtrevilism…

    http://www.boxthefox.com/deceptionology/11pigism.html#pigism7

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  • nveric

    You site “Emptywheel.” No one there was concerned about the loss in representation, yet some bitched, moaned, and complained about their representatives in Congress not listening or can’t hear them.

    It stands above reason when representation goes from 1 per 30K to 1 per 700K that it’s impossible to provide service. While 435 House members sometimes do get some things accomplished, the loss to the citizens of the USA is beyond and above reason, yet only a dozen people in the country are willing to bother with this basic and bedrock issue.

    Besides “Emptywheel” the rest of the country is missing the connection to what makes for responsible government. Constant and continual work is required to make our original form of government work, yet those complaining about the system fail in reasoning this requirement.

    For decades and decades the common thought has been government is independent and free to do those things it desires, while citizens must accept the outcome without bothering themselves too much other than voting or not voting. In essence, government is from above and that’s the way it is, “We can’t change the system. We can’t fight city hall.”

    My response to this notion and those ignoring the representation issue is Bull-Shit. Get you collective butts into fresh air for a change in order to Make the Change to civilized government by and for people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arcangelo-Cisco-Cocco/1280905617 Arcangelo ‘Cisco’ Cocco

    I fear it is only going to get worse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.albert.1029 Thomas Albert

    Well said, the Republic is dead and long live the empire, as Octavian once stated.

  • Joe Goldthwaite

    “Protection against being tried twice for the same crime after being found innocent (“double jeopardy”) seems to be intact.”

    False! The government can’t try you for the same crime twice but they separate the single crime into two violations and then try you for the second one. I this is what happened to the police officers in the Rodney King incident. The were found innocent of using excessive force so the federal government turned around and tried them again for violating King’s civil rights. It was a single action, the beating of Rodney King but they were tried twice.

    • http://oahutrading.blogspot.com/ steveo77

      and eff them too, they are police state criminals

  • T. Kay

    Very informative and glad you still have the ability to print this as we still have the ability to read it. I’m sure the framers of our wonderful Constitution would agree. Smart men with foresight, penury and love of liberty.

  • SlimJim

    Your coverage of the loss of 2nd Amendment losses is woefully inadequate. Seriously, the only thing you can come up with it recognizing that it exists?

  • Wow!

    Here’s what I think about the US Government….where is it?
    There’s no “governing” here. It’s a lawless gang with bigger guns….that’s it.
    They are like the petty criminals…who pays NO attention to laws.
    So, I pay no attention to them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

      We are AMERICANS
      and deserve BETTER from our Government, NOT this: Spread, Share USA The Truth
      in YTube /IR7b6uiofjg Killing us w/out GUNS! read our tweets at
      pradera123 Exposing Corruption, protesting is costing my family their lives !!

      • lifeofliberty

        Actually, as Americans, you do not “deserve” anything. The notion that we are an exceptional people, worthy of special privileges or rights is false.

        It is also false that we have preeminene over other people “because we are Americans”.

        Furthermore, we do not obtain these right “from our Government”. We own these rights — with or without the government.

        • usvietnamvet

          Our founders didn’t believe the system they put in place would stay the same. They expected new generations to change things and make the government their own.

      • usvietnamvet

        If we don’t like whose in office we need to vote them out. But since only 30% of Americans bother voting it’s no wonder we have such horrible things going on. We’ve gotten the government we deserve as so many of us don’t do our jobs as citizens. It’s shameful that in places where people actually put their lives at risk to vote, that so many more of them vote then we do. Until Americans start doing their jobs as citizens we will continue to have a poor government. The biggest shame is that people died to make sure you had the freedom to vote and yet we spit on their sacrifice by not voting and not voting intelligently. People spend more time picking out their cell phone plan then they do picking a candidate to represent them.

    • MOPstr

      But they are paying attention to you, as the article shows

    • usvietnamvet

      We voted them in. That makes them a lawful government. If you don’t like what’s there, vote them out!!!!

  • Thomas_Jefferson1

    It’s a great article, but I have one source of contention: Rights are not granted by anyone, especially the government. The government is supposed to be there to protect the rights we naturally have. Putting it this way makes it seem as though they gave us some rights then we lost them. In reality, the government is trampling on our rights – in direct opposition as to why they are here in the first place. Other than that, great research and presentation! Thanks very much.

    • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

      Right on !!

    • usvietnamvet

      Well you know they need to get rich and that is the main objective of both political parties.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002493714365 David Black

    It’s going to get significantly worse, and we all deserve it. None of us have the willpower, desire, and especially not the courage to do anything about it except complain on the internet. C’est la vie, welcome to New America, the largest corporation in the world :D !

    • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

      I have been exposing Corruption and Corrupts, protesting in the Court for two months and it is costing my family lives!! For over ten years Killing us alive !! read my tweets at pradera123

      • BS61

        Is that the only comment you ever make?

        • usvietnamvet

          Read her tweets and then explain to me what she’s talking about. I didn’t get it.

      • usvietnamvet

        I read your tweets and they didn’t make a whole lot of sense. You need to post facts and do it in some sort of order. You can’t just hurl accusations.

    • http://oahutrading.blogspot.com/ steveo77

      eff you, we don’t deserve it.

      • Flybob

        Easy there big guy. We DID cause this to happen and we let it. He’s right in that sense. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing and that’s precisely what most of America has done. We’re pretty much the land of gimme gimme now. If JFK were to give the ask not speech right now he’d be boo’d off the stage. Not all of us deserve it but we took part in letting it get to this.

        • usvietnamvet

          As long as people sit on their butts with the idea that voting for American Idol is more important then voting for our government things will continue to get bad. I guess I feel that voting is important because my mother lived under Hitler and she was always telling me how lucky I was to be here.

    • usvietnamvet

      That’s simply not true. I see people every day out protesting, putting their lives on the line for what they believe in. There is a group of grandmothers who go to jail to protest what they believe are wrong actions of our government. These elderly men and women (but mostly women) protest actively to bring our troops home.
      Do our children deserve to pay for things they had no part in? No one deserves what’s happening today.

  • JulieDC

    I’m certainly considered a terrorist under these guidelines even though I protest, use social media, make signs, all of those things, because I actually love my country.

  • Marina Meadows

    …NONE resources are use to STOP Corruption and Corrupts!!
    That is why this is what happening to my family and many, many families
    all over USA for Protesting on the Streets and expose Corruption and
    Corrupts, still we are KILL w/out GUNS!! We have been”Kill
    Alive”because of the Retaliation of some JUDGES! Read my tweets at
    pradera123 Watch video & make it Viral, so it does not happen to
    anybody else!

  • Marina Meadows

    Brilliant Article !!

  • Mick from Oregon

    This was just the article I’ve been looking for. Outstanding work, thank you so much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rob-Meier/1586732140 Rob Meier

    This was a good article. I see a lot people commenting here show it’s weak points. My criticism is that to fully understand the Constitution, you have to read the Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers, and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. This author obviously hasnt read them. I know these are tough reads, especially for the dumbed down, but they explain what the Founding Lawyers were thinking. Food for thought when you hear the Supreme Court talking about the “spirit” of the Constitution(What they think the Founders meant).

    • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

      If you can not enforce those Constitutional Amendments what are they good for?

  • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

    By reading some of the posts i can appreciate that people do not grasp the real problem, and it is that we are NOTHING !! even being AMERICANS and deserve BETTER from our Government, that not give us the respect and enforcement of our rights !! NOT this: Spread, Share USA The Truth in YTube /IR7b6uiofjg Killing us w/out GUNS! read our tweets at pradera123

  • Frank Ney

    I would take issue with the 3rd Amendment actually being solid. The purpose of quartering troops was not just about three hots and a cot. Soldiers in your home were effectively both spies for the government and a “chilling effect” on just about anything involving both a normal home life and the Rights of Englishmen as our founding fathers understood it. In my opinion, violations of the Third Amendment occur daily as police use FLIR cameras to spot “excessive heat” indicative of “grow operations”, peruse your utility bills as evidence of same, run wiretaps on your cell phone sans warrant, et cetera.

    With respect to advising your readers to use encryption on email and hard drives, a number of courts have declared that mere presence of encryption software on an electronic device is prima face evidence of illegal conduct, even though that software is legal to own and use.

    The entire Bill of Rights is a dead letter. They just haven’t built a death camp big enough for all of us yet.

  • http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/ Francis W. Porretto

    As chilling as this roundup is, the situation is actually far worse. The very concept of a right has been destroyed…and few persons have noticed.

    The attack that devastated rights was on two fronts:
    1. Imposing permissions-processes and fees on the exercise of a right;
    2. Promoting a “compelling government interest” as superior to a right.

    A right is not a permission. Neither is it something one should have to purchase from the State. More and worse, if a “compelling government interest” can nullify a right, and government-appointed judges on governmentally operated appellate courts decide what constitutes such an interest, there is no limit to what the State can claim as a reason for limiting — or utterly suspending — a Constitutionally recognized
    right.

    In effect, Americans have no rights. For a particularly poignant formulation, hearken to Valentin Kartsev, a character in Eric L. Harry’s novel Protect and Defend:

    “Rights are an archist concept. Rights have no meaning except when confronted with superior power. They are what is left to the people after the government has taken all it wants.”

    But we know from experience that “all [government] wants” is undefined…continuously expanding…and subject to no limit but that of armed revolt.

    Welcome, fellow subjects, to the Land of the Fee and the Home of the Slave. All rise for flag salute.

  • tsuzuki

    A few things weren’t mentioned here or were glossed over. We are compelled to produce evidence against ourselves via drunk driving laws. Our property is taken from us for property and income taxation before a court judgement. Here in maine you can not go to court for property taxes because assessment to notice of quit is entirely administrative with not even hearings available to defend yourself. The feds dictate our behaviors through adhesion contracts, like the ssn and licencing. I could go on.

  • tsuzuki

    A few things weren’t mentioned here or were glossed over. We are compelled to produce evidence against ourselves via drunk driving laws. Our property is taken from us for property and income taxation before a court judgement. Here in maine you can not go to court for property taxes because assessment to notice of quit is entirely administrative with not even hearings available to defend yourself. The feds dictate our behaviors through adhesion contracts, like the ssn and licencing. I could go on.

  • Dan

    To the degree that money affects the outcome in court, justice doesn’t, and the nation becomes a whorehouse of pimps prostituting justice, pompous, lying hypocrites pretending to fight for the rights of individuals when in fact many would sell their own clients into slavery and poverty if it would buy them another mansion or luxury car or vacation in Europe. Over and above all this are honorable judges and self-sacrificing attorneys who give their all just to recover as much integrity and justice for the sake of their clients and their nation.

  • anne sweeney

    fasdfdadffadfasal;jdl;djljf;

  • anne sweeney

    abi

  • anne sweeney

    Bill Scotti said it best the other day when he advocated on the HOw

  • anne sweeney

    Bill Scotti said it best when he advocated on the Howie Carr show, that the United States is made up of many fragmented states, as in the Russian Federation now. The Soviet Unition went through these challenges of change, when they had to endure break away states. The United Stated states would have many states succeed from the union if given the same chance as former Soviet States.

  • anne sweeney

    Bill Scotti said it best when he advocated on the Howie Carr show, that the United States is made up of many fragmented states, as in the Russian Federation now. The Soviet Unition went through these challenges of change, when they had to endure break away states. The United Stated states would have many states succeed from the union if given the same chance as former Soviet States.

  • Jay Fenello

    If we want to change what’s going on, we need to file pro se lawsuits. See: http://tranzitioning.com/index.php/for-the-love-of-god

  • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

    Occupy AMERICANS!! Because we deserve BETTER from our Government” NOT this: Spread, Share MIAMI httpYTube /IR7b6uiofjg Killing us w/out GUNS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

    Occupy AMERICANS!! Because we deserve BETTER from our Government” NOT this: Spread, Share MIAMI httpYTube /IR7b6uiofjg Killing us w/out GUNS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/themeadowsfmly Marina Meadows

    Ellos ya saben como ganar las elecciones y pondran a otro con los
    mismos ideales !!Esto es mas importante y esta sucedidendo en USA a
    todos aquellos que DEMANDAN respeto a sus DERECHOS y exponen la
    CORRUPCION y los CORRUPTOS !! No se usan recursos para combatir o
    erradicar la Corrupcion y los corruptos que tenemos!! Por esto mi
    familia y muchisimas familias mas por todos los EEUU, aquellos que
    protestan y exponen los corruptos y su corrupcion, Nos “MATAN en VIDA”
    sin necesidad de ARMAS DE FUEGO!! A nuestra familia la han matado en
    vida por mas de 10 anos, por la venganza de algunos de los JUECES de la
    Corte Civil !! Por favor lean mis tweets at pradera123 y vean este
    corto video en YTube /IR7b6uiofjg Killing us w/out GUNS! lo
    hicimos apuradas pues nos tomo mas de 10 anos poder hacerlo y ponerlo, y
    asi y todo FBook lo puso donde casi nadie lo ve, ayudennos a que todo
    el mundo lo vea asi eveitaremos que le suceda a mas personas!!!

    Marina Meadows

  • KyawGyiKwa

    Your 7th amendment observation is wrong, this amendment was blown apart some time ago. If you get a parking ticket, traffic ticket, red light ticket, assessment fee, tax, levy, fine or other governmental fee you are NOT entitled to a trial anymore. Most states have a system of, “you have the ticket in your hand, PAY IT, or jail.” Hardly the right to remedy by trial. The reason this matters is that all of the above listed are in fact contracts, one way contracts, but contracts none the less, and as such are covered, or should be covered, by this amendment. The governments have an answer: too much court time, just pay and be done with it because “we” can’t afford to vet the issue properly. Not to mention the insane byzantine world that the court system is, requiring expensive lawyering, arcane rules and nothing that supports truth, fairness, balance, redress etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chautauqua.hunter Chautauqua Hunter

    This is simply awesome journalism! So much important info in one cogent and somewhat frightening article. A job extremely well done, and thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/harry.berry.33 Harry Berry

    I know that the bill of rights is gone. Freedom of the press is only for those that won one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/harry.berry.33 Harry Berry

    I know that the bill of rights is gone. Freedom of the press is only for those that won one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/harry.berry.33 Harry Berry

    I know that the bill of rights is gone. Freedom of the press is only for those that won one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/harry.berry.33 Harry Berry

    I know that the bill of rights is gone. Freedom of the press is only for those that won one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/harry.berry.33 Harry Berry

    I know that the bill of rights is gone. Freedom of the press is only for those that won one.

  • martiallaw.co

    You are looking at Matthew Martial Law Chapters 10 & 24. martiallaw.co

  • Joe

    The only rights we have lost & or can lose, are those which we voluntarily give up. The American people, could easily go on living their lives & refusing or obey or recognize any laws THEY deem to be unconstitutional. This could be done legally & peacefully via “jury nullification”.

    • KishinD

      If jurors are informed of their rights to jury nullification, the judge can declare a mistrial. In one case, the jurors were brought individually into the judges chambers, told to ignore the information they had received and simply assess whether a law had been broken. They agreed to it. Most people have been programmed from a young age to consent to authority, and they sure did.

      Additionally, most cases are ended with a plea bargain. Defendants who ask to exercise their right to a jury trial will not get off as easily. This effectively imposes a legal penalty on anyone wishing to exercise their rights.

      All three branches of government are unconstitutional. It no longer seeks our consent. It no longer represents us. With the Citizens United changes, It is no longer democratic, but plutocratic. What then are we to do, when all reasonable avenues for limiting government have been nullified?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeffrey-Aguilera/1165239896 Jeffrey Aguilera

    7th is violated by binding arbitration.

  • Matheus Grunt

    The 3rd Amendment is violated by the use of the police officers taking control of homes in this country, as evident in the Boston issue in April. It would stand to reason that the police state which includes all local and state police as well as federal agencies (agents) are a standing army. They actively and daily violate the rights of the people by enforcing illegal laws. Police officers routinely come into our homes, stay in there for whatever period of time they determine is their right while they “investigate” crimes. You cannot do that.

  • Andy Frohm

    So true. Do more than get mad though. thebitterconsumer.wordpress.com

  • ddearborn

    Hmmm
    The 7th amendment was nullified long ago when the courts allowed private corporations to force consumers to accept binding arbitration instead of a jury trial. The most important fact about this type of arbitration is that it finds in favor of the corporation over 95% of the time. And bear in mind that many of the markets that foist this on consumers are either monopolistic (think cable) or extremely limited in choice (cell phones) The trend is clear and with the overwhelming support of the courts eventually virtually all interactions between consumers and corporations will be via “arbitration”
    THE 7TH AMENDMENT IS SOON TO BE GONE COMPLETELY.

  • Erica Esser Burdick

    Are you seriously shocked?

  • Becca’s Cousin

    We American citizens all have a duty, a deep responsibility to our children and grandchildren, and if we have no progeny, then we have a duty to the future generations of Americans that shall come after us that shall know of us, and a duty to those who came before us, those who did so much for us – that we would have the benefit of this free nation. If we are living in the beginning of a totalitarian government or tyranny, it is our own fault for being stupid and selfish fools. Selfish for wanting the government to take care ;of us and to give us things. I am ashamed that there were so many in my generation who were so weak and puny and greedy and selfish in 2008 that they were only voting for President Obama because with him they were going to have him paying their rent, and for their health insurance, and for their free Obama phones and even free TV and Cable. We are a free nation and we should be taking care of ourselves! We Have A Responsibility! We had a Great Nation, A Nation that was begun by brave Men and women who crossed the wild Atlantic to face terrible hardship in a new country and they built this new land with every intention of leaving their children and their future generations a great free nation with boundless liberty. We Had Liberty, but stupid fools would rather have freebies than freedom, What is wrong with you people? In 1857 our American youngsters went to schools across this great nation and one of their text books was – The First Class Reader – It was used by students between the ages of eleven and thirteen. Some of the essays in the – First Class Reader- I did not read until I was in college, In the preface of the reader , there is an explanation that the material in the book had been chosen to help to encourage the young readers to grow into wholesome and moral adults. This was because our Founding fathers had designed our government for a moralistic society. It is obvious that the amoral society that we have evolved into cannot possibly manage well in this form of honorable system, for an amoral society will constantly find ways to game the system, Jefferson did not want a two party system because he saw the way young women in the royal courts of Europe had behaved during Tennis matches – if the French Prince was more comely than the English one, Young English Duchesses, or Countesses would openly cheer for Spain, unless the French count was better looking and then they would all cheer for France. Jefferson said, if we had a two party system, eventually, politics would become rather like a sports match. He was correct! The Presidential elections are the Superbowl! People would vote for anyone in their party – even Satan himself! Sometimes, they vote for – the other party – why? Because they just want to say they voted for the winner. Voting for the President is not voting for the King who owns all Government Property for however long his term is either. Have Americans all gone daft or something? We have had Government shutdowns before, even in my lifetime. The other Presidents did NOT close down open air places like cemeteries or the Lincoln Memorial that do not have huge fences around them that are locked. It is costing us so much money to close these places that do not have to be closed and NEVER have been closed and it is clear that the only reason that they are closed is because the president wants everyone to be very angry at the Republicans for doing all of this mean stuff. He is being so juvenile about this shutdown that he is trying to block Mount Rushmore so People cannot see it from the roads as they drive past it. The President is also trying to block the public’s view of the Grand Canyon. We The People should do something about this. We The People have a responsibility as citizens to do something about the loss of our freedom and the loss of our children’s freedom and their liberty that was so very hard won. The reason I wrote about the 1857 text book is because of one essay in it by Mr. Story. His essay is called, “The Responsibility of American Citizens” We should all know his words and should apply them to ourselves.
    When we think of what has been and what is, how is it possible not to feel a profound sense of the responsibilities we have to this republic to all future ages? What vast motives press upon us for lofty efforts! What Brilliant prospects invite our enthusiasm! What solemn Warnings at once demand our vigilance, and moderate our confidence.
    The old world has already revealed to us, in it’s unsealed books The beginning and end of it’s own marvelous struggles in the cause of liberty. Greece, lovely Greece. the land of scholars and the “nurse of arns” where sister republics in fair processions chanted the praises of liberty and the Gods – Where and what is Greece? For two thousand years the oppressor has bound her to the earth. Her arts are no more. Her last sad relics of her temples are but the barracks of a ruthless soldiery. The Fragments of her columns and her palaces are in the dust – yet beautiful in their ruin. Greece fell not when the mighty were upon her. Her sons were united at Thermopylae and Marathon. The tide of the triumph of Greece rolled back upon the Hellespont. Greece was conquered by her own factions. She fell by the hands of her own people. The man of Macedonia did not the work of destruction. The deed was already done by the corruption of the people of Greece themselves. by their banishments and their dissensions.
    Rome, Republican Rome. Rome, who eagles glance in the rising and setting sun. Where and what is she? The Eternal City Yet remains – Proud even in her desolation, noble in her decline, venerable in the majesty of religion, and calm as in the composure of death. The malaria has but travelled in the paths worn by her destroyers. More than eighteen centuries have mourned over the loss of her empire. A mortal disease was upon her vitals even before Caesar had crossed the Ru

  • Riki Kim

    You forgot Janet Napolatano labled ex military terrorist as well, well FaaQue NSA I guess I’m a terrorist as i fit a number of catogories, most of all i believe in what the constitution stands for

  • Riki Kim

    America Either we stand up and refute the actions of the Government stripping away constitutional rights or you lay down and take it. Neither party works for us anymore they just devide and conquer us

  • usvietnamvet

    Yet most Americans see no harm in trading our freedoms for the illusion of safety. We stand by like a bunch of sheep watching our constitution and bill of rights trampled underfoot so that a few can gain more money they they need. Many who do speak out know that they do so at their own peril. I was quite surprised at the outcry of so many about the NSA spying and so was the government. Yet they still continue down the same path.

  • Tom P.

    I like the ninth amendment and certain rights sections,I believe the us government has a responsibility to ensure that all our citizens have a right to a level playing field relative to education and oportunites, the government taxes all the people even-tho many had little little opportunity to get a good education and were unable to get the good paying employment.

  • http://www.tothworlddesign.com/ Paul A. Toth

    Yes, yes, yes. Someone gets it! Forget the mockery of the human mind known as Big Data — I handle that at http://bigdataeducator.blogspot.com/. Instead, worry about the Ten Ways a Coworker Can Screw You By Denouncing You to the Boss Based on Something Neither Liked that You Posted as If You Live in Berlin circa 1939. Or Sendm e the Ten Reasons No One Cares the First Amendment Has Been Destroyed by Unleashed Employers with a Limitless Sense of Entitlement.

  • usvietnamvet

    What about one groups religious beliefs infringing on other peoples rights? Many of our legislators use their beliefs to pass laws that infringe on other people rights to live as they wish. Everyone in the US that’s a citizen should be able to live as they wish as long as they do not infringe on the rights of other citizens.

  • Bob Smiton

    The 3rd amendment has been violated on a few occasions in the past few years. The one I can name right off is the Anthony Mitchell case in Henderson, Nevada.

 

 

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