Tag Archives: Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights Turns 230, and What Do We Have to Show for It? Nothing Good, by John W. Whitehead

The Bill of Rights is well on its way to being rendered a dead letter. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.”—Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

It’s been 230 years since James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution—as a means of protecting the people against government tyranny, and what do we have to show for it?

Nothing good.

In America today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

We can pretend that the Constitution, which was written to hold the government accountable, is still our governing document, but the reality of life in the American police state tells a different story.

“We the people” have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance by a government that cares nothing for our lives or our liberties.

The bogeyman’s names and faces have changed over time (terrorism, the war on drugs, illegal immigration, etc.), but the end result remains the same: in the so-called named of national security, the Constitution has been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded to such an extent that what we are left with today is but a shadow of the robust document adopted more than two centuries ago.

Most of the damage has been inflicted upon the Bill of Rights.

A recitation of the Bill of Rights—set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches (all sanctioned by Congress, the White House, the courts and the like)—would understandably sound more like a eulogy to freedoms lost than an affirmation of rights we truly possess.

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Is There Enough of America Left To Be Saved?, by Paul Craig Roberts

The individual rights the government protects has dwindled to the point that very few are left. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

As many readers of this website have noticed, the United States has lost its character and become a dysfunctional society. In place of a largely homogeneous population once united in veneration of the Constitution, there exists today massive diversity which Identity Politics has used to disunite the population into separate interest groups.

No clause or article of the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights, is safe. The George W. Bush and Obama regimes destroyed two of the most important protections of civil liberty—habeas corpus and due process. Bush declared indefinite imprisonment on suspicion alone without evidence or trial. Obama declared execution of US citizens on accusation alone without due process. The Justice (sic) Department wrote legal memos justifying torture, thus destroying the constitutional protection against self-incrimination. One of the authors of the memos is now a professor of law at UC Berkeley. The other is now a federal judge, indications that respect for the Constitution and enforcement of US and international laws against torture is fading in law schools and the federal judiciary.

A third important protection of civil liberty—freedom of speech which is necessary for the discovery of truth and to serve justice—is being destroyed. Apple, Google/Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, university speech codes, legislation against protesting Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians, and the presstitute media that has been turned into a propaganda organ in behalf of vested interests are all actively involved in protecting lies against truth.

Glenn Greenwald reported that “the single greatest threat to free speech in the West — and in the U.S. — is the coordinated, growing campaign to outlaw and punish those who advocate for, or participate in, activism to end the Israeli occupation” of Palestine.https://theintercept.com/2016/02/16/greatest-threat-to-free-speech-in-the-west-criminalizing-activism-against-israeli-occupation/

To continue reading: Is There Enough of America Left To Be Saved?

It Did What it Was Written to Do, by Eric Peters

Does the Constitution deserve the reverence it receives? Eric Peters argues that it doesn’t. From Peters at theburningplatform.com:

A great many people – especially conservatives – reverence the Constitution, consider that it has been abused and that if only the doctrines expressed within were revived and respected, all would be well with America again.

This, of course, is a kind of children’s bedtime story – and approximates reality to about the same degree as the story of the Three Little Pigs.

The Constitution was peddled and imposed on us by men like Alexander Hamilton, a grasper after power who very openly loathed the ideas expressed by men like Jefferson in his Declaration (and even more so in his Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions).

Hamilton and his faction – they were called Federalists, which meant then what it means today – intended to create a centralized government on the British model, but without a hereditary monarch. The Bill of Rights was just barely added, in order to sooth the (rightly, as it turned out ) suspicious, such as George Mason of Virginia.

Patrick Henry smelled a rat.

At any rate, the fact remains that the Constitution was written with great calculation by lawyers – who are trained in and well understand the meaning and potential use of words – in such as way as to assure the expansion of federal power via (among other things) the purposely open-ended Commerce Clause and deliberately nebulous phrases such as “general welfare” that can be – and have been – interpreted to mean . . . anything those who control the levers of the federal government wish it to mean.

Including – as actually happened during the Roosevelt Years – that a man farming on his own land whose produce never leaves his land let alone the state is nonetheless subject to federal regulation, because his actions “affect” Interstate Commerce.

In the same manner, Americans are forced to pay for other people’s retirement (and in their turn, forcing others to pay for theirs) and this is characterized as a “contribution.”

To continue reading: It Did What it Was Written to Do

The Political Environment I Want to See, by Michael Krieger

Michael Krieger will never see his desired political environment, but his vision is well worth embracing. From Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.

– Edward Snowden

Today’s post will focus on the political environment I’d like to see, not in my ideal fantasy world, but within the context of the system we have today.

As things stand, we’re being bombarded relentlessly about how divided we are as a people and how these divisions have become insurmountable. By constantly focusing on genuinely divisive social issues, the media creates a self-fulfilling prophesy, which merely serves to divide us further. Allowing ourselves to be pitted against one another redirects much of our political energy, and ensures we will never unite and face the real existential threats to the nation.

The truth of the matter is this. We as Americans have a legacy that consists of certain key principles enshrined in our Constitution. The most important of these are the first ten amendments to our founding document, known as the Bill of Rights. These simple yet timeless passages inform us we posses certain liberties that should never be infringed upon no matter what emotional state the public or politicians happen to be in at any given moment. They protect us not just from the government, but also from the periodic unrestrained, authoritarian passions of each other.

While the Bill of Rights represents a core set of principles the nation was founded upon, they are very much in jeopardy in practice. The 4th Amendment has more or less vanished into thin air as a result of the hysteria generated from two failed government crusades, the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror.” Both of these “wars” have served little purpose other than to manufacture enough fear so the general public accepts a creeping unconstitutional surveillance state. With the right to privacy sufficiently weakened, we now see certain factions going after the most important right of all, the right to free speech. If free speech ends up being lost, the American experiment will be over.

To continue reading: The Political Environment I Want to See

 

Obama Supporters Petition to Repeal the Bill of Rights, by Mark Dice