Archive for February, 2012
13 Feb 2012
If you are at all familiar with American history you will recall that the people who established the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia were the first to establish a colony upon American soil. They were primarily entrepreneurs who were granted a charter by the King of England.
Thirteen years later, the Mayflower set anchor off what is now Provincetown Harbor Massachusetts. Thus began the influx of immigrants who would eventually form the 13 colonies of the United States. Although these colonists were physically living on American soil, they were considered Royal Provinces, therefore under the rule of the English Crown.
For the first 150 or so years of our countries existence there WAS NO semblance of a federal government. It wasn’t until 1774 that the colonists sent delegates to attend what is known as the First Continental Congress. These delegates had varied instructions from their respective states, which ranged from seeking a peaceful resolution with England, to seeking separation and independence. Still, these delegates had no authority to enact law; their only purpose was to attempt to come to some sort of a consensus based upon the wishes of the people they represented.
By the time the Second Continental Congress met in 1775, tensions between the colonies and England had reached a boiling point with the beginning hostilities of what would become the Revolutionary War. It was this body of men that set in motion events that would lead us to independence, and the formation of our first attempt at forming a body to govern over the United States as a whole.
The purpose for this brief history lesson is to show prior to the ratification of the Constitution, for 169 years our country did not have a federal government. Our government, our Constitution, came into existence because men gathered together and created it. It did not just rise up on its own; it was created by, and ratified by the various state legislatures.
People seem to be all too familiar with the word Constitution, but do they really know its purpose? To quote from Thomas Paine, “A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting its government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article; and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established, the manner in which it shall be organised, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of Parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and in fine, everything that relates to the complete organisation of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound.”
Our Constitution would never have been ratified by the requisite number of states had not an agreement been made to include some manner of a Bill of Rights. The purpose for this Bill of Rights was not to bestow these rights to the people by government, they were rights which predated government, and the only purpose for enunciating them was to place them off limits to infringement by any body of men, hence the term unalienable. The Preamble to the Bill of Rights declares, “…that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added…” This means that these rights are restricted from infringement by government, be it local, state, or federal.
Yet, because people are so ignorant, so complacent, so pathetically dependent upon government to tell them what they can, and cannot do, the Bill of Rights has been trampled upon by local, state, AND the federal government.
The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Congress is the body to which the power of creating law is given, not the Supreme Court. The Court has absolutely no jurisdiction, nor authority to declare that a child be banned from praying in school. The purpose for which this was included in the First Amendment was to ensure that government did not mandate religion upon the people, while at the same time allowing the people to freely worship.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “One of the amendments to the Constitution… expressly declares that ‘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,’ thereby guarding in the same sentence and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press; insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others.” So, if freedom of religion or the freedom to pray openly is denied, then freedom of speech is ALSO denied. In other words, the First Amendment has been trashed by the Judiciary legislating from the bench.
The Second Amendment states, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Supreme Court, in D.C. v Heller, ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is in fact an individual right, and not associated with service in the militia. No mention is made in regards to the type, caliber, or number of arms a person may own. Had an amendment been written which says, “A well regulated race track, being necessary for the safety of the fans, the right of the people to keep and drive cars, shall not be infringed” would you find any reason to say that limits you to owning passenger cars only; preventing you from owning SUV’s or pickup trucks? Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but it is the same as saying you cannot own automatic weapons, short barreled shotguns, or even grenade launchers.
The ultimate purpose behind the Second Amendment is not for sport shooting, hunting, or even home defense; rather it is for the people to defend themselves against tyranny by their government. James Madison is quoted as saying, “A government that does not trust its law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is itself unworthy of trust.” Thomas Jefferson also had a pithy comment or two on this subject.
Note the Second Amendment not only states that you may keep arms, but that the right to bear them shall not be infringed. That means carry on their person. Therefore any federal, state, or local ordinance or law which requires a permit to carry a firearm relegates that right to a privilege. Therefore, the people’s right to keep and bear arms has been severely restricted as well.
To date, the Third Amendment, which covers the quartering of soldiers in private homes, is still intact.
The Fourth Amendment states, “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.”
Thanks to this so-called War on Terror, the Fourth Amendment has been completely trashed. The Patriot Act authorizes wire taps and searches of people’s homes, papers, and effects, without their knowing of it, without a warrant being issued, and at the same time violates the First Amendment by making it a crime for anyone to let the suspect know that they are under investigation. Not to mention the warrantless searches of your bodies every time you pass through airport security to board a plane.
Once again, to quote James Madison, “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” Need I say more in regards to the complete loss of our Fourth Amendment rights?
The Fifth Amendment has also come under attack because of the War on Terror. The Fifth Amendment states, “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 offence 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.”
It does not say a U.S. citizen, it merely says no person shall be…Explain to me then why people are facing indefinite detention in a military style prison located at Guantanamo Bay, having their liberty denied without due process of law. With each successive change in the Executive, new laws are being passed which alter the definition of who may be considered a terrorist threat to this nation. In a recent FBI counterterrorism report, people who referenced the Constitution, or suggested that our government has exceeded its Constitutional limits may be considered as threats to the security of the country.
The Sixth Amendment states, “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.”
Again, what about all these people being held indefinitely in Cuba for supposed crimes, yet never being given the opportunity to confront the witness against them, or to have a speedy public trial? This amendment has gone by the wayside hand in hand with the Fifth Amendment.
The Seventh Amendment remains pretty much intact, but the Eighth Amendment has also been violated, once again mostly due to the War on Terror.
The founders realized that our rights were so numerous that they could not all be listed individually. Therefore, the Ninth Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights as a catch all for those not specifically listed. The Ninth Amendment states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
This is the right which prevents the government from taking away all the other rights that our founders believed were unalienable. For instance, this covers your right to seek sustenance, or employment. Yet do we not now need a permit to hunt, to fish? God placed the fish and the animals on this planet for our sustenance, therefore the right to hunt and fish is an unalienable right. And once again, when a permit is required to exercise a right, it no longer is a right, it is a privilege which can be revoked. So the next time you are required to obtain a permit, or a license to do something, ask yourself why. Why do you need a license to get married? What say has government, in any shape, have in the process of getting married as long as the people doing so are of the age of legal consent and are both willing participants?
And last, but not least, the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment states, “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.”
Read that carefully, the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution… I don’t care what our government tells you, what the Supreme Court decides, as James Madison said in Federalist 45 “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” This means that every power granted our government by the Constitution are clearly listed, not hidden away behind some broad umbrella such as a General Welfare, or Commerce Clause. They are EACH…INDIVIDUALLY…LISTED. And, as Thomas Paine said, “It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article… the powers it shall have…”
Therefore, if it isn’t clearly listed in the Constitution as a power granted the Federal Government, then it simply does not exist! In other words, the federal government cannot mandate that you purchase health insurance. The federal government cannot make marijuana illegal, particularly when a state has passed a law making it legal. The federal government cannot get involved in who can, and cannot be married based upon sexual orientation.
This amendment, above all the others, has suffered the most due to our government’s complete disregard for the Bill of Rights.
So, out of ten amendments, only two remain relatively intact; leaving us with 8 of the rights our founders felt so important they specifically listed them…GONE. You know what it means when you no longer have any rights? It means you are a slave. When you are not free to exercise your rights without permission from someone, you are under that person, or body of people’s rule, and are their slave.
Now think about this, and think about it hard, because I am damn tired of repeating myself! We created our government, it’s powers are limited, and as the Declaration of Independence states, the purpose for government is to secure our unalienable rights.
Government is not our master, we are its masters. When it abuses its power and authority we have the right to resist these abuses of power, or to completely dismantle it and rebuild it with one which will safeguard our rights.
I am sick and tired of people telling me that I had best watch what I say in the articles I write because the government is going to come after me. Pardon my French, but @#$% the government! I owe them no allegiance, nor am I a servant to their every desire. They work for me, not the other way around.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” While I do not disagree that the government may, in fact, come after me, it only proves that our government is, in fact, tyrannical.
And, to once again quote Jefferson, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” I understand that our government has probably grown too big, too powerful, to change; at least by peaceful methods. What pisses me off the most is when people are presented with irrefutable facts, and they shrug their shoulders, or say, “That’s interesting.” Would you at least stop pretending that you have any rights left and admit you are a slave? They say acceptance is the first step to recovery. Then accept the facts and maybe, just maybe, there will be some hope for this country.