Thursday, October 12, 2017

Not So Fast There, Uncle Sam

Stand Your Ground - Don Troiani
(Source)
Every now and then, I like to pull out the Constitution and peruse those first ten amendments. Perhaps better known as the Bill of Rights. Which is something of a misnomer, the first ten amendments to the Constitution do not grant the citizens of the United States any rights. The Declaration of Independence describes quite nicely where our rights come from -
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
These ten amendments limit the government's power to infringe upon or disturb those rights.
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. Written by James Madison in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties, the Bill of Rights lists specific prohibitions on governmental power. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason, strongly influenced Madison.

One of the many points of contention between Federalists and Anti-Federalists was the Constitution’s lack of a bill of rights that would place specific limits on government power. Federalists argued that the Constitution did not need a bill of rights, because the people and the states kept any powers not given to the federal government. Anti-Federalists held that a bill of rights was necessary to safeguard individual liberty.

Madison, then a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, went through the Constitution itself, making changes where he thought most appropriate. But several Representatives, led by Roger Sherman, objected that Congress had no authority to change the wording of the Constitution itself. Therefore, Madison’s changes were presented as a list of amendments that would follow Article VII. (Source)
Yes, the Bill of Rights is written in an older form of the English language and is much more formal than the way the language is used today. However, it was not written in legalese or in a form that only lawyers would be comfortable with. Which is probably why so many politicians (many, if not most, of whom are lawyers) think it needs to be "interpreted." Fools they be.

Quite honestly, it is what it is. To me it's as clear as a day in early spring after a shower...

...and smells just as sweet to lovers of liberty.

Behold ye tyrants, and tremble.

The Bill of Rights

Amendment I

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.

Amendment II

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.

Amendment III

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.

Amendment IV

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.

Amendment V

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.

Amendment VI

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 defense.

Amendment VII

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 reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

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

Amendment IX

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

Amendment X

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.

No more need be said.



54 comments:

  1. Excellent. I will share as most need to be reminded of what you speak.

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  2. I don't understand how we could have such intelligent politicians back then and such ignorant (giving them the benefit of the doubt) or conniving (otherwise) ones now. I'm going to blame the retiring of Tar and Feathers as a means of reminding them they are public SERVANTS, not public Rulers.

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    1. It boggles the mind. Might be a nice topic for a post.

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    2. Because for the most part the Founders were of one culture. After 180 years of immigration that culture has been destroyed. We should have closed the borders in 1800.

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    3. Because we (the people) allowed them to become ignorant, selfish, grasping money-whores.

      Don't even get me started on when the 'pretty boys' started winning elections. Fur would start flying and it would get ugly.

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    4. Chris - good point. Our problem, as a nation, is that we used to expect immigrants to become not just citizens, but Americans. Once we let that go, things got ugly.

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    5. Andrew - also a good point.

      When my wife became a citizen she had to pass a test, in English. She worked very hard to learn about our country's history, laws, and customs. She worked very hard to learn English. Now she's fluent in her native tongue and her adopted tongue.

      And now folks want to just give that citizenship away.

      No, no, no.

      But I only get one vote. All of us have to get on the Congress critters to do their jobs!

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    6. Quite frankly, I have always felt that, in order to vote, one should have taken and passed a citizenship test (in English) in order to become a citizen.

      It would bring back the need to actually teach in our schools again.

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  3. We were taught the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and all the following amendments in more than one class in high school. From what I learned from the students when I was working at the college, about the only thing taught about the Constitution in most of today's schools is just that it exists. My kids learned it in Holden but they're still providing what's called education there. (There would probably be a national outcry if it was known that the high school has a skeet shooting club where the kids have competition shooting matches and are taught responsible use of firearms)

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    1. So your kids go a real education? Nice.

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  4. Do you mind if I post this on my koobecaF page?

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    1. I encourage sharing of my posts. Always.

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  5. Regarding Amendment III, would taking private property for government use fall under this? During WII the landowners of what became Camp Hale near Leadville, CO (Frank and Pauline Byers) were given thirty days to vacate and were not compensated for nearly ten years.

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    1. I would say the 3rd applies. The amendment does have a "in time of war" stipulation but I'd have to know what law made that legal. Even in wartime. The government is always overstepping its bounds. Which is why the 2nd Amendment is so important.

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    2. Yes, the 3rd Amendment does apply, 100%, from beginning to end. Did in 1792. Did in 1941. Does now.

      But look at the makeup of citizens, politicians and judges who rule against our amendments. Not very many conservative, God-fearing, staunch constitutionalists.

      And during WWII, it was all about the government over-reach (led by that pervy womanchaser and socialist, FDR (Hock-spit) used to line certain people's pockets. Witness the fire-sale of Japanese American properties (when they could have been justly compensated for or kept in holding) during the highly illegal (by conservative standards) of said Japanese-descent Americans. (Same thing happened to some German-Americans and Italian-Americans during WWII, but, shush, we don't talk about that, or the fact that FDR and his merry band of Comrades got the idea from the sainted Woodrow Wilson and his illegal jailing and seizure of German-descent Citizens and their property during WWI (okay, sainted only in HELL!))

      The provision regarding to 'times of war' requires fair and immediate compensation, with proof that the property seized is actually necessary.

      Eminent Domain is a slippery slope. The slope, during WWII, was greased with the remains of too many peoples' sense of ethics and citizenship.

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    3. IANAL - I don't think that the III applies in those cases. Those would more likely be covered by Eminent domain. The III applies to the Army or other service showing up at your door and saying, "Make room, Sgt Jones and his squad will be bunking here until further notices and you'll be feeding them as well."

      Some years ago I read a book by Caroline Kennedy, about the Bill of Rights, and at the time it said there had only been one case under the 3rd and that had to do with NY prison guards who got housing as part of the job, and a strike, IIRC.

      Regards, Finicky Fat Guy.

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  6. First time around was taught it in eighth grade, and it was a big deal.
    We had to pass a test to graduate.
    Teacher wrapped other curriculum around it, like reading, spelling, and speech.
    Then we studied it again for a full semester in HS.
    It was then again a general education requirement in college.
    I guess it's considered fish wrap today?

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    1. As citizens we need to hold our politicians accountable. Too many of us aren't paying attention.

      But I think you know that.

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  7. It is not just the politicians who want to "interpret" the Constitution, it is also the judiciary. Speaking as both a recovering attorney, and as a former Congressional staffer, it drives me crazy to hear and see our "leaders" say, and do, things that totally disregard the Constitution. A couple of years ago Congressman Jim Clayburn (D-SC the third ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives) was asked about a Democratic proposal, and wasn't it unconstitutional. His response was "We don't pay much attention to that around here. Apparently that view holds across the street where the Supreme Court has ruled that the 14th Amendment due process clause was intended to include abortion because an unborn child is not a "person."

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    1. There should be consequences for the Congress critters not obeying their oath. Prison springs to mind. Hard time, not country club.

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    2. Piano wire comes to my mind.

      Paul L. Quandt

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    3. Though the thought is tempting, nah, too Nazi for me.

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  8. It's also instructive to read how Madison presented the proposed amendments to the House of Representatives in 1789. In small part:

    "...I know some respectable characters who opposed this Government on these grounds; but I believe that the great mass of the people who opposed it, disliked it because it did not contain effectual provisions against encroachments on particular rights, and those safeguards which they have been long accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercises the sovereign power; nor ought we to consider them safe, while a great number of our fellow-citizens think these securities necessary.

    It is a fortunate thing that the objection to the Government has been made on the ground I stated; because it will be practicable, on that ground, to obviate the objection, so far as to satisfy the public mind that their liberties will be perpetual, and this without endangering any part of the Constitution, which is considered as essential to the existence of the Government by those who promoted its adoption."

    http://www.constitution.org/ac/001/r01-1/bill_of_rights_hr1789.htm

    The oratory style of the day requires attentive reading, but the words and meanings are plain.

    /
    L.J.

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    1. Plain indeed. And breathtaking in many ways, the brilliance of the Founders never ceases to amaze me.

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  9. Sadly, too many people ignore the 9th Amendment.

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    1. Yup.

      The 10th as well. If the Feds are prohibited from doing something, so are the states. Most of the gun law in this country is un-Constitutional. Activist judges have made a mockery of the Constitution.

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    2. One of the many reasons I think that Judge Gorsuch was the best thing to happen to the Supreme Court in the last 15 years or so, maybe even the best thing in the last 50.

      Activist Judges should be tried for not following the oaths of their offices. So should politicians, and any other who have sworn to protect and defend the Constitution and then outright trashed said Constitution.

      Flogging is a start. And, no, according to our forefathers, not a cruel and unusual form of punishment (that would be watching the Lifetime channel.)

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    3. Yup. We're on the same page here.

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  10. Once again, I say throw them all out and start over. Term limits and post-political office restrictions have great attraction to me.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. I think it's come to that. We need to clean house and start over. From the town council all the way up to Congress.

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    2. Juvat Voting Rubric (one more time)
      1)No democrat
      2)No Incumbent
      3)No unopposed

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    3. juvat: As for the "no unopposed", I think that if a candidate is running unopposed, one should be able to vote yes or no for that person.

      Paul

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    4. Oh! How much would that sting to be running unopposed and still not get elected?

      I like it!

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  11. I think I pretty much summed up my feelings about the Bill of Rights and the first 10 Amendments during the epic rant wars of the Gun (just a few days ago.)

    The rights are, as written by our blessed forefathers, given to us by our Creator, and cannot be changed. No matter what rulings by man are against the rights enumerated in the first 10, they are still our rights as citizens. AS CITIZENS.

    Now, the progressives, evil-Satan spawn that they are, see anything related to God as evil, and must be destroyed. So, in their attack on our God-Given rights, first they convinced (or bribed) a huge amount of people to believe that there is no Creator, no God. Therefore, our 'God-given' rights are just granted by man. Even godless people believe other men are fallible, so if men are fallible, so are the things they created, therefore, no inalienable rights for anyone.

    Godless, soulless bastards all.

    I think you kinda get my feelings on this issue. If not, I can toss about another 1,000 or so words to make my opinion harsher.

    Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

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    1. Come on Andrew, tell us how you really feel.

      Preach it brother.

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    2. He does have a way with words, don't he?

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    3. Sometimes I feel that my brain is some strange distillation of dead smart peoples' brains and a rabid raccoon's brain. It gets all weird feeling and foamy upstairs when I start typing my rants.

      I am a weird man. Raised to respect my elders and 'betters' (those above me on the rank scale) and be polite to people, while at the same time trying to be the crazed dude walking down the street with the "End is Nigh" sign while talking to the people in my head (see comment about dead peoples' brains in my head, sometimes I wonder, "Am I sane?" (You aren't crazy if you talk to yourself and you respond. You are crazy when you talk to yourself and you can't understand what you are saying.))

      Thanks for the support, gentlemen. Spent too long having to hold my breath for other people's sakes.

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    4. I look forward to your comments. Makes my day they do!

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    5. Funny, this blog is the first thing I open every day. That is how much I look forward to all y'all's writings.

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    6. Thanks Andrew, that means a lot. Really.

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  12. What's the difference between the mafia and the IRS? Answer--the interest rate. Our welfare system as it exists today is the most ingenious vote buying scam ever. Steal from one half at gun point (taxes) and use the money to buy the votes (with free stuff) of the other half.

    I also see that long hand (cursive) writing is being dropped from school curriculums. Three generations from now, when they are handed a text copy of our constitution, how will they know that it is un-altered if they can't read the original?

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    1. And you can reason with the Mafia. They understand business.

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    2. All this got me to thinking (yeah, I know) and then I had an "I wonder where I put that?" moment. Well, I found my hard copy. Here is a link to the Karpeles Manuscript Library---

      http://www.rain.org/~karpeles/bilfrm.html

      They have a copy of the original draft of 20 amendments submitted by the state of Virginia. What is now the 2nd was originally number 17. Click the link, then on "Bill of rights", then drag the blue triangle. Unfortunately, the site doesn't give you much access ( at least I couldn't figure it out) and seems a bit clunky.

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  13. Hey Old AF Sarge;

    You know how messed up things are now WITH the bill of rights in the U.S. Constitution...Imagine how bad it would be if the first 10 amendments were NOT included in the U.S Constitution. James Madison was on to something.

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    1. Hadn't thought of that.

      Good call MrG!

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  14. None of these ‘rights’ give us anything.

    All of these rights exist without them being writing down in the bill of rights.

    These rights are self - evident. They exist because we we do.

    These are no rights given to us by our betters. They are specific limitations on the power of the government of men. All of them.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)