The erosion of Constitutional Rights

I have already mentioned the disturbing notion of a possible dictatorship in America, but it is so very important that I thought I would go through it in more detail. One way to establish a successful dictatorship is to take away the rights afforded to individuals like you and me. One of the reasons I am posting on this is because in light of recent online communications it is becoming ever clearer that American citizens simply do not care when rights are threatened or taken away (unless it affects them). Some do, but from what I am reading and hearing, most are missing the point. Either their heads are so deep in the sand they'll never see, or their blinders are too tight, or perhaps they are simply "waiting it out" in hopes that nothing bad will happen. After all, election year is coming up and quickly.

What nobody realizes is that no matter who we elect into office this country is up poo creek without the benefit of a paddle. Then again, after Bush and Cronies are done massacring our Constitution, we'll need a tug boat just to pull ourselves out.

First, everyone should read this excellent essay by Naomi Wolf Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps It is frighteningly astute in observation, frank, and to the point. I'll get back to that later.

The Constitution includes a Bill of Rights, that is to say a list of unalienable rights afforded to American citizens, granted by our government, laid out by our forefathers. Bill of Rights

Now, lets see how our government has sought to undermine, ignore, change or outright disregard these rights.

The first amendment: I'll start by the most obvious issue, freedom to speak, redress the government and assemble peaceably.
Our government has sanctioned, and the supreme court agreed that the set up of "free speech zones" at political functions is legal. This is typically only enforced on the strictest level on anti-government protest groups. The secret service and police routinely set up "anti" protests far away from the function, the government officials, and the press, while the "pro" groups get to stand on the motorcade paths, closer to the function, and the media. Often times "anti" protesters are arrested for nothing more than being in the wrong place. Look at the court cases of Bill Neel in Pittsburgh, Brett Bursey in South Carolina, and arrests or attempted arrests at protests for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts. The ANSWER coalition is currently engaged in a lawsuit over freedom of speech regarding the advertisement of an anti-war protest on Sept 15, 2007.

The rumor mill is spinning and it is being noted that corporate entities that operate for or are subsidized by the government have been routinely asking employees if they have participated in anti-war or peace protests (or any event that speaks out against Bush) and are being punished by their employers in a manner of ways, such as suspension without pay up to and including termination. Other corporate entities, such as airlines are asking passengers similar questions, and peeling those that answer "yes" and having them searched or held by security under the pretense of national security.

A student from Juno Alaska lost a free speech case where the supreme court ruled against him, and for his school's right to restrict his freedom of speech, even though he was off campus. Bong Hits 4 Jesus

The press has also repeatedly spoken of the intimidation tactics used to force reporters into "spinning" the news. Granted, some journalists need no such prodding. Bill Moyers Journal Buying the War

I won't even get into the mess that is government and religion.

Second amendment, the right to bear arms;
Is consistently being torn down by more and more constrictive gun laws, in the name of public safety. Of course, all this has done is made it harder for law abiding citizens to get guns, while not preventing one darn homicidal criminal from owning, and using said guns. This is why I'm an anarchist. This lame brained attempt at law making illustrates the point beautifully. 'Nuff said.

Third amendment, quartering of soldiers.
This one has been largely left alone, although it got a little dicey with the "Solomon amendment" of 1996, stating that college campuses could be cut off from federal funding if they did not allow the military on campus for recruiting purposes. The supreme court, when challenged on this issue, ruled in favor of the government.

Fourth amendment, the right to privacy and reasonable search and seizure.
Over the years, this amendment has been torn to such tiny, itty-bitty bits it is no longer shocking, laughable, or unexpected in the slightest. Can anyone say the Patriot Act? How about the current legislation up for grabs, the "War on Saggy Pants"? Again, 'nuff said.

Fifth amendment, right not to incriminate oneself, due process, no seizure of property for public use, etc.
Two words. Eminent Domain.

There is also a school of thought floating around that because the criminal system is over burdened and overly-expensive that a person's right to due process is being infringed upon. I have to agree with this line of reasoning. The increasingly high cost of legal representation, the exceedingly long waiting times for criminal cases (unless you're a celebrity) and the ever increasing amounts of criminalization of frivolous activities ("War on Saggy Pants") is slowly bringing the wheels of our justice system to a halt.

Not to mention the heinous war crimes and total disregard to due process enacted by our president of anyone suspected of terrorism.

Two more words. Patriot Act. Again. The warrentless wiretapping and spying on of American Citizens doesn't violate only the fourth amendment. It also prohibits the right to due process and the prevention of being held for crimes without grand jury indictment. You can't, or shouldn't be able to indict a person without probable cause or evidence, which cannot or should not be attained illegally (via the fourth amendment). Really, its just a house of cards.

Sixth amendment, the right to a speedy and public trial
Again, I bring your attention back to the costly nature of legal proceedings, the trivial nature of many crimes being tried and the over burdened judicial system. On another note, what the government is not doing is prohibiting large corporate entities from stalling for unreasonable amounts of time during legal proceedings. Insurance companies, for example.

Seventh amendment, the right to a trail by jury, in common law proceedings where monetary amounts exceeds twenty dollars.

Obviously, the dollar amount has gone up, in fact "small claims" court goes up to five thousand dollars. (due in part to inflation). However, the notion that one has a right to a trial by jury for even small claims has gone by the wayside for private, out of court litigation complete with gag orders. In the case where it is a large corporate entity, the government does not make or help individuals with regulations to how long a litigation process can go. Nor does it do much in the way of preventing intimidation.

Eighth amendment, no excessive bail, fines or cruel and unusual punishment.
Must I spell it out? Abu Ghraib.

Ninth amendment, The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
This is self explanatory. The violation of numerous rights violates this one.

Tenth amendment, anything not explicitly outlined or prohibited by the constitution will be dealt with by the state's constitution.
Another catch-all amendment that highlights state's rights. This is being tested a great deal, particularly seen in the battles over same sex marriages. The federal constitution does not outline or prohibit same sex marriages, so technically it should be left to the state's discretion. The attempt to pas a federal ban on same sex marriage is in direct violation of this amendment, and in indirect violation of the first amendment. (The idea behind the ban being religious based).

It should be noted that the dismantling of constitutional rights didn't just up and start with the Bush administration. It started long ago, with laws like the Sedition act of the late 1880's etc...It has been a slow evolution until the current administration who took to the constitution like a crazed butcher to a cow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

[b]NationalClicks.com-Free Adult, Sexy Videos, Pictures, Games.[/b]

[b]**NOTE:[/b] We are your ONLY Free Softcore Adult Playground with over 20 Free Social Communities built towards your favorite fantasy.

You don't have a favorite fantasy? You should.

Maybe its Hot Teachers, Hot Mom's, Hot Wives, Lingerie, Daisy Dukes, Nip Slips, Sexy Legs, Booty or Panties.

Don't worry, we have you covered.

With over 20 Free Hot Social Communities to upload Pictures, Videos and Blogs we are sure to have what you want.

[b]Check it out, have some fun, interact and enjoy all the free stuff.