Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Bill of Rights

(This is a continuation of a seris of posts I began some time ago. Click to see my explination of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independance)

Congress of the United Statesbegun and held at the City of New-York, onWednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

[Several states were concerned that the federal government would become too powerful and tyrannical, so as a condition to their passing the constitution, congress was to make certain amendments to it to protect the individual from the government]

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…

[This does not say, “there shall be a firm wall of separation between church and state.” That statement comes from a private letter written by Thomas Jefferson. This amendment says that the federal government cannot force everyone in the country to be Presbyterian, Methodist, or Episcopalian. It does not protect government from religion, but religion from the government. The fact is that no human being is non-religious. Those who claim to be worship themselves or humanity in general. Thus, everyone brings their religion to public office and that religion influences how they behave and what laws they want to pass.]

…or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

[The government is not supposed to have the power to decide who says what. Certain music stars have accused us of violating this when their record sales fell after they made disparaging remarks about George W Bush. That is simply nonsense. Private citizens have the right to spend their money however they want to and if they choose to not support a singer who they disagree with politically that is their right. A violation of this clause would be if Bush had thrown them in jail for their comments.

Some politicians would like to enact the “fairness doctrine” which would force radio stations to give equal time to liberal and conservative talk show hosts. This is a blatant violation of the first amendment. You see, people who listen to the radio talk shows are generally conservative working people. That is why liberals can’t make a profit on talk shows. Since radio stations cant afford to give large amounts of time to liberals for free, this law would force them to take conservatives off the air. The law would not apply to TV or newspapers, which are largely used by liberals and are unprofitable to conservatives.]

…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,…

[We have the legal right to hold peaceful protests and to associate with whoever we want to. During the Revolutionary War, England made it illegal for more than three colonists to be in the same place at the same time, except for church on Sunday morning. Some local governments are violating this clause by trying to end in-home Bible studies. They allow lare groups in homes to watch football games and hold teas and book club meetings, but studying God’s word is illeagle. This also violates the free exercise of religion.]

… and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We have the right to complain; to write our congressman.

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.

[The first thing any tyranny does is remove the weapons from the citizens so they can’t fight back. The philistines did it to the Israelites in the time of king Saul. Hitler and Mao Se Tang did it to their populations. Tenimen Square would not have happened if those college students had had guns to shoot back. The government would have had to listen to their complaints. As one bumper sticker stated, “Fear the government that fears your guns.”

There is also the practical fact that states with the toughest gun control laws have the highest crime rates. After all, criminals have no problem breaking gun control laws any more than any other law, leaving the law-abiding citizen an unarmed victim. States where a bugler is very likely to find himself looking down the barrel of a 45, don’t have nearly as many robberies. Crooks are evil, not stupid.]

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.

[When England sent their army to control the colonists, they forced the average citizen to house and feed their soldiers in their own homes.]

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.

[The government does not have the right to send policemen into your home fishing for something illegal. They have to know ahead of time what they are looking for and where it will be and get a judges permission. The courts have ruled that this applies to social workers, too. If they show up at your door, you do not have to let them in unless they have a search warrant.]

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,…

[The government must give you a trial. They can’t just throw you in jail indefinitely.]

… 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; …

[This does not apply to the military, which needs to function under different rules due to the nature of war.]

…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; …

[Once a person has been tried once for an offence and found not guilty, the government cannot come back and retry him, even if they find more evidence against him. This is to prevent them from keeping those who politicians disagree with out of commission fighting court cases over and over.]

…nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,…

[You can not be forced to say anything against yourself in the witness stand. This is called “pleading the fifth.” The courts have said that it applies to spouses, also. A wife cannot be forced to witness against her hubby and vice versa.]

… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;…

[The government cannot punish you without a proper trial. Unfortunately, they have forgotten this in their enthusiasm for the pursuing the drug war. The federal government now regularly “arrests” property of those they accuse of being drug trafficking and the owners will never see that property again. This law has been used to harass law-abiding citizens who have disagreements with government officials. Since there is never any trial, they have no way to fight back.]

… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

[The government cannot take your land to build a freeway without paying you the value of that land. But who decides what a piece of land or other property is worth? Owners are often paid well under what their land is worth. Also, it is common for the government to declare a piece of land “environmentally sensitive” and force the owner to not use that land (while still paying property taxes, of course). This has forced many a rancher to sell out just plain go bankrupt, only to have the government (Nature Conservancy) turn around and parcel up his land into luxury “ranchettes” sold at a high price. Or the government regularly condemns a perfectly good, low income neighborhood in order to sell the land to business developers who will pay higher taxes than low income citizens will. Many of our officials need a serious refresher course on this amendment.]

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,…

[It was common practice in England to leave the accused in prison for years and never quite get around to holding a trial. Great way to control your enemies without actually having evidence they did anything wrong.]

… 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;…

[In other countries it is not unusual for your to be arrested, tried and imprisoned without ever knowing what you did wrong. Here, the government must tell you what you are being accused of and present evidence of your wrong-doing.]

… to be confronted with the witnesses against him;…

[The accused has the right to sit in the courtroom and hear all the evidence and look the witnesses in the eye and ask them questions. This is to protect the innocent from being railroaded by the government and to lower the risk of mistakes being made.]

… to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, …

[All these laws are stated here because England and other countries were violating these basic rights. It was not uncommon for someone to go to jail because they were not allowed to have someone come and witness for them.]

…and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense….

[You have the legal right to a lawyer. Our system will pay for a lawyer if you can’t afford one and if you don’t like the one appointed to you, you have the right to demand a new one.]

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 re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

[In a lawsuit you can choose to have a jury decide the matter instead of a judge and the court cannot overrule their decision.]

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

[Governments have a bad habit of punishing people more than is reasonable. For example, in the middle ages it was normal for a person to be tortured to death on the rack for shooting a deer to feed his starving family. The punishment should fit the crime. This does not however, mean that inmates have a “right” to TV or any other luxury, though prison officials know people are easier to control when the are veged in front of the “Plug in Drug.”]
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

[“We haven’t thought of all the rights a person should have, so just ‘cause it isn’t written in here doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”]

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.

[“If we have not specifically given the Federal government the right to do something in this document, THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MESS WITH IT. It is to be left in the hands of the states or the citizens.” This includes education, retirement, healthcare, and many, many other areas; many of which were discussed in the Constitutional Convention and decided against the feds interfering with. This means that Public Schools are inherently unconstitutional as is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and many other programs our feds are now involved in. In fact, income tax (which was outlawed in ---------- of the constitution) would not be necessary at all if the government wasn’t messing in these areas. That would leave us enough money we could take care of ourselves and wouldn’t need Uncle Sam’s help and would be free form his regulations.]

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