National Geographic American Blackout:
No phones. No lights. No running water. What would you do if the whole country went dark and you didn't know if or when the power would be coming back?
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.The Supreme Court has also interpreted the First Amendment as protecting freedom of association.
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.Gun control and gun rights advocates obviously have very different views about whether guns are a force for violence or for good.
Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda.The gun control debate – including which weapons and magazines are banned – is still in flux …
It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right. It is true that the amendment begins with a reference to militias: “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.” Accordingly, it is argued, this amendment protects the right of the militia to bear arms, not the individual.
Yet, if true, the Second Amendment would be effectively declared a defunct provision. The National Guard is not a true militia in the sense of the Second Amendment and, since the District and others believe governments can ban guns entirely, the Second Amendment would be read out of existence.
More important, the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.
Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.
None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that … here’s the really hard part … the NRA may have been right. This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it.
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.While a recent lawsuit by a Nevada family – covered by (Mother Jones, Fox News and Courthouse News – alleges violation of the Third Amendment, this appears to be an isolated incident and an aberration.
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.But the government is spying on everything we do … without any real benefit or justification.
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.But the American government has shredded the 5th Amendment by subjecting us to indefinite detention and taking away our due process rights.
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.Subjecting people to indefinite detention or assassination obviously violates the 6th Amendment right to a jury trial. In both cases, the defendants is “disposed of” without ever receiving a trial … and often without ever hearing the charges against them.
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.As far as we know, this right is still being respected (that’s three rights still being followed).
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.Indefinite detention and assassination are obviously cruel and unusual punishment.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.We can debate what our inherent rights as human beings are. I believe they include the right to a level playing field, and access to non-toxic food and water. You may disagree.
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.Two of the central principles of America’s Founding Fathers are:
(1) The government is created and empowered with the consent of the peopleToday, most Americans believe that the government is threatening – rather than protecting – freedom. We’ve become more afraid of our government than of terrorists, and believe that the government is no longer acting with the “consent of the governed“.
(2) Separation of powers
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the resident examiners and regional staff of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [both] competed to weaken federal regulation and aggressively used the preemption doctrine to try to prevent state investigations of and actions against fraudulent mortgage lenders.Indeed, the federal government is doing everything it can to stick its nose into every aspect of our lives … and act like Big Brother.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. [Background]
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. [Background here, here and here]
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: [Background]
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences [Background]
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. [Background]
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. [Background here, here and here]
Brazil is creating an email system intended to shield the government from NSA spying. The country is set to vote on a cyber-security bill following revelations the US spy network had infiltrated the highest levels of Brazil’s administration.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff tweeted the news, stressing the need for greater security “to prevent possible espionage.”
Rousseff said the Federal Data Processing Service (SERPRO) had been charged with creating the spy-proof system for the Brazilian government.
“This is the first step toward extending the privacy and inviolability of official posts,” Rousseff said. (more)
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