Repeal the Bill of Rights?

In “The Freedom Triangle” I explained how freedom is defined by three components: democracy, rights, and responsibilities.  Our basic inalienable rights are found in the first ten amendments to the Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights.  Every one of them is important.  Every one was included because the authors of the Constitution, in their wisdom, had seen how authoritarian governments had abused their subjects and sought to protect us.  In fact the Constitution doesn’t talk about “subjects”, it talks about “We the People”.

Now the Constitution can be changed by the deliberately cumbersome process of amendment.  It’s long and tedious and the outcome is uncertain, but in this case that’s a protection, not an inefficiency.  Democrats, socialists, and other progressives, however, have found ways to weaken our rights by DE FACTO means.  That term simply means “that’s how it is”.  If you don’t like a law but can’t easily change it, find ways to circumvent it.  These tactics might be unofficial, like intimidation, or official, through restrictions or taxation.   In this article I’ll look at how several amendments are being attacked.

First Amendment:

Intimidation (aka Bullying):  At this time intimidation is the primary weapon against free speech.  It began with political correctness, a crybaby concept that has grown from a minor nuisance into a state religion.  We see intimidation on college campuses where students complain about “micro-aggression”, demand “safe spaces”, and are even told to call police if they hear something “offensive”.  Now that’s intimidation.  On a larger scale, political correctness stifles communication to a point where serious issues can’t even be discussed.

Intimidation also threatens religious freedom by erasing religious equality.  When Christian churches remove exterior crosses so they don’t “offend” Muslim immigrants they’re not accommodating newcomers, they’re surrendering their right to exist as a public entity; doing exactly what is required in Muslim countries.  From a Christian point of view they’re denying Christ just as Peter did.  When a restaurant owner is bullied into removing a sign advertising bacon for breakfast his free speech is suspended.  Jews don’t eat pork either but they’ve never tried to impose their dietary rules on others.

Legal Action:  Can the USA have laws against free speech beyond the “don’t yell fire in a theater if there isn’t one” and “don’t threaten violence”?  Maybe, because it’s happening in European countries that guarantee free speech.  In Germany a comedian has been arrested for insulting the president of Turkey, and In Sweden people can be arrested for ethnic slurs.  Some in the US are saying that “climate change deniers” should be arrested and oil companies should be sued because they “knew” their products would cause climate change.

Second Amendment:

Propaganda:   No amendment is under heavier public attack than this amendment, even though self defense it a fundamental human right.  It’s in common law because historically only the un-free (prisoners, serfs, slaves) were denied the right to protect themselves and their families.  We hear anti-gun propaganda everywhere, much of it funded by billionaires who are surrounded by armed bodyguards.  Their message: “be rich or be dead”.  They blame the NRA for Chicago violence, not the gang members doing the shooting.  They make their case with bogus logic that anyone who has learned how to think can spot as invalid.  Any criminal act is the act of a person, not an object.

Legal Action:  In addition to funding propaganda campaigns, billionaire Mike Bloomberg spends millions to buy local elections for anti-gun candidates who will then enact restrictive laws.  The result is a confusing patchwork system of laws that turn honest people into criminals while doing nothing to stop crime.  Liberal San Francisco’s laws are so tough that the last legal gun shop had to close, yet they did nothing to stop an illegal immigrant with a stolen gun from murdering an innocent young woman.  Chicago’s tough gun laws can’t stop the endless gang wars that have made it the murder capital of the US. The latest effort to drive gun makers out of business is to attempt to sue them for gun violence.  No company has ever been held liable for criminal use of their products because the company has no control over the consumer.

Taxation:   Everyone has heard Chief Justice Marshall’s statement that “The power to tax is the power to destroy” and liberals know punitive taxes can be used to deny “little people” their rights while preserving “billionaire rights”.  Seattle has a $25 tax on guns, a US territory has a $1000 tax per gun, and Hillary wants a 25% tax on guns (all for more money to squander).  What part of “right” don’t they understand?

Health care:  President Obama and his British-born Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy want to draft doctors into their war on legal gun ownership.  They have decreed that “gun violence” is a public health problem (but gang violence isn’t) so doctors should question patients about gun ownership, presumably to then evaluate their mental fitness to own a firearm while simultaneously creating a national gun registry in those digitized medical records.  Since doctors don’t get “gun violence” training (they don’t get knife or fist violence training either) they’ll be fed the far left agenda and sent out on a mission to declare as many people “mentally unfit” as possible (it’s already happening at the VA).  That won’t work on doctors who are also hunters but it will on many.  The answer is “no”.

Intimidation:  I discuss the DOJ’s “Operation Choke Point” under the Fifth Amendment.

SCOTUS:  In the case “D.C. vs. Heller” the Supreme Court upheld the right of honest people to own a firearm for self defense.  Progressives would love to get this ruling overturned.  That would effectively repeal the Second Amendment.

Fourth and Fifth Amendments:

Legal Action:  The fourth Amendment protects private property from unreasonable search and seizure without due process.  The fifth Amendment protects individuals from being deprived of “life, liberty, and property” without due process.  Government departments are using often dubious tactics to deprive people of their property without adjudication.  Here are two of them.

The IRS can seize bank assets of individuals or businesses if they suspect small deposits are being “structured” to avoid reporting requirements of amounts in excess of $10,000.  They don’t need any evidence of criminal activity, indictment, trial, or conviction to proceed.  Victims are often small businesses that deposit money regularly just to avoid being a robbery target.  Even innocent people must file an expensive lawsuit to get their money released.

Police can seize property under “civil asset forfeiture” if they suspect criminal activity, and that includes “untainted” assets, i.e., those not associated with the suspected activity.  Again the word is “suspected”; no indictment, trial, or conviction required.  Asset seizure can make it difficult for an accused person to hire attorneys and prepare a defense; a right guaranteed by  the Fifth Amendment.

Eminent Domain:  Eminent domain was included in the Constitution to allow governments at all levels to take private land, with compensation, for public projects that would benefit the community.  The intent was to support construction of roads, bridges, schools, and other public facilities.  That concept has unfortunately been expanded to allow taking of private property for private developments under the guise that they will expand the local tax base.  This “public good ” is nothing but a gift for wealthy developers at the expense of the people.

Intimidation:  The DOJ has initiated a process of intimidation not supported by any law called “Choke Point” to cut off “high risk” businesses from having bank accounts and obtaining credit.  Basically banks are threatened with legal action so they cancel the accounts of many honest businesses that pay taxes and wages.,  High risk businesses include firearms dealers, short term lenders, used car dealers, and adult entertainment.  So, what constitutes “high risk” is determined by politically motivated bureaucrats, not the law.  Congress has been urged to outlaw this practice but liberals support it because it furthers their agenda of control of the people.

Ninth Amendment:

Legal Action:  This amendment protects “unenumerated rights” of the people, i.e., those not specifically guaranteed by the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights.  The most important right that has been asserted under this amendment is the right of privacy.  As the Federal government demands more an more tracking of peoples’ lives privacy is being lost, often in the name of the “common good”.  That is collectivism, the antithesis of what the Constitution stands for.  To make the situation even worse, neither the government nor various private data collection agencies can adequately secure their data against hacking or insider misuse.

Tenth Amendment:

Congress:  This amendment says that all responsibilities not specifically assigned to the Federal government by the Constitution remain with the states or the people.  Congress has been more than happy to de facto repeal this amendment with “one-size-fits-all” programs.  Nothing in the Constitution allows the Federal government to control public schools yet Congress created the Department of Education and has given it unlimited power over the states and parents.  This has allowed billionaire Bill Gates to fund development of Common Core, his vision of an ideal system, and coax the government to enforce it.  Nothing in the Constitution allows the Federal government to use the IRS to enforce health insurance yet it approved the ACA.  All the promises associated with this program were lies: costs will go down, you can keep your doctor, etc.  Even the insurers are losing money on this one.  Rising health care costs are a problem but the ACA does nothing to solve it.

Intimidation:  The Department of Education uses threats of withholding education money from school districts that refuse to comply with it’s directives.  Simply put, it uses our tax dollars against us.

So, that’s the picture, and it isn’t a good one if you value freedom because without rights you are not free.  Can the Bill of Rights be saved?  Yes, but time is running out.  The 2016 elections will pretty much determine whether your children will stand in freedom or kneel in servitude.

 

If you like your rights you can keep them… NOT.

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No Accountability, No Consequences, No Problem.

Here’s a mission statement for all public employees:

The mission of public employees is to serve the people professionally and ethically at all times.

That’s right. Public employees work for the government, but since the government represents We the People , they work for us, and we have a right to expect integrity. It’s time to revisit the subject of responsibility with respect to recent events. There’s a lot going wrong and no one is being held accountable. All government employees receive procedural training, security training, and some form of ethics training. Technical employees are supposed to know their profession. Those who break the rules are subject to disciplinary actions ranging from pay cuts or days off up to removal and filing of criminal charges, yet this isn’t happening. Let’s look at a few cases where the objective seems to be protecting a corrupt administration rather than serving the public.
Let’s start with the problems at the VA. The President acknowledged there were problems at the VA in 2008, but didn’t take ownership of the issue until public outrage forced him to. The long delays in providing treatment to our veterans are medically and morally unacceptable. Whistleblower retaliation is legally unacceptable. Equally unacceptable are cover-up efforts, including falsified records and destruction of records. Any employee, regardless of level, who falsifies official records is subject to disciplinary action, yet there has been none. The issue of overpaid administrators and excessive non-medical purchases must be addressed too so that the money can be used to hire medical providers.
Now turn to the IRS and its “lost” emails. Anyone who buys the hard drive crash story is computer illiterate. When a email is sent it goes to an agency server where addresses can read it at any time. Servers have three levels of protection against data loss: fault tolerance, backup power, and periodic backup copies. While a copy of the email may reside on the sender’s computer it is hardly the sole backup. Suspicion is also raised by an email that said to be careful what was sent in email because Congress might want to see them. As liberals love to say when defending surveillance of honest citizens “why should you care if you’re not doing anything wrong?”. The supervisor in charge could have been fired (at least) but instead was allowed to take retirement with an unblemished record.
The State Department had serious problems under Hillary Clinton. Where are the missing 6 billion dollars? Was it poor accounting practices or is the money really missing? What about the lies surrounding the Benghazi attack? No one believed the movie protest story from the start, so why did our officials keep repeating it and threaten to jail a film maker in violation of the First Amendment? Who authorized the lie? What about using personal email accounts to avoid Federal record keeping and security requirements? The average Federal employee would at least lose their job and probably face charges. Again no one has been held accountable.
The Department of Justice isn’t immune to criticism either. The “Fast and Furious” operation allowed 2000 “assault weapons” to be transferred to Mexican drug cartels. One was used to kill a US border agent. How many Mexicans have died is unknown. Who’s accountable? No one. Incidentally those are the same guns Democrats say honest citizens shouldn’t be allowed to own.
Now look at the last “crisis” on our southern border involving “unaccompanied minors”. Why the secrecy? Why were doctors told not to discuss possible public health threats? Why was a US Congressman denied entry into a US base housing “undocumented immigrants”? Why aren’t “immigrants” with violent gang tattoos being turned away? Again, where’s the accountability at Immigration and the CDC for failing to protect our nation and it’s citizens?
Finally let’s look at the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA wants to control “ephemeral” water, i.e., every puddle in the country. Those same scientists and engineers managed to poison an entire river system with three million gallons of toxic mine waste. Has anyone been fired?
Ethical and procedural lapses are pervasive, and ethical behavior cannot be restored at this point without a purge. Managers who directed or were aware of illegal activities must be fired. Any employee who falsified or destroyed records must be disciplined. Incompetent employees must be dismissed. Any contractor that participated in records “loss” must lose the contract and be barred from Federal contracts for 10 years. Employees must then be retrained, making it clear that illegal or unethical actions will not be tolerated. Without an example of real consequences they won’t believe it.

De Facto Dangerous

The term “de facto” simply means that it’s a fact, it exists.  Fifty years ago the South was accused of maintaining de facto school segregation in violation of civil rights laws.  Today Federal agencies are increasingly creating de facto “laws” to bypass Congress or the Constitution.  Here are a two examples.

As it established the Common Core standards, the Education Department insisted that it’s not a Federally mandated curriculum, something that’s prohibited by law.  The standard tests, however, must align with the standards, so the curriculum will eventually have to align with the tests.  The result is a de facto Federal curriculum that will permit only minor tweaking at the state level.

The Department of Justice has labeled certain businesses as “high risk” and is pressuring banks to “choke” their credit.  Banks are complying and even cancelling accounts.  Businesses like adult entertainment, payday loans, and firearms dealers may not be popular with everyone, but they are legal businesses that employ people and pay taxes.  Unless charges are filed and a conviction obtained these businesses are being denied the due process guaranteed by the Constitution.  They are guilty by decree of the department head and must be driven out of business.  It’s de facto denial of  rights without congressional action or court rulings.

There is only one solution.  Congress must assert it’s function as lawmaker and rein in overzealous department heads.

The Federal government isn’t the only one stepping on the Constitution.  Private organizations, including colleges, are increasingly using political correctness as a de facto law to silence free speech.  This isn’t about preventing hate speech or lies, it’s about blocking any views that don’t fit with the ever expanding liberal view of tolerance.  The truth, as long as it’s presented civilly, should not be suppressed under the guise of PC.

If people can’t honestly discuss both sides of an issue they are no longer a free people.

“Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you have never had anyone really responsible.”

That quote by the late Admiral H. G. Rickover, the “Father of the Nuclear Navy”, points to Department heads and upper management.  There seems to be an epidemic of “Not me!”, “They did it”, “I didn’t know” and so on in Washington these days.  Where does the buck stop?

Department heads and managers must be knowledgeable of and responsible for the actions of their departments.  If someone buys a thousand bucks worth of unneeded office supplies it’s low level stuff, but if someone mismanages millions of taxpayer dollars, violates the legal rights of people or organizations, or gets people killed then that someone and possibly his or her immediate boss should lose their jobs.  Why was no one fired when the State Dept. failed to protect the embassy in Benghazi, or the Justice Dept.’s “Fast and Furious” operation sold weapons to drug cartels, or the IRS targeted conservative political groups?

To paraphrase John Donne, “ask not at whom the finger points, it points at you”.

2016 Update:  Why were no EPA officials or EPA contractors fired after polluting the Animas River with millions of gallons of toxic mine waste?  Heavy metals that settle out on the bottom will be there for a long time.