Scorecard: How Many Rights Have Americans REALLY Lost?

George Washington's picture by Anthony Freda:


Preface: While a lot of people talk about the loss of our Constitutional liberties, people usually speak in a vague, generalized manner … or focus on only one issue and ignore the rest.

This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.

First Amendment

The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press:

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.

However, the government is arresting those speaking out … and violently crushing peaceful assemblies which attempt to petition the government for redress.

A federal judge found that the law allowing indefinite detention of Americans without due process has a “chilling effect” on free speech. And see this and this.

The threat of being labeled a terrorist for exercising our First Amendment rights certainly violates the First Amendment.   The government is using laws to crush dissent, and it’s gotten so bad that even U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying that we are descending into tyranny.

For example, the following actions may get an American citizen living on U.S. soil labeled as a “suspected terrorist” today:

And holding the following beliefs may also be considered grounds for suspected terrorism:

Of course, Muslims are more or less subject to a separate system of justice in America.

And 1st Amendment rights are especially chilled when power has become so concentrated that the same agency which spies on all Americans also decides who should be assassinated.

Second Amendment

The 2nd Amendment states:

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.

But even a top liberal Constitutional law expert reluctantly admits  that the right to own a gun is as important a Constitutional right as freedom of speech or religion:

Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda.




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.

The gun control debate – including which weapons and magazines are banned – is still in flux …

Third Amendment

The 3rd Amendment prohibits the government forcing people to house soldiers:

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.

Hey … we’re still honoring one of the Amendments! Score one for We the People!

 In America, Journalists Are Considered Terrorists
Painting by Anthony Freda:

Fourth Amendment

The 4th Amendment prevents unlawful search and seizure:

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 flying drones over the American homeland to spy on us.

Senator Rand Paul correctly notes:

The domestic use of drones to spy on Americans clearly violates the Fourth Amendment and limits our rights to personal privacy.

Paul introduced a bill to “protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles commonly called drones.”

Emptywheel notes in a post entitled “The OTHER Assault on the Fourth Amendment in the NDAA? Drones at Your Airport?”:



As the map above makes clear–taken from this 2010 report–DOD [the Department of Defense] plans to have drones all over the country by 2015.

Many police departments are also using drones to spy on us. As the Hill reported:

At least 13 state and local police agencies around the country have used drones in the field or in training, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an industry trade group. The Federal Aviation Administration has predicted that by the end of the decade, 30,000 commercial and government drones could be flying over U.S. skies.




“Drones should only be used if subject to a powerful framework that regulates their use in order to avoid abuse and invasions of privacy,” Chris Calabrese, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said during a congressional forum in Texas last month.


He argued police should only fly drones over private property if they have a warrant, information collected with drones should be promptly destroyed when it’s no longer needed and domestic drones should not carry any weapons.


He argued that drones pose a more serious threat to privacy than helicopters because they are cheaper to use and can hover in the sky for longer periods of time.


A congressional report earlier this year predicted that drones could soon be equipped with technologies to identify faces or track people based on their height, age, gender and skin color.

Even without drones, Americans are the most spied on people in world history:

The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email,  text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information,  employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American.


Some also claim that the government is also using facial recognition software and surveillance cameras to track where everyone is going.  Moreover, cell towers track where your phone is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. (And – given that your smartphone routinely sends your location information back to Apple or Google – it would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way.)    Your iPhone, or other brand of smartphone is spying on virtually everything you do  (ProPublica notes: “That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker“).


As the top spy chief at the U.S. National Security Agency explained this week, the American government is collecting some 100 billion 1,000-character emails per day, and 20 trillion communications of all types per year.


He says that the government has collected all of the communications of congressional leaders, generals and everyone else in the U.S. for the last 10 years.


He further explains that he set up the NSA’s system so that all of the information would automatically be encrypted, so that the government had to obtain a search warrant based upon probably cause before a particular suspect’s communications could be decrypted.  [He specifically did this to comply with the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure.] But the NSA now collects all data in an unencrypted form, so that no probable cause is needed to view any citizen’s information.  He says that it is actually cheaper and easier to store the data in an encrypted format: so the government’s current system is being done for political – not practical – purposes.


He says that if anyone gets on the government’s “enemies list”, then the stored information will be used to target them. Specifically, he notes that if the government decides it doesn’t like someone, it analyzes all of the data it has collected on that person and his or her associates over the last 10 years to build a case against him.



Wired reports:

Transit authorities in cities across the country are quietly installing microphone-enabled surveillance systems on public buses that would give them the ability to record and store private conversations….


The systems are being installed in San Francisco, Baltimore, and other cities with funding from the Department of Homeland Security in some cases ….


The IP audio-video systems can be accessed remotely via a built-in web server (.pdf), and can be combined with GPS data to track the movement of buses and passengers throughout the city.




The systems use cables or WiFi to pair audio conversations with camera images in order to produce synchronous recordings. Audio and video can be monitored in real-time, but are also stored onboard in blackbox-like devices, generally for 30 days, for later retrieval. Four to six cameras with mics are generally installed throughout a bus, including one near the driver and one on the exterior of the bus.




Privacy and security expert Ashkan Soltani told the Daily that the audio could easily be coupled with facial recognition systems or audio recognition technology to identify passengers caught on the recordings.

RT notes:

Street lights that can spy installed in some American cities


America welcomes a new brand of smart street lightning systems: energy-efficient, long-lasting, complete with LED screens to show ads. They can also spy on citizens in a way George Orwell would not have imagined in his worst nightmare.


With a price tag of $3,000+ apiece, according to an ABC report, the street lights are now being rolled out in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh, and may soon mushroom all across the country.


Part of the Intellistreets systems made by the company Illuminating Concepts, they have a number of “homeland security applications” attached.


Each has a microprocessor “essentially similar to an iPhone,” capable of wireless communication. Each can capture images and count people for the police through a digital camera, record conversations of passers-by and even give voice commands thanks to a built-in speaker.


Ron Harwood, president and founder of Illuminating Concepts, says he eyed the creation of such a system after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He is “working with Homeland Security” to deliver his dream of making people “more informed and safer.”

Fox news notes that the government is insisting that “black boxes” be installed in cars to track your location.

The TSA has moved way past airports, trains and sports stadiums, and is deploying mobile scanners to spy on people all over the place.  This means that traveling within the United States is no longer a private affair.  (And they’re probably bluffing, but the Department of Homeland Security claims they will soon be able to know your adrenaline level, what you ate for breakfast and what you’re thinking … from 164 feet away.)

And Verizon has applied for a patent that would allow your television to track what you are doing, who you are with, what objects you’re holding, and what type of mood you’re in.  Given Verizon and other major carriers responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011, such information would not be kept private.  (And some folks could be spying on you through your tv using existing technology.)

Of course, widespread spying on Americans began before 9/11 (confirmed here and here. And see this). So the whole “post-9/11 reality” argument falls flat.

And the spying isn’t being done to keep us safe … but to crush dissent and to smear people who uncover unflattering this about the government … and to help the too big to fail businesses compete against smaller businesses (and here).

In addition, the ACLU published a map in 2006 showing that nearly two-thirds of the American public – 197.4 million people – live within a “constitution-free zone” within 100 miles of land and coastal borders:

The ACLU explained:

  • Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.
  • The border, however, has always been an exception.  There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply.  For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”
  • But what is “the border”?  According to the government, it  is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States.
  • As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
  • Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship.  Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders.  They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
  • However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose.  On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
  • The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.

Computer World reports today:

Border agents don’t need probable cause and they don’t need a stinking warrant since they don’t need to prove any reasonable suspicion first. Nor, sadly, do two out of three people have First Amendment protection; it is as if DHS has voided those Constitutional amendments and protections they provide to nearly 200 million Americans.




Don’t be silly by thinking this means only if you are physically trying to cross the international border. As we saw when discussing the DEA using license plate readers and data-mining to track Americans movements, the U.S. “border” stretches out 100 miles beyond the true border. Godfather Politics added:

But wait, it gets even better!  If you live anywhere in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey or Rhode Island, DHS says the search zones encompass the entire state.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have a “longstanding constitutional and statutory authority permitting suspicionless and warrantless searches of merchandise at the border and its functional equivalent.” This applies to electronic devices, according to the recent CLCR “Border Searches of Electronic Devices” executive summary [PDF]:

Fourth Amendment


The overall authority to conduct border searches without suspicion or warrant is clear and longstanding, and courts have not treated searches of electronic devices any differently than searches of other objects.  We conclude that CBP’s and ICE’s current border search policies comply with the Fourth Amendment.  We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits.  However, we do think that recording more information about why searches are performed would help managers and leadership supervise the use of border search authority, and this is what we recommended; CBP has agreed and has implemented this change beginning in FY2012.


First Amendment


Some critics argue that a heightened level of suspicion should be required before officers search laptop computers in order to avoid chilling First Amendment rights.  However, we conclude that the laptop border searches allowed under the ICE and CBP Directives do not violate travelers’ First Amendment rights.

The ACLU said, Wait one darn minute! Hello, what happened to the Constitution? Where is the rest of CLCR report on the “policy of combing through and sometimes confiscating travelers’ laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices—even when there is no suspicion of wrongdoing?” DHS maintains it is not violating our constitutional rights, so the ACLU said:

If it’s true that our rights are safe and that DHS is doing all the things it needs to do to safeguard them, then why won’t it show us the results of its assessment? And why would it be legitimate to keep a report about the impact of a policy on the public’s rights hidden from the very public being affected?



As ChristianPost wrote, “Your constitutional rights have been repealed in ten states. No, this isn’t a joke. It is not exaggeration or hyperbole. If you are in ten states in the United States, your some of your rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights have been made null and void.”


The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the entire DHS report about suspicionless and warrantless “border” searches of electronic devices. ACLU attorney Catherine Crump said “We hope to establish that the Department of Homeland Security can’t simply assert that its practices are legitimate without showing us the evidence, and to make it clear that the government’s own analyses of how our fundamental rights apply to new technologies should be openly accessible to the public for review and debate.”


Meanwhile, the EFF has tips to protect yourself and your devices against border searches. If you think you know all about it, then you might try testing your knowledge with a defending privacy at the U.S. border quiz.

Wired pointed out in 2008 that the courts have routinely upheld such constitution-free zones:

Federal agents at the border do not need any reason to search through travelers’ laptops, cell phones or digital cameras for evidence of crimes, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, extending the government’s power to look through belongings like suitcases at the border to electronics.




The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the government, finding that the so-called border exception to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches applied not just to suitcases and papers, but also to electronics.



Travelers should be aware that anything on their mobile devices can be searched by government agents, who may also seize the devices and keep them for weeks or months. When in doubt, think about whether online storage or encryption might be tools you should use to prevent the feds from rummaging through your journal, your company’s confidential business plans or naked pictures of you and your-of-age partner in adult fun.

Paintings by Anthony Freda:

Fifth Amendment

The 5th Amendment addresses due process of law, eminent domain, double jeopardy and grand jury:

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.

The government claims the right to assassinate or indefinitely detain any American citizen on U.S. citizen without any due process. And see this.

As such, the government is certainly depriving people of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

There are additional corruptions of 5th Amendment rights – such as property being taken for private purposes.

The percentage of prosecutions in which a defendant is denied a  grand jury is difficult to gauge, as there is so much secrecy surrounding many terrorism trials.

Protection against being tried twice for the same crime after being found innocent (“double jeopardy”) seems to be intact.

HUNG LIBERTY (NYSE)Image by William Banzai

Sixth Amendment

The 6th Amendment guarantees the right to hear the criminal charges levied against us and to be able to confront the witnesses who have testified against us, as well as speedy criminal trials, and a public defender for those who cannot hire an attorney:

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.

More and more commonly, the government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.

The government uses “secret evidence” to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorism charges (even against U.S. soldiers) and even assassinate people.  And see this and this.

Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are not even allowed to read their own briefs.

Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret.  And it’s about to get a lot worse.

True – when defendants are afforded a jury trial – they are provided with assistance of counsel. However, the austerity caused by redistribution of wealth to the super-elite is causing severe budget cuts to the courts and the public defenders’ offices nationwide.

Moreover, there are two systems of justice in America … one for the big banks and other fatcats, and one for everyone else.   The government made it official policy not to prosecute fraud, even though fraud is the main business model adopted by Wall Street.  Indeed, the biggest financial crime in world history, the largest insider trading scandal of all time, illegal raiding of customer accounts and blatant financing of drug cartels and terrorists have all been committed recently without any real criminal prosecution or jail time.

On the other hand, government prosecutors are using the legal system to  crush dissent and to silence whistleblowers.

And some of the nation’s most powerful judges have lost their independence  … and are in bed with the powers-that-be.

Seventh Amendment

The 7th Amendment guarantees trial by jury in federal court for civil cases:

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.  However – as noted above – the austerity caused by redistribution of wealth to the super-elite is causing severe budget cuts to the courts, resulting in the wheels of justice slowing down considerably.

Painting by Anthony Freda:

Eighth Amendment

The 8th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment:

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 widespread system of torture carried out in the last 10 years – with the help of other countriesviolates the 8th Amendment.  Many want to bring it back … or at least justify its past use.

While Justice Scalia disingenuously argues that torture does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment because it is meant to produce information – not punish – he’s wrong.  It’s not only cruel and unusual … it is technically a form of terrorism.

And government whistleblowers are being cruelly and unusually punished with unduly harsh sentences meant to intimidate anyone else from speaking out.

Ninth Amendment

The 9th Amendment provides that people have other rights, even if they aren’t specifically listed in the Constitution:

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

The government has trampled our basic rights as human beings.  While we can debate about what our inherent rights as human beings are, the government should not actively encourage fraud and manipulation. In reality – through the malignant, symbiotic relationship between big government and big corporations, the government is interfering with our aspirations for economic freedom, safe food and water (instead of arsenic-laden, genetically engineered junk), to be free of undue health hazards such as irradiation due to government support of archaic nuclear power designs, and our yearning for a level playing field … as opposed to our crony capitalist system in which the little guy has no shot due to redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the super-elite, and government support of white collar criminals.


Tenth Amendment

The 10th Amendment provides that powers not specifically given to the Federal government are reserved to the states or individual:

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 people




(2) Separation of powers

Today, most Americans believe that the government is threatening – rather than protect – freedom, and that it is no longer acting with the “consent of the governed”.

And the federal government is trampling the separation of powers by stepping on the toes of the states and the people.  For example, former head S&L prosecutor Bill Black – now a professor of law and economics – notes:

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 be stick its nose into every aspect of our lives … and act like Big Brother.

Conclusion: While a few of the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights still exist, the overall scorecard of the government’s respect for our basic freedom is a failing grade.

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diogeneslaertius's picture

you have no rights, the only rights you have are

"right this way (onto the trains, into the jail cell, into the charnel pit of tyranny)" -Carlin (also my favorite type of mineralization!)

The Second Rule's picture

Thought provoking and hilarious at the same time. Thanks.

ramacers's picture

all the better for rivers of blood. gotta happen.

Gold Dog's picture

The word on this is getting out. I have leftie friends, they worship the TOTUS and all he does and stands for. They are starting to get freaked out by the incursions being made on our rights.

I even have a peacenic bud who just bought a Bushmaster AR because he is worried that the Second Ammendment is turning into a sham.

Some of the smarter sheeple are waking up to this outrage.



NSA- Please forward to the Idiot in the White House and that Dike* who is in charge of Der Homeland. (Thanks in advance for your assistance!)

EDIT- *= BullDike...I am a little tired and mispoke. Apologies!

diogeneslaertius's picture

another fucking awesome tour de force GW

davidsmith's picture

What silly nonsense.  Tell me about Linsey v. Normet.  Has the level of scrutiny for housing been raised above minimum scrutiny?  This tells the real story.  Obviously, George Washington knows nothing about the law.  Clown.

nmewn's picture

davidsmith blurts out...

"Obviously, George Washington knows nothing about the law."

Tell me, in your own words, what do you think law is? Is it something that must be obeyed for the good of all society or something that say's all law is good for society?

Before you answer, remember, pirates had laws and it worked out well for the captains, swabbie ;-)

CH1's picture

What silly nonsense.

Then maybe you should bother people in a statist chat room. Sign fascist songs and all that.

tony bonn's picture

the usa is ruled by a cabal of nazi totatlitarian whores - the very same cabal of banksters and plutocrats who established hitler....prescott bush was a card carrying nazi, as were the rockefellers who established a network of slave labor camps around germany with i g farben and other german industrial giants and who continued to supply hitler with oil until the very end of the war......they won is absolutely no surprise that they are doing the same here as they did there....

and of course the people love the control and feel of a nazi boot so it will only get worse....they are stasi agents who want to see state power crush their started in 1913 and is now complete in 2013 - you are slaves of the imperial state.....

diogeneslaertius's picture

cant argue with you there sir


but alas, it is a new WORLD order - my only caveat would be that we are ALL slaves.


CompassionateFascist's picture

Bogus history + whining. Suggest you obtain a c. 3,000 fps weapon and learn how to use it. Then you cannot be so easily enslaved. 

diogeneslaertius's picture

but this is typical, its like ppl on huffpo telling james yeager he has no business around weapons 

go ahead and fight a hot war against northcom

go ahead and have an american spring and french revolution 2.0


that very phenomenology is the control mechanism by which the power structure recycles itself

popular ideas... what has its price is seldom of any value.

diogeneslaertius's picture

slave morality and plebeianism simply cannot stand the taste of codifying synthesis

they shout it down out of instinct

as they have been trained to do

alas, for man is an animal taught to dance by punches and blows

diogeneslaertius's picture

thousands of years of hot revolutions have failed

i am well armed

but i fight a war for the sanctity of ideas and i do not need anyone's approval

kaiserhoff's picture

Well, I still have the right to have an abortion, the only privacy right those nine old robed zombies can find in the Constitution..., though what the fuck-all good that does me, I really couldn't say.

mayhem_korner's picture



GW, good article overall (shocking from me, I know).  I would argue that you overreach on a few things, but the thrust I 100% agree with.   A few thoughts (not to be combative, just for discussion):

1.  Constitutional rights extend to citizens only; enemy combatants are not afforded those rights and have no protection against torture/enhanced interrogation/whatever you want to call it.  Not an argument about what should or shouldn't be done - or how you define an "enemy combatant", but such are not protected by the Constitution.

2.  Your ninth amendment comments.  I would not agree that the government trampled our rights to economic freedom.  The people have done that to themselves by acquiescing their economic freedom to opportunistic sleazeballs.  The government is the implement, the sheep are still to blame.

3.  Where do we have a right to "safe food and water?"  That's a self defeating argument.  I like to believe that the we have the right for the government not to interfere in the production/distribution of food & water.  The issue is when one cannot access viable food and water sources that are not interfered with.  But what you are saying is that the government should not allow certain processes, additives, etc.  That amounts to relying on the government to dictate what is "safe" and what isn't. 

4.  Although I agree with you in spirit, you don't explain why being labeled a "suspected terrorist" actually strips one of rights.  Until the government acts on that, the threat of being persecuted, denied liberty itself is just that - a threat and a perception.  Real persecution and the threat of denied liberties are worlds apart.

The Second Rule's picture

Ditto. I was so engrossed in the topic(s) I forgot to give you a kudos, or at least a golf clap.

George Washington's picture

I re-wrote the section on 9th amendment rights ...

OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

GW your critics are wrong and deluded people. They love their country, and want to believe it is still "free". Sorry, it's not. Best to face reality.

I saw another blog where the guy was tired of being delayed 3 hours every time he drove from Canada to the US while they searched his laptop contents. So he changed his password to be "a confession of a minor crime he had committed", stole from a grocery store in 1981 or something. That way he thought he might get Fifth Amendment protection for not releasing his password on the grounds he would be incriminating himself.

mayhem_korner's picture



Did that speed up his time crossing the border?

If he committed a crime in 1981, the statute of limitations has long since expired, so the Fifth Amendment would not apply.  Moreover, the Fifth Amendment does not apply until you are being tried.  I guess some folks are just better than others at making a spectacle of themselves for lack of knowledge and/or common sense.

diogeneslaertius's picture

try not to listen too much to the critics sir (espeically with regard to the extent that such ciritques are pedantic, when they are), we have need of you to be confident and visionary in your troop movements

but then again never stop listening either :)

mayhem_korner's picture



Don't listen to critics, but never stop listening.  A tell-tale sign of an anarchist is his lack of conviction.

cherry picker's picture

I am not an American, but in reference to # 1 above, doesn't the Constitution say "All men are created equal"  It doesn't say American men, it says "all" men.  I am quoting from memory, if I am wrong please correct me.


However, I view the Constitution and Bill of Rights to apply to everyone and everywhere the American hand reaches.  I think that is what the fathers intended. 

The Second Rule's picture

Sorry, but Mayhem is wrong about this. The US is signatory to the Geneva Convention which specifically prohibits torture.

The 9th amendment. That's the big nebulous one for me. Take the recent incineration of cop killer (alleged) Chris Dorner. His rights under the 6th, 7th, and 8th amendments to the constitution were clearly violated. The 9th is less clear, but probably the 9th as well.

Umh's picture

Love your thoughts just so long as it doesn't say we all end up equal; there have to be consequences to actions or every fool will fuck off and expect to be king.

Shizzmoney's picture

Well at least we did keep the right to shut the fuck up.

diogeneslaertius's picture

yes, we shall always have the right to shut the fuck up and get on trains

cmon fellas - look on the brightside


you arent losing freedoms

you are Gaining limitations on those freedoms

(from back when stephen colbert was more to me than an MSM monkey)

cherry picker's picture

The Bill of Rights has no meaning to those who wield power.  They do what they want, often with immunity.

One day some militia will rear its head and declare, enough is enough or one state will no longer follow the dictates of DC and adhere to the Constitution.

mayhem_korner's picture



That's because those that originally had the power (the people) unwisely ceded it to the central authority.  Once that basic transfer took place - over decades - the entire premise of the Constitution was rendered moot.  Now the 'elected' simply shape rights according to their political aspirations.

blindman's picture

i hesitate to add to this but ..
what the hell?
ji cheeki ki, kaw a wu
the mother land is pregnant with a two headed love child.
she may die giving birth if we don't do a "see" section.
Thursday February 21 12:00pm
fine point, minute 28:33 or so ... denial is born of the inability to
fight or flight, the place where fear and love have no name
worthy of consideration ... the realm of denial.
where people are cut off from their fear and are
in congregation, or urban environments.
. garrison on jung ...
into the space of denial steps.....
"..evil is the rock upon which all systems ship wreck."" as per dr. jim
Moment of Clarity No. 208 . . . and No. 1 (check out this No. 1 episode *****)
Posted on February 20, 2013 by maxkeiser
Exchange Stabilization Fund (Parts 1 to 4) • Eric deCarbonnel

Fearfully, the US Treasury's Secret, 75-Year-Old Fund and Its Dark History Has Been
Exposed? ...
By Staff Report
The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby
sane fear cale, j.
John Cale - Fear Is A Man's Best Friend
"..we're already dead but not yet in the ground." j.c.
Television - See No Evil
" i want to fly. fly a fountain.."
i understand no destructive urges
it seems so perfect
isee , i see no. i see no evil !!!...
get i?. .... "

KEEP GOING by Joseph Marshall III
ps.. i guess that is it for now

new game's picture

the blindman see eth all -thanks...

given enough time,  a groug evolves to take from everyone, including themselves. sons of anarchy!

self evident is that each man for is for themselves...

the resposibility lies upon that individual

that is where it breaks down, at the individual level.

most americans, are clueless to understand the constitution, basically dumb.

but ah, so smart they think they are. just ask one and listen.

i suspect 80 percent here are in the 50 percent that want to go about life

minding their own business, being productive and obey human rights.

but the other 50 percent control us by actions so obvious.

the pendalum swings...

as we continue to prep, my hope so obvious.

what else can we do?

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Remember those Executive Orders Obama issued concerning gun violence after Sandy Hook well here is one of them being used in action to disarm a major segment of potential problems and shitting all over the Constitution in the process.

How would you feel if you received a letter from the U.S. Government informing you that because of a physical or mental condition that the government says you have it is proposing to rule that you are incompetent to handle your own financial affairs? Suppose that letter also stated that the government is going to appoint a stranger to handle your affairs for you at your expense? That would certainly be scary enough but it gets worse.

What if that letter also stated: “A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”?

That makes is sound like something right from a documentary on a tyrannical dictatorship somewhere in the world. Yet, as I write this I have a copy of such a letter right in front of me. It is being sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of America’s heroes. In my capacity as Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) I have been contacted by some of these veterans and the stories I am getting are appalling.

The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA. In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall “… be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”.

Obviously, the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t be bothered by such impediments as the Constitution, particularly since they are clearly pushing to fulfill one of Obama’s main goals, the disarming of the American people. Janet Napolitano has already warned law enforcement that some of the most dangerous among us are America’s heroes, our veterans, and now according to this letter from the VA they can be prohibited from buying or even possessing a firearm because of a physical or mental disability.


Think about it, the men and women who have laid their lives on the line to defend us and our Constitution are now having their own Constitutional rights denied. There are no clear criteria for the VA to declare a veteran incompetent. It can be the loss of a limb in combat, a head injury, a diagnosis of PTSD, or even a soldier just telling someone at the VA that he or she is depressed over the loss of a buddy in combat. In none of these situations has the person been found to be a danger to themselves or others. If that was the case than all of the Americans who have suffered from PTSD following the loss of a loved one or from being in a car accident would also have to be disqualified from owning firearms. It would also mean that everyone who has ever been depressed for any reason should be disarmed. In fact, many of the veterans being deprived of their rights have no idea why it is happening.

The answer seems to be it is simply because they are veterans. At the USJF we intend to find the truth by filing a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Veterans Affairs to force them to disclose the criteria they are using to place veterans on the background check list that keeps them from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Then we will take whatever legal steps are necessary to protect our American warriors.


The Second Rule's picture

This is tricky territory. I mean someone who is schizophrenic and on anti-psychotic medication...would I want that person owning a gun? Probably not. Likewise if someone suffers from extreme anxiety and is taking benzos, do you want that person having a CCP? Maybe owning agun is ok, but not a CCP? This is grey area. I mean you have to admit, if you are at all reasonable, that this is a grey area. I was listening to Michael Savage the other day, who is both a far-right conservative and a gun owner, and he says NO to all the above. if you have mental health issues, then no guns for you. So the issue of mental health as a prerequisite could divide even the gun lobby.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall “… be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”

What part of this doesn't register. It is not the end result of whether they should or shouldn't have guns it is the process (lack of) through which they are being disarmed. There is no due process. I agree not everyone should have a weapon but the reality is if someone wants to kill they are going to do it gun or no gun, mental issues or not.

lakecity55's picture

+1. You must have due process. Rights cannot be abrogated by fiat, by a declaration in a letter. There has to be adjudication.

Otherwise, the VA or Skeeter could just send a letter to every single gun owner and have them surrender their weapons until they can prove they 'qualify' to have one.

Of course, at the right time, after all else fails, Skeeter will do something like that via EO so as to start a conflict.

After all, Ayers is getting itchy waiting to kill 25 million of us in his little WU camps.

The Second Rule's picture

I was following you right up until the last sentence when you said "I agree not everyone should have a weapon." I thought you were making a purely constitutional argument for gun ownership, but that last sentence muddied the waters somewhat. Anyway, it sounds like we don't disagree all that much.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

If they are considered a threat shouldn't they not be allowed on the streets let alone have weapons? What point is this used to deprive every person who would speak bad of the government as having a mental illness (violent tendencies you pick your excuse) that you would be automatically deprived of owning a gun. Take it a step further then they lock you up in a rubber room. You see the slippery slope this leads to. It never works in the citizens favor unless they fight nonstop to keep their rights.


My last sentence was to illustrate a point, that laws, constitutional laws, natural laws etc. if someone wants to do something bad enough, they are going to do it. That cuts both ways here. I guess my point is lack of respect and mental health are not mutually inclusive.

The Second Rule's picture

OK, I certainly see how that "loophole" could be used to deprive someone of gun ownership (perhaps we're focusing on our own respective loopholes?). For example, someone speaks out against the govt., and is subsequently put on a "watch list" and when the background check is run they get flagged. Yes, I can see how that might happen. Liks you said, it's a slippery slope either way. I'm frankly not quite sure how one would go about solving the problem. I suppose strict libertarians or strict constritutionalists would say there should be no background checks. But I don't believe that, and I don't think you do either. Obviously, a thrice convicted felon who has a mile long rap sheet listing armed robbery, that guy I think we can both agree should not be sold a gun. That's an easy decision. The hard part is the grey area as I said.

diogeneslaertius's picture

everyone should be armed, if anyone goes too far they get put down


the problem is the victim disarmament killzones advertised by the media as SMASH TV highscore junkets

well of course it goes much deeper into the core of our culture as well, the psychotropic drugs, but you catch my drift


again i will not ever seek to bar ownership of firearms, if you can demonstrate simple competency/proficency you should be able to have a fucking M1-A1 abrams in the driveway imo

hell someone in this thread snarkily told me to arm up, i have a gun safe folks and 300lbs of rice

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

If there are any veterans on this board or passerbys who happen to read this. If you are in the same situation please contact the USJF. The more veterans speak up the more it works in our favor in the fight against the people shiting all over the Constitution.



diogeneslaertius's picture

if people would ismply organize politically the nightmare would end

but the people are kept demoralized and ignorant - such works as this and your commnentary are a weapon of truth in the face of that seemingly unstoppable force

if veterans could be organized politically around Constitutional vectors it owuld be a major gamechanger

unfortunately too many are enslaved within the false two party paradgim erected as a means of politically neutering the electorate

akarc's picture

"but the people are kept demoralized and ignorant"

The people choose to be ignorant. And by that choice will become more so.

"if veterans could be organized politically around Constitutional vectors it owuld be a major gamechanger"

There are many veterans who have aboslutely no desire to engage in upholding the constitution. Many are alienated or assimilated.

"unfortunately too many are enslaved within the false two party paradgim"  That too is a choice.



Overfed's picture

Ignorant, polarized, demoralized, and generally too busy trying to make a living to be bothered with political organization. :-(

whotookmyalias's picture

The biggest accomplishment of governement the past 30 years is to convince people that there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans and to keep the public focused on being opposed to anything the other side supports.  The media determines what the public will hear and how it will be spun.

diogeneslaertius's picture

its not tyranny or you are racist and with white-alqaeda

janet napolitano is a lilly white flower of the field or you hate our troops... i mean...


#1 suspect is returning veterans folks, it DID happen here.

Ignatius's picture

Those in government have mistakenly and often brazenly misconstrued their current stewardship of the Republic for the Republic itself (that would be us).  This is a common feature in history and it typically doesn't end well.

bank guy in Brussels's picture

Zero rights left in America, other than what Americans will be able to re-claim by a coming revolution

American 'rights' died with the hopeless corruption of the US court system, and the US and internet media hiding that corruption


Funny how current it is, the 1982 great rock tune by the Clash, 'Know Your Rights'

« Know your rights
All three of 'em

You have the right not to be killed ...
Unless it was done
By a policeman
Or an aristocrat

You have the right to food money
Providing of course
You don't mind
A little investigation

You have the right to free speech
As long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it

Know your rights
These are your rights ... »

Great live performance of 'Know Your Rights' here: