Lynching Free Speech: The Intolerant State Of America

CensorshipFreedom
Source: Rutherford.org
John W. Whitehead
June 13, 2017

“What are the defenders of free speech to do? The sad fact is that this fundamental freedom is on its heels across America. Politicians of both parties want to use the power of government to silence their foes. Some in the university community seek to drive it from their campuses. And an entire generation of Americans is being taught that free speech should be curtailed as soon as it makes someone else feel uncomfortable. On the current trajectory, our nation’s dynamic marketplace of ideas will soon be replaced by either disengaged intellectual silos or even a stagnant ideological conformity. Few things would be so disastrous for our nation and the well-being of our citizenry.”—William Ruger, “Free Speech Is Central to Our Dignity as Humans

My hometown of Charlottesville, Va., has become the latest poster child in a heated war of words—and actions—over racism, “sanitizing history,” extremism (both right and left), political correctness, hate speech, partisan politics, and a growing fear that violent words will end in violent actions.

In Charlottesville, as in so many parts of the country right now, the conflict is over how to reconcile the nation’s checkered past, particularly as it relates to slavery, with the present need to sanitize the environment of anything—words and images—that might cause offense, especially if it’s a Confederate flag or monument.

In Charlottesville, that fear of offense prompted the City Council to get rid of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that has graced one of its public parks for 82 years. In doing so, they have attracted the unwanted attention of the Ku Klux Klan.

Yale University actually went so far as to change the name of one of its residential colleges, which was named after John C. Calhoun, the nation’s seventh vice president, a secretary of state, secretary of war, senator and Yale alum who supported slavery.

New Orleans ran up a $2 million tab in its efforts to remove its four Confederate monuments, with the majority of the funds being used for security to police the ensuing protests and demonstrations.

With more than 1,000 Confederate monuments in 31 states (in public parks, courthouse squares and state capitols), not to mention Confederate battle flags on display in military cemeteries, and countless more buildings and parks named after historic figures who were slaveholders, this isn’t an issue that is going away anytime soon, no matter how much we ignore it, shout over it, criminalize it, legislate it, adjudicate or police it.

The temperature is rising all across the nation, and not just over this Confederate issue.

The “winter of our discontent” has given way to an overheated, sweltering summer in which shouting matches are skating dangerously close to becoming physical altercations.

As journalist Dahlia Lithwick writes for Slate, “These days, people who used to feel free to shout and threaten are emboldened to punch, body-slam, and stab. It is a short hop, we are learning, from ‘words can never hurt us’ to actual sticks and stones and the attendant breaking of bones. That is what has become of free speech in this country.”

Here’s the thing: if Americans don’t learn how to get along—at the very least, agreeing to disagree and respecting each other’s right to subscribe to beliefs and opinions that may be offensive, hateful, intolerant or merely different—then we’re going to soon find that we have no rights whatsoever (to speak, assemble, agree, disagree, protest, opt in, opt out, or forge our own paths as individuals).

The government will lock down the nation at the slightest provocation.

It is ready, willing and able to impose martial law within 24 hours.

Indeed, the government has been anticipating and preparing for civil unrest for years now, as evidenced by the build-up of guns and tanks and militarized police and military training drills and threat assessments and extremism reports and surveillance systems and private prisons.

Connect the dots, people.

The government doesn’t care about who you voted for in the presidential election or whether you think the Civil War was fought over states’ rights versus slavery. It doesn’t care about your race or gender or religion or sexual orientation.

When the police state cracks down, it will not discriminate.

We’ll all be muzzled together.

We’ll all be jailed together.

We’ll all be viewed as a collective enemy to be catalogued, conquered and caged.

Thus, the last thing we need to do is play into the government’s hands by turning on one another, turning in one another, and giving the government’s standing army an excuse to take over.

The police state could not ask for a better citizenry than one that carries out its own censorship, spying and policing.

This is how you turn a nation of free people into extensions of the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent police state, and in the process turn a citizenry against each other. It’s a brilliant ploy, with the added bonus that while the citizenry remains focused on and distrustful of each other, they’re incapable of presenting a united front against the threats posed by the government and its cabal of Constitution-destroying agencies and corporate partners.

Unfortunately, we have already become a nation of snowflakes, snitches and book burners: a legalistic, intolerant, elitist, squealing bystander nation eager to report fellow citizens to the police for the slightest offense.

Mind you, once the police are called in, with their ramped-up protocols, battlefield mindset, militarized weapons, uniforms and equipment, and war zone tactics, it’s a process that is near impossible to turn back and one that too often ends in tragedy for all those involved.

So how do we stop this train from barreling down the tracks past the police state and straight into martial law?

Let’s start with a little more patience, a lot more tolerance and a civics lesson on the First Amendment.

As my good friend Nat Hentoff, that inveterate champion of the First Amendment, once observed, “The quintessential difference between a free nation, as we profess to be, and a totalitarian state, is that here everyone, including a foe of democracy, has the right to speak his mind.”

What this means is opening the door to more speech not less, even if that speech is offensive to some.

Understanding that freedom for those in the unpopular minority constitutes the ultimate tolerance in a free society, James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, fought for a First Amendment that protected the “minority” against the majority, ensuring that even in the face of overwhelming pressure, a minority of one—even one who espouses distasteful viewpoints—would still have the right to speak freely, pray freely, assemble freely, challenge the government freely, and broadcast his views in the press freely.

We haven’t done ourselves—or the nation—any favors by becoming so fearfully polite, careful to avoid offense, and largely unwilling to be labeled intolerant, hateful or closed-minded that we’ve eliminated words, phrases and symbols from public discourse.

The result is a nation where no one really says what they really think anymore, at least if it runs counter to the prevailing views. Intolerance is the new scarlet letter of our day, a badge to be worn in shame and humiliation, deserving of society’s fear, loathing and utter banishment from society.

For those who dare to voice an opinion that runs counter to the accepted norms, retribution is swift: they are shamed, shouted down, silenced, censored, fired, cast out and generally relegated to the dust heap of ignorant, mean-spirited bullies who are guilty of various “word crimes.”

We have entered a new age where, as commentator Mark Steyn notes, “we have to tiptoe around on ever thinner eggshells” and “the forces of ‘tolerance’ are intolerant of anything less than full-blown celebratory approval.”

In such a climate of intolerance, there can be no freedom speech, expression or thought.

We have become a nation of snowflakes.

We have allowed our fears—fear for our safety, fear of each other, fear of being labeled racist or hateful or prejudiced, etc.—to trump our freedom of speech and muzzle us far more effectively than any government edict could. Ultimately the war on free speech—and that’s exactly what it is: a war being waged by Americans against other Americans—is a war that is driven by fear.

By bottling up dissent, we have created a pressure cooker of stifled misery and discontent that is now bubbling over and fomenting even more hate, distrust and paranoia among portions of the populace.

The First Amendment is a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world.

When there is no steam valve to release the pressure, frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation.

The problem as I see it is that we’ve allowed ourselves to be persuaded that we need someone else to think and speak for us. The result is a society in which we’ve stopped debating among ourselves, stopped thinking for ourselves, and stopped believing that we can fix our own problems and resolve our own differences.

Not only has free speech become a “politically incorrect” four-letter word—profane, obscene, uncouth, not to be uttered in so-called public places—but in more and more cases, the government deems free speech to be downright dangerous and in some instances illegal.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the U.S. government has become particularly intolerant of speech that challenges the government’s power, reveals the government’s corruption, exposes the government’s lies, and encourages the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices. Indeed, there is a long and growing list of the kinds of speech that the government considers dangerous enough to red flag and subject to censorship, surveillance, investigation and prosecution: hate speech, bullying speech, intolerant speech, conspiratorial speech, treasonous speech, threatening speech, incendiary speech, inflammatory speech, radical speech, anti-government speech, right-wing speech, extremist speech, etc.

The powers-that-be understand that if the government can control speech, it controls thought and, in turn, it can control the minds of the citizenry. In fact, some of this past century’s greatest dystopian authors warned of this very danger.

In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

In George Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.”

And in almost every episode of Twilight Zone, Rod Serling urged viewers to unlock their minds and free themselves of prejudice, hate, violence and fear. “We’re developing a new citizenry,” Serling declared. “One that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won’t be able to think.”

It’s time to start thinking for ourselves again.

It’s time to start talking to each other. It’s time to start listening more and shouting less.

Most of all, it’s time to start acting like people who will choose dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.

As Dahlia Lithwick concluded for Slate:

To guarantee an escape from conflict, from violence, requires censorship. To have free speech in this moment, when the stakes are so high, is to live with fear. This is not an easy thing to confront—or to accept… Conversation might still be our best chance of getting out of this mess. Free speech is just free speech. It takes actual humans making the effort to talk to each other to transform speech into something more vital and more valuable. Conversations don’t always work. They may sometimes go wrong—horribly, terribly wrong… The First Amendment will never be able to protect us from horrible words and horrific acts. It does guarantee that we’ll keep talking.

Read More At: Rutherford.org

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Why Did Two Men Go to Jail for Rap Lyrics and Social Media Posts?

Source: RTAmerica
February 17, 2017

Mike Papantonio is joined by Mollye Barrows, legal journalist for The Trial Lawyer Magazine, to talk about a lawsuit brought against the San Diego police department by two men who spent months in jail for social media posts and rap lyrics.

9 reasons why PolitiFact is unqualified to label ‘fake news’

Politifact Truth-O-Meter

Source: BreitBart.com
Jerome Hudson
December 17, 2016

Left-leaning PolitiFact is on the newly revealed list of “fact checking” organizations Facebook will reportedly use to label “fake news” stories as they appear on the social media platform.

“We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organizations,” Facebook VP Adam Mosseri wrote in the Facebook news blog. “If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why.”

Facebook’s decision to tout PolitiFact as a credible and independent fact checker is awfully disturbing, given the organization’s repeated smear campaign against Donald Trump throughout the 2016 election.

Facebook’s “fake news” flaggers, Politifact, et al., have a history of showing sympathy for left-wing narratives. Time and again PolitiFact published stories that favored Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, while promoting “fact checks” meant to rebut or embarrass Republicans.

Below is a list of the many instances proving why Politifact is completely unqualified to be an objective judge of what’s real and “fake” news.

1. Last March, PolitiFact delivered a “mostly false” rating for a joke made by Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

2. Last April, PolitiFact made phone calls and sent a reporter to investigate whether Governor Scott Walker actually “paid one dollar for” a sweater he bought at Kohl’s. PolitiFact later ruled Walker’s claim “true.”

3. When Trump said Clinton wants “open borders,” PolitiFact deemed his statement “mostly false” —  despite the fact that Clinton admitted as much in a private, paid speech to a Brazilian bank on May 16, 2013. “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders,” she said at the time.

4. PolitiFact cast doubts on comments Pat Smith made during her emotional speech at the Republican National Convention, where she said Hillary Clinton said “a video was responsible” for her son’s death during the terror attacks in Benghazi.

Smith was referring to when she “saw Hillary Clinton at Sean’s coffin ceremony,” and then-Secretary of State Clinton “looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible.”

But PolitiFact, taking an oddly defensive stance, said Smith’s memory could’ve been “fuzzy” and referred its readers, instead, to a “brief meeting behind closed doors” where Clinton addressed the families of the victims of the attack.

5. Despite video evidence to the contrary, PolitiFact claimed Hillary Clinton didn’t laugh about Kathy Shelton’s rape as a child. Trump invited Shelton to the second presidential debate and called out Clinton’s embarrassing behavior.

Again, moving to dismiss and downplay Clinton’s actions, PolitiFact wrote: “Trump is referring to an audio tape in which she does respond with amusement at her recollections of the oddities of the case, which involve the prosecution and the judge. At no point does she laugh at the victim.”

6. In an attempt to explain Hillary Clinton’s role in the sale of 25 percent of the United States’ uranium stockpile, Politifact ignored numerous key facts, downplayed other key facts, and ultimately made 13 errors in its analysis.

7. A few months later, PolitiFact was, again, attempting to whitewash Clinton’s role in the Russian uranium deal. Like PolitiFact’s first foray into the subject, the second report commits many factual errors and is full of glaring inaccuracies and omissions.

8. During a televised campaign event, Clinton said Australia’s compulsory gun buyback program “would be worth considering” in the U.S.

When the National Rifle Association included Clinton’s comments on one of its flyers, PolitiFact ruled the organization’s claim “mostly false.”

9. While Politifact admitted that Trump’s claim that Russia’s arsenal of nuclear warheads has expanded and the U.S.’s has not, the left-wing outfit deemed Trump’s statement “half true.”

Ridiculous: Reporting on the Dakota Pipeline may get journalist 45 years in jail

Dakota Access Pipeline

Source: NaturalNews.com
David Gutierrez
October 24, 2016

On October 11, journalist and documentary filmmaker, Deia Schlosberg, was arrested while filming, in her professional capacity, a protest in solidarity with the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Rather than recognizing the right of journalists to document First Amendment activity, the prosecutor charged Schlosberg with three felonies: conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service. If convicted of all charges, the journalist could be sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a controversial oil pipeline that has come under fierce resistance in North Dakota, where it is slated to cross indigenous land recognized as sovereign in treaties with the U.S. government. Protesters say the pipeline would destroy sacred sites and threaten water supplies across the Midwest.

Government protecting fossil fuel interests

Schlosberg was arrested while filming a protest in Walhalla, North Dakota, where activists shut down a tar sands pipeline in solidarity with the Dakota Access struggle. Police confiscated her footage and held her for a full 48 hours before filing charges.

In a recent statement, Schlosberg noted how the mainstream media has consistently failed to give due attention to struggles against fossil fuel infrastructure.

“The mainstream did not break the story on fracking nor did it break the story about what is happening at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota,” she said.

“Accordingly, I felt I had a duty to document the unprecedented #ShutItDown climate action, which stopped all Canadian oil sands from entering the United States. Canadian oil sands importation is a controversial issue that is not getting the coverage it warrants, especially considering that the extraction and use of oil sands has a profound impact on every person on this planet.”

Observers immediately condemned the felony charges as unconstitutional and politically motivated.

“They have in my view violated the First Amendment,” said Josh Fox, producer of the film Gasland.

“They threw the book at Deia for being a journalist.”

NSA surveillance whistleblower, Edward Snowden, pointed out that the charges he faces for leaking government documents carry a maximum sentence of 30 years, compared with the 45 faced by Schlosberg for filming a protest.

A group of celebrities including Neil Young, Mark Ruffalo and Daryl Hannah have signed a letter calling on President Obama and North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple to intervene on Schlosberg’s behalf, calling the charges against her “unfair, unjust, and illegal.”

Attack on the First Amendment

In an op-ed in The Nation, Fox notes that Schlosberg’s case is just part of a larger war on journalists who dare challenge the fossil fuel industry.

“The arrest of journalists, filmmakers, and others witnessing and reporting on citizen protests against fossil-fuel infrastructure … is part of a worrisome and growing pattern,” he wrote.

Recently, actress Shailene Woodley was arrested simply for live-streaming a prayer event taking place at the Dakota Access construction site.

“She was singled out, the police told her, because she was well-known and had 40,000 people watching live on her Facebook page,” Fox wrote. “Other filmmakers shooting protest actions along the pipeline have also been arrested.”

Another case that sparked widespread outrage was that of Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, who had a warrant issued for her arrest after she broadcast footage of private Dakota Access security guards loosing attack dogs on nonviolent protesters. The charge was later changed to “participating in a riot.”

“They saw that they could never make that [trespassing] charge stick, so now they want to charge me with rioting,” said Goodman. “I wasn’t trespassing, I wasn’t engaging in a riot, I was doing my job as a journalist by covering a violent attack on Native American protesters.”

The charges were eventually dropped. But according to Reporters Without Borders, they “never should have been filed in the first place.”

“The First Amendment and the Constitution are at stake,” Fox wrote. “If we lose it, we lose America too.”

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Sources for this article include:

WeAreChange.org

CommonDreams.org

CommonDreams.org

BIG GOVERNMENT ALERT: “Free Speech Cage” At DNC Is A Truly Pathetic Image Of Modern American Freedom

free speech dnc
Source: ActivistPost.com
Melissa Dykes
July 28, 2016

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 First Amendment

Congress shall make no law… but they shall erect a “free speech cage.”

Yeah, this really looks like freedom. Look at these people. Is this a zoo, you might ask?

No. It’s protesters exercising their First Amendment rights to shout “Hell no, DNC! We won’t vote for Hillary!” over and over outside the corrupt dog and pony show that is the Democratic National Convention — in a rusty metal cage that looks like something out of the horror film Silent Hill.

What a sad, pathetic testament to modern American “freedom” this is.

And what a sad, pathetic circus sideshow this whole fake, rigged “selection” process to nominate Hillary has been.

(That cage is what the entire nation is about to become if Hillary becomes president, just by the way.)

Read More At: ActivistPost.com

Social Networks Show They Work For Government, Not Private Sector

facebook-government-spy

Source: TheDailyBell.com
June 3, 2016

Free Speech Isn’t Facebook’s Job  … My instinct as a First Amendment teacher is to be outraged at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft for knuckling under to European Commission pressure to ban hate speech on their platforms. But after sleeping on it, I think it’s fine.    Here’s why: These social media giants are private actors, not the state. –Bloomberg

We disagree with Bloomberg. Facebook is not a private sector actor. If it were up to us, Facebook would be shut down.

It was funded by the CIA which has surely participated in its success around the world.

It’s not really a company. It’s a facility of American  imperialism.

By carefully tracking who knows whom, Facebook can generate groups of related individuals. These groups can be useful to the FBI, CIA and other intelligence outfits.

And Facebook does plenty of other kinds of spying. That’s the reason it’s always getting caught collecting customer data.

That’s the reason it encourages liberal – statist – reporting on its sites.

It’s primarily a vast spying operation.

That’s not how this Bloomberg editorial sees it. The Bloomberg editorial takes these big companies at face value. But these companies would not exist without state power and authoritarian judicial decisions.

They are puffed up by “corporation personhood,” intellectual property rights and monopoly fiat money.

Without these three “legs of the stool” there would be no multinationals. The problems of corporate bigness would not exist.

Marry the CIA and its vast panoply of violent influence peddling to state judicial power and here is the unholy spawn: social networks.

How can anyone maintain they are in any way products of the “marketplace.”

More:

[Social media giants]  can’t be trusted to protect free speech, nor is it their obligation, whether in Europe or the U.S. Those of us who care about preserving free speech need to keep that in mind, while maintaining other venues for free speech that aren’t controlled by private companies.

The editorial goes on to mention “The Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online,” recently posted by the European Commission.

It is a voluntary code but one that the article explains has placed pressure on big Internet vendors like Facebook and Google.

In fact, this entire hate-speech campaign in Europe is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. Juveniles convicted of committing “hate speech crimes” will undergo a rehabilitation program that supposedly will make them more tolerant.

It’s a horrible evolution of censorship in every sense of the word. And the code has received a lot of attention because the big Internet vendors will have to use their own judgment about what constitutes “hate speech.”

The editorial tells us that “independent nongovernmental organizations” shall partner with the big firms to figure out what to remove.

But the companies themselves will have the final say.

The editorial doesn’t find this objectionable because private companies manage customer activities all the time.

The editorial also tells us that big companies have presented themselves as “neutral platforms,” responsible to shareholders not customers.

The editorial’s “upshot” is that “we need to keep an eye on free speech by assuring that there are vehicles for self-expression that aren’t completely controlled by private actors.”

But a company like Facebook is not responsible to its shareholders. If CEO Mark Zuckerberg were to stop collecting information for the CIA, he would be shoved rudely out the door or worse.

When it comes to US security interests, Facebook, Google and all the rest are primarily civilian arms of US intelligence agencies. Their “shareholders” take a back seat.

Read More At: TheDailyBell.com

Does The United States Still Exist?


Source: ZeroHedge.com
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
March 27, 2016

An address delivered to the Libertarian Party of Florida on March 23, 2016 in Destin, Florida

To answer the question that is the title, we have to know of what the US consists. Is it an ethnic group, a collection of buildings and resources, a land mass with boundaries, or is it the Constitution. Clearly what differentiates the US from other countries is the US Constitution. The Constitution defines us as a people. Without the Constitution we would be a different country. Therefore, to lose the Constitution is to lose the country.

Does the Constitution still exist? Let us examine the document and come to a conclusion.

The Constitution consists of a description of a republic with three independent branches, legislative, executive, and judicial, each with its own powers, and the Bill of Rights incorporated as constitutional amendments. The Bill of Rights describes the civil liberties of citizens that cannot be violated by the government.

Article I of the Constitution describes legislative powers. Article II describes executive powers, and Article III describes the power of the judiciary. For example, Article I, Section 1 gives all legislative powers to Congress. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power to declare war.

The Bill of Rights protects citizens from the government by making law a shield of the people rather than a weapon in the hands of the government.

The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech, the press, and assembly or public protest.

The Second Amendment gives the people the right “to keep and bear arms.”

The Third Amendment has to do with quartering of soldiers on civilians, a large complaint against King George III, but not a practice of present-day armies.?

The Fourth Amendment grants “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and prevents the issue of warrants except “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 Fourth Amendment prevents police and prosecutors from going on “fishing expeditions” in an effort to find some offense with which to charge a targeted individual.

The Fifth Amendment prohibits double jeopardy, self-incrimination, the taking of life, liberty, or property without due process and the prohibition of seizing property without just compensation.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees speedy and public trial, requires that a defendent be informed of the charge against him and to be confronted with the witnesses, to present witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of an attorney.

The Seventh Amendment gives the right of trial by jury to civil suits.

The Eighth Amendment prevents excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishments.

The Ninth Amendment says that the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution does not deny or disparage others retained by the people. In other words, people have rights in addition to the those listed in the proscriptions against the government’s use of abusive power.

The Tenth Amendment reserves the rights not delegated to the federal government to the states.

The Tenth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. The Third Amendment protects against an abandoned abusive practice of government. The Seventh Amendment is still relevant as it allows damages in civil suits to be determined by a jury, once a protection against unfairness and today not always the case.

The other seven amendments comprise the major protections of civil liberty. I will examine them in turn, but first let’s look at Section 1 and Section 8 of Article I. These two articles describe the major powers of Congress, and both articles have been breached. The Constitution’s grant of “all legislative powers” to Congress has been overturned by executive orders and signing statements. The president can use executive orders to legislate, and he can use signing statements to render sections of laws passed by Congress and signed by the president into non-enforced status. Legislative authority has also been lost by delegating to executive branch officials the power to write the regulations that implement the laws that are passed. The right that Section 8 gives to Congress to declare war has been usurped by the executive branch. Thus, major powers given to Congress have been lost to the executive branch.

The First Amendment has been compromised by executive branch claims of “national security” and by extensive classification. Whistleblowers are relentlessly prosecuted despite federal laws protecting them. The right of assembly and public protest are overturned by arrests, tear gas, clubs, rubber bullets, water cannons, and jail terms. Free speech is also limited by political correctness and taboo topics. Dissent shows signs of gradually becoming criminalized.

The Fourth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. In its place we have warrantless searches, SWAT team home invasions, strip and cavity searches, warrantless seizures of computers and cell phones, and the loss of all privacy to warrantless universal spying.

The Fifth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. The criminal justice system relies on self-incrimination as plea bargains are self-incrimination produced by psychological torture, and plea bargains are the basis of conviction in 97% of all felony cases. Moreover, physical torture is a feature of the “war on terror” despite its illegality under both US statute and international law and is also experienced by inmates in the US prison system.

The Fifth Amendment’s protection against deprivation of life, liberty, and property without due process of law has been lost to indefinite detention, executive assassination, and property takings without compensation. The Racketer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) passed in 1970. The act permits asset freezes, which are takings. The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act passed in 1984 and permits police to confiscate property on “probable cause,” which often means merely the presence of cash.

Continue Reading At: ZeroHedge.com