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BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info

Little Hawk 17 Apr 03 - 10:16 AM
MMario 17 Apr 03 - 10:20 AM
Forum Lurker 17 Apr 03 - 11:05 AM
beadie 17 Apr 03 - 11:45 AM
stevetheORC 17 Apr 03 - 11:48 AM
Amos 17 Apr 03 - 12:17 PM
Little Hawk 17 Apr 03 - 12:18 PM
artbrooks 17 Apr 03 - 12:57 PM
kendall 17 Apr 03 - 07:47 PM
Troll 17 Apr 03 - 09:33 PM
leprechaun 17 Apr 03 - 11:53 PM
Forum Lurker 18 Apr 03 - 12:22 AM
Amos 18 Apr 03 - 12:40 AM
Little Hawk 18 Apr 03 - 01:19 AM
catspaw49 18 Apr 03 - 01:33 AM
kendall 18 Apr 03 - 06:26 AM
Amos 18 Apr 03 - 08:21 AM
kendall 18 Apr 03 - 08:41 AM
Forum Lurker 18 Apr 03 - 08:50 AM
Bobert 18 Apr 03 - 08:52 AM
GUEST 18 Apr 03 - 08:55 AM
Amos 18 Apr 03 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,the same one as before 18 Apr 03 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Forum Lurker 18 Apr 03 - 11:30 AM
GUEST 18 Apr 03 - 12:10 PM
kendall 18 Apr 03 - 12:12 PM
Don Firth 18 Apr 03 - 01:23 PM
Amos 18 Apr 03 - 01:46 PM
Skeptic 18 Apr 03 - 01:52 PM
Don Firth 18 Apr 03 - 02:40 PM
catspaw49 18 Apr 03 - 02:48 PM
Amos 18 Apr 03 - 03:16 PM
NicoleC 18 Apr 03 - 03:25 PM
NicoleC 18 Apr 03 - 03:35 PM
NicoleC 18 Apr 03 - 03:39 PM
Troll 18 Apr 03 - 03:44 PM
Forum Lurker 18 Apr 03 - 04:17 PM
Little Hawk 18 Apr 03 - 05:58 PM
Amos 18 Apr 03 - 06:39 PM
Forum Lurker 18 Apr 03 - 06:59 PM
DonMeixner 18 Apr 03 - 07:36 PM
Skeptic 18 Apr 03 - 10:25 PM
Little Hawk 18 Apr 03 - 11:19 PM
DonMeixner 19 Apr 03 - 12:36 AM
Troll 19 Apr 03 - 12:37 AM
Amos 19 Apr 03 - 11:15 AM
Skeptic 19 Apr 03 - 04:05 PM
Little Hawk 19 Apr 03 - 06:58 PM
Skeptic 20 Apr 03 - 12:09 AM
leprechaun 20 Apr 03 - 10:40 PM
Skeptic 20 Apr 03 - 11:10 PM
Sam L 21 Apr 03 - 10:31 AM
Amos 21 Apr 03 - 10:36 AM
Little Hawk 21 Apr 03 - 10:58 AM
Amos 21 Apr 03 - 11:13 AM
Little Hawk 21 Apr 03 - 11:33 AM
Skeptic 21 Apr 03 - 11:41 AM
Amos 21 Apr 03 - 01:10 PM
Little Hawk 21 Apr 03 - 01:14 PM
Sam L 21 Apr 03 - 02:40 PM
Amos 21 Apr 03 - 10:17 PM
Little Hawk 21 Apr 03 - 11:57 PM
Amos 22 Apr 03 - 10:15 AM
kendall 22 Apr 03 - 11:27 AM
Skeptic 22 Apr 03 - 12:16 PM
Little Hawk 22 Apr 03 - 12:55 PM
Sam L 22 Apr 03 - 01:45 PM
Amos 22 Apr 03 - 01:58 PM
MMario 22 Apr 03 - 02:03 PM
Little Hawk 22 Apr 03 - 03:07 PM
Amos 22 Apr 03 - 10:03 PM
Little Hawk 22 Apr 03 - 11:43 PM
Amos 23 Apr 03 - 09:59 AM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 03 - 07:50 PM
leprechaun 24 Apr 03 - 02:13 PM
The O'Meara 24 Apr 03 - 06:37 PM
Amos 24 Apr 03 - 06:47 PM
Little Hawk 24 Apr 03 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 25 Apr 03 - 01:03 PM
Amos 25 Apr 03 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Dreaded Guest 25 Apr 03 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 25 Apr 03 - 05:08 PM
Little Hawk 25 Apr 03 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,Dreaded Guest 25 Apr 03 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 25 Apr 03 - 06:31 PM
Forum Lurker 26 Apr 03 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,Dreaded Guest 26 Apr 03 - 01:00 PM
Don Firth 26 Apr 03 - 01:47 PM
Amos 26 Apr 03 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Dreaded Guest 26 Apr 03 - 02:43 PM

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Subject: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 10:16 AM

I would appreciate it if some well-informed Americans would do a discussion here regarding what is laid out in the US Constitution and the USA Bill of Rights. What rights are guaranteed? What principles are laid down. Let's go into some depth about it.

Yes, I know that all this can all be looked up on the Net, but we are in an unusual time now regarding constitutional rights in the USA, and I think a general discussion could be quite useful.

Got to it...

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: MMario
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 10:20 AM

The Supreme Court can't agree on what is garanteed, so itt is doubtful if anything can be agreed on here, either...


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 11:05 AM

MMario-True, but if all we wanted was consensus, no one would ever post here.

As I see it, the First Amendment guarantees the right to say anything, publish anything, gather on any public property or on private property with the owner's permission, and to petition the government, and makes unconstitutional any law restricting those rights. It also prevents any governmental body from restricting or promoting any religion in any way.

The Second Amendment guarantees that a well-organized militia can exist for the defence of the people. This militia is for defence of the community.

The Fourth Amendment prevents the police from gathering evidence without reasonable suspicion that you have commited a crime. "Reasonable suspicion" must be somewhat interpretable, but I think it is fair to limit it to an evidence-backed belief that a specific crime has been committed, rather than that some crime may have been committed.

The Fifth Amendment simply guarantees that no one must SAY anything that incriminates them. It unfortunately does not convey the same protection regarding actions (breathalyzer, "consent" searches, etc.)


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: beadie
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 11:45 AM

True, the Administration does seem to be mounting an attack on the principles expressed in the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments), but I worry that they will try an end-run around the 22nd.

That is the amendment passed after the death of Franklin Roosevelt that limits the President to only two terms in office.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: stevetheORC
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 11:48 AM

Good God you live in the land of the Free and now you want rights what is the world comming to, next you will expect free health care for all and other stuff like that *thin end of comunism* say I.

De Orc

only joking realy




No dont hit me im sorry


Ok so im lying :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 12:17 PM

IF you're going to discuss these items, may as well have a reliable source reference from the National Archives.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 12:18 PM

Uh-huh. So far so good. What does it say about "lawful assembly", the right of people to do so, and how does this reflect on attacks mounted on peaceful protestors by police in various places?

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: artbrooks
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 12:57 PM

Well, it didn't take long for a suggestion for a reasonable discussion here regarding what is laid out in the US Constitution and the USA Bill of Rights to degenerate into attempted Yank-bashing by the original poster. Sorry, but I'd be glad to participate in a discussion of what the Constitution says and means, but I have better things to do than to be drawn into another "when did you stop beating your wife" sort of thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: kendall
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 07:47 PM

When I went to the Treasury dept. school of law enforcement and criminal investigation, we had to be able to quote the 4th amendment before we could graduate.
I thought, "Anyone who doesn't understand, or can not remember this, shouldn't be in law enforcement.

Let us not forget folks, we owe Great Britain a big round of thanks for our constitution. The actions of King George 3rd, and, the British army were the prime cause of all these protections being written into it.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Troll
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 09:33 PM

The Second Amendment states that, since a well-regulated militia is necessary to the defense of a free people, the rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged.
You left out that last part Lurker. You may not like it. You may not approve of it. But when you speak of the Second Amendment, you should include it.
I'm sure that the right to bear arms will be the frist of our freedoms to go, but until that fateful day, it is part of the Bill of Rights.

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: leprechaun
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 11:53 PM

The way Forum Lurker has it spelled out, the fifth amendment conflicts with the first amendment. The first amendment guarantees the right of free speech, but that doesn't give you the right to yell "movie" in a crowded firehouse. The fifth amendment says you can't be compelled to incriminate yourself.

Maybe we can pass a new amendment making it against the law to arrest anybody for any reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 12:22 AM

leprechaun-Actually, the First Amendment doesn't make provision that you can't say certain things, either because they are untrue or because they will cause damage or both. "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech" seems fairly clearcut to me: it can never be a crime to say something.

Troll-The question is, what does it mean by "the right of the people to bear arms?" It certainly covers the ownership of weapons useful in community defense, in a manner useful to the community; whether it includes weapons purely for personal use, such as handguns useless beyond fifty feet unless your target is a piece of paper is less clear to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 12:40 AM

IF you yell "Movie" in a crowded firehouse you won't get any disagreement. If you panic a crowded moviehouse by yelling "Fire!", untruthfully, while you can not be prosecuted for the speech you _can_ be held responsible for the consequences of it.

People who go overboard about their right to free speech sometimes miss that part -- inciting a riot, for example. Theree's a result which your speech causes, and while the speech may not be actionable, the result may be.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 01:19 AM

Precisely, Amos. People should be prosecuted for the harmful results of their behaviour, not for the behaviour itself.

Examples:

If I smoke a joint, and hurt no one else in the process, why should I be prosecuted for it? If I own a gun and shoot nobody, why should I be prosecuted for it? If I get stoned, drive a car badly as a consequence, and DO hurt someone or something...then prosecute me for the destructive act! If I own a gun and commit violence with it, then prosecute me for that destructive act.

Society has been bedeviled since its inception by Puritans...Puritans being people who are not content to merely regulate their own style of life to a particular rigorous code that they deem to be "good"....but must enact laws FORCING other people to behave and live exactly as they do, and prosecute people who don't EVEN if those people are hurting nobody.

Those are the kind of laws I object to.

artbrooks - abuses of police power occur not only in the USA, but in most countries in the World at various times, so I don't see why it shouldn't be discussed when discussing constitutional rights.

leprechaun - I've always basically supported the police and greatly appreciated the help they render toward society. Statements like: "Maybe we can pass a new amendment making it against the law to arrest anybody for any reason." are just totally silly. Are you a martyr? I don't think so.

I recommend arresting or charging people who commit such things as:

a) unlawful acts of violence
b) theft
c) fraud
d) blackmail
e) property damage, vandalism, etc...
f) kidnapping
g) torture
h) child abuse
i) espionage for a foreign power
j) extortion

and so on, and so on...

In other words, I feel exactly the way virtually everyone else does about it. So don't pretend you have no support in enforcing the law from me or from those you imagine to be "liberals". It simply is not true.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 01:33 AM

Hawk, you present an impossible task....Witness the discrepancy of opinion among the curreent Justices as well as the changes that have taken place in the overall "thinking" and you can see the interpretation problem is massive.

The first amendment does not say lawful assembly but rather that Congress shall pass no law preventing peaceable assembly. So I;m the mayor of the city and your demonstration is disruptive to the operation of the city itself (traffic, etc.). So I give you a piece of land to demonstrate on that will allow you to have a massive crowd and peaceably assemble. It's 10 miles north of downtown, but I am still providing you your Constitutional right.

There are so many ways to interpret the documents in regard to intent, the time in which they were written and the purpose at that time.....or is it they should be seen in a higher light?

Take the Second....It reads: 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.   Frst define both "state" and "militia." Let's say they mean a Natinal Guard type of thing within each state, okay?   Then there is People which is plural as well as arms which is plural, but that also allows that a person can have a firearm, both singular. Now then, the weapon they need must be of aid to the state militia. So we issue every citizen ONE M-16. This meets the criteria laid out. Bet it don't satisfy nobody though....but it should!

Let's take one that's quite real, an amendment in transition stage, the 14th. Most of it deals with voting, but let's look at Section One: Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Here's the scenario---A child was adopted at birth from the birth mother and proper notices were sent to the last known address of the biological father and also were listed under the legal notices in the paper for a period of two weeks, with no reponse from the bio-dad. The adoption proceeds an is finalized at 9 months of the child's age. When the child is six, bio-dad shows up and claims he never knew. He was out of the country at the time and the bio-mom later told him the baby was stillborn. Now he wants the child and uses the 14th amendment as his basis..."nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;". This means the child is "property" and the matter must be adjudicated....due process of law. But wait a minute....read that thing again. The child and his adoptive parents claim that it does not mention children, it says citizens. It doesn't mention men or women either....just citizens. Although later on the amendment establishes a voting age (later changed), it does not mention that a child is NOT a citizen. The adoptive parents and the child say that their home and family is the only one the child has ever known and based on the text, the child has a liberty interest under the 14th amendment.

So Justice Little Hawk, the case has ben presented with both sides claiming the 14th.....How do YOU rule? And based on your last post, if a child is property and not a citizen, how can you prosecute for child abuse if no one besides the child is injured?

The language when each amendment was written reflects the times it was written, but does that matter? Or should it? The intent of the amendment can only be seen in history but do we interpret it in those times or these? Or does it matter?



Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: kendall
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 06:26 AM

In some ways, using a 200 year old document as a guide, is like sailing around the world with maps and charts made in the time of Columbus. We need a new continental congress to up date this great document. When the constitution was written, everyone had the right to keep and bear muzzle loaders. Can you imagine holding up a liquor store with a flintlock musket, five feet long?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 08:21 AM

The problem with that notion is the competency -- the Founders had a sense of what they were trying to do, and a command of language rarely seen since. Find a law-maker today capable of such incisive articulation. I don't think even Spaw could match it....

But the constitution doesn't specify muzzle loaders. The beauty of it is that it has a level of abstraction that is just abstract enough to survive local issues and entanglements, and still be applicable and useful.

And if somehow a continental congress were to be called, first thing that would happen is a Republican would try to buy it.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: kendall
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 08:41 AM

The founding fathers could not have possibly forseen such weapons as we have today.Of course theyt didn't specify muzzle loaders, that's all there was at the time.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 08:50 AM

Actually, kendall, both rifles and pistols were available, not just smoothbote muskets. While not as effective as a Glock 9mm, a flintlock pistol is concealable and perfectly capable of killing a liquor store clerk. No one would knock over a liquor store with a musket, true, but no one tries it with a 30.06 deer rifle either.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 08:52 AM

Like many have said, Little Hawk, the Bill of Rights was framed loose enough to create some wiggle room. Their are folks who consider themselves "strict constructionists" (letter of the law) until the law infringes on *their* particular agenda. Spaw pointed out some of the inconsistencies.

One of my pet gripes over the years is "confiscature". Though it rarely occurs, if a jurisdictions wants to seize your property for having a joint in the ashtray, they can. This, IMO, clearly vilates the "cruel and unusual" provision of the 8th Ammendment in that there are no set limits of the punishment. My gripe has nothing to do with drug use or nonuse for that matter. It's just that the Court doesn't happen to see the hypocisy in ruling it's okay to have this one type of crime for which their are no limits on the punishment.

Also. IMO, their are porvisions of the Homeland Security Act that appear to be in direct conflict with the 5th and 6th Ammendments which guarentee things such as a "speedy trial", "right to counsel", "indictment", "contronted by witnesses", etc, etc. Yeah, the way the law reads you can provide material support (a winter coat or a box of canned goods) to an organization that John Ashcroft says is bad and as a citizen find yourself arrested with out charges, without counsel, tried in a military tribune and punished, including deportation. Sure, this sounds like an extreme case but its in the Homeland Security legislation. Heck with the 5th and 6th Ammendments.

What I find so strikenly hypocritical is that it these guys in power, who preach the evils of big governemnt and big brother, are so loosely interpreting the Constituion which is what they accuse the other side of doing. Heck, this crowd is so "liberal" that it makes all the one's before it, perhaps with the exception of "War man" Wilson and FDR, look very conservative.

Interesting little thread, Little Hawk.

Yo, Lep, you're gonna have your hands full with this stuff...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 08:55 AM

Little Hawk - does that mean that you think there should be no law banning driving while under the influence? And that it should only be an offence if you cause harm to someone by that behaviour? If so i think its a very naive and dangerous attitude to take. Most people who drink and drive are under the impression that they are perfectly capable of driving safely. The fear that one may be caught drink driving and have to suffer the penalty is one of the main reasons that many people refrain from it. Take away that fear, and many many more people will drive under the influence. This will lead to many more people being killed on the roads. Sure the ones who cause the accidents will be prosecuted, but this will be little deterence to the everyone else who thinks they can drive safely. Everyone thinks "it will never happen to me" until it does. And the people who drink drive and dont kill anyone are no different to those who do kill someone - it is entirely down to chance which will be which.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 10:22 AM

Yer on a slippery slope, Guesty-me-lad. Once you start defining acceptable behavior as a basis for legislation, it's Annie-bar-the-door and the ructions never cease.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST,the same one as before
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 10:45 AM

Amos, do you also believe there should be no prohibition against driving while under the influence, and no speed limit? I certainly wouldn't like to be on the roads of any country where you and Little hawk make the rules.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST,Forum Lurker
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 11:30 AM

Laws against drinking and driving make sense; they prevent people from doing dangerous things. It's not really different from laws against setting off explosives on your lawn or throwing rocks onto an underpass. You need to regulate activity that will likely lead to harm, not simply punish those people who actually cause harm, or as GUEST has said it will be bloody dangerous out there. While I have no problem with someone smoking a joint or a cigarette in private, provided they don't go driving while stoned, public smoking of ANYTHING should be illegal. No factory would be allowed to dump that concentration of carcinogens and toxins into the air or a water supply, so why should private citizens get away with it?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 12:10 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: kendall
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 12:12 PM

Our esteemed Christy Todd Whitman is here in Portland Maine congratulating the powers that be for reducing tail pipe emissions from school buses! They are no longer allowed to idle while waiting. Why is she not in the mid west dealing with the REAL source of Maine's air pollution? Could it be because those plants belong to the robber barons who contribute to republican campaigns to prevent regulations? What a hypocrite!


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 01:23 PM

". . . while you can not be prosecuted for the speech you _can_ be held responsible for the consequences of it." Right, Amos.

About forty years ago, I was being bad-mouthed by this guy. He was also writing lies about me. Without going into the whys and wherefores, it was costing me business, which was exactly what he intended. I faced him and told him to knock it off or he'd regret it. He quoted the First Amendment to me and said, "This is a free country, and I can say anything I damned well please!"

Well, yes, he could. But he was very surprised when he got a notice from my attorney telling him that I was hauling his butt into court and suing him for slander and libel. He was even more surprised when his attorney advised him to settle out of court and henceforth keep his mouth shut about me.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 01:46 PM

Well Done, Don!

Guesty, I don't believe in calling foul when no harm has been done.

The slippery slope I refer to is the dwindling spiral of reducing responsibility by reducing choice by increasing control. The alternative is increasing responsibility by increasing awareness and by making people face the consequences of their own actions. Trying to put responsibility on automatic is counter-productive -- it lowers intiative and makes people worry overmuch about laws and neglect the fundamentals of conscious choice.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Skeptic
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 01:52 PM

The original theory was that the Constitution did not so much guarantee rights as serve to limit the power and scope of government. The Bill or Rights was not meant to be exhaustive, just hit the high points. That idea got lost somewhere along the way

The core issue of the second amendment is whether it is a collective or individual right. Saw an analysis by a grammarian that argues that, given its structure, it is clearly two parts; validating the right of states to have a militia and making possession of a weapon an individual right. Can that "right" be regulated (say by requiring registration or limiting the nature and type of weapons available? Such is what courts are for.

The interesting one to me is the 14th as just what constitutes "privileges" "immunities" or "property" (which under law can mean far more than real property. Apparently some of the libertarian civil rights activists are supporting cases that seek to test the limits.

"The language when each amendment was written reflects the times it was written, but does that matter? Or should it? The intent of the amendment can only be seen in history but do we interpret it in those times or these? Or does it matter?"

If you read the Federalist papers, I'd say interpretation was expected. The problem seems to be when the interpretation gets really creative and just how deeply someone reads into an Article or Amendment, either textually, structurally or sometimes by relying on ouija board.

Personally, I favor the idea that unless specifically limited by state law, the right exists.

Regards

John



Regards

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 02:40 PM

I have always been under the impression (civics class in high school) that a citizen is free to do anything he or she wishes, unless it is specifically prohibited by law. The government is limited to doing only that which is specifically permitted by the Constitution.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 02:48 PM

Hi John, nice to see you about again! In replying to me you said, "If you read the Federalist papers, I'd say interpretation was expected. The problem seems to be when the interpretation gets really creative and just how deeply someone reads into an Article or Amendment, either textually, structurally or sometimes by relying on ouija board."

I have of course and couldn't agree more....exactly my point. And the interpretations ranges obviously from Hard Line to Super Ouija. Because of the way the Constitution was written and understanding that the U.S. was a collection of self-governing states makes it even more interesting. As you noted property can have a very broad meaning and you nailed it well. Until 3 years ago, the Ohio Revised Code stated, "Parents are entitled to their children as they are their other property." Ohio was not alone in this either as the majority of the states had something quite similar which effectually reduced children to the status of a sofa.

The scenario I mentioned was the Baby Richard case and it started the ball rolling. The child was returned to his biological father, but laws were soon enacted across the country by many states changing the notification methods of bio-dads as well as putting on reasonable time constraints, both of which placed a burden of reponsibility on those who father children while protecting the rights of all. Moreover, a bright line approach was taken in rewriting state law to remove the "Children as Chattel" lines from their books which is now causing a shake-up in the interpretation of the 14th from Federal benches and the SC as well. To me this simply proves that the Constitution and it's Amendments are living and breathing things and not stagnant, locked in time.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 03:16 PM

You need to regulate activity that will likely lead to harm, not simply punish those people who actually cause harm, or as GUEST has said it will be bloody dangerous out there. While I have no problem with someone smoking a joint or a cigarette in private, provided they don't go driving while stoned, public smoking of ANYTHING should be illegal.

Who has this need to regulate activity, FL? If the source of a government's power is people who consent to be governed, shouldn't individual responsibility be the source of self-regulation?

Spaw: Good news that children are no longer sofas. To my mind the hardest lesson to learn about parenting is that the individual is their own person, not yours, and all you can do is provide the best training and stewardship possible while they get used to the controls. The blind notion that offspring are owned animals is responsible for a good portion of the emotional and physical and cognitive abuse and consequent insanity in the world, IMHO.

A

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: NicoleC
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 03:25 PM

I don't think the 2nd Amendment debate really is so much about collective vs. individual rights, although it gets cast that way. Very few proponents that argue that regulation of weapons violates the 2nd Amendment would go so far as to declare that the state has no right to legislate control at all. (I.E. a collective right to ownership.)

One of the key tenants of common law is that the first responsibility of the government is to protect it's citizens. No law exists in a vacuum; they must all be tempered by other laws and rights. As such, preventing gun ownership from someone who has been convicted of, say, a mass murder gun spree in a shopping center, is clearly within the duties of the state to protect it's citizens.

Excepting those diehard libertarians who feel the government has no right to legislate ANY individual choice, the vast majority of those who claim the 2nd Amendment is an "individual" right don't really believe that. They simply disagree on at what point someone should be excluded from that right, and the level of balance between the government's duty to protect vs. and individual's right to choose.

What constitutes a protected "arm" for an individual falls under the same basic two arguments. Does an individual have a right to possess a functional nuclear missile? Or just a handgun? The difference is degree -- at what point does the government have a right to legislate for the greater good?

Our Founding Fathers were not anarchists who did not believe in an ordered, lawfully society. Like other historical documents of "rights" -- the Magna Carta springs to mind -- the Bill of Rights is clearly a historical response to what happens when society is subject to the arbitrary legal whims of a powerful ruler. Namely, individuals are treated differently depending on the prevailing mood. In this light, the Bill of Rights should not be regarded as simply a baseline of what individuals should be allowed to do freely, but also an attempt to regulate equal treatment.

Of course, WHO qualified for equal treatment had an entirely different definition then :)


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: NicoleC
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 03:35 PM

Correction:

"...at what point does the government have a right to legislate for the greater good?"


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: NicoleC
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 03:39 PM

Hey, where'd my correction go. 2nd try:

"...at what point does the government have a right to legislate for the intended greater good?"


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Troll
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 03:44 PM

Wrong again, Kendall. There were breech loading muskets in use During the Revolution. A Maj.Ferguson (British Army)invented a breechloading flintlock that was used by the British army in small numbers. Maj.Ferguson was killed at the Battle of Kings Mountain. There is a speciman of his musket in the Smithsonian.
There were other breeckloaders available but they were a real pig to load and so were unsuited to military use. They were usually pistols and were carried by civilians.
The major problem that I see with regulating arms is that there is an extremely vocal minority who want to ban the ownership of guns altogether and with every new regulation they come closer to the realization of that "dream". Somewhere it has to stop or the right to bear arms will be "nibbled to death by ducks".

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 04:17 PM

Amos-The need to regulate dangerous activity is inherent in the idea that law enforcement should prevent crime, not just punish the perpetrators. You may disagree with that idea, but I prefer the idea of prevention to solely retribution. If individual responsibility were the sole source of self-regulation, it would be solely the individual's responsibility to prevent himself from shooting people. Depending on what you mean by regulation, it could also be solely his responsibility to punish himself should he lapse and shoot people. Law enforcement without preventative powers loses its purpose: to prevent harm to the community.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 05:58 PM

This is good. We're getting some intelligent, substantial discussion of the Constitution here, and some good points being raised, which is what I had hoped for.

Guest - Actually, I AM in favour of a law prosecuting drinking and driving, as well as being stoned and driving, or drinking/being stoned and handling a gun at the time or flying an airplane at the time.

Why? Because cars, guns, and airplanes (and other vehicles) are potentially lethal weapons that can VERY easily be mishandled under the influence of mind-altering substances. It's a special situation that demands a specific response.

I am NOT in favour of people being prosecuted for being under the influence of such substances under most circumstances, but when they're handling guns or heavy equipment, then YES I am.

I trust this answers your concern on that question.

In general, I see that the weakness of the Constitution is the same as the weakness of the Bible...it can be interpreted in various conflicting and even contradictory ways by people, according to what agenda they are pushing.

This is not surprising. It happens with virtually all hallowed documents.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 06:39 PM

FL:

You have compoleted reversed what I said, when you went over to "it could also be solely his responsibility to punish himself should he lapse and shoot people. ".

There is a precise boundary where individual, personal sovereignty and the commonweal meet; it is the point where individual actions cause an effect on others.

You may prefer making prevention a concern of the State, but I think it is only necessary because of a gross failure in education.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 06:59 PM

Amos-I think that it is usually too late if you wait until his actions have already affected others. While I certainly do not advocate absolute control of one's life, for fear that any action will lead to harm, I don't think that regulating such obviously dangerous activities as driving while under the influence of a reaction-slowing, mind-affecting chemical or releasing carcinogens into the air directly upwind of a number of people is unwarranted.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: DonMeixner
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 07:36 PM

I used to write a newsletter for comic book collectors and in the front of each issue of The Local Hero I'd have an editorial. One of my editorials had to do much with censorship and a free press.

   One area many people forget or perhaps never knew is this. When discussions of censorship are bandied about they are not talking about the right of a newspapre to censor or edit it's writers. The discussion has only to do with governmental censorship.   All things published in this country have an editorial policy. And bye and large most publications stick to their stated policy. This isn't censorship in the sense of the First Amendment. The right of a free press shall not be abridged.
   This is also true of a self censoring private entity like the comic book industry. The long reviled Comics Code was agreed to by the extant publishers in the 1950's to bring a level of consitant quality to the industry. The quality was consistant but low and only Mad Magazine dared to take on the Comics Code and Dr. Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent. But this was not goverment censorship. It was the industry censoring it self.
   The record industry does it too. Frank Zappa and John Denver, those remarkably similar dudes, addressed congress regarding censorship in the industry when a number of halflit illuminaries wanted the government to come in a clean up the industry. I believe that congress in a rare blast of commonsense said, "Police yourself."
But it is not the government telling me or Jed or Mick Jagger, or Anni DeFranco what we may sing or say on record, it is the industry.
And to a large extent it is the public censoring the industry by not buying stuff they deem to be offensive.

   Another area of confussion is the notion of federal and states rights and laws. The Federal Government says it will not legislate and individuals right to own and carry a firearm. (Except for autoloading fully automatic weapons, not to be confused with semi-automatic firearms. Thompson Light Machinegun full auto and banned for general private ownership, Glock 9MM semi automatic pistol, OK to own where states permit.) That doesn't mean a state can't and won't limit gun ownership. In some states a pistol permit is a carry permit. In other states it meerly means you can own a pistol, a carry permit is another thing entirely.

   Little Hawks question is a terrific question. Saddly there are many Americans (Legislators as well) who are as confused about their own constitutional rights and laws as are folks fron Canada, Figi, or the farflung Isle of Langerhans.

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Skeptic
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 10:25 PM

spaw,

I've been "lurking" since I stopped posting a while back (during one of the flame wars), got busy on other forums and with life. When troll got back from Japan he rekindled my interest.

But it's nice to be back and find so many familiar 'faces'

Anyway, it's a delicate balance. Too little interpretation stagnates society and encourages work-arounds - too much (claiming that the times have changed so much that necessity demands....) and we edge close to the danger expressed by William Pitt (the Elder) "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."

We always need to keep in mind that aside from making sure their interests were protected, the founding fathers had a basic distrust of giving the government too much power. I am all for broad interpretation when it comes to individual liberties but demand strict interpretation when it comes to the powers and scope of government.

That seems to have gotten reversed somewhere along the line.

Forget the Patriot Act (which in most particulars applies to non-citizens - though that Great and Evil Little Man [Ashcroft] is working on that 'problem'). Look at the "War on Drugs" and the loosening of constraints on search warrants, on seizure of property and all the other "necessary" infringements. Look at the alien and Sedition Acts during the Civil War. What is new these days is the attempt to "rewrite" the structural intent of the Constitution and subvert or by-pass the balance of powers.

Then I came across a statistic that claims that the reading level for a High School graduate in the US in 2001 was 4th grade 7th month and it explained a lot.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 11:19 PM

That's exactly what worries me, John. There have been any number of countries that had a fine Constitution, with all kinds of protections for the people, and yet were taken over from within and subverted by dictatorial governments, regardless of those constitional rights. This was usually because most of the people were barely aware what was going on, didn't understand their own Constitution, and didn't know what to do about it even if they were aware what was going on. As for the police and the army...they usually tend to obey orders. If the people at the top giving the orders are corrupt, then almost anything can happen, and then what can the ordinary public who are disunited and not well armed do to stop it???

That's partly why I thought I'd start a thread about the Constitution.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: DonMeixner
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 12:36 AM

I have been amazed as long as I have been aware politically that most conservatives and most liberals are each willing to give up a constitutional right but claim another as nearly their devine right.
(Long sentence , huh?)

Push come to shove a/many/most conservative(s) will give up his right of free speach if it means he can keep his right to keep and bear arms.
A/many/most liberal(s) will gladly give up their rights to keep and bear arms but march on Washington for freedom of speach.

But a few of us must truly terrify the government of any stripe when in power because I/us/we will give up neither.

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Troll
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 12:37 AM

Skeptic. How typical that you would attempt to blame ME for your return to the Forum when the real truth is that you forgot how to turn on your computer.

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 11:15 AM

If you boys are gonna squabble we'll just have to write a law about you!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Skeptic
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 04:05 PM

troll,

Blame is hardly the appropriate term. I came back to watch you, as I find you to be endlessly fascinating in a kitchy sort of way - somewhat like watching that sixth rerun of Green Acres - you know you shouldn't be there's that part of you that just can't believe it can get that bad.

In your case, of course, it does.

LH,

Sorry to temporarily hijack the thread but some things just have to be said.

The founding fathers recognized the real danger to a government such as ours (I mean all us Americans) is from within. As long as the balance of powers remains essentially equal. We have had 20 years of fairly concerted attempts to unbalance things. IMO Reagan and Bush 1 were worse than Clinton but he did nothing (that I remember) to reverse the erosion of rights and growth of government power.

Ashcroft and Bush have gone much further by using national security as an argument against judicial or legislative oversight.

There concerns may be heartfelt and as sincere as they are capable of (however misguide and evil I think they are). To a nation addicted to instant gratification, with a minimal sense of history and 'People' magazine view of government, they have a ready audience.

I have some hope that the progressives and libertarians will merge into a credible political force to challenge the trend.

However, for those in fair of strict construction, I could make a fairly good argument that the current catering to the rich and big business at the expense of the great unwashed masses (economically, politically and legally) can trace it roots back to the founders.
Like many Americans, the current powers that be didn't finish the book after they read the parts they liked. Or maybe they used the Cliff notes version.


The really great thing about being cynical is that there's constant validation to be found with minimal effort.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 06:58 PM

Ha! Ha! Ha! Bravo, John! That is one of the most well stated and amusing posts I've seen on Mudcat in some time. Beautiful punch line at the end too.

I'm fascinated by Troll as well. He recently seemed to be accusing me of conspiring to drug and brainwash people en mass to improve society. :-) My, my... Was it mere dramatic hyperbole or is he sliding over the edge into gibbering insanity? Only time will tell.

I continue to hope that America will realize its originally stated ideals and stand up for the rights of the common people instead of enshrining and serving an all-powerful elite, but my hopes seem to be in vain.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Skeptic
Date: 20 Apr 03 - 12:09 AM

LH,

He may be jealous because you thought of it first. ;-)

I share your hope and pessimism. A citizenry able to fully exercise their rights could portend trouble for big business and government. After all, they might demand that corporations not be considered "individuals" under the law. And that "necessity" and "practicallity" in things like law enforcemnet efforts really are subsurvient to civil liberty.

And though I first used the initial metaphor (or is it a simile?) on another forum, the final line just seemed…right.

Fortunately for my on-line reputation, some of troll's best rejoinders are made fact to face and he never gets around to posting them.

BTW, It was hyperbole.

Don,

It's curious and sad that the issue of civil rights can't seem to transcend partisan politics. Which is tragic too, as the consequences are significant and would, I think, be acceptable to very few regardless of where they fell on the political spectrum.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: leprechaun
Date: 20 Apr 03 - 10:40 PM

Who's the martyr? Not me. I'm the jack-booted thug, pawn of the evil corporations out to steal your civil liberties.

I'm just trying to save you a little time here.

After your revolution succeeds, you all are gonna need to enact your own new constitution.

I understand that somehow you plan to wrest control of all the resources from the greedy rich people and distribute it among the genuinely altruistic folks who will, surprise, surprise, look much like yourselves. Of course you'll do a much better job of it than all the idiots who've gone before you, because you're all so danged magic you'll be able to loot those rich bastards without spilling any blood, because violence is bad and all.

But I am surprised you haven't included some other illegal acts like:

Making a profit (I supposes that's included under fraud)
Advertising (leads to too much success)
Forming a Corporation
Owning too much stuff (Everybody should have equal amounts of stuff)

Somehow the new constitution in Littlehawktopia will have to prevent these evil things from happening.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Skeptic
Date: 20 Apr 03 - 11:10 PM

LH,

To start addressing leprechaun's suggestions, please add to your rough draft that your constitutional will make it impossible for a corporation or company to ever be viewed (under law) as an individual with many of the rights accorded to citizens.

This will go a long way in addressing several of his 'concerns'.

Jefferson proposed limiting the scope and power of constitutions in his early draft of the Bill of Rights - that idea and his plea to never have a standing army went down in defeat.

Now my suggestion is to make it clear that individual rights under your constitution must be broadly construed and interpreted while the rights of government must be narrowly construed.

Are you really think of putting altruists in positions of authority? Better re-think that one. True believers of any flavor are usually trouble.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Sam L
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 10:31 AM

No, Leprechaun, but in Fredtopia grossly overstating a case will be a misdemeanor.

I don't see anything wrong with making a profit. In fact, I can't help loving the free-enterprise thing, it's inventive, creative, spirited. But I only trust it so far..about the space between those periods.

   I really do sometimes think there may be something basically wrong with arty advertising. Even though I enjoy it, it's funny.

I wish I could think of a viable alternative to the obviously senseless legal notion of incorporation, wherein people who are responsible for things aren't responsible for those things, because some multi-headed dragon did it. I can see how people running businesses need the protection of incorporation, and may incorporate myself. But it still seems there should be a more reasonable and balanced legal construction. One that isn't absurd on the face of it.

I don't think wealth should be distributed equally, to everyone. Not at all. But I still think there's plenty of room for fun variations between very wealthy people, and people who are not quite starving. I still think running a business into the ground might not be a great reason for a raise. I think fifty years ago wealthy people paid a lot more of the taxes, and see nothing wrong with that.

I think people should avoid owning too much stuff for their own sake. Wanting to be very rich is sort of like wanting to be really fat. There's nothing inherently wrong with uneven wealth, but it gets to be too much, too sick, and it's wrong. Having a lot of money is like having a lot of responsibilty, except that responsibilty entails responsibility, and money doesn't.

A ceo will get credit for experience running a completely different business, which may not help. And their perceived stardom may reap them rewards even when it's clear that their irrelevant experience really didn't help. On the other hand, I've been doing physical work and heavy lifting for 11 years and never missed a day for an injury, but still have suited morons telling me how to do it like I was hired yesterday. I especially enjoy the ones who are experts because they have hurt themselves. How come some things count, some things add up, and some things don't, is what I wonder. Narcissistic fantasy explains a lot of weird behaviors.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 10:36 AM

Narcissistic fantasy explains a lot of weird behaviors.

That's the tale in a nutshell, Mister Fred.

If only those who can do were allowed to teach it would save a lot of grief, doncha think?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 10:58 AM

What Skeptic and Fred said, leprechaun... :-)

I see little need to write a new constitution. Just live up to the old one, that's all! And establish a worldwide legal system (with teeth) that will prevent money from being laundered all over the place in a totally corrupt manner by multi-national corporations and other big players.

Who says I'm against profit? I'm not. But I am against creating a fictional entity called a "corporation" and treating that fictional entity as though it were an individual. Such an entity then attains a sort of artificial life...and like any living thing wants to perpetuate and enlarge itself...and that leads to tremendously destructive practices worldwide, which destroy traditional societies, wreck the environment, destroy small businesses (through takeovers, mergers, and advertising clout), put people out of work, and so on...

And all so that the people who created the artificial entity in the first place can avoid being personally liable for the havoc they wreak on society.

This is a World problem, not a USA problem alone. The trouble and lawlessness in the World is due to the fact that the World right now is in the condition that the Wild West was before statehood...it's in a state of virtual anarchy, where those who have the most money and guns rule by force.

The only solution to that is to gradually bring in a structure of law and law enforcement on a worldwide basis. The USA is pretending to do that by its "War on Terrorism", but is in fact the biggest outlaw in the game right now, breaking every law that gets in its way.

You see, leprechaun, I am suggesting precisely what you stand for: law enforcement, according to a decent Constitution and body of law, only on a Worldwide basis! That is the next logical step in human development on this planet. It is peurile to think that only what happens within the borders of the USA matters when it comes to accomplishing this, but that's what Americans tend to do (they seem to thing that the USA IS the World. It's not.)

I'm also suggesting that the human race should behave like a family. A family first of all makes sure that all members are fed, housed, and clothed...as a basis for decent life (and as the best way of ensuring a minimum of crime and desperation in a populace).

I am NOT suggesting that everyone then live at exactly the same material level...just that they have the right to begin life at a decent level in the first place, instead of rotting in some foul ghetto.

Obviously, people's different abilities and tendencies will cause them to move to different levels in all areas of life, according to how they use those abilities.

As for advertising...instead of permeating the media with it, so that it is inescapable and omnipresent, do this: Provide channels and outlets specifically FOR advertising, and confine the advertising to those channels and outlets. Use the funds from it to support the other media. Then Joe Public can go and peruse the advertising in search of what he WANTS to find out about WHEN he wants to, instead of having it forced down his throat every five minutes whether he likes it or not! This would force the advertisers to come up with much more intelligent, interesting ads, let me tell you. And it would work...beautifully. I do actively seek out advertising for products I WANT, but I do not need to hear about the latest Rap CD or feminine deoderant 15 times an hour, thanks!

And that's why I've given up on TV and the radio, but still like newspapers and the Internet. Dead simple. I choose what my time is spent on. I am not a helpless sponge, trapped on a couch in front of a blathering TV, running to the fridge every five minutes to escape the idiotic ads.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 11:13 AM

LH:

What is your understanding of the evolution of the corporation into its current form as something approximating a legal individual? Traditions like that are born from a need to solve problems. I am not rejecting your argument by any means, but I would be interested to know what you think the problem was originally that was thought to be solved by the practice.

Oh, and glad to hear you are not a helpless sponge. That's a great relief to me. Here I thought you might have been....NOT. :>)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 11:33 AM

Hang on to that thought, Amos. Lookin' into it...


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Skeptic
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 11:41 AM

Amos,

RE; Corporations as Individuals

Try this Article as a place to start. I'm working on the book now.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 01:10 PM

THanks, Skeptic.

However, there are deeper roots than that for the treatment of corporations as legal entitites (if not 'persons'). Interesting to see how far back this whole "firm" concept goes. I know it precedes the American revolution.

It is obvious that a corporation is a social invention, placed into public play by the efforts of individuals, and not, in fact, a person at all. And according to the link you provided, the notion that they are "persons", as distinguished from artifacts, should never have entered law at all.

A company is so obviously an artifact that it is closer to a physical building, or an autobus, than it is to a person. I would say that the whole realm of human associations -- good and bad -- is woefully misunderstood.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 01:14 PM

Fantastic article, John! Leprechaun...read it. You will see how huge corporations have stolen the democracy that Thomas Jefferson tried to build. It so happens I agree with Thomas Jefferson. His instincts were admirable.

I looked up corporation in the encycolpedia, and it says: "A corporation is a fictitious legal person and as such has a corporate name...in this name the corporation may sue and be sued and may hold property...it has an existence independent of its members, and may outlive any one of them..."

It is huge corporations which now fund and dominate the political $ySStem, determine governmental policy, and launch wars...not because of the will of the people, but REGARDLESS of the will of the people. Big Business has become Big Government. That is not democracy, it is oligarchy. It is the victory of Boss Tweed, Al Capone, and Tammany Hall.

Leprechaun, you are unwittingly supporting an unofficial dictatorship which is in violation of the spirit of the US Constitution and in violation of the promise: "of the people, by the people, for the people".

Think oil companies, think banks, think media moguls...they are your imperial overseers.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Sam L
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 02:40 PM

I meant to ask you about jackboots, Leprechaun. My boots are wearing out, and I was thinking of trying some. Can't seem to find them.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 10:17 PM

This is really an intertesting subject . The usual defense of someone who organizes a group of people is that it makes for better and more production, and therefore better stability and so on. And it does, certainly, make for prosperity because many minds see more than one mind, often, and certainly many hands acheive a synergy. So associating into groups for mutual benefit is a Good Thing, ya?

So..lessee, then...where do they go wrong? A classic example is the old CHina clippers -- a huge amount of trade they accomplished could not have been accomplished without their sophisticated sense of organized effort, and tacit rules of conduct in the organization. If you wanted to break out of those rules, you waited for shore leave, or took your chances. Obviously this was necessary because of the high risks the group was taking just putting out to sea for long voyages. ANd there were plenty of sea captains who never found it necessary to resort to extremes of discipline, because they weere ingherently fairminded and cared about their men. There were also plenty who used more duress than they had to, and there were plenty of tars who invited a lot more discipline than they had to, as well.

Maybe where they go wrong is when the leaders forget their common humanity -- something like that -- and start dramatizing their position instead of communicating from it.

That Jefferson, man -- he was smarter than a barrel full of Federalists!!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 11:57 PM

That's for sure, Amos. The only idea he proposed that couldn't fly today is the one of no standing army...simply not possible, given present military technology and complexity.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 10:15 AM

I was reflecting on this interesting proposition -- the individual being oppressed by the group, the corporation, the large entity consisting of many people.

It is a lot easier to sue a corporation than it would be to sue 535 or 6,798 individuals -- this actually argues for the practice.

On the other hand I feel as an individual hemmed in by quite a large number of conglomerate entities. Chief among these are the tax organizations of the State of California and the Federal government. I also feel deeply mistreated by the gasoline supply chain, the SUpreme Court, the state government of Florida, an unknown number of special-interst lobbyists, the Republican Party, the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives....oh, and the media groups responsible for the aggressive mindlessness of television, and a number of numb-skulled news organizations who have sold their charters for a handful of silver. I am also deeply offended by organized religion in almost all of its variant forms, and the National Rifle Association, too. I am very suspicious of Haliburton, now that you mention it.

I am sure we all have similar lists. If there were some way to boil these generalized groups down to particular individual people responsible for all the "wrong" they have done me, the list would be thousands long. I would have millions of entities to bitch about rather than a few score. Would this be an improvement?

Discuss....



A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: kendall
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 11:27 AM

Troll, you miss my point. On purpose, no doubt.
Leprechaun, tell us what you know about the "Robber Barons" and, justify, if you can, their greed and exploitation of working stiffs.
I speak in the past sense; they didn't go away, they modified their behavior, and now they hide out in the republican party.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Skeptic
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 12:16 PM

Amos,

Clearly on this (and other forums I'm on) don't need more people to bitch about.

How far should we go in shielding employees of a corporation from individual liability? My understanding is that in expanding the scope of civil rights to encompass the corporate entity as person, we made it much harder to pursue individual accountability. And less likely that a corporate culture that requires same could survive.

I seem to remember that in the good old days (such as Clipper Ships), the financial risk was shared as was the liability for harm. Under current law, the risk is still shared but the liability stops with the 'corporate entity'.

Perhaps the answer to "Maybe where they go wrong is when the leaders forget their common humanity" is that they found a way to avoid individual and group responsibility by making the legal fiction the responsible indiviidual. Always easier to blame some other "person" when we screw up.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 12:55 PM

A corporation is also, in effect, an artificial personal with a potentially immortal lifespan, and with far greater financial clout than the individuals who make it up. Such a "person" can hire expert legal help, and can also operate simultaneously in a variety of countries, moving the money wherever it is expedient...and no one can stop "him" from so doing. Not a good situation.

What we need is an effective net of world law that is comprehensive and consistent, to prevent the establishing of corporate monopolies. That won't happen when a few powerful countries run the show with money and guns, and subvert international law whenever it proves to be an inconvenience for them.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Sam L
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 01:45 PM

Lee Ioccoca and the fiery Ford Pinto. He made the decision that it was better to cut cost, with his notion of the "limits of $3,000", than to put a rubber liner in the gas tank. Not everybody made that decision, or was aware of the consequences. He was--they denied it at first, but they had tested it--and it was his call. When the court decided to permit a cost benefit analysis the thing was over, really. Nobody ever explained how they arrived at a dollar figure for "pain and suffering".

    What is lost is not the ability to sue someone after the fact, but the preventative, or at least the recognition of holding people accountable for their grim calculations, before they lose sight of reality. What does the head of the corporation care if they are not held personally accountable? The corporation gets hit, workers lose jobs, they cut corners, make lousy cars, the CEO still comes out more or less okay, writes a book, bends all the way around and french-kisses his own ass, and people come away thinking he'd make a good president.

The problem is that the head of the corporation drops most of the hurt on others, the workers, the consumers, who didn't screw up in the first place.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 01:58 PM

What we need is an effective net of world law that is comprehensive and consistent, to prevent the establishing of corporate monopolies

Gee, LH, you sound like a proponent of a world consitution. I submit that what prevents that from happening is not large corporations, but the sui-generis definitions of people into various forms of "Us". I doubt many Canadians would want to forego their Canadian group identity in support of a planetary constitution. They wouldn't want to be contaminated by the other groups' aberrations -- such as the US'. And solving the interface between the private citizen and the corporate conglomerate doesn't have to be done on a global basis -- one enlightened nation could do it successfully. Canada, for example.

What would you suggest as a legal structure to make this happen?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: MMario
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 02:03 PM

Amos - I 'spect you're right. I know it has taken me almost three decades to not resent people classing me as a 'New Yorker' - because at heart I am (and suspect I always will be) a Cape Codder. Which is different from being from Massachusetts, or being a New Englander. NATIONAL identity is something that people cling to - often for generations


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 03:07 PM

You're right about that, Amos.

The first step (a faltering one) was the League of Nations. The next (again faltering) has been the UN. It will be a gradual process but it must come, by degrees, and in such a way that it does not threaten local or national cultures.

I won't be easy.

But yes, I believe in a World Constitution. Eventually. I don't necessarily expect to see it in this lifetime. Not likely.

You might note that virtually every science fiction story written about a hypothetical planet has cast that planet as one, united society. That is because that is the natural end of the civilization process on a planet of intelligent beings. Nation-states are a stage in that process, but are not the end of it.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 10:03 PM

Some might say it depends on which end of the egg you open first....but I speck yore right in the long run, which is a speciualty of yours, I guess! :>)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 11:43 PM

Yup. Being a firm believer in reincarnation, I always tend to look at the long run. That's why I'm basically hopeful about humanity. We experience setbacks, but we always get up and try again till we get it right, just like a baby learning to walk.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 09:59 AM

We seem to agree on a lot of things, LH -- are you SURE yer a furriner? You sound orful Murrican tuh me, buddy. Mebbe yer one of them draft-doggers?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 07:50 PM

Close, Amos, close...

I lived in New York State from the age of 10 to 20 (during the 60's, basically), and although Canadian I was registered for the Draft, because I had a Green Card. I returned to Canada in 1969 and mailed the f*ckers my draft card, with a note explaining I would not be needing it any more.

They had the nerve to mail it back to me, pointing out that "once you is with us you is with us fer life, sucker, so hang on to yer card. If'n you chooses to re-emigrate to these here United States we reserves the right to Draft you to kill slopeheads fer us".

I tore it up and flushed it down the toilet. Haven't heard from the bastards at the Selective Service since, I'm happy to say, but I would be willing to serve against them if called up.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: leprechaun
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 02:13 PM

Fred - you don't actually need jackboots, which are long and unwieldy for the most part. Any old army boot or work boot, preferably black, will do. The trick is to blouse your pants leg and tuck them into the boot, so it gives you a military look. Cargo pants with extra armyish-type pockets are best for this. You could have the same boots on, and if your pants are creased and hanging down to the laces, nobody really minds. Forget the utility of keeping your pants cuff out of the mud when you're marching through corpses of the unwashed masses, the blousing of the pants leg is what really pisses people off.

But "blouse-legged thug" just doesn't sound as menacing as "Jack-booted thug."


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: The O'Meara
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 06:37 PM

I might agree to a planetary constitutional convention if you could guarantee that the "Framers" would be of the same amazing intelligence and selfless statesmanship as the folks who wrote the American constitution back in the 1780s. I don't know where the Jeffersons, Madisons, Franklins, Masons, Adams, etc are hiding, but they sure as hell aren't running the countries we have now. I'd hate to see what the Bushes, Clintons, Chiracs, Blairs, Husseins, etc come up with.

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 06:47 PM

Aye -- there's the rub!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 07:50 PM

That is indeed the problem. Where do you get the inspired leadership? And I haven't got a clue what any of us can do about it. How do you ensure that people with genuine ideals get to the top in a system that is run on influence-peddling (through money, in other words)?

The framers of the US Constitution were quite extraordinary for their time, and they initiated a process that eventually brought down several great monarchies and permanently transformed (and basically sidelined) several others. From their example rose: Republican government of the people, the French Revolution, and the various socialist and Communist revolutions (somewhat indirectly, but a definite connection there), as well as the rise of the modern multi-party democracy. Talk about being at the "leading edge"! Those were remarkable times.

Every real revolution is a struggle by the disenfranchised general public against an entrenched power elite. The only question is (usually) will the armed forces turn and join the public or fragment in the face of an armed revolt. If so, it's all over for the old elite.

And then...keep your fingers crossed and watch out for the new elite!

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 25 Apr 03 - 01:03 PM

It seems to me that capitalism is very much like the game of Monopoly - the probable end result is one person owns all the money and all the property. But at the end of the Monopoly game the money and property are gathered up and redistributed. How does that happen in the real world?
    On the other hand, extreme socialism and communism only work at gunpoint.
    Wish I had the answers.

    The constitution and the bill of rights are nothing more than a couple pieces of paper, if the people are not willing to support them, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. I support the ACLU and the NRA.

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 03 - 01:48 PM

I support the Bill of Rights, when I can find it....


A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST,Dreaded Guest
Date: 25 Apr 03 - 03:12 PM

I absolutely believe the Second Amendment gives me the right to individually bear arms. Anyone who thinks otherwise has been brainwashed.

I also believe the next 'October Surprise' will be a mass-murder in a public school. GWBush is going to extend the infamous ban on assault weapons, a ban which is scheduled to expire in Sept of next year...just before the elections. Bush's action will alienate millions of his supporters, so he needs to make up that loss among you stump-ignorant liberals who forget that Stalin, Hitler and Mao were in favor of gun-control. And to quiet the doubters and nay-sayers next year, just before the election, Bush is going to implement some of that 'sacrifice' he's always talking about. I'd say a 90% chance he'll sacrifice some of your kids. A hundred dead children (killed by the BATF) on the evening news with Bush saying 'I told you so' will get you liberals on board almost as fast as those busses will haul you off to the concentration camps.

Bush's extension of the ban will also add .22 caliber and muzzle-loaders and flintlocks to the list of 'assault weapons'. Do not give an inch on gun ownership in America, or you WILL see the Iraqization of the US.

Mass-murderers agree...gun control works


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 25 Apr 03 - 05:08 PM

(Whoa. This is a thread about the constitution and the bill of rights, not about gun control. I love to discuss gun control, but I hate to argue about it. And calling people who disagree dumber than a barrel of hair doesn't make for much of a discussion.)

    It looks to me like the entire bill of rights is in danger, and pretty much under constant attack by ultra-conservatives (who really do hate the first amendment) and ultra-liberals (who really do hate the second) all in the name of safety or security or the public good. Are the conservatives who want to ban books with sex in them any different from the liberals who want to ban books with race in them?

O'Meara

ps How did I become a "guest" again?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Apr 03 - 05:26 PM

Interesting questions, O'Meara...

I also see both liberals and conservatives attacking the US Constitution, each in their own peculiar way, for their own parochial reasons, but it all adds up to the loss of freedom in America, and elsewhere...in the name of "security".

This does not make me feel more secure.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST,Dreaded Guest
Date: 25 Apr 03 - 06:10 PM

But the US Constitution IS the Second Amendment. All other Amendments and Articles are secondary. Without the power to enforce, we would not have any rights or any form of stable govt. Gun opponents are anathema to America. Buy guns if you want free speech, freedom of religion, etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 25 Apr 03 - 06:31 PM

Which would you rather do without, food or water? The constitution and the bill of rights are a package deal.

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 26 Apr 03 - 11:58 AM

DG-I would argue that the Second Amendment, without the First Amendment, is worthless. There is no point in having safeguards unless there is something to safeguard.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST,Dreaded Guest
Date: 26 Apr 03 - 01:00 PM

Traitors?

THIS is why the Second Amendment is so vital in the US. Once a govt has your guns, you are marked for death.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Apr 03 - 01:47 PM

The Herald Sun is an Australian paper, DG. How is this relevant?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: Amos
Date: 26 Apr 03 - 01:48 PM

You really are a piece of work.

Protesting and flying banners is an exercise of free speech.

Sabotaging warships, deployed in the government's chosen military course of action, is treason to that government.

Whether justified or not, there's a world of differenc ebetween the two.

Gettus realus.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Constitution and Bill of Rights info
From: GUEST,Dreaded Guest
Date: 26 Apr 03 - 02:43 PM

Australians were forced to surrender their guns. Now they are at the mercy of whatever form of tyranny develops in their country. Without guns, you have no voice against those who possess guns. The US Revolution began when the Brits tried to seize weapons. Lots of lip flapping up until that time about taxes and monarchies and rights, but when they began to move against the armories, the battle was engaged. The US would have lost the Revolution if another year without action had passed. No guns and powder would have been available.

And sure the more aggressive groups will be targeted first. Especially young people (whom old people envy) will be shown defying the system in order to get conservatives and moderates onboard. But once the Greenpeace people are declared traitors, what about school teachers, gardeners, etc? If you allow a govt to set an abusive precedent, it will be broadened. You can bank on it.


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