The Bill of Rights?
When you think of America, or the USA, or United States, what comes to mind? Obesity? Crime? Wealth? Innovation? Cars? Movies? Opportunity? Land? Welfare?
One aspect that has always stood out to me to has been our American Heritage. Among the core items that construct that heritage is the United States Constitution and The Bill of Rights. When the Constitution was created it outlined the all three branches (Legislative – Congress, Judicial – Supreme Court, Executive – President) of the United States government with their respective functions.
With the inception of the Constitution, many other individuals argued that it did not do enough to reinforce, or specify the inalienable rights, mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Hence the first official amendments were conceived to identify what are the guarantees, or freedoms, that government is to protect.
These first ten amendments became: The Bill of Rights
With that said, it has been 229 years since the Constitution Convention. Since that time, world population has increased, nations have risen and fallen, new inventions have been made, multiple wars have been fought and the US Constitution has been amended only 27 times.
What metrics can be used to measure the United States commitment to its citizens?
I propose we measure The United States of America’s commitment to its citizens against the original ten amendments: The Bill of Rights.
Below I will state each amendment, share evidence of whether the amendment has been violated. Should the amendment be violated that means the US government has failed to keep its commitment to securing its citizens inalienable rights.
Fortunately, The Bill of Rights has ten amendments, that allows the measurement to be out of ten. I will use American high school rules: if a student has a 70% out of 100%, that is a pass. If a student has a score below a 70%, that student does not pass.
“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.”
Meaning: Congress, or federally elected representatives, are not supposed to make laws for or against religion, abridging freedom of speech, or press (which can be interpreted as: coercing, surveillancing, controlling, reducing or omitting aspects of it).
Violation: This amendment has been violated.
From my religious background, it was legal to kill people who belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or better known as Mormons, in the United States, specifically, Missouri for well over 140 years. The state rescinded that law in 1976.
Even when the wrongdoings were occurring, Mormon church leaders went to seek redress but the US president declined to do anything.
Another violation of this amendment come from declassified documents that reveal operatives with the Central Intelligence Agency inserted themselves into news outlets that lead to the manipulation of news stories to sway public opinion. This is known as Operation Mockingbird.
In short this, the US government failed its citizens on not maintaining the first amendment.
“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.”
Meaning: To ensure a Free State of ideas, speech, and religion it is necessary to have a militia to enforce laws the protects the people’s right. It is also the right of the people to “keep and bear arms”.
Violation: This amendment has been and is still being violated at multiple difference layers from local, state, and federal laws. Specific instances, Louisville and Lexington Kentucky and San Diego city and county ordinances. The subverting of this inalienable right reduces American freedoms. If this right is abolished, it shall set precedence to make it easier to abolish other rights to virtue signal that rights yield to feelings/whims. Former US President Obama pushed for more gun control without going through the standard procedures. Violations to this law have even taken more indirect means. In 2016, the California Proposition 63 states that a background check will be performed on anyone in California in order to purchase a ammunition (see Prop 63 Article 4 Section 8.14).
“No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
Violation: Limited or no data found.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Meaning: The security of an individual person is to be safeguarded from “unreasonable search and seizures” and not be violated.
Violation: The security of an individual person is to be safeguarded from “unreasonable search and seizures” and not be violated.
Yet, this amendment has been violated.
Most recently, the Intelligence House Committee has released a memo detailing the use of the FBI and DOJ using FISA to spy on Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign over the fictional narrative of Trump working with Russia to win the 2016 US Election.
Domestic surveillance has strategically increased following the September 11th Attacks with the passing of the Patriot Act and later the Freedom Act. Not only are government agencies the heavy hitters in collecting, analyzing, categorizing and cataloging American personal effects, private entities have become extended arms of the government to report their customer information. Local police departments are also utilizing similar technologies to violate American citizen inalienable rights.
One of the largest arms of the government is the National Security Agency. In 2011, the NSA constructed the new Utah Data Center outside of Salt Lake City, Utah that could, upon its commission, back up the internet 11 times.
The NSA states: “In the spirit of openness and transparency, here is a partial list of current and planned future data collection targets: (emphasis added)”
- internet searches (ie; here’s a collection of searches by Federal Government workers)
- websites visited
- emails sent and received
- social media activity (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
- blogging activity including posts read, written, and commented on – View our patent
- videos watched and/or uploaded online
- photos viewed and/or uploaded online
- mobile phone GPS-location data
- mobile phone apps downloaded
- phone call records – View our patent
- text messages sent and received
- Skype video calls
- online purchases and auction transactions
- credit card/ debit card transactions
- financial information
- legal documents
- travel documents
- health records
- cable television shows watched and recorded
- commuter toll records
- electronic bus and subway passes / Smartpasses
- facial recognition data from surveillance cameras
- educational records
- arrest records
- driver license information
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Violation: Limited or no data found.
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
Violation: Limited or no data found.
“In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”
Violation: Limited or no data found.
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Violation: Recently released articles detail how American citizens in Chicago were arrested and kept in secret locations and coerced to provide a confession or reveal facts about current activities without access to their attorney’s and experiencing cruel and unusual punishment.
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Based from the site Legal Dictionary, it shares that “Due to the lack of cases in which the amendment has been used as a basis for, it is sometimes referred to as “the silent amendment.”
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Meaning: Powers/laws are not ratified by the US Constitution are left to the States to decide.
Violation: A specific example is the California Proposition 8 where the California population voted to retain the definition of marriage as being between a man and woman, but a homosexual federal judge overturned the 52.3%, or 7,001,084 Californians, who voted for it. There by setting the current precedent we live in today.
In review of the Bill of Rights, we have four amendments have been that have been violated out of the ten original amendments. That is 6 out of 10, or a 60% grade. This means that the United States government is failing to keep its commitment to protect its citizen’s inalienable rights. When a student receives a 60 on an exam, that is not a passing grade but a failing grade.
The United States government and its tentacles needs to be put in check. The American citizens must do their part to ensure that the inalienable rights enjoyed by the previous generations are not lost, nor replaced by standard of living, or convenience.
American citizens need to get involved in voting, discussing the issues that impact the local communities, and by communicating with their elected representatives.
American citizens need to continue to support and even restore the values that make America Great, few examples being:
- positive work ethic
- being industrious
- critical thinking
- deferring gratification
- trial and error learning
We the people, the American citizens, have the privilege to be involved by electing individuals into our federal republic who share those values.
When we allow fear, moral decay, or corruption in the government it will erode our inalienable rights that the government is meant to secure. The current trajectory will have two outcomes:
1. Become enslaved
Choose ye this day what future you want.