a contemporary twist on a classic by the Psychedelic Furs;
I found it on Crooks and Liars
a contemporary twist on a classic by the Psychedelic Furs;
I found it on Crooks and Liars
The fundamental issue being debated in the Supreme Court today is whether the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution was actually meant to protect an individual’s right to possess guns.
There are of course all kinds of arguments and statistics and rationale that have been bandied about on both sides of the issue. Even Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership have submitted an amicus brief.
But there is no precedent for this case currently before the Supreme Court and it therefore has to come down to the sitting justices’ interpretation of what the framers actually intended.
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.
From the perspective of language, it seems to me that the inclusion of an “and” could have precluded any argument.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, and the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The omission of the “and”, however, does not prove anything. In fact that non essential “and” may have been left out only because the sentence flows better without it.
I either read or heard an argument the other day that had been put forward by a historical linguist. He said that to “bear Arms” clearly has to refer to a militia, as that was an idiom for being a soldier (or something like that). However in the bit that was quoted, he never mentioned what “to keep…Arms” might mean.
There are other ways in which a good editor could have clarified the 2nd Amendment. For example:
As a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The right of the people to keep and bear Arms for a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed.
I am an editor and I could play with that sentence all day, but it would never tell us what the framers had intended. To get an idea of intention, we have to look elsewhere. We have to understand the politics of the time, we have to understand history, and we should look at other things that the framers said and wrote.
James Madison is considered the author of the Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution). He adapted the Bill of Rights from the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which had been drafted by George Mason in 1776. One of George Mason’s sources had been the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Even the English Bill of Rights declares that “the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law”.
James Madison had initially been on the side that argued against a Bill of Rights, the danger being that if only certain rights were enshrined, then that would put all other of the natural rights of man at risk. A Bill of Rights would also assume that the government had powers that it had never in reality been granted.
I leave you now with a few quotes to help you decide what the framers really thought.
Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. – James Madison
The Constitution shall never be construed … to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. – Samuel Adams
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. – Thomas Jefferson
Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the People’s Liberty’s Teeth. – George Washington
The contract has been fixed to our satisfaction, our funds are almost consolidated, there is always champagne in the fridge, and we are signing next week.
Max’s Residency Permit
Martin was able to fix things on Monday with VZP so that I did not have to pay their stupid penalty (see post below). Then Katka went to their office to conclude my 2-year health insurance agreement. Martin took the health insurance agreement, my passport and a power of attorney so that he could go to the foreigner police for my visa the following morning.
This email was waiting for me when I arrived at work on Tuesday:
It’s unbelievable but I don’t have your visa because that stupid woman at FP has completely changed her mind – she has made a copy of your insurance card and has said that everything was OK, but she has refused to give me visa based on the power of attorney (last week she said that you do not have to go there in person). I don’t understand that but it was impossible to persuade her on anything else today. This is unbelievable country… You (or secretary) will have to go there tomorrow in the morning and stand the queue for the number…
I answered Martin straight away:
It’s not unbelievable. That’s normal. They talk out of their arses and then they talk out of the other side. FP, VZP… they should all be shot. I am trying to get in touch with my visa agent and hopefully she’ll be able to help me out tomorrow. Don’t worry about it, it’s not your fault.
You didn’t lose my passport, did you?
Martin hadn’t lost my passport and I was able to get in touch with Lenka within a few minutes. I went to the foreigner police in person this morning. Upon arriving back at my office, I sent this report to a few friends:
For anyone that has been concerned about my impending (and repeated) deportation…
I got my new visa this morning. The foreigner police wouldn’t give it to Martin yesterday with a power of attorney so I had to go myself today. I paid 800 Kč to get a number so that I wouldn’t have to wait (which could take either hours or days) and I was in and out of there in about 12 minutes with my shiny new visa.
On another note, I then took my passport to my embassy to get extra pages put in, which are necessary because EU countries have become a bit too stamp happy. It used to be that you went to the window, handed them your passport and asked for new pages, and they would do it immediately and hand your passport straight back. Not anymore. This time I had to fill in a form and leave my passport there. If I pass the security check, I’ll be able to pick up my fatter passport this afternoon and Abby V, I’ll see you in London tomorrow. If I don’t pass the security check, I guess that will mean rendition and waking up in Gitmo.
I went back to the embassy after lunch and they returned my passport to me with 24 lovely new blank pages. That should last me another two or three years.
But my passport is gone once again. I had to give it to the secretary that has my power-of-attorney for the Trade Licence Office. She’s on her way there now to show them my new visa so that they will renew my trade licence. Then someone will have to go to the commercial court to show them that my trade licence has been renewed so that can be registered in the Commercial Register.
And then I should be all set until I move into my new flat when I’ll have to send people running around to every possible administrative authority in the Czech Republic in order to change my address. What a country.
Dear Governor Lynch
The Secretary of State’s office has been delaying and stalling the recount requested and paid for by Mr Albert Howard. This recount is from the January 8, 2008 primary – a whopping 20 days ago. The obvious fraud prompted Mr Howard to request this recount, but he has been stymied at every turn and time is of the essence on this recount which should have been finished ten days ago.
Additionally, certain individuals in the office of the Secretary of State have likely committed violations of New Hampshire’s election laws and I am requesting you to do two things:
(1) Step in and direct the Secretary of State William M Gardner, to get the recount done this week, and
(2) Direct the Attorney General for the State of New Hampshire to open an investigation into likely violations of New Hampshire’s elections laws, ie chain of custody of the ballots, slits in the ballot boxes and unlawful transport and security of the ballots.
NH Election laws including RSA chapters 39 & 40: 660:5: Conduct of recount. If directed by the SOS, the State Police shall collect all ballots requested from the town or city clerks having custody of them and shall deliver them to the public facility designated by the SOS.
I sincerely hope your office is able to put a stop to this madness and see that justice is served.
Just in case you were wondering what the KBR detention camps were for…
A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty.
Hoover wanted President Harry S. Truman to proclaim the mass arrests necessary to “protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.” The F.B.I would “apprehend all individuals potentially dangerous” to national security, Hoover’s proposal said. The arrests would be carried out under “a master warrant attached to a list of names” provided by the bureau.
Those arrests, which were proposed in July 1950, were never carried out. But if you go a little bit further back in history, you will get to the time when Hoover was able to arrest thousands of people whose politics he didn’t approve of.
A. Mitchell Palmer was the United States Attorney General under President Woodrow Wilson. Palmer had appointed Hoover as his special assistant. Palmer and Hoover were apparently worried that communists were going to overthrow the American government so they hatched a plan to use the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 to persecute communists, anarchists and social reformers.
In November and December 1919, 10,000 people were arrested and held without trial, many of them for an extended period of time. The Department of Justice subsequently found no evidence of a planned revolution and eventually released most of the prisoners. However, 248 of the suspects, including the famous anarchist and activist Emma Goldman, were put on a ship and deported to Soviet Russia.
There were 6,000 more arrests in January 1920. Again, detainees were held for weeks or months without being charged, without the possibility to post bail, and without access to legal counsel. And again some were deported.
But the idea that the KBR camps are for political prisoners or dissidents is preposterous.
I am not saying that it is imminent, or indeed that it is going to happen at all. I am saying, however, that we need to be aware that it is possible. And, most importantly, that the legislation that would make martial law legal in The Amerika is already in place.
I wrote about Aaron Russo’s film, America: Freedom to Fascism, in August 2006. In that post, I included the film’s sample list of executive orders. As I trust no one, I had checked to make sure Russo wasn’t full of shit. I found that his list was correct – all of the executive orders are real.
President Bush has signed executive orders giving him sole authority to impose martial law and suspend habeas corpus. This gives him dictatorial power over the people…with no checks and balances.
All of the following orders were in place long before Bush took office.
Executive Order #11921 – provides that the President can declare a state of emergency that is not defined, and Congress cannot review the action for six months – signed by Gerald R. Ford, 11 June 1976.
Executive Order #10990 – allows the government to take over all modes of transportation – signed by John F. Kennedy, 2 February 1962.
Executive Order #10995 – allows the government to seize and control the communications media – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.
Executive Order #10997 – allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.
Executive Order #10998 – allows the government to take over all food resources and farms – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.
Executive Order #11002 – Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.
Executive Order #11000 – allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.
The Huffington Post yesterday published a list of some of the rights that have been suspended in Pakistan:
I would like to review all of Bush’s executive orders to see exactly what powers he has already claimed, but he has signed literally hundreds and I already have a full-time job.
And in addition to the executive branch usurping powers, the legislative branch has happily handed additional powers to the president. As an example, Public Law 109-364, the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007” (HR 5122), which was signed into law on 17 October 2006. The Act gives the president the power to declare a public emergency and station troops anywhere in the Amerika and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities. Does anyone remember the Posse Comitatus Act?
And don’t forget another consequence of Pakistan’s state of emergency – the elections that were planned for January 2008 will be postponed until there is no longer a state of emergency. General Musharraf will therefore remain in power until further notice.
George W Bush – president for life. Has an interesting ring to it, doesn’t it?
I truly believe that Ron Paul represents the only hope that we have to get The Amerika back to what it’s supposed to be – a country of true liberty without surveillance that doesn’t interfere with the sovereignty of other countries or of the individual.
Ron Paul is not a conventional politician. He is a man of principle who stands up for what he believes in and who doesn’t waver because his position is unpopular or because others see it as untenable. As I have said before, he is the only candidate of any party that I would vote for in the elections next November.
“This November 5th” is a fundraising drive for Ron Paul that is aiming to raise $10 million in $100 donations in one day. Please have a look at the website and consider pledging your $100. If you love your freedom…
Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) is the leading advocate for freedom in our nation’s capital. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dr. Paul tirelessly works for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies. He is known among his congressional colleagues and his constituents for his consistent voting record. Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution…
Congressman Paul’s consistent voting record prompted one of his congressional colleagues to say, “Ron Paul personifies the Founding Fathers’ ideal of the citizen-statesman. He makes it clear that his principles will never be compromised, and they never are.” Another colleague observed, “There are few people in public life who, through thick and thin, rain or shine, stick to their principles. Ron Paul is one of those few.”
Brief Overview of Congressman Paul’s Record
He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
He voted against the Patriot Act.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He voted against the Iraq war.
He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year…