Re-posted (in part) with thanks, from Washington’s Blog. First part of the article posted, please visit Washington’s Blog for the whole of this detailed and highly informative article.
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave The Land of the Fleeced and the Home of the Slave
This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.
The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Supreme Court has also interpreted the First Amendment as protecting freedom of association.
However, the government is arresting those speaking out … and violently crushing peaceful assemblies which attempt to petition the government for redress.
A federal judge found that the law allowing indefinite detention of Americans without due process has a “chilling effect” on free speech. And see this and this.
There are also enacted laws allowing the secret service to arrest anyone protesting near the president or other designated folks (that might explain incidents like this).
Mass spying by the NSA violates our freedom of association.
The threat of being labeled a terrorist for exercising our First Amendment rights certainly violates the First Amendment. The government is using laws to crush dissent, and it’s gotten so bad that even U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying that we are descending into tyranny. (And the U.S. is doing the same things that tyrannical governments have done for 5,000 years to crush dissent.)
For example, the following actions may get an American citizen living on U.S. soil labeled as a “suspected terrorist” today:
- Taking any steps to protect your privacy (and see this)
- Complaining about the taste of your tap water
- Being young (if you live near a battle zone, you are fair game; and see this)
- Reporting or doing journalism (and here and here)
- Having “strange odors” or “bright colored stains on clothes” (what if you eat mustard or ketchup?)
- Protesting anything (such as participating in the “Occupy” or “Tea Party” movements). For example, Department of Defense training manuals classify all protest as “low-level terrorism”. And see this, this, this and this
- Questioning war (even though war reduces our national security; and see this)
- Criticizing the government’s targeting of innocent civilians with drones (although killing innocent civilians with drones is one of the main things which increases terrorism. And see this)
- Stocking up on more than 7 days of food (even though all Mormons are taught to stockpile food, and most Hawaiians store up on extra food)
- (Not having a Facebook account may soon be added)
And holding the following beliefs may also be considered grounds for suspected terrorism:
- Liking the Founding Fathers
- Being a Christian
- Being “anti-nuclear”
- Being “anti-abortion”
- Being “anti-Catholic”
- Being “anti-global”
And see this. (Of course, Muslims are more or less subject to a separate system of justice in America.)
And 1st Amendment rights are especially chilled when power has become so concentrated that the same agency which spies on all Americans also decides who should be assassinated.
Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Increasingly, Americans are being arrested and charged with bogus “contempt of cop” charges such as “disrupting the peace” or “resisting arrest” for daring to film police officers engaged in harassment or abusive practices. Journalists are being prosecuted for reporting on whistleblowers. States are passing legislation to muzzle reporting on cruel and abusive corporate practices. Religious ministries are being fined for attempting to feed and house the homeless. Protesters are being tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and forced into “free speech zones.” And under the guise of “government speech,” the courts have reasoned that the government can discriminate freely against any First Amendment activity that takes place within a government forum.