As we grill up some burgers, ribs or chicken, downing that proverbial six pack in remembrance of those who have given their lives for our Republic, perhaps we should take stock of what our alleged Republic has become.
Do we have a free country in any meaningful fashion?
Our forefathers primarily went to war with Britain over two issues: Taxation Without Representation and Writs of Assistance. While we're at it we'll add Equal Protection Under The Law.
The former everyone understands: The extraction of taxes from the people without any right to direct where the funds go.
How are we doing today?
Some half of the population pays no Federal Tax. They receive funds, net-net. Since it is now quite possible to "vote for a living", that's exactly what has happened. But this means that for each and every person who pays taxes on net, you no longer have representation.
How about the latter?
Well, we have the following:
- Searches on I-40 in Tennessee; these have been clearly identified (and admitted!) through media investigation to be effectively stopping drivers for profit. Where's the probable cause to search a traffic stop's vehicle for money and then declare it "drug proceeds" simply due to which direction the vehicle is traveling on I-40? In this case the police aren't even bothering with the formality of getting the Writ of Assistance - they're simply stealing the funds.
- Kicking down doors in Kentucky. Yes, the cops were chasing a person who allegedly sold crack cocaine. But we're then supposed to believe that seconds after this person ran into one of two apartments - being actively chased by the police - the suspect lit up a joint? (The rationale for the cops kicking down the door was that they smelled marijuana, and upon knocking heard "movement" and believed the occupants might be "destroying evidence.") That conviction was upheld in the United States Supreme Court - even though the person they were looking for wasn't in the apartment.
- Arresting a man for refusing entry to his apartment when no evidence of a crime was present and no probable cause existed. When the cops barged in anyway, he used only the amount of force necessary to prevent the unlawful entry. This event not only was upheld as "lawful" but the State Supreme Court (Indiana) ruled that you have no right to resist an unlawful entry as you can appeal to the courts. How well does that work when you've been shot dead during that unlawful entry?
- Think people being shot dead - some entirely innocent - doesn't happen? Oh really eh? Talk to the dead young girl in Detroit. Or to the dead former servicemember in Arizona. Or the deaf woodcarver in Seattle. Or the hundreds of others. In some cases was the person being sought inside? Yes. Was in some cases the person guilty of an offense? Yes. In how many cases have the circumstances justified summary execution? More to the point, in how many of these cases was this sort of violent entry justified? There's only one good excuse for that: If the person being sought has taken hostages. Otherwise good old-fashioned police work dictates that it's far more likely for the police to effectuate their lawful arrest by waiting for the subject to depart his residence and arrest him outside (where he's alone, cannot barricade himself, and cannot easily be in possession of anything more powerful than a handgun - which he has to be carrying concealed.) The use of military tactics must be reserved for those cases where imminent harm to innocent people is likely to occur. (If you think the suspect is going to flush evidence shut off the water to his house!)
- The Patriot Act. 4th Amendment? Where? And more to the point, show me where it's necessary. You can do that by documenting how it would have stopped 9/11 when we had every ability to do so as the hijackers were reported to the FBI in plenty of time to prevent the attack. Government malfeasance and misfeasance is neverjustification for new laws. Ever. Malfeasance and misfeasance must result in firings, not new legislation. Never mind that un-uniformed non-citizen combatants have no "Constitutional Rights" to abridge as the International Laws of War allow you to shoot such a person when caught as a spy. If there's actual evidence of criminal wrongdoing such as plotting an actual terrorist attack what's the problem with getting an ordinary warrant for your activities as a law enforcement agency?
- The increasingly secretive - and militarized - police forces. Throughout the land there are initiatives being pushed to prevent you, the average citizen, from video or audio-taping your encounters with law enforcement. Why? This, at the same time that we are treated to literal cameras on every corner, cameras in every cop car (scanning license plates in real-time in many cases!) and more. What's wrong with a nice, robust right of review of the acts of our "law enforcement" community? Exactly how many dogs have we seen video evidence of being shot execution-style when they have displayed no aggressive behavior at all? Or how about the known fact that police can and do lie to cover up their own acts of malfeasance? This is not a bald assertion; The Federal Government has in fact argued that it has the right to lie in sworn proceedings before the courts! (Islamic Sura Council .v. FBI) In that case the government's declared right to lie was rebuked - but no punishment was meted out, nor has it been in other, similar cases.
As for Equal Protection, may I ask where? Many forms of "special status" are in fact ensconced within the law. Others are notable by their absence. For example:
- It is "more illegal" to assault (or worse) a police officer, a federal official, or certain minorities than it is other people. Predicated on..... exactly what? If we have equal protection under the law, why is it more of an offense to assault someone if they're black than white, a cop than an office janitor? Either the offense is worthy of punishment or it is not. Equal protection means what it says.
- Congress can (and does) trade on inside information. I have often written on this topic. But if you do the same thing, you go to prison. It must be nice to know what the outcome will be of some Congressional action and trade in the markets on that information entirely legally and yet if you're a common person and get inside information and trade on it you go to prison. Being a Congressperson isn't just about making laws. It's also about personally profiting from the laws you make. Isn't that effectively identical to what "Kings" and "Barons" were all about?
- It's illegal to rob someone through deception and you can go to prison for many years. How is it that the words "stable prices", which are defined as the Federal Reserve's mandate, are turned into "2% inflation" which serially robs you of half of your wealth within a working man's life and yet nobody goes to prison for doing it? Just as damning, the FDIC's "Prompt Corrective Action" law contains so many "shalls" that it's difficult to count them, all of which (if complied with) prevent any depositor fund losses. Yet we have seen dozens of bank failures and in virtually every case PCA was ignored - with no punishment - and the losses have run to the billions. You'd go to prison for that sort of intentional malfeasance. Have government officials even lost their jobs, say much less faced indictment? Nope.
So as we say "Thank you" to those patriots, past and present, who have risked all, and those who have given all for our way of life in America, let us at the same time consider what it is that we have left of the founders' principles - and whether we, as a body politic and members of the armed forces, will sit for these willful and intentional acts of destruction of our Constitution, or whether we will instead use that time before the grill and while performing our 12oz curls to formulate peaceful yet forceful insistence that these, and other, violations of that Constitution be remedied.