Happy Thanksgiving!

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Bill of Rights

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Part 9:

Amendment I

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.

Did you ever wonder why the “Occupy Movement” was neither sanctioned, nor jailed (i.e., though they may have been arrested, they were released by the Judge with the charges being dropped not at the behest of the District Attorney, either) it was because it is our fundamental right and liberty to exercise.  Especially, when done on-the-fly and without any preplanning as if it were by a corporate mindset. 

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The right of assembly was first tested by the Supreme Court in 1876, in United States v. Cruikshank. The defendants in the case had been indicted under the Enforcement Act of 1870, which prohibited any act to “intimidate any other person from freely exercising and enjoying any right or privilege granted or secured by the Constitution of the United States”.  While the indictment could not be upheld, the court declared, “’The right of the people peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of grievances, or for anything else connected with the powers or the duties of the National Government, is an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under the protection of, and guaranteed by, the United States. The very idea of a government, republican in form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for a redress of grievances.” (United States v. Cruikshank, 1876) [1]

In the precedent setting 1937 Supreme Court case De Jonge v. State of Oregon, Dirk De Jonge had been convicted for teaching communist doctrine to a gathering of 300 people .The Court reversed his conviction, observing that “the right to peaceable assembly is a right cognate to those of free speech and free press and is equally fundamental.”  In other words, said the court, you can’t deny the the right to assemble “ without violating those fundamental principles which lie at the base of all civil and political institutions.” More profoundly, the court ruled that “the holding of meetings for peaceable political action cannot be proscribed.””[2]

“Peaceable” remains the operative word. The First Amendment protects peaceful, not violent, assembly, although there must be a “clear and present danger” or an “imminent incitement of lawlessness” in order for government to restrict assembly rights.  Generally, though, the Supreme Court maintains that it is imperative to protect the right to peaceful assembly, even for those with whose speech many may disagree, such as Ku Klux Klan (KKK) gatherings, which many perceive as hateful, ruling (in National Socialist Party v. Skokie, 1977) that “it is better to allow those who preach racial hatred to expend their venom in rhetoric rather than to be panicked into embarking on the dangerous course of permitting the government to decide what its citizens may say and hear.” [3]

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The rights of Free Speech and Assembly are protected rights and liberties we all possess; however, they do not protect us from being offended by the purpose the Assembly and Speech being exercised.  The so-called Hate Laws are, in-fact, unconstitutional if you think long and hard on them, because they hinder us from saying what we desire to say and for the “Political Correctness” of the day which forces you to be tolerant of others and permits one side to be intolerant.  In essence, “Political Correctness” forces us to allow intolerance to be practiced and exercised against one group and prevents their exercising their rights, in a peaceable manner, toward the originating group.

You may consider bullying, in a sense, to be similar.  How often have you heard of a child being bullied to the point they couldn’t take it any longer and finally stood up for themselves?  And how many of them were suspended and expelled for none other than “Bullying”?  Seems a bit ironic and ludicrous, but happens much more often than you may think.  I have heard of a few occurrences here in my home area and at least 5 times, or more, nationwide.

People are becoming so fed up with the business-as-usual politicians, which created the vacuum to create the Tea Party movement.  The Tea Party is made up of Conservative Republicans with a Libertarian and Constitutionalist twist, who have found that the Republican Party had left them in spirit, heart, soul and principle.  Myself, I left long ago when I felt they left their roots and instead of standing on principle when they should have, the negotiated (and vise versa.)

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HOW DOES TYRANNY BEGIN?  WHY ARE THERE SO MANY LAWS?

Heroes are men of glory who are so honored because of some heroic deed. People often out of gratitude yield allegiance to them. Honor and allegiance are nice words for power!  Power and allegiance can only be held rightfully by trust as a result of continued character.  When people acting in the name of government violate ethics, they break trust with “WE THE PEOPLE.” The natural result is for “WE THE PEOPLE” to pull back power (honor and allegiance).  The loss of power creates fear for those losing the power. Fearing the loss of power, people acting in the name of government often seek to regain or at least hold their power. Hence, to legitimatize their quest for control, laws and force are often instituted.  Unchecked power is the foundation of tyranny.

See also: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

Works

1.      http://suite101.com/a/understanding-freedom-of-assembly-a66325 “Early Challenges

2.      http://suite101.com/a/understanding-freedom-of-assembly-a66325 “Early History of Freedom of Assembly”

3.      http://suite101.com/a/understanding-freedom-of-assembly-a66325 “Peaceful Assembly Protection for All”

 

Part 8:

Amendment I

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.

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Here is a very telling part of this Amendment, speech and press.  Both are protected, excepting under certain reasons such as yelling fire in a crowded theatre, that I find very reasonable; however, I recently read where a man was arrested and charged with felonies for holding signage protesting the Federal Reserve, I believe on the east coast around Maryland.  (The sign read something to the effect, “GIVE A MAN A GUN AND HE CAN ROB A BANK, GIVE THE MAN A BANK AND HE CAN ROB THE WORLD.”)  One felony count was for Terroristic Threats and the other for Bank Robbery, hmmmmmmmmm?  Another recent problem was a Florida Sheriff being relieved of his duties for letting someone go for possession of a firearm without a permit; the sheriff checked him out and let him go as it should be.  The sheriff’s deputy who started the whole mess was disgruntled because he had several complaints against him and was being investigated.  I just read either today or yesterday that the sheriff was placed back in to his job.  BRAVO!  There are many other incidents where many Police are threatening people with felony arrest for recording them, despite the fact that many courts have struck down such arguments.  The Glick case being won on appeal and was in the words of the Judge that recording public servants is “ancillary to the First Amendment”.

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ANY HOOO…

Take a look at all of the laws that are cropping up, lately.  I believe it was one of the California Senators that brought before the Senate a bill to “clarify” who is and who is not “PRESS”.  Unfortunately, our representation (yes, most of them) do little to nothing to protect your rights, or support & defend the Constitution, that piece of paper they took an oath to do so!  The writing is very simplistic and very straight forward…and very understandable!  To amend people’s rights through Laws is both unconscionable and unconstitutional, but as mentioned sometime ago our rights or the limitation placed on the government are not negotiable. 

Once you speak something, it is spoken; provided you did not slander or libel someone, or cause them specific harm (aside from the fact that it was true) you should be safe, but with the caveat that you are responsible for what your actions.  Once written, it is considered press and it should not matter that you are not a member of a specific news agency…once written, it is written, same rules should apply to speech should apply here.  With blogging being as in your face as it is, it seems to be the new generation of information.  And at times more up to date and fact specific than the lame-street-media!  The media, or Press (using rather loosely), have pretty much, in my opinion, abdicated their responsibilities and the people are as tired of them as they are of their government.  The people are slowly picking up the gauntlet in order to fight the battle of the Press with useful information, instead of political rhetoric, tripe, and propaganda.

Each of us needs to protect the Constitution, what it stands for, and the Bill of Rights (or Limitations on Government), God knows that it will not protect themselves!  And some of these lawyers and judges should just be activists outside of their profession NOT in the Courtrooms of America!

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See also:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Bill of Rights