Author Archives: TartanRES

“It’s my right, and I need it NOW!”


Constitution for Idiots #10

by Gary McCoy
Writer for the Global Exclaimer
 

I know, I know, you have all been waiting so patiently for me to finish up the Bill of Rights and I have been SEVERLY waning in my duties. Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

With all that has been going on with our debt crisis, growing government, and a general woe over the entire world at this point; it seems that the more laws that are passed the fewer rights we are afforded. Strange because this little amendment here seems to say that just because a right is spelled out in the Bill of Rights for the people does not mean that this is ALL the rights the person has. Hmmmmmmmm. Really. I think this bit of wisdom is overlooked way too easily.

Using this amendment as our guide, what would a world look like that did not have this wisdom entered in the Bill of Rights. Well for one a government (state or Federal) would be able to argue that since it was not spelled out in 1-8 then the Constitution obviously deems that the government has the right to censure  the act of the individual. This of course would give government much more power than it already has, being that an argument for anything socially or technologically new would most likely fall outside the scope of the Constitution. It would also, therefore, negate the purpose of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights by limiting the effectiveness of the sovereignty of the individual.

This amendment has been argued for everything from stream diversions Barron v. Baltimore 1833 to Abortion Roe v.Wade 1973 . While you may not agree with the decisions in either case you do have to admit that just because the forefathers didn’t dream of these issues doesn’t mean that the government or judicial has the RIGHT to take away rights of EITHER party based solely on the fact that it is not enumerated.

Likewise we need to start evoking  this under used and under appreciated amendment in our current political climate. We keep hearing the 14th the 14th out there as a reason why the gooberment has the right to do whatever it wants, well how about we argue back the 9th? This is a handy amendment in many cases. I would like to start seeing signs that say I plead the 9th for a while. We need to explain to our law makers that just because they can not find anything said about an issue doesn’t mean it is their job or duty to squash and kill the idea. It may just be our RIGHT after all!

Advertisements

Weiner’s Weiner


 
Written by Gary McCoy
Writer for The Global Exclaimer
 
 

With Weinergate in full view, I found myself pondering an interesting thought. In this day and age of technology and the virtual world more prevalent than ever, do the same socialistic stigmas of  who is and is not promiscuous still apply?

What made me question this is the young lady that Anthony Weiner was “sexting”. She said in an interview that she had several different virtual lovers out there. She had never met any of them personally and had never actually had the act of sex with any of them. I heard one commentator call her a “lady of the evening” (the other bad word) and thought to myself, “SELF, is she really a S***? After all, the traditional view of the town whore is not new and usually reserved for someone who sleeps with others in lust rather than be in a committed relationship. Say a Hester Prynne.

Can you even have a relationship with someone in the virtual world rather than the physical world? We hear of people who have never met other than online and fall in love. So by that same string of theory, someone who has multiple “partners” online could be considered promiscuous.

Then I started thinking about all the people I know on different forums and blogs and how I would regard them as friends and I really don’t know anything about them other than a screen name. It is very strange that in many aspects we do not have to actually physically know a person to feel a bond to them. So if we can have relationships with others with no physical contact or visual point of reference would 2 consensual adults “sexting” be considered another form of a literal sex act?

As we progress with technology I think we are going to have to define what is and is not considered a relationship, cheating, love, lust, and a gambit of other feelings that we have in the physical world.

Yes Sir may I have another?!?


Constitution for Idiots #9

By Gary McCoy
Writer The Global Exclaimer

I want to apologize in advance for the shortness of this post on my analysis of the amendments but:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

UM DUH… Well I don’t want to be too short so let’s discuss this some more. *In all fairness I have done a little bit of why the framers would have wanted this in our Constitution*.  It seems that previous kings in England had a nasty reputation of taking people arrested and convicted, forcing them to pay incredibly inappropriate sums of money or land, and also subjecting them to humiliating and often horrible torture. I guess that too would make me think twice about rights I would have should I be imprisoned.

“Uh oh, 15 minutes till Judge Wapner “


Constitution for Idiots # 8

 
By Gary McCoy
Writer for The Global Exclaimer
 

Up until this point we have been talking about the really bad people and their rights in court. Now it is time to discuss the civil or not so civil courts. Ratified in 1791 the 7thAmendment reads:

“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 re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.”

“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved…” I know you have all seen an episode of Judge Judy, or the Peoples Court, or even JUDGE JOE BROWN (yes I know I am yelling but JUDGE JOE BROWN is just that awesome). Now of course during these shows there is no jury but clearly these fine citizens have waived their right to have a trial by jury. I imagine that during the time the framers were discussing this amendment, twenty dollars was a good sum of money and may have been considered claims on land or livestock. Today of course this would apply to just about anything and anyone.  Currently it seems that most courts consider Small Claims anything under $7,500 and would be for people with no need of an attorney. HOWEVER, if you do have a claim against another that does not involve a criminal act for say a car that was borrowed and wrecked, or back rents if you are landlord, or even a tree that fell on your car from your neighbor’s house, you would be allowed to have a jury hear the case and decide monitory rewards.

“…and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.” So let’s say that you were watching a friends dog. And the dog ate the trash and had to go to the emergency room. you were being a good friend and paid for the surgery but your friend decided not to pay you back. You go to court, have your trial by jury, the jury says that you deserve the money back and awards you the funds. If your friend was able to take you back continually to other courts in the hopes that they find some sympathetic jury that will not make them pay; that would be BAD! So I say to the Framers, good job… GOOD JOB.

P.S. if you do watch any of those court shows, Shame on you and get back to work!

“¡Andale! ¡Andale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Yii-hah!”


 
By Gary McCoy
Writer for The Global Exclaimer

Constitution for Idiots 7

So let’s say you have been arrested for pulling a Bernie Madoff and you are sitting there in the Pokey. If you are not a fan of being locked up indefinitely without a trial Amendment 6 is the amendment for you!

“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.”

A speedy trial is very important for many reasons but let’s talk about the first section. “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…” This speedy trial allows every citizen of the United States of America to NOT be held indefinitely while allowing the accuser to have unlimited time to be able to build (read manufacture) a case. With the presumption of innocence our legal system is founded around allowing each accused to be quickly tried should not be taken for granted. Let’s say your home was being broken into and you shot and killed the intruder. Let’s also say that everything you did was correct and legal and you were defending your property or person. The police will most likely handcuff you and take you to the local station. Now put in place a District Attorney that had a problem with gun ownership. Without a speedy trial you could be held indefinitely while the DA “built the case”. This would have the effect of incarcerating you without due process of law.

It is likewise important to make sure you are tried in the location that you are accused to ensure you have the most sympathetic jury. Using the same scenario if you were accused in Texas where there is a safe castle law (a law allowing you to defend your property) and you were tried in a state that had a mandatory flee clause, meaning you must flee if you can, then the jury would be constrained by the laws of that state. This also would mean that every state eventually would have to have the exact same laws in order to be fair thus destroying the sovereignty of the states.

“…to be confronted with the witnesses against him…” How fair would it be to be accused of a crime only to find out that you cannot find out who the accuser is? If you have ever been accused of something and the authority discussing the infraction would not tell you who the accuser was, you would understand why this is so important. By preventing your access to knowledge of who the accuser is, the prosecuting authority has an advantage. It could be, for example, that you could easily discredit the witness

“…to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor…” The key word in this section is COMPULSORY. Let’s change up the story a bit. That same person that broke into your house told his brother he was going to commit the crime. If you were unable to force that brother, by law, to testify do you think that they would? Making sure you are able to help your case with testimonies of individuals that would not willingly help your case, seems prudent to me.

“…and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” Abraham Lincoln said it best, “A man who represents himself truly has a fool for a client”. That being said if you did not have the right to an attorney to help in your defense, you would be a fool by default. In all seriousness, the law is complicated and the right to an attorney to help you through the pitfalls is a necessity. If you needed surgery you wouldn’t do the surgery yourself or hire a non-surgeon to do the work would you? You do notice that this amendment does not say that you are required to have an attorney but that you have the right to the assistance of one. Again the right to choose your course seems to be the underlying reason for the amendment.

Many of the amendments in the Bill of Rights deal with the individual having the right to govern themselves and to choose a path that fits them. Likewise they also allow a free person liberty from false accusations and incarceration. Be glad that the framers really thought this through. This country would be a totally different place without this amendment.

“YOU can’t HANDLE the truth”


Constitution for Idiots 6

Written by Gary McCoy
Global Exclaimer Writer


In our study of the Bill of Rights we have now come to the 5th amendment which most people know but I would venture to say that not many understand. We have all heard “I plead the 5th” on our Law and Order marathon but what does that really mean? The amendment itself says:

“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.”

“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…” So if we as citizens are arrested on suspicion of a capital crime, say murder of a police officer, the courts could not convict us without having a Grand Jury indict us. According to Webster’s Dictionary a Grand Jury is: a jury that examines accusations against persons charged with crime and if the evidence warrants makes formal charges on which the accused persons are later tried. In all of our discussions thus far, the Framers of the Constitution were very concerned with the right of the individual to have the least amount of government interference in their lives. I think this is no exception.
Let’s take a case study of sorts about this very topic. In 1692 before this was ratified there was a little town in Massachusetts where many people were accused of being witches and consorting with the Devil. There was no real proof but the local government saw fit to try, convict, and execute those people without the benefit of a Grand Jury. You might say “Well there was no such thing as a Grand Jury back then”, BUT the earliest recorded use of the term and application of a Grand Jury was in Ireland in 1166 when a royal justice would travel the kingdom and a group of men were appointed to tell that justice all the crimes that were committed in that area since the last time the justice had been through. As you can see, the use of a Grand Jury to help decide if the burden of proof was met for a specific crime is truly important to the sovereignty of the individual. This of course did not apply in times of war when the accused was acting in the military or in a militia. That portion was later regulated to military tribunals *more on that another time*.

“… nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…” If you are a Judd’s fan as I am, surely you have seen the Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd movie Double Jeopardy. In the story a woman was accused of killing her husband and ultimately convicted. While in jail she finds out that her husband was in fact alive and framed her for the crime. She then hatches a plan to actually kill her husband for the betrayal and because she has already been convicted of the crime would not have to go back to jail. Justice Served. While this story is a bit far fetched, an individual is not able to be tried for the same crime multiple times.

“… nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…” NOW we have come to the part everyone has heard before. “Your honor I plead the Fifth”. Simply put you cannot be forced to testify against yourself. You may be asking how this is really important but using history as our guide, what would have happened if this rule was enacted in 1480 during the Spanish Inquisition? Well there wouldn’t have been people tortured in order to have them confess for one. If you were coerced into saying you were guilty it would have been UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Military courts have different rules and the Constitution does not apply to enemy combatants (hopefully squashing the impending arguments). Likewise if we did not have this today we may have been subjected to all manner of torture to obtain a confession.

“…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” What would possibly be worse than “the MAN” coming to your house and taking your stuff and then throwing you in jail without so much as a thank you. Much less a trial. Enough said!

“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” While the most obvious use of this portion of the amendment is Eminent Domain I would like to discuss another application of this law and the negative impact that it produces. Financial private property can also be seized through regulation and not physically removed from the possession of the individual. Um What?!?! Well let’s say the government decides that we need a new railway. The railway will help bring jobs and economic growth to an area. The courts say that they can use eminent domain to seize the front 5000 feet of farmer A’s property to put the line. They pay “fair” compensation to farmer A for relieving him of his property however Farmer B’s house is 200 feet from where the line is going in. Now the government did not take any of Farmer B’s land for this project but the value of his farm and house are severely impacted by this development. That is also considered private property taken. Every state seems to have a different view of this devaluation however most agree that if the value of the property is negatively impacted beyond a certain percent, the government is then liable to pay said owner for the difference of the negative impact and the value before the land seizure.

This amendment is truly important to ensuring person, property, and liberty are maintained. Take this amendment and truly look at the implications if it did not exist. I am sure you can agree that we would live in a MUCH different world had the framers not put this amendment in our Bill of Rights.

“OH and you can put your weed in there” (SNL Skit)


Constitution for Idiots #5

 
By Gary McCoy
Writer for the Global Exclaimer

 

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.”
In searching on why this would have been written in the time of the founders I found that many generals in the British Military were authorized to enter private citizen’s property and “confiscate” (read steal) any artifacts they wished in the name of “law”. I am sure the founders wanted to make sure that this could not happen in the future HOWEVER until 1914 this action was not really enforced per se. It was in Weeks v. the United States Government that the Supreme Court came up with the Exclusionary Rule stating that any evidence gathered by Unconstitutional means was not able to be used in favor of the prosecution. Enough of the history lesson, let’s talk about the meaning of this inalienable right.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” Of course we are talking about anyone being able to come and search your PERSONAL PROPERTY just because they want to. This is extremely important to ensure the rights of people to even have personal property, including but not limited to: guns, money, land, deeds, photos, information, etc. Even though other amendments would have guaranteed certain rights this gives the way for the people to object if one of these rights is in fact infringed on.

Then, in order to not limit just or proper searches and seizures on the part of authorities, our wise founders added a conditional statement thus, “…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.” This allowed the police or law enforcement to have a way to search but still be held accountable to the Constitution.

It occurs to me that once again the framers were acutely aware that the freedoms of law-abiding and sovereign citizens could easily be destroyed if their rights were not spelled out specifically. It also seems that they wanted us to know with unwavering certainty what Tyranny would actually look like. If you look at the reverse of any of these amendments, you get a clear picture of oppressive and truly evil leaderships.  But I digress, truly the right of a person to protect their property from being searched and seized, and the right of law enforcement to legally and responsibly build a case, does create the yin and yang effect, also reinforcing that doing the right thing will protect your rights.

So evil do’ers beware, you can in fact be searched and a case can be brought on you for doing your nefarious deeds. There just has to be procedures and best practices on the part of law enforcement. BUT if you are law-abiding citizen you have nothing to fear from your law enforcement professionals.