Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Putting Down the Dog

A “malum in se” is something that is inherently evil, in and of itself. It’s wrong no matter who does it or why. Assault, rape, robbery, kidnapping and murder are all “malum in se.”  These  examples of malignant  aggression are wrongs because they do great harm, even irreparable harm to some innocent person(s).
A “malum prohibitum” is something that’s wrong because we SAY it’s wrong. Things like not wearing your seatbelt, smoking marijuana, jaywalking --- these are not inherently evil acts. They harm no one. They are wrong because we SAY they are wrong – sometimes we say so arbitrarily and capriciously. Sometimes we say so maliciously.
Where we run into serious trouble is when we confuse these two categories of “offenses.”  When you treat a “malum prohibitum” like a “malum in se,”   you’re reacting to conduct that harms NO ONE, as if it were conduct that were inherently harmful to someone,  treating jaywalking, or marijuana-smoking AS IF it were MURDER..
When you treat a “malum in se” like a “malum prohibitum,” you’re treating conduct that is inherently harmful to someone as if it did no harm at all to anyone; you’re treating MURDER as if it were jaywalking.
This is our current state of affairs.

Police officers nationwide  commit “malum in se” against persons who have committed a “malum prohibitum,” and in too many cases that “malum prohibitum” isn’t even an illegal act, but merely something the officer doesn’t like.  It’s only “wrong” because the officer SAYS it’s wrong. This is the very definition of “arbitrary and capricious.” Perhaps it’s “wrong” only because he or she is in a bad mood, or abuses steroids. Maybe it’s “wrong”  because he just doesn’t like you  -- you’re black, or brown or red or yellow, or you are weak, disabled, elderly, poor, homeless, mentally ill, or a child. Perhaps the “wrong”you fail to show sufficient deference to satisfy the officer’s inflated ego.
In response to the “malum prohibitum” --- whether real or imagined --- the officer then inflicts one or more “malum in se” on his the “transgressor.”  If you jaywalk, smoke marijuana, or fail to wear your seatbelt, the officer may assault you, rob you, rape you, kidnap you, and/or murder you.
And when  the officer commits these “malum in se,” the prosecutors and judges treat the officer AS IF the “malum in se” were merely “malum prohibitum.”  They treat MURDER as if it were merely jaywalking.  Indeed, the courts commonly give police officers less punishment  -- if ANY --for a “malum in se” than a non-police office receives for a petty “malum prohibitum.”
This is not justice. It is the antithesis of justice.
It’s a situation that is intolerable, and it must be changed immediately.
By whatever means necessary.

                                     For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.

There was a time, not too long ago, when a Black man dare not look a White man in the eye, or look at a White woman at all., for fear of being lynched.  A Black man had to be mindfully deferent, had to address EVERY White man politely and in hushed tones, and carefully remembering to call him “sir.” No matter what the provocation, no matter what the outrage might be, protest, argue, raise your voice or appear in any other way “uppity,” and you might find yourself, beaten, hanged or burned alive.
Whites were a special class of citizens who had extra rights compared to Blacks.
This is fundamentally the exact situation we all now find ourselves in with regard to police officers, but most especially if we are perceived of by that officer as being physically, socially, economically or politically weak, vulnerable, defenseless: if we are non-white, if were are elderly, or a child, if we are small, female, physically disabled, or mentally ill.  Because police officers are bullies, and bullies are, in their secret hearts, abject cowards, police officers target most those whom they perceive as helpless.   (Only the worst  coward  --- or the biggest liar ---could be armed to the teeth, with a club, pepper spray, taser and pistol, and still claim to be  put “in fear for my life,” by an unarmed person  who is running away  from them.)
Police officers are now a de facto “special class” of citizens with extra rights compared to the rest of us.
The 14th Amendment of the Constitution states, in relevant part: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The “equal protection” clause requires states to provide ALL people under its jurisdiction with EQUAL protection of the laws.  A state may not provide SOME people with more than equal protection than others, or with LESS  than equal protection.
There are  numerous cases of police officers enjoying impunity for conduct which would send the average person to prison. This in effect established police officers as a special class of people, with EXTRA protection of the law, in direct contradiction to the 14th Amendment.
Think not?
Try this simple test:
Shoot someone in the back as they run away from you, then claim “self-defense” in court. See what happens.
For the average person, “self-defense” is an affirmative defense, which means that the burden of proof is on the person claiming self-defense.  You may use a degree of force NECESSARY to protect yourself, and no more.  If someone throws a punch at you, you may punch them in return. But if they go down and are no longer an IMMINENT threat to you, you may not then throw a second punch. The fight is effectively over. That second punch makes YOU the new aggressor.
Generally, you may use lethal force in self defense when you REASONABLY believe that you (or another person you may lawfully protect) is in imminent danger of grave bodily injury or death. One operant term here is “reasonably.” If you are, for whatever reason, deathly afraid of people who wear striped ties, that does not permit you to go around shooting anyone who is wearing a striped tie. Being a coward does NOT grant you a license to murder.   If you claim you shot someone because he had a gun and that gun turns out to be a cell phone, it will be YOUR burden to convince us that you REASONABLY mistook that cell phone for a gun. You can shoot some just because they have SOMETHING in their hand. You have to REASONABLY believe it’s a gun AND that they intend you (or someone else) harm with it.
For police officers, however, the burden of proof is reversed. When they commit homicide, they are presumed to have acted in self-defense, just because they say so. It’s up to the victim – or the victims family- to prove otherwise.  Police are held to a different standard than non-police.
Having DIFFERENT laws for different classes of citizens, or different standards of proof  for different classes of citizens is a blatant, prima facie violation of the 14th Amendment.

"Deacons for Defense," the movie.

Black men, by arming themselves and standing together, revealed KKK members for the cowards that they were. More than once the KKK came to burn a cross or bomb a church only to wet their sheets and run for cover when met by armed an determined Deacons for Defense. Cowards can be vicious in gangs, but when the tables are turned, their aggressive faux  “courage” evaporates faster than alcohol on a hot stove. 
There’s a lesson there, I think.  It's a lesson that some of us learned in having to deal with schoolyard bullies. There's only ONE effective way to do that, and you know what it is as well as I do.  It isn't running to tell Teacher. It isn't complaining to the bully's parents. It isn't having the school board pass rules against bullying.  And it certainly isn't reasoning with the bully, or begging and pleading for him to stop taking your lunch money.
You have to stand up to the bully.  
You have to punch the bully squarely in the nose and knock him on his ass. Individually or as a group, you have to make it more painful for the bully to pick on you than to not pick on you. Once the bully takes a good, hard fall, that's usually the end of his reign of terror. 
And not before.

We will never stop police violence by going to court. At BEST we can sue – if we can afford the legal expenses (while the police officer is provided a lawyer at no expense to the officer) – and hope to win a judgment someday.  But that judgment will not be paid by the offending police officer, but by the police department, or the city or town – which means by all the taxpayers living there.  The offending police officer will get a paid vacation and probably not even be fired.
But some debts cannot be paid with money. No amount of money can “compensate” you for the loss of a loved one.  It’s a de-humanizing insult to even entertain the notion.
Some debts can only be paid in blood.

 The police are now the KKK and all the rest of us regular folks are the “uppity negras.”
Unless we want to live in permanent terror, keeping our eyes averted, being cringingly obsequious in word, tone and manner, we might do well to think a lot less Marting Luther King, and a lot more Nat Turner.
Someone recently said to me that that there is no difference between a (violent) police officer and a rabid dog.
I disagree.
Rabies is not the dog’s choice.
I’d feel sad about putting down the dog.

 Liberty & Justice.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Fukiyu Haiku

I dig poetry.
One of my favorites is haiku.
Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. Three lines.  Usually 17 syllables., but that’s not carved in stone. The essential characteristic of haiku is that it juxtaposes two images or ideas in such a way as it cuts,  like a katana through a pile of dried cow patties, right to a zen revelation of truth in the way those two elements are related,
Not a lot of people know it, but my ex-hometown, Chicago, has its own native poetry.
Much like a haiku, it juxtaposes two ideas, or concepts or images, and then offers a terse punch-line, sometimes a single word,  to condense volumes of exposition and description  down to an “essence,” that hits you a truth about the relationship of those two ideas, concepts or images, like a short uppercut to the solar plexus.  It the verse of the underdog, the losers in love, the down-trodden. 
The rich snits?  
They’ve got sonnets and iambic pentameter.
No offense, Will.

Chi-town “haiku” is named for the last line of a famous example:
Lies and greed and bloody deeds
You say love it or leave it.
Fuck you.

Here are a few more examples of Fukiyu poetry.
Election time
Who’s the lesser evil?
Motherfuckery for sale.

Unarmed man shot in the back
Cops claim fear for their lives.

Autopsy, witnesses and videotape.
Cop still skates.
What the fuck?

My squeeze and him.
She says they’re friends.
Dump her.

Some of his best friends are black.
And he never owned slaves.
Sheet’s in the wash.

Black man in the White House.
Nothing changes.
House negro.

The government said so.
They wouldn’t do that.
Seen any Indians around here lately?

Got some Fukiyu you’d like to share?
Lay it on me.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Coincidence Theory

                                     Member of the Warren Commission investigating the JFK murder.

It's Monday. 8:15 P.M.

According to the testimony of more than a dozen eye-witnesses and a security camera, the following events occurred.

1. 8:02PM: Bob, fresh from the pool and wearing just his speedos, enters an empty 4' by 4' closet. The closet has one door. No trap-door, secret panels, suspended ceiling or other possible access.

2. 8:03 P.M.: Joe enters that same closet and closes the door behind him.

3. 8:04 P.M.: There is a loud, though muffled, noise like a "pop" that appears to come from inside the closet. A moment later, Joe exits the closet, leaving the door wide open. Crumpled up on the closet floor is Bob, dead as a doornail. There is a .38 calibre entry wound at the center of the base of his skull that did to his medulla oblongata what the Allies did to Dresden. Lying beside him on the floor is a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver.

OK, Sherlock. Who shot Bob?

                       If you can't trust a cop who wears black fishnet stockings, who can you trust?

The only person in the closet with Bob at the time of his death was Joe.
But no one actually saw Joe shoot Bob because the closet door was closed.
"Bob committed suicide," claims Joe. "It was tragic. The fact that he chose the very moment when I was alone with him to do the deed is just coincidence."

Nobody saw a gun in Bob's possession.
Not much room in Speedos to hide one.
"Well, just because no one saw it," says Joe, "that doesn't prove he didn't have it. Maybe he had it under his arm or something."

The cops test Joe's hands for gunpowder residue. The results are positive.
They test Bob, too. The tests on Bob are negative.

"I was at the pistol range this morning," explains Joe. "And I hadn't washed my hands. Bob happened to pick a day when I was at the range to shoot himself. It's just a coincidence. Besides, those tests aren't 100% foolproof. Something must have gone wrongs with Bob's. The police lab must have messed up the test."

The cops ID the revolver. It's Joe's.
"My gun was stolen sometime after I went to the range. I'd put it in my desk drawer and when it was time to go home it was gone. I guess it was Bob that stole it."

The Medical Examiner does an autopsy and determines the trajectory the bullet took through Bob's skull. It was a somewhat upward angle. The ME also found no contact burns on the wound and concluded that the muzzle of the weapon had been 18-24 inches away at the moment the weapon was discharged. The ME concluded that it would be anatomically impossible for Bob to have shot himself in the back of the head, with the gun at this angle and at this distance.
"But Bob was really into yoga," comments Joe. "He could do all kinds of weird things with his arms and legs. The fact that the nature of the wound suggests that Joe was murdered is just a coincidence."

The cops check around and find that Bob's wife, Honeybunch — using afalse name, wearing a cheap wig and paying in cash — had taken a room at the One-Hour Motel on at least 9 different occasions — occasions when motel staff had also seen Joe in and around the premises. But no one could testify to actually seeing them together.
"Sometimes I just need to get away for a little while," says Wifey. "I get a room, use the sauna, relax. A little peace and quiet. I use the wig and a false name because people would think it an odd thing to do, or jump to all kinds of conclusions."

"I go there to swim in the pool," explains Joe. I could coincidentally have been there some time or another when Bob's wife was there. In fact, I swim a lot, so it was almost inevitable. The lifeguard maybe didn't notice me because there are other people there, too. Some good-looking young women, if you catch my drift. Oh, and sometimes I just used the steam room, which is usually empty at that time."

                                                             Rule number one: Follow the money.

Bob was a very wealthy man. His wife had signed a pre-nuptial agreement that gave her little more than chump change. But it turns out that Honeybunch had recently taken out a life insurance policy on her husband from Acme Insurance, with herself as sole beneficiary. A cool 10 million bucks. The policy has what appears to be Bob's signature -- but it seems "irregular" as if the hand that penned it
were "uncertain."

It also turns out that both she and Joe had gotten new passports and had booked first class seats — one way — on a flight to a Caribbean haven that has no extradition treaty with the United States.
"Really?" exclaims Joe. "What a coincidence! I had no idea that Bob's wife liked the Caribbean. I've been planning this vacation for a long time. I didn't book a return flight because I was thinking of sailing back."

Jay Gumshoe, an investigator for Acme Insurance, was given the case. Acme didn't want to pay out that 10 million. Jay looks it over, goes to see the cops, grabs coffee with the two police detectives who'd caught the case.

                                            How I thought I looked when I was an investigator.

"Here's what I think," Jay tells them. "Joe was having an affair with Bob's wife. We have witnesses putting them at the motel at the same time on many occasions, with her disguising her identity. The lifeguard can't put Joe at the pool. She wanted to leave Bob, but would have gotten zilch after a divorce because of the pre-nup. So she took out that 10 million dollar life insurance policy behind Bob's back — nothing in the files to indicate he knew about it. And the signature's fishy. Joe takes his gun into the closet, shoots Bob and tries to sell it as a suicide. Powder residue on Joe's hands, but not on Bob's plus the angle is all wrong, no contact burns or stippling around the wound. And it's Joe's gun, he claims was stolen by Bob. Joe and Honeybunch got new passports and one-way tickets to an island paradise where US law can't touch them. How about you pick these two up on suspicion of murder?"
"Ok, we'll look into it," says one of the police dicks.
"Thanks. I'll wait to hear from you," replies Jay, gives them his card, and then leaves.

                                        How I probably actually looked when I was an investigator.

After Jay's gone, one of the cops starts shaking his head incredulously.
"Jesus H. Christ," he mutters.
"Yeah," says his partner, crumpling up Jay's card, and tossing it away. "Another freaking conspiracy nut!"


                              Hey, maybe he was just talking about the communists. Yeah, that's it. Communists...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015



I’ve spent a lot of time on the road. Traveled by train, by auto, by boat, by thumb and foot, and a few times, kicking and screaming, by plane. Some of that time was as a wandering troubadour, some of it as an itinerant fencing master, and some of it as a penurious knight-errant. A small but memorable portion of that time I spent utterly lost.

                                                       No band I was in ever looked this clean-cut.

As anyone who’s ever been lost can tell you, you’ll never get to your destination unless you figure out where the hell you are now and how you got there from where you started out. The best thing to do is backtrack as far as you need to go until you find the place where you went wrong, and then get on the right road.  But before you can get on the right road, you have to be able to admit that you’re lost in the first place. Some people can’t seem to do that. Most of them seem to wear testicles. For those readers I hasten to add that I have on several occasions admitted to being lost and I can reassure you that I suffered no discernible diminishment of either penile dimensions or work capacity.
I believe that any rational and reasonably objective analysis of our current situation in the United States would compel one to conclude that we are careening toward hell in a handcart. The hell, in this case, is a brutal, oppressive fascist police state, the technological capabilities of which make Hitler’s Nazi Germany look like a meeting of the Society of Friends. I’ll spare you a litany of tyrannies. The list is not identical to the one offered in the Declaration of Independence, but it is substantially the same.

                                                                     The very handcart we're going to hell in.

When you consider that our stated destination was to be a Republic with government “by the consent of the governed,” a government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” resulting in a country “with liberty and justice for all,” I think it’s reasonable to pause a moment and ask,” What the hell happened?”
As usual, the answer you get will depend on whom you ask.
If you ask a Republican, chances are they tell you that the signpost marking the off-ramp to hell was the election of Barrack Obama to the Presidency. Democrats, on the other hand, exhibiting an extraordinarily crippling case of selective blindness, will backtrack a bit further and identify the wrong turn as the Supreme Court’s effective installment of Republican George W. Bush as President over Democrat Al Gore.
Folks who are a little more savvy might backtrack to Bill Clinton, remembering, as well one should, President Clinton’s responsibility for the Waco (Branch Davidians) Massacre, the fairytale cover-up of the Murrah Building Bombing in Oklahoma, and the resultant AEDRA (Anti-terrorism and Effect Death Penalty Act) of 1996, that laid the precedent groundwork for the passage of Dubya’s  “Patriot Act” of 2001.

                                                                                      They're all in it together.
 A few are astute enough to follow the trail back to George H.W. Bush, the evil CIA mastermind who presided over the hoodwinking of Saddam Hussein, justifying the first Gulf war and other earthly delights, during his two terms in the oval office – three if you include he was effectively President during Ronald Reagan’s second term of office, even though Bush failed in having his boss assassinated.  Some may point to Reagan, himself, while he was briefly lucid, and his busting of the PATCO union as the catalyst of our national descent toward the scent of sulphur.
The rare genius will make it back as far as the Kennedy Assassination in 1963, noting that the subsequent three presidents -- Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford – were all involved eyeball-deep in JFK’s murder and/or cover-up. While I congratulate those who trace the thread of our republic’s demise back to that point, I nevertheless have to beckon, “Go back farther.”
“How much farther?” you might ask.
“Sorry to tell you, “ I might reply, “but you took the wrong turn coming out of your driveway.”
                                    Friendly colonists providing British troops with directions back to Boston.
Once upon a time there were 13 little colonies of England, back in the good old days when all you had to do to get a nice piece of land for yourself was shoot another Indian or two.  To understand where we went wrong, you first have to know what a “federation” is.  According to Webster (the dictionary, not the sitcom), a federation is a union of organizations, or an “organization made by loosely joining together other organizations” for a common purpose. Some examples are: The National Wildlife Federation, the Federation of American Scientists, the International Sailing Federation, the National Federation of Music Clubs, The International Federation of Library Associations, the International Fencing Federation, and it’s closely related organization, the United Federation of Planets.  If there isn’t an International Federation of Federations, there should be.
                                                                    What the hell was our prime directive again?
What is important is that you understand the difference between a federation or a federal government, and a nation or a national government.  They are NOT the same thing. The difference lies in the relationship between the central government and the state governments, and between the central government and the people of the various states.  
With a federal government, each sovereign state retains all powers granted to it by the people of that state, except those powers that the states delegate to the central government in order to further the interests of the people of the various states. With a national government, the central government is the sovereign and holds all powers except those it delegates to the states or allows to the people.  This may be a subtle distinction, but it is, without doubt, a critical one

When our 13 little colonies figured out they could get a big discount at Sam’s Club if they pooled their orders, they formed a club called “The United States of America,” described in a document called “The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.” In this document it clearly asserts that the individual member states maintained their individual sovereignty and all powers except for those powers specifically delegated to the central government of the federation.  “Each state,” they wrote, “retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated."  This document was ratified by all the 13 colonies, after 3½ years of wrangling, in 1781.
The ACPU did NOT create a nation, indivisible or otherwise, or a national government to rule over the states and to which the individual states and the people thereof were to be subservient. To the contrary, the individual states simply recognized that there were some things that they could accomplish better by acting together, than by acting individually, and to that limited extent empowered the central (federal) government to act on their collective behalf.
They wrote, in the ACPU: “The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever."
The ACPU had some shortcomings, principally related to money, and the ability of the central government to carry out the functions assigned to it by the states. In 1787 the Confederation Congress called a convention of state delegates to meet in Philadelphia to re-write the second act. That is, their sole and express purpose was to revise the Articles of Confederation. What happened was similar to getting a crew together to shoot a no-budget 60-second anti-freeze commercial, and ending up with a 20 million dollar, 2-hour long, gay film noir spaghetti western.
It is at this juncture that I think we can identify exactly where we took the wrong fork in the road.
                                                Gratuitous suggestive photo that has nothing to do with the article.

Then, as now, there were two kinds of people in the world: those who want to have power over others, and those who don’t want anyone to have power over them.
Then, as now, there was a small minority of people who were wealthy and therefore powerful. They wanted a nation, not a federation, a nation with a very strong central government, and relatively (power being a zero-sum game) very weak state governments. This minority included the aristocrats, the big land-owners (and therefore the big slave-owners), the major merchants, the lawyers and judges, and, of course, the bankers. They wanted a nation that would be a major player on the world stage. They wanted George Washington to be King. (After all, there’s no more powerful or more centralized government than a monarchy). They wanted to “expand the economy,” i.e., accumulate more riches for themselves. In short, they wanted what greedy, selfish people always have wanted and still want: more.  A couple hundred years later, George W. Bush would refer to these folks as his “base.” Some folks might refer to them as the “1%.”
The overwhelming majority of the residents of the states  -- the 99%, if you please -- were farmers and tradesmen whose ambitions were substantially more modest. They wanted a federation, not a nation, with strong state and local governments and a relatively weak central government,  a central government limited to only certain very specific and narrowly prescribed powers.  These were the folks who had been most heavily taxed, impressed into the army, most brutally oppressed, abused by the King’s soldiers, and never even invited to tea. Some of them eventually threw a tea party of their own. Let’s call these folks the common people, for lack of a bitter term.
Now, cagey as the aristocrats were, they knew perfectly well that most folks did NOT share their dream of a nation of, by and for the rich. Most people wanted a federal government, not a national government. The nationalists knew that they couldn’t very well call themselves nationalists, or they’d be doomed to political failure. So they called themselves “federalists.”   
                                                                                  Nationalists in Federalist clothing.
This named implied, to the average person, that the "federalists" were in favor of  federal  government, ie,  a very loose organization of sovereign member states with a very limited central government. This was exactly the opposite of what the so-called “federalists” actually wanted.
That’s right.
The “Federalists” lied.
From the very beginning.
It was an epic lie of staggering scale and unsurpassed malevolence. It was as if the Rolling Stones had called themselves “The London Symphony Orchestra.”  It was as if the Ku Klux Klan had called itself the “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” It was as if someone had written an extremely draconian piece of legislation to oppress the People and strip them of their constitutionally-protected civil liberties and entitled it the “Patriot Act.”
Now, the folks who actually did favor a very loose organization of sovereign member states with a very limited central government, were caught flat-footed, a day late and sixpence short, and had to play catch-up.  But as we know, action beats re-action. They couldn’t call themselves “Federalists,” which was what they really were, because the name had already been stolen, and everyone knows you can’t have two teams playing in the world series, both of which are called “the New York Yankees.” What’s a poor federalist to do? They decided, if they couldn’t name themselves for what they were for, they would name themselves for what they were against: those guys, the so-called “federalists.”
Arise, Sir Anti-Federalist.
The Federalists included John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton (who, rather than getting a burr under his saddle, was saddled with a Burr). Benjamin Franklin was their starting pitcher. James Madison, alas, became the principal architect of the new draft of the ACPU, which was to become known as the Constitution of the United States.
The Anti-Federalists included John Hancock, Sam Adams, and Patrick Henry, who felt it was a moral imperative to swing at every pitch.

A long train.

In the Declaration on Independence, principal author Thomas Jefferson noted a “long train of abuses and usurpations” by the King of England (their lawful King, by the way). Some of those abuses may sound disturbingly familiar. The list included:
·      He has refused his Assent to Laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
·      He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
·      He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
·      He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the civil power
·      … quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
·      … protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
·      …cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
·      … imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
·      depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury
·      …transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
·      …abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these states
·      He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
·      He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
·      He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

One might think that, after fighting a 5-year war (effectively from 1776 to 1781 although the formal treaty wasn’t signed until 1783) over these (and some other) abuses, the framers of the new government would take great pains to ensure that the new boss wouldn’t wind up being just like the old boss.

And one would be wrong.

There is not one word in the seven articles of the Constitution that specifically addresses any of those abuses or usurpations.

Not one.

That’s where the “anti-federalists” (actually the true federalists, remember?) ride to the rescue. They didn’t trust the Federalists’ (nationalists) assurances of, “Gosh, the government wouldn’t DO that,” and “Oh, don’t worry, that goes without saying.” The nit-picking pests insisted on having it in writing. Then and ONLY then would they give their vital votes in endorsement of the Constitution. 
In the end, they struck a deal: We’ll support the Constitution NOW, but we damn well better have a Bill of Rights before the ink is dry on the parchment.

That’s why we have the “Bill of Rights,” consisting of the first ten amendments (additions to or changes in) of the Constitution. The Federalists had never considered it, had never even mentioned it. And the only reason they agreed to add the Bill of Rights was to get the Anti-Federalists to vote for the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was added by James Madison, largely cutting and pasting from the work of George Mason, from Virginia. It was little-known Mason who was the actual godfather of our civil liberties.

With a Bill of Rights in place, we should have lived happily ever after.
But we didn't. 
Why not?

I think the Federalists were lying again.

I think the Federalists saw the inclusion of the Bill of Rights as a scam, something to placate the Anti-federalists, but never to be taken very seriously by the Federalists, who assumed that they would be the ones in power, and once in power could twist legalese around when necessary in order to circumvent the spirit, if not the actual letter of the law. After all, they were the lawyers. They were the judges. And they had the resources to get their way.

And that’s still the news.

Ever since 1791, it’s been a running battle between those greedy psychopaths who love power – the “Federalists,” the “Conservatives,” or whatever name the 1% currently call themselves – and those who love freedom.  Caught in the middle are the 90% who will bend whatever way the wind is blowing, going along to get along.
And ever since 1791, there has been a more or less steady erosion of the Bill of Rights. Oh, yes, we've had a bright moment now and then. But it's possible to win an occasional  skirmish, and still lose the war.

And so we seem to have done.

                                                  TSA  gropes child at airport. Hey, she could be a terrorist...

There seem to a lot of people, a lot of basically good and decent people, who believe that the US has just recently lost it’s way and we’ve got to “get back” to that supposed golden age when we stood by our “traditional values.”

Trouble is, there never was such a time.

But that’s not to say there couldn’t be one. 
Personally, I’d love to see it.  To get there, though, I think we’re going to have to backtrack to where we took a wrong turn and admit we took one.

As the saying goes, “No matter how far you go down the wrong road, turn the hell around.”

Liberty & Justice,