Sunday, July 10, 2016

That Same Old Song

     When I was just a kid, struggling to wrap my mind and my fingers around the I-IV-V blues progression, I had occasion, one Saturday night, to listen to a real master of the form. I forget where that was. Some club in Old Town, maybe.

     They called him something like “Delta Slim Johnson,” but his given name was Otis. He was scarecrow lean, with a craggy face and permanently bloodshot eyes. Kept his kinky grey hair clipped close to the skull, and a pencil-thin mustache lay along his upper lip like an indolent snake taking in some sun. Had more gold in his teeth than they had at Fort Knox. Smoked Lucky Strikes, like me, so he had to be a man.
     With a bottle on his little finger, he did some fine sliding solos, tuned to E major. His fingers were gnarly and crooked, like a bare-knuckle boxer’s. Hard work hands.
     Though he drank his share of Jack Daniels, you couldn’t tell from his voice. He had a deep baritone that made Darth Vader seem like a squeaky soprano, and mournful lyrics flowed from his throat like an Ole Man River of honey, but with the urgency of an escaped slave running from the bloodhounds.
     Yeah, daddy-o, he could play him some blues. 
     Too Much Bourbon Blues. 
     Copulatin’ Blues. 
     Knife-fightin’ Blues. 
     Baby Lef’ Me Blues. 
     Dirt Poor Blues.   
     Miss My Momma Blues. 
     Wanna Go Home But Ain’t Got None Blues. 
     Lynched My Daddy Blues. 
     Old Dog Blues.

     I sat at a table in that cramped club, sat so close I could have barred chords for him, so close that his pain made my gut tremble like a tuning fork.  He couldn’t avoid noticing me. Partly because I was right up front, partly because I stuck out like a dildo on a tree trunk.  Every other face in the crowd was Black.
     Not like me.
     Now, my old man was half Indian, and if we have to pick sides for a ball game, that's the team I’m batting for.  I’ve got some of the features – the eyes, the cheekbones, the attitude. But I could pass for White. Most people look at me, they don’t think “Native American.” They think Italian. Spanish. Greek. I’m kind of a reverse apple: I’m White on the outside, but I’m Red as I can be on the inside.

     I approached him between sets.
     “I really dig your music,” I said, and asked if I could buy him a drink.
     Later, we had a conversation, sipping bourbon, chain-smoking Lucky’s. “Conversation” is charitable. He talked; I listened.
     He hailed from Mississippi.
     As a child, his father had taught him, not only how to play the guitar, but  how to survive, being Black in a White Man’s World, made him memorize the rules like Bible verses or multiplication tables, so he’d never forget. 
     You forget, you die:
Never look any White man in the eye. Keep your gaze down, boy.
Never raise your voice to a White man.
Never contradict anything a White man says. Don’t even question anything he says.
Never make any sudden moves.
Always smile, be polite. Call every White man “Sir.” Call every White woman “Ma’am.”  If it’s the poeleece, call ‘em “Boss.” They likes that.
Whatever a White man or woman asks you to do, you do it.
The White Man is always right, even when he’s wrong ---especially when he’s wrong.
The White man is always tellin’ the truth, even when he’s lyin’ – especially when he’s lyin.’
Nobody’s gonna take your word over a White Man’s word on anything.
Might makes right and White makes right and the White Man’s got both.
Don’t give a White Man a reason to come at you. They don’t needs one. They can make one up if they’re in a mood to do it, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it but pray that you don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

     There was more to it.
     But it didn’t get any better.
     Made me want to holler.
     Or puke.
     Or weep.
     Or shoot somebody.

     Now I’m sitting here, decades later, taking a break from playing some blues. And I remember back to that conversation with Delta Slim, who's, by now, certainly playing an extended engagement in that great roadhouse in the sky.
     See, I just watched a video clip somebody put out on the internet.
     It’s a video advising the public on how citizens should conduct themselves when interacting with the police, so said citizens can avoid being tasered, or shot or beaten to death.
     And it hit me like a short left hook.
     It was the same exact advice that Slim’s daddy had given him.

     If that doesn’t suggest something to you, it sure as hell should.




Friday, July 8, 2016

Good Cop/Dead Cop


     We had it tough, growing up.
     We went from one slum apartment with hot and cold cockroaches to another, like we were in a running gun battle with the rats. We lived in broken down shacks in old shanty town where the wind blew through the walls hindered to the same degree that a wet Kleenex would impede the progress of a .45 bullet. We lived in a car for a while. An old blue Packard.
      I don’t think I ever wore anything that someone else hadn’t worn first.
      Never had access to thing that the good kids had – music lessons, sports, going places and doing things.
      I was physically and emotionally abused. I know all too well what it’s like to be subjected to harsh punishment based on the arbitrary whim of an irrational, emotionally disturbed person who’s making up the rules as he goes along.
      I understand helplessness, and fear and despair.
     And anger.
     I’m good with anger.
     Real good.

     But as bad as things were for me, after all pain I went through, the simple truth is that I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to be Black in the United States.
     Maybe the only people who can are those who survived the Nazi holocaust.       
     Something on that scale.

     There were a lot of Black folks where we lived in the city. I never thought much about it.  I grew up listening to Black music – blues, jazz, “rhythm & blues” which morphed into “rock and roll” when they added bleach. I played in bands with Black musicians.  I dated Black women. Once I taught a karate class at the behest of some friends in the Black Panthers.  The hero of my youth was Muhammad Ali, less for his boxing skill than for his moral courage. I remember watching bewildered as civil rights marchers on TV were set upon by police with clubs, and teargas, and dogs, at which time the word “motherfuckers” entered my repertoire of commonly used terms. It was the only word that seemed to fit.
     Still is.

     So yesterday the cops murdered another Black man for no apparent reason.
     If you’re Black in America, everything you do is a crime and the penalty is at the discretion of the police – who clearly favor summary execution.
     Yeah, sure they murder White people, too.

     Whites are 72% of the population but less than 50% of those killed by police

 Bullies are cowards.
     So they always select as victims those whom they perceive to be available, vulnerable and, above all defenseless. People with no clout. No lawyers in the family and no money to hire one. No connections down at city hall, or the state capitol. Easy pickin’s for a psychopathic predator, a sexual sadist, or a cop – but I’m being redundant there.
    That means the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, the physically disabled, the disenfranchised, children and the elderly, of any race. But at to that “non-white” and your odds of being murdered by a cop skyrocket to the top of the charts faster than a Beatles song in late ‘60’s.

     I don’t know what the hell to do about it.
    Or, actually, I do know, but I don’t like it.
     You know, too, whether you admit it or not.
     It’s ugly, even when absolutely necessary.
     Police officers who commit crimes should be prosecuted. All those mythical “good cops” out there should be leading the charge, demanding that these bastards who betray their oath and disgrace the badge, should be treated like nothing other than the criminals that they are.
     They should be.
     But they’re not.
     When it comes down to it, you have pick a side, you have to choose right or wrong, and there is no Mr. In-Between. To be neutral is to be, de facto, on the side of oppression and injustice. It appears that cops have picked a side. And it's not our side.

     Here’s what I’ve learned from dogs and horses. If you want a behavior to be repeated, you reward that behavior. If you don’t want it to be repeated, you “punish” that behavior. Now, I’m not saying cops are as smart as a good dog or an average horse, but I do think they’re trainable.
     When a cop commits a crime he/she must be held accountable.
     By whatever means necessary.
     When it’s impossible to get justice in the courts, it becomes imperative to get it in the streets.
     Maybe it's time for us to say, in one voice:  "You can be a good cop, or you can be a dead cop. You get to choose. But that's the only choice you get."

     That's a whole lot more choice than they gave their victims.
     So it seems more than fair.

Liberty & Justice


                                            A tutorial on dealing with predators. Any questions?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Dying Declaration


     In a few days, countless Americans will be taking patriotic music and patriotic mythology out of mothballs, the way they take their crazy aunt out of the attic to attend the annual family reunion.    
     There will be a flag flying from every vertical object in the land, as they "oooooo" and "ahhhhh" to the rockets' red glare, that never felt the shrapnel. They will be guzzling booze, stuffing themselves with greasy picnic food until they're puking red, white and blue.

A lot of them won't know what the hell they're supposed to be celebrating. They're just happy to have an extra day off.

     We're supposed to be celebrating "independence," freedom, "liberty and justice for all."
     We might as well be celebrating our virginity: we don't have that anymore, either.

     Somebody once said "Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it."
     I can personally verify that this is true.
     In the 8th grade I failed to study history and I was doomed to repeat it in summer school.
     But apparently, I'm not the only dunce at the dance.

                                                      The new reichskinder?

     Few if any seem to have any inkling of what happened in 1776, any more than they have a clue about what's happening right now.
     If the founders of the United States of America were alive today, they'd be turning over in their graves.
     Or maybe they'd grab that miniature flag you're waving right out of your hand, and SMACK that Star-Spangled Banner right out of your mouth.

The Declaration of Independence was ratified on July 4, 1776 – after the colonies had been at war with the kingdom of Great Britain for over a year (since Lexington-Concord April 1775). Nowhere in the document is the title, “Declaration of Independence.” Thomas Jefferson is considered the principal author.

The Declaration includes an indictment, listing the reasons for seeking independence – describing the King’s mistreatment of the colonials as “a long train of abuses and usurpations.” Let’s look at one or the cars on that train, and compare/contrast with our current situation, under the current government. Let the facts be submitted to a candid camera:

1776: He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

2016: There are so many government agencies regulating virtually every aspect of daily life, that it is practically impossible to sniff, scratch or spit without first obtaining permission from some bureaucrat – and paying the required fee, of course. You can’t own a dog, go fishing, drive a car, get married, buy a gun, give a haircut, or install a toilet without getting a license or permit. This is like buying a pencil for $5 -- but you have to pay extra for the lead.

1776: He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
2016: Let’s face it: we no longer have peace officers. 

The police are indistinguishable in weapons, training, tactics and attitude, from soldiers. What we have is, in effect a standing army occupying the country, with or without the consent of our legislatures.

                                                        Those coats should be red.

1776: For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

2016: Quartering meant providing room and board for the occupying army, that is, giving soldiers shelter IN YOUR OWN HOME and feeding them from your table.  You may not have police sleeping in your spare bedroom and joining you for dinner, but you certainly pay for their room and board with your taxes.

      But there’s more to it than that.

     Why did the King want his men put up in the colonists’ homes? Was there no room at the Holiday Inn? Was there no place to bivouac? Were tents that hard to come by? Were the King’s seasoned, professional troops too dainty to make do just camping out?

     The purpose of quartering troops in homes was SURVEILLANCE. 

     The idea was to suppress dissent by have a watchful eye and ear ever-present. Even if the King’s men didn’t catch you doing or saying anything seditious, the chilling effect was just as good, You’d have to be very careful about what you said every moment, even if you weren’t involved in any plots against the Crown.
Today, the standing army doesn’t have to room and board in your home. Modern technology makes things a lot easier for them: they monitor your social media, read your emails, listen to your phone conversations, follow your movements with tracking devices in your car and cell phones, eavesdrop via your computer, your television; observe you by using drones, x-rays, infra-red. 
It’s much more sophisticated than having a spy physically intruding, but it accomplishes the same thing, and for the same reason.

1776: For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

2016: Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Today police officers gun down innocent, unarmed citizens, shooting them in the back, shooting them multiple times -- enough times that it clearly evinces an intent to kill – and virtually NEVER stand trial for murder.

                                                Redcoats "in fear for their lives."

     The police always claim they acted “in fear for their lives” even when their victim is a frail old woman in a wheel chair, or a pre-teen girl.
     For a citizen, the claim of “self-defense” is an affirmative defense. That is, the burden of proof is on the person claiming self-defense. The default assumption is murder unless you can prove that you REASONABLY feared an imminent threat of grave bodily injury or death.
     But for police, it’s just the opposite. They alone enjoy a presumption of justification unless proved otherwise. And even with a dozen witnesses and videos that contradict the police officer’s story, it is only rarely proved otherwise. On those exceedingly rare occasions when an officer IS convicted of a crime, the penalty is a tiny fraction of that which a citizen would receive for the same offense.

                     Police Officer "in fear for his life," shoots unarmed, fleeing citizen in the back.

     Police beat elderly citizens for jaywalking. They taser children for being unruly in school. They rape. They torture. They shoot people’s dogs on a whim. They strip search, body cavity search with NO evidence that the citizen has committed any crime whatsoever. They will brutalize a citizen on any pretext, and they will do it with obvious malice aforethought, and depraved lack of remorse afterward.
     And for all these assaults, rapes, and murders the prosecutors and judges conspire with the police to ensure that the police are protected from punishment by a mock trial.

No charges for this cop, either. 

     The more things change, the more they stay the same, the French say.

     The colonists tried reason, persuasion and protest.
     They didn’t want to go to war if they didn’t have to.
     But they had to.
     Because when it becomes impossible to get justice by legal means, then it becomes imperative to get it by extra-legal means. 
     By whatever means necessary.
     That’s something the founders understood.

     And it’s high time we remembered it.

              Colonists at Lexington providing British troops with a tutorial on liberty.

Liberty & Justice,



Thursday, June 2, 2016

ALL Lives Matter, Gracie?

     So you’ve got someplace with severe drought conditions, see?  Crops are drying up, in the fields, and kids are dying from dehydration. Folks trying to survive, trying to save their kids, send out a desperate distress call “We need water!”

     Someplace else, where there’s no drought, some guy is at a restaurant about to have his three martini lunch by the pool. He’s looking over the menu, and notices that no one has brought him his glass of water yet.   
     He hears the pleas of the drought people, “We need water!” 
    And he shrugs and says, “Well, I need water, too!”


     When I hear some schmuck respond to the desperate plea, “Black Lives Matter,” by mewling about how “All lives matter,” it makes me glad that I don’t know where that moron lives, and that I don’t currently own a firearm. 
     OK. I might not actually shoot the bastard. But he or she at least deserves a good smack.    Maybe that’s the campaign we need: “Smacks for Schmucks.”

 Nobody ever said that ONLY Black lives matter.

     Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure. All lives matter, Pal.  Thanks for the enlightened view, St. Francis. Nobody ever said that ONLY Black lives matter, you putz.
     All lives may matter, BUT ALL lives are NOT equally at risk from police violence. Non-whites are disproportionately targeted, and disparately treated over-all. It is non-whites who are treated AS IF their lives don't matter. When WHITE folks are subjected to police violence they are usually poor, homeless, physically disabled, mentally ill, children, elderly --- or engaged in protesting police violence. 
     Cops are NOT running amuck in affluent white suburbia, shooting unarmed well-to-do White folks in the back, or beating the shit out of them for jaywalking.

 Remember: Black folks are only about 12% of the population

     So this lame claim, "all lives matter,”  is an extremely disingenuous way for White folks to trivialize and discredit Black folks who protest the brutal treatment they're getting. 
     That's like you stubbing your toe and whining to a paraplegic that YOUR pain counts, too. 
     It’s not only unspeakably narcissistic, but also intellectually flaccid, and morally bankrupt.      It’s a reprehensible – and racist -- indifference masquerading as universal compassion, and  unspeakably despicable. 
     Hell, it’s lower than an ankle bracelet on a flat-footed midget.
     If anyone spews that nonsense in your presence, go ahead and give them a good smack. 
     Tell them it was from me.  

Liberty & Justice,


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hey, Sports Fans

I’m not big on sports.
Not much interested in any activity that involves a ball of any kind.

               It ain't me babe, no no, no it ain't me, babe. It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

Only “sport” I ever really had much enthusiasm for was boxing.  Notice I put that word in quotation marks.
But, you know, when I was a kid,  in school, I played a little basketball. I wasn’t very good. But it was fun, and there’s no down side to a young teenage boy in having  pretty teenage girls go crazy cheering his name just for throwing a ball though a hoop. Hell, you’d think I was curing cancer out there.
                                                            Thanks, but I have to walk my dog.

 Some guys could really play well.
I remember one kid in particular, Black kid named Wells. That kid once sank a left-handed hook shot  from the free throw line with two of us all over him.  Fuck! I couldn’t believe it. You can’t argue with that kind of skill. You just have to give the devil his due.
“Hey, man,” I said when that shot swished through the bucket, “GREAT fuckin’ shot.”
Offered him my palm and he gave me some skin.
It was cool.
But it didn’t go over very well with my coach.
“He’s kicking our ass out there and you’re congratulating him?”
I didn’t see the problem.
In an earlier game, I was assigned to go man to man on a kid who’d just made an excellent jump shot from the corner. When I got out on the floor, I said to him, “I hope you enjoyed making that shot, daddy-o. It’s the last fuckin’ shot you’re gonna make tonight.”  Turned out to be a true prediction. Of course, I fouled out in the course of making it come true. See, he could shoot from the floor, but he couldn’t hit a free throw with a hammer.
Anyway, it was perfectly fine to talk shit to an opposing player, but it was utterly frowned on to salute him.
That didn’t feel right to me.
Maybe that’s when I took notice of the fans.
                                                                C'mon, guys, get a life.

Most people in the stands applauded every time something went in favor of their own team, and cat-called every time something went in favor of the other team. When a ref called, say, out of bounds against their guy, the ref was blind. Didn’t matter if that player had dribbled halfway to the locker-room, it was a “bad call” because it went against them. Whether it was true or accurate didn’t matter one little bit.
On the other hand, one of their own guys could whack an opposing shooter with a meat cleaver and they’d still claim the shooter was charging. Foul!? What? Get some glasses, Ref? How much they payin’ you, Ref? And so on.
What I figured out was this: most people in the stands weren’t there because they loved basketball.
They didn’t even like basketball.
In fact, they didn’t give a flying fuck about basketball.
They just wanted to win.
Didn’t matter how they won, or why they won. It didn’t matter how well their team played. If it was an accident, or a fluke, or if they cheated their asses off and got away with it, none of that mattered as long as they won. They were living vicariously off that victory the way a vampire lives off your blood, without ever putting out any the effort or taking any of the risk, themselves.  I quickly grew to despise the fans, and I quit playing, cheerleaders notwithstanding. The fans ruined it for me. Win or lose, I never felt clean.

I can’t help noticing that politics is that way for most people, too.   

On any issue, they pick a side and become emotionally invested in “winning.” Doesn’t matter one little bit what’s true, or right or fair.  It doesn’t matter how they win or why they win, as long as they win.

Elections are the same way. You pick the Democrat team or the Republican team, and your team is always right, the other team is always wrong. If the Devil himself ran as a Democrat against Jesus running as a Republican, then every Democrat would be in the Devil’s corner.  They’d point out that Jesus was a dirty hippy, never worked a day in his life, that there’s some real controversy about his birth, that he associated with prostitutes and other low-life’s, that he was an alcoholic who turned water into wine, and that he was a scofflaw who had defied proper authority on occasions to numerous to count.
I don’t mean to pick on the Democrats in particular, but lately, I do have a good reason to be cross with them: they’re forcing me to say something good about Republicans.

When George W. Bush was President, the Republicans praised his unconstitutional crap, and the Democrats, very rightly, condemned him for it.  I didn’t think it was possible to have a worse president than George W. Bush. But then Obama got into office. He out-Bushed Bush at every turn, taking Bush’s worst policies farther than the eye could see, and inventing a few of his own that were equally nasty or nastier.
                                                  Obama: like Bush, only darker.

The Republicans praised Obama when he did what Bush did – though they criticized Obama for not going far enough. The Democrats, on the other hand fell mute. Seems that when a Democrat does unconstitutional crap, the Democrats are fine with it. It’s only when Republicans do it that the Democrats get all offended and sanctimonious.
When I criticized George Bush for lying, for doing other unlawful things, Democrats called me a patriot. When I criticized Obama for doing the same things – or worse – Democrats called me a racist.
I have to give the Republicans this much: they're consistent in their repugnant values. And none of them ever said I hated Bush just because he was White.

They’re not out there campaigning because they love America, because they prize liberty and justice.

They don’t even like liberty and justice.
In fact, they don’t really give a flying fuck about liberty and justice.
They just want to win. 
It can be an accident, a fluke or because they cheat their asses off and don’t get caught.  As long as they win.

So I don’t play that game anymore, either.
The fans ruined it for me.
And it doesn’t feel clean.


Monday, January 4, 2016

It's THAT simple.

Nathan Burdett (John Russell):   If he says it wasn't murder, why do you say it was?

Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne): Man gets shot that's got a gun, there's room for reasonable doubt. Man gets shot that hasn't got a gun, what would you call it?

Rio Bravo.
Directed by Howard Hawks.
A John Wayne classic, and one of my all-time favorite films. First time I saw it was on a sweltering summer night at a drive-in theatre.
I was 8 years old.

I learned a few simple-but-important lessons from those old western movies.
Lessons a lot of folks seem to have forgotten.

Shoot an unarmed man, that's murder.
You hang.
Shoot a man in the back, and that's the most cowardly murder there is.
Hanging's too good for you.

When the law is corrupt, people have to take justice into their own hands.
And that will require a gun in those hands, too.
Because the corrupt law won't hesitate to shoot down an unarmed man.
Or shoot a man in the back.
Or a woman.
Or a child.

When that happens, when the "law" breaks the law, when the law murders the innocent, there's only one thing you can do about it.

Get your gun.

And bring a rope.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stand Up for Liberty

I know our schools aren’t what they could be, but god’s teeth, can’t anybody freaking READ anymore. The Enemy Expatriation Act, proposes to strip “citizenship rights” from suspected terrorists and those who fart during the playing of the national anthem, thus making it okey-dokey to deprive such villains of due process – charges, trial by jury, defense counsel, etc, etc.
The thing of it is, that’s a complete legal fiction.

Or, as my dad would say, it’s pure bullshit.

Civil liberties are NOT the exclusive birthright of citizens.

For those of you who haven’t read the Constitution lately – or, if you’re a member of Congress, ever – here’s a convenient copy of the Bill of Rights.
I’ve added some emphasis to elucidate the point.

Nota bene that in the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution) the word “citizen” does not appear. Enumerated rights belong to “the people” or to a “person,” but nowhere does it suggest these rights belong to citizens and citizens alone.

It’s not as if the framers used the word “person” when they meant “citizen.”
Article II Sect 1 says: No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
When they meant “citizen,” they said “citizen.”
The 11th Amendment uses the term “citizen”
So does the 14th Amendment, which defines who is a “citizen.” It also confirms that civil liberties belong to all “persons,” not just to “citizens.”
You have to get to the 15th Amendment before you come to any “right” that is reserved to “citizens” alone: the right to vote.
So here’s the scam: divide and conquer.
First convince you that only “citizens” have Constitutional rights. Then, take away your citizenship and --presto! – there go your “rights.”
And even if it did, the only right reserved to citizens is the right to vote.
All other rights belong to every “person” living in the United States, whether citizen or not.


“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” -Thucydides

The BILL OF RIGHTS and Other Delights

1. 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.

2. A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

3. No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

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

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

10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

11. The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

14. Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 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.

15. Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.