Today, December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, the anniversary of its ratification in 1791. Few Americans even know about it. No doubt every Veteran’s Day you pay proper respects to the men who gave their lives for our freedom, but do you pay proper respect to what they defended with their blood, sweat, and tears?
“There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights.”-Marine General Smedley Butler.
Listen to “Old Gimlet Eye” (as Marines fondly call General Butler). He knew what he was talking about. Here is a man who fought all over the globe for Uncle Sam. He was the only Marine to be awarded the Corps’ Brevet Medal and TWO Medals of Honor, all for action on separate occasions. A true warrior’s warrior. And after all that warfare, after all the combat he saw, that is what he had to say about what was worth fighting for. Our homes, and the Bill of Rights. He knew, and understood, that the Bill of Rights is the crown jewel of this constitutional republic, that without the Bill of Rights, there is no America, and above all else, it must be defended with our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor.
Now there was a Marine who understood his oath (Semper F’ing Fi Marine!). Do you understand yours? Do you know the Bill of Rights? Do you know the history of its clauses and why they were written?
The Bill of Rights was meant to prevent a repeat of the abuses that compelled our forefathers to take up arms. It was meant to be a shield to protect the people against tyranny, so that the sacrifices and blood shed by our forefathers would not be in vain. When you read through each of the first ten amendments to our Constitution, reflect on that fact. Nearly every single abuse of the rights of the Founding Generation by Parliament and King is addressed by our Bill of Rights – warrantless searches and seizures (including seizure of people); confiscation and forfeiture of property; men being compelled, by means of torture, to incriminate themselves; secret evidence, secret accusers, and denial of the ancient right to jury trial, with trial instead by a military tribunal; violations of free speech and assembly; the attempts to disarm the American people – all of those were among the “long train of abuses” which compelled the Founding Generation to finally take up arms in defense of their natural rights.
And that long train of abuses is now being repeated today, by the modern equivalent of Parliament (the den of traitorous vipers otherwise known as Congress) and “King Obama” (who received all of his illegitimate, de facto totalitarian powers from “King George” Bush before him), with the help of complicit oath breaking judges who think the Constitution is merely whatever they say it is. History is repeating itself, and you are now called upon to take your place in the endless struggle between good and evil, between liberty and tyranny.
Like General Butler, you swore an oath to defend the Bill of Rights, along with the rest of the Constitution. But how can you keep that oath if you don’t know it, and don’t understand it? Take time today to read the Bill of Rights and think about the hard lessons of history contained in it. Reflect on the fact that the Bill of Rights is the heart and soul of this Republic, and also recommit yourself to defending it with courage, honor, and integrity, up to and including giving your life, if you must, in its defense. Honor our fallen by studying and then resolving to defend what they too swore to defend. Anything less is dereliction of duty.
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.
There would have been no American Revolution without fiery speakers and writers such as James Otis, Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, and Thomas Paine. As Sam Adams said:
“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
And he should know, since he did just that in smoky Boston taverns, over pints of ale with fellow Sons of Liberty, gleefully plotted the tar and feathering of the King’s tax collectors and customs agents. Tyrants know damn well that the fiery speech of men like Sam Adams and Patrick Henry, or the pen of a man such as Thomas Paine, can cause them more damage than entire armies. As Victor Hugo said, “there is nothing so powerful as an idea who’s time has come.” And ideas truly are bulletproof.
No doubt you have resolved that when “they” come for your guns, it’s time to fight. But you should also resolve to fight when they come for your pen, your papers, your computer, your microphone, your blog, your free exchange of ideas on the internet. Those are as vital tools of liberty as your rifle, and must be defended just as resolutely. Without them, you will have no recourse for peaceful redress.
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.
This is the one most patriots know best, and I don’t have to tell you that your right to bear arms is under assault. That is obvious. But remember that the Second Amendment is not about stopping street crime (though clearly being armed helps there too). It is about preserving the military power of the people to defeat the standing army of a tyrant.
“Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but where, I trust in God, it will always remain, in the hands of the people.” – Tench Coxe, Founding Father
Remember what Patrick Henry said: “Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it [liberty] but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”
But the Second Amendment is not just about preserving a final, doomsday capability to fight oppressive government. It is also about the people themselves, as the militia, being the domestic military security force, fully capable and equipped to fulfill the duties articulated in Article I, Section 8, where Congress is authorized to call forth the militia “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” That is how powerful the militia of the several states, made up of the people, is supposed to be.
Remember, the Founders answer to that ancient puzzle of “who shall guard the guardians?” was that we the people should be our own guardians, and we ignore their warning and hard won lessons at our own peril. So, after you celebrate Bill of Rights Day, go out and buy the kids in your family a good battle rifle each and pass down “every terrible implement of the soldier” you can. Give them black rifles for Christmas! (now that will really freak out the anti-gun zealots). Let the robed liars in the judiciary say whatever they want about “reasonable regulation.” So long as you pass down the means, that will not be the end of the argument. And, also recommit yourself to fulfilling your obligation to join with others in your community to be the local military security force in your town, county, and state.
Want to know more about the militia, and your duties to revitalize it? Read these fine articles by Dr. Edwin Vieira. Want to help teach others about the Second Amendment and the vital importance of revitalizing the militia? Please support the important upcoming film, Malon Labe, by James Jeager. Go here to learn more.
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.
This protection of homeowners against troops taking over their homes, except by law passed by Congress in time of war, is often overlooked, but it is an expression of the fact that in America, the civil power is superior to the military, and “martial law” is so foreign to the American way of life that it may as well be “martian law.”
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.
The Fourth Amendment was meant to protect you from unreasonable search and seizure and requires warrants to be issued by judges, and only when based upon probable cause. One of the causes of the Revolution was warrantless searches – the infamous writs of assistance (”general warrants” that allowed British Customs Officers to search wherever they wished) that Founding Generation lawyer James Otis railed against. The Founders considered all warrantless searches to be unreasonable. As the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 put it:
That general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive and ought not to be granted.
Now, in the name of “safety” we have the NSA spying on all of our communications without warrant, “sneak and peak” searches, FBI agents issuing “national security letters” to themselves, without bothering to even go to a judge for a proper warrant (which is a modern version of the “Writs of Assistance” the Founders suffered under), two bit politicians decreeing curfews over entire towns, with police forbidding people to leave their homes and stopping them at random check points as if this were Iraq! James Otis would be ashamed of us. And let us not forget the NDAA of 2012 (and 2013) which “affirms” the supposed power of the President to seize you, me, anyone, in military detention, without an arrest warrant, on his say-so alone. The Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and unless we restore it, we will reap the whirlwind.
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 offence 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.
This was meant to protect your rights to life, liberty, and property by requiring due process of law before you may be deprived of those rights, protecting you from: double jeopardy; self incrimination (including protecting you against torture used to force a confession); ensuring your right to confront your accusers; and requiring just compensation for takings of your property (which can only be taken for a public purpose). And, need I say that you cannot be held, at all, unless you have been indicted by a grand jury – that means no “enemy combatant” military detention for Americans.
And yet, both President Bush and President Obama have claimed the power to detain any American, without a Grand Jury indictment, by calling them “enemy combatants” rather than criminal defendants. And Congress (through the NDAA) and the courts (see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld) have joined in on this treason of applying the laws of war to Americans. And further, Obama now claims the power to simply order ANY American killed on his say-so alone, and has actually killed American citizens he determined were enemy combatants, rather than trying them for treason, as the Constitution requires. There is no more fundamental human right than the right to be free from arbitrary assassination/execution and imprisonment (truly a denial of due process), and the U.S. government is now following firmly in the footsteps of every dictator in history who claimed such totalitarian powers over their own people. King George would have been proud.
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 defence.
Protects your right to a speedy trial by a fully informed jury of your peers who can judge the law as well as the facts, and can acquit in the face of both.
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, 1789
Amen. Visit www.fija.org for more info. And this is the great, ancient right of Englishmen that King and Parliament violated, which was one of the “long train of abuses” that compelled the Founding Generation to take up arms. In fact, it is directly mentioned in the Declaration of Independence as one of the grievances against the King: “For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.”
And that hard won right to jury trial is also guaranteed by Article III, sections 2 and 3 of the main body of the Constitution:
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
The Treason Clause of Article III, Section 3:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 2, Clause 3, and Article III, Section 3 together clearly and plainly set forth what must be done with a United States Citizen or lawful resident who is alleged to have waged war against the United States or to have aided the enemy in wartime – they must be tired before a jury of their peers, in an Article III, civilian court, for the crime of Treason, with the extra evidentiary burden of two witnesses to the same overt act, or confession in open court. Nothing could be more plain and obvious.
And yet, that plain and clear mandate that all Americans have a right to jury trial is yet again being violated. But this time it is by Congress, the President, and the courts, through the absurd claim that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, can bypass your right to jury trial by declaring you an “enemy combatant” in the war on terrorism, under the International Laws of War, and both detain you in military custody and try you before a military tribunal, instead of a jury of your peers. Under our Constitution as originally intended and understood, officer of the government can never judge your guilt and take your life or liberty. Only a jury of your peers can do that. That ancient right to jury trial, for which American patriots spilt their blood, is now being violated by oath breaking traitors in both major political parties (just read the roll call of the vote for the NDAA of 2012). Here is one of those traitors, committing open treason on the Senate floor:
The assault on the right to jury trial, and the absurd claim that the President can treat Americans like a defeated, occupied enemy population, is the fundamental reason I started Oath Keepers. I could see history repeating itself, and that we are now on the short track to being forced to fight another revolution, thanks to the treason of fools like Lindsey Graham. And he is an unrepentant oath breaker:
No, he is not the only traitor in Congress – far from it. With few exceptions, the great majority of both the House and Senate voted to authorize denial of your right to jury trial, in the NDAA of 2012. But Lindsey “Candy Pants” Graham is a particularly vile example. He was a military JAG officer, and damn well should know better. There is a special place in hell for such as he, and if anyone is a knowing traitor, it is him.
“[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” – Declaration of Independence
We are now suffering yet again a long train of abuses that are clearly aimed at reducing us under absolute despotism (what else do you call it when the President has a secret kill list of Americans he wants to exterminate, and claims the power to use military force on Americans, under the laws of war, as if they were foreign enemies?). We have few peaceful means of redress left to us, in a narrow, closing window of opportunity to roll back the assault before we have to follow in the footsteps of our forefathers, where “An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!” as Patrick Henry put it.
If we squander this narrow opportunity, we will look back with remorse and grief at what we could have done to stop the deluge of tyranny and blood. Sweat now, or bleed later.
Sweat now, by getting off the couch, standing up, and purging ALL of the oath breakers of BOTH major parties from office. Let’s start with Lindsey “shut up! You don’t get a lawyer!” Graham, and then also purge out of office all the other useful idiots and traitors who voted for the NDAA of 2012.
Sweat now by standing up and nullifying as states. Help push a nullification bill against the NDAA though your state legislature. To learn more, visit www.theintolerableacts.org and http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/. As Thomas Jefferson and James Madison taught us, when all three branches of the Federal government are violating the Constitution and overstepping its bounds, nullification by the States is the “rightful remedy.”
Sweat now, by helping us spread the word among the military and police to nullify by refusing unconstitutional orders to use military force, detention, or trial on Americans, or to otherwise violate the Bill of Rights. Print up, and hand out copies of our Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey. Help support our billboard campaign to place billboards outside of every major military base in America. Support our Liberty Tour, which will put on free liberty focused concerts for the troops, by awesome liberty minded musicians like Jordan Page, and Rebel Inc., where we will have a chance to conduct direct outreach to the troops, teaching them about their oaths, about the Constitution, and about the current threats to our liberty, while also thanking them for their service.
Sweat now by preparing yourself, and your community, to resist through massive civil disobedience (another form of nullification), and also prepare for the worst case scenario where you must exercise your rights to mutual defense and self defense, as well as preparing for the hard times that WILL come when the fiat dollar dies. See Operation Sleeping Giant for more information on getting ready.
And especially if you are a veteran who also swore that oath to defend the Constitution, sweat now by standing up, stepping up, and leading your community in resistance to tyranny.
Stand up now, and sweat now, or you will surely bleed later when the full force of war is finally brought here onto American soil, and you are forced to fight. The traitors in government have already told you they intend to do to you and your children the same as was done to the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan – they intend to treat us all like an occupied foreign enemy, under the laws of war. Root the oath breakers out (regardless of party!) and strip them of power now, the easy way, or you will have to do it the hard way later. And don’t wait until there are 30,000 drones in our sky to get it done.
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 the common law.
Protects your right to trial by jury in civil cases. And no, we should not curtail the power of civil juries to impose punitive damages. That power is the Founder’s alternative to government regulation of private business. The jury should punish mass tort violators, so we don’t need an army of corrupt bureaucrats.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Protection from cruel and unusual punishment, and excessive bail. You cannot be punished except by law, rather than the will of a sadistic jailer, and your liberty cannot be taken without trial by means of excessive bail.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Protects all of our rights not specified in the Bill of Rights – those retained by the people. Remember, your rights come from nature and nature’s God, not government, and are as innumerable as the stars.
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.
Reserves to the states and the people all powers not granted to the federal government. Protects the independent sovereignty of the people, in their states, and affirms the limited nature of federal power.
Those last two are perhaps the most important. The whole point of the Bill of Rights was to make sure the newly formed national government would not overstep the bounds of the Constitution. As the Preamble to the Bill of Rights stated:
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added (emphasis added):
Now that the circus of elections is over, take some time to celebrate your birthright of liberty. Celebrate Bill of Rights Day. And recommit yourself to honoring our fallen by defending what they swore to defend, and what you too swore to defend. Recommit to defending our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. In every age men have had to fight to preserve the light of liberty. It is our turn on the wall. It is our watch. And we have been negligent in our vigilance. It is time to admit this, and to resolve to correct our mistakes. Prepare to do your duty. Prepare to fight for the Bill of Rights, using all the tools available to us. Let’s make “Old Gimlet Eye” proud.
Founder and President of Oath Keepers
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