Trashing the Bill of Rights: Where America Stands Now

bill of rightsI know, I know. It’s a Russian thing. When we’re about to do something stupid, we like to catalog the full extent of our stupidity for future reference.
– Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5

Perhaps I have some Russian blood in me. Even though I’m not particularly a fan of the US Constitution (I would have come down on the side of the Anti-Federalists), I still say it’s time to take a moment and catalog what has happened to America.

I am under no impression that this is going to wake people up, by the way. Most Americans just don’t want to know. In fact, they pay people to tell them that everything is okay and that the people who complain are crazy, stupid, losers, or conspiracy believers.

Still, I want to catalog the extent of the current stupidity for the next generation – and to kill the lie that no one from my generation “saw it coming.”

Whatever our opinion of the US Constitution, it has clearly been the standard of reference in America and the trashing of this document matters for the future of the American people.

So, I will briefly explain what has happened to each of the ten amendments which make up the crucial section of the US Constitution: the Bill of Rights.

1st Amendment

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.

This one has been voided repeatedly and on many fronts. Here are just a few examples:

And there are many more instances. You have free speech only until you reach the end of your leash.

2nd Amendment

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.

More or less all levels of the US government (along with their sycophants) are openly at war with the right of the people to bear arms. I won’t bother itemizing anything here.

3rd Amendment

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.

So far as I know, this one hasn’t been trashed yet. (There really is no need these days.)

4th Amendment

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.

And what are our “papers”? That HAS TO include emails, which took over from “papers” very directly.

The US government, on almost every level, has become a full-blown surveillance state, far beyond the Statsi’s wildest dreams. The National Security Agency alone spends billions of dollars per year to directly violate the 4th amendment. It’s not even close.

Most people have seen the stories of whistleblowers, NSA rooms at AT&T, and covert agents admitting it all. Those who want to know, know.

These organizations hide behind dozens of laws, stacked one upon another, but it’s all complication and misdirection: The right of people to be secure in their papers (correspondence) is plain. And this amendment is purposely trashed on a daily basis.

5th Amendment

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.

There are too many trashings to be mentioned here. But we can start with the President of the United States killing US citizens with no trial, and then defending his right to do so.

We could go on with the standard police tactic of intimidating people until they testify against themselves, and much more.

6th Amendment

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.

A speedy trial? Tell that to Bradley Manning.

As for the rest of this amendment, tell it to Brandon Raub.

7th Amendment

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.

The right to a jury trial still exists, so far as I know, but only if you can make it through the legal process that far. First of all, the costs of a trial are far beyond the ability of most Americans to pay. Secondly, government prosecutors can wear you down and bully you in a dozen ways.

Mixed reviews on this one.

8th Amendment

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

Cruel and unusual punishments? Well, the boys in DC don’t draw and quarter people, so that’s good. But they did torture Bradley Manning (see link above), and the US government has tortured hundreds of people in Guantanamo. They can try to split hairs over US soil and citizenship all they like, but this amendment specifies what they shall not do.

9th Amendment

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

Like inhaling the smoke of plants?

10th Amendment

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.

DC is king, and through abuse of the “commerce clause” they control almost every activity Americans undertake.


  • The people who have joined themselves to big corporations don’t care. They think government partnerships are good for them, and as long as the paychecks keep coming, they will oppose almost nothing government does.
  • The people taking government checks need the government and will not make the slightest motion against them.
  • Average working people generally break down into two camps:
  1. Those who know that everything teeters on the edge but who aren’t emotionally prepared to face it. They hope it will all go away and grasp for reasons to believe.
  2. Those who trust their own minds and raise an alarm. (And who suffer in varying degrees for the crimes of seeing and caring.)

Please don’t let anyone tell you this is all because of terrorism. We’re supposed to be terrified of Al Qaeda, even though the US is supporting them in Syria? Like we were supposed to be terrified of the Taliban, until the US government started negotiating with them?

One of these days, the people of my generation will go around saying, “We didn’t know.” Don’t let them get away with it.

Paul Rosenberg
Trashing the Bill of Rights: Where America Stands Now

[“Trashing the Bill of Rights: Where America Stands Now” was originally published at]

13 thoughts on “Trashing the Bill of Rights: Where America Stands Now”

  1. I, too, fall on the anti-federalist side, they were remarkably prescient.

    I have come to the conclusion that the Constitution is a weak document, the checks and balances depend too much on government policing itself amd its obvious that this hasn’t worked. What I can’t understand is all the people who want to attempt the same failed experiment again. Are they expecting a different result? When your hypothesis is proven invalid, its time to consider the new data and formulate a new one.

    1. Lysander Spooner said it best. “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain: that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”

  2. Obama is out to change the USA. It is working because congress and senate are NOT doing their jobs. Obama should be impeached and we all know it. When congress and senate are filled with weak men and women – this is what happens. We must fight to regain this country and follow the constitution to the letter. We have lost to many rights already and a communist country is not something anyone wants.

    1. America the country founded by great thinkers has been manipulated and significantly altered to a war monger nation with no principles. So for the few of us who get upset that our money spent to arm al Qaeda, which beheaded a priest last week, and ate the heart of another the week before in Syria? The neocon/war mongers instead of going back to more moral principles, they say this is America love it or leave it!

      According to a recent survey, despite of the media domination by neocon agents from both parties, only 15% of Americans wants us involved in Syria. So, 85% must be dictated to by 15%? This is exactly the same statistics in Egypt today! Muslim Brotherhood wants to enslave women (50% of Egyptians), modern liberal Muslims (25%), and Christians (15%)! Total 85%

      So, what is the difference between the Egyptian 85%, and the American 85%? Why there are millions of Egyptians in threats demanding the resignation of Mursi, as not even few hundreds Americans demonstrating against the policy of talking with Talibans or al Qaeda?

      The answer is simple: Egypt has opposition press that has been non-stop exposing the Muslim Brotherhood excesses, and urging the people to organize. Our media is in bed with our government wether it is republican or democrat. So the rest of the sane Americans have no organization ability or vehicles? Hence, we are led for generations to ruin without the emergence of reformists. Once a guy like Perrot, Buchanan, Ron Paul appear to be gaining traction to correct our path, OUR MEDIA DUMPS ON THEM LIKE FOAMING AT THE MOUTH RABID DOGS! They simply destroy reformers.

      We are in the land of the free, but we wish we had a free press like Egypt.

      Best regards

  3. 5th Amendment – unless you vocalize your right to remain silent, the SCOTUS recently ruled that silence can be held against you.

  4. People build the government they want and deserve. It is as simple as that.

    The tyranny of the result is the measure of their delusion and short-sightedness.

    1. Tyranny is the result of different people trying to force the government they want on other people who want a different government. North/South Liberal/Conservative Rural/Urban

  5. In an age when soldiers become cops or are the cops and the cops are militarized, coupled with the “policeman in everyone’s head” phenomenon that comes along with both pervasive, omnipresent surveillance and a lifetime of conditioning to unquestioning obedience to the state, the 3rd Amendment has effectively been rendered irrelevant — because the state’s warriors, who are AT WAR WITH THE PEOPLE, are already quartered in every House, with almost everyone’s consent.

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