Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:01 pm

blindpig
10-09-2008, 03:36 PM

An act of defiance here, an act of desperation there......

multiply them , and again and again

better be ready
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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:02 pm

Michael Collins
10-12-2008, 01:50 AM
No, really. Even as a bourgeois-democratic document, it really, really sucks. I'm talking about more than the obvious here: more than about how juridical and political "rights" don't impinge on economic society in the worlds richest country, more than about the institutionalization of only two parties, more than the observation that the commoner's House of Lords (the Senate) has more power than the legislature, more than the meaning of why it takes several more amendments 80 years after the first ten to establish that former slaves count as "humans" too and are candidates for "Human Rights" (and another 100 years to implement even those), and more than the two hundred other details that have become obvious in the last few years, such as the inability to recall a government except by criminal trial or coup.

I am talking about the fact that Bush has exposed the absolute power of the "presidency", a power hidden only because of the collusion of the major political parties for the entire life of the Republic. It appears that in this system, there are no limits whatever on the powers of the presidency save elections every 4 years (which would not have counted as "democracy" even in the 18th century), and the only reason that it even appeared that there were any such limits was exclusively the result of a voluntary super-constitutional etiquette practiced by the political participants but in no way enshrined in law. All it took was one asshole to show it all up.

Let me say it as controversially as possible - The constitution wasn't usurped, wasn't diluted, wasn't undermined; it was always like this.

Which means that the U.S. is governed by among the most primitive of current day political charters and that there is much less democracy here than in most recently established bullshit quasi-democracies, even by bourgeois standards... and this is said by someone who thinks that "democracy" don't mean shit, even when it's real.

http://www.iloveaudiobooks.com/Your_Man ... iobook.jpg
What a sorry lot they are. I'd like to see a short piece like this on http://electionfraudnews.com/News/anaxarchos.htm on the distinguished jurists who consistently throw any redemption offered in the document under the bus. Chalmor's comment on Mason's version (here or elsewhere) of the Bill of Rights in the Virginia Constitution shows the basis in property that defines much of the Constitution. The other clauses of the amendment are guaranteed to be discarded in favor of the right of property. Who knows, maybe this was the starting point for the ultimate absurdity, that corporations have the same rights as people.

The Constitution emerged at a point in time and is a reflection of those times. Despite their full awareness, all of the "founders," that slavery was vile and corrupt, the effort to outlaw it in the Constitution failed.

The real crimes are in the hands of the Supreme Court. There are obvious clauses like specifically assigning the power of declaring wars to Congress that are routinely ignored. It's always harder for a group to decide than an individual, so ther's some wisdom in that clause. Whatever benefit there offered is lost when federal courts routinely fail to read the text and enforce it. They then become complicit in the enterprise of continual invasions and the death and other losses that result. Who judges the judges.

A more specific example is the recent decision on photographic identification in order to vote. EVERYBODY knows that this is designed to suppress the vote of the poor and minorities. Yet the champion of the "liberal wing," John Paul Stevens, offered up the majority opinion upholding this law. It's not only wrong, it's an opinion absent any proof. I wrote about his and put in a note that about 3 people read. Nevertheless, it shows the absense of even a modicum of evidence to support his decision.

The document, the Constitution, is only as useful as it applies to the society it governs. Those who shape the application
are do great damage without regard to the words therein.

http://www.electionfraudnews.com/Articles/Footnotes.htm

If I can figure this stuff out, then our ample supply of legal scholars should have just a few brave souls who will write a critique. But there's a de facto conspiracy of silence. What a condemnation of the law as practiced today. There isn't even one lawyer who will stand up and say that Stevens is flat out full of shit, that he has no proof, and that his motivations for the decision need to be questioned seriously.
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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:03 pm

Kid of the Black Hole
10-12-2008, 02:31 AM
The document, the Constitution, is only as useful as it applies to the society it governs. Those who shape the application
are do great damage without regard to the words therein.
No, they're not doing great damage to the words therein, Auto. The words therein are crap in the first place and were intended as license for EXACTLY the type of "applications" that you're documenting. It really couldn't matter less what James Madison ideals were, about factionalism or anything else.
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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:05 pm

Michael Collins
10-12-2008, 05:33 AM
The document, the Constitution, is only as useful as it applies to the society it governs. Those who shape the application are do great damage without regard to the words therein.
No, they're not doing great damage to the words therein, Auto. The words therein are crap in the first place and were intended as license for EXACTLY the type of "applications" that you're documenting. It really couldn't matter less what James Madison ideals were, about factionalism or anything else.
It's not all crap. I'm pretty sure that Chalmor referenced this passage from the Virginia Declaration of Rights. If not he'll tell me. He pointed out the bold section as a corruption of (my opinion here) what is an otherwise positive sentiment:

"Section 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."

The underlined section is essential in any society. The bold section brings property into the equation, which trumps the underlined section because greed will always wins.

In the U.S. Constitution, there's a continuation of habeas corpus, something we can't live without (although there's an experiment going on now with this in question). The first amendment is essential as is speedy trial in the sixth. How about the 14th Amendment. Slavery should never have been in the original document but getting rid of it by statute is good. That's another section that took forever to implement but it needed to be there. I'm amazed they even did it. Having a representative legislature be the origin of any war is a great idea. Screw executive decision makers. The problem is a) property bias and b) the absolute, resolute, ongoing willful ignorance of these elements.

The election of Senators, the Erectile College, property based voting - these are all abominations. But dismissing the entire document as "crap" is not correct, imho.

Now here's an example of a ruling document failing to come close to what the people actually did. Bacon's Rebellion is the great moment in our history. Black and white farmers in the Virginia colony, united and threw the British out of Virginia - for two years. They also sacked Jamestown in the process. The revolution was lead by Nathaniel Bacon who was a farmer with just a few bucks more than the others. These people untied in opposition to Lord Berkeley, who was scum, due to Berkeley's ill treatment. When Berkeley returned with the Brigish Army to control once again, Bacon was ill and the movement was crushed by superior force. Berkeley immediately implemented a formal regime of slavery, although at the time it was not invoked. He systematically implemented policies to turn the races against each other with success.

This rebellion shaped our politics from the war with the English through today. It's forgotten history but the positive is that racism was formally imposed, in a calculated fashion. It was not inherent to the populace, as small as it was in those days.

The governing document of the rebellion is barely an outline. It was the action of the people that set the example that's suppressed and not part of our consciousness. It's not flawless movement. My point in discussing it is the final paragraph (plus sacking Jamestown and chasing off the despot)..

People & Events
Bacon's Rebellion
1675 - 1676
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p274.html

"[We must defend ourselves] against all Indians in generall, for that they were all Enemies." This was the unequivocal view of Nathaniel Bacon, a young, wealthy Englishman who had recently settled in the backcountry of Virginia. The opinion that all Indians were enemies was also shared by a many other Virginians, especially those who lived in the interior. It was not the view, however, of the governor of the colony, William Berkeley.

Berkeley was not opposed to fighting Indians who were considered enemies, but attacking friendly Indians, he thought, could lead to what everyone wanted to avoid: a war with "all the Indians against us." Berkeley also didn't trust Bacon's intentions, believing that the upstart's true aim was to stir up trouble among settlers, who were already discontent with the colony's government.

Bacon attracted a large following who, like him, wanted to kill or drive out every Indian in Virginia. In 1675, when Berkeley denied Bacon a commission (the authority to lead soldiers), Bacon took it upon himself to lead his followers in a crusade against the "enemy." They marched to a fort held by a friendly tribe, the Occaneechees, and convinced them to capture warriors from an unfriendly tribe. The Occaneechees returned with captives. Bacon's men killed the captives They then turned to their "allies" and opened fire.

Berkeley declared Bacon a rebel and charged him with treason. Just to be safe, the next time Bacon returned to Jamestown, he brought along fifty armed men. Bacon was still arrested, but Berkeley pardoned him instead of sentencing him to death, the usual punishment for treason.

Still without the commission he felt he deserved, Bacon returned to Jamestown later the same month, but this time accompanied by five hundred men. Berkeley was forced to give Bacon the commision, only to later declare that it was void. Bacon, in the meantime, had continued his fight against Indians. When he learned of the Govenor's declaration, he headed back to Jamestown. The governor immediately fled, along with a few of his supporters, to Virginia's eastern shore.

Each leader tried to muster support. Each promised freedom to slaves and servants who would join their cause. But Bacon's following was much greater than Berkeley's. In September of 1676, Bacon and his men set Jamestown on fire.

The rebellion ended after British authorities sent a royal force to assist in quelling the uprising and arresting scores of committed rebels, white and black. When Bacon suddenly died in October, probably of dysentery, Bacon's Rebellion fizzled out.

Bacon's Rebellion demonstrated that poor whites and poor blacks could be united in a cause. This was a great fear of the ruling class -- what would prevent the poor from uniting to fight them? This fear hastened the transition to racial slavery
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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:10 pm

Kid of the Black Hole
10-12-2008, 01:18 PM
Section 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Auto, believe it or not you're going backwards in time here. First of all, the ideas of "entering into a society" and "inherent rights" are completely at odds with each other. To assert the first is to basically view society as a pact between individuals -- ie the "social contract" theory of Locke, Rousseau and modern day dunderheads. This immediately contradicts any "inherent rights" because all rights are established contractually -- thats all that society IS. This is late 1600s stuff buddy.

What you've got there is an untenable position compounded by further denying that said "rights" can be divested by "any compact" down the line of generations even.

Further what the heck does "equally free and independent" mean? It don't mean anything like what we moderns take it to mean. Here "independent" means something like not locked in by agrarian power relations (and that is a tangle that might take forever to sort out). Further, "free" is more like freedom from the yolk of the caste system -- thats what "born free" is all about.

And while it doesn't literally assert "equal", the meaning of that amounts to the same thing -- social benefits and privilege are no longer accorded by birthright but instead redefined to be the most twisted "meritocracy" you could imagine. From our perspective he distribution is as random and acausal as the dance of subatomic particles in the so-called "micro" world.

So no, I don't think the property clause gainsays the other part, I think it is a most blunt way of telling you exactly what all that talk about rights is supposed to mean in the first place.

Did you read Kropotkin's The Great Revolution, auto? I know we talked about it once. You can't possibly read that and subscribe to the view of society (and ergo history) that you present above -- even though, ironically, the French were greatly influenced by it at the time. (sorry, that's my idea of a joke)

History -- ie the history of human society -- is a unitary unfolding and develops in an organic fashion which is to say that it has functions that are independent of the individuals who enter into social relations. This MUST be true for the "Law" to develop..lest every person become Charles Bronson, taking justice into their own hands with a grim attitude and a big pistol.

Rights exist exactly to the extent that they they are won in the breach. They never have and never will come from any piece of paper OR from on high.

It IS all crap, Auto

(and it inherently has nothing to do with greed either, greed is "phenotypical" so to speak)
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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:12 pm

Michael Collins
10-17-2008, 01:37 AM

[So, if it doesn't mean shit, what is this about, my favorite pseudonymous experience by a long shot

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0706/S00165.htm

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0708/S00284.htm

You told me at the time but I was having too much fun to deal with the contradiction.

Having said that, democracy isn't the end, it's the means. I've said this previously but, to my knowledge, the best example of a nondemocratic state providing broad distribution of wealth and intellectual and creative tolerance is the Republic of Venice. It accomodated artisans and artists, guilds and aristocrats. nation should be so lucky to have a period like they did after the ABOLISHED hereditary title as Doge in 1065 (or so). If the end is to live well in a tolerant state, democracy wasn't necessary. But the end of nepotism was and they did that.

"The Republic suipplied its wants either by an appeal to patriotic sentiment, in the shape of voluntary advances to the state or by envorced taxation of the rich."

"If the Venetian constitution enforced the power of the nobility, it also protectedand guaranteed the people from every injury; and so fafter the early and transitory agitations, we find patricians and people mutually supporting each other and cooperatin gfor the common weal. While the aristocracy discharged it's politicla duties with that equity which unitesdivergences and corrects inequalities, the people in the large liberty of industrial life." p. 177

Venice in the Middle Ages, Pompeo Molmentil, 1906
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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:14 pm

Kid of the Black Hole
10-17-2008, 01:52 AM
So, if it doesn't mean shit, what is this about, my favorite pseudonymous experience by a long shot

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0706/S00165.htm

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0708/S00284.htm

You told me at the time but I was having too much fun to deal with the contradiction.

Having said that, democracy isn't the end, it's the means. I've said this previously but, to my knowledge, the best example of a nondemocratic state providing broad distribution of wealth and intellectual and creative tolerance is the Republic of Venice. It accomodated artisans and artists, guilds and aristocrats. nation should be so lucky to have a period like they did after the ABOLISHED hereditary title as Doge in 1065 (or so). If the end is to live well in a tolerant state, democracy wasn't necessary. But the end of nepotism was and they did that.

"The Republic suipplied its wants either by an appeal to patriotic sentiment, in the shape of voluntary advances to the state or by envorced taxation of the rich."

"If the Venetian constitution enforced the power of the nobility, it also protectedand guaranteed the people from every injury; and so fafter the early and transitory agitations, we find patricians and people mutually supporting each other and cooperatin gfor the common weal. While the aristocracy discharged it's politicla duties with that equity which unitesdivergences and corrects inequalities, the people in the large liberty of industrial life." p. 177

Venice in the Middle Ages, Pompeo Molmentil, 1906
Auto I lost the train of conversation here so I'm not sure if you're asking me or Anax. If I understand your question you're asking if we aren't contradicting ourselves by one the one hand saying democracy is horrendously crappy and on the other hand exposing and railing against the very real corruption and obscenities produced by said "democratic" system.

I'll toss you a softball in response. I know its not an actual answer but maybe it'll go somewhere. Think about Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite (sp?). Even if you equalize everything but genetics as much as possible -- opportunity, education, access to resources, upbringing, and so on -- some people given the liberty to do so are going to naturally play the game better or simply be more talented or more fortunate than others and so you end up with a social stratification.

So admitting liberty, whence comes equality? Or, to ask the same question in a different form: what'S YOUR definition of freedom, anyway? Is there any such thing as equality? Will there ever be?

And fraternity never even enters the equation does it..because ultimately Adam Smith coughs up "private virtue, public vice" and concern for the "common good" becomes as anachronistic as the thinkers who posited it.
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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:09 pm

blindpig wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:10 pm
Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

anaxarchos
07-23-2007, 01:01 AM

No, really. Even as a bourgeois-democratic document, it really, really sucks. I'm talking about more than the obvious here: more than about how juridical and political "rights" don't impinge on economic society in the worlds richest country, more than about the institutionalization of only two parties, more than the observation that the commoner's House of Lords (the Senate) has more power than the legislature, more than the meaning of why it takes several more amendments 80 years after the first ten to establish that former slaves count as "humans" too and are candidates for "Human Rights" (and another 100 years to implement even those), and more than the two hundred other details that have become obvious in the last few years, such as the inability to recall a government except by criminal trial or coup.

I am talking about the fact that Bush has exposed the absolute power of the "presidency", a power hidden only because of the collusion of the major political parties for the entire life of the Republic. It appears that in this system, there are no limits whatever on the powers of the presidency save elections every 4 years (which would not have counted as "democracy" even in the 18th century), and the only reason that it even appeared that there were any such limits was exclusively the result of a voluntary super-constitutional etiquette practiced by the political participants but in no way enshrined in law. All it took was one asshole to show it all up.

Let me say it as controversially as possible - The constitution wasn't usurped, wasn't diluted, wasn't undermined; it was always like this.

Which means that the U.S. is governed by among the most primitive of current day political charters and that there is much less democracy here than in most recently established bullshit quasi-democracies, even by bourgeois standards... and this is said by someone who thinks that "democracy" don't mean shit, even when it's real.
a timely reminder...
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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:04 pm

United States slipping into terminal crisis
Mission Truth

Jul 31 · 5 min read



Image
Military police officers immobilize a protester near the White House. Photo: AFP

The last few months have been a complete chaos in the model country of western culture. But the crisis is far from being a circumstantial event.
Coronavirus and constitutional crisis
With more than 4,500,000 confirmed cases and more than 150,000 deaths, the United States is currently the country most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The health crisis does not show any signs of improvement. The country ruled by Donald Trump has already broken all records with more than a thousand deaths a day in the last week of July.
The lack of control of the pandemic and erratic government management have unleashed a widespread political fight between Republicans and Democrats over the narrative direction of the situation.
While from the Democratic side they use Trump's catastrophic errors to boost their candidate Joe Biden, the White House chief exacerbates the political crisis unleashed by the pandemic to increase his presidential powers and prefigure a state of exception as "new normality" for its management at the head of the country.
The evolution of the crisis reinforces the premise that, in reality, the United States is not experiencing a traditional political crisis but a constitutional crisis , with ramifications in the legislative and judicial apparatus, where a real war of positions in favor and against Trump.
Meanwhile the Covid-19 is riding and continues to increase its range and virulence . Between the anguish to reopen the economy, the social and economic crisis that are leaving long-term consequences and offers an incentive for political conflict to increase.
Unprecedented economic downturn
Since the beginning of June, the US economy has been officially in recession. A contraction in GDP of 5% and an unemployment rate that broke the cellophane of the two figures (currently standing at 13.3%), framed that first milestone of the economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A month ago the fundamental question was whether the recession could transform into an economic depression in the short term and how far would it be from its darkest antecedent: the famous and tragic crash of 1929.
And that question has already been answered.
Yesterday, the US Department of Commerce reported that the economic contraction in the second half was 32.9%, a milestone that marks the worst economic performance in the United States since official records began in 1947.
This historical decline means that the current economic crisis in the country is much worse than the one generated by the explosion of the housing bubble in 2008. In a report , CNN indicates a key fact: “But this is not an ordinary recession. The combination of the economic and public health crisis is unprecedented. ”
The current economic crisis not only sharpens the decline of US hegemony, but weakens Trump's "America First" plan, aimed at recovering the industrial economy to compete and economically defeat China. This goal is now much more complicated.
Postponement of elections and a new escalation in the political struggle
President Donald Trump raised yesterday the possibility of postponing the presidential elections scheduled for November this year.
The approach is unpublished. Even in wartime, the London BCC points out, the United States has not postponed its most important electoral event. Trump considered this possibility due to the health crisis and after questioning the possibility of voting by mail, since in his opinion this would represent "fraud".

The "political storm" was immediate.

Obviously, from the Democratic Party the approach was attacked because it was considered an attack on democracy. Candidate Joe Biden points to the polls at the moment and they consider that Trump is afraid of obtaining a terrible result that will remove him from the presidency.
But also some sacred cows of the Republican Party in Congress were opposed to the proposal.
"Never in this country, in wars, depressions, nor in the civil war, have we stopped complying with the electoral calendar and will we have the way to celebrate them on November 3 (...) We will manage whatever the situation and we will celebrate the elections on schedule, ” said Mitch McConnell, the Republican heavyweight in the Senate.
Trump plays to set new limits on the political scene. And that behavior is a guarantee of escalation in the political crisis and in the conflict between the North American elites. If Trump does not give up on this idea, a new scene of dispute can open between Congress and the Executive, but also between Trump and the sacred cows of his party. Nothing looks good.
Extreme inequality, social erosion and protests
The unemployment figure reaches new records. In the past week, 1.4 million Americans without jobs bulked a list that appears to be limitless.
Amid the social crisis, Jeff Bezos, founder and owner of the Amazon megacorporation, added $ 13 billion to his personal wealth in a single day. His fortune has grown exponentially as Amazon is catapulted into a monopoly on retail and e-commerce.
Bezos' wealth, on the one hand, and widespread poverty, on the other, show that the Covid-19 pandemic has been used as a mechanism for wealth transfer by wealthy American elites. A new cycle of original capital accumulation but based, this time, on the dispossession of millions.
Tech giants Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google also posted record profits of $ 28 billion in the last quarter of the year.
This savage transfer of wealth is fracturing American society and smashing its democratic model as internationally displayed as the only role model to follow.
Part of that tension has been evident in the protests that have sheltered the United States from coast to coast since the murder of the African American George Floyd in Minnesota, and that have incorporated elements of the "color revolutions" into their battery of actions.
The most common soft hit method used by the US abroad in contemporary times, returns home and finds a society armed to the teeth and neurotic.
Military-police violence and the use of counterinsurgency tactics in Portland and Seattle set the stage for militarization and a state of emergency and with armed components in the protests.
The exacerbation of the conflict prepares the conditions to increase the historical divisions of American society, which can have unprecedented and unexpected consequences.
The widespread political and social breakdown becomes visible as the core of the new normal in the United States. The decline of the Empire is accelerating and it seems that the landing will be spectacular.

https://medium.com/@misionverdad2012/es ... d65b3e6d10

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Re: Controversy #2 - The U.S. Constitution Sucks

Post by blindpig » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:59 pm

Image

“Defendant Shall Not Attend Protests”: In Portland, Getting Out of Jail Requires Relinquishing Constitutional Rights

July 31, 2020 orinocotribune constitutional rights, Fascism, militia, Portland, Protest, Trump administration, US
Protesters in Portland facing federal charges are barred from going to “public gatherings” as a condition of release from jail — a tactic one expert described as “sort of hilariously unconstitutional.”

By Dara Lind – Jul 30, 2020

Federal authorities are using a new tactic in their battle against protesters in Portland, Oregon: arrest them on offenses as minor as “failing to obey” an order to get off a sidewalk on federal property — and then tell them they can’t protest anymore as a condition for release from jail.

Legal experts describe the move as a blatant violation of the constitutional right to free assembly, but at least 12 protesters arrested in recent weeks have been specifically barred from attending protests or demonstrations as they await trials on federal misdemeanor charges.

“Defendant may not attend any other protests, rallies, assemblies or public gathering in the state of Oregon,” states one “Order Setting Conditions of Release” for an accused protester, alongside other conditions such as appearing for court dates. The orders are signed by federal magistrate judges.

For other defendants, the restricted area is limited to Portland, where clashes between protesters and federal troops have grown increasingly violent in recent weeks. In at least two cases, there are no geographic restrictions; one release document instructs, “Do not participate in any protests, demonstrations, rallies, assemblies while this case is pending.”

Protesters who have agreed to stay away from further demonstrations say they felt forced to accept those terms to get out of jail.

“Those terms were given to me after being in a holding cell after 14 hours,” Bailey Dreibelbis, who was charged July 24 with “failing to obey a lawful order,” told ProPublica. “It was pretty cut-and-dried, just, ‘These are your conditions for [getting out] of here.’

“If I didn’t take it, I would still be in holding. It wasn’t really an option, in my eyes.”

It could not be learned who drafted the orders barring the protesters from joining further demonstrations. The documents reviewed by ProPublica were signed by a federal magistrate in Portland. Magistrates have broad authority to set the terms of release for anyone accused of a crime. They typically receive recommendations from U.S. Pretrial Services, an arm of the U.S. Courts, which can gather input from prosecutors and others involved in the case. ProPublica identified several instances in which the protest ban was added to the conditions of release document when it was drafted, before it was given to the judge. It remained unclear whether the limits on protesting were initiated by Justice Department officials or the magistrates hearing the cases.

Constitutional lawyers said conditioning release from jail on a promise to stop joining protests were overly broad and almost certainly a violation of the First Amendment right to free assembly.

“The government has a very heavy burden when it comes to restrictions on protest rights and on assembly,” noted Jameel Jaffer of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute. “It’s much easier for the government to meet that burden where it has individualized information about a threat. So for example, they know that a particular person is planning to carry out some unlawful activity at a particular protest.”

Over the past week, the federal government has sharply increased the number of protesters it’s charging with federal crimes — often for petty offenses that are classified as federal misdemeanors only because they occur on federal property. Court documents reviewed by ProPublica show that over a third of the protesters are charged with “failing to obey a lawful order,” which 14 protesters were charged with between July 21 and July 24 alone.

The office of the U.S. attorney for Oregon, Billy J. Williams, did not respond to ProPublica’s questions about who was making charging decisions. In a recent interview with The Oregonian, Williams urged local citizens to demand that “violent extremists” who have attempted to break through the fence outside the federal courthouse leave. “Until that happens, we’re going to do what we need to do to protect federal property.”

Craig Gabriel, an assistant U.S. attorney who works for Williams, insisted the office understood and respected the right to protest racial injustice. “People are angry. Very large crowds are gathering, expressing deep and legitimate anger with police and the justice system,” Gabriel told The Oregonian. “We wholeheartedly support the community’s constitutionally protected rights to assemble together in large, even rowdy protests and engage in peaceful and civil disobedience.”

Gabriel did not mention the written restrictions against protest that have been made a condition of release for some of those arrested.

Several protesters who were let go on July 23 had bans against demonstrating added by hand on their release documents by Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta, who signed off on them, a review by ProPublica found. Acosta’s office did not respond to ProPublica’s questions.

For those released on July 24, the restriction was added to the original typed document, also signed by Acosta. One protester arrested and released earlier in the month had his conditions of release modified at his arraignment on July 24. The modified order, signed by Acosta, added a protest ban not previously included.

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Three of the 15 protesters charged on July 27, in orders signed by Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo, also had explicit protest restrictions added to their release terms. (One release order has not yet been posted to the federal courts database.) Russo’s office did not reply to ProPublica’s questions.

“I don’t see that as constitutionally defensible,” Jaffer said. And I find it difficult to believe that any judge would uphold it.”

The ACLU’s Somil Trivedi said, “Release conditions should be related to public safety or flight” — in other words, the risk that the defendant will abscond. “This is neither.” He described the handwritten addition of a protest ban to a release document as “sort of hilariously unconstitutional.”

Publicly, the Trump administration has claimed that it has no problem with the protests that erupted in Portland and other American cities in response to the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man, in police custody in Minneapolis. The administration said it launched Operation Diligent Valor in July with a massive deployment of federal officers merely to protect federal property from “violent extremists.”

Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago Law School said that imposing a protest ban as a release condition undermines the distinction between protected protest and criminal activity. “Even if they’re right that these people did, in fact, step beyond the bounds of the First Amendment and do something illegal, that doesn’t mean you can then restrict their First Amendment right.”


In many cases, the charges leveled at Portland protesters are closely tied to their presence at the protest — and not to any violent acts.

Eighteen of the 50 protesters charged in Portland are accused only of minor offenses under Title 40, Section 1315, of the U.S. Code. That law criminalizes certain behavior (like “failure to obey a lawful order,” as well as “disorderly conduct”) when it happens on federal property or against people who are located on that property. In other words, it describes behavior that wouldn’t otherwise be a matter for a federal court.

Dreibelbis, like other protesters to whom ProPublica has spoken, said he was arrested for being on the sidewalk outside the federal courthouse. Because the federal government owns the land under the sidewalk, another protester (who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid influencing his upcoming trial) told ProPublica it’s “common knowledge” among protesters that the sidewalk is a no-go zone, and setting foot on it risks federal prosecution.

Dreibelbis told ProPublica he roller-skated into the protest, expecting to attend only briefly. He said he knelt on the sidewalk and was arrested by officers. (The charging document filed against Dreibelbis offers no arrest details.)

Section 1315 is the same law the Trump administration is using to justify initiating the federal show of force in Portland, which the administration has said it intends to employ in other cities where protests have raged since Floyd’s death.

The law allows the secretary of homeland security to supplement the Federal Protective Service, the relatively small agency partly responsible for federal building security, with law enforcement agents from the department’s other agencies (such as Customs and Border Protection).

Both President Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, have invoked that part of the law in the past. But the use of that same law to file criminal charges appears to be novel. The Obama administration sent a “surge force” of 400 FPS agents, and a dozen CBP agents, to Baltimore in 2015, when the police killing of Freddie Gray sparked broad unrest, but no charges were filed under Section 1315 itself in that response.

In Portland, the federal government has relied on the FPS and U.S. Marshals to write affidavits used to charge protesters in federal court. But it has detailed other agencies on the protest front lines: DHS agencies cited in court complaints include CBP, through its BORTAC tactical unit; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s investigations unit; DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis, in addition to FPS. Complaints also cite the U.S. Marshals and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which are Justice Department entities.

In the first weeks of the operation, the most common charge against protesters was assault of a federal officer — which, in some cases, counted as a crime on federal property because protesters on the streets were shining lasers at officers inside the courthouse. (DHS has claimed that some officers may permanently lose their vision, but as of July 24, the most serious injury detailed in federal charging documents was an agent who reported seeing spots in his eyes for 15 minutes after the laser attack.)

Over July 23 and 24, however, 10 of the 13 cases opened were charges only of “failing to obey a lawful order.” (One other defendant was charged with assaulting a U.S. Marshal while detained inside the courthouse — where she had been taken after an arrest for “failing to obey a lawful order.”)

Since then, almost all cases have accused protesters of assaulting a federal officer (generally a misdemeanor charge).

In many of the assault cases, files are thin and no details of the allegations have been posted, even for protesters charged as early as July 6. No case files identify an alleged victim — either by name or by the “unique identifier” on their uniforms. (DHS officials have claimed it’s unfair to describe the federal agents in Portland as “unidentified” because they clearly show identification.)

Some assault accusations charge protesters with throwing unidentified objects at officers in body armor, who were unharmed.

Even those defendants who aren’t explicitly barred from attending protests are unable to return to the epicenter of Portland’s unrest as a condition of their release. They are placed under a curfew (either from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. or 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and told not to go within five blocks of the courthouse grounds except for court hearings.

Experts said that while restrictions of that sort are common, they’re still questionably constitutional. “Though ‘stay away’ orders from a place where a potential crime has been committed are generally standard,” the ACLU’s Trivedi said, “‘stay away’ orders from public places that are part of the public square are more questionable.” But he and others conceded that the government could make an argument that it was necessary to prevent further wrongdoing.

They saw no legitimate rationale for a blanket ban on protests.

“I suppose the government could argue, ‘You disobeyed a law enforcement officer at a protest, and we don’t trust you to not do it again,’” Trivedi said. But the release documents already instruct defendants that they are not allowed to break any laws while awaiting trial.

“If they want to say ‘don’t break a law again,’ they’ve already said that,” Trivedi told ProPublica. “Beyond that, the only part that’s left would be not letting you exercise your First Amendment right.”

Driebelbis, for his part, must now watch the protests proceed without him. “I work across the water from the protests, and I can see it every” night, he told ProPublica. “I’m protesting from this side.”

He hastened to clarify that he didn’t mean he was attending a protest in violation of the court order. “Not protesting! There’s no protesting going on in the party of one. But I am there in spirit.”

https://orinocotribune.com/defendant-sh ... al-rights/

While the US Constitution does well & truly suck that is no impediment to the people using it to the greatest extent in their own interests.Rather than dismissing these rights under the bourgeois constitution they should be used tactically in the pursuit of revolution.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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