Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If it saves one child...

How does the Adam Walsh act affect you? You might ask 'why should it affect me, I'm not a sex offender or pedophile'. The truth is, though, it does affect you. First of all, someone has to pay for it. I'm not saying the act is right or wrong, only that it needs to be paid for. That money has to come out of someone's pockets, and because of the existing acts, and the Adam Walsh act, more and more of the sex offenders cannot afford to pay for it, which means that they'll end up in prison, ultimately costing more as they then cannot contribute in taxes, in generated income, and in general to the economy.

There are other costs, however, than simple economic costs. The sex offender registry comprises everyone that's convicted of a sex offense, from misdomeanor offenses to felonies. The registry itself creates a system where, even if you were convicted of a misdomeanor, failure to register or follow the rules of the registry is a felony. In some cases, it can be a life sentence in prison. If an offender moves between states, even after a complete pardon or exoneration, they can be placed back on the registry in the receiving state.

Why does this affect you? You're not a felon, right, or having a sexual misdomeanor! Well, consider this... they're now using the same arguments as they used for sex offenders to punish those that got the contractual bonuses, and claiming that by making it regulatory, regardless of the real intent, they can take the money back. Regulatory laws... with felony punishments, targeted to a specific set of people or class of people. The regulatory system expands with each instance of such laws. Imagine, if you will, having had an unpaid moving violation ticket, a misdomeanor. Using such regulatory laws, they can come in, after the fact, claiming that it is not punishment, and restrict your use of a car.. where you can travel in it, what you can do in your home life, how you have to live, and force you to pay further fines for insurance, for licensure, and even for registration, increase the fines of any traffic ticket, and if necessary use it against you in any other court proceeding that comes up. They can change the rules at any time.

Still think it doesn't affect you? Well... the same regulations govern how you can vote, if you can own a firearm, and often are left to the interpretation of appointed bureaucrats, rather than to the rule of law.

Rights are only rights so long as they are defended for all. Creating classes, for any reason, that are outside of those protections only ensure that such classes will infinitely expand. They say 'if it saves one child, it's worth it', right? Well, consider how many children are now being charged under it. How many children must be destroyed before one is saved?

If it saves one child... it's arguable that the acts of Congress affect all children, everywhere. They're now further in debt, for generations, than ever before. Who harms the most children, and in the most irrevocable fashions? Well-intentioned laws that destroy their rights, their immunities, their liberty and freedom ensure that no child will ever grow up... unmolested by the government, and with the liberties that were to be ensured into perpetuity.

Harming anyone is wrong... whether by law, or by action. Perhaps it is time to hold our legislators, or bureaucrats, our congressmen, our police officers, our corporations to task for the harm that they do, and our lawyers, judges, and those that execute the law for the harm they permit.

After all... if it saves one child...
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

The founders and attainder.

People seem to have forgotten both the history and intent of the Founders in creating the constitution. History talks of the greatest monopolies, including the British East India company, the bankers placing taxes on the colonies due to the expansionism of this company, and attempting to extort profits and using writs of attainder and seizures of property with warrants written on the spot.

Is it so much different to tax via writ, than to seize via writ, when the end result and initial intention is the same, seizure via force?

The federalist 57, "the Alleged Tendency of the New Plan to Elevate the Few at the Expense of the Many Considered in Connection with Representation." by either Hamilton or Madison, Tuesday, February 19, 1788

"I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society."

No targeted legislation. Period.

Federalist 44 was an earlier mention of this, including prohibitions from paper money, by James Madison, Friday, January 25, 1788

"Bills of attainder, ex-post-facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. The two former are expressly prohibited by the declarations prefixed to some of the State constitutions, and all of them are prohibited by the spirit and scope of these fundamental charters. Our own experience has taught us, nevertheless, that additional fences against these dangers ought not to be omitted. Very properly, therefore, have the convention added this constitutional bulwark in favor of personal security and private rights; and I am much deceived if they have not, in so doing, as faithfully consulted the genuine sentiments as the undoubted interests of their constituents. The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and lessinformed part of the community. They have seen, too, that one legislative interference is but the first link of a long chain of repetitions, every subsequent interference being naturally produced by the effects of the preceding. They very rightly infer, therefore, that some thorough reform is wanting, which will banish speculations on public measures, inspire a general prudence and industry, and give a regular course to the business of society. The prohibition with respect to titles of nobility is copied from the articles of Confederation and needs no comment."

One might ask how these intentions comport with the absolute disregard that our current legislature and executive show for the intent of the law. A bill of attainder is any bill that singles out any class of citizens (from the class of one to the class of all) for punishment, fines, fees, or restrictions without a court hearing, and trial by jury with the power, right, and duty of juristic nullification for unconstitutional laws. If it establishes a taint upon the class of one or the class of all, provides special penalties for the existence of that taint, and removes or restricts any right, immunity, or freedom under the Constitution, it is attainder.

Supreme court justices have departed from the original principles, and are loathe to thereto return, however, it is their duty to maintain those core principles of the constitution. They are the sole guardians and interpreters of the law, and for this reason they are nigh immune to removal from the bench.

There was, however, a process and a means by which they could be removed, high crimes against the nation, high treason, and judging against those very core principles that established and maintained their power.

Does it benefit a government, or a people to have a system of laws, if that system is not equally applied? Does it ever benefit a society to create laws to disadvantage some for the advantage of others? It was not too long ago that we abolished slavery, and though longer ago, still only an eyeblink in history that we attempted to forever abolish monopolies, and thereby established the constitution and nation which we should enjoy today.

Should we enjoin against any group for any reason by force of law, we have all become slaves once again. It is the nature of power to forever expand to the limits of what the people will bear, until they cannot resist.

After all, there are harms, and harms. We legislate against those that harm our children, but in the legislative process, how many might be harmed? How many generations of children will grow up with no parents, no family, reviled by society, bearing debts that they did not ask for or even have the choice in from before their conception? How many will taste the ambrosia of liberty? How many will face the walls of prison? Who has the greatest power to harm children?

I'd have to argue that this power would be in the government itself. If unrestrained, Government is a monster, lashing out at all and sundry, the work of rapacious and power-mad men has ever been the destruction of all the society holds dear. The parasites in congress have long-since weakened their host, and intend to become predators, to slaughter that nation and eat out its substance. Are we, as a people, so blind as to believe that they truly have your best intentions at heart? Why would they create fear, when they could show reason? Why terrify when they could educate? Why indoctrinate when the job of education is to teach our children to think, perceive, and question?

What psychological harms are created when we do not teach our children the simple scientific process? What threat is it to the government to question, to perceive, to investigate, to test? Would we not be better off if all were willing to examine reality itself and the political process and actually invent, investigate, experiment? If we were to apply reason to the problem rather than fear?

Any time we create situations where fear is more important than fact.. perhaps it's time to look at those that are engendering the fear. Perhaps, just perhaps, they are trying to distract you from more important things, or from their own actions.

Fear is destructive of reason, and reasonable outcomes can never come from that fear.
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Extending the law...

Looking at the sex offender registry, one must wonder what the true purpose behind it is. It does not make the society safer (see numerous studies, including peer-reviewed studies on the subject prepared for Congress itself) nor does it reduce crime. It targets a specific class of persons, but is constantly expanding.

The politicians argue that this is not punitive, that it is a civil measure, designed to protect society from the dangers presented by these persons.

However, this protection is painted with a far broader brush than many would believe, and offers dubious protection, if any. The offenders that choose to reoffend do so anyway, without regard for registries or laws, and many of the registrants go to prison, not for reoffense, but for the myriad changing laws over which they have minimal control.

It is just that society presents its distrust for these offenders, but it is unjust to present it in ways and means that are detrimental to the ends of that society. The coin of punishment, that harsh payment in the coinage of years can never be undone. It was the objective of our society to institute that punishment in lieu of things that could not be repaid in the coin of the land, and thus to have an end of things.

But when, under 'civil' registry, new requirements, new restrictions, new blockades ensue daily, we find ourselves in a changing world. If misdomeanors can be placed on that same registry, and even accusations, in what direction are we headed, as a nation, and as a people?

Could we not equally declare fines, penalties, fees, and restrictions for murder? Some would say that is a good thing. Drunken driving, indeed, is a plague... but you also open such fines, fees, and restrictions for things like disturbing the peace, vandalism, and all of the infinite other misdomeanor crimes out there in the world.

At which point, if a civil registry can accomplish all that, will not all law go to civil registries, enforced by the punishment of crime? If a civil law, imposed by congressional declaration, can impose fines and fees upon any class of citizen, regardless of past criminality, can it not be equally imposed upon... all? Can they not suddenly equally morph the law for all citizens, all states? Can they not alter the nature of your rights, privileges, and immunites, your freedoms and your liberties, simply by declaring that they believe that a potential threat is there... even if it never materializes?

Should we chase that willow-wisp, we run head-long and uncaring of the destinations directly into the heart of the bog of totalitarianism.

If the government can impose, via a 'civil' registry, utterly outside of the rule of law, new restrictions, new fines, new fees, determine how any individual can travel, where they can work, where they can live, whether or not they may have a family, and must request permission to serve in churches, to associate with others in society, are barred from places within that society, without the intervention of the court...

Is that not the very definition of slavery? Do they not exercise many, if not all of the rights of ownership, from the disposition of that property, to the destruction thereof?

And if they can do that on misdomeanors... can they not equally do it on any crime, of any stripe? From felonies to simple traffic violations, we have opened the door to allow our doom in, with a welcome, a hand shaking, and then loaded their gun and placed it at our temple, and opened the safe of liberty for the ransacking.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

A blessing for all.

The objective is not an easy one... it be not worth it if it were so. The greatest gift of liberty is given to all men, not to a few, and cannot be taken from any man save by his own compliance. Hatred cannot be part of who we are.. and is the greatest enemy any man can face, for it comes from within, from the deepest, most secret parts of our own soul, where too often we cannot face.

I bless you therefore with a blessing and a curse... may your lives be forever worth living, may the load you bear be bearable, and should it not, may you have the courage to change your own world, in spite of the uncertainty of so changing. May you be surrounded by persons of courage, conviction, and certainty, by those willing to question, to challenge, and to help you form yourself into the best being you can be.

May your chains be forged not from slavery, but from freedom, bound to the service of liberty and your fellow man, not from compulsion but from compassion. May your lives be forever full of understanding, and may your souls be tried with that understanding evermore. May you never again turn your backs upon the weak, the suffering, and try your own hearts for the hatred therein contained, and heal from that hatred, with all the trials and tribulations that are required.

May you, forever, grow upon the path of love and understanding, forever reach out into the shadows to find the truth, and grasping it, make it part of you, and let it shine forth to banish that darkness.

May you find that precarious peace you seek, and live it to its fullest, grasp the whirlwind and ride it, even if it leaves you battered and torn, only to rise again to challenge the universe. May you realize that you, and all others, are human, and only human... with all the failings and greatness that entails.

And may you find, and spread, freedom and peace for its own sake.

Tried By Conscience.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The greatest powers of individuals.

I've talked on this system before... and I've decided to write something I have been hesitating to put forth. I know, however, that the importance of what I try to say is directly proportional to my reluctance to say it.

I want to give you people the greatest gift any man can give. It's something you already have, something that is vital to any society, and to any individual. It is knowledge, knowledge which has been forgotten, abandoned, or stolen.

No man can be a slave, save by choice. Even if the would-be masters choose to kill him, he is not a slave, for it is for his resistance that they are threatened. In this nation we have accepted a bill of goods that frankly, is as full of manure as a fertilizer carrier.

Your rights. Those rights were recognized by the constitution, preserved from interference by that document, and by your interaction with it. So long as you preserve your rights, they cannot be taken, they cannot be stolen, they cannot be reduced. Those guarantees go above all other law.

Those protections do not matter much when the Constitution is 'that silly old piece of parchment'. Without the foremost right, the right to protect those rights.. they mean nothing at all.

Life, liberty, property, and the ability to defend all of those....

One can say that he has a right to property, but unless he has property in his rights, those rights are meaningless. They are as much real property as anything one can have, or one can hold. They defend all things one can have or hold.

Cannot the governor deputize a felon? Cannot he call them up and determine their skills to be needful in the defense of the state, the community? Cannot the governor or congress institute a draft in order to utilize them for the purpose of defense? There is no bar to that, nor can there be a legal bar, therefore, all felons are still a part of the militia.

Moreover, the nature of that right, the right to protect your property, your lives, your families, and other innocents is still in your hands. No man can prevent you from carrying a firearm, nor a sword. Via fear of punishment we give up the exercise of those rights, but they are still there.

There were reasons that the Constitution spoke of those founding rights as being inalienable. Anything can become a weapon, from words and reason, to fists and bullets. Your mind is a weapon, as is your courage. They are the most threatening weapon of all against tyrants.

But mind alone, words alone, fists alone are meaningless when a man is faced with a superior force. Thus the guarantee of that right to keep and bear arms, against enemies foreign, domestic, against tyranny and those who would pervert the meaning and nature of the Constitution, and bind you down into that very slavery.

The founding fathers recognized that the law would be used eventually to try to deny that right, to try to punish those attempting to exercise it. Indeed, it is rare to see any person carrying a firearm in this day and age. As the carrying of those arms becomes rarer, we see the visible increase in crime, in murder, in rape. Those who are defenseless are the preferred target to those who would commit crime.

This includes the greatest crime of all... the legislative crime of the ages, the attempt to, by law, enforce the will of one man over another.

Those that say a felon has never been allowed arms in our past forget some of the most famous. Wyatt Earp, for instance, was a felon. Indeed, our very founding fathers were felons, and terrorists. They were guilty of capital treason, a crime for which they could be tortured, maimed, and executed, and the same could be wrought upon their family.

There is no 'except for felons' clause in the constitution. To write one in would be a bill of attainder, and unconstitutional.

If it were intended that men be protected from their own actions, would we not have placed that within the founding documents? Is it not the intent of the rule of law, under common law, to have individual responsibility for one's actions, and not be bound by statute, nor by regulation, but by the past, and by individual responsibility?

Instead, we move toward Roman Law, a law where you are guilty until proven innocent, a law by which the powers of the state override the will of the people, their rights, and even the rule of law itself. When any person can be tried upon that which they have already been tried, or punished for that for which society has determined punishment, the rule of law has fallen.

Is it not the purpose of Common Law under the U.S. system to make peaceable a society, and via the hard coin of punishment to make peaceable again the criminal with society? Should those dues be paid, should we not allow them to embrace the society once again? If not, then law has fallen again, and is no longer law, but only tyranny wrought with the hands of hatred.

We've turned our backs on the vote, only to have it taken from us and subverted by politicians selling the political system to corporations which have only their own profit at heart.

We've closed off our oversight of the vote, and no longer have the means to ensure the accuracy of the vote, or the simple idea that the vote is not fraudulent. We no longer keep records of 'voice votes' on controversial topics, and indeed, sometimes pass legislation without a vote, without a voice for the people, or the state.

When the oaths are violated, when the highest laws of all under Common Law are violated, then those who would be our rulers must be reminded that in truth that they are our servants. The violation of the contract on the part of the government does not give them new powers... only destroys the powers that were ceded to them, and returns them to the hands of the people.

The federalists and antifederalists were in agreement in many things... but the single thing that they were most in agreement with was that the powers of government should be limited, and that liberty itself was far greater a security than any government could be.

Individuals, working in concert, make society. Society does not make individuals. Societies working in concert make nations, nations do not make societies. Individuals working in concert make governments by ceding their rights and powers to the government in order that a common goal may be met. Governments do not create rights, nor powers, save by usurpation.

And usurpation is the end of law, of order, and of government.

If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.

— George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.

— Daniel Webster

"If the king ceases to govern the kingdom, and begins to act as a tyrant, to destroy justice, to overthrow peace, and to break his faith, the man who has taken the oath is free from it, and the people are entitled to depose the king and to set up another, inasmuch as he has broken the principle upon which their mutual obligation depended."
-- Manegold

Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other.
-- John Locke

If I happen to disappear from this blog.. it's likely I've been arrested. I intend to fully exercise my rights.

"Fiat iustitia ruat cœlum". Let justice be done though the heavens fall!

If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of Almighty God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

– Samuel Adams

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who do we protect?

In the past two decades, Congress has passed myriad laws purporting to protect the children, and proposing punishments for those who transgress against them. While the intent was good, perhaps the targeting has fallen away from the mark. We, as a people, and our children deserve better.

Perhaps the greatest measure of efficacy of new legislation should be, not "how harshly are people punished?", but "how often are people required to be punished?" Given the nature of the laws passed, I would actually question if the expressed intent hasn't had far more detriment to the children than the danger to which they were purportedly exposed.

Government legislation cannot reach those who are intending crime. The criminal intent negates all intention of government legislation. Would it not be better to see that the crime never occurs in the first place? Would it not be better if, by the nature of the act, the criminal act never occurs at all?

How would we create this outcome? Would it be less or more expensive than the continual assaults on the rights of all? Law cannot bind the lawbreaker, only the law-abiding, and thus it has minimal effects upon those who would break the law.

It would appear to my mind that the greatest efficacy would be in education. If one teaches the children to recognize their own rights and interests, empowers them to make decisions, and validates those decisions by allowing natural consequences and the learning from those consequences, then those children are far more likely to speak up about abuse.

Likewise, when a person has abused, a crime has been committed, and the damage is done. The crime must be paid for, and paid in full by the sentence imposed by the court. This is law. Altering that law after the fact weakens the underpinnings of the rule of law. Having multiple rules for different persons at different times also weakens that rule of law via vagueness and confusion. Is it not better to deal with those who can be treated, and thereby to determine those who cannot? Is it not better to work with those who have offended, and determine their nature, and see if they are willing to put forth the work required to allow them to truly rejoin society?

One could argue that even this is not effective, but it has not yet been tried. We have focused so much on new punishments and restrictions that we have forgotten the goal. The real goal is no more victims, no more crimes. It is not to punish those who are already punished, or to make laws that bind further those who abide by law. Law cannot bind those who make the choice to break the law.

Education, however, goes beyond even law. It instills in the person individual power, allows them to make informed decisions, allows them to investigate and think, and gives them enlightened self interest in the nature of law, and its following.

When we bind an offender from churches, are we not saying 'You do not deserve redemption'? When we, in sepulchural tones, decree that they do not deserve to be enfolded in the churches who help them to understand the ethics, to base them on something outside themselves, are we not declaring that they must always be criminals?

Was it not the very task of those Christian churches to reach out to the fallen, and guide them back to the light of Christ?

We ban them from living in many places, then complain when they are found living together in the very few places they are allowed. We post their working addresses up, then complaining that they are unemployed when... we will not hire them, and complain about businesses that do. We deny them locations for rent due to the fear of public perception, then complain when they are homeless because there is no place that they may legally live.

We track them as we would an animal, then complain when they disappear from that tracking. We force them to live as animals, then complain when one of them turns and bites.

If you deny them any meaningful reintegration into society... then what reason do they have to attempt to embrace the mores of society? We should be thankful, indeed, that many of them are law-abiding at this point, and that we do not have a far higher incidence of problems.

It would be far less dangerous for the children to help them find housing, work, and stability, and give them reasons to embrace society itself, and the reasons behind society. If we continue to kick them to the curb, and prevent their integration, we cannot complain that those we reject from society do not reintegrate.

We want to revile these human beings. We want to hate them. We forget that the goal is no new victims, anywhere. By abusing them, we become the victimizers, and by denying them meaningful rehabilitation, we are as much taking on the onus of any new crimes as they do. Do not our children deserve the best possible chance at life? Do they not deserve to live in a society that fixes the problems that lead to their victimization, rather than continuing the victimization so others can be harmed?

What we should be asking is what the 'sex offender problem' says about us, our policies, and our very society.
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