I haven’t posted much lately, I know.  To be frank, I’ve considered just taking down my blogs.  I’ve struggled with the decision as to what to do — and tried to understand why I feel the way that I feel.  It’s not that I don’t have things to say: I’ve written numerous posts.  I just never complete them because, well…it hardly seems worth it.

Our system is irrevocably broken.  Nothing short of a new Revolution would fix it.  And I’m not at all sure the Americans of today can fix it even then.  We can only, at best, tear down the present Tyranny.

And why is that?

Brian Tracy, in his book No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline, writes:

In the United States, we have a Constitution and Bill of Rights.  These documents lay out the rules by which Americans agree to live.  They create the structure of our government and guarantee our rights.  But they assume that our elected representatives will be men and women of honor, committed to protecting and defending those rights.  They attempt to ensure that only men and women of character can thrive and prosper over the long term in our economic, political, and social system.  They aim to assure that, in most cases, only men and women of character can rise to high positions in society.

Frankly, I don’t know that I agree with Brian Tracy concerning the aim of the rules laid out by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, at least in terms of the aim being to assure that only certain kinds of people thrive, prosper, and rise to high positions in our society.  It makes some sense that this might be the end result of a system based on our Constitution and Bill of Rights, but I think the aim is much simpler than that: the aim is simply to guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is available to each human being.   In particular, it gives the government certain limited powers necessary to structure a society where that is possible, while simultaneously trying to ensure that government doesn’t exceed those powers in a way that negatively impacts individual choices regarding life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

He’s dead right, however, about the rest of it.  The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are completely useless unless our elected representatives are men and women of honor, committed to protecting and defending those rights.

And, increasingly, they are not.

Day after day, I go out to “do battle” in an adversarial system the goal of which is sometimes described as “to seek justice,” or, at the least, “to preserve the social order.”  But “preserve the social order” can mean a lot of things.  If it means something like “preserve the world in such a way that the haves continue to have and the have-nots continue to have not,” then there is no relationship to justice.  If it means “to provide a means whereby those who have been wronged can have some chance of being made whole again” and “to provide a means whereby those who have proven they are not able to live in a civilized society can be handled in such a way as to assist them in becoming less harmful to others, or in a way that protects us when they will not ‘reform,'” then there is the potential that it connects to the concept of Justice.

Increasingly, our “Justice” system has become disconnected from the concept of Justice — whether you like to spell justice with a capital “J” or not.

This, I’ve found, is a difficult world for me to live in.  It’s the kind of world in which I find myself increasingly on the side of troublemakers — I do not mean “criminals,” although certainly if I were to take the obvious path of armed resistance, that would make me into a criminal in the eyes of most people.

And I have no desire to be a criminal.  I simply desire to interfere with the criminals who, increasingly, are running our system; nominally, our “justice” system.  And make no mistake, criminals are what they are: those who would destroy the values on which this once-great nation — this Great Experiment, as it was called — was founded, while making a pretense of upholding those values are worse even than the criminals who kill, rape, or rob from people.  They — the judges, the prosecutors, the law enforcement officers who consider the Constitution an impediment to the achievement of their goals — destroy an entire society.  They bring to an end our Great Experiment.

Constantly having to fight them all frequently feels, at least for me, like an overwhelming task.  How do you handle working in a system where, for example, ex parte communications between judges and victims, judges and probation officers, or judges and prosecutors are so routine that judges don’t even try to hide it because they don’t actually recognize it as wrong?  How do you handle working in a system where the antagonism to accused people, or (and these are connected) the support of “victims” has become so strong that unfairness is built into the system?  How do you justify being part of a system in which the authorities aggressively pursue DNA testing to prove a dead man killed his wife, (Edit 12/2015: link gone.) but vigorously resist efforts to allow DNA testing to prove a living man’s innocence?  What do you do when judges consistently side with the prosecutors on such issues?

Our system has become skewed because we have forgotten what we once knew.  The Founders established a system that should have lasted for the ages.  As Brian Tannebaum has pointed out,

Four of the first ten amendments, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights, were written for the criminal justice system.

And he went on to say,

To sum it up, the criminal defense lawyer mirrored the philosophy behind the creation of America – a mistrust of government, a method of redress, and liberty. The criminal defense lawyer was given important powers to question government and assure that any attempt to take away liberty was done with strict scrutiny.

“Strict scrutiny.”

Any scrutiny these days generally has one result: arrest.

Despite all the above, as Scott Greenfield notes, Americans, although distrustful of the “justice” system, continue to believe in, to support the police. How we became transformed from a nation that distrusted authority into one that blindly supports it is beyond me.  But it is increasingly clear that most Americans bear an uncanny resemblance to sheep, while too many others resemble Norm Pattis’ sheep-fixated dog, Odysseus.

Norm has learned the futility of trying to fight “Ody’s” inbred over-herding of sheep.  The best Norm can do is keep Ody away from them.

Our Constitution and its attendant Bill of Rights were intended to do that — to keep the Odysseuses in our nation away from the sheep (and all the rest of us), to allow us the security of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness unencumbered by those in whom the tendency to herd everyone else was overbred.

But the fence is broken.  Where the courts haven’t actually torn it down, it is simply ignored.

The Fourth Amendment?  The Odys merely testi-lie that they had permission. The courts believe them because everyone illegally possessing marijuana is okay with showing it to the po-po.  The Fifth Amendment?  The stupid sheep didn’t realize they had to bleat exactly the right words to invoke their right, so their bleating of the wrong words is completely admissible in court.  The Sixth Amendment?  Who can afford that? (Edit 12/2015: Link broken, and replaced with another. And see this, too.)

And let’s not even discuss the long-absent Eighth Amendment, the loss of which means criminal penalties can increase without limitation in such a way that jails and prisons now load up on innocents who plead out, rather than risk the long-term consequences devolving from our current “justice” system.  This is done, again, with the full support of our courts.

When the other branches of government don’t give the Odys enough power, the Odys will simply appropriate it anyway.  That’s what Odys the world over do.

And me?  I’m getting tired of trying to chase the Odys away from the sheep.  Especially when the sheep don’t really appreciate it anyway.  It’s bad enough to have to fight the Odys, without having the fight the sheep, too.

I sure do miss that fence.

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25 comments

  1. You are absolutely right. The Bill of Rights are being trampled on daily. Rules and procedures have been and are being made to completely destroy the original intent of therights that every person should enjoy. But don’t just restrict your comments to blogs.Write articles, make speeches, give interviews, in other words “go public”. You have more that agrees with you than you think.

  2. You are absolutely right. The Bill of Rights are being trampled on daily. Rules and procedures have been and are being made to completely destroy the original intent of therights that every person should enjoy. But don’t just restrict your comments to blogs.Write articles, make speeches, give interviews, in other words “go public”. You have more that agrees with you than you think.

  3. I believe you need to keep writing.
    That, even though I disagree with at least one assertion in each post you write.
    The world needs articulate people who care passionately about justice, and you are one of them.

    I believe you need to keep writing.
    That, even though when I read your posts I wonder why I bother writing myself because I feel like I’ve wandered into a section of people who mistrust me and doubt my motivations.
    The legal community needs your input, your opinions, your insight.

    I believe you need to keep writing.
    That, even though my blood boils at some of your statements that I perceive to be unfair to good cops, decent prosecutors, honest judges.
    The Constitution needs you to wield your pen/keyboard, not take up arms in fury.

    That broken fence you see: there are good people on both sides hoping, wanting, willing to mend it. And you are one of them, so don’t pack up your hammer and nails and go home.

    Heck, if you do then you’re leaving me, a prosecutor, to work on the fence. Unsupervised. Sure you want that?!

  4. I believe you need to keep writing.
    That, even though I disagree with at least one assertion in each post you write.
    The world needs articulate people who care passionately about justice, and you are one of them.

    I believe you need to keep writing.
    That, even though when I read your posts I wonder why I bother writing myself because I feel like I’ve wandered into a section of people who mistrust me and doubt my motivations.
    The legal community needs your input, your opinions, your insight.

    I believe you need to keep writing.
    That, even though my blood boils at some of your statements that I perceive to be unfair to good cops, decent prosecutors, honest judges.
    The Constitution needs you to wield your pen/keyboard, not take up arms in fury.

    That broken fence you see: there are good people on both sides hoping, wanting, willing to mend it. And you are one of them, so don’t pack up your hammer and nails and go home.

    Heck, if you do then you’re leaving me, a prosecutor, to work on the fence. Unsupervised. Sure you want that?!

  5. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    The voice crying in the wilderness can be a powerful thing. The more people blindly trust authority and the police, the more important it is that people like you continue to speak out. I’ve repeatedly sent people to this site to enlighten them, because your words are better than mine.

    The fence may be broken, but it can never be fixed without people willing to stand up and speak the truth.

  6. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    The voice crying in the wilderness can be a powerful thing. The more people blindly trust authority and the police, the more important it is that people like you continue to speak out. I’ve repeatedly sent people to this site to enlighten them, because your words are better than mine.

    The fence may be broken, but it can never be fixed without people willing to stand up and speak the truth.

  7. i am not an attorney just a human being that believes in the UN declaration of Human Rights the US consititution and SUNSHINE.
    I recieve complaints from Bakersfield to Los Banos re: bad cops, abuse and law enforcment shootings and I try in my little ways to guide these folks thru the “JUST US” system. Some can’t find attorneys and try to file cases themselves and they like you all are up against not one but several attorneys who represent the cops, the dept and the city.
    so Yea, i get the blues too… but every once in awhile a little sunshine comes my way like your blogs..which i share with others and other blogs, newsources and it gives me energy to keep pushing back… check out if you haven’t already the following article on http://www.colorlines.org

    http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/04/fresno_cops_involved_in_repeat_shootings_still_on_duty.html

    kind of ridiculous to have an early warning system but can’t identify repeat shooters???? also note the US attorney on behalf of the grand jury has handed a suponea to the FPD… so yes.. a little bit of sunshine makes me happy!

    Fresno Cops Involved in Repeat Shootings Still on Duty

  8. i am not an attorney just a human being that believes in the UN declaration of Human Rights the US consititution and SUNSHINE.
    I recieve complaints from Bakersfield to Los Banos re: bad cops, abuse and law enforcment shootings and I try in my little ways to guide these folks thru the “JUST US” system. Some can’t find attorneys and try to file cases themselves and they like you all are up against not one but several attorneys who represent the cops, the dept and the city.
    so Yea, i get the blues too… but every once in awhile a little sunshine comes my way like your blogs..which i share with others and other blogs, newsources and it gives me energy to keep pushing back… check out if you haven’t already the following article on http://www.colorlines.org

    http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/04/fresno_cops_involved_in_repeat_shootings_still_on_duty.html

    kind of ridiculous to have an early warning system but can’t identify repeat shooters???? also note the US attorney on behalf of the grand jury has handed a suponea to the FPD… so yes.. a little bit of sunshine makes me happy!

    Fresno Cops Involved in Repeat Shootings Still on Duty

  9. Keep writing.

    The next time I get stopped for a moving violation, the officer may ask to see the content of my trunk for ‘safety reasons’. If I politely refuse, the officer may threaten to get a search warrant or find other reasons to write more violations. He’ll escalate. He may go absolute bat shit and kill me. Here’s the thing. If I give in to his coercion and allow an unconstitutional search, I am in however small a way, contributing to the problem by giving tacit approval to the officer’s unconstitutional shenanigans.

    If you stop writing, people will stop reading your work. If that happens the knowledge of how the government is shredding our Constitution will cease, to some small degree, but the point remains that it will cease. That isn’t good.

    I’m not an attorney, but I’m learning about law and the system, and I’m doing so by reading your blog and others like it. I’ll pass the information along to others, and if that information keeps one more person out of jail, then that is a major victory.

  10. Keep writing.

    The next time I get stopped for a moving violation, the officer may ask to see the content of my trunk for ‘safety reasons’. If I politely refuse, the officer may threaten to get a search warrant or find other reasons to write more violations. He’ll escalate. He may go absolute bat shit and kill me. Here’s the thing. If I give in to his coercion and allow an unconstitutional search, I am in however small a way, contributing to the problem by giving tacit approval to the officer’s unconstitutional shenanigans.

    If you stop writing, people will stop reading your work. If that happens the knowledge of how the government is shredding our Constitution will cease, to some small degree, but the point remains that it will cease. That isn’t good.

    I’m not an attorney, but I’m learning about law and the system, and I’m doing so by reading your blog and others like it. I’ll pass the information along to others, and if that information keeps one more person out of jail, then that is a major victory.

  11. Rick, I certainly hope you keep up the blogging. It helps fuel my libertarian outrage at the way our government treats us. But if you decide to stop, please don’t take the blogs down. I realize that keeping things up has a cost, but I think there are good reasons for paying that relatively small price.

    First of all, as long as you keep the blog up, search engines will lead people to your blog articles. You may not want to write anything new, but why would you want to stop people from reading what you’ve already gone through the hard work of writing?

    Second, by now other people have blogged stuff that links to your posts. If you take down your blogs, it breaks their links, and it could make it hard for their readers to understand what they were writing about. (I’m still not quite over Norm Pattis taking down his earlier blogs and breaking my links to his posts.)

    Third, if you change your mind and start feeling better about blogging, it will be a lot easier to restart. Best not to make any permament decisions while you’re feeling depressed, right?

  12. Rick, I certainly hope you keep up the blogging. It helps fuel my libertarian outrage at the way our government treats us. But if you decide to stop, please don’t take the blogs down. I realize that keeping things up has a cost, but I think there are good reasons for paying that relatively small price.

    First of all, as long as you keep the blog up, search engines will lead people to your blog articles. You may not want to write anything new, but why would you want to stop people from reading what you’ve already gone through the hard work of writing?

    Second, by now other people have blogged stuff that links to your posts. If you take down your blogs, it breaks their links, and it could make it hard for their readers to understand what they were writing about. (I’m still not quite over Norm Pattis taking down his earlier blogs and breaking my links to his posts.)

    Third, if you change your mind and start feeling better about blogging, it will be a lot easier to restart. Best not to make any permament decisions while you’re feeling depressed, right?

  13. What Brian said.

    Beyond that, we do get tired. But the fight – that’s what keeps us going. And it’s what keeps the so-called justice system (it is a system, regardless of its connection to whatever justice might be) from devolving to the point where it becomes worse than either true anarchy or pure totalitarianism. We maintain the fence. It may be in tatters, but that it stands at all is our work. That’s no small thing, and it’s one you can be proud to get up and pursue every day.

    And the problems aren’t new. We’ve been ignoring the Bill of Rights from the moment it was adopted. (Think the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798; think the Trail of Tears; think Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus; think Korematsu.) These are perilous times, but then, most times are.

    Keep on keeping on as they used to say. It’s all we can do. And it’s really quite a lot.

  14. What Brian said.

    Beyond that, we do get tired. But the fight – that’s what keeps us going. And it’s what keeps the so-called justice system (it is a system, regardless of its connection to whatever justice might be) from devolving to the point where it becomes worse than either true anarchy or pure totalitarianism. We maintain the fence. It may be in tatters, but that it stands at all is our work. That’s no small thing, and it’s one you can be proud to get up and pursue every day.

    And the problems aren’t new. We’ve been ignoring the Bill of Rights from the moment it was adopted. (Think the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798; think the Trail of Tears; think Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus; think Korematsu.) These are perilous times, but then, most times are.

    Keep on keeping on as they used to say. It’s all we can do. And it’s really quite a lot.

  15. I know so little, but believe that you’re correct – the fence is down. This fence has been down and this fence was never that strong to begin with. This fence required subsequent caretakers to ensure that the fence was maintained, otherwise it would certainly, as it has, fall.

    Actually, it was merely a fence of words – the right to erect having been secured by bloodshed. The people that erected it certainly passionately believed that the inherent rightness of the fence and the subsequently added braces would, in addition to limiting the power of the governing, ensure a nation free from the governed being denied their liberty or property on the whims of unleashed Ody’s.

    My first realization that the fence had been breached was with the passage of what became very liberally applied forfeiture laws pursuant and related to the War on Drugs. The breach I’m referring to is not the breach where the state has presented its evidence in a court of law that some property was beyond a reasonable doubt purchased with the monetary proceeds of illegal transactions. I’m thinking of the breach where the citizen has to prove that the property siezed wasn’t gained due to illegal transactions or the property is forfeited on suspicion alone.

    Legislators gave the hounds reason to bust through any part of the fence they want to. And the reason the hounds have is money. Money for everything – helicopters, SWAT teams, tanks, you name it.

    That this breach was not swiftly and decisively repaired by the judiciary was to me absolute proof that what had been a 6 gauge chain link fence of words had become a shadowbox fence built of paper thin boards.

    Thank you for your post, I remembered exactly what enraged me so long ago that my thought’s turned to becoming a lawyer. And no, I’ve never lost anything to forfeiture.

  16. I know so little, but believe that you’re correct – the fence is down. This fence has been down and this fence was never that strong to begin with. This fence required subsequent caretakers to ensure that the fence was maintained, otherwise it would certainly, as it has, fall.

    Actually, it was merely a fence of words – the right to erect having been secured by bloodshed. The people that erected it certainly passionately believed that the inherent rightness of the fence and the subsequently added braces would, in addition to limiting the power of the governing, ensure a nation free from the governed being denied their liberty or property on the whims of unleashed Ody’s.

    My first realization that the fence had been breached was with the passage of what became very liberally applied forfeiture laws pursuant and related to the War on Drugs. The breach I’m referring to is not the breach where the state has presented its evidence in a court of law that some property was beyond a reasonable doubt purchased with the monetary proceeds of illegal transactions. I’m thinking of the breach where the citizen has to prove that the property siezed wasn’t gained due to illegal transactions or the property is forfeited on suspicion alone.

    Legislators gave the hounds reason to bust through any part of the fence they want to. And the reason the hounds have is money. Money for everything – helicopters, SWAT teams, tanks, you name it.

    That this breach was not swiftly and decisively repaired by the judiciary was to me absolute proof that what had been a 6 gauge chain link fence of words had become a shadowbox fence built of paper thin boards.

    Thank you for your post, I remembered exactly what enraged me so long ago that my thought’s turned to becoming a lawyer. And no, I’ve never lost anything to forfeiture.

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