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The Republic

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The American Police State

(from The Ron Paul Institute , in part)

The following activities are guaranteed to get you censored, surveilled, eventually placed on a government watch list, possibly detained and potentially killed.

Laugh at your own peril.

Use harmless trigger words like cloud, pork and pirates: The Department of Homeland Security has an expansive list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats such as SWAT, lockdown, police, cloud, food poisoning, pork, flu, Subway, smart, delays, cancelled, la familia, pirates, hurricane, forest fire, storm, flood, help, ice, snow, worm, warning or social media.

Use a cell phone: Simply by using a cell phone, you make yourself an easy target for government agents—working closely with corporations—who can listen in on your phone calls, read your text messages and emails, and track your movements based on the data transferred from, received by, and stored in your cell phone. Mention any of the so-called “trigger” words in a conversation or text message, and you’ll get flagged for sure.

Drive a car: Unless you’ve got an old junkyard heap without any of the gadgets and gizmos that are so attractive to today’s car buyers (GPS, satellite radio, electrical everything, smart systems, etc.), driving a car today is like wearing a homing device: you’ll be tracked from the moment you open that car door thanks to black box recorders and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems that can monitor your speed, direction, location, the number of miles traveled, and even your seatbelt use. Once you add satellites, GPS devices, license plate readers, and real-time traffic cameras to the mix, there’s nowhere you can go on our nation’s highways and byways that you can’t be followed.

Attend a political rally: Enacted in the wake of 9/11, the Patriot Act redefined terrorism so broadly that many non-terrorist political activities such as protest marches, demonstrations and civil disobedience were considered potential terrorist acts, thereby rendering anyone desiring to engage in protected First Amendment expressive activities as suspects of the surveillance state.

Express yourself on social media: The FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies are investing in and relying on corporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to identify potential extremists and predict who might engage in future acts of anti-government behavior.

Serve in the militaryOperation Vigilant Eagle, the brainchild of the Dept. of Homeland Security, calls for surveillance of military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, characterizing them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.”

Disagree with a law enforcement official: A growing number of government programs are aimed at identifying, monitoring and locking up anyone considered potentially “dangerous” or mentally ill (according to government standards, of course). For instance, a homeless man in New York City who reportedly had a history of violence but no signs of mental illness was forcibly detained in a psych ward for a week after arguing with shelter police.

Call in sick to work: In Virginia, a so-called police “welfare check” instigated by a 58-year-old man’s employer after he called in sick resulted in a two-hour, SWAT team-style raid on the man’s truck and a 72-hour mental health hold. All of this was done despite the fact that police acknowledged they had no legal basis nor probable cause for detaining the man, given that he had not threatened to harm anyone and was not mentally ill.

Limp or stutter: As a result of a nationwide push to certify a broad spectrum of government officials in mental health first-aid training (a 12-hour course comprised of PowerPoint presentations, videos, discussions, role playing and other interactive activities), more Americans are going to run the risk of being reported for having mental health issues by non-medical personnel. For instance, one 37-year-old disabled man was arrested, diagnosed by police and an unlicensed mental health screener as having “mental health issues,” apparently because of his slurred speech and unsteady gait.

Appear confused or nervous, fidget, whistle or smell bad: According to the Transportation Security Administration’s 92-point secret behavior watch list for spotting terrorists, these are among some of the telling signs of suspicious behavior: fidgeting, whistling, bad body odor, yawning, clearing your throat, having a pale face from recently shaving your beard, covering your mouth with your hand when speaking and blinking your eyes fast.

Allow yourself to be seen in public waving a toy gun or anything remotely resembling a gun, such as a water nozzle or a remote control or a walking cane, for instance: No longer is it unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later. John Crawford was shot by police in an Ohio Wal-Mart for holding an air rifle sold in the store that he may have intended to buy. Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez Cruz was shot 7 times in 10 seconds by a California police officer who mistook the boy’s toy gun for an assault rifle. Christopher Roupe, 17, was shot and killed after opening the door to a police officer. The officer, mistaking the Wii remote control in Roupe’s hand for a gun, shot him in the chest. Another police officer repeatedly shot 70-year-old Bobby Canipe during a traffic stop. The cop saw the man reaching for his cane and, believing the cane to be a rifle, opened fire.

Appear to be pro-gun, pro-freedom or anti-government: You might be a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (and its network of snitches) if you: express libertarian philosophies; exhibit Second Amendment-oriented views; read survivalist literature, including apocalyptic fictional books; show signs of self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies); fear an economic collapse; buy gold and barter items; voice fears about Big Brother or big government; or expound about constitutional rights and civil liberties.

Attend a public school: Microcosms of the police state, America’s public schools contain almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.” Additionally, as part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the FBI—the nation’s de facto secret police force—is now recruiting students and teachers to spy on each other and report anyone who appears to have the potential to be “anti-government” or “extremist” as part of its “Don’t Be a Puppet” campaign.

Speak truth to power: Long before Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon who were being singled out for daring to speak truth to power. These men and others like them had their phone calls monitored and data files collected on their activities and associations. For a little while, at least, they became enemy number one in the eyes of the US government.

There’s always a price to pay for standing up to the powers-that-be.

Yet as this list shows, you don’t even have to be a dissident to get flagged by the government for surveillance, censorship and detention.

All you really need to be is a citizen of the American police state.

Have we EVER been this ‘Free’ Republic of which many of us often speak?  Or is that just the goal we never reach? And seem to be drifting even further away from?

police state

h/t Bullets, Beans and Bullion

Political Correctness @ Arlington

(from Free North Carolina)
confed arlington

The PC police have found a new target.  Not satisfied with monuments and flags, the Maryland general assembly recently voted to alter the lyrics to the official State song, James Ryder Randall’s “Maryland, My Maryland.”  Lincoln apologist Christian McWhirter penned a piece for Time magazine that labeled the song “dissident.”  This is true if using the standard definition of the word, opposition to official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.  Anti-Hitler Germans were dissidents.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, and the rest of the founding generation were dissidents.  Anti-Lenin and anti-Stalin Russians were dissidents.  Demonstrators at Tiananmen Square were dissidents.  It seems dissidents are those usually on the right side of history.  Obviously McWhirter disagrees.

Gee.  Time magazine.  Who knew?

American Industrial Ingenuity

Brought to you by the PRC (Communist China)

Via Billy and Free North Carolina

Cadillac XTS China REUTERSKim Kyung-Hoon.

General Motors is hiring Chinese workers to build Cadillac autos that will be sold to the American taxpayers who bailed the company out in 2008.

The plug-in hybrid version of the CT6, which is already manufactured in China, will be available in American showrooms this summer, according to Bloomberg News.
There is growing criticism about General Motors’ decision to hire Chinese workers for manufacturing jobs after accepting a huge bailout from American taxpayers. “America invested in GM and GM turned around and stabbed America in the back,” Rick Manning, the president of Americans for Limited Government, told Breitbart News.   
Breitbart has already reported on GM’s plan to sell the made-in-China Buick Envision in the United States. 
Business mogul Donald Trump has made U.S. trade policies with countries like China a central theme of his populist campaign.
More @ Breitbart
Hey, we GAVE them the money, right?  So whose fault is it that more American jobs are moving offshore?
(In the interest of full disclosure, I own a pre-bailout GM car.  The bad news she’s a 2000 Olds Intrigue, with over 140k miles on her.  The good news is in spite of the fact I cannot afford to maintain her, she still runs.  Kind-of.)

Barely A Peep…

(from Joe @ The View From North Central Idaho)

Quote of the day—Paul Craig Roberts

An attack on abortion rights, for example, produces a far greater outcry and resistance than the successful attack on habeas corpus and due process. President Obama was able to declare his power to execute citizens by executive branch decision alone without due process and conviction in court, and it produced barely audible protest.

*Historically, a government that can, without due process, throw a citizen into a dungeon or summarily execute him is considered to be a tyranny, not a democracy.  By any historical definition, the United States today is a tyranny.

Paul Craig Roberts
Does The United States Still Exist?
An address delivered to the Libertarian Party of Florida on March 23, 2016 in Destin, Florida
[Interesting points.

Remember: Why Boomershoot? Insurance against tyranny.—Joe]

Re: *Historically (above)

SOMEONE had to say it!  –  Guffaw

♫ School Days, School Days…♫

(I suspect most folks born after 1960 aren’t familiar with this song(?)

Old NFO came across THIS, which he labelled ‘an Interesting Find’ (from December 1917).

When contractors began work on four classrooms of old Emerson High School in Oklahoma City, they knew their work would lead to school betterment, but they never expected it would impact local history.

Looking to upgrade the rooms with new whiteboards and smartboards, the workers had to first remove the outdated chalkboards. But when they began to pull away those old boards, they made a startling discovery

Oklahoma City school officials aren’t just taken back by what’s written on the boards, but also by how beautifully it is written. Penmanship like this is clearly a lost art. One board reads, “I give my head, my heart, and my life to my God, and One nation indivisible with justice for all.”

Rd8wR0w

And math too!

XwvXzBn

And though the boards’ style and subject matter might be unfamiliar to today’s younger folks, they certainly resonate with older generations. Principal Kishore told The Oklahoman what it was like to show her 85-year-old mother the boards: “She just stood there and cried. She said it was exactly like her classroom was when she was going to school.”

Simply amazing! It seems they must have done this over the holidays in Dec 1917, and never took the old boards down, just put the new ones up right over the old ones!!!

h/t Jimmy D

THANKS, JIM!

My comment to him was I suspect most of today’s college graduates would be unable to read (or write) the cursive, do the math and would poo-pooh the pledge to God and Country.

How far we have fallen!

Death Or Hanging, Part Two

So, which is worse – the constant (and government-approved) encroachment of Islamic folks (some of whom appear to be scofflaws and terrorists!) or the constant encroachment against our civil liberties by our own government?

Must I choose one?  Really?

from Free North Carolina

We Are At War

Via WRSA

https://i2.wp.com/i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/11/16/00/2E7ADF9D00000578-0-image-a-58_1447634992599.jpg

We are currently in the process of losing our freedoms and effective control over our societies. It is sheer madness to continue Muslim immigration in a situation when militant Muslims are actively waging war against us in our own cities. Western political leaders who promote such policies are guilty of criminal negligence at best. They must be removed from power, and replaced by people who protect the long-term interests of our nations.

*******************************
 On the morning of March 22, 2016, Belgium was struck by coordinated nail bombings. Two hit Brussels Airport at the check-in counter, before the security screening. Another suicide bomber hit Maalbeek metro station, located not far from prominent EU buildings. The attacks occurred a few days before the Christian Easter celebrations. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks. At least 35 people were killed, and many seriously injured. The Muslim terrorists have connections to militant Muslims in many parts of Europe and the Middle East.[1] The authorities faced difficulties in apprehending some of the terrorists partly because they enjoy widespread sympathy and support in certain Muslim communities.

Brussels is not merely the capital of Belgium. It is also the capital of the European Union (EU), and houses the headquarters of the Western defense alliance NATO. It is therefore a symbolic target. The city contains a large Muslim immigrant population. In notorious urban districts such as Molenbeek, radical Muslims have ties to international Jihadist networks. Belgium has produced more Jihadists as a proportion of its population than any other Western European country. On May 24, 2014, a gunman killed four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels.

Following the Brussels bombings, the US State Department warned US citizens of the “potential risks” of traveling to Europe. A statement said terror groups were planning “attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and transportation.”[2]

Europe is now becoming more like Israel, facing constant Islamic terror threats in daily life.

And we are becoming more like Britain or Canada, with a side of Russia, as far as RIGHTS are concerned.  Bill of Rights?!  WHAT Bill of Rights?!  And The Supreme Court deciding (through attrition) that union non-members can be forced to pay…

WASHINGTON — Conservatives bent on crippling the power of public employee unions lost their best opportunity in years Tuesday when the Supreme Court deadlocked over a challenge to the fees those unions collect from non-members.

Rather than seeking to reschedule the case for their next term, the justices simply announced they were tied 4-4 — a verdict which leaves intact the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upholding the fee collections.  (USA Today)

Say WHAT?!

Those Who Fail To Learn From History…

…are forever doomed to have George Santayana quoted to them!

From my friend Borepatch:

The fall of Rome and a lesson for our times

From Victor Davis Hanson:

And I’ll conclude with a spoiler from his finish because I think it’s so profound. Describing the fall of Rome to a band of thugs after a much smaller Roman Republic had defeated much larger and more dangerous threats:
“Fast forward to the 5th century AD, is this the Roman Republic, 1/4 of Italy? No. It now encompasses 70 million people, from Mesopotamia in the East to the Atlantic ocean in the West, to above Hadrian’s Wall in the North to the Sahara Desert in the South, one million square miles. And they’re attacked, not by a formidable power, the inheritor of classical military science like Hannibal, but a thug like Atilla with some Huns and Visigoths and Vandals. By any measure, the threat was nothing compared to the threat that Romans faced when it was much, much smaller. But why in the world could they not defend themselves….?
The answer is…in 216 BC a Roman knew what it was to be a Roman. And they were under no illusions that they had to be perfect to be good. All they believed was they had an illustrious tradition that was better than alternative and could be better even more…In 450 AD I don’t think the average person who lived under the Roman Empire…knew what it was to be a Roman citizen, he did not believe that it was any better than the alternative. And when that happens in history, history is cruel, it gives nobody a pass. If you cease to believe that your country’s exceptional and has a noble tradition, and it is good without without being perfect, and it’s better than the alternative – If you cease to believe that! – there’s no reason for you to continue, and history says you won’t. And you don’t.”
Can we learn and change course? Or are we doomed to travel that road once more?

It’s a long but excellent talk at the link, full of insight.

Upon reading this, my memory went back to Dr. Smith teaching Western Civ 101, in front of 300+ horny Freshmen and Sophomores, in 1970. (Yep, a long time ago.)
He said The Fall of The Roman Empire was not facilitated by the attacks of the Barbarians from the North, but rather initiated by the Roman people themselves.  It seemed they no longer cared about order, morality and law, but fell to (in his words)
“Moral decadence and pleasures of the flesh!”
Followed by the cheers, yelps and claps of the hormonal underclassmen.
And here we are, two or three generations into that same mindset.  “What’s in it for me?”
I saw a blip on FB a week-or-so-ago (which I unfortunately was unable to refind on The Internet) wherein students at a rally for Senator Bernie Sanders were shown the following quote, and asked to comment on it:
“Ask not what your Country can do for you; ask what you can do for your Country.”
And commentary ranged from it must have been a quote from Donald Trump, to Adolf Hitler!
Those who fail to learn from history…
The barbarians are at the gate, and also already inside – just waiting…

Stupid America

(as seen in SHTFplan.com)

Depressing Survey Results Show How Extremely Stupid America Has Become

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog.

Ten years ago, a major Hollywood film entitled “Idiocracy” was released, and it was an excellent metaphor for what would happen to America over the course of the next decade.  In the movie, an “average American” wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that he suddenly finds himself in.  Sadly, I truly believe that if people of average intellect from the 1950s and 1960s were transported to 2016, they would likely be considered mental giants compared to the rest of us.  We have a country where criminals are being paid $1000 a month not to shoot people, and the highest paid public employee in more than half the states is a football coach.  Hardly anyone takes time to read a book anymore, and yet the average American spends 302 minutes a day watching television. 75 percent of our young adults cannot find Israel on a map of the Middle East, but they sure know how to find smut on the Internet.  It may be hard to believe, but there are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet today, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

What in the world has happened to us?  How is it possible that we have become so stupid?  According to a brand new report that was recently released, almost 10 percent of our college graduates believe that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court…

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni publishes occasional reports on what college students know.

Nearly 10 percent of the college graduates surveyed thought Judith Sheindlin, TV’s “Judge Judy,” is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Less than 20 percent of the college graduates knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than a quarter of the college graduates did not know Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during World War II; one-third did not know he was the president who spearheaded the New Deal.

It can be tempting to laugh at numbers like these until you realize that survey after survey has come up with similar results.

Just consider what Newsweek found a few years ago…

When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

Even worse were the extremely depressing results of a study conducted a few years ago by Common Core…

*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.

*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.

*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.

Of course survey results can be skewed, and much hinges on how the questions are asked.

However, even studies that are scientifically conducted confirm how stupid America has become.  In fact, a report from the Educational Testing Service found that Americans are falling way behind much of the rest of the industrialized world.  The following comes from CBS News

Americans born after 1980 are lagging their peers in countries ranging from Australia to Estonia, according to a new report from researchers at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The study looked at scores for literacy and numeracy from a test called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the abilities of people in 22 countries.

The results are sobering, with dire implications for America. It hints that students may be falling behind not only in their early educational years but at the college level. Even though more Americans between the ages of 20 to 34 are achieving higher levels of education, they’re still falling behind their cohorts in other countries. In Japan, Finland and the Netherlands, young adults with only a high school degree scored on par with American Millennials holding four-year college degrees, the report said.

Out of 22 countries that were part of the study, the Educational Testing Service found that Americans were dead last in tech proficiency, dead last in numeracy and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

So why has this happened?

Why have we become such an extremely stupid nation?

Well, at least a portion of the blame must be directed at our system of education.  The following is an excerpt from an article written by reporter Mark Morford.  In this article, he shared how one of his friends which had served for a very long time as a high school teacher in Oakland, California was considering moving out of the country when he retired due to the relentless “dumb-ification of the American brain”

It’s gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking — and nearly hopeless — dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad.

Now, you may think he’s merely a curmudgeon, a tired old teacher who stopped caring long ago. Not true. Teaching is his life. He says he loves his students, loves education and learning and watching young minds awaken. Problem is, he is seeing much less of it.

And of course things don’t get much better when it comes to our college students.  In a previous article, I shared some statistics from USA Today about the rapidly declining state of college education in the United States…

-“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”

-“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago”

-“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”

-“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages”

-“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”

I spent eight years studying at some of the finest public universities in the country, and I can tell you from personal experience that even our most challenging college courses have been pathetically dumbed down.

And at our “less than finest” public universities, the level of education can be something of a bad joke.  In another previous article, I shared some examples of actual courses that have been taught at U.S. universities in recent years…

-“What If Harry Potter Is Real?

-“Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

-“Philosophy And Star Trek

-“Learning From YouTube

-“How To Watch Television

Could you imagine getting actual college credit for a course entitled “What If Harry Potter Is Real?”

This is why many of our college graduates can barely put two sentences together.  They aren’t being challenged, and the quality of the education most of them are receiving is incredibly poor.

But even though they aren’t being challenged, students are taking longer to get through college than ever.  Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of all full-time students receive a bachelor’s degree within four years, and only 77 percent of all full-time students have earned a bachelor’s degree by the end of six years.

Of course our system of education is not entirely to blame.  The truth is that young Americans spend far more time consuming media than they do hitting the books, and what passes for “entertainment” these days is rapidly turning their brains to mush.

According to a report put out by Nielsen, this is how much time the average American spends consuming media on various devices each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

When you add it all up, the average American spends more than 10 hours a day plugged into some form of media.

And if you allow anyone to pump “programming” into your mind for 10 hours a day, it is going to have a dramatic impact.

In the end, I truly believe that we all greatly underestimate the influence that the mainstream media has on all of us.  We willingly plug into “the Matrix” for endless hours, but then somehow we still expect “to think for ourselves”.

There are very few of us that can say that we have not been exposed to thousands upon thousands of hours of conditioning.  And all of that garbage can make it very, very difficult to think clearly.

It is not because of a lack of input that we have become so stupid as a society.  The big problem is what we are putting into our minds.

If we continue to put garbage in, we are going to continue to get garbage out, and that is the cold, hard reality of the matter.

We have an election coming up.  And many of these folks vote.

I weep for our Nation.

 

h/t Doc in Yuma

Does This Mean We Shouldn’t Be Vigilant?

(from Brock Townsend)

There Hasn’t Been Justice Nominated and Confirmed In Election Year By Divided Government Since 1880

Via Billy

Republican presidential contenders and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued for the Senate to run out the clock on President Barack Obama, depriving him the chance to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death today.

Far left President Barack Obama will want the Republican Senate to confirm an appointment this year but this hasn’t happened since 1880.

There hasn’t been a justice nominated and confirmed in an election year by divided government since 1880.
 
Josh Blackman reported:

Hopefully, this remains true.  Of course, we thought the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban and the Obama Affordable Care Act were non-starters, as well.

There Is No Joy In Mudville

Associate Supreme Court Justice Scalia has passed away.

R.I.P. Sir!

Having said this (from The Wall Street Journal)…

Justice Antonin Scalia

Associated Press

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday at the age of 79, will be remembered as one of the court’s most influential, trenchant and controversial voices. Below are a few outtakes from some of the more influential and notable opinions from his storied, 30-year career on the court.

D.C. v. Heller (2008) By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s blanket ban on handguns, ruling for the first time that the Second Amendment confers a right to bear arms in one’s home. Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion.

There are many reasons that a citizen may prefer a handgun for home defense: It is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long gun; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police. Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.

• Kyllo v. U.S. (2001) The court ruled that the government couldn’t use thermal imaging technology to detect a suspected marijuana-growing operation without a warrant. Justice Scalia wrote that the use of sense-enhancing technology not in public use to gain information within the home constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment.

We have said that the Fourth Amendment draws “a firm line at the entrance to the house…That line, we think, must be not only firm but also bright which requires clear specification of those methods of surveillance that require a warrant. While it is certainly possible to conclude from the videotape of the thermal imaging that occurred in this case that no “significant” compromise of the homeowner’s privacy has occurred, we must take the long view, from the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment forward.

• Printz v. U.S. (1997) The court held, 5-4, that a federal law requiring local law enforcement to conduct background checks on gun purchases was unconstitutional. Justice Scalia wrote that the federal government may not compel the states to enact or administer federal programs.

Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policymaking is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.

• Vernonia School District v. Acton (1995) The court ruled 6-3 that public schools could randomly drug test student athletes. Justice Scalia wrote that the privacy interests compromised by giving urine samples under the district’s policy were negligible.

 Just as when the government conducts a search in its capacity as employer (a warrantless search of an absent employee’s desk to obtain an urgently needed file, for example), the relevant question is whether that intrusion upon privacy is one that a reasonable employer might engage in, see O’Connor v. Ortega, 480 U. S. 709 (1987); so also when the government acts as guardian and tutor the relevant question is whether the search is one that a reasonable guardian and tutor might undertake. Given the findings of need made by the District Court, we conclude that in the present case it is.

• RAV v. City of St. Paul (1992) Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion in which the court struck down St. Paul, Minn.’s crime banning “hate-crime,” for violating the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantee.In so doing, the court tossed aside charges against a group of teenagers that burned a cross in the yard of an African-American family.

The dispositive question in this case, therefore, is whether content discrimination is reasonably necessary to achieve St. Paul’s [p396] compelling interests; it plainly is not. An ordinance not limited to the favored topics, for example, would have precisely the same beneficial effect. In fact, the only interest distinctively served by the content limitation is that of displaying the city council’s special hostility towards the particular biases thus singled out. [n8] That is precisely what the First Amendment forbids. The politicians of St. Paul are entitled to express that hostility — but not through the means of imposing unique limitations upon speakers who (however benightedly) disagree.

* * * *

Let there be no mistake about our belief that burning a cross in someone’s front yard is reprehensible. But St. Paul has sufficient means at its disposal to prevent such behavior without adding the First Amendment to the fire.

The Internet is rife with both praise and derision for this Justice.  I shan’t post the hateful texts here.  There is Great Fear amongst the conservative and libertarian elements of society that without his swing vote, and Constitutionally-measured opinions, that ‘we’ (civil libertarians, gun owners/carriers, and American Society at large) are doomed.  Doomed to the progressive, post-Constitution era of further governmental intrusion on rights, and final loss of the America in which we were raised.

His body wasn’t even cold, when The President announced he would find a suitable replacement, and (some) Republicans suggested The Senate block ANY appointment for the next eleven months (until the next President could be sworn in)!

In other words, politics as usual.

God Save The United States Of America (while I’m still allowed to post this!)

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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