Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Bill of Rights Day! (Revised and Annotated.)

An update suggested by various truth in advertising laws:

You have the right to freedom of certain approved speech, at certain times that aren't too near elections. There is freedom of the press, as long as certain things aren't printed, and the internet is understood to not be "the press." And please understand that you are being monitored so that certain things you say or print may be gathered as evidence just in case you are ever charged with anything down the road.

You have the right to keep some arms, as long as they are a flavor the government approves of, and in some places you may not keep arms of any kind. You may bear these arms in the field and forest if you have paid money to the government. You may bear them on a licensed shooting range. You may bear them in public in some locales only if you have been photographed, fingerprinted, investigated and taxed. In many locales you may not bear arms even then.

You have the right to be secure in your person, house, papers, and effects unless a paid informant has suggested that you may have something the government doesn't want you to have, or Fluffy the Uberhund alerts on your luggage, or you fit a certain profile, or a policeman asks you.

You cannot be forced to be a witness against yourself, except with recordings of your voice, and various samples of your breath, bodily fluids, and small bits of flesh.

Your property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation, unless it'd be a swell place for a strip mall, or the cops need a new armoured car.

Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, unless one considers being GPS/radio-tagged like a migrating seal to be cruel and unusual.

Suggestions are being actively solicited for other amendments.


Weetabix said...

You need a public service announcement... with guitars!

IX: The fact that we list in the Constitution certain rights shall not be construed to grant or protect others thought to be retained by the people nor to protect those rights enumerated.

X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people until such time as Congress chooses to appropriate them for itself.

Anonymous said...

VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, unless the court system is so choked up with cases that "speedy" means years from now, or the accused is deemed to be "an enemy combatant," regardless of citizenship.

;by am impartial jury of the State, unless the prosecuting attorney is smarter than your attorney, in which case the jury will be more of who he wants than who your attorney wants.

;to be confronted with the witnesses against him, unless said witnesses are paid government agents.

The Raving Prophet said...

Those things we didn't explicitly mention are for the people and states to handle until we decide to overrule them for our own convenience.

Anonymous said...

Tam, you have just written a great full-page ad for the Washington Post and the New York Times-or at least a letter to their editors.

Anonymous said...

Troops shall not be quartered in your house, unless you consider militarized police taking over your home to conduct emergency surveillance on your oddball neighbor-with-a-gun to be troops.

theirritablearchitect said...

Weetabix beat me to it.


Excellent work, sir.

Brad K. said...

I like the two amendments from the novel "The General's President" -

a) Repudiate the national debt
b) Rescind the power of the government or Congress to assess or collect taxes, or to borrow money.

theirritablearchitect said...

"No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law..."

...and since We, the Congress, haven't the stones to say "NO!" to our quislings on The Left, we are hereby closing all military bases and selling the equipment thereon (funds to be requisitioned for pet "Social Programs", as defined at a later date), and hereby require boarding of all enlistees and NCOs, of each branch, in quarterly rotation, into each able-bodied domicile of each state.

Seriously, if you think there'd be ONE amendment that would be considered "dated", this one'd be it.

Anonymous said...

This has to be satire. I didn't see the Right to Not Be Offended By Anything EVAR OMG WTF BBQ!!!eleventy.

Matt G said...

I dunno, Tam: the radio tracking for an offender that's relegated to home imprisonment is way, way cheaper than the graybar hotel method, and that method which uses less of the taxpayer's money is a Good Thing. Which would you rather have, if you were convicted of stealing millions of dollars through fraud: a stainless steel toilet that you share with 6 other people, or a GPS on your ankle? I'm gonna say GPS wins, with regard to less cruel and unusual.

"...or a policeman asks you."
Well heck, now the cop doesn't get to ask for consent without offending a person's rights? You know that I'm right there with you in believing with every fibre of my being that our rights are being erroded at a ridiculous rate. (And that too many damn things are now felonies. But that's another topic for another post.) But a cop that doesn't follow up a hunch by asking a suspect for permission to look in a suspected area for evidence of a crime is a pretty ineffective.

If that same cop takes offense or disregards the simple refusal without probable cause, he's also utterly wrong.

Don't forget:

You have the right to enjoy due process, unless the high school graduate with a badge determines that there be exigient circumstances, which supercede that right.

You have the right to Equal Protection, unless you happen to love on someone that the state says you shouldn't.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people, unless the Fed really, really wants to enforce their authority over the States, in which case this Amendment will be completely disregarded.

Matt G said...

I HATE that I can't fix my typos.

Anonymous said...

Tam, I for one would love to see your ideal Guantanomo Bay Cruel and Unusual playlist...

Hunsdon said...

The IX amendment: "If the President does it, it's not illegal."

Yeah, I know, there's some OTHER amendment that is properly titled the ninth, but that "IX" does drop out nicely from richard milhous nIXon.