Thursday, February 14, 2019

Political Corruption and Ballot Harvesting: MTRA

Friday Night: Joshua Matrisciana of Jeremiah Films discussing Political Corruption and Ballot Harvesting.  The following video with Douglas V. Gibbs as one of the interviewees will be shown at the event (in the video I throw a strong call to action to the churches, by the way):

Censor Busters - Ballot Harvesting & Political Corruption from Jeremiah Films on Vimeo.



Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Pass Area Tea Party Meeting: Reaching Hispanic Voters

Join Us on Thursday . . . Valentines Day, 4:30 pm check-in, 5:00 pm sharp for start of the evening's program.

Farms' House Restaurant, 6261 Joshua Palmer Way, Banning, CA

and bring your honey !!!


Trump Weighs Signing Compromise Budget and Border Wall Bill

Singer Joy Villa's 2019 Grammy Awards "Build the Wall" dress
By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host
Normally, when it comes to politics, I don't like the word "compromise."  My cynicism towards the "C" word is not because I don't believe we should be willing to compromise, but because in politics the word usually means that the GOP lost ground, and the Democrats got what they wanted.  In other words, the Democrats don't compromise, but they will throw that word around when they reach what they believe to be a change that will allow the country to lurch further to the left.

When it came to Trump's border security wall the Democrats laid down the gauntlet.  They huddled behind Nancy Pelosi who proclaimed, only "a dollar for the wall."

Then, suddenly, the Democrats offered a bill with some of the money Trump wants for his border wall ... well, at least it's much more than a buck.

Did they ... GULP ... compromise?

The Democrats have been running the numbers, and the reality is, most Americans want border security.  An open border stance by the Democrats is not a very popular stance, and if they are totally unwilling to work with the President regarding the border wall, they will lose the House, and not even come close to gaining the White House, in 2020.

On the same token, if President Trump signs the current proposed deal on the table, even if it is only a fraction of what he wants in the long run, he did not lose, either.  A part of negotiating is getting what you can with the hopes of getting all of it in the long run, even if it takes doing it in chunks.

NBC News reports that the new proposed agreement provides nearly $1.4 billion for 55 miles of new border fencing, which could include steel slats and other "existing technologies," and an additional $1.7 billion for other Homeland Security priorities like new technology and more customs personnel.  Additionally, Democrats dropped a demand to cap the number of beds for illegal aliens detained within the country by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

If Trump signs it, he didn't lose, he simply settled for just a part of what he wants, for now.  We can always go back to the table for more in the future.

If he doesn't sign the bill, we go back into government shutdown-ville, which Trump has not necessarily been losing, but he may if we got back into that type of situation, again.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Corona Constitution Class: Legal Amendments, Continued

Tuesday Night 6:00 pm at AllStar/CARSTAR Collision
522 Railroad St., Corona, CA

Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs
 
 
 
Lesson 15
 
The Legal Amendments
 
Amendment IV

Warrants, Searches, and Seizures

The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution was added as part of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. It was written with the purpose of protecting people from the government searching their homes and private property without properly executed search warrants.
 
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
 
What this means is that the federal government, in order to search a person's home, business, papers, bank accounts, computer or other personal items, in most cases, must obtain a search warrant signed by the proper authority, which usually means by a judge.
 
The issuance of a warrant must accompany reasonable belief that a crime has been committed and that by searching the premises of a particular location, evidence will be found that will verify the crime. The government officer does not have to be correct in his assumption, he just has to have a reasonable belief that searching someone's private property will yield evidence of the crime. The task of determining whether or not the officer's assumptions are a reasonable belief falls on the judge who is considering issuing the search warrant.
 
The concept that citizens must be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures goes back into English history. The British Crown was known for performing searches and seizures that were unlawfully conducted. Often, these searches were conducted by the king's representatives.
 
The British government saw the American Colonies as a source of revenue. As a result, taxation against the American colonies was a continuous practice, in the hopes of generating as much money from the colonists as possible. The colonists resented this and engaged in substantial smuggling operations in order to get around the customs taxes imposed by the British government.
 
The King responded to the Colonist's smuggling activities by using writs of assistance, which were search warrants that were very broad and general in their scope. British agents, once obtaining these writs, could search any property they believed might contain contraband goods. They could enter someone's property with no notice and without any reason given. Tax collectors could interrogate anyone about their use of goods and require the cooperation of any citizen. Searches and seizures of private property based on very general warrants became an epidemic in colonial America.
 
In 1756, the Massachusetts legislature passed search and seizure laws outlawing the use of general warrants. The friction created between the Royal Governor and the people of Massachusetts grew with each passing moment.
 
In 1760 James Otis, a Boston lawyer, strongly objected to these arbitrary searches and seizures of private property and consequently resigned his position with the government, and then became the lawyer for a group of over 50 merchants who sued the government claiming that the writs of assistance were unjust.
 
James Otis represented these merchants for free. His speech condemning British policies, including writs of assistance and general search warrants, was so powerful and eloquent, that it was heard of throughout the colonies and catapulted him to a place of leadership in the swelling tide of disillusionment toward Great Britain.
 
Twenty-five year old John Adams, who would become the second president of the United States some time later, was sitting in the courtroom and heard Otis' famous speech that served as a spark that led to igniting the American Revolution.
 
The 4th Amendment, a part of The Bill of Rights, became law on December 15, 1791.
 
The 4th Amendment applies only to the federal government. State constitutions are written similarly, and States also have laws that are consistent with the intention of the 4th Amendment. The 4th Amendment provides protection from illegal search and seizure by federal government officials, but not by private citizens. So, if an employer unreasonably searched your possessions at work, the 4th Amendment would not have been violated, but local laws may have been.
 
In recent history The PATRIOT Act was seen as a breach of the 4th Amendment because it allowed the federal government to pursue a number of strategies in their search for terrorists that includes warrantless phone taps, access to phone logs, and monitoring of online communications such as email. The debate still goes on regarding the constitutionality of The PATRIOT Act, with both sides presenting reasonable arguments, ranging from the constitutional necessity of the law for the purpose of "providing for the common defense," to the argument that the authorities offered by the law allows the federal government to unconstitutionally intrude on the right to privacy of all Americans.
 
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014 builds on the powers seized by the federal government through the PATRIOT Act, allowing unrestricted analysis and research of captured records pertaining to any organization or individual "now or once hostile to the United States." The definition of "hostile to the United States" is broad, and can include political opposition. Under NDAA 2014 Sec. 1061(g)(1), an overly vague definition of captured records enhances government power and guarantees indefinite surveillance.
 
The Internal Revenue Service is another arm of the federal government that routinely violates the 4th Amendment, doing so under the auspice of ensuring all taxes are paid.
 
Terms:

Search Warrant - The Search Warrant specifically requires that the government demonstrate to a judge the existence of probable cause of criminal activity on the part of the person whose property the government wishes to search. The Fourth Amendment commands that only a judge can authorize a search warrant.
 
Writs of Assistance - British search warrants that were very broad and general in their scope. British agents, once obtaining these writs, could search any property they believed might contain contraband goods.
 
Questions for Discussion:

1. What actions by the British prior to the American Revolutionary War inspired the Founding Fathers to include this amendment in the Bill of Rights?
 
2. How would our legal system act if Search Warrants were not considered necessary?
 
3. How does the Fourth Amendment influence today's thinking regarding government actions, such as with The PATRIOT Act?
 
Resources:
 
How Congress Has Assaulted Our Freedoms in the Patriot Act by
Andrew P. Napolitano, Lew Rockwell.com: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/napolitano2.html
 
Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).
 
Paul A. Ibbetson, Living Under the PATRIOT Act: Educating a Society;
Bloomington, IN: Author House (2007)
 
Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder's Constitution -
Volume Five - Amendments I-XII; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987).
 
 
 
Amendment V

Due Process and Eminent Domain

            Due Process
 
The majority of the Fifth Amendment provides additional reinforcement to the concept of due process. The language of this Amendment was designed to assure those who feared the potential tyranny of a new centralized government created by the United States Constitution that the federal government would be restrained in such a way as to ensure that the government did not perpetrate bloodshed against its citizens.
 
The first part of the 5th Amendment reads: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital crime, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury. . ."
 
The 5th Amendment attests to the Founding Father's understanding that this is a nation of property owners. As a republic of property owners, when in jeopardy of legal trouble, our rights and properties must be safeguarded. Therefore, an American Citizen in the American legal system has a right to a jury, as well as a right to the presentation of evidence. Conviction is not reached with a majority vote, either. Conviction requires a unanimous agreement among all of the members of the jury. These concepts reinforce the concept that one is innocent until proven guilty (A concept found in the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 19, Verse 15), and that the United States of America is a Republic. Mob rule is not allowed, for as the amendment provides, a person cannot be held until given the opportunity of due process.
 
Not all persons, however, are awarded this opportunity. The next part of the amendment reads: ". . . except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger. . ."
 
The military does not fall under the U.S. Constitution. Personnel serving in the armed forces are governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Instead of a civilian trial, a military service member is normally afforded a court martial. If a civilian trial is deemed appropriate by the U.S. Military, a service member can still stand trial in a civilian court, but the military has the authority to decide whether or not the member shall stand such a trial.
 
Having a sense of independence, individuals must be protected, then, from the tyrannical trappings of a governmental system that may try to use the judiciary against them (as the King of England had done often). The protective mechanism, or the rule of law, would be the U.S. Constitution and clauses like the 5th Amendment, which were designed to provide protection to the populace from unfair legal practices.
 
One such protection is provided in the next part of this amendment: ". . . nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb. . ."
 
Protection against Double Jeopardy enables us not to be continuously tried for the same offense, which was a technique often used in some parts of Europe during the eighteenth century. The idea was that if a person was prosecuted enough, either they would weary of the process and break down, or the defendant would become unable to financially continue, hence unable to defend themselves.
 
The next part of the amendment serves as a large influence on today's Miranda Rights. The section reads: ". . . nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property."
 
Miranda Rights are named after the U.S. Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona (1966). Miranda Rights are a warning given advising the accused of their right to remain silent, their right to an attorney, and the right to an appointed attorney if they are unable to afford counsel - prior to conducting a custodial interrogation. From the 5th Amendment: ". . .nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Miranda Rights exist to secure the 5th Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, and to make the individual in custody aware not only of the privilege, but also of the consequences of forgoing it. The judicial opinion from the Miranda v. Arizona case also indicated that in order to protect the person's life, liberty or property with the due process of law, the individual must have the right to an attorney. With a lawyer present the likelihood that the police will practice coercion is reduced, and if coercion is nevertheless exercised the lawyer can testify to it in court. The presence of a lawyer can also help to guarantee that the accused gives a fully accurate statement to the police and that the statement is rightly reported by the prosecution at trial.
 
The words of the Founders continues to resonate today as the majority of the American people seem to firmly agree with the Founding Father's insistence that no one should be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. We can take satisfaction that most of our fellow citizens in our republic still hold these truths to be self-evident.
 
            Eminent Domain
 
The provisions of the 5th Amendment are there to keep our courts honest, and the powers of the government constrained. The last phrase of the 5th Amendment, however, is considered too general by many, and it has been used in a manner by the federal government that is extremely troublesome, because it gives the government the right to take property if there is just compensation.
 
How is just compensation determined? Is it based on the market value of the property? How does the government officials involved in eminent domain calculate the non-intrinsic value? How do they compensate for the value on which nobody can put a price?
 
Just compensation was intended to be based on what the property owner deemed to be just. If the property owner did not deem the offer to be just compensation, then the government, from a constitutional viewpoint, is out of luck.
 
 
Terms:

Capital Crime - A crime for which the punishment is death. Punishment for a Capital Crime is called Capital Punishment.
 
Double Jeopardy - The act of putting a person through a second trial for an offense for which he or she has already been prosecuted or convicted.
 
Due Process - The essential elements of due process of law are notice, an opportunity to be heard, the right to defend in an orderly proceed, and an impartial judge. It is founded upon the basic principle that every man shall have his day in court, and the benefit of the general law which proceeds only upon notice and which hears and considers before judgment is rendered. In short, due process means fundamental fairness and substantial justice.
 
Eminent Domain - The power to take private property for public use by a State, municipality, or private person or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property.
 
Grand Jury - A group of citizens convened in a criminal case to consider the prosecutor's evidence and determine whether probable cause exists to prosecute a suspect for a felony. At common law, a group of persons consisting of not less than twelve nor more than twenty-four who listen to evidence and determine whether or not they should charge the accused with the commission of a crime by returning an indictment. The number of members on a grand jury varies in different States.
 
Infamous Crime - A crime which works infamy in the person who commits it. Infamous crimes tend to be classified as treason, felonies, and any crime involving the element of deceit.
 
Just Compensation - The value of a property deemed to be just by the property owner.
 
Miranda Rights - A warning given advising the accused of their right to remain silent, their right to an attorney, and the right to an appointed attorney if they are unable to afford counsel - prior to conducting a custodial interrogation.
 
Mob-Rule - A government ruled by a mob or a mass of people; the intimidation of legitimate authorities; the tyranny of the majority; pure democracy without due process.
 
Republic - Form of government that uses the rule of law through a government system led by representatives and officials voted in by a democratic process. The United States enjoys a Constitutional Republic.
 
Rule of Law - The restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws; Laws of Nature and of Nature's God; self-evident standard of conduct and law.
 
Questions for Discussion:

1. How is property rights affected by Due Process?
 
2. Why do military members not fall under the protections of the U.S. Constitution?
 
3. Why is protection against Double Jeopardy important?
 
4. What was the inspiration for our Miranda Rights?
 
5. Who determines if compensation for one's property is just?
 
6. How is Eminent Domain being used for environmental reasons?
 
7. Is Eminent Domain constitutionally in force if a property is rezoned for environmental conservation, forcing the value of the property to be reduced due to the fact that it can no longer be developed?
 
8. Is it constitutional for government to use Eminent Domain for the use of the land by private development projects?
 
Resources:

Definition of Due Process, Family Rights Association:
http://www.familyrightsassociation.com/bin/definition_due_process_.htm
 
Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).
 
Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder's Constitution -
Volume Five - Amendments I-XII; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987).
 
U.S. Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966)
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=384&invol=436
 
Amendment VI

Personal Legal Liberties

The 6th Amendment affords criminal defendants seven discrete personal liberties. "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."
 
Rights afforded in all criminal prosecutions are set forth in this amendment. The word "all" at the beginning of this amendment establishes a special characteristic regarding this article of the Constitution. The Constitution applies only to the federal government, unless it states otherwise. The 6th Amendment, by providing the word "all" in the regard to cases, establishes that this amendment is not only to be applied to the federal courts, but to the State, and lower, courts as well.
 
As for the rights afforded to the accused:
 
            Speedy Trial
 
The concept of a speedy trial was an English concept of justice. A speedy trial allows for conditions that disallow the powerful from abusing the court system, forcing defendants to languish in jail for an indefinite period while awaiting their trial. Ensuring a speedy trial minimizes the time in which a defendant's life is disrupted and burdened by a criminal proceeding, and reduces the likelihood of a prolonged delay impairing the ability of the accused to prepare a defense.
 
Historically, when trials are postponed or drag out for long periods of time, witnesses disappear, and evidence is often lost or destroyed. Memories of the incident in question are also not as reliable as time passes.
 
A person's right to a speedy trial arises after the arrest, indictment, or otherwise formal accusation of a crime.
 
            Public Trial
 
The right to a public trial was inherited by the Americans from Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence. Public criminal proceedings would operate as a natural check against malevolent prosecutions, corrupt judges, and perjurious witnesses. A trial that is out in the open also aids the fact-finding mission of the judiciary by encouraging citizens to come forward with relevant information.
 
The right to a public trial is not absolute. Persons who may disrupt proceedings may be banned from attending the trial because they present a substantial risk of hindering a trial. A disallowance of the media attending falls under the concept of "potential disruptions," but otherwise, under normal circumstances, both the public and media have a qualified First Amendment right to attend criminal proceedings. The right to a public trial does not require the presence of media, and because courtrooms have limited seating, judges may attempt to maintain decorum. For media, with today's technology, the media does not have to be in the courtroom to see or hear the proceedings of the case.
 
 
 
            Right to Trial by an Impartial Jury
 
A part of the effort in achieving an impartial jury is the process of determining who will serve on the jury through a series of questions and observations, in an effort to eliminate biased jurors. The concept of protecting the defendant from a biased jury can be traced back to the Magna Carta in 1215. In the United States, the requirement for a trial by an impartial jury does not apply to juvenile delinquency proceedings, or to petty criminal offenses, which consist of crimes punishable by imprisonment of six months or less. In Great Britain, and Canada, a jury is not required for cases with potential penalties of two years or less, and the concept of an impartial jury is not entertained in the same way as in the United States. Canada and Britain choose jurors randomly, and then in an open court the jurors for a specific case are selected from the jury panel by ballot. A juror may be challenged once in the box for bias, but an extensive process to eliminate possible biased jurors before selection through a series of questions and observations is not normal practice.
 
The Sixth Amendment entitles defendants to a jury that represents "a jury of the defendant's peers," which means the jury should be a fair cross section of the community. From the jury pool, the presiding judge, the prosecution, and attorneys for the defense are allowed to ask members of the jury pool a variety of questions intended to reveal any latent biases, prejudices, or other influences that might affect their impartiality. The presence of even one biased juror is not permitted under the Sixth Amendment.
 
It is possible that the potential bias of a juror may be affected by sources outside the courtroom, so jurors are instructed to not consider newspaper, television, and radio coverage before or during trial, and are instructed not to discuss the trial with even family members, when evaluating the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
 
Jurors are not permitted to begin deliberations until all of the evidence has been offered. Deliberations do not begin until after the attorneys have made their closing arguments, and the judge has read the instructions. Premature deliberations have shown the potential, historically, to create early biases, or a juror may form a preconceived notion that they will then compare all evidence to, which they may have entertained as a result of premature deliberations.
 
            Notice of Pending Criminal Charges
 
The 6th Amendment guarantees defendants the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them. Defendants must receive notice of any criminal accusations that the government has lodged against them through an indictment, information, complaint, or other formal charge. Defendants may not be tried, convicted, or sentenced for a crime that materially varies from the crime set forth in the formal charge.
 
The requirement by the 6th Amendment to inform a defendant of the nature and cause of the accusation is an attempt by the Founding Fathers to create fundamental fairness that was not necessarily present in civil and criminal proceedings in England and the American colonies under English common law. Receiving notice of pending criminal charges in advance of trial permits defendants to prepare a defense in accordance with the specific nature of the accusation. In tyrannies, defendants are all too often incarcerated without being apprised of pending charges until the trial begins. Requiring notice of the nature and cause of the accusation against a defendant eliminates confusion regarding the basis of a particular verdict, which in turn decreases the chances that a defendant will be tried later for the same offense.
 
 
 
            Confrontation of Witnesses Against Him
 
The 6th Amendment requires that defendants have the right to be confronted by witnesses who offer testimony or evidence against them, as well as the opportunity to subject them to cross-examination.
 
Today's courts have established rules that are enforced at the discretion of the judge who forbids questioning that pursues areas that are irrelevant, collateral, confusing, repetitive, or prejudicial. Defendants are also forbidden to pursue a line of questioning solely for the purpose of harassment.
 
            Compulsory Process for Obtaining Witnesses In His Favor
 
The 6th Amendment recognizes a defendant's right to use the compulsory process of the judiciary to subpoena witnesses that may be favorable to the defense. Courts may not take actions to undermine the testimony of a witness who has been subpoenaed by the defense. Any law that attempts to establish particular persons as being incompetent to testify on behalf of a defendant is not allowed.
 
Defendants can also testify on their own behalf, a right not afforded in the American Colonies, or Great Britain, prior to the United States dissolving the political bands connecting them to the Crown. Common law presumed all defendants to be incompetent to give reliable or credible testimony on their own behalf. The vested interest in the outcome of the trial, it was believed, would taint the testimony of the defendant. The 6th Amendment does not require, a defendant to testify on his own behalf, but does not prohibit it, either.
 
            Right to Counsel
 
The 6th Amendment states that criminal defendants have a Right to Counsel. A defendant's right to counsel does not become an issue until the government files formal charges. However, in the 5th Amendment a person has the right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself, allowing him to remain silent until he has counsel present.
 
In many instances, defendants have the inability to obtain counsel be it because of financial or other reasons. The 6th Amendment, by listing that assistance of counsel for his defense is a right, has compelled the government to institute a program where counsel can be assigned to a defendant if the person is unable to afford counsel, or obtain counsel for any other reason. In the occurrence of a defendant unable to afford counsel, the trial judge appoints one on his behalf. If it turns out that the defendant has financial resources previously unknown to the court, he may be required to reimburse the government for a portion of the fees paid to the court-appointed lawyer.
 
Defendants are not required to have counsel. Defendants have a right to counsel. Defendants also have the right to decline the representation of counsel and proceed on their own behalf. Defendants who represent themselves must present a waiver of the 6th Amendment right to counsel before a court will allow them to do so. The waiver must reveal that the defendant is knowingly making the decision, and understands the potential consequences.
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. Why is having a speedy trial so important in a free society?
 
2. How does a public trial better enable the fact-finding mission of the trial?
 
3. How is the concept of an impartial jury different in the United States than it is in other countries?
 
4. Why is it important for a defendant to be able to confront the witnesses against him?
 
5. How is a defendant's right to counsel enabled in today's court system?

Resources:

Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).
 
Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder's Constitution -
Volume Five - Amendments I-XII; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987).
 
Amendment VII

Right of Trial by Jury in Civil Suits
 
 
"In suits at Common Law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."
 
The 7th Amendment guarantees the right to a jury trial in most civil suits heard in federal court. Remember, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, apply only to the federal government unless the document states otherwise. The 7th Amendment serves to preserve the historic line separating the province of the jury from that of the judge in civil cases by separating cases that should have a jury in federal court, from those that are smaller cases, and may not require a jury. During the time the amendment was ratified, a case requiring a jury was one where "the value in controversy" exceeded twenty dollars. The cutoff in the court system today is $75,000. Any disputes that involve amounts less than $75,000, in fact, will not even be handled in a federal court.
 
State courts don't have to honor this provision in the 7th Amendment, and often don't. People bringing a suit do not have to have a jury trial. Individuals can waive their right to a jury trial if they so choose.
 
The 7th Amendment also expressly forbids federal judges to re-examine any "fact tried by a jury" except as allowed by the common law. This means that no court, trial or appellate, may overturn a jury verdict that is reasonably supported by the evidence.
 
Prior to the Declaration of Rights in 1689, English judges served the King of England. These judges showed bias towards the King, resulting in unfair rulings. Judges in the American colonies were also biased towards the king, and when King George III got rid of trials by juries in the Colonies, the colonists viewed the decision as more kindling for the fire of independence that had been blazing in the pubs, churches and meeting halls of the Colonies. The Bill of Rights applied what the Framers learned under the rule of Britain to the American System. In the American courts the Framers believed it was important to have a fair court system, so the right to have a trial by jury is mentioned a number of times, and is a fundamental part of the United States legal system.
 
Together with the due process clause of the 5th Amendment and the right to an impartial jury enumerated in the 6th Amendment, the 7th Amendment guarantees civil litigants the right to not just a jury, but to a jury who is not biased for any reason.
Terms:
Bill of Rights - The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution; a formal summary of those rights and liberties considered essential to a people or group of people.
 
Declaration of Rights - Enacted in 1689, the English Bill of Rights is one of the fundamental documents of English constitutional law, marking a fundamental milestone in the progression of English society from a nation of subjects to a nation of free citizens with God-given rights. The evolution began with the Magna Carta in 1215.
 
Questions for Discussion:
1. What historic line does the 7th Amendment preserve?
2. Must the States abide by the 7th Amendment?
3. Can a person bringing suit waive the right to a jury trial?
 
Amendment VIII
Excessive Bail, Cruel and Unusual Punishment
 
 
The 8th Amendment reads, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
 
As a nation founded on honorable Judeo-Christian principles, the United States legal system is expected to be fair and just. This means that Americans should insist upon a due process that protects individuals from excesses and abuses by the judicial system. Such expectations include that no individual should be singled out, or treated differently, in the eyes of the courts. A fair and equitable judicial system includes no excessive bails or fines, or cruel and unusual punishment, for one person while others guilty of similar crimes do not receive similar treatment.
 
Today's definitions attempt to set a limit on where "excessive" or "unusual" lies. When a harsh penalty is applied for a crime, even when it is similar to the punishment received by others for the same crime, challenges are launched regarding if the penalty matches the crime. These challenges are fine, and an important part of the American judicial system seeking to adjust itself in regards to its fairness, but the debates during the Federal Convention and State ratification conventions did not focus so much on where the line between excessive and not excessive, or unusual as opposed to usual, exists as much as are the bails, fines and punishment consistent with the bails, fines and punishment consistent with others guilty of the same.

Questions for Discussion:

1. In the context of the time period during which the 8th Amendment was written, what was meant by "cruel and unusual punishment?"
2. How has the original definition of "cruel and unusual punishment" changed since the founding of the United States?
3. How does the 8th Amendment apply the concept of uniformity to cases?
4. Why would the Founding Fathers see the need to enumerate the right of an individual to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment?

Resources:

Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).
 
Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder's Constitution -
Volume Five - Amendments I-XII; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987).
 
 
Copyright 2015 Douglas V. Gibbs

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Constitution Radio: Saving the Past by Remembering It

Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs: Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific, KMET 1490-AM


○ First Hour: Author George Caylor joins Doug, Alex, and Dennis to discuss his book, Surviving Georgie, a romp through his true story of love and survival.  Then, the gang will discuss today's issues through the lens of the U.S. Constitution

○ Second Hour: Doug, Glenn, Jan, and Diane discuss the issues from a Tea Party perspective

KMET 1490-AM

1-3 pm on Saturday Afternoon

archived podcast at https://soundcloud.com/kmet-1490-am/sets/constitution-radio


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Trump's State of the Union: Perfect 10

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host
After being told he was not invited to Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump signed a temporary end to the government shut-down, essentially forcing Pelosi into a corner.  After all, her excuse had been the shutdown.  So, a little late, but still within a reasonable time-period, the U.S. Capitol welcomed the President, and he gave his State of the Union Speech . . . and he nailed it.

Trump was not shy about tackling the issues, and saying it like it is.

He first gave us our history.  America has been a great country.  He voiced our challenges.  And how we can be great again.

After discussing the moon landing, and introducing Buzz Aldrin, Trump said, "In the 20th century, America saved freedom, transformed science, and redefined the middle class standard of living for the entire world to see. Now, we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this great American adventure, and we must create a new standard of living for the 21st century. An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within our reach."

Then he put the Democrats on notice.

"We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper, and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before.  But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution -- and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.  Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future. The decision is ours to make.  We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.  Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness."

He explained his administration's accomplishments.

"We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs... Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers... Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. The United States economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in our history --- 157 million.
We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit.
We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.
We eliminated the very unpopular Obamacare individual mandate penalty -- and to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed right to try.
My Administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure. Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to historic reductions in taxes and regulations.
We have unleashed a revolution in American energy -- the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.
After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day... On Friday, it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone -- almost double what was expected. An economic miracle is taking place in the United States."

Then he hammered on the Democrats.

"The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well‑being of all Americans. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our Nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally."

"Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA."

"Over the last 2 years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States Military -- with $700 billion last year and $716 billion this year. We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share. For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO -- but now we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies.  As part of our military build-up, the United States is developing a state-of-the-art Missile Defense System."

"Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence --- not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country."

Bammm!

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children -- born and unborn -- are made in the holy image of God.

Bammm again!

My only concern is that he asked Congress to use legislation to limit late-term abortion.  From a constitutional point of view, it needs to be an amendment.

Where Trump really won was when he brought the women into the conversation, laying down accomplishment after accomplishment, and then joking with the women who had been hating him . . . "No one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year. All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before -- and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before."

He joked when the women in white stood and clapped, and even Pelosi joined in.

It was a uniting moment that, I think, stunned the Democrats, and the ladies who found themselves suddenly cheering with President Trump.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Ruth Bader Ginsberg: Setting Up Her Sainthood

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

The Supreme Court Justice who once said to other countries not to use America's Constitution as a model for their own has been hitting some rough health patches, of late.  For some, it is a surprise that the 85-year old supreme court justice, who was appointed back in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, has not been welcomed into the open arms of the hereafter.  Many suggest that her death in the next few years is imminent due to her age and poor health, and that should be a rallying cry loud enough to place Donald J. Trump back into the White House in 2020.

The liberal left progressive commie Democrats are fully aware that the elder-justice may be living in the sunset of her years, and that the loss of life's twilight sunlight may bathe her darkening world very soon. So, they are doing all they can to deify her, and to crown her the patroness saint of the United States Supreme Court so that her funeral, whenever that may be, can be something extra special . . . a downright coronation of her new deified self.

In the theaters with the movie "On The Basis of Sex" (released Christmas Day, 2018) we have seen on the screen a Ruth Bader Ginsberg rewrite of history.  They have rewritten her life so that they can deify her and radicalize a new generation of women who don't just want women's rights, but in the code pink mafia vein of things, wish to destroy what they consider to be toxic masculinity, and the overbearing control over society by the male side of humanity.  To do so, Ginsberg is being falsely portrayed as a courageous heroine of rights, with a complete denial that any rights for women existed before Ginsberg came on the scene.

Sounds like a story my grandfather told me about World War II.  "I got there in 1942," he told us kids.  "That's about when the war began to turn in our favor.  Word got out that I was there."

The history of women in America, and the true heroes of women's rights, are being pushed aside and ignored so as to rewrite the history books so that they basically say, "women's rights were a mess, but things began to turn in our favor when word got out that Ruth Bader Ginsberg was on the march."

The truth is, despite the requirement that the judges on the Supreme Court are supposed to be apolitical, Ginsberg is anything but.  She is a political activist, and the Democrats believe she is an effective one.  Don't get me wrong, all people are entitled to their own individual political opinions, but in the case of Ginsberg, she uses her position on the court to smear her opinion in our face, and to influence the path of this country.  As a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, she is forbidden from allowing her political opinion, if it is not in line with the U.S. Constitution, to renegotiate American law, or to re-navigate our path as a country away from the liberty secured by the U.S. Constitution.

In the video (trailer) below there is a scene that, in fact, shows her character rewriting the U.S. Constitution.

In the scene a judge says to then-lawyer Ginsberg, "the word 'woman' does not appear even once in the Constitution."  The Ginsberg character quips back, "nor does the word 'freedom'." (2:16-2:23)

Uh, actually "freedom" appears in the First Amendment.  Perhaps Ginsberg and her leftist allies don't believe the First Amendment is a part of the Constitution.  That would actually explain much of what they believe and say.



That said, the words "man" or "men", like "woman," are not in the Constitution.  Could that be, perhaps, because the Framers realized that someday culture would change and women would be considered in a manner different than they were during the founding era?

Radical feminists like Code Pink and Hollywood crazies who drool after women like Ashley Judd want you to believe that early America treated women, and looked upon women, like Islam does (and then they want you to think that Islam does not).  The reality is, sex is not a basis used in any part of the U.S. Constitution.  If you read it, you will understand that it is not about sex, race, or national origin.  The founders, and many of the amendments, used the word "people" and "citizens" to refer to who the Constitution was written for.

The problem is that for statists like Ginsberg, and the knuckleheads around the creation of the movie "On The Basis of Sex," this whole political thing is about leading America towards a more authoritarian model that forces people into boxes, forces them to get along, forces them to act a certain way, and forces them to only speak in a manner acceptable to the ruling politically correct collectivist cabal.  It is their goal to eliminate the Constitution, and to eliminate anyone who opposes them.  They seek a one-party rule system.  They seek a communitarian type of system.  Behind the curtain, they are socialists.

The movie is about forwarding that agenda, and further poisoning the younger generation with propaganda from their leftist ideology.  And, they are willing to re-write history (in other words, lie about history) in order to achieve that.

They understand that the younger generation is the battlefield upon which they have a chance to win.  Like fascist leftist characters of the past, the liberal left Democrats understand that the older generation rejects what they have to offer, but thanks to a life-long presence in the overwhelming indoctrination culture of the Democrats, the younger folks stand in the new camp.  Their camp.  The leftist revolution's camp (or should I say, Marxist coup's camp).

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, when it comes to the Constitution, is exactly what the liberal Democrats need when it comes to a defender of their leftist agenda.  In fact, Ginsberg, and her colleagues of the leftist persuasion who share the judicial bench with her, are so off the charts crazy in their anti-constitutional stances, that each and every one of them should be impeached, and removed from the U.S. Supreme Court.  All of them have voiced their belief that international law supersedes the American System. They are not Americans, they are invaders from a foreign ideology that embraces worldly collectivism rather than American liberty.

Furthermore, they believe in Federal Supremacy over everything.  Like their legal-eagle colleagues, mostly who are leftists, and even a large number of conservatives and moderates believe this, they believe it is the federal government's job to force fairness and good behavior upon our society.  They believe it is their job to punish those who don't play nice, are discriminatory, or are flat-out racist or sexist.  The reality is, these internal issues are none of the federal government's business.  While they misuse and misinterpret the 14th Amendment as their evidence that they can, there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that gives the federal government the authority to dictate to the States, communities, business owners, or individuals regarding their behavior.

Nothing.

The power to interfere with our private business or personal affairs has never been granted as an authority by the Constitution to the federal government, nor should it ever be.

The federal government has no authority to control private business, or personal activity.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg disagrees.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Monday, February 04, 2019

Temecula Republicans Discuss Ballot Harvesting

Next week, Friday the 15th of February, Ballot Harvesting will be the front and center discussion at the Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly meeting.  Be sure to RSVP.


The Border Wall: Legal and Necessary

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

... and, the executive branch has the authority to use funding for national security and other executive functions to take care that the southern border barrier is erected.

Article IV., Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to protect the States from invasion.  The word "invasion" is not just a military term.  In our current dictionary it is also defined as an "unwanted encroachment," of which hordes (and caravans) of persons who refuse to abide by U.S. Immigration Law upon entry, a group that includes drug traffickers, sex traffickers, gang members, criminals, and terrorists, would qualify.

Article II., Section 2 establishes that the President of the United States is the Commander in Chief over all of America's military forces, and over the militias "when called into actual service of the United States."  National Security is among the president's primary responsibilities as Commander in Chief.  His authority to take action to ensure that the country is protected is inherent in his role as Commander in Chief.  While funding must be appropriated by Congress, the legislative body should be reasonable in recognizing his requirement to defend these united States, and afford him the funding accordingly.  That all said, some of the funding already exists, as does much of the approval by Congress to erect a barrier between Mexico and the United States.

Congress authorized a barrier long before Obama took office, much less before President Donald J. Trump began to reside in the White House.  64 Democrat Party Congress critters voted for it, and 26 Democrat Senators supported the bill.  It was called the 2006 Border Fence Act.  The barriers erected were in places it was believed they were needed most, at the time.
  • 10 miles west to 10 miles east of the Tecate, California port of entry
  • 10 miles west of the Calexico, California port of entry to 5 miles east of the Douglas, Arizona port of entry
  • 5 miles west of the Columbus, New Mexico port of entry to 10 miles east of El Paso, Texas
  • 5 miles northwest of the Del Rio, Texas port of entry to 5 miles southeast of the Eagle Pass, Texas port of entry
  • 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas port of entry to the Brownsville, Texas port of entry
At the time the fencing was limited because Democrats argued that fencing the entire border would take a couple dozen years, and with maintenance costs included, reach as high as $50 billion.  While the estimate is ridiculously high compared to the true costs we are now discovering, the Democrats have stuck to their mantra that a border wall from sea to shining sea is too expensive.

As for money spent so far, in 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) had spent $2.3 billion on building 654 miles of border fencing between 2007 and 2015, and that CBP had projected in 2009 that the cost of maintaining its border fencing for 20 years would be $1 billion.

In other words, thanks to congressional blessings, the erection of a barrier began long before candidate Trump in the 2016 Election proclaimed he wanted a wall.

The U.S. Code also calls for the executive to ensure that border security is in place, through fencing, if necessary.  In addition to the need to protect the States from invasion, according to the U.S. Code, the President of the United States, through his State Department, must maintain border security also to assist in quelling drug trafficking.
10 U.S.C. § 284 (Section 284) provides that the Secretary of Defense “may provide support for the counter-drug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime” of any law enforcement agency, including through the “[c]onstruction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.” …
If the invasion into the United States through its southern border worsens (and with the caravans, it's bad enough as it is), the President of the United States is authorized to take action using money already allocated to national security to ensure the invasion ceases, and American citizens are protected from the unwanted encroachment.  He is, after all, the Commander in chief.

The Democrat politicians doing what they can to stand in the way of the President carrying out his constitutional responsibilities are both irresponsible, and treasonous.

Every American, including the Democrats, should be in full support of border security, and putting up a barrier to assist that security for the same reason they lock the doors of their offices and homes.  They don't let just anybody into their offices or homes, so why should we just let anybody in when it comes to the entryway of our country?

Besides, they know that walls and fencing works ... that's why they have walls or fencing around their homes and communities, around the White House, around federal military facilities, around The Vatican, and that's why China, long ago, built the Great Wall of China.

Unlike the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain, this wall is not for the purpose of keeping anyone from escaping, but to protect those who choose to reside legally in these united States from an unwanted encroachment.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Tea Party and Hispanic Values

bbcvteaparty.com will be hosting a meeting on the topic of how conservatives can reach out to Hispanic voters through our common value systems, join us in Banning, February 14, 2019 at 5:00 pm.; Douglas V. Gibbs will also be there, with his latest book.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Constitution Association: China, Islam, and Totalitarianism


Constitution Radio: China Syndrome

Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs: Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific, KMET 1490-AM

○ First Hour: Doug, Alex, and Dennis discuss issues through the lens of the U.S. Constitution

○ Second Hour: Doug, Glenn, Jan, and Diane discuss the issues from a Tea Party perspective

KMET 1490-AM

1-3 pm on Saturday Afternoon

archived podcast at https://soundcloud.com/kmet-1490-am/sets/constitution-radio

-----------

◉ First Hour: Constitution Radio CARSTAR/AllStar Collision Big Stories of the Week:
🚩 Why We Do What We Do

http://politicalpistachio.blogspot.com/2019/01/why-politics-is-important.html

🚩 Sins of the Democrat


🚩 Due Process


🚩 Judicial Corruption


🚩 China's Artificial Intelligence


🚩 China's Economic Gambit

with Alan Myers


◉ Second Hour: Conservative Voice Radio
Are we being groomed for another "illegitimate" election coming up? Intelligence Assessments that differ from the President's.

The President's Intelligence Assessment is Correct - What's the Agenda Here?


THE WALL has legal standing! Will he use it? 
taken from 10 U.S. C. Section 284:
Another statute that authorizes the Secretary of Defense to assist civilian law enforcement with counterdrug activities may provide some authority for the construction of barriers along the border. 10 U.S.C. § 284 (Section 284) provides that the Secretary of Defense “may provide support for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime” of any law enforcement agency, including through the “[c]onstruction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States...

Conservatives Have Had It! They are going to the Border to "build their own wall"!

Border Patrol Finds Drug Tunnel:


Largest Fentanyl Siezure Caught at Border:

It's Time to Designate the Mexican Cartels as Terrorist Organizations!

GOP Lawmakers have a lower Liberty score than some radical Democrats!

New Green Deal Means and Old Socialist Ploy:

Patriots Owner Praises Trump:

Tech Tyranny! Facebook to silence Conservative Sites!

Is this another Fake News Covington Situation Aimed at demeaning MAGA patriots?

New York's New Partial Birth Abortion Law is Accepted Before "Killing Puppies!"

"No Regrets" Governor of VA on Infanticide Law!

Democrat Radicals Propose Slashing Homeland Security Funding! Good Luck Border States!

The Rise of Anti-Semitism - Is all of this coincidental?

The Real Story Behind Maduro's gold "heist" of Venezuelan Gold and the coutnries that are helping him stay in power.

CA's Next Plan to rob its Citizens of their rightful vote in 2020!

CA's Gov. Newsom's Plan for Universal Health Care - What it means for us:

High School Students Disqualified from Debate because they quoted Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro! Parents Speak Up!