The Last Fourth of July

By David Swanson

On the first Fourth of July, the members of the Continental Congress signed a declaration of their disloyalty to the third George to rule the empire, denouncing his abuses of power. They complained of harassment by his troops, of his elevating the military above civilian power, of his denying people a fair trial by jury and instead transporting them overseas to be tried on false accusations, and in general of rendering the colonies almost as unpleasant and fearful a place to dwell as occupied Iraq would one day become.

On the last Fourth of July, the third George to rule the new empire had spread his troops across the country and the globe, placed military above civilian power, thrown out the right to a trial by jury and established his right to transport people overseas to be tried on false accusations. In preparation for the great celebration, the Supreme Court symbolically restored the right to a fair trial and King George eliminated the Supreme Court by ignoring it. Congress, in turn, stamped its credentials as a body of loyal Tories and assured its future as a royal court by officially eliminating the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment had read: “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.”

King George III and his court established the right of the king to warrantless searches, as well as to seizure of property and kidnapping of persons. These rights were simply assumed at the start of his reign and later formalized, as were his rights to violate other amendments to the Constitution.

The First Amendment had read: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Now, Congress no longer makes the laws at all. George makes them, and he makes them to fund and promote a particular religion, he kidnaps and detains and abuses members of other religions, and he eliminates the freedom of speech except in Free Speech Zones, an invention of his that would earlier have been known as Fenced Animal Pens. George has also detained and tortured members of the press, prosecuted them in court, and shot and bombed them. There is no redress of grievances. If George told you it was safe to work at “Ground Zero” and now you’re coughing up blood, keep coughing! If you died after George ignored all the warnings prior to September 11, 2001, stay dead!

The Second Amendment had read: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Now state militias have been put under control of the national government and sent overseas to kill or be killed committing crimes on behalf of the king.

The Third Amendment had read: “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.”

Now, many of the people are not even quartered in houses, but are made homeless by the king’s policies, including his abject failure to protect the people from hurricanes, floods, and loan sharks. But the soldiers are quartered in over 6,000 military bases in this country and another 1,000 in other people’s countries, all paid for by the people, including the homeless.

Amendment Five had read: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, 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; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; 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; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Now grand juries and even trials are optional luxuries, and the king will seize what he chooses to seize. George issued an Executive Order on July 17, 2007, that authorizes the Treasury Department to seize the assets of American citizens on the basis of a non-judicial process.

The Sixth Amendment had read: “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 defense.”

Now, people have the right to a very slow and private imprisonment, with no trial or jury, nowhere near where any crime may have been committed – and in fact there need not even be any crime alleged.

The Seventh Amendment had read: “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.”

Now, this right is gone where the value of the crime is under twenty million dollars. If it is over twenty million dollars it is, by definition, not a crime.

The Eighth Amendment had read: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Now, no bail may be permitted at all, and the most hideous forms of torture are no longer unusual.

The Ninth Amendment had read: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

This has now been reversed. Whereas the main body of the Constitution reads: “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it,” it has now been established that because the Constitution does not actually say that anyone ever has the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, nobody does. Just as nobody has any other rights.

The Tenth Amendment had read: “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.”

Now, all powers belong to the king, whether delegated to the Congress, left to the states and the people, or never hitherto imagined.

On the First Fourth of July, the signers of the Declaration of Independence declared: “A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people … We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America … do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; … And for the support of this Declaration … we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

On the Last Fourth of July, the subjects of the new King George thought long and hard. Would they grill hotdogs, turn up the air-conditioning, cheer for militarism, and wait for total tyranny. Or would they go to the local offices of their senators and say: “If you follow through on eliminating our Fourth Amendment, we will be through with you. We do not care what you threaten us with. We do not care what faction or party you belong to. You will restore our Fourth Amendment or you will be finished in public life.” Will they go to their representatives, also home for the holiday, and say “You must now put one piece of the Constitution back where it belongs, the fundamental piece, the keystone on which all else depends. You must impeach this president, join our cause, and enjoy our gratitude, or we will end your career as court jester and replace you with a representative of the will of the Free and Independent People that our ancestors gave their lives to create.”

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