Category Archives: Amendments
Articles about the Amendments to the US Constitution
Many years ago, back in the 1970’s, you could, on rare occasions, actually learn something watching a TV crime drama. And so it was that way back when, Dave watched an episode of Quincy, M.E., during which he learned a fact about how Jury trials can work that he retains even today. That single fact is helpful when we recall the purpose of the Jury is to serve as a mighty bulwark against government. To make certain that government isn’t allowed to just run roughshod over accused citizens.
At the same time, that simple fact also makes certain that a person who is guilty can’t hide behind confusion and misdirection.
Back in 2012, a man stood accused of hacking into PriceWaterhouse and stealing the Romney’s tax returns, which he threatened to release to the highest bidder if he didn’t get paid $1Million in digital currency. The self-named “Dr. Evil,” was about as competent as his nom de guerre, and ended up in the custody of the US Secret Service, who take a dim view of people threatening potential Presidents with blackmail. He denied being involved, of course, and eventually found himself sitting in front of a Jury as the Secret Service laid out their digital case against him.
It was extremely complicated, and for people who aren’t computer experts, somewhat confusing. To make sure that the Jury understood the case, the Judge allowed the same thing that Dave learned watching Quincy, M.E., all those years ago to happen…
Imagine for the moment that you are living in Small Town, USA. Your life is pretty normal and while there are things about your life that you wouldn’t want people to know, you aren’t a pervert or a criminal. You’re just a average person when it comes to your private life and your online activities.
Maybe you have a friend, his name is… oh let’s just call him John. John Q. Public. He lives in your town and runs his own contracting business. Heck, maybe you’ve even hired him once or twice. Like you he has a bank account and a line of credit for his business. He also likes to travel, having gone to Europe last year. It’s something you’d like to do, but you’re just too busy.
One afternoon, there is a knock at your door. It’s the local Police and they have a search warrant.
A search warrant for your computer. Signed by a local Judge, they want your search engine history. All of it. They have no reason to believe that you did what they are investigating, but they have convinced the Judge that if they can just look at everybody’s computer and search engine history, they can find out who did do whatever it is that they are investigating.
Now again, you’ve done nothing wrong. Well… maybe you’re a little weird and all, but what you search for is your business after all and not my place to judge. But you’ve committed no crime and there is no reason whatsoever to suspect that might have. But here at your door stands a police officer with a warrant for your search engine history.
By the by, as you’re standing there, you notice that across the street, another Officer with another warrant is knocking on that sweet old lady’s door. And a couple of doors down the Pastors house has yet another Cop with a warrant. In fact, you notice that every house has a police officer with a warrant knocking on the door.
Never happen, Dave, you might be saying. First off the Cops got better things to do and nobody would be that silly and no Judge would ever approve such a warrant in the first place.
That’s what you would tell me, right? Right?????
(THE ORIGINAL STORY with the warrant)
In 44bce, following the death of Julius Cæsar, Mark Anthony wasn’t really impressing people in Rome with his leadership and management. Despite his inspiring speech at Cæsars funeral pyre, he was basically making a pigs breakfast of things.
Opposing him was Cicero. Here was a Constitutionalist, a leader and a man of words. And it was to words which Cicero turned in his very public condemnation and criticism of Anthony. He delivered a series of fourteen speeches, known as the Phillipics, in which he rips Anthony for everything from his management to his dalliances with women (even one beneath his station) and even implies that Anthony might be, just possibly, at least once or maybe twice, homosexual. Read the rest of this entry