All men having power ought to  be mistrusted.
                -- James Madison
 
I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violence and sudden usurpations.
             -- James Madison
 
The happiness of society is the end of government.
              -- John Adams
 
 
Vote (noun) -- The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.
            -- Ambrose Bierce
 
It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.
         -- Thomas Paine
 
Where there is injustice, we should correct it; where there is poverty, we should eliminate it; where there is corruption, we should stamp it out... and wherever corrections are achieved, we should add them permanently to our storehouse of treasures.
                -- on the gravestone of Chief Justice Earl Warren
 
Baboons are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates.  And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons -- a congress.
             -- anon
 
The price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is that someday they might force their beliefs on us.
              -- Mario Cuomo


They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
                               -- Franklin


I understand that freedom of speech is a founding principle of our nation, and I respect people with the courage to speak their minds.
     The Interfaith Alliance was created out of the necessity to protect the integrity of religion, the vitality of democracy, and the rights of every American.  The health of our democracy relies on vigilant watchdogs who are not afraid to speak out against injustice.
     I admire political courage, I admire personal courage, and I admire religious courage and those people who have been honored by the Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award of the Interfaith Alliance.
     Nothing less is at stake in the work of the Interfaith Alliance than the existence of democracy as we know it.
                                       -- Walter Cronkite, newscaster and Honorary Chairman of the Interfaith Alliance

Under our way of life, a man should never go to jail for what he thinks or espouses.  He can be punished only for his acts, never for his thoughts or beliefs or creed.
         -- Justice William O. Douglas


The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.  Those who won our independence … valued liberty as an end and as a means.  They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.  Experience teaches us to be most on guard when the government’s purposes are beneficent.
--  Louis D. Brandeis


Printers are educated in the belief that when men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the public; and that when Truth and Error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.
-- Benjamin Franklin


Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” — Thomas Paine, revolutionary hero


I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on
the razor edge of danger and must be fought for, whether it's a field, or a home, or a
country.” — Thornton Wilder, author


“Let every nation know ... whether it wishes us well or ill ... that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge ... and more.” — J.F. Kennedy, Jr.


It is our sacred duty to transmit unimpaired to our posterity the blessings of liberty, which were bequeathed to us by the founders of our Republic. ” — Andrew Johnson


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing the majority decision for Grutter v. Bollinger, on "Affirmative Action."
     Classroom discussions are "livlier, more spirited, and more enlightening" when students come from the "greatest possible variety of backgrounds."  This variety of backgrounds is particularly important among students who are preparing to become lawyers, since "individuals with law degrees occupy nearly half of the state governorships, more than half of the seats in the US Senate, and more than a third of the seats in the US House of Representatives."
     'Zine editor Jim Stumm notes that "This argument applies with greater force to Congress itself than it does to law schools.  Wouldn't discussions in Congress be 'livlier, more spirited, and more enlightening' if more of the members came from a varity of backgrounds, rather than so many of them being lawyers?
     "Non-lawyers bring a different perspective to discussions in Congress, especially those from fields where the laws being considered are an expensive burden & not a lucrative employment opportunity.  ....There's an unavoidable conflict of interest when lawyers pass laws that make more work for other lawyers (or themselves, if they return to private practice).
     "Perhaps, the courts should rule that no more lawyers should be allowed to take seats in the House or the Senate until the percentage of lawyers in those bodies has been reduced to the percentage that lawyers make up in the general population.
    quoted from Jim Stumm's "Living Free," January 2004, p.2; Stumm cites Sara J. McCarthy in "Liberty," November 2003, p. 40.


    “The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.
      —Justice William O. Douglas


Author Claire Wolfe, discussing the republican versus the pure democratic form of government: Democracy is two wolves and a sheep discussing what's for dinner.


    “The true patriot does not love his government, he loves his country and watches his government.”—anon


    “Nothing could so far advance the cause of freedom as for state officials throughout the land to assert their rightful claims to lost state power; and for the federal government to withdraw promptly and totally from every jurisdiction which the Constitution reserved to the states.”—Barry Goldwater


Whereas " in Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power," America has set the example of "charters of power granted by liberty." — James Madison


      Even though the United States has only 5% of the world's population, 25% of the world's eight million prisoners are stuck behind bars in the "Land of the Free." There are six times as many Americans behind bars as are imprisoned in the 12 countries of the European Union, even though those countries together have 100 million more residents that does the United States. The population of U.S. prisons is larger than the combined populations of the states of Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
      Nearly two-thirds of those incarcerated are in prison for non-violent offenses. Since 1980, the number of non-violent offenders imprisoned has tripled; the number of prisoners convicted on drug-related charges has increased seven-fold.
      About $41,000,000,000 was spent incarcerating people in 2000, more than many states spend on higher education.

Data from the Justice Policy Institute.


      A record 6.6 million people are now in the American correctional system. That's up from 4.4 million in 1990, a Sentencing Project survey reports. One in every 32 adults in the U.S. is behind bars, on probation, or on parole.
      Stricter monitoring of parolees and a zero-tolerance policy on technical violations of parole has resulted in many parolees being returned to prison because of non-criminal offenses such as overstaying curfews, going outside their specified travel areas, or missing appointments with the parole officer.


"Patriots' Day" is April 19th, the day on which the Battle of Lexington (Massachusetts) opened the American Revolution. The date has since been desecrated by several presidents:

In 1933, FDR took America off the gold standard
In 1961, Kennedy invaded the Bay of Pigs, Cuba
In 1992, Clinton conducted the first raid on the Randy Weaver cabin, Idaho
In 1993, Clinton attacked the Branch Davidian colony at Waco, Texas,
  killing over 80 civilians.

Other noteworthy events on Patriots' Day:
In 1989, homosexual lovers on the Battleship Iowa blew up a gun turret,
   killing 47 sailors
In 1995, Timothy McVeigh and other domestic terrorists blew up the Murrah
   Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 for no clear purpose


"I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress."—John Adams


If "pro" is the opposite of "con," then what is the opposite of "progress?" -- "Congress!"
graffitum seen in a men's restroom, House of Representatives


"Politics" -- in Latin, "poli" means "many, and of course "tics" are blood-sucking creatures
anon


"Secrecy renders societies susceptible to epidemics of suspicion."—George Will, columnist


"... it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals—that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government—that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens' protection against the government." — Ayn Rand

I always voted at my party's call,
  And never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me,
  By making me the ruler of the Queen's naivee!
               — W. S. Gilbert (HMS Pinafore)


A newspaper recently referred to the fact that The United States Congress lies at the heart of Washington, D.C. Washington shouldn't feel too exclusive about this, though, because most (if not all) senators and representatives also lie when they go home to their constituents.
    Perhaps they aren't really lying. Perhaps they really believe all the glowing nonsense that their public relations staffs invent for them. Perhaps they become the figments of their own imaginations, and really believe that they (and the world) really are as the fabrications imply.
    And the nonsense and fantasies are not solely the province of the publicity and public relations gurus. We are offered many `free' services and goods by various government agencies as well as by Madison Avenue. In these cases, we should not define the word `free' as meaning `without cost,' but as `you will not know the cost in advance.' In plain English, this translates to: `If it's free, there is a real possibility that you can't afford it.' — adapted from comments by Bud Lesser, Pacific Palisades, California


"The liberty of the press is essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraint upon publication, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published."
     "Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay whatever sentiments he pleases before the public. To forbid this is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischevious, or illegal, he must take the consequences of his own timerity."
—William Blackstone, jurist


 "It is the duty of government to make it easy to do right and to make it difficult to do wrong." —William Gladstone, statesman


   "A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing."—Thomas Jefferson, third president


"Our freedoms are not free.  Our freedoms were bought for us by people who are not here to enjoy these freedoms.  Let us never betray them by giving up any of the freedoms they paid for with their lives." anon

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