Friday, March 30, 2012

My Current Favorite Christian Artist - Meet Propaganda

This guy. I love what he says, I love how he says it. This is where poetry gets flat out cool. There is so much talent here. Words, rhythm, the refreshing view and creative expression of faith is so moving to me. When you watch him I think you'll be impressed with his talent regardless of your personal belief in the content of the message.

New item on my bucket list: See this guy live.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty? Apparently Not.

Michigan militia head, son plead guilty to gun charge

So this news article in and of itself, I could take or leave. It's a decent enough account presenting quotes and opinions from both sides of this trial. It doesn't seem particularly biased in one direction or another. Right now, everybody has an opinion about who is right or wrong, what they would have done differently, blah, blah, blah. That's not what bothers me in this article. What bothers me is that in a federal court these men were cleared of all charges of seditious conspiracy, they were cleared of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, they were cleared of all charges except for a couple of illegal firearms charges on only 2 of the defendants.

Here's the quote that is getting to me:

"Militia members are finding that resuming their lives isn't easy. Despite his acquittal, Michael Meeks of Manchester, Mich., said he can't open a bank account yet because the bank told him he's still on a terror watch list. Told of the troubles, McQuade didn't seem moved. 
"It's the consequences of their actions," the prosecutor told the AP"

Their actions? Their ACTIONS?? According to a federal court of law their actions were LEGAL. According to a well respected federal judge these men were being tried on circumstantial evidence. Their actions? A judge threw the case out because they couldn't PROVE any actions. None that were illegal anyway (with the aforementioned exception of 2 defendants having illegal firearms). Now I'm not defending anyone's statements, I'm not saying all of these guys are squeaky clean boy scouts who love everything about the good ol' U.S. of A. I'm saying they were cleared of these "terrorist" charges because of lack of evidence. In spite of this they are going to be on a terror watch list. They are going to be watched by government agencies for any suspicious activity for God knows how long. They can't even get a bank account now. Their homes have been vandalized. (Hutaree leader FBI's actions validates distrust by patriots last lines) And this woman, a person who has based her career on the law says, in essence, they deserve it? "It's the consequences of their actions"? Ummm... I thought your very own court system just cleared them of any illegal actions? So it must be the action of exercising free (if controversial) speech?

I think the thing that shocks me most is my own naivety. Somewhere in my heart, I still believe/d in the United States. I really believe/d that we were innocent until proven guilty. I did not know we were guilty even when proven innocent. People, when a U.S. attorney general can make a statement like that, and even a portion of the population backs her, we're all in trouble.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

First Amendment

So I am following the Hutaree trial. It started out because I have a friend from high school who is a defendant in the case. It's become something bigger. It's become a case of national importance, only not in the way you might think. The more I see of this trial, the more I see basic constitutional freedoms being violated.

The First Amendment to the constitution reads: 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.

Look at it. It says plainly that congress shall make no law that abridges the freedom of speech. But these guys are on trial for TALKING. For expressing their opinions, no matter the content, about our government. For talking about what they would do if "the war" starts. There was no plan, no preparations to initiate war on our government. It was talk, plain and simple.

(Abridgement is defined as: 
1. to shorten by omissions while retaining the basic contents: to abridge a reference book. 
2. to reduce or lessen in duration, scope, authority, etc.; diminish; curtail: to abridge a visit; to abridge one's freedom. 
3. to deprive; cut off.)

It says Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. These guys are on trial because they (well some of them) are Christians. The Bible plainly speaks of a time that will come when government will inflict an establishment of religion, and that those who oppose it will be imprisoned, tortured even. They will be unable to buy or sell for their basic needs. It says to be ready. And when it happens, the government, and the "police" will be the enemy. Whether or not you agree with the theology here, they (mostly the Stone family) believe this is coming. It could be now, it could be a generation from now, no one knows for sure the time, but it is coming. They are on trial for an expression of faith. Preparing for what God says is to come.

It says Congress shall make no law restricting peaceable assembly. These guys are on trial for assembling peaceably. Now I get, that it can be hard to emotionally justify the word peaceable, with the phrases "weapons training" and "military maneuvers", but the fact remains, no one was hurt or killed at these meetings. No one was forcibly held against their will. No one was coerced by force, or threat of force, to attend or participate. It was peaceable.

(Peaceable is defined as:
inclined or disposed to avoid strife or dissention; not argumentative or hostile: a peaceable person; a peaceable disposition)
And that's just the First Amendment! At some point I will take a deeper look at the Second Amendment (the right to assemble militias), the Fourth Amendment (the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures), and the Sixth Amendment (in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial). The grey area in which the prosecution and the judicial system is treading is astounding.
This trial is about far more than it appears. It is wielding the potential to impinge further on our already increasingly limited freedoms. It's definitely something to think about.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


So, I've been reading my brother's blog. ( You can find it here: ) A lot. I've been thinking about the things he says and the veiwpoint he takes. I've been forced to examine my own complacency in life. I'm REALLY comfortable being a 40-something mom, student, christian, lower-middle class woman. We don't have a lot. We don't need a lot. But we have enough. We go to church freely and without fear. We eat well, maybe a little too well, we don't have to scramble to find enough to eat. We don't have to make a choice between food for the kids and paying the electric bill. My husband is good to me, to our kids, he provides for us and comes home every night to us. We're all clothed. We're all getting a decent education. No one is telling us we can't achieve whatever we set out to achieve. We are living, for the most part, the American dream. I am blessed, and my life is good. It's not always easy, or fun, but it is always good. I've grown fat and complacent in my blessings. I've been content to "go with the flow" wherever it leads.

Just recently though, I'm a bit disturbed by where that flow is heading. I'm a bit disgusted with myself for being so content to turning a blind eye to the gradual and subtle loss of freedoms we are experiencing as a nation, because, after all, they haven't REALLY affected my little corner of the dream. At least not yet. I think that's normal. I think it's what the majority of us do. (Why get uptight about having your phone tapped if you're not saying anything wrong? I'm not worried about that, I'm a law abiding citizen after all.) Well, maybe because it's a violation of our freedom of speech. Maybe, under the pretense of the greater good, we're sacrificing tiny little crumbs of freedom that left unchecked will end up being the whole cake one day. Maybe under the cloud of fear over this country, we're willing to give a little too much, a little too easily, if we can just stay in our bubbles and be left alone. Yep. I think that's a normal response. But is it wise? I really don't know, but it is something to think about.