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Do We Need the First Amendment?

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Many years ago, I was giving a lecture on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to a class at a public high school here in Virginia. During the course of my talk, I made the following statement: “The First Amendment does not give people the right of free speech.”

I asked the students whether my statement was correct or incorrect. Everyone immediately told me that I was wrong. They said the First Amendment did in fact give people the right of free speech.

I held my ground. I said it didn’t, and I pressed the students to figure out why I was maintaining my position. They were just as steadfast in their position, until a girl raised her hand and said, “Mr. Hornberger is right. The First Amendment does not give people rights. It prohibits the government from infringing on rights that preexist the government.”

She was absolutely right.

The First Amendment 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.
Notice that the Amendment does not give people rights. Instead, it prohibits Congress from enacting laws that abridge people’s rights.
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Coronavirus - Are The Chinese Telling The Truth?

The latest coronavirus outbreak, originating from the Wuhan Province, is causing increasing panic in the public health and the financial markets. The Chinese are building hospitals at the speed of light in attempt to contain the virus, while putting millions under quarantine. What do we know about the latest outbreak and about other previous outbreaks? How much is truth and what is propaganda? Watch today's Liberty Report...
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The Supers Are Back: DNC Members Planning Move To Block Sanders . . . Again

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In 2016, many of us objected to the concerted effect of the Democratic establishment and the Democratic National Committee to rig the primary for Hillary Clinton. Later it was revealed that the Clintons have largely taken over the DNC by taking over its debt and the DNC openly harassed and hampered Sanders at every stage. Despite this effort, Sanders came close to beating Clinton, who has never forgiven him for contesting a primary that she literally bought and paid for with the DNC. The simmering rage was still evident recently in Clinton’s attack on Sanders and suggestion that she might not support him if he were the nominee (a suggestion that she later took back). She continued her attacks this week and it has served to remind voters, particularly younger voters, of the DNC interference with the primary election. 

After the scandal, the DNC pledged to reform itself and reduce the power of establishment figures and superdelegates at the convention. Now, however, Politico is reporting that DNC members are again discussing changing the rules to stop Sanders. This follows the selection of Clinton allies to control the convention and a shocking level of anti-Sanders bias shown by CNN at the last debate. In the meantime, the DNC has been criticized for clearing the way for Michael Bloomberg by changing its rules to help him make the debates.

Reportedly, a group of Democratic National Committee members are discussing ways to undermine Sanders and allow for a convention stop on his candidacy. The plan centers around the superdelegates to reverse reforms and allow them to vote on the first ballot. In other words, the supers would be brought back in to keep Sanders out.
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Is the Draft Coming Back?

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During recent increased US-Iran confrontation, so many people viewed the Selective Service website to find out about the draft that the website crashed. People were right to be concerned about a return of the draft.
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Stumbling into Catastrophe

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There is a real danger for foreign policy advisors and analysts – and especially those they serve – when they are in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs. Needless to say it’s even worse when they believe they can create their own reality and invent outcomes out of whole cloth.
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Grand Theft Property

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In 1916, as World War I raged on, a British diplomat, Mark Sykes, met with his French counterpart from the Quai d’Orsay, Monsieur Picot, and signed an agreement to partition the Ottoman Empire once victory was achieved.

The heart of the Mideast – Palestine, Syria, and Iraq – was divided between Britain and France. Italy and Russia were offered other Ottoman lands: southern Turkey was promised to Italy and Constantinople to Russia. All this was top secret but was later revealed by the Bolsheviks after their 1917 revolution.

We have not seen such an example of breathtaking cynicism and perfidy until this week when President Donald Trump unveiled his so-called "Deal of the Century" as his final solution to the fate of the long-suffering Palestinians.

Standing next to Trump was Israel’s beaming Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who just got more land than his far-right, expansionist coalition had even dreamed of. It was not a coincidence that Trump had recently been accused of high crimes by the US House, while his buddy "Bibi" had just been indicted for low crimes by Israel’s attorney general.
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A New US Air Force Video Game Lets You Drone Bomb Iraqis and Afghans

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The United States Air Force has a new recruitment tool: a realistic drone operator video game you can play on its website. Called the Airman Challenge, it features 16 missions to complete, interspersed with facts and recruitment information about how to become a drone operator yourself. In its latest attempts to market active service to young people, players move through missions escorting US vehicles through countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, serving up death from above to all those designated “insurgents” by the game. Players earn medals and achievements for most effectively destroying moving targets. All the while there is a prominent “apply now” button on screen if players would like to enlist and conduct real drone strikes all over the Middle East.

The game has failed to win over David Swanson, director of the anti-war movement World Beyond War, and the author of War is a Lie.

“It is truly disgusting, immoral, and arguably illegal in that it is recruitment or pre-recruitment of underage children to participate in murder. It is part of the normalization of murder that we have been living through,” he told MintPress News.

Tom Secker, a journalist and researcher into the influence of the military on popular culture was similarly unimpressed by the latest USA.F. recruitment strategy, telling us...
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Iraq to Neocons: Get the Hell Out of Our Country

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The Trump coterie of neocons is spinning the Iraq embassy attack to fit their agenda, namely that Iran is responsible for the rocket attack when it is obvious the people of Iraq are fed-up with the US occupation, designed to last indefinitely, and are now targeting the massive US embassy in Baghdad.
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'If I Have To Fight For Recognition, I Will': Paul and Roberts On Collision Course Over Whistleblower Questions

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Yesterday’s question and answer period was a largely choreographed exercise with legal teams spontaneously responding to questions with preset video clips and visual displays. However, there was one major but largely overlooked moment that raises some serious issues over the authority of the presiding officer vis-a-vis the Senate. In the midst of the questions, Roberts spiked a question from Sen. Rand Paul (R, Ky). It concerned the whistleblower and the underlying legal premise for barring the question could prove controversial today. UPDATE: Roberts again refused to read the question of Sen. Paul.
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House Vote Today: Can Congress Prevent War On Iran?

Today the US House of Representatives will take up two bills designed to head off war on Iran. Are the measures appropriate? Do they do as they are advertised? Should they be supported? Or is it more smoke and mirrors? Heavy legislative analysis in today's Liberty Report...
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