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Three Votes To Check Tyranny Perhaps the most fundamental principle that this country was founded on was a firm belief and conviction that our rights as human beings come from God and not from the state. John Adams, second president of the United States famously said: "You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe." The government they envisioned was to have the primary function of protecting those rights. The Bill of Rights spelled out what they thought were those basic rights and the constitution was created to provide a mechanism to safeguard them. Sadly, most high school students or even people of any age when asked where do our rights come from will answer "from the government". The problem with that thinking is if government grants you your rights then they can also take them away. Gradually, since the beginning of "The Great Experiment" that this nation was often called, we have allowed the state to wildly overstep its originally intended role and have allowed our freedom to erode. This has made us more and more dependent and less and less free which has robbed us of our prosperity. We must revive what Jefferson called the "Ancient Principles". The "Ancient Principles" refer to the Ten Commandments and The Common Law. The Common Law, in simple terms is just plain common sense and has its roots in the Ten Commandments. In 1776, we broke free of bondage, with our understanding, our courage and our faith. Against great odds and with much bloodshed and sacrifice, we battled our way to achieve LIBERTY. Liberty is that delicate area, that "sweet spot" between the force of government and the free will of man. Liberty is the freedom of choice to work, to trade, to go and live wherever we wish. It is the freedom to pursue happiness in whatever way we individually choose to. Liberty leads to ABUNDANCE. If a people are allowed to truly be free, they will prosper. This is why we as a people, in the span of less than one century became the most prosperous people ever to walk the face of this earth. With true freedom comes responsibility. The price of freedom is that you are responsible for yourself. You cannot have freedom and at the same time expect to be taken care of by a ruler or a ruling system. But we showed that if you give a people liberty they will flourish and they will flourish mightily! Abundance, if made an end in itself, will result in complacency which leads to apathy. Apathy is the "let George do it" philosophy. This eventually leads to dependency. For a period of time, dependants are not even aware of the fact they are dependent. They delude themselves into thinking they are still free. "We've never had it so good" or "We can still vote can't we?". But in a state of dependency, the state we find ourselves in now where just about half of all Americans are in some way dependent on the state, the inevitability is that abundance will diminish and diminish. Suddenly then the shiny varnish of dependency rubs off and dependency becomes known by its true nature: BONDAGE. We stand at a very critical crossroads. If we do not return to liberty now and embrace the independence and responsibility that comes with it, then we will fall into full blown slavery. In many ways we are already there. There are always those amongst us who strive for power and to exert control over others. If the proper safeguards and checks are not in place and vigilantly preserved these types of people in the world will try to harness this power for themselves at the expense of their fellow human beings. Our founders, knowing this, spent a massive amount of time and effort in trying to create a system that would keep the base of power in the hands of "we the people" and not let it be hijacked by would-be tyrants. Remember, they won their liberty away from a tyrant or "sovereign" and created a revolutionary system in which the people were all sovereigns. To be a good master, it is always important to remember the true "pecking order" or chain of command. In our system it was envisioned to be first comes God (however you conceive of him) who created man. Then Man (that's you) who created a constitution. Then the constitution which created government. Finally government who's purpose was to protect the liberties of man. Yes, the base of power was to remain with "we the people" so we could preserve liberty for ourselves and ensure the continuance of abundance and prosperity while being responsible for ourselves. Unfortunately, our power, our independence has been lost to so called "leaders" acting in the name of government such as most (not all) politicians, bureaucrats, judges and lawyers. I know saying such things doesn't endear me to these types but doesn't examining their behavior objectively force one to reach this conclusion? They are supposed to be there to "serve" the people and work diligently to preserve our rights and freedom. But all to often they are "in the game" to advance and enrich themselves while manipulating the system, either knowingly or unknowingly, to create a self serving, money and power generating mechanism for themselves at the expense of our liberty. As a result, America has begun to operate like a democracy instead of what we are supposed to be - a REPUBLIC. A democracy is dangerous as our founders knew and warned against. In a democracy the rights of the individual are not protected - there is just a one vote system in a democracy, majority rule, which quickly becomes mob rule. Our republic has a three vote system built into it - three votes to check tyranny, not just one. Our first vote is at the polls on Election Day when we pick those who are to represent us in the lofty seats of government. But, what can be done if those elected officials don't perform as promised or expected? What if they make rules and "statutes" that violate our rights or are clearly unconstitutional that we do not approve of such as the NY SAFE act and countless others? Do we have any recourse? Yes we do but unfortunately, American citizens today have not been informed of their other two important votes. The other two "votes" are the most effective means by which any common people of any nation on earth have ever had in keeping those appointed to serve them in government under control. The second vote comes when you serve on a Grand Jury. Before anyone can be brought to trial for a capitol or infamous crime by those acting in the name of government, permission must be obtained from people serving on the Grand Jury! The Minneapolis Star and Tribune, in an article on March 27, 1987 said it well when they noted: "A grand jury's purpose is to protect the public from an overzealous prosecutor". The third vote though is the "doozy" that if understood and used properly is the "game changer". It is your most powerful vote and I believe one of the most powerful tools we have as "we the people" to protect ourselves from the ever encroaching repression of an out of control government. It presents itself when you are acting as a jury member in a courtroom trial. At this point, "the buck stops" with you! It is in this setting that each juror has more power than the president, all of congress, and all of the judges combined! Congress can legislate, the president or some other bureaucrat can issue orders or make regulations but a juror, with impunity, can vote "Not Guilty". If only one juror votes not guilty for any reason, there is no conviction and no punishment at the end of the trial. This part of the system, intentionally built in by the founders who worried about future government getting too powerful, forces those acting in the name of government to come before the common man, peers of the accused, to get permission to enforce a law. You, as a juror are essentially and by design above the law. As a juror in a trial, when it comes to your individual vote of innocent or guilty, you are truly answerable only to your God Almighty - in fact the first amendment to the constitution was born out of this great concept. The founders envisioned and for the first hundred years and more, it was commonly known that in a jury trial not only are the facts of the case as it relates to the letter of the law that was allegedly broken on trial, but the law itself is on trial! Even if you believe that the defendant broke the law in question, if you feel the law is unjust or unconstitutional you can vote "not guilty" with impunity. However, judges today refuse to inform jurors of their true rights. They incorrectly tell juries that they must convict if the law as it is written, was broken and this simply is not true. Lawyers are not allowed to inform juries of this either - if they do they risk being punished by the judge, held in contempt of court or even stripped of their membership in their exclusive club, the BAR. They don't want you to know about this power jurors rightfully have. All their thousands of statutes and laws - and their whole corrupt, money making system could be threatened if people were aware. They are driven to CONVICT. Only then can the fines and surcharges be levied. So imagine if you sat on a jury where a person from your community was being tried for possessing a fire-arm or ammunition magazine that had been unconstitutionally outlawed by the SAFE act for example - you could single handedly "nullify" the law by voting "not guilty" and "hang" the jury. This is why this concept is called the power of "Jury Nullification". All it takes is one informed juror to say, on behalf of the whole community: "NO. WE WILL NOT COMPLY!" At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, the jury's role as a defense against political oppression was unquestioned in American Jurisprudence. It appeared quite visibly in the historic record in the 1850's when prosecutions under the Fugitive Slave Act were largely unsuccessful because juries refused to convict as they disagreed with the law itself. Then judges began to erode the important institution of free juries. While our courts uniformly state juries have the power to return a verdict of not guilty whatever the facts, they routinely tell the jurors the opposite. I ask you by what logic should juries have the power to acquit a defendant but no right to know about that power? But more than logic has suffered. As originally conceived, juries were to be a kind of safety valve, a way to soften the bureaucratic rigidity of the judicial system by introducing the common sense of the community. If they are to function effectively as the "conscience of the community" jurors must be told that they have the power to say NO to a prosecution in order to achieve a greater good. To cut jurors off from this information is to undermine one of our most important institutions. If they won't instruct juries properly, the community needs to educate itself. Then citizens called for jury duty could teach the judges a needed lesson in civics. There is a very large body of precedent and testimony backing up the truth of this question - enough for a whole separate article on the subject but I'll leave you with a few of my favorites: "The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy" - John Jay, 1st Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1789. "The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact" - Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1902. "The pages of history shine on instances of the jury's exercise if its prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge..." U.S. v. Dougherty, 473 F 2nd 1113, 1139 (1972). "An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection: it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." - Norton v. Shelby County, 118 US 425 p. 442. Embrace any chance you get to sit on a jury but don't mention you know about any of this - they will surely dismiss you.