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Fayetteville Freethinker Mythbuster board

American Freedom (2005)

  1. In America, can you be fined for not standing during the national anthem?


    In Baltimore you can be fined up to $100 if you remain seated or dance during the singing of the national anthem.

    Harper's Index, Harper's Magazine, April 2004, pg. 13 (source Department of Legislative Reference, Baltimore)

  2. Is the United States the world leader in freedom of the press?

    No. The US ranks 17th.

    In 2002 Reporters Without Borders published a worldwide index of 139 countries according to their respect for press freedom. The index measures the amount of freedom journalists and the media have in each country and the efforts made by governments to see that press freedom is respected.

    "Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, London, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington. And it has more than 120 correspondents worldwide."

    1. Finland, Iceland, Norway, Netherlands
    2. Canada
    3. Ireland
    4. Germany, Portugal, Sweden
    5. Denmark
    6. France
    7. Australia, Belgium
    8. Slovenia
    9. Costa Rica, Switzerland
    10. United States

    To examine their scientific methodology for this index, go here.

  3. True or False: Americans have the freedom to travel anywhere in the world as long as they are only going as a tourist.


    America is the only democratic country in the world to criminalize travel to Cuba.

    "American citizens should be aware that it is illegal for them to visit Cuba without a license issued by the US Treasury Department. Licenses are only granted to journalists, people visiting relatives, and for a few other reasons. If the US government finds out about your visit, you may be subject to fines or criminal prosecution."

    Only about 3,000 licenses are given per year.

  4. Check out the "Smart Car"


    • About 70 miles to the gallon!
    • Designed by Mercedes Benz
    • Available in Europe since 1997
    • 700,000 sold in 35 countries
    • Exchangeable, recyclable body panels
    • Has passed 50 crash tests
    • Many advanced safety features
    • Tridion Hemispherical, steel safety shell
    • Front and side driver & passenger airbags
    • Base model sells for $11,995 (US) in England

    How many are imported into the U.S. annually?


    You can’t have one. So far the US government forbids you to own one. They are not allowed to be imported into the U.S. No one in the Department of Transportation will explain why.


  5. What happens if an American grows or possesses a small amount of this plant?

    Many countries have minimal or no punishment for having small amounts of marijuana, and many allow patients the freedom to access it for its medicinal benefits. Not in the USA.

    There were 755,186 marijuana arrests in the United States in 2003. Eighty-two percent of these were for simple possession.

    • William Foster suffered with crippling rheumatoid arthritis. He did not like the side effects of the drugs his doctors prescribed, which were highly addictive. William found that medical marijuana controlled the pain and swelling associated with his condition so he grew some of his own medicine. He was arrested and sentenced to 93 years.
    • James Cox discovered medical marijuana following two operations for testicular cancer that had metastasized to his stomach. He found that it helped his pain, nausea, and eating disorders resulting from the cancer, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. He grew some and was arrested. His home was confiscated and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, his wife was sentenced to 5.
    • In Oklahoma in 1992 James Geddes was charged with cultivation and possession of five marijuana plants. He was sentenced to 150 years. On appeal his sentence was reduced to 90 years.


  6. True or False: In America, when you own personal property, no one can take it away without compensating you at fair market value. "Your home is your castle."


    Civil Asset Forfeiture
    kleptocracy -- n. government by thievery

    Between 1985 and 1995, the federal government through the Departments of Justice and Treasury, seized over $4 billion from U.S. citizens, many of whom have never even been charged with a crime.

    The federal government and many state governments can legally take people's private property without charging them with a crime. Legally, the property is accused of a crime, not the owner. Seized property is presumed guilty and may be forfeited based upon mere hearsay, or even a tip supplied by an informant who stands to gain up to 25% of the forfeited assets.

  7. True or False: The U.S. government will pay you to buy a humongous gas guzzling SUV like this:

    The 7300 CXT
    Gross Vehicle Weight: 25,999 lbs
    9 feet tall, 21 feet long
    6 mpg
    Seats six comfortably.
    Advertising slogan: "The Brilliance of Common Sense"TM


    Over 50 of these giant vehicles are massively subsidized by the government.

    1. The 2003 Tax Act, allows small businesses to instantly deduct up to $100,000 for a vehicle only if they purchase the heaviest and thus least fuel-efficient vehicles (over 6,000 lbs).
    2. This deduction allows wealthy persons to directly subtract as much as $37,100 per vehicle, from their tax bill. http://tinyurl.com/9kn5l
    3. This welfare for the wealthy costs the treasury an estimated $1.4 billion for every 100,000 people who take the tax break. Millions have. http://tinyurl.com/ct9q2
    4. The heaviest sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks are specifically exempt from any mileage requirements.

  8. Introducing the Twike!

    With pedal and electric power it has a maximum range of 55 miles and a top speed of 55mph. It's at least 20 times more efficient than any gas powered car. The Twike gets the equivalent of 300+ miles from the energy in one gallon of gas. In London TWIKE owners don't pay road tax and can park and charge for free! Available in Europe for over ten years. Cost, about US$18,000 Question: Do you have the freedom to have one in America?

    Portland Press Herald
    Friday, February 16, 2001

    Regi Robnett and his wife live in Boston and were generously given a TWIKE by a relative in Europe. When they had it shipped over it was immediately impounded by the US Government. They were told by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: the feds had never heard of the Twike and there was "no way" its rubber would ever meet a U.S. road.

    After two years, and the many efforts of their lawyers, the Twike was STILL being held in customs (2001). They had been charged a $10 dollar per day impoundment fee ($7,300) and "it is getting to the point where they feel they may have no alternative but to have the Twike destroyed." http://tinyurl.com/958sc

  9. FACT: Vermont offered homosexuals the right to join in civil unions in 2000, and in April of 2005, so did Connecticut. Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in May 2004.

    True or false: No other country affords gay citizens as many rights and freedoms as the U.S.


    Many countries grant their citizens much more freedom:

    • Denmark in 1989 became the first country to grant registered same-sex partners the same rights as married couples.
    • Norway, Sweden and Iceland all enacted similar legislation in 1996, and Finland followed suit six years later.
    • Netherlands became the first country to offer full civil marriage rights to gay couples in 2001.
    • Belgium allowed gay marriage in 2003.
    • Canada and Spain legalized gay marriage in 2005.
    • Germany has allowed same-sex couples to register for "life partnerships" since 2001.
    • France in 1999 introduced a civil contract called the Pacs, which gives some rights to cohabiting couples, regardless of sex. These do not include the full rights of marriage.
    • Luxembourg, allowed civil partnerships in 2004.
    • New Zealand recognized gay civil unions in December, 2004.
    • Britain gave same-sex couples in registered partnerships similar rights to married couples in December of 2005.
  10. True or False: In Arkansas, an atheist may testify in court (without swearing on the Bible) and may hold public office.


    Atheists are not allowed to testify in any court in Arkansas regardless of whether they will swear on the Bible or not. In addition, atheists are not permitted to hold public office.

    Article 19, section 1 of the Arkansas Constitution:

    Atheists disqualified from holding office or testifying as witness.

    No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.

  11. True or False: In our land of the free, any citizen has the right to attend a public speech by the President or the Vice-President.


    Only registered Republicans may now attend some Presidential or Vice-Presidential speeches.

    From the Boston Globe (August 9, 2004):
    RIO RANCHO, N.M. -- A Republican National Committee practice of having people sign a form endorsing President Bush or pledging to vote for him in November before being issued tickets for RNC-sponsored rallies is raising concern among voters. Nick Lucy, a 64-year-old veteran and Democrat, said he was turned away from a May 7 rally in Dubuque, Iowa, at which President Bush spoke even though he had a ticket given to him by a local Republican leader. Lucy, who was not asked to sign a form, said he has seen every president since Ronald Reagan, but he was denied access because he is not a registered Republican. He is a Democrat and a past commander of the American Legion in Dubuque who plays taps at veterans' funerals. "They asked the police to escort me out of there," Lucy said.

  12. True or False: In the United States, officials with a search warrant who enter your home or office to search it must inform you about the search within 24 hours.


    Because of Section 213 of the Patriot Act, law enforcement officials can search your home and not even tell you at all.
    The USA Patriot Act expands law enforcement's ability to conduct secret "sneak and peek" searches of your home. Investigators can enter your home or office, take pictures, and seize items without even informing you that a warrant was issued, for an indefinite period of time.
    The Patriot Act also gives law enforcement broad access to any types of records -- medical, financial, gun, library, educational, sales, etc. -- without probable cause of a crime. It also prohibits the holders of this information, like librarians, from disclosing that they have produced such records, under threat of imprisonment.
    Previously the government needed at least a warrant and probable cause to access private records.