Dec 082014
 

Don’t you just love those Americans who celebrate how free they are under America’s national-security state system?

I wonder if such Americans also celebrated how free people were who lived under East Germany’s national-security state system.

I just read an interesting story in the New York Times about how the East German Stasi was confiscating art from wealthy East Germans. They would simply raid people’s homes, take valuable art, and then sell it, putting the money into the state’s coffers. According to the article, “between 1973 and 1989 the East German police, known as the Stasi, seized more than 200,000 objects in hundreds of raids.”

Why did the authorities do that? Because the government needed the money.

Why not simply raise taxes? Because people don’t like paying taxes. Anyway, why go through the taxing process when you can just barge into people’s homes and take their possessions?

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Oct 152014
 

Just about a year-and-a-half ago, I wrote a post titled “It Can’t Happen To Me.” In it, I talked about the attitude I run into repeatedly, one that seems to be now as ingrained as the idea that people gotta breathe, which is that constitutional rights protect criminals. Nobody else needs them.

Because if you haven’t done anything wrong, then you’ve nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

Nevermind that non-white people have known pretty much forever that cops don’t just go after criminals. What white people believe runs this country. And white people haven’t suffered these problems of being stopped repeatedly, harassed, or killed for driving while black, kissing while black, or, increasingly, just being black, so they believe it doesn’t happen…very often.

Sure, they’ve heard of it happening, but they’ve never really borne the brunt of it. And they don’t really believe what some black people say about how bad it is. I mean, most cops are good, right? Most cops — so they say — won’t beat you at the drop of a hat, even if they stand around and do nothing while their brothers in blue beat the living shit out of people when the hat drops. Those good cops, though, will indeed not just stand there — they’ll cover for their homies when asked what happened, even if they have to lie under oath to do it.

They just won’t join in the beating. Because, they’re good cops.

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Oct 132014
 

On occasion I have referred to the US Empire as a police state and have received complaints that we are nowhere near a police state. This morning I was reading an article by the always wonderful Fred Reed when I read the following paragraphs.

NSA spies on us illegally and in detail, recording telephone conversations, reading email, recording our financial transactions, on and on. TSA makes air travel a nightmare, forcing us to hop about barefoot and confiscating toothpaste. The police kick in our doors at night on no-knock raids and shoot our dogs. In bus stations we are subject to search without probable cause. The feds track us through our cell phones. Laws make it a crime to photograph the police, an out-and-out totalitarian step: Cockroaches do not like light. The feds give police forces across the country weaponry normal to militaries. Whatever the intention, it is the hardware of control of dissent. Think Tian An Men Square in China.

And we have no recourse. If you resist, you go to jail, maybe not for long, not yet anyway, but jail is jail. Object to TSA and you miss your flight. They know it and use it. The courts do nothing about this. They too are feds.~ Fred Reed

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Aug 202014
 


Whatever we eventually learn about what happened in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, Michael Brown is beyond mortal help. The same is not true of Shaneen Allen, a 27-year-old working mother of two and robbery victim who faces an eleven-year prison term for the supposed offense of carrying a legally licensed firearm.

Like the late Mr. Brown, Allen – a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — is an African-American. She has no criminal record, and her case is untainted by allegations that she had committed a violent crime.

In planning to take the case to trial this October, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain is committing what could be construed as a race-specific violation of due process by seeking prison time: As we will shortly see, a white Pennsylvania resident who committed the same “offense” was given a pre-indictment plea deal involving two years of non-supervised probation. McClain’s proposed “deal” for Allen would have included a mandatory three and a half year prison sentence.

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Aug 182014
 

Update: I have received four or five emails from readers who complain that the person in the photo, which is a photo taken from media accounts, is not the person who the cops murdered in Ferguson.

Why does it matter? The photo shows three oversized cops pointing military weapons at point blank range at a black kid with his hands up. Any one of the cops unarmed could have restrained the kid. The photo demonstrates that the police are trained to use excessive force.

The emails I received demonstrate the inability both emotionally and rationally of many Americans to deal with reality. They try to hide from reality by claiming that Ferguson’s size threatened the police, who were justified in shooting him. Hiding from reality is the refuge of no-think Americans. Most of the “exceptional people” can be found hiding there.

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Jul 112014
 

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself…Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.”—H.L. Mencken, American journalist

It’s vogue, trendy and appropriate to look to dystopian literature as a harbinger of what we’re experiencing at the hands of the government. Certainly, George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm have much to say about government tyranny, corruption, and control, as does Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report. Yet there are also older, simpler, more timeless stories—folk tales and fairy tales—that speak just as powerfully to the follies and foibles in our nature as citizens and rulers alike that give rise to tyrants and dictatorships.

One such tale, Hans Christian Andersen’s fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, is a perfect paradigm of life today in the fiefdom that is the American police state, only instead of an imperial president spending money wantonly on lavish vacations, entertainment, and questionable government programs aimed at amassing greater power, Andersen presents us with a vain and thoughtless emperor, concerned only with satisfying his own needs at the expense of his people, even when it means taxing them unmercifully, bankrupting his kingdom, and harshly punishing his people for daring to challenge his edicts.

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Jul 042014
 

On July 4th, the United States will celebrate Independence Day once again. But who in the world are we trying to kid? Our founders intended to create a society where freedom and liberty would be maximized, but that is not what America looks like today. Instead, we live in a country that literally has millions of laws, rules and regulations. We have a government that is obsessed with spying on the entire planet and that tries to watch, monitor, track and record as much information about all of us as it possibly can. A “Big Brother” surveillance grid is being constructed all around us, and our militarized police are becoming more brutal with each passing day. Sadly, most Americans don’t seem too alarmed by any of this. In fact, a new Gallup survey has found that 79 percent of Americans are “satisfied” with the level of freedom in this nation. That is a very alarming statistic.

If most people believe that everything is “just fine”, then our leaders are going to feel free to keep doing the same things that they have been doing.

That is why it is so frustrating that so many American “sheeple” appear to be so apathetic about the loss of our freedoms and our liberties.

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Jun 302014
 

The U.S. Supreme Court was intended to be an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. In the police state being erected around us, the police and other government agents can probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts.

A review of the Supreme Court’s rulings over the past 10 years, including some critical ones this term, reveals a startling and steady trend towards pro-police state rulings by an institution concerned more with establishing order and protecting government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

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Jun 112014
 

“Why should anyone trust a government that has condoned torture, spied on at least 35 world leaders, supports indefinite detention, places bugs in thousands of computers all over the world, kills innocent people with drone attacks, promotes the post office to log mail for law enforcement agencies and arbitrarily authorizes targeted assassinations? Or, for that matter, a president that instituted the Insider Threat Program, which was designed to get government employees to spy on each other and ‘turn themselves and others in for failing to report breaches,’ which includes ‘any unauthorized disclosure of anything, not just classified materials.’” — Professor Henry Giroux

Why should anyone trust a government that kills, maims, tortures, lies, spies, cheats, and treats its own citizens like criminals? For that matter, why should anyone trust a government utterly lacking in transparency, whose actions give rise to more troubling questions than satisfactory answers, and whose domestic policies are dictated more by paranoia than need?

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May 212014
 

“Police are specialists in violence. They are armed, trained, and authorized to use force. With varying degrees of subtlety, this colors their every action. Like the possibility of arrest, the threat of violence is implicit in every police encounter. Violence, as well as the law, is what they represent.”—Kristian Williams, activist and author

Living in a free society means not having to look over your shoulder to see whether the government is watching or fearing that a government agent might perpetuate violence upon you.

Unfortunately, as I detail in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, subjected as we are to government surveillance, body scanners, militarized police, roadside strip searches, SWAT team raids, drones, and other trappings of a police state, “we the people” do not live in a free society any longer.

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