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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Jul 282014
 

Drone-Killing the Fifth Amendment

You can’t get more serious about protecting the people from their government than the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, specifically in its most critical clause: “No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” In 2011, the White House ordered the drone-killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki without trial. It claimed this was a legal act it is prepared to repeat as necessary. Given the Fifth Amendment, how exactly was this justified? Thanks to a much contested, recently released but significantly redacted — about one-third of the text is missing — Justice Department white paper providing the basis for that extrajudicial killing, we finally know: the president in Post-Constitutional America is now officially judge, jury, and executioner.

Due Process in Constitutional America

Looking back on the violations of justice that characterized British rule in pre-Constitutional America, it is easy to see the Founders’ intent in creating the Fifth Amendment. A government’s ability to inflict harm on its people, whether by taking their lives, imprisoning them, or confiscating their property, was to be checked by due process.

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Jul 212014
 

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”―Edward Abbey, American author

There’s a lot to love about America and its people: their pioneering spirit, their entrepreneurship, their ability to think outside the box, their passion for the arts, etc.  Increasingly, however, as time goes by, I find the things I don’t like about living in a nation that has long since ceased to be a sanctuary for freedom are beginning to outnumber the things I love.

Here’s what I don’t like about living in the American police state: I don’t like being treated as if my only value to the government is as a source of labor and funds. I don’t like being viewed as a consumer and bits of data. I don’t like being spied on and treated as if I have no right to privacy, especially in my own home.

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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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Mar 192014
 

Natural, not a creation of goverment

The term ‘rights’ creates misconceptions resulting in innumerable conclusions that are inaccurate, deceptive, and nonsensical. Rights can mean anything, everything, and nothing. Rights can be real and tangible, or abstract and ill-defined. Rights can be manipulated and twisted into political and economic terms used by the ruling class to advance ideology and embed into minds the very idea that government is the source of rights, defines rights, and adjudicates rights.

Here is a reasonably complete list of rights as they are used today: Unalienable rights, negative rights, positive rights, natural rights, human rights, constitutional rights, contractual rights, political rights, voting rights, civil rights, women’s rights, property rights (real, personal, and intellectual), states’ rights, legal rights, economic rights, parental rights, children’s rights, LGBT rights, prisoner’s rights, immigrant’s rights, etc.

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Mar 172014
 

“I thought I had freedom of speech here,” the man said to the police officer.
“You don’t. You just lost it,” the officer replied.

Once again, the U.S. government is attempting to police the world when it should be policing its own law enforcement agencies. We’ve got a warship cruising the Black Sea, fighter jets patrolling the Baltic skies, and a guided-missile destroyer searching the South China Sea for the downed Malaysia Airlines flight. All the while, back home in the U.S., our constitutional rights are going to hell in a hand basket, with homeowners being threatened with eviction for attempting to live off the grid, old women jailed for feeding crows, and citizens armed with little more than a cell phone arrested for daring to record police activities.

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Feb 192014
 

The Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that “no Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

Obviously, the Third Amendment has little relevance today. But what is relevant for us today is the mindset that underlay the passage of that amendment — a mindset of deep antipathy toward militarism and standing armies. Our ancestors’ fierce opposition to a powerful military force was consistent with their overall philosophy that guided the formation of the Constitution and the passage of the Bill of Rights.

While the Framers understood the need for a federal government, what concerned them was the possibility that such a government would become a worse menace than no government at all. Their recent experience with the British government — which of course had been their government and against which they had taken up arms — had reinforced what they had learned through their study of history: that the biggest threat to the freedom and well-being of a people was their own government.

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Jan 272014
 

“Thou Shalt Not Steal” is found almost universally at the core of religious commandments and secular legal systems. The implication of this is that property, and property ownership, are universally considered to be of central importance. And not just in legal systems, but also in religions.

Why is property ownership so important that respect for it is enshrined as a basic tenet of Human society?

Ownership only begins to take on importance when there is scarcity involved.

We typically don’t worry about who owns the air we breathe. Air is obviously important, but as long as there is plenty for everyone, and your breathing does not reduce the amount of air available for me to breathe, then we don’t have to worry about who owns what air.

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Dec 112013
 

“No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.”—John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States

“How ‘secure’ do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and … forcibly enter?”—Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the lone dissenter in Kentucky v. King

If the government can tell you what you can and cannot do within the privacy of your home, whether it relates to what you eat, what you smoke or whom you love, you no longer have any rights whatsoever within your home.

If government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property. If school officials can punish your children for what they do or say while at home or in your care, your children are not your own—they are the property of the state.

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