Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Groundhog Day 2016

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”—George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Vol. 1
In Harold Ramis’ classic 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, TV weatherman Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) is forced to live the same day over and over again until he not only gains some insight into his life but changes his priorities. Similarly, as I illustrate in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we in the emerging American police state find ourselves reliving the same set of circumstances over and over again—egregious surveillance, strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, government spying, the criminalization of lawful activities, warmongering, etc.—although with far fewer moments of comic hilarity.
What remains to be seen is whether 2016 will bring more of the same or whether “we the people” will wake up from our somnambulant states. Indeed, when it comes to civil liberties and freedom, 2015 was far from a banner year.
The following is just a sampling of what we can look forward to repeating if we don’t find some way to push back against the menace of an overreaching, aggressive, invasive, militarized surveillance state....

Friday, December 25, 2015

Thought for 2016

"Most people prefer to believe that their leaders are just and fair, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which he lives is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all."
ht  MR

Friday, December 18, 2015

Police State?

I keep hearing people say that something must be done quickly, "before the United States becomes a police state." Um, I hate to break it to you, but you're a little late.
What exactly do Americans think distinguishes this place from a police state? In a police state, state enforcers can randomly stop you and demand your papers. Like they do here (via "stop and frisk," "regulatory checkpoints," "border checkpoints" not at the border, etc.). In a police state you can be detained indefinitely without being charged. Like here. In a police state there are sadistic, power-happy jackboots everywhere, constantly looking for reasons to harass, rob or kidnap non-violent people. Like here. In a police state, the state's thugs literally get away with extortion, assault and murder. Like here. In a police state, you are treated like a criminal until proven innocent (and then still treated like a criminal). Like here. In a police state, everyone's communications and actions can be monitored and recorded. Like here. In a police state, you need the permission of the ruling class to do almost anything. Like here.
Let's clear up a few stupid assumptions that some people seem to make. In a police state, often a huge percentage of the population APPROVES of the situation, at least at first. In a police state, there is still "rule of law," there are still courts and administrative procedure, etc. In a police state those in power still pretend they are PROTECTING the people by way of their fascist tactics. And in a police state, a lot of people are still stupid enough to believe it. In a police state, MOST people do NOT get harassed. The fact that YOU grovel and kiss the ring, and as a result, haven't been directly threatened by state mercenaries, doesn't mean this is a "free country"; it means you are a good slave. And that is why police states happen: because members of the general public not only don't do anything to resist it; they don't even NOTICE it.
If you're worrying about the U.S. becoming a police state, stop worrying. Because it already did.

h/t LR

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The "Magic System"

A lot of Americans believe that the American “Founders” created a system that automatically fixes itself. They talk about the “balance of powers,” and think that it will always save them from a tyrant. The balanced powers of the US Constitution, however, were trashed within fifteen years and doubly-trashed just a century ago.

In the Constitution, the states balanced the power of the national government (the one now in Washington, DC.) Not only did the states control half of the legislature, but they decided if and how they would implement the edicts of the national government. And that included deciding whether a law was constitutional or not.

This changed in 1803 with the Marbury v. Madison ruling. This ruling – taught as a work of genius in American schools – was a fraud against the US Constitution. In it, the Supreme Court held that they understood the Constitution better than James Madison, the man who wrote it!

But worse than even this, they held – with no basis – that it was they who would decide what was constitutional or not. The states were tossed aside. Even the sitting President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, called it “a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

Marbury’s Judicial review (the Supremes ruling on constitutionality) merely involves one branch of the national government providing a check on the other branches of the national government. After Marbury, the states could not restrain the national government.

Washington DC was unleashed with Marbury v. Madison. What made it almighty was the 17th Amendment of 1913, which took the powers of the states and transferred them to Washington, by mandating the popular election of senators.

With senators being elected directly by the populace, the states were entirely cut-out of the equation. In their place, political parties gained massive power, and nearly all power was consolidated in the city of Washington.

And so it is today. Washington is an unfettered beast. The system will NOT fix itself; the mechanisms to do that were lost a long time ago.

h/t P. Rosenburg