Article 43

 

Mile Markers of Tyranny

image: dying america

“No one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end.”
- George Orwell

Losing Our Freedoms on the Road from 9/11 to COVID-19

By John W. Whitehead
Rutherford Institute
September 9, 2020

You can map the nearly 20-year journey from the 9/11 attacks to the COVID-19 pandemic by the freedoms we’ve lost along the way.

The road we have been traveling has been littered with the wreckage of our once-vaunted liberties, especially those enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.

The assaults on our freedoms that began with the post-9/11 PASSAGE OF THE USA PATRIOT ACT laid the groundwork for the eradication of every vital constitutional safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

If there is any sense to be made from this recitation of freedoms lost, it is simply this: our individual freedoms have been eviscerated so that the governments powers could be expanded.

Mind you, by ғgovernment, I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats. Rather, I’m referring to the Deep State - the corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that has set itself beyond the reach of the law and is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.

This is a government that, in conjunction with its corporate partners, views the citizenry as CONSUMERS AND BITS OF DATA to be bought, sold and traded.

This is a government that SPIES ON AND TREATS ITS CITIZENS AS IF THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO PRIVACY, especially in their own homes.

The COVID-19 pandemic with its lockdowns, mask mandates, surveillance, snitch lines for Americans to report their fellow citizens for engaging in risky behavior, and veiled threats of forced vaccinations has merely provided the architects of the American police state with an opportunity to flex their muscles.

These have become mile markers on the road to tyranny.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the governments ongoing war on the American people. In the process, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, denied due process, and killed.

What the past 20 years have proven is that the U.S. government poses a greater threat to our individual and collective freedoms and national security than any terrorist, foreign threat or pandemic.

In allowing ourselves to be distracted by terror drills, foreign wars, color-coded warnings, partisan politics, pandemic scares, and other carefully constructed exercises in propaganda, sleight of hand, and obfuscation, we failed to recognize that the U.S. government’s the government that was supposed to be a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has become the enemy of the people.

Indeed, the U.S. government has grown so corrupt, greedy, power-hungry and tyrannical over the course of the past 240-plus years that our constitutional republic has since given way to an idiocracy, and representative government has given way to a KLEPTOCRACY (a government ruled by thieves) and a KAKISTROCRACY (a government run by unprincipled career politicians, corporations and thieves that panders to the worst vices in our nature and has little regard for the rights of American citizens).

Although the Bill of Rights - the first ten amendments to the Constitution - was adopted as a means of protecting the people against government tyranny, in America today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

“We the people” have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance by a government that cares nothing for our lives or our liberties.

The bogeymans names and faces have changed over time (terrorism, the war on drugs, illegal immigration, a viral pandemic), but the end result remains the same: in the so-called name of national security, the Constitution has been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded with the support of Congress, the White House, and the courts.

What we are left with today is but a shadow of the robust documentadopted more than two centuries ago. Sadly, most of the damage has been inflicted upon the Bill of Rights.

Here is what it means to live under the Constitution, post-9/11 and in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic.

The First Amendment is supposed to protect the freedom to speak your mind, assemble and protest nonviolently without being bridled by the government. It also protects the freedom of the media, as well as the right to worship and pray without interference. In other words, Americans should not be silenced by the government. To the founders, all of America was a free speech zone.

Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Increasingly, Americans are being arrested and charged with bogus “contempt of cop” charges such as “disrupting the peace” or “resisting arrest” for daring to film police officers engaged in harassment or abusive practices. Journalists are being prosecuted for reporting on whistleblowers. States are passing legislation to muzzle reporting on cruel and abusive corporate practices. Religious ministries are being fined for attempting to feed and house the homeless. Protesters are being tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and forced into “free speech zones.” And under the guise of “government speech,” the courts have reasoned that the government can discriminate freely against any First Amendment activity that takes place within a government forum.

The Second Amendment was intended to guarantee the right of the people to “keep and bear arms.” Essentially, this amendment was intended to give the citizenry the means to resist tyrannical government. Yet while gun ownership has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as an individual citizen right, Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against SWAT team raids and government agents armed to the teeth with military weapons better suited to the battlefield. As such, this amendment has been rendered null and void.

The Third Amendment reinforces the principle that civilian-elected officials are superior to the military by prohibiting the military from entering any citizens home without “the consent” of the owner. With the police increasingly training like the military, acting like the military, and posing as military force - complete with heavily armed SWAT teams, military weapons, assault vehicles, etc. - it is clear that we now have what the founders feared most - a standing army on American soil.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits government agents from conducting surveillance on you or touching you or invading you, unless they have some evidence that youre up to something criminal. In other words, the Fourth Amendment ensures privacy and bodily integrity. Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment has suffered the greatest damage in recent years and has been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches and even anal and vaginal searches of citizens, surveillance (corporate and otherwise) and intrusions justified in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors.

The Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment work in tandem. These amendments supposedly ensure that you are innocent until proven guilty, and government authorities cannot deprive you of your life, your liberty or your property without the right to an attorney and a fair trial before a civilian judge. However, in the new suspect society in which we live, where surveillance is the norm, these fundamental principles have been upended. Certainly, if the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights.

The Seventh Amendment guarantees citizens the right to a jury trial. Yet when the populace has no idea of whats in the Constitution - civic education has virtually disappeared from most school curriculums - that inevitably translates to an ignorant jury incapable of distinguishing justice and the law from their own preconceived notions and fears. However, as a growing number of citizens are coming to realize, the power of the jury to nullify the government’s actions - and thereby help balance the scales of justice - is not to be underestimated. Jury nullification reminds the government that “we the people” retain the power to ultimately determine what laws are just.

The Eighth Amendment is similar to the Sixth in that it is supposed to protect the rights of the accused and forbid the use of cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Supreme Courts determination that what constitutes “cruel and unusual” should be dependent on the “evolving standards of decency” that mark the progress of a maturing society leaves us with little protection in the face of a society lacking in morals altogether.

The Ninth Amendment provides that other rights not enumerated in the Constitution are nonetheless retained by the people. Popular sovereignty - the belief that the power to govern flows upward from the people rather than downward from the rulers - is clearly evident in this amendment. However, it has since been turned on its head by a centralized federal government that sees itself as supreme and which continues to pass more and more laws that restrict our freedoms under the pretext that it has an important government interestӔ in doing so.

As for the Tenth Amendments reminder that the people and the states retain every authority that is not otherwise mentioned in the Constitution, that assurance of a system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC, power elite - the president, Congress and the courts.

If there is any sense to be made from this recitation of freedoms lost, it is simply this: our individual freedoms have been eviscerated so that the governments powers could be expanded.

Mind you, by “government,” I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats. Rather, I/m referring to the Deep Statethe corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that has set itself beyond the reach of the law and is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.

This is a government that, in conjunction with its corporate partners, views the citizenry as CONSUMERS AND BITS OF DATA to be bought, sold and traded.

This is a government that SPIES AND TREATS ITS CITIZENS AS IF THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO PRIVACY, especially in their own homes.

READ MORE...
Posted by Elvis on 09/11/20 •
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