The Department of Homeland Security regularly warns us to be aware of our surroundings and to watch for suspicious activity. They also warn us to watch for actions that may look harmless but might also be a symptom of a more serious threat.
Some of us wonder if being so suspicious of our fellow citizens is a good thing. They say that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and we should be ready to make judgments when we see dangerous activity. So let me take this opportunity to tell you what I see.
I see a government approaching levels of totalitarian control that were unimaginable even a few years ago. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects you from unreasonable search and seizure, is gone. Nude Body scanners and invasive pat down searches are a prerequisite for air travel. The Supreme Court agrees that the government has the authority to strip-search you at any time for any reason, even if you are arrested for a simple traffic stop.
I see a society willing to accept widespread surveillance previously imagined only in the most outlandish dystopian science fiction. A new government facility will centralize all electronic information about every citizen, including e-mails, phone calls, and purchase history into one easily searchable database. Virtually every citizen will have a file.
In addition, they are working with private contractors to create street lights capable of taking pictures, recording conversations, and even transmitting government messages. Linked with the NSA’s data center, it’s conceivable that the government could amass a database of citizens’ private conversations. Meanwhile, weaponized, remotely-controlled drones are becoming commonplace across the country to monitor the activities of everyday Americans.
I see a government that has subverted democracy through gerrymandering, unaccountable elections, and limitless corporate funding. It’s supported by a corporate-controlled media that doesn’t only fail to inform, but actively obscures the truth.
I see an empire that regularly and increasingly commits acts of war without congressional authorization in direct defiance of US law, international law, and the Constitution.
I see a justice system that insist that we can’t afford the cost of a jury trial. It imprisons innocent people for life even after a jury acquits them of the charges. It incarcerates more people than any other nation. It accepts slave labor as an acceptable form of punishment. It ignores widespread overcrowding and rape. Meanwhile, local governments will need to pass more draconian laws and punishments to satisfy private prison contracts that demand high occupancy rates.
I see a supposedly “liberal” and “progressive” Democratic administration which claims the authority to unilaterally and indefinitely detain without trial, anyone under the mere suspicion that they are a terrorist. Furthermore, they claim the authority to extradite American citizens to “foreign entities” where they can be tortured without limit. There is no judicial review. It is also attempting to intimidate and silence whistleblowers. To date, this administration has charged more people with crimes under the Espionage Act than all other presidencies combined.
I see a connected big-business elite, whose incestuous relationship with government has made them immune to prosecution. Even after they stole billions in tax dollars, manipulated markets, bribed public officials, and committed hundreds of thousands of cases of well documented perjury, the government has failed to prosecute any major players.
I see a central bank whose money printing, despite arguments to the contrary, has massively increased the wealth of the elite banking and investor class, while slowly destroying the value of the dollar and the purchasing power of the working poor. If a new reserve currency is introduced, it will rapidly increase this trend.
I see the use of “free speech zones” to corral and silence protesters. We have a militarized police force that uses bulldozers, rubber bullets, sound cannons, and chemical weapons on citizens whose simple demand is that the rule of law be enforced. A thoroughly corrupt government has only two ways to control the population: fraud and force, and when fraud is exposed, force is all they have left.
Almost all of these offenses are relatively new abuses. The corruption in government is accelerating quickly, and our most basic rights are evaporating. While it has always been corrupt and needing of supervision, the government now claims tyrannical powers equal to the most suppressive nations in human history. Our leaders tell us that these infringements on our civil liberties are necessary to ensure our way of life, but as Charles Hugh Smith recently noted, this is an Orwellian reversal of what the founding fathers had in mind. Civil liberties ARE our way of life.
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