Police Militarization Is More Than Tanks And Rifles: It’s A Cultural Disease

“If we’re training cops as soldiers, giving them equipment like soldiers, dressing them up as soldiers, when are they going to pick up the mentality of soldiers? If you look at the police department, their creed is to protect and to serve. A soldier’s mission is to engage his enemy in close combat and kill him. Do we want police officers to have that mentality? Of course not.”— Arthur Rizer, former civilian police officer and member of the military

Talk about poor timing. Then again, perhaps it’s brilliant timing.

Only now—after the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security (DHS), and Defense have passed off billions of dollars worth of military equipment to local police forces, after police agencies have been trained in the fine art of war, after SWAT team raids have swelled in number to more than 80,000 a year, after it has become second nature for local police to look and act like soldiers, after communities have become acclimated to the presence of militarized police patrolling their streets, after Americans have been taught compliance at the end of a police gun or taser, after lower income neighborhoods have been transformed into war zones, after hundreds if not thousands of unarmed Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police who shoot first and ask questions later, after a whole generation of young Americans has learned to march in lockstep with the government’s dictates—only now does President Obama lift a hand to limit the number of military weapons being passed along to local police departments.

Not all, mind you, just some.

Talk about too little, too late.

Months after the White House defended a federal program that distributed $18 billion worth of military equipment to local police, Obama has announced that he will ban the federal government from providing local police departments with tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms, and large-caliber firearms.

Obama also indicated that less heavy-duty equipment (armored vehicles, tactical vehicles, riot gear, and specialized firearms and ammunition) will reportedly be subject to more regulations such as local government approval, and police being required to undergo more training and collect data on the equipment’s use. Perhaps hoping to sweeten the deal, the Obama administration is also offering $163 million in taxpayer-funded grants to “incentivize police departments to adopt the report’s recommendations.”

While this is a grossly overdue first step of sorts, it is nevertheless a first step from an administration that has been utterly complicit in accelerating the transformation of America’s police forces into extensions of the military. Indeed, as investigative journalist Radley Balko points out, while the Obama administration has said all the right things about the need to scale back on a battlefield mindset, it has done all the wrong things to perpetuate the problem:

  • distributed equipment designed for use on the battlefield to local police departments,
  • provided private grants to communities to incentivize SWAT team raids,
  • redefined “community policing” to reflect aggressive police tactics and funding a nationwide COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program that has contributed to dramatic rise in SWAT teams,
  • encouraged the distribution of DHS anti-terror grants and the growth of “contractors that now cater to police agencies looking to cash DHS checks in exchange for battle-grade gear,”
  • ramped up the use of military-style raids to crack down on immigration laws and target “medical marijuana growers, shops, and dispensaries in states that have legalized the drug,”
  • defended as “reasonable” aggressive, militaristic police tactics in cases where police raided a guitar shop in defense of an obscure environmental law, raided a home looking for a woman who had defaulted on her student loans, and terrorized young children during a raid on the wrong house based on a mistaken license plate,
  • and ushered in an era of outright highway robbery in which asset forfeiture laws have been used to swindle Americans out of cash, cars, houses, or other property that government agents can “accuse” of being connected to a crime.

It remains to be seen whether this overture on Obama’s part, coming in the midst of heightened tensions between the nation’s police forces and the populace they’re supposed to protect, opens the door to actual reform or is merely a political gambit to appease the masses, all the while further acclimating the populace to life in a police state.

Certainly, on its face, it does nothing to ease the misery of the police state that has been foisted upon us. In fact, Obama’s belated gesture of concern does little to roll back the deadly menace of overzealous police agencies corrupted by money, power, and institutional immunity. And it certainly fails to recognize the terrible toll that has been inflicted on our communities, our fragile ecosystem of a democracy, and our freedoms as a result of the government’s determination to bring the war home.

Will the young black man guilty of nothing more than running away from brutish police officers be any safer in the wake of Obama’s edict? It’s unlikely.

Will the old man reaching for his cane have a lesser chance of being shot? It’s doubtful.

Will the little girl asleep under her princess blanket live to see adulthood when a SWAT team crashes through her door? I wouldn’t count on it.

It’s a safe bet that our little worlds will be no safer following Obama’s pronouncement and the release of his “Task Force on 21st Century Policing” report. In fact, there is a very good chance that life in the American police state will become even more perilous.

Among the report’s 50-page list of recommendations is a call for more police officer boots on the ground, training for police “on the importance of de-escalation of force,” and “positive non-enforcement activities” in high-crime communities to promote trust in the police such as sending an ice cream truck across the city.

Curiously, nowhere in the entire 120-page report is there a mention of the Fourth Amendment, which demands that the government respect citizen privacy and bodily integrity. The Constitution is referenced once, in the Appendix, in relation to Obama’s authority as president. And while the word “constitutional” is used 15 times within the body of the report, its use provides little assurance that the Obama administration actually understands the clear prohibitions against government overreach as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

For instance, in the section of the report on the use of technology and social media, the report notes: “Though all constitutional guidelines must be maintained in the performance of law enforcement duties, the legal framework (warrants, etc.) should continue to protect law enforcement access to data obtained from cell phones, social media, GPS, and other sources, allowing officers to detect, prevent, or respond to crime.”

Translation: as I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the new face of policing in America is about to shift from waging its war on the American people using primarily the weapons of the battlefield to the evermore-sophisticated technology of the battlefield where government surveillance of our everyday activities will be even more invasive.

This emphasis on technology, surveillance, and social media is nothing new. In much the same way the federal government used taxpayer-funded grants to “gift” local police agencies with military weapons and equipment, it is also funding the distribution of technology aimed at making it easier for police to monitor, track, and spy on Americans. For instance, license plate readers, stingray devices, and fusion centers are all funded by grants from the DHS. Funding for drones at the state and local levels also comes from the federal government, which in turn accesses the data acquired by the drones for its own uses.

If you’re noticing a pattern here, it is one in which the federal government is not merely transforming local police agencies into extensions of itself but is in fact federalizing them, turning them into a national police force that answers not to “we the people” but to the Commander in Chief. Yet the American police force is not supposed to be a branch of the military, nor is it a private security force for the reigning political faction. It is supposed to be an aggregation of the countless local civilian units that exist for a sole purpose: to serve and protect the citizens of each and every American community.

So where does that leave us?

There’s certainly no harm in embarking on a national dialogue on the dangers of militarized police, but if that’s all it amounts to—words that sound good on paper and in the press but do little to actually respect our rights and restore our freedoms—then we’re just playing at politics with no intention of actually bringing about reform.

Despite the Obama Administration’s lofty claims of wanting to “ensure that public safety becomes more than the absence of crime, that it must also include the presence of justice,” this is the reality we must contend with right now:

Americans still have no real protection against police abuse. Americans still have no right to self-defense in the face of SWAT teams mistakenly crashing through our doors, or police officers who shoot faster than they can reason. Americans are still no longer innocent until proven guilty. Americans still don’t have a right to private property. Americans are still powerless in the face of militarized police. Americans still don’t have a right to bodily integrity. Americans still don’t have a right to the expectation of privacy. Americans are still being acclimated to a police state through the steady use and sight of military drills domestically, a heavy militarized police presence in public places and in the schools, and a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign aimed at reassuring the public that the police are our “friends.” And to top it all off, Americans still can’t rely on the courts, Congress, or the White House to mete out justice when our rights are violated by police.

To sum it all up: the problems we’re grappling with have been building for more than 40 years. They’re not going to go away overnight, and they certainly will not be resolved by a report that instructs the police to simply adopt different tactics to accomplish the same results—i.e., maintain the government’s power, control, and wealth at all costs.

This is the sad reality of life in the American police state.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Watch Live: Rand Paul Is Now Filibustering The Patriot Act

He did it in 2013 — Sen. Rand Paul famously filibustered for nearly 13 hours against the Obama administration’s policy to use drone strikes to target U.S. citizens deemed enemy combatants operating in foreign countries. Now, the Kentucky Republican and GOP presidential hopeful is doing it again — taking to the Senate floor to try to block reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, especially the section that supposedly empowers the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk.

Sen. Paul took control of the upper chamber at 1:18pm on Wednesday, just as the Senate heads down to the wire over parts of the PATRIOT Act slated to expire at the end of the month. Senators are set to leave Washington at the end of the week; so if Paul’s talk-a-thon is successful, the legislation to keep the NSA mass surveillance program intact could be in jeopardy.

As The Daily Caller notes in its coverage of Paul’s filibuster, the presidential contender has made his commitment to reining in what he considers to be excessive government domestic spying a centerpiece of his campaign.

“In a campaign email to supporters, posted online by a reporter from Time magazine, Paul said: ‘I will not rest. I will not back down. I will not yield one inch in this fight so long as my legs can stand.’”

In opposing the parts of the PATRIOT Act he considers excessive and overbearing, Sen. Paul is standing against his fellow Republican senator from the Bluegrass State, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has pushed for a straight extension of the controversial surveillance law.

By clicking on the video above, you can watch a live stream of Rand Paul’s filibuster. It’s unknown how long Paul will speak, given that the Senate is currently working through the 30 hours of debate on a trade bill and is scheduled to vote one hour after the chamber convenes on Thursday.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Appellate Court Nails NSA Spying and Patriot Act

Mayday, Mayday! A New York federal court just nailed the NSA for spying on Americans. In a 97-page ruling, the Second Circuit Court ruled that the heart and soul of the so-called Patriot Act, known as Section 215, is constitutionally flawed; and it cannot be legally interpreted as allowing mass snooping on the phone calls of U.S. citizens!

The timing of this May 2015 ruling is extremely significant since the Patriot Act is set to expire on June 1, 2015.

This is causing power craving, ultra-controlling politicians to have outright panic attacks. Unless they do something very quickly, they will be forced to honor constitutional rule of law. And, gasp, people can have private conversations again in America!

But don’t jump for joy yet. The political scoundrels have regrouped and are now pushing for a so-called reform measure called the Freedom Act. Only one problem: i’s worse than the Patriot Act. The so-called Freedom Act, if implemented, would, as Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano put it, “legitimize all spying all the time on all of us in ways that the Patriot Act fails to do. It is no protection of privacy; it is no protection of constitutional liberty. It unleashes American spies on innocent Americans in utter disregard of the Fourth Amendment.”

Ironically, the NSA’s data collection center is located in the town of Bluffdale, Utah. So what do you say it’s time to call everyone’s bluff. Let’s make it an acid test of who to support this election season. Even if a professing conservative supports either renewing the Patriot Act or the new phony Freedom Act, show him the Right Foot of Fellowship–and that includes Ted Cruz. Et Tu, Ted? As admirable as Senator Cruz is on many issues, if he is on the wrong side of this issue, he can’t be trusted on lesser issues. Hopefully the unwavering stand of Ted’s buddy Rand Paul will motivate Cruz to abandon his current inexplicable support for the Freedom Act, and to once again stand firm in supporting our Fourth Amendment rights.

Judge Andrew Napolitano’s repudiation of the Patriot Act in his May 14 column is constitutionally unassailable. He wrote, “The Patriot Act is the centerpiece of the federal government’s false claims that by surrendering our personal liberties to it, it can somehow keep us safe. The liberty-for-safety offer has been around for millennia and was poignant at the time of the founding of the American republic.

“The Framers addressed it in the Constitution itself, where they recognized the primacy of the right to privacy and insured against its violation by the government by intentionally forcing it to jump through some difficult hoops before it can capture our thoughts, words or private behavior.

“Those hoops are the requirement of a search warrant issued by a judge and based on evidence — called probable cause — demonstrating that it is more likely than not that the government will find what it is looking for from the person or place it is targeting. Only then may a judge issue a warrant, which must specifically describe the place to be searched or specifically identify the person or thing to be seized.

“None of this is new. It has been at the core of our system of government since the 1790s. It is embodied in the Fourth Amendment, which is at the heart of the Bill of Rights. It is quintessentially American.”

Wow! If we can only get our politicians to embrace constitutional chat like this, we might just get back our Constitutional Republic!

Napolitano went on to explain that The Patriot Act makes an unconstitutional end run around the search warrant requirement by employing language left intentionally vague so that the feds can interpret it any way they want. And to add insult to injury, they used a secret court called a FISA court to legitimize their illegitimate actions, far from the prying and probing eyes of We the People and what’s left of the Free Press, resulting in their ability to spy on anyone and everyone whenever they choose–and they chose to spy on everyone all the time–including having the Draconian ability to actually turn on our cell phones remotely, using them as listening devices–in real time!

This is the end of our video; but if you still are leaning toward replacing the Patriot Act with the Freedom Act, consider this: The NSA supports the Freedom Act!

Read Judge Napolitano’s column on this subject.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Are Americans, Divided By ‘Liberal Vs. Conservative,’ Missing What’s Really Happening To America?

Can one imagine how difficult it was for America’s founders to actually make the decision to separate from Great Britain? England was the Motherland. The Crown was the central government. For all of their lives, the government of Great Britain was the only government they had ever known. The history of England was their history. Not only that, these men had never experienced any other system of government. Neither was there history to guide them. A monarchical form of government was all they knew. The “divine right of kings” was inculcated into their hearts and minds via virtually every established institution, including the Church, from the time they were born.

The Magna Carta had paved the highway of philosophy for the acceptance of self-government and individual liberty, but it was hardly practiced. King John signed the charter under extreme duress and then spent the rest of his reign in bloody retaliation against those who had pressed him to accept it. For over five hundred years, the Magna Carta lay as a noble idea but with little practical application. The Enlightenment philosophers wrote and theorized much about the principles contained in the Great Charter; but, again, until America’s founding generation came on the scene, nothing much of substance had been achieved. It was America’s Founding Fathers and founding generation that took the principles of the Magna Carta and the Enlightenment philosophers and actually used those principles to birth a new nation.

But how did they come to such a decision? Imagine the consternation. Imagine the inner conflicts. Communities were divided. Friends were divided. Families were divided. Brothers were divided. Parents and children and husbands and wives were divided. Yet, make the decision, they did. They pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the cause. They obtained liberty and independence for their posterity–at great cost.

Granted, the decision to separate from the British Crown was not made overnight. Thomas Jefferson explained the process of reasoning behind the separation in the Declaration of Independence. Hear him:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

How could Jefferson have been any clearer? He and the rest of America’s founders were convinced of “a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism.”

Noah Webster’s Dictionary Of The English Language (1828) defines “design” as verb: “To project; to form in idea, as a scheme.” And as noun: “A scheme or plan in the mind.” And, “Purpose; intention; aim; implying a scheme or plan in the mind.”

Hence, America’s founders were convinced of a scheme, a plan, and an intention in the minds of those within the British Crown to “reduce them under absolute Despotism.” Yes, friends, America’s founders were convinced there was a CONSPIRACY within the hearts and minds of the British government to enslave them. Hear Jefferson again:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design…

When abuses and usurpations which pursue invariably the “same Object” continue unabated over a long period of time, this is NOT an act of happenstance; it is by “design.” Somewhere along the line, the eyes of America’s founders were opened to the conspiracy within the British government to enslave them. Once their eyes were opened to the conspiracy, the rest, as we say, is history.

I submit that what we have in America today are basically two groups of people: those whose eyes are opened to conspiracy, and those who eyes are blind to conspiracy. This is exactly as it was in 1775 and 1776. Christian or unchurched, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, if one is blind to the conspiracy to “reduce [us] under absolute Despotism,” one cannot truly comprehend the real danger or the real war.

And, sadly, it appears that most people today do NOT see the CONSPIRACY. All they see is Republican and Democrat; conservative and liberal; right and left; Christian and Muslim; religious and secular; FOX News and CNN, etc. Until Americans awaken to the same “design” that our founders awakened to, they will not be able to obtain a solution to our country’s malaise, as they are blind to the real enemy.

Mind you, not everyone in the British government in 1775 had it in mind to enslave the Colonists. Not every British soldier, not every British magistrate, and not every British agent had a personal goal to enslave the colonies. They were just following orders; their eyes were blind to the plans and objects of those who were orchestrating the conspiracy. And, of course, those within the colonies who supported the British Crown were, likewise, blind to the conspiracy. Thank God, enough of our forebears were enlightened to the design of the Crown to be willing to cast it off.

I will say it plainly: there is a design (conspiracy) within Washington, D.C., and its allies to reduce us under absolute despotism.

Come on, folks, think: when has it mattered to a tinker’s dam which party controlled the White House or Congress? No matter which party is in charge, the central government in D.C. continues to get bigger and bigger and more and more oppressive. Regardless of whether the President is a Democrat or Republican, NOTHING changes in regards to America’s foreign policies or our economic policies. Regardless of party, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) dominates our foreign policies; and the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) dominates our economic policies. Regardless of party, an American Police State and surveillance society continue to mushroom, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continue to exert more and more control over the American citizenry, and states and communities continue to fall under the heel of federal overreach.

Both parties in Washington, D.C., are led by warmongering zealots who use war, not only to enrich themselves, but also to carry out their preconceived plans of perpetual war for the purpose of paving the way for international bankers to control the world’s economies and for the purpose of subjecting the American citizenry to greater and greater infringements of their liberties.

In this regard, militant Islam is but a tool of the globalists. As long as Americans think that Islam is our enemy, they are blind to who the real enemy is. Our enemy is NOT Islam; our enemy is the cabal of globalists who are manipulating militant Islamists. The same people (the CFR and their fellow travelers) who took one of our strongest allies in the Middle East (Iran) and turned it into one our (supposed) greatest enemies are the same ones who are manipulating all of the wars of the Middle East, as well as bringing Russia and China to the brink of global conflict.

I submit the conspiracy of the British Crown has returned; and what used to be an indefatigable, recalcitrant, and vigilant independent republic (the United States) has become little more than a puppet of the old European monarchy. What the Crown could not accomplish through military force, it has accomplished through international banking.

The Federal Reserve wields absolute control over U.S. economic policy; and yet, no one really knows exactly who all of the members of the FRB even are. One thing is known: many (if not most) of them are NOT even U.S. citizens. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, foreign bankers have been controlling U.S. financial policy for the better part of a century.

In like fashion, the CFR virtually controls U.S. foreign policy. And the goal of the CFR is the reduction of national sovereignty and the rise of global government. Listen to Admiral Chester Ward.

Rear Admiral Chester Ward, who was the Judge Advocate General of the Navy from 1956-1960 and a former member of the CFR, but withdrew from the organization after realizing what they were all about and warned the American people about the dangers of this and similar organizations (such as the Trilateral Commission). He said, “The most powerful clique in these elitist groups have one objective in common–they want to bring about the surrender of the sovereignty and the national independence of the United States. A second clique of international members in the CFR . . . comprises the Wall Street international bankers and their key agents. Primarily, they want the world banking monopoly from whatever power ends up in the control of global government.”

Admiral Ward also said: “The main purpose of the Council on Foreign Relations is promoting the disarmament of U.S. sovereignty and national independence and submergence into an all-powerful, one world government.”

Now, observe that the administrations of both Republican and Democrat presidents are littered with CFR members. Under President George H.W. Bush, CFR members comprised 20% of his cabinet; under President Bill Clinton, CFR members comprised 34% of his cabinet; under President G.W. Bush, CFR members comprised 22% of his cabinet; and under President Barack Obama, CFR members comprise 36% of his cabinet. And these figures do not take into account how many CFR members are scattered throughout the national news media.

Can one imagine how people would react if twenty or thirty percent of a given presidential administration’s cabinet members were from, say, the Christian Coalition–or, even the ACLU? If the Christian Coalition had that many members in a presidential administration, people on the left would be screaming bloody murder. And if the ACLU had that many members in a presidential administration, people on the right would be screaming bloody murder. As it is, the CFR DOES have that many members in EVERY presidential administration; and no one from the right or the left even says “boo.” It’s because they (from both left and right) are blind to the conspiracy.

These international conspirators can be found in London, Brussels, Washington, D.C., New York City, Tel Aviv, etc. In terms of U.S. foreign policy, these conspirators completely control the neocon agenda. That doesn’t mean that every politician who embraces the neocon foreign policy agenda is him or herself aware of the conspiracy. In the same way, not every federal officer within the DHS is aware of the conspiracy. Not every soldier who is fighting these perpetual wars of aggression is aware of the conspiracy. But as with many in the old British monarchy, they are the pawns of the conspirators.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, et al., were only able to declare and fight for independence and liberty after they understood that they were dealing with “a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism.”

Until the American people, including our State legislators, governors, city mayors, councilmen, county sheriffs, district attorneys, congressmen, senators, pastors, educators, journalists, etc., awaken to the conspiracy that seeks to enslave us, we will never have the sagacity and strength of will to properly resist it. This means that many of the current battles in which good people are engaged merely play into the designs of those who seek our enslavement. We can’t win the war until we know who the real enemy is.

P.S. On Sunday, April 19 of this year, I delivered the famous sermon of Pastor Jonas Clark that was originally delivered on April 19, 1776, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Battle of Lexington. Pastor Clark was the pastor of the men who fought that historic battle, which began America’s War for Independence. Obviously, this message was delivered just a couple of months before our Declaration of Independence was signed. I preached this message word-for-word. And I tried to deliver it with the same zeal and passion in which it was originally preached.

The vast majority of today’s Christians NEVER hear a message that remotely resembles the kind of sermons that the pastors of Colonial America delivered. And since April 19 fell on Sunday this year, I delivered Jonas Clark’s powerful message regarding the Battle of Lexington and American liberty so people could listen to the kind of preaching that Christians in Colonial America heard routinely. Pastor Clark entitled his message, “The Fate of Blood-Thirsty Oppressors and God’s Tender Care of His Distressed People.”

My delivery of this awesome message is on DVD. I offer this DVD to my readers in the hope that many of you will purchase copies of the DVD and let your friends, relatives, fellow Christians, pastor, etc., hear true Colonial American preaching. Again, this is word-for-word the message of Jonas Clark delivered on April 19, 1776, concerning the Battle of Lexington Green and America’s fight for liberty.

I have never heard anyone deliver Rev. Clark’s famous message. As far as I know, this is the only verbatim recording of this historic message in existence–preached with the same kind of passion and fervor as it was said Pastor Clark delivered it.

To order my delivery of Jonas Clark’s message, go here:

Jonas Clark’s Famous Message Of April 19, 1776

© Chuck Baldwin

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

An Open Letter To Marco Rubio: I Am Ashamed I Ever Worked On Your Behalf

Mr. Rubio,

I have read your opinion piece published on May 10, 2015. I understand that this is your opinion, but I am puzzled how you can hold these opinions and still claim to be conservative member of a party that claims to be supporting the Constitution.

Specifically, you claim that the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are essential to the protection of our “national security” and that we must continue these clear violations of our 4th Amendment and our Right to Liberty to keep us “safe.” To the contrary, with these “permissible” intrusions, we have seen a massive increase in power of government in general and the power of the executive in particular, increased control over the people, and a decreased respect for the Rights of the people throughout America. Faisal Shahzad, the Boston Bombing, and the Garland Shooting are clear examples of when the government was continually monitoring these “terrorists” and still allowed the violence to occur; so tell me again how critical it is to do away with the 4th amendment?

You claim that “Bulk metadata includes phone numbers, the time and duration of calls — nothing else. No content of any phone calls is collected.”  You contradict your own claims in the very next sentence: “The government is not listening to your phone calls or recording them unless you are a terrorist or talking to a terrorist outside the United States.” (emphasis mine)  What you are truly telling America is that the government IS listening to our phone calls AND recording them–but “trust us, it’s only when we think you are a terrorist.”  I’m sorry, sir; I cannot garner that much trust for my government–and you should not suggest you expect it.  May I remind you that on two separate occasions, the DHS and DoD have declared the definition of “terrorist” to be so broad as to include many within the Republican party!

“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are…rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”  This report also claims “return of military veterans…could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks. “ DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis Assessment April 7, 2009

“Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.” January 2013, DoD Training on Extremism

Knowing that these are the OFFICIAL definitions of a “terrorist,” how can you possibly expect Americans to trust this government with such a gross violation of our Liberties?

Your statement that “Despite recent court rulings, this program has not been found unconstitutional, and the courts have not ordered a halt to the program” is disingenuous at best and borders on complete propaganda.  Production of just one case contrary to your claims shows your dishonesty. I will give three:

On March 15, 2013, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared that the Patriot Act section 2709 “violates the First Amendment and the separation of powers principle…The government is therefore enjoined from issuing NSLs under 2709 or from enforcing the nondisclosure provision in this or any other case.”

On December 16, 2013, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon entered “an order that bars the Government from collecting, as a part of the NSA’s Bulk Telephony Metadata Program, any telephony metadata associated with their personal Verizon accounts and (2) requires the Government to destroy any such metadata in its possession that was collected through the bulk collection program.”

On May 7, 2015, a three judge panel consisting of Circuit Judges Sack and Lynch, along with District Judge Broderick, ruled that the National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal, stating that “the telephone metadata program exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized and therefore violates § 215.”

In these three court cases, we have seen that actions taken under the Patriot Act have been deemed unconstitutional and illegal, bulk metadata collection has been ordered to a halt, and the National Security Agency’s exercise of section 215 of the Patriot Act has been deemed illegal.

Mr. Rubio, you then try to justify these false claims by clarifying that “In fact, this program has been found legal and constitutional by at least 15 federal judges serving on the FISA Court on 35 occasions.” This is simply more propaganda intended to deceive the public. Who are the FISA Courts?

  1. They are federal courts appointed by the federal government whose only job is to review “applications submitted by the United States Government for approval of electronic surveillance, physical search, and other investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes.”
  2. “Most of the Court’s work is conducted ex parte as required by statute, and due to the need to protect classified national security information.”
  3. Consideration of the Constitution is secondary to national security needs. (See Rule 5(a))

So let’s get this straight, Mr. Rubio: you expect the American people to be comforted by the fact that 15 federal judges, appointed by the federal government, whose rules and procedures by definition place national security over the Rights of the people, and whose judgments are held in secret with no accountability, have determined the government’s actions to be legal?  Tell me again how you believe in the bedrock principles of America. One of your flowery speeches quoting the founders while you pander to real conservatives who haven’t figured out who you are should do nicely.

You claim that “There is not a single documented case of abuse of this program.”  Not a single “documented” case of abuse in a system shrouded in secrecy, hidden by “national security” claims, conducted ex parte, protected with gag orders? Wow! That indeed is impressive. I would find your argument more credible if you simply start yelling, “I AM OZ; pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, you young whippersnapper!”

Your Alinsky-like use of threats of future violence puts you in dubious company, to say the least. Don’t you guys get tired of trotting out some boogeyman to scare the people into trading Liberty for a false sense of security?  Every attack that gets through your vaunted dragnet is used by you as proof that we need to sacrifice more and more liberty. Somehow, we are supposed to believe that the reason some nutjob blows something up is that the people are too free!  Your opinion (demonstrated by your rhetoric) that the Constitution is outdated, that the founders were ignorant fools, is the very thing I labor to combat every day. I am ashamed of ever having worked on your behalf. You have been a sincere disappointment to say the least.

Here are some words that you, Mr. Rubio, should take to heart: “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.”  John F. Kennedy

You, sir, are a cheerleader for the very thing JFK wisely warned Americans to guard against. I don’t care whether you call yourself Senator or President; your used car sales pitch for security is not worth my son’s Liberty. And you, sir, ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Sincerely,

KrisAnne Hall

www.KrisAnneHall.com

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth