The Shining City Goes Dark — Forever
Move over North Korea. Move over China. Move over Soviet Socialist Russia. Move over Cuba. Move over Nazi Germany. Room must be made for a new entry on the list of police states on earth. Now we must add the name of — the United States of America.
Shocking? No. It has been in the works for a very long time and the terrorist attack that took out the World Trade Center on 9/11 simply created the right condition for the powerful to extend their powers over a scared, frightened, people who, like all humans since the beginning of time (except for a few strong individualists), traded their freedom for security.
Welcome to “post constitution America.” The Bill of Rights is DEAD. Freedom for US citizens is a mirage. It no longer exists.
America is no longer a part of the so-called “free world.” Come to think of it — I’m not sure if there is, indeed, a free world any longer!
George Washington University law professor, Jonathan Turley, wrote a piece a while back that spelled it out for anyone not yet convinced that America has moved onto the police state list. You will find his article here: http://jonathanturley.org/2012/01/15/10-reasons-the-u-s-is-no-longer-the-land-of-the-free/
I’m going to highlight it a bit here.
Professor Turley says the list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company. (See the incomplete list of authoritarian states I mentioned above)
Professor Turley enumerates the “new” powers our government now holds over its citizens:
Assassination of U.S. citizens
President Obama has claimed, as President George W. Bush did before him, the right to order the killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism. Last month, administration officials affirmed that power, stating that the president can order the assassination of any citizen whom he considers allied with terrorists.
Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism. The Administration continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion.
The president now decides whether a person will receive a trial in the federal courts or in a military tribunal, a system that has been ridiculed around the world for lacking basic due process protections. Bush claimed this authority in 2001, and Obama has continued the practice.
The president may now order warrantless surveillance, including a new capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations. Bush acquired this sweeping power under the Patriot Act in 2001, and in 2011, Obama extended the power, including searches of everything from business documents to library records. The government can use “national security letters” to demand, without probable cause, that organizations turn over information on citizens — and order them not to reveal the disclosure to the affected party.
The government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and employs secret evidence in federal and military courts. It also forces the dismissal of cases against the United States by simply filing declarations that the cases would make the government reveal classified information that would harm national security — a claim made in a variety of privacy lawsuits and largely accepted by federal judges without question. Even legal opinions, cited as the basis for the government’s actions under the Bush and Obama administrations, have been classified. This allows the government to claim secret legal arguments to support secret proceedings using secret evidence. In addition, some cases never make it to court at all. The federal courts routinely deny constitutional challenges to policies and programs under a narrow definition of standing to bring a case.
The world clamored for prosecutions of those responsible for waterboarding terrorism suspects during the Bush administration, but the Obama administration said in 2009 that it would not allow CIA employees to be investigated or prosecuted for such actions. This gutted not just treaty obligations but the Nuremberg principles of international law. When courts in countries such as Spain moved to investigate Bush officials for war crimes, the Obama administration reportedly urged foreign officials not to allow such cases to proceed, despite the fact that the United States has long claimed the same authority with regard to alleged war criminals in other countries.
The government has increased its use of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has expanded its secret warrants to include individuals deemed to be aiding or abetting hostile foreign governments or organizations. In 2011, Obama renewed these powers, including allowing secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group. The administration has asserted the right to ignore congressional limits on such surveillance.
Immunity from judicial review
Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens, blocking the ability of citizens to challenge the violation of privacy.
Continual monitoring of citizens
The Obama administration has successfully defended its claim that it can use GPS devices to monitor every move of targeted citizens without securing any court order or review. It is not defending the power before the Supreme Court — a power described by Justice Anthony Kennedy as “Orwellian.”
The government now has the ability to transfer both citizens and noncitizens to another country under a system known as extraordinary rendition, which has been denounced as using other countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, to torture suspects. The Obama administration says it is not continuing the abuses of this practice under Bush, but it insists on the unfettered right to order such transfers — including the possible transfer of U.S. citizens.
THIS, dear reader, is the description of an authoritarian government, a police state — and THIS is America today.
America lurches along today, struggling with every breath. Much like a wounded animal instinctively knows something is wrong yet hasn’t the reasoning ability to understand that it is fatally wounded and will soon succumb to its wounds, collapse, and die.
America, the wounded giant, struggles against the infinity of self-inflicted wounds draining the life from its once vibrant body.
The lifeblood of the great constitutional republic, liberty and freedom, long since sacrificed on the alter of security, are no longer the life force of the once great titan that bestrode the earth. The lights are out in the once shining city on a hill and darkness shrouds the land.
The weight of the heavy hand of an authoritarian government smothers the citizenry and emasculates thoughts of revival.
Too late Americans remember the warning of one of America’s original Founding Fathers and our second President, John Adams. Freedom, once lost, can never be regained. Adams said: “A constitution of government, once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
America is done for. She cannot be rebuilt. redemption is impossible. The hollowed-out husk that remains has joined the league of mediocre nations destined to become the foundation of a global government on the planet.
At remarkable speed America “fundamentally transformed” itself from a constitutional representative republic to a socialist authoritarian (police) state to a “has been” nation. As John Adams warned — there is no going back.
© J. D. Longstreet
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