John Whitehead

John W. Whitehead
Newsbud Contributing Author & Analyst

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. He is the president and spokesperson of The Rutherford Institute. Mr. Whitehead is the author of numerous books on a variety of legal and social issues, including A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971.

Justice Denied: The Government Is Not Going to Save Us

The U.S. Supreme Court will not save us. The Supreme Court was intended to be an institution established to intervene and protect “we the people” against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. In the police state being erected around us, the police and other government agents can probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts. Whether it’s police officers breaking through people’s front doors and shooting them dead in their homes or strip searching innocent motorists on the side of the road, these instances of abuse are continually validated by a judicial system that kowtows to virtually every police demand, no matter how unjust, no matter how in opposition to the Constitution. The bottom line is this: no one is coming to save us: not the courts, not the legislatures, and not the president.

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Show Notes

Young v. Borders

“Appeals Court: Officer Who Shot and Killed Innocent Man in His Own Home Cannot Be Sued,” Slate

“Police fatally shot nearly 1,000 people, and 46 officers were killed, nationwide in 2017,” The Washington Post

“Constitutional Q&A: Knock-and-Talk Police Tactics,” The Rutherford Institute

“Here’s How Many People Police Killed in 2017,” The Root

“Police Arrest Man In Fatal ‘Swatting’ Prank,” NPR

“‘Swatting’ didn’t kill a man, police did,” Salon

“Prosecutors won’t bring charges against white NY cop who fatally shot a mentally ill former Marine,” PIX 11

“Ex-cop acquitted in fatal shooting of unarmed man at hotel,” New York Post

“Donald Trump is the emperor with no clothes—and the media’s playing along,” Quartz

“Jeff Sessions has done more damage in his first 100 days than his boss,” Quartz

“1968’s chaos: The assassinations, riots and protests that defined our world,” The Washington Post

Justice Denied: The Government Is Not Going to Save Us

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

Nervous About Traffic Stops? I Am. You Should Be, Too

We’ve all been there before. You’re driving along and you see a pair of flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror. Whether or not you’ve done anything wrong, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach. You’ve read enough news stories, seen enough headlines, and lived in the American police state long enough to be anxious about any encounter with a cop that takes place on the side of the road.

For better or worse, from the moment you’re pulled over, you’re at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.” This is what I call “blank check policing,” in which the police get to call all of the shots. So if you’re nervous about traffic stops, you have every reason to be. Trying to predict the outcome of any encounter with the police is a bit like playing Russian roulette: most of the time you will emerge relatively unscathed, although decidedly poorer and less secure about your rights, but there’s always the chance that an encounter will turn deadly.

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Show Notes

Rutherford Institute Sues Police Over 'Broken Taillight' Traffic Stop That Resulted in Driver Being Punched, Beaten, Arrested and Hospitalized

“Traffic stops,” Bureau of Justice Statistics

“You really can get pulled over for driving while black, federal statistics show,” The Washington Post

“Cars Most Likely To Get A Ticket,” Forbes

“Federal Appeals Court: Driving With Upright Posture and Acne Is Sufficient Evidence For Traffic Stop,” Truth in Media

“Federal Appeals Court Declares Air Fresheners Suspicious,” The Newspaper

Heien v. North Carolina (2014)

“South Carolina Officer Is Charged With Murder of Walter Scott,” The New York Times

“Black Man Samuel Dubose Shot in Head by Cincinnati Cop Ray Tensing,” NBC News

“Dashboard Video Shows South Carolina State Trooper Shooting Allegedly Unarmed Driver,” People

“Police dashcam shows South Carolina cop shoot 70-year-old Vietnam veteran as the man reached in the back of his truck for his cane during routine traffic stop,” Daily Mail

“Florida deputy stops black man on bike, shoots him 4 seconds later,” Chicago Tribune

“Sandra Bland death: New details only make case murkier,” CNN

“Sandra Bland's family 'infuriated' at video of her arrest,” CNN

“Here's what drivers, police are allowed to do during traffic stops,” Newsnet5

“Police fatally shoot black man they say took ‘shooting stance’ in San Diego suburb, sparking protests,” The Washington Post

“Man shot dead by Metro cops was wanted on felonies in Arizona,” Las Vegas Sun

“Police must pay $6.5 million after killing man holding water nozzle,” Los Angeles Times

“Chicago Police Fatally Shoot 2, Raising New Questions for a Force Under Scrutiny,” The New York Times

“Alabama man who rushed police officer with metal spoon after stun gun had no effect is shot and killed: police,” Daily News

“New Details Released On Bartow Officer-Involved Shooting,” Cartersville Patch

“Naked man shot, killed by police,” CBS 46

“Multiple officers open fire, kill man in Baltimore County,” The Washington Post

“Man shot to death by L.A. County deputy was not a carjacking suspect, officials say,” Los Angeles Times

“Officer involved in fatal Midtown shooting booked into jail,” WXIA

“Tulsa Police Shoot, Kill Unarmed Black Man, DOJ Investigating,” ABC News

“N.C. Trooper Investigated in Fatal Shooting of Deaf Motorist,” The New York Times

“Deputy shoots and kills unarmed homeless man, prompting investigation,” Los Angeles Times

“WWII vet's death a textbook case of excessive force, but no hashtag for him,” Chicago Tribune

Nervous About Traffic Stops? I Am. You Should Be, Too

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

Financial Tyranny: ‘We the People’ Are the New Permanent Underclass in America

Americans can no longer afford to get sick and there’s a reason why. That’s because a growing number of Americans are struggling to stretch their dollars far enough to pay their bills, get out of debt and ensure that if and when an illness arises, it doesn’t bankrupt them. This is a reality that no amount of partisan political bickering can deny. Many Americans can no longer afford health insurance, drug costs or hospital bills. They can’t afford to pay rising healthcare premiums, out-of-pocket deductibles and prescription drug bills. They can’t afford to live, and now they can’t afford to get sick or die, either.

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Show Notes

Helaine Olen, “Even the Insured Often Can’t Afford Their Medical Bills,” The Atlantic

Mark Betancourt, “The Devastating Process of Dying in America Without Insurance,” The Nation

Robert Pear, “Why Do Health Costs Keep Rising? These People Know,” The New York Times

Ester Bloom, “Here’s how much the average American spends on health care,” CNBC

Dan Mangan, “Most popular Obamacare plans cost average of 34 percent more for 2018,” CNBC

Zachary Tracer, “Rising Health-Insurance Costs Are Eating Into Employees’ Paycheck Gains,” Bloomberg

Dan Mangan, “We spend more than any developed country on healthcare and have less to show for it,” CNBC

Laurie Meisler, “Americans Die Younger Despite Spending the Most on Health Care,” Bloomberg

Lauren Gelman, “10 Wildly Overinflated Hospital Costs,” Reader’s Digest

“10 Ridiculously Overpriced Hospital Costs,” MBA Medical

Jayne O’Donnell, “Feds’ Obamacare site does biggest business yet, while about half of people can pay $0,” USA Today

Robert Pear, “Health Law Tax Penalty? I’ll Take It, Millions Say,” The New York Times

Kathryn Vasel, “6 in 10 Americans don’t have $500 in savings,” CNN

Ester Bloom, “Here’s how many Americans have nothing at all saved for retirement,” CNBC

Jim Powell, “John Locke: Natural Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property,” FEE

Dennis Hevesi, “Irwin Schiff, Fervent Opponent of Federal Income Taxes, Dies at 87,” The New York Times

Melissa Block, “A History Of The Income Tax,” NPR

Linda Greenhouse, “Supreme Court Ruling Supports Tax Protester,” The New York Times

U.S. Debt Clock

Drew Desilver, “5 facts about the national debt,” Pew Research

Uri Friedman, “Fighting Terrorism With a Credit Card,” The Atlantic

Jack Moore, “The Cost of War for the U.S. Taxpayer Since 9/11 Is Actually Three Times the Pentagon’s Estimate,” Newsweek

Gillian Kiley-Brown, “Post-9/11 U.S. war costs will soon top $5.6 trillion,” Futurity

Jeanne Sahadi, “The financial cost of 16 years in Afghanistan,” CNN

Linda J. Bilmes, “Iraq and Afghanistan: The US$6 trillion bill for America’s longest war is unpaid,” The Conversation

Alex Ward, “Trump is sending more than 3,000 troops to Afghanistan,” Vox

Dwight D. Eisenhower, “The Chance for Peace” (Apr. 16, 1953)

Financial Tyranny: ‘We the People’ Are the New Permanent Underclass in America

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

Justice Denied: The Government Is Not Going to Save Us!

“The warlords of history are still kicking our heads in, and no one, not our fathers, not our Gods, is coming to save us.”— Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled: it will not hear the case of Young v. Borders.

Despite the fact that a 26-year-old man was gunned down by police who banged on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failed to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shot and killed the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense, the justices of the high court refused to intervene to address police misconduct.

Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, only to be gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex, the Supreme Court refused to balance the scales between justice and injustice.

Despite the fact that police shot and killed nearly 1,000 people nationwide for the third year in a row (many of whom were unarmed, mentally ill, minors or were shot merely because militarized police who were armed to the hilt “feared” for their safety), the Supreme Court will not act to right the wrongs being meted out by the American police state.

Although “knock-and-talk” policing has become a thinly veiled, warrantless—lethal—exercise by which citizens are coerced and intimidated into “talking” with heavily armed police who “knock” on their doors in the middle of the night, the Supreme Court will not make the government play by the rules of the Constitution.

The lesson to be learned: the U.S. Supreme Court will not save us.

No one is coming to save us: not the courts, not the legislatures, and not the president.

According to journalist Michael Harriot:

More people died from police violence in 2017 than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action around the globe (21). More people died at the hands of police in 2017 than the number of black people who were lynched in the worst year of Jim Crow (161 in 1892). Cops killed more Americans in 2017 than terrorists did (four). They killed more citizens than airplanes (13 deaths worldwide), mass shooters (428 deaths) and Chicago’s “top gang thugs” (675 Chicago homicides).

Americans are dying at the hands of the police, and the U.S. government doesn’t care.

In Kansas, a prank caller placed a fake 911 call (the tactic is referred to as “swatting”) that prompted a SWAT team to open fire on a 28-year-old unarmed man who had been spending a quiet evening at home with his family. The man was shot dead within moments of appearing outside his home, clearly confused to find his home surrounded by police on all sides, guns pointed in his direction, and orders being shouted at him. Thus far, all the blame has rested with the prank caller and little with the cops who shot first and asked questions later.

In New York, a 68-year-old former Marine was shot and killed by police who did a welfare check on him after he accidentally set off his emergency medical alert device. Although Kenneth Chamberlain insisted he was fine, police refused to leave, eventually kicked open the door, zapping Chamberlain with a stun gun, shooting him with beanbag ammunition and then killing him with a pistol shot. The cops were not charged.

In Arizona, a police officer was acquitted after he shot an unarmed man outside his hotel room while the man cried, begged and pleaded for his life. As the Associated Press reports:

“The shooting occurred in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa after officers ordered Shaver to exit his hotel room, lie face-down in a hallway and refrain from making sudden movements — or risk being shot. Shaver, 26, sobbed as he begged police not to shoot and was ordered to crawl toward officers. As he inched forward, he reached toward the waistband of his shorts. Brailsford said he fired his rifle because he believed Shaver was grabbing a handgun in his waistband. While no gun was found on Shaver’s body…the detective investigating the shooting had agreed Shaver’s movement was similar to reaching for a pistol, but has said it also looked as though Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down as he was ordered to crawl toward officers.”

It gets worse.

You see, it’s not just that the U.S. government appears unconcerned about the fact that Americans are dying at the hands of the police.

Right now, the U.S. government is actively doing everything in its power to ensure that the killing spree continues.

Take Jeff Sessions, for example.

While the president’s conveniently-timed tweets distract the public and dominate the headlines, his attorney general continues to bulldoze over the Constitution, knocking down what scant protections remain between the citizenry and the hydra-headed police state.

Within his first year as attorney general, Jeff Sessions has made a concerted effort to expand the police state’s power to search, strip, seize, raid, steal from, arrest and jail Americans for any infraction, no matter how insignificant.

What this means is more militarized police, more asset forfeiture, more private prisons, more SWAT team raids, more police shootings of unarmed citizens, and more wars waged by the government against the American people.

And while the crime rate may be falling, the death toll—casualties of the government’s war on the American people—is growing.

The body count will continue to mount as long as the courts continue to march in lockstep with the police state, as long as police unions continue to strong-arm politicians into letting police agencies get away with murder, as long as legislators continue to care more about getting re-elected than about protecting the rights of the citizenry, as long as police continue to treat their fellow citizens as enemy combatants on a battlefield, as long as the media continues to focus the spotlight on circus politics, and as long as the citizenry fail to be alarmed and outraged every time the police state shoots another hole in the Constitution.

Even so, it’s not just the police shootings that are cause for concern.

We are inching ever closer to a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have never seen before, and “we the people” are woefully unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with a government that is corrupt, topsy turvy, unjust, immoral, illegal, brutal, violent, war-hungry, greedy, biased, imbalanced, unaccountable, non-transparent, fascist and as illegitimate as they come.

Where do we go from here?

We’ve been through troubled times before.

In fact, it was 50 years ago this year, in 1968, when the country was buffeted by assassinations, riots and protests: “The assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. The riots that shook Washington, Chicago, Baltimore and other U.S. cities. Campus protests. Civil rights protests. Vietnam War protests. The Tet Offensive. The My Lai massacre. The rise of Richard Nixon and the retreat of Lyndon Johnson.”

Fifty years later, we’re no better off.

The nation is still being buffeted by economic instability, racial inequality, injustice, police brutality, government misconduct and a rising discontent on the part of the populace.

I can’t help but wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would have to say to about his dream today.

Certainly, the reality we must contend with is far different from King’s dream of a world without racism, militarism and materialism: America has become a ticking time bomb of racial unrest and injustice, police militarization, surveillance, government corruption and ineptitude, the blowback from a battlefield mindset and endless wars abroad, and a growing economic inequality between the haves and have nots.

King himself—in life, a hard-talking, charismatic leader, voice of authority, and militant, nonviolent activist minister/peace warrior who staged sit-ins, boycotts and marches and lived through police attack dogs, water cannons and jail cells—has been so watered down in death that younger generations recognize his face but know very little about his message.

Yet King had a lot to say that remains relevant to our day and age.

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time — the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.”

“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

“We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation.”

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘Too late.’”

We cannot afford to wait until it is “too late.”

This is no time to stand silently on the sidelines. It’s a time for anger and reform. Most importantly, it’s a time for making ourselves heard. And there is no better time to act than the present.

As Robert F. Kennedy reminded his listeners in a speech delivered at the University of Cape Town in 1966, “Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard, to share in the decisions of government which shape men’s lives. Everything that makes man’s life worthwhile—family, work, education, a place to rear one’s children and a place to rest one’s head—all this depends on decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people.”

What can ordinary citizens do?

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, instead of sitting around and waiting for someone else to change things, take charge. Never discount the part that everyday citizens play in our nation’s future. You can change things, but there can be no action without education. Get educated about your rights and exercise them. Start by reading the Bill of Rights. You can do so online at www.rutherford.org. Or, if you want a copy to keep with you, email me at staff@rutherford.org and I’ll send you a free one.

Most important of all, just get out there and do your part to make sure that your government officials hear you. The best way to ensure that happens is by never giving up, never backing down, and never remaining silent. To quote Dr. King, “If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re protesting the economy, the war, the environment or something else altogether. What matters is that you do your part. As that great revolutionary firebrand Samuel Adams pointed out, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds.”

Take some time right now and start your own brushfire for freedom. Learn about the issues and then take a stand: attend local government meetings, contact your representatives, raise awareness within your community, and generally make your voice heard.

It’s midnight in America right now. But the real question is, will there be a dawn?

That’s up to you and me. The future is in our hands.

# # # #

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. He is the president and spokesperson of the Rutherford Institute. Mr. Whitehead is the author of numerous books on a variety of legal and social issues, including Battlefield America: The War on the American People.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971.

 

 

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Don’t Call the Cops If You’re Autistic, Deaf, Mentally Ill, Disabled or Old

Life in the American police state is an endless series of don’ts delivered at the end of a loaded gun: don’t talk back to police officers, don’t even think about defending yourself against a SWAT team raid (of which there are 80,000 every year), don’t run when a cop is nearby lest you be mistaken for a fleeing criminal, don’t carry a cane lest it be mistaken for a gun, don’t expect privacy in public, don’t let your kids walk to the playground alone, don’t engage in nonviolent protest near where a government official might pass, don’t try to grow vegetables in your front yard, don’t play music for tips in a metro station, don’t feed whales, and on and on. Here’s another don’t to the add the growing list of things that could get you or a loved one tasered, shot or killed: don’t call the cops.

Sometimes it’s dangerous enough calling the cops when you’re not contending with a disability. Unfortunately, the risks just skyrocket when a disability is involved, especially if you are autistic, hearing impaired, mentally ill, elderly, suffer from dementia, disabled or have any other condition that might hinder your ability to understand, communicate or immediately comply with an order.

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Show Notes

Steve Silberman, “The Police Need to Understand Autism,” The New York Times

Kent Erdahl, “Australian woman's death at hands of police called homicide,” USA Today

Shaun King, “Black Indianapolis man shot by cops after calling police to report robbery,” Daily News

Peter Eisler, Jason Szep, Tim Reid and Grant Smith, “Shock Tactics,” Reuters

David M. Perry and Lawrence Carter-Long, “Media coverage of law enforcement use of force and disability,” Ruderman Family Foundation

Michael Burns, “Jury exonerates police for treatment of autistic man,” Greenville News

Cleve R. Wootson Jr., “Police used a Taser on a grandfather, who's now in intensive care. They say it was for his safety,” The Washington Post

Christian Boone, “Mom of Georgia Tech student shot by police speaks out,” Atlanta Journal Constitution

James Doubek, “Oklahoma City Police Fatally Shoot Deaf Man Despite Yells Of 'He Can't Hear,'” NPR

Stephen Greenspan, “The Preventable Death of Ethan Saylor,” Psychology Today

Bill Chappell, “North Miami Officer Is Arrested Over Shooting Of Therapist During Standoff,” NPR

Artemis Moshtaghian, “Dallas school police use handcuffs to restrain 7-year-old boy,” CNN

Russell Contreras, “Things to know one year after APD shooting of James Boyd,” Albuquerque Journal

Liam Stack, “N.C. Trooper Investigated in Fatal Shooting of Deaf Motorist,” The New York Times

Amiel Fields-Meyer, “When Police Officers Don't Know About the ADA,” The Atlantic

Wesley Lowery, Kimberly Kindy, Keith L. Alexander, Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Steven Rich, “Distraught People, Deadly Results,” The Washington Post

“Police immune over arrest of mentally ill woman,” Chicago Tribune

Brandy Zadrozny, “Protecting Your Mentally Ill Child From the Cops,” The Daily Beast

Tim Prudente, “Police Get Schooled On Special Needs Interactions,” The Baltimore Sun

Steve Silberman, “Making Encounters With Police Officers Safer for People With Disabilities,” The New York Times

Don’t Call the Cops If You’re Autistic, Deaf, Mentally Ill, Disabled or Old

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

How Freedom Dies

It is easy to be distracted right now by the circus politics that dominate the news headlines. But stop being distracted. Don’t be fooled, not even a little, no matter how tempting it seems to just take a peek. Why? We’re being subjected to the oldest con game in the books, the magician’s sleight of hand that keeps you focused on the shell game in front of you while your wallet is being picked clean by ruffians in your midst. This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

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Show Notes

Sean O’Hagan, “One angry man,” The Guardian

John W. Whitehead, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State

H.L. Mencken, “Bayard vs. Lionheart,” Baltimore Evening Sun (Jul. 26, 1920) as cited in Roger Cohen, “The Man Who Would Not Be President,” The New York Times (Nov. 18, 2016)

Christopher Ingraham, “How police took $53,000 from a Christian band, an orphanage and a church,” The Washington Post

Les Christie, “The other foreclosure crisis: Losing a home over $400 in back taxes,” CNN Money

Brad Heath, “DEA regularly mines Americans' travel records to seize millions in cash,” USA Today

Andrew Dugan, “Majority of Americans See Congress as Out of Touch, Corrupt,” Gallup

Norah O’Donnell, “Dialing for Dollars,” CBS News

Isaac Arnsdorf, “The lobbying reform that enriched Congress,” Politico

Christopher Ingraham, “Congress to constituents: ‘Show me the money,’” The Washington Post

Jon Schwarz, ““Yes, We’re Corrupt”: A List of Politicians Admitting That Money Controls Politics,” The Intercept

Brian Christopher Jones, “Don’t Be Silly: Lawmakers ‘Rarely’ Read Legislation and Oftentimes Don’t Understand It . . . But That’s Okay,” Penn State Law Review, Vol. 118

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” The Atlantic

Reuters, “US spending three times more on prisons than schools: Federal report,” Raw Story

Jason M. Breslow, “New Report Slams “Unprecedented” Growth in US Prisons,” PBS Frontline

Steven Nelson, “Single Mother 'Arrested for Grass' After Not Mowing,” U.S. News

Donna Murch, “Paying for Punishment,” Boston Review

Jennifer Golbeck, “All Eyes On You,” Psychology Today

Kim Zetter, “DHS Launches ‘Minority Report’ Pre-Crime Detection Program,” Wired

Jillian York, “The chilling effects of surveillance,” Al Jazeera

“Fatal Force,” The Washington Post

Sam Brodey, “SWAT Teams Keep Killing Innocent People in Their Homes,” Mother Jones

Bonnie Kristian, “The troubling rise of SWAT teams,” The Week

“Baltimore police conducted more than 60 illegal strip searches, some in public – DoJ,” RT

Rebecca Klein, “Set to Stun,” The Huffington Post

Tom Coburn and Adam Andrzejewski, “Why Does the IRS Need Guns?” The Wall Street Journal

Emily Heil, “Mark Twain on Congress: idiots, criminals, dumber than fleas,” The Washington Post

Morris Berman, Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire

Etienne de La Boétie, “The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude: How Do Tyrants Secure Cooperation?”

This Is How Tyranny Rises and Freedom Falls: The Experiment in Freedom Is Failing

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

Policing for Profit: Jeff Sessions & Co.’s Thinly Veiled Plot to Rob Us Blind

Under the guise of “fighting crime,” Jeff Sessions, the nation’s top law enforcement official, gave police the green light to rob, pilfer, steal, thieve, swipe, purloin, filch and liberate American taxpayers of even more of their hard-earned valuables (especially if it happens to be significant amounts of cash) using any means, fair or foul. In this case, the foul method favored by Sessions & Co. is civil asset forfeiture, which allows police and prosecutors to “seize your car or other property, sell it and use the proceeds to fund agency budgets—all without so much as charging you with a crime.” Under a federal equitable sharing program, police turn asset forfeiture cases over to federal agents who process seizures and then return 80% of the proceeds to the police. (In Michigan, police actually get to keep up to 100% of forfeited property.) This incentive-driven excuse for stealing from the citizenry is more accurately referred to as “policing for profit” or “theft by cop.”

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Show Notes

“Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture,” Institute for Justice

“Illinois Traffic Stop Of Star Trek Fans Raises Concerns About Drug Searches, Police Dogs, Bad Cops,” The Huffington Post

“Asset seizures fuel police spending,” The Washington Post

“Law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did last year,” The Washington Post

“Law that lets police seize assets – $2.6 billion in 2015 – raises questions,” The Orange County Register

“'Innocent until proven guilty' should mean what it says,” USA Today

“DEA regularly mines Americans' travel records to seize millions in cash,” USA Today

“Justice Thomas Defends Victims of ‘Policing for Profit,’” National Review

“Texas police shake down drivers, lawsuit claims,” CNN

“Illinois Traffic Stop Of Star Trek Fans Raises Concerns About Drug Searches, Police Dogs, Bad Cops,” The Huffington Post

“Highway robbery? Texas police seize black motorists' cash, cars,” Chicago Tribune

“Tennessee Asset Forfeiture Bill Seeks To Abolish Abusive Police Practice,” Huffington Post

“Hidden cameras reveal airport workers stealing from luggage,” CNN

“Tea, Taxes, and the Revolution,” Foreign Policy

Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Power of Non-violence”

Policing for Profit: Jeff Sessions & Co.’s Thinly Veiled Plot to Rob Us Blind

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

Freedom Is a Myth: We Are All Prisoners of the Police State’s Panopticon Village

Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide: this is the new mantra of the architects of the police state and their corporate collaborators (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Instagram, and so on). The American Police State has become a metaphorical panopticon, a circular prison in which the inmates are monitored by a single watchman situated in a central tower. Because the inmates cannot see the watchman, they are unable to tell whether or not they are being watched at any given time and must proceed under the assumption that they are always being watched.

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Show Notes

“The Prisoner Reboots the Panopticon for 21st Century,” Wired

“Patrick McGoohan: The spy who started it all,” Los Angeles Times

“R.I.P. Patrick McGoohan, the Prisoner's TV Visionary,” Wired

Panopticon

“What does the panopticon mean in the age of digital surveillance?” The Guardian

“Philip K. Dick Warned Us About the Internet of Things in 1969,” Slate

“BCA agreed to FBI terms on secret cellphone tracking,” Star Tribune

“Judge Gorsuch on arrest warrants and Doppler radar devices,” The Washington Post

“How many times have the cops photographed your license plate?” Washington Examiner

“9 Ways You’re Being Spied On Every Day,” The Huffington Post

“New surveillance cameras will use computer eyes to find ‘pre crimes’ by detecting suspicious behaviour and calling for guards,” Daily Mail

“DOJ budget seeks funds for police body cameras, immigration judges,” The Hill

“Your Samsung SmartTV Is Spying on You, Basically,” The Daily Beast

Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, Panopticism. In Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison

“On whistleblowers and government threats of investigation,” The Guardian

“Sessions, Coats push for permanent renewal of controversial surveillance law,” The Hill

“Merciful release,” The Guardian

Freedom Is a Myth: We Are All Prisoners of the Police State’s Panopticon Village

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

Do You Even Know Your Rights?

Donald Trump wants to make America great again. I, for one, would prefer to make America free again. “We the people” have the power to make and break the government. We are the masters and they are the servants. Clearly, our national priorities need to be re-prioritized.

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Show Notes

Al-Jazeera interview, (21 October 2001), as reported in "Bin Laden's sole post-September 11 TV interview aired" CNN

Abraham Lincoln, “The Gettysburg Address,” (Nov. 19, 1863)

“Americans know surprisingly little about their government, survey finds,” Annenberg Public Policy Center

“Exercising the Right to Be Ignorant,” Los Angeles Times

“Can You Pass the Citizenship Test?” National Review

“Noted with Interest,” The Washington Post

“First Amendment Schools,” Center for Survey Research and Analysis

“Elected Officials Score Lower than the General Public,” American Civic Literacy Program

“[Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, et al.,] Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Fix the Site of the University of Virginia,” The Founders’ Constitution: Volume 1, Chapter 18, Document 33

“From Thomas Jefferson to Uriah Forrest, with Enclosure, 31 December 1787,” Founders Online, National Archives

“From Thomas Jefferson to William Charles Jarvis, 28 September 1820,” Founders Online, National Archives

Let’s Make America Free Again: 230 Years After the Constitution, We’re Walking a Dangerous Road

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

Zombies R Us: ‘We the People’ Are the Walking Dead of the American Police State

Despite the fact that we are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack; 11,000 times more likely to die from an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane; 1,048 times more likely to die from a car accident than a terrorist attack, and 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist, we have handed over control of our lives to government officials who treat us as a means to an end—the source of money and power. We have allowed ourselves to become fearful, controlled, pacified zombies. Zombies also embody the government’s paranoia about the citizenry as potential threats that need to be monitored, tracked, surveilled, sequestered, deterred, vanquished and rendered impotent.

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Show Notes

“Director George Romero, creator of the modern zombie, is dead at 77” Vox

Movie 'Zombie Killers,' filmed in Pennsylvania, to premiere in Bethlehem, The Morning Call

The Real Villains of Fear the Walking Dead, The Atlantic

Why The Walking Dead Is So Brutal — and So Popular, Time

Fear Makes People Stupid, Zero Hedge

How TV Zombifies and Pacifies Us and Subverts Democracy

Lockdown Nation, Pacific Standard Magazine 

The Pentagon Has a Plan to Stop the Zombie Apocalypse. Seriously, Foreign Policy

The Department of Defense is prepared for a zombie attack, New York Post

Zombies R Us: ‘We the People’ Are the Walking Dead of the American Police State

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

This Is How Tyranny Rises and Freedom Falls: The Experiment in Freedom Is Failing

Every day I ask myself the same question: How can this be happening in America? How can people like these be in charge of our country? If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I’d think I was having a hallucination.—Philip Roth, novelist

It is easy to be distracted right now by the circus politics that have dominated the news headlines for the past year, but don’t be distracted.

Don’t be fooled, not even a little, no matter how tempting it seems to just take a peek.

We’re being subjected to the oldest con game in the books, the magician’s sleight of hand that keeps you focused on the shell game in front of you while your wallet is being picked clean by ruffians in your midst.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

What characterizes American government today is not so much dysfunctional politics as it is ruthlessly contrived governance carried out behind the entertaining, distracting and disingenuous curtain of political theater. And what political theater it is, diabolically Shakespearean at times, full of sound and fury, yet in the end, signifying nothing.

We are being ruled by a government of scoundrels, spies, thugs, thieves, gangsters, ruffians, rapists, extortionists, bounty hunters, battle-ready warriors and cold-blooded killers who communicate using a language of force and oppression.

Our nation of sheep has, as was foretold, given rise to a government of wolves.

The U.S. government now poses the greatest threat to our freedoms.

More than terrorism, more than domestic extremism, more than gun violence and organized crime, even more than the perceived threat posed by any single politician, the U.S. government remains a greater menace to the life, liberty and property of its citizens than any of the so-called dangers from which the government claims to protect us.

This has been true of virtually every occupant of the White House in recent years.

Unfortunately, nothing has changed for the better since Donald Trump ascended to the Oval Office.

Indeed, Trump may be the smartest move yet by the powers-that-be to keep the citizenry divided and at each other’s throats, because as long as we’re busy fighting each other, we’ll never manage to present a unified front against tyranny in any form.

As American satirist H.L. Mencken predicted almost a century ago:

“All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

In other words, nothing has changed, folks.

The facts speak for themselves.

We’re being robbed blind by a government of thieves. Americans no longer have any real protection against government agents empowered to seize private property at will. For instance, police agencies under the guise of asset forfeiture laws are taking Americans’ personal property based on little more than a suspicion of criminal activity and keeping it for their own profit and gain. In one case, police seized $53,000 from the manager of a Christian rock bandthat was touring and raising money for an orphanage in Thailand. Despite finding no evidence of wrongdoing, police kept the money. Homeowners are losing their homes over nonpayment of taxes (for as little as $400 owed) and municipal bills such as water or sewer fees that amount to a fraction of what they have invested in their homes. And then there’s the Drug Enforcement Agency, which has been searching train and airline passengers and pocketing their cash, without ever charging them with a crime.

We’re being taken advantage of by a government of scoundrels, idiots and cowards. Mencken calculated that “Congress consists of one-third, more or less, scoundrels; two-thirds, more or less, idiots; and three-thirds, more or less, poltroons.” By and large, Americans seem to agree. When you’ve got government representatives who spend a large chunk of their work hours fundraising, being feted by lobbyists, shuffling through a lucrative revolving door between public service and lobbying, and making themselves available to anyone with enough money to secure access to a congressional office, you’re in the clutches of a corrupt oligarchy. Mind you, these same elected officials rarely read the legislation they’re enacting, nor do they seem capable of enacting much legislation that actually helps the plight of the American citizen. More often than not, the legislation lands the citizenry in worse straits.

We’re being locked up by a government of greedy jailers. We have become a carceral state, spending three times more on our prisons than on our schools and imprisoning close to a quarter of the world’s prisoners, despite the fact that crime is at an all-time low and the U.S. makes up only 5% of the world’s population. The rise of overcriminalization and profit-driven private prisons provides even greater incentives for locking up American citizens for such non-violent “crimes” as having an overgrown lawn. As the Boston Review points out, “America’s contemporary system of policing, courts, imprisonment, and parole … makes money through asset forfeiture, lucrative public contracts from private service providers, and by directly extracting revenue and unpaid labor from populations of color and the poor. In states and municipalities throughout the country, the criminal justice system defrays costs by forcing prisoners and their families to pay for punishment. It also allows private service providers to charge outrageous fees for everyday needs such as telephone calls. As a result people facing even minor criminal charges can easily find themselves trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of debt, criminalization, and incarceration.”

We’re being spied on by a government of Peeping Toms. The government is watching everything you do, reading everything you write, listening to everything you say, and monitoring everything you spend. Omnipresent surveillance is paving the way for government programs that profile citizens, document their behavior and attempt to predict what they might do in the future, whether it’s what they might buy, what politician they might support, or what kinds of crimes they might commit. The impact of this far-reaching surveillance, according to Psychology Today, is “reduced trust, increased conformity, and even diminished civic participation.” As technology analyst Jillian C. York concludes, “Mass surveillance without due process—whether undertaken by the government of Bahrain, Russia, the US, or anywhere in between—threatens to stifle and smother that dissent, leaving in its wake a populace cowed by fear.”

We’re being ravaged by a government of ruffians, rapists and killers. It’s not just the police shootings of unarmed citizens that are worrisome. It’s the SWAT team raids gone wrongmore than 80,000 annually—that are leaving innocent citizens wounded, children terrorized and family pets killed. It’s the roadside strip searches—in some cases, cavity searches of men and women alike carried out in full view of the public—in pursuit of drugs that are never found. It’s the potentially lethal—and unwarranted—use of so-called “nonlethal” weapons such as tasers on children for “mouthing off to a police officer. For trying to run from the principal’s office. For, at the age of 12, getting into a fight with another girl.”

We’re being forced to surrender our freedoms—and those of our children—to a government of extortionists, money launderers and professional pirates. The American people have repeatedly been sold a bill of goods about how the government needs more money, more expansive powers, and more secrecy (secret courts, secret budgets, secret military campaigns, secret surveillance) in order to keep us safe. Under the guise of fighting its wars on terror, drugs and now domestic extremism, the government has spent billions in taxpayer dollars on endless wars that have notended terrorism but merely sown the seeds of blowback, surveillance programs that have caught few terrorists while subjecting all Americans to a surveillance society, and militarized police that have done little to decrease crime while turning communities into warzones. Not surprisingly, the primary ones to benefit from these government exercises in legal money laundering have been the corporations, lobbyists and politicians who inflict them on a trusting public.

We’re being held at gunpoint by a government of soldiers: a standing army. As if it weren’t enough that the American military empire stretches around the globe (and continues to leech much-needed resources from the American economy), the U.S. government is creating its own standing army of militarized police and teams of weaponized bureaucrats. These civilian employees are being armed to the hilt with guns, ammunition and military-style equipment; authorized to make arrests; and trained in military tactics. Among the agencies being supplied with night-vision equipment, body armor, hollow-point bullets, shotguns, drones, assault rifles and LP gas cannons are the Smithsonian, U.S. Mint, Health and Human Services, IRS, FDA, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and an assortment of public universities. There are now reportedly more bureaucratic (non-military) government civilians armed with high-tech, deadly weapons than U.S. Marines. That doesn’t even begin to touch on the government’s arsenal, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, and the speed with which the nation could be locked down under martial law depending on the circumstances.

Whatever else it may be—a danger, a menace, a threat—the U.S. government is certainly no friend to freedom.

To our detriment, the criminal class that Mark Twain mockingly referred to as Congress has since expanded to include every government agency that feeds off the carcass of our once-constitutional republic.

The government and its cohorts have conspired to ensure that the only real recourse the American people have to hold the government accountable or express their displeasure with the government is through voting, which is no real recourse at all.

Consider it: the penalties for civil disobedience, whistleblowing and rebellion are severe. If you refuse to pay taxes for government programs you believe to be immoral or illegal, you will go to jail. If you attempt to overthrow the government—or any agency thereof—because you believe it has overstepped its reach, you will go to jail. If you attempt to blow the whistle on government misconduct, you will go to jail. In some circumstances, if you even attempt to approach your elected representative to voice your discontent, you can be arrested and jailed.

You cannot have a republican form of government—nor a democratic one, for that matter—when the government views itself as superior to the citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people, when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their government, when government officials cease to act like public servants, when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the government routinely violates the rights of the people and perpetrates more violence against the citizenry than the criminal class, when government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather than justice, and when the government is no longer bound by the laws of the Constitution.

For too long, the American people have obeyed the government’s dictates, no matter now unjust.

We have paid its taxes, penalties and fines, no matter how outrageous. We have tolerated its indignities, insults and abuses, no matter how egregious. We have turned a blind eye to its indiscretions and incompetence, no matter how imprudent. We have held our silence in the face of its lawlessness, licentiousness and corruption, no matter how illicit.

Oh how we have suffered.

How long we will continue to suffer depends on how much we’re willing to give up for the sake of freedom.

It may well be that Professor Morris Berman is correct: perhaps we are entering into the dark ages that signify the final phase of the American Empire. “It seems to me,” writes Berman, “that the people do get the government they deserve, and even beyond that, the government who they are, so to speak. In that regard, we might consider, as an extreme version of this… that Hitler was as much an expression of the German people at that point in time as he was a departure from them.”

For the moment, the American people seem content to sit back and watch the reality TV programming that passes for politics today. It’s the modern-day equivalent of bread and circuses, a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize, propagandize and control a population.

As French philosopher Etienne de La Boétie observed half a millennium ago:

“Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books.”

The bait towards slavery. The price of liberty. The instruments of tyranny.

Yes, that sounds about right.

“We the people” have learned only too well how to be slaves. Worse, we have come to enjoy our voluntary servitude, which masquerades as citizenship.

Unfortunately, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we won’t be able to sustain this fiction much longer.

“Things fall apart,” wrote W.B. Yeats in his dark, forbidding poem “The Second Coming.” “The centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world… Surely some revelation is at hand.”

Wake up, America, and break free of your chains.

Something wicked this way comes.

# # # #

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. He is the president and spokesperson of the Rutherford Institute. Mr. Whitehead is the author of numerous books on a variety of legal and social issues, including Battlefield America: The War on the American People. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971.

Mass Shootings: America’s Culture of Violence Turns Deadly

Why do these mass shootings keep happening? Mass shootings have taken place at churches, in nightclubs, on college campuses, on military bases, in elementary schools, in government offices, and at concerts. The Las Vegas shooting is the deadliest to date. Could it be, as some have speculated, that these shootings are all part of an elaborate plan to incite fear and chaos, heighten national tensions and shift us that much closer to a complete lockdown?

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 Show Notes

 “Gun Culture and the American Nightmare of Violence,” Moyers & Company

“Expert: Las Vegas shooter may have used trigger crank,” USA Today

“America’s Deadly Gun Addiction, by the Numbers,” Wired

“The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history,” CNN

“I Was a Teenage Gun Nut,” The Atlantic

“Gun Deaths Are Mostly Suicides,” The New York Times

“Militainment, Inc.: Militarism & Pop Culture,” Media Education Foundation

“The United States is No. 1 — But in What? Military Expenditure, Weapons Export and International Violence,” Centre for Global Research

“U.S. Military Spending Dwarfs Rest of World,” CNBC

“In the Wake of the Las Vegas Shooting, There Can Be No Truce with the Second Amendment,” The New Yorker

“Gun violence in America, explained in 17 maps and charts,” Vox

“Why are mass murders so uncommon in Japan?” Quartz

“Pentagon Video Warns of “unavoidable” Dystopian Future for World’s Biggest Cities,” The Intercept

“How US gun culture compares with the world,” CNN

“Dozens of Civilians Killed When U.s. Bombed a School and a Market in Syria,” The Intercept

“Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation” (January 17, 1961)

“The greatest sci-fi movies of the 1950s,” Den of Geek

“25 years later, how ‘Top Gun’ made America love war,” The Washington Post

“The Army gives you superpowers!” Salon

“You’re watching Pentagon propaganda: “American Idol,” “Ice Road Truckers” and the truth about your favorite shows,” Salon

“Documents expose how Hollywood promotes war on behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA,” Medium

“The Pentagon’s strengthening grip on Hollywood,” Salon

“DoD paid $53 million of taxpayers’ money to pro sports for military tributes, report says,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Mass Shootings: The Military-Entertainment Complex’s Culture of Violence Turns Deadly

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

What Country Is This? Forced Blood Draws, Cavity Searches and Colonoscopies

Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases: these are just a few ways in which Americans are being forced to accept that we have no control over our bodies, our lives and our property, especially when it comes to interactions with government agents.

Such is life in America today that individuals are being threatened with arrest and carted off to jail for the least hint of noncompliance, homes are being raided by police under the slightest pretext, property is being seized on the slightest hint of suspicious activity, and roadside police stops have devolved into government-sanctioned exercises in humiliation and degradation with a complete disregard for privacy and human dignity.

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Show Notes

“How the Supreme Court Came to Embrace Strip Searches for Trivial Offenses,” The Nation

“Utah hospital to police: Stay away from our nurses,” The Washington Post

“‘Disturbing Video’ Shows Cops Forcibly Drawing Blood of DUI Suspects — And It’s Legal,” The Blaze

“Spring woman claims constitutional violation in body cavity probe,” Houston Chronicle

“Video of roadside vaginal search revives calls for charges against cops,” Vice News

“Texas Cops Spent 11 Minutes Searching a Woman's Vagina, Found No Drugs,” Reason

“N.M. Man Sues Over Multiple Anal Cavity Searches,” FindLaw

“Cops Strip Search Mom, "Forcibly" Pull Tampon Out of Her for Maybe Rolling Through Stop Sign,” Broward Palm Beach NewTimes

“Female US cop caught on tape giving two women body cavity search during routine traffic stop... and 'using the SAME gloves on both'” Daily Mail

“Texas trooper being sued in Irving body cavity search case has been suspended,” The Dallas Morning News

“4 Milwaukee police officers charged in strip-search case,” Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

Cox v. Sampson County School Board

“Ga. Tech Fan Claims Strip Search Over Sandwich,” WSBTV

 Florence v. Burlington

“Flashlight that can smell your breath: Police use high-tech torch on drivers to detect alcohol,” Daily Mail

“'No Refusal' DUI checkpoints raise questions,” USA Today

“Supreme Court ruling on blood draws could have big impact on drunken driving cases,” Journal-Sentinel

“Federal Funds Fuel Nationwide Increase in “No Refusal” Blood-Draw DUI Checkpoints,” Ben Swann

“Off-duty cops collect DNA samples at Alabama roadblocks,” Daily Caller

“Forget Fingerprints: Law Enforcement DNA Databases Poised To Expand,” NOVA Next

“JFK Airport officials filter fecal matter in search for drugs,” The Washington Times

“To Track Militants, U.S. Has System That Never Forgets a Face,” The New York Times

Some Who Decline an Optional Iris Photo Are Kept Longer in Jail, Critics Say,” The New York Times

“Iris scans are the new school IDs,” CNN Money

“Eye Scan Technology Comes to Schools,” ABC News

“The Boring and Exciting World of Biometrics,” NovaNext

“State photo-ID databases become troves for police,” The Washington Post

What Country Is This? Forced Blood Draws, Cavity Searches and Colonoscopies

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

Trump: Now an Agent of the American Police State

If you thought the militarized police response to Ferguson and Baltimore was bad, brace yourselves. Many police, including beat cops, now routinely carry assault rifles. Combined with body armor and other apparel, many officers look more and more like combat troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thanks to President Trump, this transformation of America into a battlefield is only going to get worse. To be fair, Trump did not create this totalitarian nightmare. However, he has legitimized it and, in so doing, has also accelerated the pace at which we fall deeper into the clutches of outright tyranny.

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Show Notes

“Battlefield Main Street: Pentagon Project Lets Police Forces – Even in Small Towns – Arm Themselves With Military Gear,” The Daily

“Congress Quietly Passed a Bill Allowing Warrantless Searches of Homes—Only 1% Opposed It,” The Free Thought Project

“Trump to Fully Restore Military Surplus Transfers to Police,” The New York Times

“Trump lifts ban on military gear to local police forces,” USA Today

“From Mayberry to Ferguson, the rise of the modern cop,” The Washington Post

“Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons,” The Daily Beast

“America’s police are looking more and more like the military,” The Guardian

“West Lafayette police acquire military vehicle,” Indy Star

“The cops at Ohio State have an armored fighting vehicle now,” The Daily Caller

“Police Are Getting the Military’s Leftover Armored Trucks,” The New York Times

“Drawing Down: How To Roll Back Police Militarization In America,” The Huffington Post

“Seattle police department has network that can track all Wi-Fi enabled devices,” Raw Story

“Little oversight seen in military surplus giveaways,” Associated Press

“The militarization of U.S. police forces,” Reuters

“Does military equipment lead police officers to be more violent? We did the research,” The Washington Post

“The Shocking Tales of 11 of the Most Over the Top US Police Paramilitary Raids and the Innocent People They Victimized,” Alternet

“Why Are Police Unions Blocking Reform?” The New Yorker

“The USA as a Failed State: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s ‘Between the World and Me,’” Counterpunch

Battlefield America Is the New Normal: We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

Freedom for the Speech We Hate: The Legal Ins and Outs of the Right to Protest

We are witnessing a politically correct philosophy at play, one shared by both the extreme left and the extreme right, which aims to stifle all expression that doesn’t fit within their parameters of what they consider to be “acceptable” speech. There are all kinds of labels put on such speech—it’s been called politically incorrect speech, hate speech, offensive speech, and so on—but really, the message being conveyed is that you don’t have a right to express yourself if certain people or groups don’t like or agree with what you are saying.  Hence, we have seen the caging of free speech in recent years, through the use of so-called “free speech zones” on college campuses and at political events, the requirement of speech permits in parks and community gatherings, and the policing of online forums. Clearly, this elitist, monolithic mindset is at odds with everything for which America is supposed to stand.

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Show Notes

James Madison, “FEDERALIST NO. 10 (1787)”

Benjamin Franklin, “Silence Dogood, No. 8,” The New-England Courant (Jul. 9, 1722)

 “Constitutional Q&A: The Right to Protest,” The Rutherford Institute

Second Amendment

 First Amendment

United States v. Schwimmer, U.S. Supreme Court (1929)

Texas v. Johnson, 491 US 397 - Supreme Court 1989

 DeJonge v. Oregon

 Lloyd Corp., Ltd. v. Tanner

 City of LaDue v. Gileo

 United States v. Grace

 Ward v. Rock Against Racism

 Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western N.Y.

Snyder v. Phelps

Lewis v. Wilson

 Helms v. Zubaty

 Acosta v. City of Costa Mesa

 Gilles v. Blanchard

 Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Comm. Sch. Dist.

 Boardley v. U.S. Dept. of the Interior

 Forsyth County, Ga. v. Nationalist Movement

 Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham

 Thomas v. Chi. Park Dist.

 Hague v. Comm. for Indus. Org.

 Jones v. Parmley

 Cole v. Arkansas

 Chesney v. City of Jackson

United States v. Masciandaro

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “Concealed Carry”

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “Open Carry”

“Supreme Court Turns Down Case on Carrying Guns in Public,” The New York Times

“The Competing Messages:  The Protests; Demonstrators Steer Clear Of Their Designated Space,” The New York Times

“Chilling First Amendment Activity,” Medium

“Protesters Flood Streets, and Trump Offers a Measure of Praise,” The New York Times

“To fight bigotry and hate, don’t muzzle it. There’s a better way,” The Washington Post

Freedom for the Speech We Hate: The Legal Ins and Outs of the Right to Protest

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute