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

De-Manufacturing Consent- War & Empire: “All Enemies Foreign & Domestic”

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Shahid Buttar

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent: Guillermo is joined by Shahid Buttar, a writer, poet, musician, and executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

In a country seemingly in a perpetual state of war, have any of the freedoms listed in the Bill of Rights survived the test of time? Shahid Buttar explains why he believes the greatest threats to liberty in the United States are not foreign, but domestic and found within our own government, and why the NSA could be said to have found a "political ally" in the Islamic State.

Shahid also discusses some potential solutions to the growing police state. Do police dashboard and body cameras truly offer the public at opportunity at better accountability, or is this technology another brick in the panopticon wall?

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Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Can We Restore Constitutional Rule?

Peter B. Collins Presents Rocky Anderson

Rocky Anderson is a founder of the Justice Party, and ran for president in 2012. In this wide-ranging interview, Anderson talks about surveillance, drones, targeted killing and other constitutional violations under Obama’s watch. Impeachment is the remedy, but most of the partisans who supported impeachment of Bush and Cheney are silent and most elected Democrats are not willing to challenge “their” president. Anderson challenges our leaders and all of us to take action to restore the rule of law.

Ross Carl “Rocky” Anderson served as Mayor of Salt Lake City from 2000 to 2008, and was the presidential nominee for the Justice Party in 2012. He is founder and executive director of the nonprofit High Road for Human Rights.

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A Caesar in Our Future?

What Happens If the Shutdown Causes the Treasury to Run Out of Money

In a speech to the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, November 23, 2010, Peter Dale Scott gave a history of the various directives concerned with government continuity during a state of emergency. He showed that these directives could be used to supersede the Constitution.

The ease with which both the Bush and Obama regimes were able to set aside the due process protections of the Constitution that prohibit indefinite detention and execution without conviction in a trial indicate that Professor Scott’s concern is justified that these directives could result in executive branch rule. [Read more...]

Indeed, Whistleblowers Are Traitors- Traitors to the Traitors

Don’t Be Traitors to Those Who Have Honorably Betrayed the Real Traitors to the People

Over 200 years ago our Founding Fathers signed the United States Declaration of Independence. They were branded as traitors by their then government. They were traitors to the British Empire. In short, they were traitors.

The most famous offenders of the eighteenth-century English treason laws were the American revolutionaries.  The Declaration of Independence violated the 3rd law of treason in this statement: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other out Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor": [Read more...]

Notorious “Star Chamber” Courts Protect Government Wrongdoing

U.S. Embraces Tool of Despots


starchamberRecently, Mark Hosenball dropped the bombshell that a secret panel of White House Security Council members meets to draw up a “kill list” of American militants. Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald wrote a scathing critique of the panel, comparing it to a notorious English court known as the “Star Chamber.”

“[A] panel operating out of the White House — that meets in total secrecy, with no known law or rules governing what it can do or how it operates — is empowered to place American citizens on a list to be killed by the CIA, which (by some process nobody knows) eventually makes its way to the President, who is the final Decider.  It is difficult to describe the level of warped authoritarianism necessary to cause someone to lend their support to a twisted Star Chamber like that.”

The Star Chamber, an English court dating back to the middle ages, reportedly was named for the stars on the ceiling of the courtroom, located at Westminster Palace.  Over time, it grew increasingly powerful and corrupt.  By the 17th century, under Charles I, it had become a vehicle for prosecuting political dissent.  The court’s procedures made it virtually impossible for defendants to get a fair hearing and served as a rubber stamp for the monarchy.

“Court sessions were held in secret, with no indictments, no right of appeal, no juries, and no witnesses. Evidence was presented in writing. Over time it evolved into a political weapon, a symbol of the misuse and abuse of power by the English monarchy and courts.”

The Star Chamber also punished religious dissent, ultimately driving the Puritans to seek refuge in North America’s wilderness. Their descendents would form a new nation and endow it with laws that prohibited Star Chamber abuses. Today, “star chamber” is a pejorative term used to describe any administrative body with “strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings” that “cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proceedings.”  Notwithstanding its infamous past, the Star Chamber appeals to government officials who abhor accountability.

The panel that authorized the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki is the most public U.S. example of a star chamber--but it is far from the only one.  The federal government operates a network of star chamber courts administered by government agencies for the purpose of hearing appeals from military and civilian federal employees stripped of their security clearances. Many of those employees are whistleblowers who have disclosed government wrongdoing, thus implicating senior officials.  Senior officials use the star chambers to punish whistleblowers, to discredit their disclosures and to discourage other employees from exposing negligence, waste and corruption.  Existing whistleblower protection laws are helpless to protect federal employees with security clearances from agency reprisal.

Security clearance star chambers violate the U.S. Constitution’s due process protections by presidential order--Executive Order (E.O.) 12968.  These courts go by a variety of names.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Star Chamber is the “Personnel Security Review Board.” The Department of Defense (DOD) calls its star chamber the “Department of Hearings and Appeals.” Each federal agency interprets the executive order differently, and some—for example, USDA—actually provide less due process than E.O. 12968 allows.  All are offensive to modern notions of justice, but none have been held accountable.  Government officials argue that national security requires the suspension of due process; but, a close examination of the appeals process shows that the government’s claim is a fraud. [Read more...]

The Oath to Defend the Constitution vs. the Forced Pledge to Protect Government Secrecy

“Which of the applicable laws has priority?”

By Linda Lewis

oath In the debate on reducing the national debt, members of Congress have focused on two options--tax increases and entitlement cuts---both considered unhelpful to restarting a stalled economy.  Congress seemingly has forgotten that it has another option for reducing the debt: eliminating waste, fraud and corruption in government programs. Perhaps, Congress knows that the success of such a plan would correspond with the effectiveness of whistleblower protections—protections it has been reluctant to provide to the thousands of whistleblowers who hold security clearances.

Insiders are critical to identifying government waste, particularly in agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, where much of the information is classified and not available for public review.  But, insiders are vulnerable to retaliation from managers embarrassed by their disclosures. The Obama administration has been particularly aggressive toward whistleblowers, launching criminal prosecutions against several of them.

Most Americans would be surprised to know that thousands of federal workers with ordinary jobs--food safety, for example--are required to have security clearances even if they may never handle a classified document.  Agencies pay dearly for the necessary background investigations. But, they just can’t seem to pass up the opportunity to give themselves an end run around civil service laws. Steve Kohn, of the National Whistleblowers Center, writes:

A 1989 law was supposed to protect federal employees who expose fraud and misconduct from retaliation. But over the years, these protections have been completely undermined. One loophole gives the government the absolute right to strip employees of their security clearances and fire them, without judicial review. Another bars employees of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency from any coverage under the law. And Congress has barred national security whistle-blowers who are fired for exposing wrongdoing from obtaining protection in federal court.

Knowing that they are vulnerable to retaliation, few federal employees are inclined to report wrongdoing.  Nevertheless, they are required to report wrongdoing.

Every employee takes an oath or affirmation, required by Article VI of the U.S. Constitution to “support the Constitution.” Since 1884, employees have taken this   expanded version of the oath, described in the U.S. Code (Title 5, Chapter 33).

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Incredibly, through court decisions and Congressional foot-dragging, civil servants tasked with defending the Constitution are forced to do so with an abridged set of Constitutional protections, particularly with regard to free speech and due process—essential elements for holding a government accountable.

Civilian federal employees also must adhere to the federal code of ethics (Executive Order 12674, as amended).  It states, in part:

Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities.”

The code also directs that employees “shall protect and conserve Federal property and shall not use it for other than authorized activities.”  This is important because agencies tend to treat classified information as government property, although it’s more accurate to say that a representative government holds information in trust for its citizens.

TopSecSometimes, classified information contains evidence of waste, fraud or corruption, documents abuses of human rights, or it exposes negligent handling of national security.  In such cases, classifying the information was illegal. Executive Order 13526 forbids classifying information to hide violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error or to avoid embarrassing officials.

An employee who encounters classified evidence of wrongdoing therefore is compelled to ask, “Which of the applicable laws has priority?”  Agencies provide little or no guidance to employees for dealing with the moral hazard dumped in their laps. Think of it as a ticking black box with protruding wires in several colors.  Does one pull the blue wire, the yellow or the red? Pull the wrong one and your career explodes.  [Read more...]

The Missing Words in Our Declaration of Independence, Oath of Office, & US Citizenship Oath

 "I hereby declare, on oath, that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”-Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to USA 

sheetcakeYesterday, as I was walking among grocery shelves, I passed by thousands of packaged hotdogs, hundreds of cases of beer, and mounds of hamburger buns displayed  in special Fourth of July promotions. I kept walking without pausing. Then I noticed a rectangular sheet cake with white icing topped with strawberries and blueberries depicting the stars and stripes - to be appreciated and eaten during the upcoming celebration of our nation’s Independence Day. That gave me pause. I stopped and stared at it for more than a few seconds; then I continued on.  An hour later, after I arrived home and as if some kind of sign, the first image popping up on my computer screen when I logged in was the Fourth of July Flag Sheet Cake. This time I put everything aside, pulled out the text of our Declaration of Independence, the US Citizenship Oath, and the Oath of Office. I knew exactly what I was looking for, and I did not find it. It was what I didn’t find that made me sit and write this for my readers as my way to wish you a Happy Independence Day.

During this celebratory holiday please take a few minutes; it shouldn’t take more than five, to read our Declaration of Independence, US Citizenship Oath and Oath of Office. Please do it.

You will not find the word ‘Flag.’

You will not see the word ‘Borders.’

What you will see is the word ‘Constitution.’

What you will find is the obligation to defend, not the ‘flag,’  ‘borders’ or ‘government’, but the United States Constitution, and defend it against foreign and domestic enemies.

The shalwar-wearing bearded men holding rakes and pitchforks in the caves of Afghanistan have never been and will never be a threat to our Constitution.

The terrorists from south of the border will never present any danger to our Constitution - meant to guarantee our freedoms.

The made-to-be-enemy dictators of foreign nations across the ocean have never and will never be able to touch our Constitution.

When it comes down to it there has never been a clear and present danger to our Constitution from any foreign entity or power. I suspect there never will be. No bomb attack, no pitchfork, no fatwa or jihad can even come close to destroying the United States Constitution.

The only enemies that have ever targeted our Constitution, the only entities that have ever launched an assault against our freedom, the only institution capable of destroying our Bill of Rights, the only power that has done so, and has been doing so, and if left untouched and unchallenged will continue to do so until nothing is left of the Constitution entrusted to us by our founding fathers, are the domestic enemies among us, or more accurately, ‘above’ us from where they rule.

My dear friends, I don’t intend to spoil your festivities and celebration. I want you to go ahead and enjoy that cold beer, those hot dogs, and the fireworks. All I’m asking of you is this: when the time comes for the dessert, while you are slicing that white sheet cake with the red and blue depicting the stars and stripes, think about the irony of it and how our domestic enemies have been slicing up and tearing apart the one thing that represents being an American - Our Constitution. Happy Independence Day.

WeThePeople

“That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness… 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…”- Declaration of Independence, July 1776

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Podcast Show #46

The Boiling Frogs Presents Bernard von NotHaus

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Bernard von NotHaus provides us with his account of his recent trial and conviction in March 2011 of counterfeiting money by issuing silver coins called Liberty Dollars. He tells us about the significant difference between counterfeiting and developing a competing currency within the law, and the hyperbole in labeling him as a “unique terrorist” and categorizing his activity as "domestic terrorism" by the FBI. Mr. von NotHaus talks about the Constitutional authority granted under Article 1, Section 10, to make legal tender out of gold and silver coins, the mysterious absence of the United States Secret Service in charges brought against him and the jurisdictionally questionable FBI’s lead in his arrest and prosecution, and more!

VonNotHausBernard von NotHaus is the creator of the Liberty Dollar and an expert on private currencies and alternative economics. He retired eight years ago after 25 years as the Mintmaster at the Royal Hawaiian Mint. Currently he is the Monetary Architect at the Liberty Dollar organization, a non-profit, free enterprise entity that to date has distributed $20 million Liberty Dollars to a network of over 100,000 people. On March 18, 2011, after a 90 minute jury deliberation von NotHaus was found guilty on various counts, including the making of "counterfeit coins.” He was labeled a domestic terrorist by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Here is our guest Bernard von NotHaus unplugged!

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The Eloquent & Powerful Summation of the Bradley Manning Case

Legal Scholar Steve Kohn on Bradley Manning & the Travesty of Justice

manningLast Tuesday Peter B Collins and I interviewed Mr. Stephen M. Kohn of National Whistleblower Center on his recently released book, corporate and government whistleblowers, whistleblower laws, and upcoming legislation. During the interview we asked him about the Bradley Manning case. Mr. Kohn’s sincere, eloquent and passionate response was one of, if not the best, summations we had ever heard. The entire interview will be posted next week, on Friday, May 13. However, we decided to prepare the following brief clip which covers Mr. Kohn’s powerful response to the Manning case, and share it with you right away.

Please listen to the following statements on the Bradley Manning travesty of justice by Steve Kohn and let it sink in. You may want to listen to it again; if so, please do. Then, think about it; think about our Constitution and where we are today, and ask yourself the following question: our citizenship oath requires that we support and defend our Constitution against all enemies- foreign and domestic; who or what should be considered the biggest enemy of our Constitution today?

Here is Mr. Stephen M. Kohn on Bradley Manning!

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Naked Airlines

The Ultimate Answer by "Loose Bruce" Kerr

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Podcast Show #36

The Boiling Frogs Presents James Babb

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James Babb recounts the creation of the grassroots effort We Won’t Fly, and how he and cofounder George Donnelly, two regular dads, founded the group to oppose the full-body airport “porno”-scanners on grounds of privacy, ineffectiveness and health, and demand that the airlines make their maximum lobbying effort in support of customers’ rights and liberties. He discusses the ineffective and dangerous aspects of the TSA Security Theater as a top-down and lumbering bureaucracy, and the intimidation and humiliation of passengers for this false sense of security. Mr. Babb talks about the goal of his group, alternatives to flying, their next Opt Out project, and more!

wewontJames Babb is the co-founder of We Won’t Fly, an informal collaborative effort opposing the full-body airport “porno”-scanners on grounds of privacy, ineffectiveness and health. As an independent, grassroots effort, We Won’t Fly is not affiliated with any political party, corporation, politician or think tank. The group has pledged to stop flying ‘until the porno-scanners are history.’

Here is our guest James Babb unplugged!

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A Parody for You: ‘Grandma Got Molested at the Airport’

By Donny Aldridge- Singer, Songwriter & Political Satirist

A friend sent me the following music clip; too real yet too funny. Enjoy it, let it be another reminder of how low we’ve stooped as a society, and keep up the spirit of resistance.
 

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Boiling Frogs Beltway Buzz: DHS-TSA Terror Watch List Includes Dead & Long-Dead US Citizens

Resilient Founding Fathers with Propensity for Resistance among One Million+ Terror Watch List Suspects!

 

DHSIn May 2009 the Inspector General of the Justice Department found that 35% of the nominations to the Department of Homeland Security’s Terror Watch Lists were outdated, many people were not removed in a timely manner, and tens of thousands of names were placed on the list without predicate. A September 2009 report by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security found that the process for clearing innocent travelers from the list is a complete mess. Although significant, both reports failed to mention their findings on the number of names of already-dead US citizens who seem to be stuck there permanently. Even more significantly, it’s been reported that the TSA Terror Watch List includes the names of Long-Dead but well-known and well-respected US citizens, including several members of a group collectively known as the Founding Fathers of the United States. So far, based on our former and current TSA sources, we have been able to confirm the inclusion of two such long-dead persons on at least one DHS-TSA joint Terror Watch List: Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

A former TSA manager and a member of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) provided us with his first-hand knowledge of what he referred to as the ‘DHS-TSA Terror Watch List Black Hole’, where US citizens’ names remain ‘forever.’ According to this source: [Read more...]

Ron Paul Introduces the American Travel Dignity Act

‘We Americans Should Never Give Up Our Rights in Order to Travel’

RPaul Mr. Speaker, today I introduce legislation to protect Americans from physical and emotional abuse by federal Transportation Security Administration employees conducting screenings at the nation’s airports. We have seen the videos of terrified children being grabbed and probed by airport screeners. We have read the stories of Americans being subjected to humiliating body imaging machines and/or forced to have the most intimate parts of their bodies poked and fondled. We do not know the potentially harmful effects of the radiation emitted by the new millimeter wave machines.

In one recent well-publicized case, a TSA official is recorded during an attempted body search saying, "By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights." I strongly disagree and am sure I am not alone in believing that we Americans should never give up our rights in order to travel. As our Declaration of Independence states, our rights are inalienable. This TSA version of our rights looks more like the "rights" granted in the old Soviet Constitutions, where freedoms were granted to Soviet citizens — right up to the moment the state decided to remove those freedoms.

The incident of the so-called "underwear bomber" last Christmas is given as justification for the billions of dollars the federal government is spending on the new full-body imaging machines, but a Government Accountability Office study earlier this year concluded that had these scanners been in use they may not have detected the explosive material that was allegedly brought onto the airplane. Additionally, there have been recent press reports calling into question the accuracy and adequacy of these potentially dangerous machines. [Read more...]