FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The GOP’s Police State

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

It’s always been an article of faith on the “loony” right that the black helicopters of the Jewish-United Nations fascist government would arrive to take over America and turn it into a hellish police state through the machinations of the liberal Democrats. Who would have thought that it would be the conservative Republicans who would be waving the landing lights to guide the troop planes in?

But there it is.

In four short years, following the 9/11 attacks, we have moved a long way down a very dark and dead-end alley.

First we had the Patriot Act, the handiwork of John Ashcroft (now out to pasture nursing his wet dreams of a restoration of slavery and the Confederacy) and his able assistant Michael Chertoff, now Sith overlord of the Department of Homeland Security. This obscene 362-page pile of totalitarian legislation has dangerously undermined the First and Fourth Amendments of the Bill of Rights.

Then we had the assertion of a Justice Department and Presidential right to revoke one’s citizenship (as witness the cases of Mssrs. Hamdi and Padilla, the latter of whom, a native-born American citizen, remains in jail in a military lock-up now for two years, with no access to family or even an attorney, with no charge against him and no right to challenge his arrest).

Couple that with the Bush/Cheney-sanctioned policies of rendition, where people are kidnapped by government agents and whisked away on unmarked planes to other nations like Syria and Egypt where torture and extra-judicial killings are routine, and torture (see Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, etc.), and you have the very real threat of American citizens being disappeared, just they way they did it for years (under American instruction and direction) in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Argentina and Chile).

In communities across this land where believers in Islam dwell, both immigrants and native-born citizens, there is these days a permanent state of terror, as FBI, ATF, Secret Service and other nefarious federal agents slink around grabbing people from their homes, interrogating others, hauling off computers and files, leveling trumped-up charges, and threatening people into becoming unwilling informants on their neighbors– all in the name of fighting “terror”.

Thousands of decent, hard-working immigrants have been snatched from their families (many of whom are American citizens, and often young children) and shipped off to home countries to face arrest and torture and, in some documented cases, death, with no access to hearings. We never learn about most of them. The government doesn’t have to tell us they’ve been taken. Even their own families are often left in the dark.

Citizens who try to exercise their First Amendment right to protest the actions of this president and vice president are herded into fenced in “free-speech zone” holding pens, or arrested and jailed, often after first being beaten or maced, on orders of the Secret Service. Others have been blacklisted and barred from events because they had the temerity to wear an anti-Bush T-shirt or to paste an anti-war bumper sticker on their car.

Now the Republican leadership in Congress has quietly pushed through a law establishing a national identity card which Wired magazine says will be enable the government to set up a computerized data bank on every citizen, telling authorities where we’ve been, where we are, who we’ve meet, what we buy, what our political affiliations are, and a whole lot of other stuff.

And they’re pushing ahead, at urging from the White House, with a new and improved Patriot Act that continues to define terror as anything that threatens the state (including a simple act of protest), and that in the name of fighting that loosely defined evil, will essentially eliminate the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure, giving the administration the power to spy and obtain records on virtually anyone without even going to a judge for a “probable cause” warrant.

Not content with that, the right is also stuffing the courts with judges who don’t give a damn about any of those old rights and freedoms-who think state power is just dandy. That’s what this fight over the filibuster is all about-getting rid of judges who take the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution with its hoary concerns about separation of powers seriously-and of course paving the way for “Justice” Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas to assume the post of Chief Justice.

Sadly, while they are leading the parade, the Republicans are not alone in this march to fascism and a 21st Century police-state tyranny. They’ve been doing it with the willing connivance of a number of conservative Democrats, including the likes of Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton and Diane Feinstein (this is hardly a complete list). And the way was paved, of course, by anti-Democratic police-state measures introduced earlier by the Clinton administration. They’ve also had the help of a somnolent corporate media and a blissfully ignorant public caught up in “American Idol” and the Jackson trial or whatever the latest entertainment diversion might be.

I used to think that right-wing warnings about jackbooted agents of the federal government landing in black Cobra gunships and storming our homes in dead of night were the fevered ravings of lunatics, but no more.

With this push to stack the courts, create a computerized national ID card, equate protest with support for terrorism, and make citizenship a revocable privilege, comes official government promotion of an intolerant, medieval Christian fundamentalism which provides the whole thing with an ideological gloss that makes any outrage not just permissible, but “God’s will.”

Still, it’s surprising to see the right turning off the lights of liberty, after all those years of warnings about liberal Democrats and the “nanny” state.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
Peter Crowley
The Groundhog Days of Terrorism
Norman Solomon
Behind the Media Surge Against Bernie Sanders
Pauline Murphy
Friedrich Engels: a Tourist In Ireland
David Swanson
The Unifying Force of War Abolition
Louisa Willcox
Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Tom Udall Back Tribes in Grizzly Fight
John Stanton
Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States
Robert Fisk
Did Trump Denounce Qatar Over Failed Business Deals?
Medea Benjamin
America Will Regret Helping Saudi Arabia Bomb Yemen
Brian Addison
Los Angeles County Data Shows Startling Surge in Youth, Latino Homelessness
Native News Online
Betraying Indian Country: How Grizzly Delisting Exposes Trump and Zinke’s Assault on Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights
Stephen Martin
A Tragic Inferno in London Reflects the Terrorism of the Global Free Market
Debadityo Sinha
Think Like a River
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail