Frisco City, Al.-For a people to be free, they must first be honest with themselves, their government, and the world at large. History is filled with stories of free nations that fell under the spell cast by their governments who exploited the threat of terror.
In fact, numerous presidents in American history already have used various specific threats to sidestep their Constitutional restraints. Today we are entering a nebulous world where our “enemy” cannot be defined, has no particular allegiance to one country, and is able to adopt new leaders at will. Rather than encourage a sense of resilience and independence in its citizens, America has chosen to amplify the terror threat in order to concentrate power in the hands of the State. The very first signpost on this historically familiar road to tyranny is an atmosphere of hate, suspicion, and vindictiveness. It first begins as an outwardly directed aggression and then rather abruptly turns inward upon itself.
The good news is that freedom is won and lost in the hearts and minds of men. It is for this reason that we must state the obvious: we have clearly passed through the first stage of approaching dictatorship, and have now entered the second — the open behavior of a dictatorship in the United States.
It will never be announced on the evening news, and it is not likely to continue under an authoritarian leader in the mold of a Stalin, Hitler, or Mao. Likewise, it is not to say that Barack Obama is the first dictator of The United States, but rather is part of a continued expansion of executive power that is now so great that by all measures America can no longer be called a Land of the Free ruled by We the People. We stand no chance of reversing this forced march by false democracy until we understand where we are headed, who is leading us there, and for what purpose.
1. Rule by force, not by law: This is where it all begins; when the legal framework that serves to define a country and its behavior is dismantled and intimidation tactics take over. The increase in executive power under the aegis of National Security is our greatest threat and has led to all that follows.
2. Crushing peaceful protest: Despite the current mission to defend protesters living in dictatorships overseas, when George Bush brought “free speech zones” to America it effectively spelled the end of peaceful, lawful street protest. Now the full force of brutality and surveillance has been unleashed upon the very people intent in stopping it through peaceful means. It is as sure a sign as any about totalitarian intentions, when anti-war activists have become one of the targets.
3. Checkpoints: The slow acclimation of the populace to military-style checkpoints began first as border control operations up to 100 miles inland.The TSA tyranny has hit the streets of America, now forming a de facto internal passport system straight out of the totalitarian playbook. The expanding checkpoint system dovetails with new initiatives such as the No Ride List proposal of Chuck Shumer, building upon the No Fly List already in place. These no-travel lists are extrajudicial, secret, and form a guilty-until-proven innocent framework that subverts freedom instead of protecting it. Incidentally, this element of constant suspicion is exactly what leads to a citizen spy network.
4. Citizen spy network: Dictatorships know how difficult it is to rule over large populations with only the relatively small numbers of military and police. Despite the lessons of terror created by citizen surveillance that the East German Stasi files left us to examine, just such a network has been openly introduced to present-day America — and now it’s even more high-tech and populated.
5. Executive Orders: This is means by which a dictator can come to power in the United States, despite a framework of checks and balances. Any time a country has centralized its power to the executive branch by erasing the checks and balances of separate legislative and judicial bodies, the result has been dictatorship. And this normally happens when national security is “threatened.” The Constitution is clear, however: only the legislature (Congress) can make laws.
6. Control of regulatory agencies: This is the more insidious and, ultimately, dangerous tactic used by dictatorships. Dictatorship through regulation invades every facet of society without relying only upon overt violence. As mentioned above, only the legislature can make laws. However, the legislature has created “regulatory bodies” which make de facto laws through “violations” that rob us of freedom. There is no clearer example at the moment than the FDA, which has brought in near-total food control.
7. President declares war unilaterally: Despite the parade of lies that led to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it pales in comparison with the new war in Libya and other interventions and sanctions throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Through Executive Orders, outlined above, the President can declare war so long as there is a resolution passed by Congress. This has been dispensed with through Obama’s illegal wars, and it appears that Congress could go even further by ceding its power completely to the president. The disregard for Congressional approval is already dictatorial, but if this last step is taken we will effectively be living in a permanent state of war tantamount to WWIII that will be controlled at the sole discretion of the current and future presidents.
8. Torture: Torture has long been a tactic used by America. In fact it runs the leading school on its methods. The School of the Americas has been responsible for training Latin American dictators and their thugs on how to intimidate the local population and rule with an iron fist. However, the torture debate has hit mainstream media in a serious discussion about its effectiveness, especially following the assassination of Osama bin Laden
9. Forced labor camps (gulags): This is when we know that a totalitarian society has arrived in full and our society is run completely by coercion. As Naomi Wolf has illustrated, “With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now.” Additionally, a silent gulag has already been created inside America, starting with the nation’s prisoners who are increasingly locked up within a for-profit prison-industrial system that makes money both on the construction of prisons as well as the cheap labor force. The Defense Department itself pays prisoners 23 cents per hour to build its weapons systems, which is clearly a type of slave labor.
10. Control over all communications (propaganda): Once the physical framework of dictatorial control has been set up, then the justification for its continued presence can commence.There is clearly a concerted effort to take over all forms of information, permitting the government to alter it or censor it before consumption by its citizens. In any other country we would call this a dictatorship.
It would appear that the United States should be a called a dictatorship based on the above criteria. Once the atmosphere is established, average participants need not be part of a conspiracy, as they tend to unquestioningly go with the flow. However, we must acknowledge that the U.S. is in a vastly different position than totalitarian regimes of the past, as well as her contemporaries. America has a history that is built upon the foundation of resistance to dictators. This memory needs to be invoked by following the protections outlined in our founding documents, particularly the power of the states to resist Federal tyranny. The protections therein can be restored once we have the courage to admit how much freedom we have lost, then refuse to succumb to a fear-based perception of reality. Only then will Liberty, Love and Peace prevail!