Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’
Ron Paul is the only Presidential candidate in recent memory to speak up for freedom and the Constitution. Below Turley lists the incredible and increasing powers of the Executive to ignore the Bill of Rights, due process and the rule of law. These Stasi-like and draconian powers will not go unused.
Meanwhile we have two political parties united in their support of Corporate domination and citizen submission. Clearly only those who bow to these powers are (usually) allowed to run.
Jonathan Turley January 15, 2012
Below is today’s column in the Sunday Washington Post. The column addresses how the continued rollbacks on civil liberties in the United States conflicts with the view of the country as the land of the free. If we are going to adopt Chinese legal principles, we should at least have the integrity to adopt one Chinese proverb: “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” We seem as a country to be in denial as to the implications of these laws and policies. Whether we are viewed as a free country with authoritarian inclinations or an authoritarian nation with free aspirations (or some other hybrid definition), we are clearly not what we once were.
Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.
Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?
While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.
These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.
The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company……..read entire article
Thomas Paine was a herald of another era, whose writings emboldened Americans to stand up for freedom and fight in a War of Independence. He wrote the quote used in the title of this post, as well as the following:
“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”
Do not cling to complacency or duck your head in the face of creeping corporatism and tyranny. Our times have their own herald in Chris Hedges. We must find within ourselves the courage to resist and comfort each other as we face the days ahead.
Hedges has written a cogent clear-headed view of our position on the precipice:
TruthDig ………Mar 8, 2010 By Chris Hedges
There are no constraints left to halt America’s slide into a totalitarian capitalism. Electoral politics are a sham. The media have been debased and defanged by corporate owners. The working class has been impoverished and is now being plunged into profound despair. The legal system has been corrupted to serve corporate interests. Popular institutions, from labor unions to political parties, have been destroyed or emasculated by corporate power. And any form of protest, no matter how tepid, is blocked by an internal security apparatus that is starting to rival that of the East German secret police. The mounting anger and hatred, coursing through the bloodstream of the body politic, make violence and counter-violence inevitable. Brace yourself. The American empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying.
…the longer the liberal class dithers and speaks in the bloodless language of policies and programs, the more hated and irrelevant it becomes. No one has discredited American liberalism more than liberals themselves. And I do not hold out any hope for their reform. We have entered an age in which, as William Butler Yeats wrote, “the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
“If we end up with violence in the streets on a large scale, not random riots, but insurrection and things break down, there will be a coup d’état from the right,” David Cay Johnston said. “We have already had an economic coup d’état. It will not take much to go further.”
….“A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object,” Camus warned. “But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”
The rebel, for Camus, stands with the oppressed—the unemployed workers being thrust into impoverishment and misery by the corporate state, the Palestinians in Gaza, the civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the disappeared who are held in our global black sites, the poor in our inner cities and depressed rural communities, immigrants and those locked away in our prison system. And to stand with them does not mean to collaborate with parties, such as the Democrats, who can mouth the words of justice while carrying out acts of oppression. It means open and direct defiance.
On the same theme, see:
By Peter Chamberlin
July 26, 2009 ““Information Clearing House”
…..The Western media leads popular opinion to sympathize with the struggling corporate raiders, in order to help orchestrate the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. The media portrays the “war of terror” as a great struggle to save civilization, even though true “civilization” (the liberation of every soul through universal human rights) has not yet evolved. The media’s one purpose it to try to encourage the “free world” to sacrifice its children in a senseless struggle to preserve the destructive forces that have made the destruction of the old order inevitable.
Emergency measures, both economic and military, have been forced upon us, to carry on a war that is destroying both freedom and democracy, while maintaining the fiction that the war defends both. The media whips popular opinion into a frenzy to build patriotic blood-lust within the mob and the desire to kill millions of strangers for crimes that our leaders swear they fully intend to commit. The Western media and the Pakistani media, like the governments which they serve, are pushing the people to a fatal war, seeking to outrun the rising mob that wants the leaders’ heads.
Reflections on this Fourth of July
‘We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.’- – William Faulkner
We have two more days to the 233rd anniversary of our Independence Day. I know this is a day that is commonly associated with fireworks, good old fashioned hot dog and burger barbecues, heavenly kegs of beer, picnics, and baseball. I know many recognize this day as the anniversary of the American Colonies’ announcement declaring themselves as free and independent states, separated from allegiance to Great Britain. However this day is far more than just that. This day marked our nation’s definition of legitimate government and the proclamation of a political system under the sovereignty of the people. Thus, this is an occasion calling for more than hot dogs and fireworks. This should be an occasion to reflect upon where we are today, to take a hard look at the current state of our liberty and the rights we were fortunate to inherit, and to renew our pledge to revive and defend those precious principles of liberty and justice.