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While you were asleep...

We might as well face it guys we are no longer the United States of America. The land of the free. We brought it upon ourselves, worked hard to make it the law and work hard to bring authoritarian rule on ourselves. So I suggest we call it what it is, “The Authoritarian States of America”, has a nice ring to it right?

We talk a good game but we've failed to do more than talk. We have listened to the talking heads tell us it is their fault, the other guys, the other side of the aisle. We listen, we watch and we blame but we don't learn, we don't work together and we don't compromise. Unless, of course, it involves our politicians taking away the liberties of we the people. We confuse Communism with Liberalism. We confuse Conservatism with Patriotism. Yet we continue to listen and watch these propagandist. Despite all of our rhetoric we have become complacent in our defense of the republic. We have willingly been led by the nose to this point because we are lazy. Not some of us, all of us. Not the other side, both sides. Myths, mythinformation, misinformation, half truths and outright lies point the finger to the other side while telling our side it is not us. And we believe it.


We allow our politicians to accept bribes, we allow our politicians to militarize the police, and we allow the SCOTUS to tell us free speech costs money, it isn't free. We allow corporations to write our laws and send our politicians on junkets . We don't see the problem with this. We call our selves the free, the brave, and yet we stand silently by watching it happen, if it was our side promoting it, while blaming the other guys. We use individual liberties as an excuse. We use group liberties as an excuse. We use "they deserve it" as an excuse.

We, the baby boomers, have allowed this to happen on our watch and stood by to busy to act. Well unless it was calling the opposition names and spreading misinformation about them. We have been divided and conquered. We cannot seriously call it "The United States of America" anymore. We are just to divided to care.

So repeat after me "We pledge allegiance to the Authoritarian States of America..... "

What say you?

Posted by j2t2 at January 20, 2012 12:51 PM
Comments
Comment #334815

How are individual freedoms just an execuse?

au·thor·i·tar·i·an

1. favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom: authoritarian principles; authoritarian attitudes.

2. of or pertaining to a governmental or political system, principle, or practice in which individual freedom is held as completely subordinate to the power or authority of the state, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.

3. exercising complete or almost complete control over the will of another or of others

Seeing how socialism is totally dependent on subjection to government in order to support its programs, totally dependent on the desires of society trumping individual freedoms, and is only possible when government mandates dictate and control the will of all, I say The United Socialist States of America” has a much better ring to it.

Have to agree with you J2, we are definetely living in times where our individual freedoms are indeed subordinate to the power of government.

Posted by: kctim at January 20, 2012 1:42 PM
Comment #334818

Not just an excuse kctim but an excuse. The wording is probably poor as I should have elaborated in my ranting. Anyway I believe that sometimes we use a particular individual liberty to justify taking away another liberty. As an example (and in a nutshell)the big liberty of many conservatives is economic liberty. The big liberty of liberals is personal liberty. When some people use economic liberty to advance their cause, such as money is free speech, it takes away the liberties of another who doesn’t have the advantage of money. So sometimes individual liberties are used as an excuse to further the cause of authoritarianism, IMHO. In other words it is used to defend a position that in the long run erodes liberties.
It seems I am more focused on getting the water pump out of my old car so let this suffice for now and I will try to clarify later.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 20, 2012 2:12 PM
Comment #334824

Well j2t2,

I have to say that I personally did not and do not go along. I have not been complacent, or willingly led, or lazy. I am not a Boomer, I do not listen to propaganda, nor do I refuse to investigate in order to find out what is true and what is false. I have clearly seen and spoken out forcefully over the ways in which our Constitution has been and is being undermined in the name of of a bunch of authoritarian BS that the government (both sides of the aisle) has been attempting to call “Homeland Security.” I protest against the Wars. I protest against Big Money and Corporations running this country. Therefore, I must refuse to be included in this “Us” you claim is guilty of not standing up and speaking out when you state “Not some of us, all of us..”

It is not too late for “the Boomers” or any other American person to stand up and speak out against Authoritarianism and Unconstitutional actions by our government, and Wars that don’t make any sense. In fact, it is never too late to change this country for the better. In other words folks, We Shall Overcome. So Be the Change — Occupy Everywhere!

:^)

Posted by: Adrienne at January 20, 2012 5:04 PM
Comment #334830

Adrienne

Lots of people did “stand up and speak out against Authoritarianism and Unconstitutional actions by our government” that would be the Tea Party activists. I too was worried about the collapse of liberty in 2008.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. The threat never goes away. Liberty is often not taken away but given freely, happily, when we ask the authorities to give us things we should get by ourselves or in voluntary association.

Posted by: C&J at January 20, 2012 6:22 PM
Comment #334834

Adrienne, Yes their are exceptions to every “all of us”. I call out the boomers in particular because we set the stage with the “Drug wars” and the militarization of the police forces over the years. The dems brought the forerunner to the Patriot Act into law in ‘96 signed by Clinton. The repubs were against it. Then in 2003 the Patriot Act was signed into law and the repubs were for it. So When I say “all of us” chances are the vast majority of us voted for someone who voted for these laws.


C&J, Really in 2008, a wee bit late coming to the party aren’t you? If you read Mr. Turley’s comments in the link provided you will see that when I say “We have listened to the talking heads tell us it is their fault, the other guys, the other side of the aisle.” obviously it applies to you. In fact those that have complained incorrectly that Obama and his administration were radical leftist and other such nonsense are part of the problem.

The Tea Party was was silent on the issues raised by Mr. Turley. They were part of the “We talk a good game but we’ve failed to do more than talk. We have listened to the talking heads tell us it is their fault, the other guys, the other side of the aisle. We listen, we watch and we blame but we don’t learn, we don’t work together and we don’t compromise. Unless, of course, it involves our politicians taking away the liberties of we the people.” crowd.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 20, 2012 8:32 PM
Comment #334842


Authoritarianism is a natural or at least acceptable state for humans, the command and control mechanism of hierarchy, and probably introduced by prehistory religions since they predate the nuclear family. Patriotism is an example of authoritarianism. IMO, it stems from a human propensity to kill or be kill for something they believe to be true.

Democracy is supposedly the instrument by which authoritarianism can be controlled to some degree, while divide and conquer is often effective at thwarting Democracy based on the what we believe to be true scenario.

Freedom has as much to do with authoritarianism as it does individual liberty. Humans ofter applaud individual liberties they desire for themselves while denouncing those they disagree with.

Our Founding Fathers were authoritarians as are most politicians.

Posted by: jlw at January 20, 2012 10:34 PM
Comment #334844

j2t2, you wrote: “We have willingly been led by the nose to this point because we are lazy.”

I would beg to differ. I see enormous evidence to support the proposition that it is because we are, collectively as citizens and voters, ignorant and uneducated where the wiles of those in government are concerned.

There was sound reasoning behind our nation’s founders granting the vote only to White, Male, Land Owners. In their day, such a restriction insured to the extent possible, that of all the people in America, only those likely to be literate, educated, and vested in the consequences of government action, should be determining who is be elected vanguard of this new experimental nation.

In their view, the illiterate, uneducated, and those without care or concern for the actions of government, should not be deciding who is to lead the nation. There was great wisdom in their reasoning.

It was incumbent upon those passing universal suffrage, and all politicians who followed, to insure that education and investment in government’s actions accompanied the right to vote.

Regretfully, that responsibility fell by the wayside after the 1960’s, and now, any damned, uneducated fool with nothing to show for their actions other than liberty in America, is given license to vote and determine in their part, the future direction of the nation. Both parties take maximum advantage of this voter gullibility and vulnerability in modern times. Plutocracy is virtually guaranteed as a result.

Posted by: David Remer at January 20, 2012 10:49 PM
Comment #334846

j2t2

I guess that I am part of the problem. I support most of those things in the article. I am not just silent or complacent on that issue; I am positively in favor of many of them.

I am glad that President Obama killed that guy in Yemen; some people just need killing. Obama had the right to do it. This sort of thing happened during WWII, BTW, with German Americans fighting for the Reich etc. An American fighting violently against his own country is below contempt.

Indefinite Detention - depends

Arbitrary Justice - the military code of justice is appropriate in some cases.

Warrantless Searches - depends on how much it is used, why and how.

Secret Evidence - we did this during the Cold War and before. I guess we just kept secrets better back then.

War Crimes - This one is just silly. “The world clamoured” most of the world’s leaders have no right to complain. That Spanish judge is just nuts. We rightfully blocked him.

The list goes on but I won’t.

I respect that you worry about such things. I generally do not. I understand that the French and other free people have stronger laws in this area than we do. I understand also that during most of our own history these kinds of things would not be remarkable. FDR, Truman and BTW even Franklin, who people always like to quote, would not be surprised at these things. We were a free people during those times.

Many of these extraordinary rights were created in the 1960s and 1970s. They went a little too far.

I understand that it was more fun for you guys when you could blame Bush. The fact that Obama behaves in ways similar to the hated Bush might indicate that when people get into positions of leadership, they have to make the tough choices that we powerless people can pretend we would not.

If a president cannot take out a bad guy like Anwar al-Awlaqi, he personally would not be a threat to our freedoms, but the violence we would suffer certainly would be.

I know we have been over this ground before and the argument will never end. I support my president (Bush or Obama) in taking these kinds of hard decisions to protect our country from small numbers of ruthless and determined enemies. I respect Barack Obama more for having the courage to do the needful things.

You know what must have happened. Obama probably really believed that innocent people were in Guantanamo and that we were overstepping and overreacting in the defense of our country. But after he saw the real intelligence, he started to behave in the ways we see now. Why do you think that is?

I would prefer not to have to do tough things in general and we should avoid situations that force our hand as much as we can. But there really are bad guys out there. They are not misunderstood and they do not misunderstand us. It is not a failure of dialogue and we cannot appease them. This is NOT a large group, but can get out of hand if allowed. Better to keep some of them in Guantanamo, return others back to the places they came from and send a few straight to hell with a drone strike.

There are many things I don’t like about Obama. His behavior is this is not among them.

Posted by: C&J at January 20, 2012 11:10 PM
Comment #334850

Good article for the middle column, j2t2. I agree, but I feel it goes way beyond just giving up our liberty and freedom.

The Bilderbergers and the G20-30-40 folks have laid out a rough draft with 5yr, 10yr plans and so on. Their plans go toward internationalism/globalism and away from nationalism. Based largely on diminishing the nuclear threat and in the desire to bring developing countries into a one world economy. Emphasis is on commonality in law, trade, immigration, et al. Hence, the world court, IMF, WTO and perhaps the UN will take on more responsibility for keeping the worker bees in line.

Recall that both parties pushed for globalization, regional trade zones, etc. Both Bush and Obama have done their daid level best to involve foreign entities not only in US commerce but in security/defense related purchases. Leasing toll roads, attempting to allow foreign entities to buy in to marine and air port security operations, giving up the Panama canal. Other ventures demonstrate their determination to ‘globalise’ the US economy: subsidizing electric battery development, attempt to contract with EU on USAF refuelers, and this latest venture to drop the ‘Hawker’ aircraft in favor of a Brazilian model.

Recall the ‘transcontinental highway’ effort a few years back? Had like 12’ pipelines running down the center of a 16 lane wide highway? Is it possible that the proposed pipelines was intended to carry the ‘shale oil’ from Canada to Houston for transshipment to China? I would suggest that the NAU thing is still very much on the drawing board and in the 10-20yr plan, etc. One can only look on in amazement at the determination of the Corpocracy to stick with open borders as detailed in NAU policy notes. 4500 dead, unknown people from around the world just walking in doesn’t phase the Corpocracy. Even as the they removes little bits of our freedom/liberty at a time while prompting us to be ‘scared’ of the Taliban, etc. Nothing more than ‘harmonizing’ law, here and around the world in getting us ready for the ‘new order’.

No end to it – the economy – scaring us with the ‘great recession’, as a ploy to bring the US economy in line with developing countries so we can ‘all get along’ in a globalised world.

Ron Paul says he can save us but seems few will give him a shot. I think he would get more traction as a 3rd party candidate as few can, or want to believe that a republican would carry the reform torch. And, it’s like you say j2t2, seems folks are too busy to be ‘concerned’. I refer to their inaction as people just riding along on a train, watching the scenery, oblivious to it all so long as they are ‘secure’ in their coach.

Certainly, a problem for the people is there is no individual that has been able to focus the larger problem and attract people to a cause. The Bilderberger’s, G-whatever and Corpocracy don’t have such problems. They know pretty much what they want and can easily manipulate the political system to accomplish their agenda. Best gov’t money can buy and all that.

Still, we have two ways, IMO, of recovering our sovereignty, our Constitution and the principles by which we once lived. Article Five Convention and/or a 3rd party with an agenda to remove the money influence from gov’t/politics. Through either we could abolish corporate personhood and implement REAL campaign finance reform and go from there.

I was going to vote for Buddy Roemer but voting for Ron Paul might serve to be a better protest vote in the long run.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 20, 2012 11:55 PM
Comment #334868

jlw, wise words.

David it’s good to see your back posting here. Whether it is ignorance of how government is manipulated by both those we elect and those seeking their own “economic freedom” or it is laziness could be debated for quite a bit. The fact remains that we are seeking safety over liberty in America.

I don’t disagree when you say ignorance plays a role though. However I don’t believe the answer is to go back to the ways of the founding fathers on voting rights. The answer as you say is education.

C&J, Although I disagree with your acceptance of authoritarian government I am glad to see you defending your position rather than denying it. It seems you prove jlw’s comments to be correct. I think however you will bemoan the day when all of us who dissent are declared terrorist. I guess the “free speech” zones for protestors that have become established the past decade will make it easier to gun us all down as we dissent.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 21, 2012 10:31 AM
Comment #334870

j2t2

We do not have an authoritarian government. Nothing even close. I have seen authoritarian governments. They are not like ours.

I learned in logic 101 that slippery slope arguments are often invalid. Putting known terrorist in jail or sending them to hell in a fiery flash does not logically lead to the suppression of peaceful dissent.

In fact, I would argue that the opposite is true. History shows that it is weak responses to violent subversion that leads to the overreaction that in turn leads to the suppression of peaceful dissent.

Safety and liberty are not mutually exclusive. And while it is theoretically attractive to make all of nothing argument (i.e. if we violate the rights of a true bad guy our rights will come next) this is a false concept in the real world. It is true that fear leads to a lessening of liberty. But some fear is based on real threats. It is incumbent upon a legitimate government to address those real threats before they become threats to liberty.

When people fear violence, they are not free. If my freedom, yours and ours depends on the killing terrorist in Yemen, just show me which trigger I have to pull to make it so.

I will point out again that this expansive view of rights for even bad guys is a new creation. Great presidents such as FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy … authorized operations that did just this. I lived through some of these times, my father told me about others and I read about them in history books. Liberty didn’t seem too compromised. I will also point out that countries like France still have much more robust rules of engagement for terror. We might make fun of them in some ways, but nobody really thinks they are very oppressive places.

Posted by: C&J at January 21, 2012 12:01 PM
Comment #334871
We do not have an authoritarian government. Nothing even close. I have seen authoritarian governments. They are not like ours.


“An authoritarian nation is defined not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary grant subject to executive will.”

From http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/287-124/9448-the-us-is-no-longer-the-land-of-the-free

The monarchy we had until the revolution had this same executive will.

It seems ok when it is terrorist we are doing these things to but executions seemed ok, in fact cheered on by many conservatives at prersidential debates,yet we are now finding the police got the wrong guy on numerous occasions.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 21, 2012 1:58 PM
Comment #334872

j2t2

Every legitimate government maintains a monopoly on the legal use of coercion and violence.

After our revolution until around 1970, our government did all the sorts of things described and few people even questioned it.

If you define authoritarian as the potential to do the types of things you and your article describe, every government is authoritarian.

I know your author wrote the words you quote, but he is mistaken and clearly doesn’t understand his subject, despite his impressive academic credentials. By insisting on the absolute metaphysical adherence to principles, such people erode the practical rule of law. These are the kinds of guys who pave the road to tyranny with their good intentions.

I used to be somewhat familiar with Soviet Law. The Soviets had codified all sorts of protections and rights. Everybody knew they wouldn’t bother to follow them. I recall many arguments with fellow travelers and useful idiots who used to tell me in apparent earnestness that the Soviet system was a better guarantor of human rights than was ours.

So the presence of ostensibly strong protections means little if the authorities are in the habit of doing otherwise. Conversely, our system works well because of its reasonable laws that have both preserved our freedom and protected us from evil better than anything else devised and implemented by humans for more than 230 years.

Posted by: C&J at January 21, 2012 2:41 PM
Comment #334878


C&J, brings up a good point about authoritarianism, the desire, often the need of the perpetual enemy. Vanquish an enemy or threat and the next one is there ready to attack and destroy freedom. The enemy can be terrorists, religious or otherwise, socialists, communists, wealthy capitalists, conservatives, liberals, minorities, etc.

Example: If elected, the Newt has promised to purge the government of those who wish to destroy America, the liberals. The liberal authoritarians will produce their own enemies that must be feared and stopped.

Freedom and liberty are often rally instruments for authoritarians.

And, that quote you produced is correct, the many tens of thousands of Iraqi’s who were killed are merely a statistic to most Americans. The same is true of the millions of Vietnamese who were killed in that war.

Also, the tea party, the OWS, the anti war movement, the civil rights movement, the progressive movement, all wanted the authoritarian government to support their ideals, beliefs, freedoms.

When it comes to our authoritarian government, the liberals and conservatives are both, enemies and allies.

David R., I’m not sure education is that much of a factor. I think what one believes to be true is a bigger factor and educated people are capable of believing things that are not true.

With education, we often consider the upper class the most educated and the lower class the least educated, with the middle class in between.

Socialist or communist revolutionary regimes such as the Soviets and the Chinese did garner most of their support from the uneducated peasantry and some support from the middle class.

The Nazi’s on the other hand did not. A little more than a third of the lower class, unskilled labor force supported the Nazi’s. Slightly more than half of the parties support came from the middle and upper middle class. Nearly three quarters of the upper class supported the Nazi’s. Before the coup, overall support for the Nazi’s was almost equal to the support they had from the lower class, or around 37% of the population. As for the intelligentsia, the Nazi’s had the support most of the conservative intelligentsia and a considerable number of the liberal intelligentsia.

Posted by: jlw at January 21, 2012 5:50 PM
Comment #334891


The Land of the Free and the Home of the BRAVE. Ironic?

Posted by: jlw at January 21, 2012 8:53 PM
Comment #334916

I listened. I hear a transformation from a kneejerk to a realist.
I agree with your original post, j2t2. Amazing! Isn’t it?

What say I?

I pledge alliegence to any state that pledges alliegence to the “United States”!

We’ve lost perspective. We’ve become a nation hiding behind borders because we won’t allow anyone else to join our United States!

Why are there only 50 States? Why aren’t there 130 states, equal to the number of countries we occupy? Are we the United States, or are we the …..

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 22, 2012 2:28 AM
Comment #334918

…are we the bad guy?

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 22, 2012 3:41 AM
Comment #334950


“..are we the bad guy.”

If the goal is to continue to reduce American workers pay and eliminate programs that help workers, to make American business more competitive with the Third World, we could very well become the bad guy. The apparatus is now in place that would allow the rounding up of potential leaders, outspoken trouble makers and detain them indefinitely. Technology will continue to enhance that apparatus.

The spy apparatus, the paramilitarization of our police forces, the courts hand over of the First Amendment to wealth, attacks on organized labor, attacks on voters, all tend to suggest we are already well on our way to portraying many Americans as the bad guy.

The OWS is protesting the very people who stand to benefit the most from the governments move in this direction and they have been portrayed as the bad guys by many.

Posted by: jlw at January 22, 2012 6:46 PM
Comment #335005
I listened. I hear a transformation from a kneejerk to a realist. I agree with your original post, j2t2. Amazing! Isn’t it?

Kneejerk is shooting at the police when they raid your house Weary. Realist is living to fight for reform of the police departments that feel free to shoot dogs as a matter of course when they raid your house instead of the drug dealers house across the street.

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Comment #362864

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