How are we doin’?

How are we doing, safeguarding those “unalienable Rights” with which we are “endowed by our Creator” — in support of which 56 patriots solemnly pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred Honor, 236 years ago?

We remain free by many measures. Americans can still pretty much live where we want, work where we want, drive where we want. In fact, for women and racial minorities, many of those liberties have expanded, compared to 70 years ago. We can all be proud of that.

But the average urban American can be excused for sensing the police state now constricts like a boa around many of our remaining freedoms.

The cameras at every major intersection will only be used to spot traffic tie-ups, we’re assured. Right.

Police helicopters fly circles over our homes, shining spotlights into our back yards at night. Now we’re told the very kinds of robot drones used to assassinate terrorists overseas will be used by domestic police agencies, as well, presumably checking to see if junior has some pot planted out back. But surely the operators of these remote flying cameras will look the other way if someone’s sun-bathing in the back yard, or they notice us out target-shooting … right?

Helmet and seat belt laws are justified by the supposed high costs of medical care to the Great Collective if you screw up. But you can’t get an exemption by showing you’re got good insurance or enough cash to pay for your own medical care, can you?

Signed into law by President Obama six months ago, the Defense Authorization Act “codifies into law the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects without trial,” and authorizes the military to “carry out domestic anti-terrorism operations on U.S. soil,” reports Erik Kain in Forbes magazine. The NDAA also authorizes the military to detain even U.S. citizens, again without trial.

Section 1022 of that law “does not exempt U.S. citizens from the presidential power of military detention: only from the REQUIREMENT of military detention,” notes Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com. “The proof that this bill does not expressly exempt U.S. citizens or those captured on U.S. soil is that amendments offered by Sen. Feinstein providing expressly for those exemptions were rejected.”

“The legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial,” warns Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist.

Mr. Kain of Forbes also warns about “other civil-liberty-quashing bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, two bills … which would give the government and the industry sponsors … broad new powers over the internet and freedom of speech online.”

In late February, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh District ruled no warrants are needed for cell phone searches. In the appealed case, an Indiana man was arrested at a methamphetamine bust with one cell phone on his person and two more in his truck. Police turned on those phones and checked them for their numbers without obtaining a warrant, then used the numbers to file subpoenas on the carriers for the phones’ call histories.

“On May 9, FBI Director Robert Mueller strongly recommended that Congress reauthorize the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act by the end of the year,” writes Nat Hentoff. “This law allows federal authorities, including the FBI, to conduct warrantless searches.”

The ACLU warns this creates a climate of “suspicionless surveillance,” which “invades the privacy of innocent persons and, failing to require a factual basis creating reasonable suspicion and probable cause before initiating surveillance, opens the door to biased policing, leading to unconstitutional racial and religious profiling and spying on political activists in violation of their First Amendment rights.”

THE POWER TO TAX AND REGULATE

How did we get to this point, teetering on the edge of the rockslide to tyranny?

It’s been almost a century since minority president Woodrow Wilson ushered in the 1913-1921 “Progressive” era, from which sprouted many of these now expansive restraints on our freedoms.

First there’s the financial strip-search of the federal income tax. No person of modest means can open a bank account today not open to a search at will by any IRS agent with your Social Security or Employer Identification number — and Obamacare authorizes thousands of new IRS agents with expanded “lien and levy” powers to do that searching.

Then there’s the Federal Reserve, which eventually took away our real, inflation-proof money, saddling us with increasingly worthless Federal Reserve greenbacks.

Even today’s massive and freedom-eating War on Drugs had its modest beginnings in the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act, sold as a mere “truth in labeling law” which would never interfere with the right of Americans to buy painkillers, or the right of doctors to prescribe them.

We were speaking of the Declaration of Independence. “He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us,” the Founders wrote in their indictment of King George.

Our Constitution grants the federal government no authority to regulate drugs or medicine. So how did we end up with half a million Americans locked up for “drug crimes,” a disproportionate number of them blacks and Hispanics, most of whom will thus be rendered permanent second-class citizens?

It’s no accident — the drugs banned were those most popular with black, Asian and Hispanic minorities 80 years ago, much of the shameless propaganda of the time dealing with Asian men lusting to seduce white women in their opium dens, while the far more unhealthful booze and tobacco favored by white folk got a pass.

Not that tobacco appears to be long for this world. With smoking banned even in the airports — where the TSA has now imposed many-hour waits — transcontinental flights have become eight-hour tribulations for tobacco users. Of all the major rental firms, only Hertz will still knowingly rent a car to a smoker.

California has largely banned smoking — even outdoors — based on flawed studies that found marginal evidence of harm from second-hand smoke among spouses who had lived with smokers most of their lives. (http://tinyurl.com/7pjpnfc) And college activists now seek to ban smoking campus-wide, as well, asking “What does tobacco have to do with the academic experience?”

I suppose you could ask the same thing about alcohol, dancing, and allowing the young ladies to be out of their rooms after 10 p.m. There surely must be some Christian campuses in the deep south that offer such an atmosphere for those who want it; why must it be imposed on everyone else?

Regardless, get ready for Tobacco Prohibition, with police breaking down your door at night on suspicion you (or someone with a similar street address) may be running a “shag house.”

If this is a “war,” as often alleged, who is this a “war” against, if not the American people ourselves? It’s not the poppies or the hemp stalks that get locked up with a cellmate named Bubba.

Meantime, is anyone surprised that the American Cancer Society laments the under-medication of cancer pain among terminal patients, when doctors are scared to death they may be dragged before some government panel and stripped of their livelihood for prescribing “too many” painkillers?

‘SWARMS OF OFFICERS’

Another of the colonists’ complaints about King George was that he had “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”

Today’s politicians pretend there’s some mystery about why the American economy no longer produces enough jobs. What mystery?

Americans are an entrepreneurial people. Many of today’s most successful corporations started as mom-and-pop operations, or with a couple tinkerers building computers in a garage.

As demand for a fledgling product or service grows, it used to be natural to set up a brick-and-mortar workplace, hire employees to meet demand.

But talk to anyone who’s tried to set up such a business, in recent years. It requires a wall full of licenses and permits, which don’t come in a Cracker Jack box. The would-be businessman or woman is indeed “swarmed” with regulators, inspectors and tax men — and it’s many times worse if the business in question deals in any way with food service, guns, gambling, or “hazardous waste” … which can now include used motor oil.

When you hire your first employee, you quickly learn you’ve just been dragooned as an uncompensated tax collector, obliged (on penalty of fines or jail should you get it wrong) to MATCH withheld payroll taxes out of your own pocket — whether your fledgling business has ever shown a penny of profit, or not.

The several states are busy imposing similar payroll taxes.

Soon the OSHA inspectors arrive. Then the ADA and the EPA come into play, “checking their common sense at the door,” as one local politician puts it.

Next the state licensing boards lie in wait — thinly disguised protection rackets in which the very people whose market share you hope to steal away with your superior product or service get to decide whether you’re qualified to compete with them.

And anyone wonders why the mantra of the mom-and-pop entrepreneur these days is “Just you and me, babe; we’re never going to hire an ‘employee,’ ever”?

‘BY A MOCK TRIAL’

The signers of the Declaration objected to the king “Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us,” and “protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States.”

How many docile, unarmed people have been shot and killed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan police in this town in recent years? Look up Orlando Barlow and Stanley Gibson, for starters. How many of those shooters ever went to trial or even paid a fine? What shall we call the not-open-to-the-public “review” or “inquest” that “cleared” them, if not “mock trials”?

(I’ve tried to attend several Clark County “inquests,” in person. Teams of shaved-headed armed bailiffs have refused to let me enter the courtroom, even after I’d gone through the metal detector, even when there were empty seats in the room. All the empty seats were “assigned,” they insisted. So don’t try to tell ME these kangaroo courts are “open to the public.”)

Most of the redcoats who killed five in the Boston Massacre of 1770 were acquitted — John Adams defended — but at least there was a public trial.

King George was accused of “depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.”

Under our English common law, a jury is randomly selected among your fellow citizens, and can judge the law as well as the fact of the case, throwing out any prosecution which the jury finds unjust.

Why else would the District of Columbia Court of Appeals have held in U.S. vs. Dougherty, 1972: “The pages of history shine on instances of the jury’s exercise of its prerogative to disregard uncontradicted evidence and instructions of the judge. Most often commended are the 18th century acquittal of Peter Zenger of seditious libel, on the plea of Andrew Hamilton, and the 19th century acquittals in prosecutions under the fugitive slave law”?

Will your judge today allow your attorney to cite this aforementioned case law to your jury? No. In fact, your judge will threaten to jail your attorney if he or she tries, and furthermore is highly likely to actually lie to your jury, responding to any such suggestion that “We don’t have that here. The jury must swear in advance to apply the law as I give it to them; any juror who refuses to so swear will be dismissed.”

SUBMITTED TO A ‘VOLUNTARY’ SEARCH, LATELY?

The Fourth Amendment, written with the conduct of King George’s men in mind, guarantees us “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” etc.

Tried to board a commercial airliner, lately? Did the government’s blue-gloved goons show you a warrant? Did they explain to you any probable cause to suspect you were engaged in criminal activity? Of course not.
“But that’s to protect our safety because we’re at war with the terrorists!” bleat the sheeple.

A permanent $8 billion jobs program with 50,000 unionized bureaucrats isn’t likely to go away, even as memories of the so-called “emergency” fade.

Meantime, who is the enemy? President Barack Obama, a former practicing Muslim per one of his own autobiographies, won’t even admit Major Nidal Hasan, charged with shooting and killing a dozen of the men for whom he was responsible at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, is a Muslim jihadist, instead insisting he be referred to simply as a mentally ill person whose motives remain unimaginable.

But even the PRAGMATIC argument that this keeps us safe fails. Though the TSA struggles to keep the reports under wraps, government auditors repeatedly give the TSA miserable grades when they try to sneak weapons through the screenings (http://tinyurl.com/3ahx9g4). And that’s testing the blue-gloves under the one model they’re set up to foil.

Think outside the box. Terrorists do. Just imagine a bomb set off to kill a hundred people lined up with their bags OUTSIDE the metal detectors.

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, would likely never have been brought to fruition had a reasonable number of passengers been carrying their own concealed firearms — the only solution allowed by the Second Amendment, with its absolute decree that “The right of the people to keep AND BEAR arms shall not be infringed.”

What’s that? I’m “Inviting gunfights at 30,000 feet”? In fact, terrorists rarely attack armed targets, which is why they so rarely attack police stations — and why Hasan appears to have done so well at a domestic military installation, where today’s Politically Correct Army now forbids enlisted men to go about armed.

Secondly, L. Neil Smith has suggested the airlines could provide a few rounds of pre-fragmented ammo in a variety of calibers, allowing passengers to “top off” their magazines, if anyone’s worried about the exaggerated danger of puncturing the pressure cabin while sending the next jihadist to his desired reward.

But finally, don’t you think anyone who died on Sept. 11 would gladly have traded their fate for a chance to engage in an evenly matched “gunfight at 30,000 feet”?

And now, as of last week, the Supreme Court has ruled there’s no “mandate” for me to buy health insurance, but I nonetheless have a right to see my neighbor, who’s always taken good care of himself, taxed to pay for MY health care, even if I live on beer and Twinkies.

Since this creates a disincentive to take care of our own health — instead encouraging us to rely our the government to tax our neighbors to pay our medical bills — watch for government to soon move to take away more free choices in this area, attempting for starters to ban sugary soda pop and fried foods.

Oh, wait …

One Comment to “How are we doin’?”

  1. emdfl Says:

    Tobacco will always be with us. Too much tax revenue coming from it.
    While I don’t smoke, I would truely love to see just one tobacco company up and tell some state that was fixing to increase its tobacco that said company completely agreed with that state’s stand regarding the evils of tobacco.
    And therefore that same company would no longer be shipping its product to that state.

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