By: Michael Snyder
Source: End of the American Dream / Activist Post
One of the unique things about the Constitution of the United States was that it guaranteed certain rights for its citizens. Those rights provided the foundation for an era of freedom and prosperity that was pretty much unprecedented in human history and dozens of other nations eventually copied many of the ideas contained in our Constitution and Bill of Rights because they worked so well.
Of course our system never functioned perfectly, but when you compare it to what has gone on for most of human history, it truly was a bright light in a sea of oppression and totalitarianism. Unfortunately, our rights are now being systematically taken away from us. In America today, the politicians have convinced most of us that in order to keep us all “safe” we must give up many of our rights and move toward becoming a totalitarian police state. In the “new America”, you don’t get any rights. They tell us that giving people rights is too dangerous. Instead, you get some limited “privileges” which can be revoked at any time by the authorities. Sadly, most Americans have become so dumbed-down that they don’t even realize what is happening.
How many Americans do you think have actually read the Constitution?
Personally, I went through high school, college and even law school without ever being required to read the Constitution of the United States.
Isn’t that amazing?
Most Americans don’t even understand that they have rights because they have never even read the documents that grant them those rights.
You can find the text of the U.S. Constitution right here. If you have never taken the time to read the whole thing, you really should.
According to the U.S. Constitution, the following are some of the rights that we are supposed to have….
- Freedom of religion
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of the press
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom to bear arms
- Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures
- The right to due process of law
- The right to a speedy and public trial
- Freedom from cruel and unusual punishments
Unfortunately, all of those rights are under attack in America today.
In most cases, a right is not taken away all at once. Instead, opponents of these rights take what is known as an “incremental approach”.
For example, we are told that there are certain limits on the freedom of speech. We are told that we cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater and we accept that because it sounds reasonable. But then once everyone agrees that there are “limits” on that right, the control freaks that run things just keep trying to tighten those limits in thousands of different ways until our freedom of speech is whittled away to almost nothing.
It is imperative that we stand up for our liberties and freedoms. If we don’t defend them now, eventually they will be gone for good.
The following are some examples of how our rights are under attack in America today….
The federal government has become absolutely obsessed with monitoring everything that Americans say. This chills free speech because it gives people the feeling that there is always somebody “watching”.
It has recently been revealed that the Department of Homeland Security plans to monitor social media outlets on the Internet. If you use the wrong “keywords” or if you are a key “influencer” on the Internet, there is no doubt that someone from the federal government will be keeping tabs on you.
The following comes from a recent RT article….
Under the National Operations Center (NOC)’s Media Monitoring Initiative that came out of DHS headquarters in November, Washington has the written permission to retain data on users of social media and online networking platforms.
Specifically, the DHS announced the NCO and its Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) can collect personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters or anyone who may use ‘traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.’
In particular, the powers that be seem to have become absolutely fascinated with Facebook, Twitter and blogs.
As I have written about previously, the Federal Reserve has decided to start monitoring social media sites and blogs in order to keep track of what is being said about them.
And as a recent Fox News article detailed, the Department of Homeland Security is also developing such a system….
Though still in development, DHS is looking to establish a system for monitoring ‘forums, blogs, public websites and message boards.’ The idea is to gather and analyze publicly available information, and then use that information to help officials respond to disasters and other situations.
So why do they have to spend so much time, energy and money keeping track of what we are all saying on the Internet?
Why don’t they just let us be?
One would think that the federal government has bigger problems to deal with at this point.
Unfortunately, this trend toward endlessly snooping on American citizens is not likely to reverse any time soon.
So could what you say on the Internet get you labeled as a “trouble-maker” or as a “potential terrorist”?
Recently, Barack Obama signed a new law which allows the U.S. military to arrest “potential terrorists” on U.S. soil, hold them indefinitely without trial and even ship them off to Guantanamo Bay for endless “interrogation” sessions.
The insanity of this new law was detailed in a recent article by Henry Blodget….
The reason this law is horrifying is not that terrorists deserve to be handled with kid gloves. They don’t. The reason it’s horrifying is that, without due process, it is too easy for the government to just declare someone a terrorist who isn’t actually a terrorist. It’s too easy, in other words, for government employees to do what everyone else does: Make mistakes.
If you don’t think it’s possible for the government to mistakenly assume that someone is a terrorist who isn’t, read this story by Lakhdar Boumediene, who was just held as a terrorist by the U.S. government in Guantanamo for 7 and a half years. At Guantanamo, Boumediene says he was tortured for not telling his U.S. captors what they wanted to hear–that he was a terrorist. He was only eventually freed after his case went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court ruled that it might be a good idea to ask the government to present the evidence that led it to believe that Boumediene was a terrorist (the government didn’t present any).
Sadly, according to Obama this new law just reaffirms what he already had the power to do. In his signing statement, Obama stated that he already had the authority to arrest American citizens, hold them without trial and ship them off to prison camps.
Of course that would come as a complete shock to the original drafters of the U.S. Constitution, but very few Americans seem concerned with what the U.S. Constitution actually says these days.
Now there is a new bill before Congress that would even give the federal government the power to instantly strip individuals of citizenship if they are suspected of being “hostile” to the United States.
It is known as the Enemy Expatriation Act, and you can read this new bill for yourself right here.
According to the bill, you can be stripped of your U.S. citizenship for “engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States.”
So what does it mean to “materially support” hostilities against the United States?
Does simply criticizing the government fall under that category?
Unfortunately, when you have a law that is really vague it gives authorities the leeway to do pretty much whatever they want.
At least we still have the Internet where we can communicate with one another and share all of this information, right?
Well, maybe not for long.
As I have written about previously, a new law under consideration by Congress would permanently change the Internet forever and could potentially silence thousands of important voices. That is why we must stop SOPA. It is a horrible law which could be used to brutally censor the Internet.
Some of the biggest names in the Internet community are speaking out against SOPA. For example, a recent CNN article contained some stunning quotes about SOPA from one of the co-founders of Google….
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has been outspoken against the efforts.
The bills ‘give the U.S. government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS (the Internet’s naming system) and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial),’ Brin wrote last month on his Google+ page as Congress was considering the measures. ‘While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.’
Everywhere you turn these days, our liberties and our freedoms are being attacked. There is a relentless assault on everything that it means to be an American. No matter how hard you try, it just seems like you can’t get away from it.
For example, many of us have been so disgusted with the TSA that we simply do not fly anymore.
Well, the TSA is not content to just monitor airports anymore. Now they are bringing their own special brand of “security” to thousands of other locations across the country as the Los Angeles Times recently detailed….
The Transportation Security Administration isn’t just in airports anymore. TSA teams are increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass transit locations around the country.
‘We are not the Airport Security Administration,’ said Ray Dineen, the air marshal in charge of the TSA office in Charlotte. ‘We take that transportation part seriously.’
The TSA’s 25 ‘viper’ teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year.
So even if you never fly again, there is still a good chance that you will get the “rubber glove treatment” from a TSA “viper team” at some point.
Without a doubt, this country is slowly becoming a giant prison.
And one group that gets targeted by the government almost more than anyone else is Christians. In America today, there is a war against Christianity. The Christian faith is being attacked inhundreds of different ways, and under the Obama administration this attack has only just intensified.
There seems to be an obsession with pushing Christianity out of every single shred of public life in this country. For example, family members were recently banned from bringing Bibles to wounded veterans at Walter Reed National Medical Center. The following is from a recent CNSNews article….
In a Sept. 14 policy memorandum, Col. Chuck Callahan, chief of staff of Walter Reed National Medical Center, banned family members from bringing Bibles and other ‘religious items’ when visiting wounded military personnel at the facility.
Thankfully, this policy was later reversed after a tremendous national outcry, but there are dozens and dozens of other “policies” like this that have not been reversed.
They say that we still have “freedom of religion” in this country, but there is a non-stop effort to push it into a box that is getting smaller and smaller with each passing day.
Our 2nd Amendment rights area also being brutally assaulted.
Restrictions on gun owners keep getting tighter and tighter and tighter. Things have gotten so bad that now even gun manufacturers don’t even know what is legal and what is not.
The following comes from a recent article in the Washington Times….
Despite overseeing an industry that includes machine guns and other deadly weapons, ATF regulations for the manufacture of weapons are often unclear, leading to reliance on a secretive system by which firearms manufacturers can submit proposed weapons for testing and find out one at a time whether they comply with the law, critics say.
The ATF recommends that manufacturers voluntarily submit weapons for case-by-case determination. But those judgments are private and, it turns out, sometimes contradictory. Critics say nearly identical prototypes can be approved for one manufacturer but denied for another.
But it is not just the federal government that is becoming incredibly oppressive. We are seeing state and local governments all over the country also move in the direction of totalitarianism.
Here are just a couple of examples that have been brought to my attention in recent days….
*Up in Massachusetts, police were recently sent to collect an overdue library book from a 5-year-old girl.
*In St. Louis, a proposed law would make it mandatory to spay or neuter all cats and dogs and would make it mandatory to microchip all cats and dogs.
When you step back and look at the bigger picture, a clear trend emerges.
As 2012 began, over 40,000 new laws went into effect all over America. Some of these new laws are good, but most of them are about restricting the liberties and freedoms of individual Americans.
We have become a nation of control freaks.
In the final analysis, we don’t have any absolute rights anymore. Instead, what we have are “privileges” that are being systematically stripped away.
But this is not how America was supposed to be.
We were supposed to be the freest nation on the face of the earth.
So what in the world happened to us?