When the Savior State Becomes the Enemy of the People
(October 30, 2009)
People want the Savior State to pay for their healthcare, retirement, education, housing, etc., even as they fear the unlimited power and funding they have granted their government. You can't have it both ways.
Correspondent Mark A. sent in this report on the over-reach of government and the potential for abuse of power.
Caught your stories recently about extortionate fines and so on. Last night I ran into this story Police crush sex offender's car; warn of more about a Denver ordinance that permits the city to sue and confiscate property used in the commission of various crimes (modelled after heinous drug laws affirmed by the Supreme Court).
Here is an excerpt from the story:
The unit was created by an ordinance in 1994 and targets things described as: "Any parcel of real property, personal property, or motor vehicle on or in which any of the following illegal activity occurs, or which is used to commit, conduct, promote, facilitate, or aid the commission of or flight from any of the following activities."
The danger of political activities being lumped in with criminal activity is higher than most complacent Americans believe. Nobody will defend a sex offender's rights, of course--but how about when tax resistance becomes a "crime"? (It already is, of course.) It's also a "crime" to resist an illegal war, too.
It's easy to be naive about the essentially unlimited powers of the State. Most people believe that only "bad people" get caught by the government trawler, but it isn't quite that simple. If you or those who agree with you threaten the State's Imperial ambitions, tax collection or Power-Elite supported agenda, then you may be targeted. I can say that it "can happen here" because it's already happened here.
I was with a friend when the FBI swooped in to arrest him for political crimes against the State, i.e. refusing to support an illegal (undeclared) war. At the time, the FBI has some 10,000 agents tasked with suppressing or disrupting the antiwar movement by whatever means were deemed necessary. Meanwhile, the agency's anti-Mob (organized crime) unit was reduced to minimal staffing. When the State feels its Imperial agenda threatened, then run-of-the-mill criminality gets ignored and the full resources of the State are turned on political threats to the status quo.
Having been called into the FBI office myself for grilling (after being threatened along the "we know where you live" line), I can say from experience that the boundaries which are supposed to protect our rights only exist if you can afford high-powered legal representation and if you are powerful enough to raise a stink in the "right circles."
Citizens with nothing to lose and no stake in maintaining the status quo are dangerous to the State (and thus to the Power Elite which has captured the State's lawmaking and enforcement arms), and so the State's first line of defense is to become a Savior State which showers entitlements as a way of providing voters with a stake in the system.
The second line of defense is to become a repressive Police State with an active secret intelligence program against domestic protest (as occurred in the late 1960s-early 1970s with domestic C.I.A. spying and COINTELPRO, the FBI's secret campaign to infiltrate, undermine, marginalize and/or subvert the antiwar movement).
These programs employed illegal entry ("black bag jobs") and surveillance, extralegal force and violence (creating and funding extremist front groups to commit the violence at arms distance from the Federal government), and psychological warfare ("dirty tricks," harassment, misinformation, setting up pseudo-movements run by government agents, threaten activists' parents landlords, employers, etc.)
The 1976 Church Committee formed to investigate the domestic intelligence campaigns concluded:
"Many of the techniques used would be intolerable in a democratic society even if all of the targets had been involved in violent activity, but COINTELPRO went far beyond that...the Bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association."
Anyone who doesn't believe their government is capable of Police State repression and subversion of First Amendment rights should research COINTELPRO more fully. While you might have disagreed with the groups subverted in 1969, the line between "those hippie radicals" in 1969 and "us Tea Party tax protesters" in 2009 is thin to vanishing.
Nothing will be more threatening to the State and status quo than tax resistance/rebellion and former insiders (those whose belief in the system has faded) turning into whistleblowers on the web.
Here is one source text: War at Home: Covert action against U.S. activists and what we can do about it.
Put simply: the State holds all the hammers, and you know what happens to raised nails.
Few seem to grasp the connection between an all-powerful Savior State and an all-powerful repressive State. In granting the power to become a Savior State then you also grant it the power to be a repressive regime or corrupt kleptocracy which openly serves an Elite and is accessible only via bribes/political donations (take your pick).
Correspondent Doug K. drew the line connecting the Savior State and control very succinctly:
It has become glaringly evident that local "law enforcement" targets those forced to endure visible embarrassment of hardship. Our repeated "contributions to the public good", made to atone for such grievous offenses as economic misfortune, only serves to perpetuate this relationship.
Correspondent J.P.B. submitted this comment on the use of surveillance for, um, "upholding the law"--or is it just another violation of our rights for the purposes of extortion? Welcome to a State kleptocracy armed with high-tech gadgetry:
RE: "Upholding the Law" or Simply Theft by Other Means?:
You can't grant the Central State powers to be a Savior State without also granting it the power to become a repressive regime that is nominally "democratic" even as the levers of actual power are operated by various Power Elites.
I would rather jettison the Savior State and be poor rather than live in a kleptocracy run for the benefit of the State and Power Elites partnership.
Since the Savior State is doomed to insolvency, other arrangements will have to be made in any event.
Thank you, Mark A., Doug K. and J.P.B. for your commentaries.
Notes: Yesterday's entry Crazymaker: Journal of American Media and Lifestyle (October 29, 2009) was a spoof--sorry I did not make that clear.
As I type the stock market is down handsomely for the week, but I see the potential
for a retrace back to the highs (and lows in the dollar) so it behooves us to be careful
and book profits whenever possible.
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