The original intent of the Anti-Aggression League blog wasn't just to debunk Uncle Sam's propaganda and expose his corruption. It was in a much larger sense meant to be a counter narrative to American exceptionalism. I find this single sentiment more contemptible than any other ideology that has ever been thought up, for at the moment it is the most dangerous sentiment anyone can hold. It breeds content with the status quo. It implies that there is no room for improvement; if you are already the best, in every conceivable way, there is no getting better. The most common refrain I here to this effect is that America is the freest country in the world, which implies that our government completely respects our rights (obviously not true as I have pointed out hundreds of times). Another common refrain is that America is the land of opportunity; the land of milk and honey. The regulatory burdens that the federal, state and city governments have placed on small business owners tells a different story. Another common myth is that America is a democracy and politicians are accountable to the people, which implies that we are safeguarded against corruption. As a result of the widespread belief in American exceptionalism most Americans take their rights and freedom for granted. Yet, despite taking their rights for granted, ironically, most Americans don’t even know what rights they have, in the same way that they don’t know how much money they spend or how many possessions they have, hence consumerism. For this reason, it might be helpful to show that the rights Americans have under U.S. constitutional law and moral law have all but been obliterated under the pretense of national security and public safety.
Freedom of speech, expression, assembly, and the press
The right to film public officials in public places is freedom of the press, as determined in Glik v. Cunniffe, and yet police officers constantly violate the first amendment by arresting civilians simply for filming them.
Rochester Police Arrest Man For Filming Them
Syracuse NY Man Arrested For Filming The Police
1st amendment audit Greer police department South Carolina
Video Shows Cop Attack And Arrest Innocent Pregnant Woman for Filming Him
NY Man Has Gun Pointed At Him and Home Illegally Raided For Filming The Police
NYPD Arrests 5 Activists In 3 Days For Filming Their Attack on A 74-yo Man
The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. A vigilant citizenry has never been more critical in this day in age in which so called law enforcement, and their neoconservative lackeys (tried and true jack boot licking pro-cop simps) believe there should be no restraints on what the police can do at either the federal, state or local level. It’s funny how the same people who defend dragnet surveillance techniques like cell site simulators object to sousveillance of public officials under circumstances where, unlike the former, there is no expectation of privacy. Allowing people to film the police on the job should be a no brainer given the fact that there is an entire TV series dedicated to filming police on the job. Pro-cop simps are never short in supply.
The right to desecrate and ‘disrespect’ the American flag is symbolic freedom of speech, and yet 40 states still have anti - flag desecration laws on the books, which are sometimes enforced, though it is important to note that none of the people who have been charged with this imaginary crime, equivalent to anti-blasphemy laws in Saudi Arabia, have been put on trial.
Illinois Man Arrested After Burning U.S. Flag
I don’t know what’s sadder, the fact that the Illinois legislature passed an anti-flag desecration law as recently as 2013, or the fact that police arrested him just to protect him from crazed lunatics who think burning a certain piece of colored fabric should cost you your life.
Iowan Accused of Desecrating U.S. Flag In Pipeline Protest
I covered this story back in August. This army veteran wasn’t even technically desecrating the banner; flying the flag upside down down signals distress not disrespect.
Why a Penn. man arrested for flag desecration was awarded 55,000
There are even earlier cases then this one. The fact that criminalizing flag desecration would even be taken into consideration, to the extent that it would warrant an act of congress (see Flag Protection Act) shows just how far we have slipped into a police state.
The right to protest grievances is freedom of speech, expression and assembly, yet the FBI has taken it upon themselves to harass and intimidate those on the political fringe by spying on them, blacklisting them, and harassing them at their residents without suspicion of criminal activity, just as they did in the 60’s and 70’s during the conintelpro days in Colorado and other states in the summer of 2004. A three-page report discusses the events of July 22, 2004, when two teams of JTTF agents, accompanied by Denver police officers in SWAT gear, appeared at two Denver residences on Lipan Street that are home to a number of young political activists, including Bardwell. Bardwell explained at the time that the JTTF agents demanded to know if she and her housemates were planning to commit crimes at the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions and whether they knew anyone who was planning such crimes. They also threatened that failing to provide information to the FBI was a criminal offense.’ The harassment ranges from showing up to the houses of activists with a paramilitary force to conduct frivolous searches of residence for evidence of ‘material support for terrorism.’
New documents confirm FBI's joint-terrorism task force targets peaceful activists for harassment and political surveillance
FBI targets peace activists for alleged terrorism support
FBI watched activist groups new files show
You see a terrorist is an American citizen who visits certain websites and participates in certain political causes. Animal rights activists, environmentalists (called ‘eco-terrorists’ by the FBI), anti -war groups, and people who generally hold anti-government views are considered domestic terrorist threats by the FBI. Washington funded salafist militias like Ahrar al Sham, Jaish al-Fatah, and the FSA that burn down churches, massacre religious/ethnic minorities, and engage in extortion are not terrorists but ‘moderate rebels’ and ‘freedom fighters.’
As Benjamin Franklin once said “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins.” We cannot have a free and democratic society if law enforcement is allowed to censor their critics and anyone who doesn’t fall in line with popular sentiment as prescribed by public schools and corporate media outlets.
Freedom from warrantless searches, surveillance, and seizures of property or any unreasonable searches and seizures of property
"the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
It should be well recognized that the Bill of rights are not an exhaustive list of our rights but rather a list of limitations on the government’s power at both the federal, state, and local level, but especially at the federal level. The 4th amendment is not only a matter of constitutional law, but also moral law. The gradual erosion of our 4th amendment protections has been particularly devastating because the gatekeepers in msm don’t talk about it except for the controversial NSA prism program. What they don’t tell you is that this is done at the local and state level as well with stingray surveillance which, indiscriminately collects cellphone data. They don’t tell you that FBI field offices basically have subpoena power through National Security Letters, which allows them to demand personal information, including phone records and browsing history, from any citizen’s telecommunications providers. They won’t tell you that the NSA can share the information they incidentally gather on citizens with domestic law enforcement with CISA, the latest congressional assault against the 4th amendment, which not only gives Tech companies immunity to share your personal information with the DHS and requires the DHS to further share your personal information with the NSA, DOD, and Director of National intelligence. Even the Supreme Court has joined the butchered ruling in Utah v. Strieff that the police can use evidence illegally obtained in court against a defendant, through parallel construction, if they weren’t aware that they have breached the 4th amendment at the time of a search or seizure: basically just an extension of ‘qualified immunity.’ The 4th amendment has not fared much better at the state level either. The Wisconsin Supreme Court completely nullified the 4th amendment, under their jurisdiction, in a recent ruling that officers may search homes and seize evidence without a warrant if they are exercising their ‘community caretaker’ function. The fifth circuit court appeals in Texas also decided to nullify the 4th amendment when they ruled that having religious memorabilia and air freshener in one’s vehicle constitutes probable cause of a crime. In New York and other major cities, the police departments have ‘stop and frisk’ policies that allow their officers to stop passing civilians and search their person with only reasonable suspicion, which only justifies temporarily detaining someone and questioning them; reasonable cause is required to justify a search.
Freedom from extrajudicial killings, arbitrary seizures of property, and eminent domain seizures of property by private companies
‘No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without DUE PROCESS OF LAW; nor shall private property be taken for PUBLIC USE, without just compensation.’ is the pertinent part of the 5th amendment that has been curtailed and the instances are numerous. Under the Obama admin, four American citizens, suspected of terrorist activities, were executed by drone strikes without a jury trial and grand jury indictment. It was the same admin that signed indefinite detention into law using the annual NDAA as a Trojan horse.
We should not expect to lose our freedom or property without a criminal or civil proceeding and recourse to appeal such decisions, but this is not the case in the USSA. The terrorist watch list and no - fly lists allows the DHS to deprive any American of their freedom to travel and leave the country without a criminal proceeding and there is no way to appeal their decision. These watch lists have become so commonplace that some people want to use it to deny anyone on these lists the right to buy a gun.
In the U.S. law enforcement have become the highwaymen of old, stealing more from Americans than common criminals through civil asset forfeiture, which allows LEOs to seize property without charging the victim with a crime much less waiting for a criminal conviction; they just have to claim that the property resulted from a crime or is linked to a crime. The stolen property is usually used for their personal benefit and the spoils of robbery are shared with the feds.
Eminent Domain was always explicitly restricted to taking private property for public uses (e.g. roads, bridges, canals, utilities etc), but this changed after the Kelo v. New London decision which gave private corporations like the New London Development Corporation and Pfizer the power to seize the property of private individuals for their own (rent-seeking) profit. The Supreme court justified this ruling using the typical neoliberal talking points about ‘job creation’ and ‘trickle down wealth.’ It’s important to note that exactly zero jobs were created in the years following New London Development Corporation’s eminent domain seizure of people’s homes.
There are also many more frivolous laws that breach our natural rights, such as the anti-structuring laws that prohibit people from making frequent deposits of less than $10,000 from their own bank accounts. Of course, anti-structuring laws and civil asset forfeiture are the spawns of a much greater monstrosity called the war on drugs, a denial of self-ownership. If the government can decide what you can and cannot put in your own body, then you do not legally own your own body: the government does. Though to speak frankly, the federal government is simply a tool in this regards; a means to further the ends of the pharmaceutical industry and the private prison industry. Millions have died and over a trillion dollars have been wasted to protect the cartelized pharmaceutical industry from non-patented substances, and if the DEA's latest ban on Kratom is any indication of current progress towards drug decriminalization, then there is no end in sight.
Drug prohibition is not the only remnant from the 1970's. Draft registration is still compelled under penalty of law and was just recently expanded to include women. Although the draft hasn't been used in the past four decades, to even entertain the notion that a government should force its young adults to die for the profits of defense contractors is morally repulsive. To make a long story short, the U.S. is becoming a police state, and that is just part of the problem. This in itself should be a cause to protest It might not be a North Korea or PRC, yet, but it is by far one of the most authoritarian developed nations in the world, ranked 20th on the Human Freedom Index. When people fume over Kaepernick's national anthem protest the old adage strain at a gnat and swallow a camel comes to mind. If Kaepernick's refusal to stand during the anthem upset you, ask yourself what freedoms are you celebrating? Americans are always so boastful about their supposed freedoms, yet they stay silent when these freedoms are taken away. The selective outrage is really a reflection of poor national character.
Legend has it that the U.S. is the land of opportunity; the land of milk and honey where anyone can live the 'American dream' (you have to be asleep to believe it) with enough hard work and dedication. And you'd think that a country that prides itself on freedom and work ethic would be friendly to entrepreneurs. The reality is starkly different. In the USSA, there doesn't seem to be any gig that you can do without needing a team of bureaucrats to sign off on it, however trivial it may be in the grand scheme of 'public safety.' For instance, to install home entertainment systems in Connecticut you have to earn a high school diploma, pay a $185 application fee, pass a test, and work as an apprentice for one year. To legally sell flowers in Louisiana, one has to pay a $189 application fee and pass a florist exam. All 50 states require a license to become a barber. On average, a prospective barber must pay $154 in fees, sit out a year for education, and pass two exams just to legally cut other peoples' hair. Even something as mundane as cutting grass for pay, something teenagers often do for recreational money, requires a business license in a growing number of cities. The absurdity of occupational licensing laws knows no bounds. As I have reported in previous Red Tape Times posts, people have been threatened with fines and sometimes prison for offering dietary advice without the government's permission, teaching makeup without the government's permission, critiquing traffic lights without the government's permission, playing music in a bar without the government's permission, selling teeth whitening products without the government's permission, and selling home cooked meals to neighbors without the government's permission (also here). Aside from Occupational licensing, entrepreneurs must also contend with certificates of public convenience and necessity. These laws demand that start ups prove there is a 'public need' for their goods or services and they won't harm their competitors. They're also required to obtain permission from incumbent businesses before they start taking customers. The problem is further compounded by the fact that the courts always assume these regulations are constitutional until proven otherwise. If you thought they had a low standard for civil liberties, they have an even lower standard for economic freedom.