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Engelhardt writes: "Maybe it's time to face the facts: this isn't your grandfather's America. Once, prospective Americans landed in a New World. This time around, a new world's landed on us."

President Obama. (photo: Reuters)
President Obama. (photo: Reuters)

The American Lockdown State

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

05 February 13


onsider Inauguration Day, more than two weeks gone and already part of our distant past. In its wake, President Obama was hailed (or reviled) for his "liberal" second inaugural address. On that day everything from his invocation of women's rights ("Seneca Falls"), the civil rights movement ("Selma"), and the gay rights movement ("Stonewall") to his wife's new bangs and Beyoncé's lip-syncing was fodder for the media extravaganza. The president was even praised (or reviled) for what he took pains not to bring up: the budget deficit. Was anything, in fact, not grist for the media mill, the hordes of talking heads, and the chattering classes?

One subject, at least, got remarkably little attention during the inaugural blitz and, when mentioned, certainly struck few as odd or worth dwelling on. Yet nothing better caught our changing American world. Washington, after all, was in a lockdown mode unmatched by any inauguration from another era - not even Lincoln's second inaugural in the midst of the Civil War, or Franklin Roosevelt's during World War II, or John F. Kennedy's at the height of the Cold War.

Here's how NBC Nightly News described some of the security arrangements as the day approached:

"[T]he airspace above Washington... [will be] a virtual no-fly zone for 30 miles in all directions from the U.S. capital. Six miles of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers will be shut down, with 150 blocks of downtown Washington closed to traffic, partly out of concern for car or truck bombs... with counter-snipers on top of buildings around the capital and along the parade route... [and] detectors monitoring the air for toxins... At the ready near the capital, thousands of doses of antidotes in case of a chemical or biological attack… All this security will cost about $120 million dollars for hundreds of federal agents, thousands of local police, and national guardsmen from 25 states."

Consider just the money. It's common knowledge that, until the recent deal over the renewal of the George W. Bush tax cuts for all but the richest of Americans, taxes had not been raised since the read-my-lips-no-new-taxes era of his father. That's typical of the way we haven't yet assimilated the new world we find ourselves in. After all, shouldn't that $120 million in taxpayer money spent on "safety" and "security" for a single event in Washington be considered part of an ongoing Osama bin Laden tax?

Maybe it's time to face the facts: this isn't your grandfather's America. Once, prospective Americans landed in a New World. This time around, a new world's landed on us.

Making Fantasy Into Reality

Bin Laden, of course, is long dead, but his was the 9/11 spark that, in the hands of George W. Bush and his top officials, helped turn this country into a lockdown state and first set significant portions of the Greater Middle East aflame. In that sense, bin Laden has been thriving in Washington ever since and no commando raid in Pakistan or elsewhere has a chance of doing him in.

Since the al-Qaeda leader was aware of the relative powerlessness of his organization and its hundreds or, in its heyday, perhaps thousands of active followers, his urge was to defeat the U.S. by provoking its leaders into treasury-draining wars in the Greater Middle East. In his world, it was thought that such a set of involvements - and the "homeland" security down payments that went with them - could bleed the richest, most powerful nation on the planet dry. In this, he and his associates, imitators, and wannabes were reasonably canny. The bin Laden tax, including that $120 million for Inauguration Day, has proved heavy indeed.

In the meantime, he - and 9/11 as it entered the American psyche - helped facilitate the locking down of this society in ways that should unnerve us all. The resulting United States of Fear has since engaged in two disastrous more-than-trillion dollar wars and a "Global War on Terror" that shows no sign of ending in our lifetime. (See Yemen, Pakistan, and Mali.) It has also funded the supersized growth of a labyrinthine intelligence bureaucracy; that post-9/11 creation, the Department of Homeland Security; and, of course, the Pentagon and the U.S. military, including the special operations forces, an ever-expanding secret military elite cocooned within it.

Given the enemy at hand - not a giant empire, but scattered jihadis and minority insurgencies in distant lands - all of these institutions, which make up the post-9/11 National Security Complex, expanded in ways that would have boggled the minds of previous generations (as would that most un-American of all words, "homeland"). All of this, in turn, happened in a poisonously paranoid atmosphere in Washington, and much of the rest of the country.

Even if you ignore that Inauguration Day no-boating zone or the 30-mile no-fly zone (the sort of thing the U.S. once imposed on enemy lands and now imposes on itself), consider those "thousands of doses of antidotes in case of a chemical or biological attack." Just about nothing on this planet is utterly inconceivable, but it's worth noting that, as far as we know, the national security bureaucracy made no preparations for an unexpected tornado on Inauguration Day. Given recent extreme weather events, including tornado warnings for Washington, that would at least have been a plausible scenario to consider.

Certainly, a biological or chemical attack is a similarly imaginable possibility. After all, it actually happened in Tokyo in 1995, when followers of the Aum Shinrikyo cult set off Sarin gas in that city's subway system, killing 11. But the likelihood of any conceivable set of Islamic terrorists attacking those inaugural crowds with either chemical or biological weapons was, to say the least, microscopic. As something to protect Washington visitors against, it ranked at least on a par with the (nonexistent) post-9/11 al-Qaeda sleeper cells and sleeper-assassins so crucial to the plot of the TV show "Homeland."

And yet, in these years, what might have remained essentially a nightmarish fantasy has become an impending reality around which the national security folks organize their lives - and ours. Ever since the now largely forgotten anthrax mail attacks that killed five soon after 9/11 - the anthrax in those envelopes may have come directly from a U.S. bioweapons laboratory - all sorts of fantastic scenarios involving biochemical attacks have become part and parcel of the American lockdown state.

In the Bush era, for instance, among the apocalyptic dream scenes the president and his top officials used to panic Congress into approving a much-desired invasion of Iraq were the possibility of future mushroom clouds over American cities and this claim: that Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein had drones (he didn't) and the means to get them to the East Coast of the U.S. (he didn't), and the ability to use them to launch attacks in which chemical and biological weaponry would be sprayed over U.S. cities (he didn't). This was a presidentially promoted fantasy of the first order, but no matter. Some senators actually voted to go to war at least partially on the basis of it.

As is often true of ruling groups, Bush and his cronies weren't just manipulating us with the fear of nightmarish future attacks, but themselves as well. Thanks to New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer's fine book The Dark Side, for instance, we know that Vice President Dick Cheney was always driven around Washington with "a duffel bag stocked with a gas mask and a biochemical survival suit" in the backseat of his car.

The post-9/11 National Security Complex has been convulsed by such fears. After all, it has funded itself by promising Americans one thing: total safety from one of the lesser dangers of our American world - "terrorism." The fear of terrorism (essentially that bin Laden tax again) has been a financial winner for the Complex, but it carries its own built-in terrors. Even with the $75 billion or more a year that we pump into the "U.S. Intelligence Community," the possibility that it might not discover some bizarre plot, and that, as a result, several airliners might then go down, or a crowd in Washington be decimated, or you name it, undoubtedly leaves many in the Complex in an ongoing state of terror. After all, their jobs and livelihoods are at stake.

Think of their fantasies and fears, which have become ever more real in these years without in any way becoming realities, as the building blocks of the American lockdown state. In this way, intent on "taking the gloves off" - removing, that is, all those constraints they believed had been put on the executive branch in the Watergate era - and perhaps preemptively living out their own nightmares, figures like Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld changed our world.

The Powers of the Lockdown State

As cultists of a "unitary executive," they - and the administration of national security managers who followed in the Obama years - lifted the executive branch right out of the universe of American legality. They liberated it to do more or less what it wished, as long as "war," "terrorism," or "security" could be invoked. Meanwhile, with their Global War on Terror well launched and promoted as a multigenerational struggle, they made wartime their property for the long run.

In the process, they oversaw the building of a National Security Complex with powers that boggle the imagination and freed themselves from the last shreds of accountability for their actions. They established or strengthened the power of the executive to: torture at will (and create the "legal" justification for it); imprison at will, indefinitely and without trial; assassinate at will (including American citizens); kidnap at will anywhere in the world and "render" the captive into the hands of allied torturers; turn any mundane government document (at least 92 million of them in 2011 alone) into a classified object and so help spread a penumbra of secrecy over the workings of the American government; surveil Americans in ways never before attempted (and only "legalized" by Congress after the fact, the way you might backdate a check); make war perpetually on their own say-so; and transform whistleblowing - that is, revealing anything about the inner workings of the lockdown state to other Americans - into the only prosecutable crime that anyone in the Complex can commit.

It's true that some version of a number of these powers existed before 9/11. "Renditions" of terror suspects, for instance, first ramped up in the Clinton years; the FBI conducted illegal surveillance of antiwar organizations and other groups in the 1960s; the classification of government documents had long been on the rise; the congressional power to make war had long been on the wane; and prosecution of those who acted illegally while in government service was probably never a commonplace. (Both the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals, however, did involve actual convictions or guilty pleas for illegal acts, followed in some of the Iran-Contra cases by presidential pardons.) Still, in each case, after 9/11, the national security state gained new or greatly magnified powers, including an unprecedented capacity to lockdown the country (and American liberties as well).

What it means to be in such a post-legal world - to know that, no matter what acts a government official commits, he or she will never be brought to court or have a chance of being put in jail - has yet to fully sink in. This is true even of critics of the Obama administration, who, as in the case of its drone wars, continue to focus on questions of legality, as if that issue weren't settled. In this sense, they continue to live in an increasingly fantasy-based version of America in which the rule of law still applies to everyone.

In reality, in the Bush and Obama years, the United States has become a nation not of laws but of legal memos, not of legality but of legalisms - and you don't have to be a lawyer to know it. The result? Secret armies, secret wars, secret surveillance, and spreading state secrecy, which meant a government of the bureaucrats about which the American people could know next to nothing. And it's all "legal."

Consider, for instance, this passage from a recent Washington Post piece on the codification of "targeted killing operations" - i.e. drone assassinations - in what's now called the White House "playbook": "Among the subjects covered... are the process for adding names to kill lists, the legal principles that govern when U.S. citizens can be targeted overseas, and the sequence of approvals required when the CIA or U.S. military conducts drone strikes outside war zones."

Those "legal principles" are, of course, being written up by lawyers working for people like Obama counterterrorism "tsar" John O. Brennan; that is, officials who want the greatest possible latitude when it comes to knocking off "terrorist suspects," American or otherwise. Imagine, for instance, lawyers hired by a group of neighborhood thieves creating a "playbook" outlining which kinds of houses they considered it legal to break into and just why that might be so. Would the "principles" in that document be written up in the press as "legal" ones?

Here's the kicker. According to the Post, the "legal principles" a White House with no intention of seriously limiting, no less shutting down, America's drone wars has painstakingly established as "law" are not, for the foreseeable future, going to be applied to Pakistan's tribal borderlands where the most intense drone strikes still take place. The CIA's secret drone war there is instead going to be given a free pass for a year or more to blast away as it pleases - the White House equivalent of Monopoly's get-out-of-jail-free card.

In other words, even by the White House's definition of legality, what the CIA is doing in Pakistan should be considered illegal. But these days when it comes to anything connected to American war-making, legality is whatever the White House says it is (and you won't find their legalisms seriously challenged by American courts).

Post-Legal Drones and the New Legalism

This week, during the Senate confirmation hearings for Brennan's nomination as CIA director, we are undoubtedly going to hear much about "legality" and drone assassination campaigns. Senator Ron Wyden, for instance, has demanded that the White House release a 50-page "legal" memo its lawyers created to justify the drone assassination of an American citizen, which the White House decided was far too hush-hush for either the Congress or ordinary Americans to read. But here's the thing: if Wyden got that bogus document, undoubtedly filled with legalisms (as a just-leaked 16-page Justice Department "white paper" justifying drone killings is), and released it to the rest of us, what difference would it make? Yes, we might learn something about the vestiges of a guilty conscience when it comes to American legality in a White House run by a former "constitutional law professor." But we would know little else.

Once upon a time, an argument over whether such drone strikes were legal or not might have had some heft to it. After all, the United States was once hailed, above all, as a "nation of laws." But make no mistake: today, such a "debate" will, in the Seinfeldian sense, be an argument about nothing, or rather about an issue that has long been settled.

The drone strikes, after all, are perfectly "legal." How do we know? Because the administration which produced that 50-page document (and similar memos) assures us that it's so, even if they don't care to fully reveal their reasoning, and because, truth be told, on such matters they can do whatever they want to do. It's legal because they've increasingly become the ones who define legality.

It would, of course, be illegal for Canadians, Pakistanis, or Iranians to fly missile-armed drones over Minneapolis or New York, no less take out their versions of bad guys in the process. That would, among other things, be a breach of American sovereignty. The U.S. can, however, do more or less what it wants when and where it wants. The reason: it has established, to the satisfaction of our national security managers - and they have the secret legal documents (written by themselves) to prove it - that U.S. drones can cross national boundaries just about anywhere if the bad guys are, in their opinion, bad enough. And that's "the law"!

As with our distant wars, most Americans are remarkably unaffected in any direct way by the lockdown of this country. And yet in a post-legal drone world of perpetual "wartime," in which fantasies of disaster outrace far more realistic dangers and fears, sooner or later the bin Laden tax will take its toll, the chickens will come home to roost, and they will be able to do anything in our name (without even worrying about producing secret legal memos to justify their acts). By then, we'll be completely locked down and the key thrown away. your social media marketing partner


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+45 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-02-05 14:20
This would be a "black" comedy except for the tragic
consequences. These revelations also support our continued stealing of resources from other countries (now Africa). And, more importantly, protecting the corporations and our "government" from our wrath in the future as they continue to steal our wealth, pollute our air, destroy our clean water, grow food for profit instead of health, etc. W Bush passed laws protecting the gun industry from responsibility and the corporations from responsibility for climate change. WAKE UP AMERICA.
+17 # Doubter 2013-02-05 21:33
Too late; they handcuffed our arms and legs to the chair while we were unconcernedly watching the boob tube.
+29 # tbcrawford 2013-02-05 14:32
Parallel to this current reality is the gun-control debate and its scapegoating of the mentally ill. Alas, it seems infinitely clear that we are governed by the mentally ill and their addiction to fear and power and war. Perhaps the new healthcare bill can cover this disease, a profound challenge to all we profess to hold dear?
+28 # DaveM 2013-02-05 14:37
The actions of a terrorist group which appears to be poorly-funded and small in membership numbers have led the U.S. to spend a huge amount of money and restrict the rights of its citizens. In so doing, our government has caused more damage to the stability and security of the United States than any terrorist group could ever imagine.

There is no need for any terrorist organization to lift a hand to inflict the equivalent of an attack on the United States. All that is necessary is to release a tape with some vague threat every so often and more "security measures" will be hastily imposed. And more money wasted.

More than 11 years have passed since the terrible attacks of 9/11. If indeed there was a terrorist group or groups with the money, people, and infrastructure to do something similar again....don't you think they would have by now?
+4 # 666 2013-02-06 14:50
can someone tell me 3 things?
1) what was the "traditional" ratio of support to combat soldiers (before modern outsourcing), 10:1, 20:1?
2) what is that ratio today (post outsourcing)
3) what is the ratio of "real" terrorists to those involved in "anti-terrorism " in the govt, military, security complex (private & govt, can't use the word "public" for govt anymore, that's one point of this article)? 1:1000? higher?
+34 # alan17b0 2013-02-05 14:50
Gracious. I am against drones
as much as anybody, also
assassinating people overseas,
etc. But I certainly want
D.C. totally locked down on
the second(or first) inauguration
of our first president "of color".
At the news of Obama's victory,
and even more after his speeches
about Newtown, tens of thousands
of crazed Murricans crowded gun
stores and gun shows, buying
enough munitions to storm Normandy

The Very Last Thing we need is
Another Dead President.

Alan McConnell, in Silver Spring
+3 # indian weaver 2013-02-06 15:59
We already have a dead "president": no backbone, no will, no principles, no courage, no honesty, no credibility. What's left but that empty fawning shell, dead to the real world of humans. He is dead for all practical purposes, or may as well be. We are ruled by the fascist state which is simply a "government" owned by das wehrmacht, one and the same. And so is the president sold out and owned, more road kill he is. It's over, with no leadership. If you are struggling to survive, like most of The People, you can relate and understand The Peoples' powerlessness and degradation into poverty, at the hands of, and thanks to a rotting black corpse in the Black House.
+4 # Walter J Smith 2013-02-07 08:26
Thank you for calling out President Empty Suit. And his empty suited apologists.
-1 # flippancy 2013-02-08 13:12
Yes we did, but he's been out of office since 20 Jan 2009
+30 # Archie1954 2013-02-05 14:53
The US does not exist on an island. Its citizens are subject to the laws of foreign lands where they may have comitted crimes. Those CIA agents who foolishly renditioned someone right off the streets of Milan, Italy found that out the hard way. They were all tried and sentenced in absentia, but can never travel outside the US again because Interpol has their arrest warrants. So while the US authorities can obstruct justice within the borders of their own nation they cannot easily get away with doing it internationally .
+23 # DPM 2013-02-05 14:59
This government no longer represents the reasons that, originally, brought it into existence. It has outlived the purposes for which it was conceived and for which "the people" have supported it.
+32 # Susan1989 2013-02-05 15:21
We are being run by the corporations who own our leaders.
+35 # Susan1989 2013-02-05 15:20
These are dark times. The worlds leaders are puppets of the corporations who care nothing about people or the earth.
+9 # fobsub 2013-02-05 17:36
I believe you all really love whats happening in this country, otherwise, as obligated Americans, you'd be doing something about it. Keep kicking the can with lip service and wait a minute cause you aint seen nothin yet.
+5 # eric_frodsham 2013-02-05 17:46
Can we as citizens take the Federal Government to court so they would have to explain their actions? If a U.S. citizen is involved espicially, we must demand that there is a court hearing and a judge who determines that persons fate.
+4 # Walter J Smith 2013-02-07 08:29
Yes. We can do that by refusing to vote for either a Democrat or a Republican until one of those parties shows a win-or-lose commitment to reversing the police state.

Except for those of us who at every election scurry back under that scurrilous old kick-the-can-do wn-the-road self-doping rationale for not voting against both of the bastards.
+5 # fobsub 2013-02-05 18:10
Inglorious death will surely come to any foolish enough to oppose the impetus of power driven greed. While its reign will be short lived as it devours its self, you must join it to thrive in its lethal prosperity for the now, with no regard to your progeny, or leave this place in a mix of shame and honor, living to see the day your happy, healthy grandchildren graciously contribute to the welfare of such third world countries as USA, Isreal and Great Britton.
+23 # reiverpacific 2013-02-05 18:33
Don't EVER forget that they were at it in "Your Grandfathers' America, for which the blowback is rolling along and causing much of the very same threats addressed in this article.
Starting with the UK/US coup against Mossadegu in 1953 for BP, setting the stage for the Shah and SAVAK, then Islamist Mullah theocratic rule still in existence in what used to b one of the cradles of civilization, Then the overthrow of Jacopo Arbenz in Guatemala by the Dulles Bro's on behalf of United Fruit (Chiquita) a year later and the long list of succession and dominance of south and central American nations, The Phillipines, South Korea, Indonesia and so on.
Nope, it wasn't all Happy Days and "Homeland" prosperity without it's heavy price elsewhere.
There was a lot of blood on that Apple Pie!
+11 # X Dane 2013-02-05 20:32
Good, you tell it like it is. And I hurry to say, that I am not being sarcastic, for bad as thing are now. They were certainly not rosy before.

What about lynchings and many other atrocities. Plus all around suppression of people, not lily white....Now all these "safety" measures Are made so some people can make money, and also make the few suckers....who believe it, feel more safe.

That is so much poppy cock for in trying to kill nasty guys, we also kill innocent people, AND small children, While we try to find ways in OUR country to keep children safe. Does anybody see the irony???

Also, while we MAY kill a few of the nasty terrorists, we accidentally kill many innocent people, and now we have made a few million people hate our guts.

So we may well have created more enemies than we have eliminated....C hew on THAT......I KNOW you get it riverpacific... .But I know there are a number who may not realize it.
+13 # James Marcus 2013-02-05 18:38
Impeach. Prosecute.

New *SPECIAL*, Publicly funded, Elections for the Entire Congress.
No Political Contributions, at all.
+7 # pietheyn07 2013-02-05 20:07
When US citizens are fully conditioned to accept the "legality" of the use of drones, the next step is to "legally" implement a weaponization of space program.
+12 # Smokey 2013-02-05 21:24
Hitler rose to power by promising Germans that he would protect them from Communism (and Jewish conspiracies.)

The new fascism will rise with promises of protection from "the terrorists" (and Islamic conspiracies.)
+6 # reiverpacific 2013-02-06 11:42
Quoting Smokey:
Hitler rose to power by promising Germans that he would protect them from Communism (and Jewish conspiracies.)

The new fascism will rise with promises of protection from "the terrorists" (and Islamic conspiracies.)

Remember the saying "When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross" attributed to Sinclair Lewis (but never corroborated). More appropriate from his book "It can't happen here" is the passage "--in America the struggle was befogged by the fact that the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word 'Fascism' and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty."
+2 # mdhome 2013-02-05 21:28
One thought has come to mind, do you suppose Osama Bin Laden expected that in 10 or 12 years 9/11 would end up killing a thousand Muslims for every American killed?
+2 # X Dane 2013-02-06 19:23
I don't think he really cared about Muslims being killed too, as long as he weakened America, and caused a lot of destruction here.
He certainly accomplished that

The Muslims killed were collateral damage to him. There are so many of them that I am sure he felt, they were expendable.

Fanatics rarely care about innocent bystanders. They may even serve a purpose: to make Muslims more infuriated, when they see their own killed
+8 # reiverpacific 2013-02-06 22:38
Quoting X Dane:
I don't think he really cared about Muslims being killed too, as long as he weakened America, and caused a lot of destruction here.
He certainly accomplished that

The Muslims killed were collateral damage to him. There are so many of them that I am sure he felt, they were expendable.

Fanatics rarely care about innocent bystanders. They may even serve a purpose: to make Muslims more infuriated, when they see their own killed

It's entering perilous territory predicting the emotions of a fanatic -or somebody you disagree with. Let me presume to do a little simple word exchange using your own phrases. In this case, "AMERICANS" for "Muslims", "THEY" being Dimwits and Cheney.

"I don't think THEY really cared about AMERICANS being killed too, as long as THEY weakened IRAQ, and caused a lot of destruction THERE.
"THEY" certainly accomplished that (In fact wrecked one of the cradles of civilization and it's records and pushed thousands of recruits into the ranks of Al-Quaida :my insert).
"The AMERICANS killed were collateral damage to THEM. There are so many of them that I am sure THEY felt they were expendable."
"Fanatics rarely care about innocent bystanders. They may even serve a purpose: to make AMERICANS more infuriated, when they see their own killed."

The shoe fits on more than one foot, dunnit?
Fait accompli in both cases.
+1 # X Dane 2013-02-08 12:04
I don't think it will surprise you that I totally agree with your last comment. For Bush/Cheney, religious nuts, here,.. are one side of the coin.....Al Queda, Taliban are the other.

I agree with your views most of the time
You have lived in several countries, which always expands ones horizon, and I can appreciate that, having grown up in Europe, and visited many countries.
+11 # Vardoz 2013-02-05 22:52
Bush and company used 911 to wage an illegal war, lied about the threat and imposed the Patriot Act on all of us that has resulted in wiping out our civil liberties and dregulating everything from Wall St to every corporation no matter how threatening they maybe to our health, safety and welfare. They are using a corporate dictatorship, our reps and their corporate army to hold us all hostage as they economically abuse us, outsource our jobs, pay us low wages and shred the very fabric of our society as they sabotage our economy to benefit those in charge with total immunity. Their is no accountability and no limits as to how destructive they can be. Their is no way to halt this march as long as we accept their threats of violence against any peaceful protest we might make. They will continue to impoverish us as they impose their draconian rule as Obama gives speeches about"we the people" as our military prepares to put 30,000 drones to fly over our skies. They have given themselves permission to kill us for any reason they want. I emailed Obama and asked what people is he referring to when he mentioned "WE THE PEOPLE?" I also asked if he would give us, the people back, our right to due process? As Matthew Taibbi said "These are very scary times."
-1 # Walter J Smith 2013-02-07 08:36
"Their is no accountability and no limits as to how destructive they can be. Their is no way to halt this march as long as we accept their threats of violence against any peaceful protest we might make."

Who loves this march more than Democrats and Republicans?! They keep voting for it every chance they get. And their supporters keep voting for them every chance they get.

So the only civilized thing to do when voting is VOTE FOR SOMEONE ELSE!
+4 # m... 2013-02-06 00:13
There was no 'Tornado Security' at the Inauguration because the Big Business-Indust rial Complex has yet to figure out how to Corporate-Contr act a Tornado Security Profit out of We the People under their flim flam known as 'Smaller Government' and its endless deregulation, de-taxation and 'privatization of government function' schemes on their behalf.

30 Years of a successful Corporate Conservative quest for evermore 'Smaller Government' under their terms is the bottom line to the outcome which radically transformed America into the almost recognizable-in -name-only country the article describes.
'Smaller Government' has indeed been transformationa l. It rendered WE the People into a group more akin to a well documented and well hypnotized WE the Consumers-- Taxpayers legally used as Corporate Cash Cows through the deliberate reduction of any Government acting on our collective behalf without considering profit motives first and foremost.
'Hypnotized,' because millions have been led to believe that a Government Of, By and For Big Business acting on behalf of We the People through their default-lines, where they need our 'Passivity and Consumerism,' equates to greater Prosperity, even Freedom.
Apparently, the hypnotic words 'Smaller Government' has also become our Achillies Heel as it seems our mortal enemies have noticed our willingness to participate in our own implosion in the name of Corporate Delivered 'Prosperity and Freedom'...
+1 # seeuingoa 2013-02-06 01:09
I miss the era of Doris Day
and Errol Flynn.
+4 # reiverpacific 2013-02-06 11:51
Quoting seeuingoa:
I miss the era of Doris Day
and Errol Flynn.

Every time I hear that kind of statement, I could say that I miss real, blues-based rock and roll as performed by Chuck Berry and Little Richard -but ask them if they'd go back through the Hells of what they had to face every day then.
Let's not be naive and let the pink cloud of Hollywood (and McCarthyist Hollywood at that, with it's chief fink of the time Ronnie Reagan) sentimentality protect us from what we'd rather not look at, or separate it from the realities of the times.
Suggest a book "The Warmth of other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson.
+7 # Milarepa 2013-02-06 01:59
Thanks, Tom, for laying it out - again. When the word 'Homeland' first appeared I had a feeling that was the beginning of the end for the US. In German it's Heimatland. Boer Africa used it especially. Very unpleasant associations. Old Adolf would have loved it! Chickens don't fly well, shouldn't it be 'pigeons home to roost'. Pigeons looks more like drones, too.
-3 # reiverpacific 2013-02-06 22:49
Quoting Milarepa:
Thanks, Tom, for laying it out - again. When the word 'Homeland' first appeared I had a feeling that was the beginning of the end for the US. In German it's Heimatland. Boer Africa used it especially. Very unpleasant associations. Old Adolf would have loved it! Chickens don't fly well, shouldn't it be 'pigeons home to roost'. Pigeons looks more like drones, too.

Right on!'
It's amazing how the National and corporate Socialists are attracted to the same kind of faux-patriotic, idiotic terminology and nomenclature.
"Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" or "Todo Para La Patria" isn't so far from "One Nation Under God" and the Bellamy Salute, is it?
+7 # Charles3000 2013-02-06 05:55
I personally never felt any fear from terrorists but from the on set, the "war on terror" has frightened me with its stripping away of our "taken-for-gran ted" freedoms. But to understand the "war on terror" you must understand who had and still has a very legitimate fright of the threat of the "street Arabs" in the middle east. If Iraq had not been invaded and occupied then oil companies from France, Russia and China would now be pumping and controlling the production of oil from the Iraqi fields, not the US companies who now exercise that control. Additionally, that oil would very probably be sold for Euros, not dollars, a real threat to US banks that profit from "petro-dollars" . And, heaven forbid, the price of oil may have been forced down by this Iraqi oil production which would have been outside the purview of OPEC! And that would have been devastating to profits of US oil companies!
+1 # indian weaver 2013-02-06 16:08
I recommend you read "Apocalyptic Planet: A field guide to the everending Earth" by Craig Childs. He presents a big picture of what is happening and has happened on our planet, and puts today in a perspective which is disturbing but also consoling, in that we are all facing powers beyond any control, of anyone. I say this not to give up or give in but understand the magnitude of our sorry state, and not only in this "rogue nation". Sort of gives the reader a time-out to reflect on our deteriorating planetary condition created by humans and each one's role in it. You'll never read any book even remotely similar to it.
-3 # mgrosent 2013-02-06 22:30
I haave read of those who think that 9/11, Lockerbie, endless trials for terrorists, especially American traitors, etc.are the price we must pay for our civil liberties.
I admit I see, their point every time I fly somewhere, but still, this is giving in to terrorists, who are sworn to destroy us infidels, even if they literally die in the process.
The terrorists say "you love life, we love death"
+4 # Anarchist 23 2013-02-06 23:05
He almost came to the real point -the 800 lb. gorilla in the room-when he mentioned that the anthrax might have come directly from a US Bio-weapons laboratory. It came from 'inside' our own Military-how did it get out? Where was same military n 9/11? All of these abuses-all of them-stem back to 9/11. Can you say 'Reichstag Fire'? The really successful war that has been waged since that date is against the American people, against their lives, their liberties, their futures, and that of their children. Given all the details of the article it is obvious that We The People are losing, and many of us have become 'Good Germans'. Please look at the last clever knot; check out 9/11 Truth articles for yourselves. because all of this injustice is justified by 9/11.
+4 # Sallyport 2013-02-07 13:33
Thank you, Tom, for remembering & reminding us of the alien character of "homeland." Unfortunately, as we have gradually, over the past decade, begun to accept all the other horrors that have swamped our culture post 9/11, we are forgetting to shudder at reiterations of "homeland."

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