Tag Archives: Freedom

1,100+ Banned Books Across 26 States: Report Shows “Shocking” Censorship

By Jake Johnson

A report published Thursday by the free expression group PEN America details an “alarming” and unprecedented surge in book banning across the United States, with 86 school districts in 26 states prohibiting more than 1,100 titles in classrooms and libraries over just the past eight months.

Titled Banned in the USA, the report finds that districts representing 2,899 schools with a combined enrollment of more than 2 million students banned 1,145 unique book titles by 874 different authors, 198 illustrators, and nine translators between July 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

In total, the new report documents 1,586 instances of individual books being banned as a right-wing censorship campaign and broader war on public education sweeps the country, prompting pushback from libraries, students, and local residents. Some book bans have been reversed in recent months thanks to student resistance.

The top three banned titles, according to PEN America’s analysis, are “centered on LGBTQ+ individuals or touch on the topic of same-sex relationships: Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe banned in 30 districts, All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, banned in 21 districts, and Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, banned in 16 districts.”

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez, a love story between a Black teenage boy and a Mexican-American girl set in 1930s Texas, was also banned in 16 districts,” the report notes. “The Bluest Eye by the late Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison is the fifth most banned book, in 12 districts.”

PEN compiled a list of the books subject to bans here.

Jonathan Friedman, director of PEN America’s Free Expression and Education program and lead author of the report, said in a statement Thursday that “book challenges in American schools are nothing new, but this type of data has never been tallied and quite frankly the results are shocking.”

“Challenges to books, specifically books by non-white male authors, are happening at the highest rates we’ve ever seen,” said Friedman. “What is happening in this country in terms of banning books in schools is unparalleled in its frequency, intensity, and success.”

“Because of the tactics of censors and the politicization of books we are seeing the same books removed across state lines: books about race, gender, LGBTQ+ identities, and sex most often,” Friedman continued. “This is an orchestrated attack on books whose subjects only recently gained a foothold on school library shelves and in classrooms. We are witnessing the erasure of topics that only recently represented progress toward inclusion.”

According to PEN America, Texas—where the state legislature is dominated by Republicans—leads the country with the most documented book bans at 713. Pennsylvania ranks second with 456 bans, followed by Florida with 204.

“A probing look at the surge in book bans across the country exposes an alarming pattern of mounting restrictions targeting specific stories and ideas and the widespread abandonment of established procedures aimed to safeguard the First Amendment in public education,” said Suzanne Nossel, PEN America’s CEO.

“By short-circuiting rights-protective review processes,” Nossel added, “these bans raise serious concerns in terms of constitutionality, and represent an affront to the role of our public schools as vital training grounds for democratic citizenship that instill a commitment to freedom of speech and thought.”

PEN’s report also raises concern over state legislators’ increasing introduction and approval of “educational gag orders to censor teachers, proposals to track and monitor teachers, and mechanisms to facilitate book banning in school districts.”

The group notes that 175 educational gag order bills have been introduced in 40 U.S. states and 15 such measures have become law in 13 states.

“Parents and community members deserve a voice in shaping what is taught in our schools,” Nossel said Thursday. “But the embrace of book bans as a weapon to ward off narratives that are seen as threatening represents a troubling retreat from America’s historic commitment to the First Amendment rights of students.”

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Source: Common Dreams

US People’s Convoy Was a ‘gigantic Display of Freedom’ Despite Media Ignoring It

Joseph Farah
March 14th, 2022

I had a dream, a nightmare, that a righteous cause would be subverted, undermined, made to look foolish by forces of the Swamp as the breathtaking truckers caravan arrived in the D.C. area last weekend.

It would have been easy – if they were not ALL of the right heart.

The truckers were suppressed, beyond question. The media ignored them, even – dare I say it – Fox News. The fake news didn’t know what to do with them. Some of them lied about the convoy. They excoriated the truckers as dangerous zealots, skinheads, Nazis and malcontents – just like they had done with the Canadian version.

But the media had a surprise coming. You can demean people all day, but good people rise to the occasion. And these were good-hearted people – salt-of-earth human beings who were fed up with the federal government, like all of us. And this was their moment – passing through the D.C. Beltway and doing an end run against the District of Criminals.

The People’s Convoy staging at the Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland, before driving on the D.C. Beltway around the nation’s capital on Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Video screenshot)

Cleverly bypassing Washington, the destination was Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland. They avoided the fences, the shock troops, the feds, Joe Biden’s illegitimate government, the regime, or whatever you want to call them. On Sunday, it was just beautiful, spectacular, a triumphant ending to a long nationwide protest of perfection. Let March 6 supersede Jan. 6. We’re getting too smart for another “insurrection.”

It was gigantic display for freedom, with American flags everywhere you turned. And it was another day for the good guys, the working people, the MAGA crowd, the CANCELED crowd to make themselves heard – just as our neighbors to the north did until Justin Trudeau show his colors as a tyrant.

They showed up in force. They showed up for their country. They showed up as the People’s Convoy. Just look at the pictures that cannot be denied, that cannot be forgotten or trivialized. EVER!

Trucks park next to each other at the conclusion of The People’s Convoy around the nation’s capital on Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Video screenshot)

These patriots were protesting the same actions that have been taking place all over the once-free world – mask mandates, vaccine terrorism and one embarrassment after another for America.

“People are tired, they are fed up” with their freedoms being chipped away, said Kris Young, who was livestreaming the event on Facebook from the truck her husband drove. “Our kids and our grandkids are not going to be living in the same country that many of us grew up in.”

She called the event “very fluid,” as the truckers decided against clogging the streets of Washington, D.C.

Trucker Stan Sasnak, right, clowns with fellow trucker Reuben from Florida whom he dubbed ‘Sam Elliott’ due to his resemblance to the actor during The People’s Convoy around the nation’s capital on Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Video screenshot)

“We can’t just go in there like a bull in a china shop and lock down D.C. and be infiltrated,” she said. “There is no long-term plans made. We never knew how big it was going to grow from one day to the next and we still don’t know that. … We want the emergency powers ended, which will do away with mask mandates. We want congressional hearings for accepting transparency.”

I played the “reluctant prophet” in my earlier column, “Who’s really in charge of America?” of Saturday. I was wrong, fainthearted, weak-minded. I did not believe in these people – there had to be wise guys, saboteurs in the pack, I thought. I attribute it to my early days growing up in New Jersey witnessing too much crime. I freely admit it.

I was still in a sad daze about the war in Ukraine. I was still stunned by Biden’s State of the Dis-Union address. I was still amazed at how the Demoncrats were still comparing the Jan. 6 kerfuffle to Pearl Harbor, the Civil War, and 9/11.

So mea culpa.

God bless America! The good guys won this round.

The People’s Convoy on the D.C. Beltway around the nation’s capital on Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Video screenshot)

Reprinted with permission by the WND News Center

US Trucker Convoy Swells As It Moves Across Country To DC

The largest truck convoy in the United States has grown in size since departing California and is attracting thousands of supporters as it makes its way to the East Coast.

The People’s Convoy started with around 150 vehicles and has grown to over 250 as it made its way through Texas and Oklahoma over the weekend.

More vehicles have joined for stretches of time. That, along with the length of the convoy, makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly how many participants it has.

“It varies. Let’s just say there are like 50 truckers that know the convoy is coming through and might have been going through this area. They’ll stop at an exit and they’ll wait for the convoy to come by, and then they’ll join it. They might join it for 200 miles or 100 miles, and then they keep going wherever they were going because they were heading in the same direction as us,” Maureen Steele, one of the convoy’s organizers, told The Epoch Times.

“And then there are cars that join … and some of them go for 30 miles, some go for 100, some for 200, and then they drop off.”

Collin Walters joined the convoy for about 25 miles.

“This is a movement that everybody should be supporting. This is a national event; this is making history,” Walters told The Epoch Times.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he added.

Kathy Walters, his aunt, said she opposes COVID-19 vaccine mandates like the ones the federal government imposed. She sees them as violating Americans’ “free will.”

Convoy organizers say they are against vaccine mandates, the federal government’s continuation of a national emergency declaration over COVID-19, and other actions from President Joe Biden’s administration.

Convoy supporters in Texas on Feb. 26, 2022. (Enrico Trigoso/The Epoch Times)

Truckers part of The People’s Convoy drive past an overpass with supporters in Oklahoma on Feb. 27, 2022. (Enrico Trigoso/The Epoch Times)

Convoy supporters wave American flags by the side of the road in Oklahoma on Feb. 27, 2022. (Enrico Trigoso/The Epoch Times)

Convoy supporters in Oklahoma on Feb. 27, 2022. (Enrico Trigoso/The Epoch Times)

Convoy supporters in Oklahoma on Feb. 27, 2022. (Enrico Trigoso/The Epoch Times)

Organizers have been sending drones up periodically to capture estimates of vehicles traveling with the group, which has drawn thousands of people to roadsides as the convoy passes by.

Chuck Frantz showed up to display his support for the convoy in Weatherford, Oklahoma.

“This is getting people’s attention,” Frantz told The Epoch Times on a highway overpass. He described the mandates, some of which have been struck down by courts, as unconstitutional.

A spokesman for the Amarillo, Texas Police Department, which worked to make sure the convoy’s passage was smooth, told The Epoch Times that there were no issues.

KTUL-TV reported that several vehicles in the convoy were involved in a crash about 15 miles west of Big Cabin, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which didn’t respond to requests for comment, told the broadcaster that the cause of the crash is under investigation.

The convoy stopped in Big Bend, Oklahoma on Sunday night and was prepared to travel to Missouri on Feb. 28. It is on track to arrive in Washington, where authorities are reinstalling fencing around the Capitol, on March 5.

Ron Paul: “We’re All Canadian Truckers Now”

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity

We all remember where we were when the Berlin Wall came down. While it may have seemed that communist rule would go on forever, when the people decided that they had enough suddenly the wall fell. Just like that.

Thus it is after two years of Covid authoritarianism that in Canada the largest truck convoy in history has smashed through the Berlin Wall of tyranny. I have watched as the Canada I once respected as a haven for antiwar Americans in the 1960s turned into one of the most repressive countries on earth. I wondered how a freedom-loving people could allow themselves to be abused by these mini-Stalins without a peep.

But then Canada stood up and showed the rest of the world that freedom can triumph over tyranny if the people demand it. As I say, no army can stop an idea whose time has come.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau had been basking in his ability to terrorize the population in the name of fighting a virus. He was so confident in his seemingly unlimited power that he felt he could ridicule any Canadian with different views. The prime minister said in a recent interview that unvaccinated Canadians were “extremists,” “misogynists,” and “racists.”

When the Canadian truckers stood up to his tyranny and began their historic convoy to Ottawa, he thought he could continue ridiculing people. The truckers and their supporters were just a “small fringe minority” who hold “unacceptable views,” he confidently claimed. For Trudeau, love of liberty is just an “unacceptable view.”

Less than a week later, as tens of thousands of trucks began entering the capital with millions of supporters behind them, the “brave” Canadian prime minister had fled the city and shuffled off to an undisclosed location.

As Elon Musk tweeted, “It would appear that the so-called ‘fringe minority’ is actually the government.”

The Canadian mainstream media is obviously just as obedient to the regime as ours. They ignored the Freedom Convoy for as long as possible. There was almost no reporting. Then, when it became impossible to ignore, they began to attack and ridicule instead of trying to report it accurately. It was disgusting and almost comical to see a “reporter” from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation suggest that the Canadian Freedom Convoy was cooked up by Putin and the Russians!

Thousands of trucks have arrived in Ottawa. They demand an end to covid tyranny. They are backed by millions of citizens, who braved the Canadian winter at night to cheer the truckers on.

This protest is so important because it’s not limited to Canada. The truckers are being supported worldwide, and a similar convoy is being planned from California to Washington, DC. In a US where grocery store shelves are increasingly bare, the truckers have more leverage than the powers-that-be would like to admit.

If I were prime minister of totalitarian Australia or New Zealand – or most anywhere in Europe – I would be getting pretty nervous right now. Just as the Covid tyranny descended across the globe in a seemingly coordinated fashion, now that the Berlin Wall of the tyrants has been breached, it’s just a matter of time before the shockwaves are felt far and wide.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the Canadian truck drivers. Let’s all do whatever we can to help the freedom movement continue to gather steam!

MILE MARKERS OF TYRANNY: LOSING OUR FREEDOMS ON THE ROAD FROM 9/11 TO COVID-19

John W. Whitehead
September 08, 2020

“No one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end.”—George Orwell

You can map the nearly 20-year journey from the 9/11 attacks to the COVID-19 pandemic by the freedoms we’ve lost along the way.

The road we have been traveling has been littered with the wreckage of our once-vaunted liberties, especially those enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.

The assaults on our freedoms that began with the post-9/11 passage of the USA Patriot Act laid the groundwork for the eradication of every vital constitutional safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The COVID-19 pandemic with its lockdowns, mask mandates, surveillance, snitch lines for Americans to report their fellow citizens for engaging in risky behavior, and veiled threats of forced vaccinations has merely provided the architects of the American police state with an opportunity to flex their muscles.

These have become mile markers on the road to tyranny.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s ongoing war on the American people. In the process, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, denied due process, and killed.

What the past 20 years have proven is that the U.S. government poses a greater threat to our individual and collective freedoms and national security than any terrorist, foreign threat or pandemic.

In allowing ourselves to be distracted by terror drills, foreign wars, color-coded warnings, partisan politics, pandemic scares, and other carefully constructed exercises in propaganda, sleight of hand, and obfuscation, we failed to recognize that the U.S. government—the government that was supposed to be a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”—has become the enemy of the people.

Indeed, the U.S. government has grown so corrupt, greedy, power-hungry and tyrannical over the course of the past 240-plus years that our constitutional republic has since given way to an idiocracy, and representative government has given way to a kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves) and a kakistocracy (a government run by unprincipled career politicians, corporations and thieves that panders to the worst vices in our nature and has little regard for the rights of American citizens).

Although the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution—was adopted as a means of protecting the people against government tyranny, in America today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

“We the people” have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance by a government that cares nothing for our lives or our liberties.

The bogeyman’s names and faces have changed over time (terrorism, the war on drugs, illegal immigration, a viral pandemic), but the end result remains the same: in the so-called name of national security, the Constitution has been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded with the support of Congress, the White House, and the courts.

What we are left with today is but a shadow of the robust document adopted more than two centuries ago. Sadly, most of the damage has been inflicted upon the Bill of Rights.

Here is what it means to live under the Constitution, post-9/11 and in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic.

The First Amendment is supposed to protect the freedom to speak your mind, assemble and protest nonviolently without being bridled by the government. It also protects the freedom of the media, as well as the right to worship and pray without interference. In other words, Americans should not be silenced by the government. To the founders, all of America was a free speech zone.

Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Increasingly, Americans are being arrested and charged with bogus “contempt of cop” charges such as “disrupting the peace” or “resisting arrest” for daring to film police officers engaged in harassment or abusive practices. Journalists are being prosecuted for reporting on whistleblowers. States are passing legislation to muzzle reporting on cruel and abusive corporate practices. Religious ministries are being fined for attempting to feed and house the homeless. Protesters are being tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and forced into “free speech zones.” And under the guise of “government speech,” the courts have reasoned that the government can discriminate freely against any First Amendment activity that takes place within a government forum.

The Second Amendment was intended to guarantee “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Essentially, this amendment was intended to give the citizenry the means to resist tyrannical government. Yet while gun ownership has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as an individual citizen right, Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against SWAT team raids and government agents armed to the teeth with military weapons better suited to the battlefield. As such, this amendment has been rendered null and void.

The Third Amendment reinforces the principle that civilian-elected officials are superior to the military by prohibiting the military from entering any citizen’s home without “the consent of the owner.” With the police increasingly training like the military, acting like the military, and posing as military forces—complete with heavily armed SWAT teams, military weapons, assault vehicles, etc.—it is clear that we now have what the founders feared most—a standing army on American soil.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits government agents from conducting surveillance on you or touching you or invading you, unless they have some evidence that you’re up to something criminal. In other words, the Fourth Amendment ensures privacy and bodily integrity. Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment has suffered the greatest damage in recent years and has been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches and even anal and vaginal searches of citizens, surveillance (corporate and otherwise) and intrusions justified in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors.

The Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment work in tandem. These amendments supposedly ensure that you are innocent until proven guilty, and government authorities cannot deprive you of your life, your liberty or your property without the right to an attorney and a fair trial before a civilian judge. However, in the new suspect society in which we live, where surveillance is the norm, these fundamental principles have been upended. Certainly, if the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights.

The Seventh Amendment guarantees citizens the right to a jury trial. Yet when the populace has no idea of what’s in the Constitution—civic education has virtually disappeared from most school curriculums—that inevitably translates to an ignorant jury incapable of distinguishing justice and the law from their own preconceived notions and fears. However, as a growing number of citizens are coming to realize, the power of the jury to nullify the government’s actions—and thereby help balance the scales of justice—is not to be underestimated. Jury nullification reminds the government that “we the people” retain the power to ultimately determine what laws are just.

The Eighth Amendment is similar to the Sixth in that it is supposed to protect the rights of the accused and forbid the use of cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Supreme Court’s determination that what constitutes “cruel and unusual” should be dependent on the “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” leaves us with little protection in the face of a society lacking in morals altogether.

The Ninth Amendment provides that other rights not enumerated in the Constitution are nonetheless retained by the people. Popular sovereignty—the belief that the power to govern flows upward from the people rather than downward from the rulers—is clearly evident in this amendment. However, it has since been turned on its head by a centralized federal government that sees itself as supreme and which continues to pass more and more laws that restrict our freedoms under the pretext that it has an “important government interest” in doing so.

As for the Tenth Amendment’s reminder that the people and the states retain every authority that is not otherwise mentioned in the Constitution, that assurance of a system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC, power elite—the president, Congress and the courts.

If there is any sense to be made from this recitation of freedoms lost, it is simply this: our individual freedoms have been eviscerated so that the government’s powers could be expanded.

Mind you, by “government,” I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats. Rather, I’m referring to the Deep State—the corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that has set itself beyond the reach of the law and is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.

This is a government that, in conjunction with its corporate partners, views the citizenry as consumers and bits of data to be bought, sold and traded.

This is a government that spies on and treats its citizens as if they have no right to privacy, especially in their own homes.

This is a government that is laying the groundwork to weaponize the public’s biomedical data as a convenient means by which to penalize certain “unacceptable” social behaviors.

This is a government that subjects its people to scans, searches, pat downs and other indignities by the TSA and VIPR raids on so-called “soft” targets like shopping malls and bus depots by black-clad, Darth Vader look-alikes.

This is a government that uses fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, to track the citizenry’s movements, record their conversations, and catalogue their transactions.

This is a government whose wall-to-wall surveillance has given rise to a suspect society in which the burden of proof has been reversed such that Americans are now assumed guilty until or unless they can prove their innocence.

This is a government that treats its people like second-class citizens who have no rights, and is working overtime to stigmatize and dehumanize any and all who do not fit with the government’s plans for this country.

This is a government that uses free speech zones, roving bubble zones and trespass laws to silence, censor and marginalize Americans and restrict their First Amendment right to speak truth to power. The kinds of speech the government considers dangerous enough to red flag and subject to censorship, surveillance, investigation, prosecution and outright elimination include: hate speech, bullying speech, intolerant speech, conspiratorial speech, treasonous speech, threatening speech, incendiary speech, inflammatory speech, radical speech, anti-government speech, right-wing speech, left-wing speech, extremist speech, politically incorrect speech, etc.

This is a government that adopts laws that criminalize Americans for otherwise lawful activities such as holding religious studies at homegrowing vegetables in their yard, and collecting rainwater.

This is a government that persists in renewing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely.

This is a government that saddled us with the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

This is a government that, in direct opposition to the dire warnings of those who founded our country, has allowed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a standing army by way of programs that transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police.

This is a government that has militarized American’s domestic police, equipping them with military weapons such as “tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft,” in addition to armored vehicles, sound cannons and the like.

This is a government that has provided cover to police when they shoot and kill unarmed individuals just for standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

This is a government that has allowed private corporations to get rich at taxpayer expense by locking people up in private prisons for non-violent crimes, while providing Corporate America with a source of cheap labor.

This is a government that has created a Constitution-free zone within 100 miles inland of the border around the United States, paving the way for Border Patrol agents to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant. Incredibly, nearly 66% of Americans (2/3 of the U.S. population, 197.4 million people) now live within that 100-mile-deep, Constitution-free zone.

This is a government that treats public school students as if they were prison inmates, enforcing zero tolerance policies that criminalize childish behavior, failing to teach them their rights under the Constitution, and indoctrinating them with teaching that emphasizes rote memorization and test-taking over learning, synthesizing and critical thinking.

This is a government that is operating in the negative on every front: it’s spending far more than what it makes (and takes from the American taxpayers) and it is borrowing heavily (from foreign governments and Social Security) to keep the government operating and keep funding its endless wars abroad. Meanwhile, the nation’s sorely neglected infrastructure—railroads, water pipelines, ports, dams, bridges, airports and roads—is rapidly deteriorating.

This is a government whose gun violence—inflicted on unarmed individuals by battlefield-trained SWAT teams, militarized police, and bureaucratic government agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later—poses a greater threat to the safety and security of the nation than any mass shooter. There are now reportedly more bureaucratic (non-military) government agents armed with high-tech, deadly weapons than U.S. Marines.

This is a government that has allowed the presidency to become a dictatorship operating above and beyond the law, regardless of which party is in power.

This is a government that treats dissidents, whistleblowers and freedom fighters as enemies of the state.

This is a government—a warring empire—that forces its taxpayers to pay for wars abroad that serve no other purpose except to expand the reach of the military industrial complex.

This is a government that has in recent decades unleashed untold horrors upon the world—including its own citizenry—in the name of global conquest, the acquisition of greater wealth, scientific experimentation, and technological advances, all packaged in the guise of the greater good.

This is a government that allows its agents to break laws with immunity while average Americans get the book thrown at them.

This is a government that speaks in a language of force. What is this language of force? Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality. Contempt of cop charges.

This is a government that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security, national crises and national emergencies.

This is a government that exports violence worldwide, with one of this country’s most profitable exports being weapons. Indeed, the United States, the world’s largest exporter of arms, has been selling violence to the world in order to prop up the military industrial complex and maintain its endless wars abroad.

This is a government that is consumed with squeezing every last penny out of the population and seemingly unconcerned if essential freedoms are trampled in the process.

This is a government that believes it has the authority to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation, the Constitution be damned.

In sum, this is a government that routinely undermines the Constitution and rides roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

This is not a government that believes in, let alone upholds, freedom.

So where does that leave us?

As always, the first step begins with “we the people.”

Those who gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights believed that the government exists at the behest of its citizens. It is there to protect, defend and even enhance our freedoms, not violate them. Our power as a citizenry comes from our ability to agree and stand united on certain freedom principles that should be non-negotiable.

It was no idle happenstance that the Constitution opens with these three powerful words: “We the people.” In other words, we have the power to make and break the government. We are the masters and they are the servants. We the American people—the citizenry—are the arbiters and ultimate guardians of America’s welfare, defense, liberty, laws and prosperity.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we have managed to keep the wolf at bay so far. Barely.

Our national priorities need to be re-prioritized. For instance, some argue that we need to make America great again. I, for one, would prefer to make America free again.