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More on the Threat of Dictatorship in U.S.

From the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness....”

Governments are instituted among Men [and Women] ... deriving their just powers from the consent of the GOVERNED. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it ...”

Some disturbing policies of the Obama administration, such as the drone assassination program and its presumption to summarily execute American citizens in total defiance of the fifth amendment right of due process, as the policies employed during the Bush administration, endanger the welfare of us American citizens. They are dangerous to our safety and pursuit of happiness today and they promise to escalate in dangerousness for our descendants.

It is not for our welfare and quality of life that the United States is fast becoming a police-state and is constantly waging corporate wars ostensibly against "terrorism".

It is not for our welfare and quality of life that our Constitutional Rights are being eliminated and our privacy invaded so profoundly by the state.

Our right to assemble and exercise free speech is becoming more and more infringed upon by an executive branch and an over-empowered military apparatus willing to use extrajudicial and deadly force to silence whomever they choose as hostile and belligerent to the them and their governing policies.

Bill Van Auken of wsws analyzes the John Brennan for US Central Intelligence Agency Director confirmation hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee and puts it on the line. Van Auken addresses what he calls the “complicity of the Obama administration, Congress, both major parties and the mass media” in this terrible drone assassination program and its dangerous ramifications for our democracy.

Let me repeat his list of those colluding to profoundly weaken our democratic rights as citizens by accepting the anti-Constitutional policies now arrogantly and illegitimately being assumed by the Obama administration. Policies from the anti-Constitutional Bush administration being carried to further illegitimate dimensions.

These colluding and betraying entities, once again:

The Obama administration.

The Congress.

The Democratic AND Republican parties.

The corporate mass media.

The above entities, who are economically and now politically beholding not to us average Americans but to VERY wealthy corporate enablers, form a mighty team to erode and remove our rights as citizens. They are weakening our capacity as citizens to sustain economic and civil justice for ourselves.

We as citizens need to appreciate what is happening and push back before it is too late and the U.S. has become a full-out dictatorship.

The executive branch is using the “Global War on Terror” and its military apparatus and militarization of our state and local police departments to assume absolute dictatorial rule of America.

We need to appreciate the profound anti-Constitutional policies being endorsed under our very noses by these powerful entities -- again, the Obama administration, the Congress, the Democratic and Republican parties, the mass corporate media -- which we Americans have come to undeservedly over-trust.

These entities do not have the backs of us average citizens. Not in relation to our diminishing economic welfare from the exploitation and manipulation of unrestrained wealthy corporate abusers perpetrating crimes without fear of prosecution due to cronyism with the political class. Our rights to assemble and to exercise freedom of speech have become more and more challenged, discouraged and repressed and this is being ignored or minimized or denied by these betraying entities.

We need to push back against the growing and alarming political, civil and economic inequality. Against the growth of a monster police state being used and which will be used more and in the upcoming months and years to intimidate us. To incarcerate us without due process for objecting to the dissolution of our rights. To even “disappear” and kill us with impunity as Obama and Brennan so earnestly are attempting to institute.

Van Auken writes:

Those comforting themselves with the old adage, “It can’t happen here,” should think again. The lurch to the right by the entire American political establishment and its irrevocable break with the democratic principles enunciated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are very far advanced.

Van Auken explores the specter of a U.S. police-state dictatorship inspired by the intended programs of Obama and Brennan:

With this chilling exchange [the Brennan hearing], the threat of a US police state dictatorship comes clearly into view. Brennan will not disavow the president’s “right” to secretly murder US citizens on American soil, because such methods may prove necessary, ostensibly for the struggle against “terrorism” and in defense of “national security.”

After all, they proved to be so in other countries. Obama and Brennan did not invent the methods of secret “kill lists” and covert assassinations. They were employed on an industrial scale less than four decades ago in the Chile of General Augusto Pinochet and the Argentina of General Jorge Videla.

There, military and intelligence officials, most of them trained in the US, drew up kill lists of tens of thousands of their own citizens and carried out their assassinations. They also acted in the name of a struggle against “terrorism” and in defense of “national security,” but had the real aim of crushing the resistance of the working class.

Workers, students, peasants, intellectuals and anyone perceived to be a potential enemy of the state were rounded up by death squads, tortured and killed in secret prisons or thrown alive from airplanes into the sea. Like Mr. Brennan, the officials of the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships refused to acknowledge any role in these state killings, leaving their victims to be counted among the “disappeared.”

Van Auken reminds us that less than 40 years ago, Senator Frank Church exposed CIA officials for their covert assassinations and introduced a law against it. Republican Gerald Ford declared that his administration did "not condone under any circumstances any assassination attempts.”

In spite of probable covert illegal CIA activity thereafter, Van Auken points out the political establishment at least “officially” rejected “assassination as state policy.” Now the political establishment is being convinced to EMBRACE assassination as a state policy.

Even four years ago, Van Auken asserts, Brennan and his involvement with the Bush administration and its horrifying criminal use of torture, rendition and detention made it impossible for Brennan to be nominated by Obama (Obama who WANTED him in the position THEN) for CIA director.

In only four years, Van Auken declares, "all seems forgiven" by the U.S. public and the political establishment and the media. Horrifyingly the majority of the public seems seduced to blindly endorse an even greater legal and ethical criminal program using drones to assassinate ANYONE at the will of the President, as seeming dictator.

Our Congress offers such a depressingly wimpy degree of responsiveness to what is happening, this arrogant assumption of inappropriate power by the executive branch. Van Auken:

Some press accounts of the hearing have referred to Brennan being “grilled” on the US drone assassination program. On the contrary, the proceedings resembled nothing so much as a well-fed cat being questioned by a panel of skittish mice.

[...the proceedings resembled nothing so much as a well-fed cat being questioned by a panel of skittish mice!!!]


One senator after another, Democrats no less than Republicans, fawned over Brennan, declaring their admiration and gratitude for the bloody work of the CIA and their eager anticipation of confirming him as CIA director and working closely with him in the near future. None of them directly challenged the assertion of the most sweeping of the extra-constitutional powers with which he is identified—the power of the president of the United States to unilaterally and secretly order the assassination of American citizens.

Among those who expressed certain qualms about this system of extra-judicial executions was Senator Angus King of Maine, who helpfully suggested that a star chamber-style secret court be set up to rubber stamp and sanctify the White House’s “kill lists.”

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon—in the context of present day US politics the most “liberal” member of the Senate intelligence panel—merely pleaded with Brennan for more public information on the drone assassination program. “Americans have a right to know when their government thinks it’s allowed to kill them,” he declared.

Contained in this statement is the tacit recognition that the rights enumerated in the US Constitution, including the 5th Amendment’s guarantee that no one “shall be deprived of life … without due process,” have been turned into a dead letter.

Wyden went on to ask for clarification as to whether the administration believes that the president can use this authority inside the United States. Brennan’s response omitted any assurance that American citizens will not be secretly murdered on US soil. Instead, he cryptically asserted his determination to “optimize transparency on these issues, but at the same time, optimize secrecy and the protection of our national security.” Neither Wyden nor anyone else on the Senate committee attempted to probe further.

We have already seen in the past few years anti-terror laws invoked against domestic protesters and dissidents, from the arrest of five men last May in Chicago on “conspiracy to commit terrorism” charges for their involvement in anti-NATO protests, to the revelation that the FBI carried out a nationwide investigation treating the Occupy Wall Street protests as “domestic terrorism.”

We citizens seriously need to connect the dots as to the ramping up of extreme and illegitimate degrees of military and police power in the United States under the sham rationale of “national security and fighting global and domestic terrorism” to the legal dangers to us as citizens with our legitimate rights to protest ANY government policies to which we object.

Van Auken:

Driving the turn towards methods associated with police state dictatorships are deep-going changes in the structure of American society. The vast and ever-widening chasm between the billionaires and multi-millionaires who control economic and political life and working people, the great majority of the population, is incompatible with democracy.

This is ultimately what explains the complicity of the Obama administration, Congress, both major parties and the mass media in the drone assassination program. America’s ruling oligarchy realizes that deepening social polarization and the protracted economic crisis are creating conditions for social upheavals, and is preparing accordingly.

We are becoming more and more economically abused by a ruthless corporate class.

We are becoming more and more defenseless -- faux-legally hog-tied as citizens -- by a colluding and captured political class that we had better collectively wake up to, fight and stop! Otherwise we have lost our Constitution. Lost our democracy -- our constitutional republic -- and our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Lost them all to full-out dictatorship.

Obama promised us change all right. But this is not the kind of change to believe in, is it?

[cross-posted on open salon]

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