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John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead’s aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and accomplishments, including the Hungarian Medal of Freedom. His concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization in Charlottesville, Va. Whitehead serves as the Institute’s president and spokesperson. His thought-provoking commentaries call people to action and address a wide range of contemporary issues from faith to politics and television to constitutional rights. He is also a frequent commentator on a variety of issues in the national media, as well as the editor of the award-winning pop culture magazine, Gadfly. Whitehead's book A Government of Wolves will be published in June 2013. Please visit On Target to view Whitehead's weekly video commentaries. He also blogs daily about the emerging police state at http://agovernmentofwolves.com/
Monday, December 9, 2013 The End of Private Property in the Era of the American Police State (2 comments)
This is what a world without the Fourth Amendment looks like, where the lines between private and public property have been so blurred that private property is reduced to little more than something the government can use to control, manipulate and harass you to suit its own purposes, and you the homeowner and citizen have been reduced to little more than a tenant or serf in bondage to an inflexible landlord.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 Amazon, Domino's and Big Brother: Drones Flying the Not-So-Friendly Surveillance Skies (5 comments)
Imagine a robot hovering overhead as you go about your day, driving to and from work, heading to the grocery store, or stopping by a friend's house. This scenario is inching ever closer to becoming our reality as corporations and government agencies alike prepare for their part in the coming drone invasion.
Thursday, November 28, 2013 What We Should Not Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving (1 comments)
In the true spirit of Thanksgiving here is a list of things about this emerging police state that I am not thankful for and will never remain silent about as long as the government remains the greatest threat to our freedoms.
Friday, November 22, 2013 Kennedy Was Right: We Are the Heirs of the First Revolution (1 comments)
When Kennedy called on Americans to "bear the burden of a long twilight struggle" to defend freedom in its hour of maximum danger, I never would have guessed how long that twilight would last--or that half a century later, we, the American people, would come to represent the gravest threat to our freedoms through our apathy, ignorance and indifference.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Welcome to the United Police States of America, Where Police Shoot First & Ask Questions Later (1 comments)
No longer is it unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later. What is unusual is our lack of outrage, the relative disinterest of our elected representatives, the media's abysmal failure to ask questions and demand answers, and our growing acceptance of the status quo in the United Police States of America.
Thursday, October 31, 2013 Obama, NSA Spying and the Dangers of Secretive, Authoritarian Government (5 comments)
Recent reports indicating that President Obama was aware of and personally approved an NSA program that involved spying on the personal communications of various international leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have once again highlighted the deception and intransigence of the Obama administration in dealing with the revelations that the National Security Agency has been acting outside the bounds of the law.
Monday, October 28, 2013 John Carpenter's Prophetic Visions of the American Police State (1 comments)
While Carpenter's films are also infused with a strong anti-authoritarian, laconic bent, those seeking a good scare tend to overlook the deeper, overarching themes that speak to the filmmaker's concerns about the unraveling of our society, particularly our government.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Who Will Protect You from the Police? The Rise of Government-Sanctioned Home Invasions (2 comments)
With every passing week, we are hearing more and more horror stories in which homeowners are injured or killed simply because they mistook a SWAT team raid by police for a home invasion by criminals. Never mind that the unsuspecting homeowner, woken from sleep by the sounds of a violent entry, has no way of distinguishing between a home invasion by a criminal as opposed to a government agent.
Monday, September 23, 2013 Common Core: A Lesson Plan for Raising Up Compliant, Non-Thinking Citizens (102 comments)
Those who founded America believed that an educated citizenry knowledgeable about their rights was the surest means of preserving freedom. If so, then the inverse should also hold true: that the surest way for a government to maintain its power and keep the citizenry in line is by rendering them ignorant of their rights and unable to think for themselves.
Monday, September 16, 2013 Licensed to Kill: The Growing Phenomenon of Police Shooting Unarmed Citizens (8 comments)
Here's a recipe for disaster: Take a young man (or woman), raise him on a diet of violence, hype him up on the power of the gun in his holster and the superiority of his uniform, render him woefully ignorant of how to handle a situation without resorting to violence, train him well in military tactics but allow him to be illiterate about the Constitution, and never stress to him that he is to be a peacemaker and a peacekeeper,
Monday, September 9, 2013 Farewell to Big Sister: Janet Napolitano's Orwellian Legacy Lives On
Under Napolitano's leadership, the DHS managed to entrench the federal government's power in an increasingly Orwellian America at great cost to Americans' civil liberties. Lest we forget, the following are some of Napolitano's "greatest hits" when it comes to civil-liberties violations.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 Ten Reasons Why America Does Not Need to Go to War Over Syria (1 comments)
So, now that we're fully distracted and have forgotten about Edward Snowden's damning revelations about the NSA and the fact that the government has been paying AT&T to have its employees monitor Americans' phone calls as part of a DEA drug monitoring program, not to mention the fact that the IRS has been secretly using the DEA surveillance and then instructing its agents to cover their tracks, what about Syria?
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 50 Years Later, It's Time to Stop Paying Lip Service to King's Dream
Fifty years after King gave voice to his dream, America is still plagued with wars, government surveillance, and a military-industrial complex that feeds a national diet of warmongering. And King, once a charismatic leader and voice of authority, has been memorialized in death to such an extent that younger generations recognize his face but miss out on his message. Yet, for those who can hear, he still speaks volumes.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 Miley Cyrus and the Pornification of America (3 comments)
Those concerned about the emerging police state in America should be equally concerned about the pornification of America: they are two sides of the same coin.
Monday, August 26, 2013 Elysium: The Technological Side of the American Police State (1 comments)
While much has been said about Blomkamp's use of Elysium to raise concerns about immigration, access to healthcare, worker's rights, and socioeconomic stratification, what I found most striking and unnerving was its depiction of how the government will employ technologies such as drones, tasers and biometric scanners to track, target and control the populace, especially dissidents.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 The Police State Mindset in Our Public Schools (20 comments)
America is now on a fast track to raising up an Orwellian generation--one populated by compliant citizens accustomed to living in a police state and who march in lockstep to the dictates of the government.
Thursday, August 8, 2013 Are Police in America Now a Military, Occupying Force? (6 comments)
America today is not much different from the America of the early colonists, who had to contend with British soldiers who were allowed to "enter private homes, confiscate what they found, and often keep the bounty for themselves." This practice is echoed today through SWAT team raids and the execution of so-called asset forfeiture laws.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 The American Surveillance State Is Here. Can It Be Evaded? (4 comments)
On any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on, and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 Kafka's America: Secret Courts, Secret Laws, and Total Surveillance
In a bizarre and ludicrous attempt at "transparency," the Obama administration has announced that it asked a secret court to approve a secret order to allow the government to keep spying on millions of Americans, and the secret court has granted its request.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 Grasping for Dignity in the Era of the American Police State (4 comments)
While strip searches may span a broad spectrum of scenarios, the common denominator remains the same: humiliation and degradation at the hands of government officials and a complete disregard for privacy and human dignity.
Monday, July 8, 2013 College Girls, Bottled Water, and the Emerging American Police State (16 comments)
Public outcry has gone viral over an incident in which a college student was targeted and terrorized by Alcohol Beverage Control agents (ABC) after she purchased sparkling water at a grocery store. What makes this particular incident significant is the degree to which it embodies all that is wrong with law enforcement today, both as it relates to the citizenry and the ongoing undermining of our rule of law.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013 The Myth of a Post-Racial America (5 comments)
We can easily see that there are many policies and practices in America which perpetuate the inequality of races. The following is a brief rundown of the many fronts on which America continues to fail to live up to its "post-racial" ideal.
Thursday, June 27, 2013 The Land of the Blind: The Illusion of Freedom in America (5 comments)
We are living in a fantasy world carefully crafted to resemble a representative democracy, while in reality we are little more than slaves in thrall to an authoritarian regime, with its constant surveillance, manufactured media spectacles, secret courts, inverted justice, and violent repression of dissent.
Friday, June 21, 2013 Orwell Revisited: Privacy in the Age of Surveillance (4 comments)
Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people--even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control at all costs.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 America's New Normal: Mass Surveillance, Secret Courts, and Death to Whistleblowers
Relying on secret orders handed down from government officials and the courts and emboldened by members of Congress with little concern for protecting the rights of the citizenry, government agents are now able to flout all safeguards to privacy while still claiming that they are technically acting within the bounds of the law.
Friday, June 7, 2013 Now More Than Ever, Everybody's a Target in the American Surveillance State (6 comments)
The recent revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers, with the complete blessing of the Obama administration, should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention over the past decade.
Thursday, June 6, 2013 Maryland v. King and the Total Loss of Our Bodily Integrity
Now, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's devastating decision in Maryland v. King --in which a divided Court determined that a person arrested for a crime who is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty must submit to forcible extraction of their DNA--you can add invasive DNA sampling to the list of abuses being "legally" meted out on the long-suffering American populace.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Operation Vigilant Eagle: Is This Really How We Honor Our Nation's Veterans?
Despite the fact that the U.S. boasts more than 23 million veterans who have served in World War II through Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the plight of veterans today, while often overlooked, is common knowledge: impoverished, unemployed, lacking any decent health benefits, homeless, traumatized mentally and physically, struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide, marital stress.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 'Round the Clock Surveillance: Is This the Price of Living in a 'Free, Safe' Society? (8 comments)
We no longer live in a free society. Having traded our freedoms for a phantom promise of security, we now find ourselves imprisoned in a virtual cage of cameras, wiretaps and watchful government eyes. All the while, the world around us is no safer than it was a decade ago. Indeed, it well may be that we are living in a far more dangerous world, with the government itself
having become the greater threat to our freedoms.