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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/
Wednesday, April 1, 2015(6 comments)
Jesus Died in a Police State
It is fitting at a time when the nation is grappling with moral questions about how best to execute death row prisoners, whether police should be held responsible for shooting unarmed citizens, and to what extent we allow the government to dictate, monitor and control every aspect of our lives, that we remember that Jesus Christ died at the hands of a police state.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015(2 comments)
The Only Truly Compliant, Submissive Citizen in a Police State Is a Dead One
Americans of every age and skin color are being taught the painful lesson that the only truly compliant, submissive and obedient citizen in a police state is a dead one. It doesn't matter where you live--big city or small town--it's the same scenario being played out over and over again in which government agents, hyped up on their own authority and the power of their uniform, ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 The Wolf Is Guarding the Hen House: The Government's War on Cyberterrorism
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), sold to the public as necessary for protecting us against cyber attacks, is an Orwellian exercise in tyranny-masquerading-as-security that makes it easier for the government to spy on Americans, while officially turning Big Business into a government snitch. Be warned: this cybersecurity bill is little more than a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Monday, March 9, 2015(1 comments)
How DNA Is Turning Us Into a Nation of Suspects
By accessing your DNA, the government will soon know everything else about you that they don't already know: your family chart, your ancestry, what you look like, your health history, your inclination to follow orders or chart your own course, etc.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015(3 comments)
Private Police: Mercenaries for the American Police State
It's one thing to know and exercise your rights when a police officer pulls you over, but what rights do you have when a private cop--entrusted with all of the powers of a government cop but not held to the same legal standards--pulls you over and subjects you to a stop-and-frisk or, worse, causes you to "disappear" into a Gitmo-esque detention center not unlike the one employed by Chicago police at Homan Square?
Tuesday, February 24, 2015(3 comments)
Forced Blood Draws, DNA Collection and Biometric Scans: What Country Is This?
orced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases--these are just a few ways in which Americans are being forced to accept that we have no control over what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015(17 comments)
Why I'm Not Breaking Up with America This Valentine's Day
Almost every week I get an email from an American expatriate who commiserates about the deplorable state of our freedoms in the United States and urges me to leave the country before all hell breaks loose and my wife and children are tortured, raped, brutalized and killed. So why am I still here?
Tuesday, February 3, 2015(4 comments)
How Reality TV Is Teaching Us to Accept the American Police State
For the majority of Americans who spend their waking, leisure hours transfixed in front of the television or watching programming on their digital devices, the American police state itself has become reality TV programming--a form of programming that keeps us distracted, entertained, occasionally a little bit outraged but overall largely uninvolved, content to remain in the viewer's seat.
Monday, January 26, 2015(5 comments)
Handcuffs, Leg Shackles and Tasers: The New Face of Punishment in the Public Schools
On any given day when school is in session, kids who "act up" in class are pinned facedown on the floor, locked in dark closets, tied up with straps, bungee cords and duct tape, handcuffed, leg shackled, tasered or otherwise restrained, immobilized or placed in solitary confinement in order to bring them under "control."
Wednesday, January 14, 2015(1 comments)
From Neighborhood Cops to Robocops: The Changing Face of American Police
If 2014 was the year of militarized police, armored tanks, and stop-and-frisk searches, 2015 may well be the year of technologized police, surveillance blimps and scan-and-frisk searches. Just as we witnessed neighborhood cops being transformed into soldier cops, we're about to see them shapeshift once again, this time into robocops, complete with robotic exoskeletons, super-vision contact lenses, computer-linked visors ...
Wednesday, January 7, 2015(3 comments)
Welcome to the Matrix: Enslaved by Technology and the Internet of Things
If ever Americans sell their birthright, it will be for the promise of expediency and comfort delivered by way of blazingly fast Internet, cell phone signals that never drop a call, thermostats that keep us at the perfect temperature without our having to raise a finger, and entertainment that can be simultaneously streamed to our TVs, tablets and cell phones.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014(1 comments)
'You're Either a Cop or Little People': The American Police State in 2014
For those of us who have managed to survive 2014 with our lives intact and our freedoms hanging by a thread, it has been a year of crackdowns, clampdowns, shutdowns, showdowns, shootdowns, standdowns, knockdowns, putdowns, breakdowns, lockdowns, takedowns, slowdowns, meltdowns, and never-ending letdowns.
Monday, December 22, 2014(2 comments)
The Christmas Hope: A To-Do List for a Better World
Each year, I wish for the same things--an end to war, poverty, hunger, violence and disease--and each year, I find the world relatively unchanged. I've seen enough of the world in my 68 years to know that wishing is not enough. We need to be doing.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014(1 comments)
Ignorance Is No Excuse for Wrongdoing, Unless You're a Cop
Although the courts have historically held that ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking the law, in its 8-1 ruling in Heien v. State of North Carolina, the Supreme Court gave police in America one more ready excuse to routinely violate the laws of the land, this time under the guise of ignorance.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 America's Children: The Trials of Growing Up in a Police State
After a year dominated with news of police shootings of unarmed citizens (including children), SWAT team raids gone awry, photo ops of militarized police shouldering assault rifles while perched on top of armored vehicles, and reports on how police are using asset forfeiture laws to pad their pockets with luxury cars, cash and other expensive toys, I find myself asking: how do you prepare a child for life in a police state?
Tuesday, November 25, 2014(20 comments)
We Are the Enemy: Is This the Lesson of Ferguson?
Ferguson provided us with an opportunity to engage in a much-needed national dialogue over how police are trained, what authority they are given, what weaponry they are provided, and how they treat those whom they are entrusted with protecting. Caught up in our personal politics, prejudices and class warfare, we have failed to answer that call.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014(4 comments)
Are 'We the People' Useful Idiots in the Digital Age?
In an Orwellian age where war equals peace, surveillance equals safety, and tolerance equals intolerance of uncomfortable truths and politically incorrect ideas, "we the people" have gotten very good at walking freely into the slaughterhouse, all the while convincing ourselves that the prison walls enclosing us within the American police state are there for our protection.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014(3 comments)
The Devil's Bargain: The Illusion of a Trouble-Free Existence in the American Police State
It's no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years' jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014(2 comments)
The FBI: America's Secret Police
Every regime has its own name for its secret police. In the U.S., it's the FBI that does the dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo.
Thursday, October 30, 2014(1 comments)
Zombies Are Us: The Walking Dead in the American Police State
For years now, the government has been carrying out military training drills with zombies as the enemy. The zombie exercises appear to be kitschy and fun--government agents running around trying to put down a zombie rebellion--but what if the zombies in the exercises are us, the citizenry, viewed by those in power as mindless, voracious, zombie hordes?
Wednesday, October 22, 2014(1 comments)
Hollow Justice and Courts of Order in an Age of Government-Sanctioned Tyranny
With every passing day, it becomes more apparent that we live in an age of hollow justice. This is especially so in the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which is more concerned with protecting power than upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014(2 comments)
Shielded from Justice: The High Cost of Living in a Police State
Who pays the price for the police shootings that leave unarmed citizens dead or injured, for the SWAT team raids that leave doors splintered, homes trashed, pets murdered, and family members traumatized and injured, if not dead?
Tuesday, October 14, 2014(3 comments)
Shielded from Justice: The High Cost of Living in a Police State
In its report on police brutality and accountability in the United States, Human Rights Watch notes that taxpayers actually pay three times for officers who repeatedly commit abuses: "once to cover their salaries while they commit abuses; next to pay settlements or civil jury awards against officers; and a third time through payments into police 'defense' funds provided by the cities."
Wednesday, October 8, 2014(27 comments)
Should We Just Follow Orders? Rules of Engagement for Resisting the Police State
The perils of resisting the police state grow more costly with each passing day, especially if you hope to escape with your life and property intact. The thing you must remember is that we've entered an age of militarized police in which we're no longer viewed as civilians but as enemy combatants.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014(8 comments)
An Unbearable and Choking Hell: The Loss of Our Freedoms in the Wake of 9/11
What a strange and harrowing road we've walked since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties. We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade a freedom-loving people to march in lockstep with a police state.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014(7 comments)
Resistance is Futile: The Violent Cost of Challenging the American Police State
In interactions with the police, if you don't want to get probed, poked, pinched, tasered, tackled, searched, seized, stripped, manhandled, arrested, shot, or killed, don't say, do or even suggest anything that even hints of noncompliance. This is the new "thin blue line" over which you must not cross in interactions with police if you want to walk away with your life and freedoms intact.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014(7 comments)
The Tyranny of the Nanny State, Where the Government Knows What's Best for You
Surveillance cameras, government agents listening in on your phone calls, reading your emails and text messages and monitoring your spending, mandatory health care, sugary soda bans, anti-bullying laws, zero tolerance policies, political correctness, parents getting arrested for negligence for letting their kids play outside alone: these are all outward signs of a government that believes it knows what is best for you.
Friday, August 8, 2014(4 comments)
We're All Criminals and Outlaws in the Eyes of the American Police State
Why are we seeing such an uptick in Americans being arrested for such absurd "violations" as letting their kids play at a park unsupervised, collecting rainwater and snow runoff on their own property, growing vegetables in their yard, and holding Bible studies in their living room? What's really behind this drive to label Americans as criminals?
Monday, August 4, 2014(2 comments)
We're All Criminals and Outlaws in the Eyes of the American Police State
Follow the money trail. When you dig down far enough, you quickly find that those who profit from Americans being arrested are none other than the police who arrest them, the courts which try them, the prisons which incarcerate them, and the corporations, which manufacture the weapons and equipment used by police, build and run the prisons, and profit from the cheap prison labor.
Monday, July 14, 2014(12 comments)
What I Don't Like About Life in the American Police State
There's a lot to love about America and its people: their pioneering spirit, their entrepreneurship, their ability to think outside the box, their passion for the arts, etc. Increasingly, however, as time goes by, I find the things I don't like about living in a nation that has long since ceased to be a sanctuary for freedom are beginning to outnumber the things I love.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014(8 comments)
The Emperor's New Clothes: The Naked Truth About the American Police State
We have been conned into believing that if we say what we fear, we will be branded idiots and fools by those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Yet the truth is staring us in the face just as surely as the fact that the Emperor was wearing no clothes.
Monday, June 23, 2014(13 comments)
The U.S. Supreme Court Is Marching in Lockstep with the Police State
Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. In the police state being erected around us, the police and other government agents can probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014(13 comments)
Has the Dept. of Homeland Security Become America's Standing Army?
It's not difficult to see why the DHS has been described as a "wasteful, growing, fear-mongering beast." If it is a beast, however, it is a beast that is accelerating our nation's transformation into a police state through its establishment of a standing army, a.k.a. national police force.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014(26 comments)
Questions We Should All Be Asking Our Government
The consequences of the failure to do our due diligence in asking the right questions, demanding satisfactory answers, and holding our government officials accountable to respecting our rights and abiding by the rule of law has pushed us to the brink of a nearly intolerable state of affairs.
Sunday, May 25, 2014(2 comments)
The War on America's Military Veterans, Waged with SWAT Teams, Surveillance and Neglect
In recent years, military servicemen and women have found themselves increasingly targeted for surveillance, censorship, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, labeled as extremists and/or mentally ill, and stripped of their Second Amendment rights, all for daring to voice their concerns about the alarming state of our union and the erosion of our freedoms.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014(8 comments)
Martial Law, Detention Camps and Kangaroo Courts: Are We Recreating the Third Reich?
America no longer operates under a system of justice characterized by due process, an assumption of innocence, probable cause, and clear prohibitions on government overreach and police abuse. Instead, our courts of justice have been transformed into courts of order, advocating for the government's interests, rather than championing the rights of the citizenry, as enshrined in the Constitution.
Monday, April 21, 2014(47 comments)
The Bundy Paradigm: Will You Be a Rebel, Revolutionary or a Slave?
Unfortunately, the intrepid, revolutionary American spirit that stood up to the British, blazed paths to the western territories, and prevailed despite a civil war, multiple world wars, and various economic depressions has taken quite a beating in recent years. Nevertheless, the time is coming when each American will have to decide: will you be a slave, rebel or revolutionary?
Monday, April 14, 2014(3 comments)
Jesus Lived in a Police State
Jesus Christ was an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day--namely, the Roman Empire--but provided a blueprint for civil disobedience that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him.
Monday, April 7, 2014(5 comments)
Why Are Americans Paying to Be Searched, Spied On, Shot At and Robbed Blind by the Government?
There was a time in our history when our forebears said "enough is enough" and stopped paying their taxes to what they considered an illegitimate government. They stood their ground and refused to support a system that was slowly choking out any attempts at self-governance, and which refused to be held accountable for its crimes against the people.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014(1 comments)
'Just Salute and Follow Orders': When Secrecy and Surveillance Trump the Rule of Law
Indeed, the American people have been cheated and lied to for so long that we've arrived at a stage of disbelief and skepticism. So when the Obama administration announces that it will be rolling out proposals to rein in the NSA bulk collection of data about Americans' private communications, you'd be perfectly justified in wondering what other far-fetched schemes they plan to sell you next.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014(5 comments)
A Military Plot to Take Over America: Fifty Years Later, Was the Mission Accomplished?
John Frankenheimer's 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May is a clear warning to beware of martial law packaged as a well meaning and overriding concern for the nation's security. Yet, incredibly enough, 50 years later, we find ourselves hostages to a government run more by military doctrine and corporate greed than by the rule of law established in the Constitution.
Saturday, March 22, 2014(45 comments)
The Second Amendment: A Symbol of Freedom or An Invitation to Violence?
You can largely determine where a person will fall in the debate over gun control and the Second Amendment based on their view of government and the role it should play in our lives. The government, for its part, has adopted a “do what I say, not what I do” mindset when it comes to Americans’ rights overall and the Second Amendment, in particular, and it's not good.
Monday, March 3, 2014(7 comments)
Free Speech, RIP: A Relic of the American Past
Clearly, the government has no interest in hearing what "we the people" have to say. Yet if Americans are not able to peacefully assemble for expressive activity outside of the halls of government or on public roads on which government officials must pass, the First Amendment has lost all meaning.