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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, June 29, 2015 The Emergence of Orwellian Newspeak and the Death of Free Speech
As a society, we've become fearfully polite, careful to avoid offense, and largely unwilling to be labeled intolerant, hateful, closed-minded or any of the other toxic labels that carry a badge of shame today. The result is a nation where no one says what they really think anymore, at least if it runs counter to the prevailing views. Intolerance is the new scarlet letter of our day.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 Keeping Government Bureaucrats Off the Backs of the Citizenry: The Supreme Court Responds
In one swoop, on June 22, 2015, a divided U.S. Supreme Court handed down three consecutive rulings affirming the right of raisin farmers, hotel owners and prison inmates. However, this push back against government abuse, government snooping and government theft only came about because some determined citizens stood up and took a stand against tyranny.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015(9 comments)
Slave or Rebel? Ten Principles for Escaping the Matrix and Standing Up to Tyranny
The more things change, the more they stay the same. It's a shell game intended to keep us focused on and distracted by all of the politically expedient things that are being said--about militarized police, surveillance, and government corruption--while the government continues to frogmarch us down the road toward outright tyranny.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015(4 comments)
Free Speech, Facebook and the NSA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Whatever recent victories we've enjoyed--the Second Circuit ruling declaring the NSA's metadata program to be illegal, Congress' inability to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act, even the Supreme Court's recognition that free speech on the internet may be protected--amount to little in the face of the government's willful disregard of every constitutional safeguard put in place to protect us from government abuses.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 The NSA's Technotyranny: One Nation Under Surveillance
The police state is about to pass off the baton to the surveillance state. Having already transformed local police into extensions of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation's soldier cops into techno-warriors.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015(3 comments)
'We the People' Need to Circle the Wagons: The Government Is on the Warpath
In an age of overcriminalization, government officials are constantly telling Americans what not to do. Yet it used to be "we the people" telling the government what it could and could not do. Indeed, the three words used most frequently throughout the Bill of Rights in regards to the government are "no," "not" and "nor."
Tuesday, May 5, 2015(2 comments)
In a Cop Culture, the Bill of Rights Doesn't Amount to Much
In the cop culture that is America today, the Bill of Rights doesn't amount to much. Unless, that is, it's the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights (LEOBoR), which protects police officers from being subjected to the kinds of debilitating indignities heaped upon the average citizen.
Monday, April 20, 2015(19 comments)
Battlefield America: The War on the American People
The malls may be open for business, the baseball stadiums may be packed, and the news anchors may be twittering nonsense about the latest celebrity foofa, but those are just distractions from what is really taking place: the transformation of America into a battlefield.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015(3 comments)
Kick Open the Doorway to Liberty: What Are We Waiting For?
I'm having a hard time reconciling the America I know and love with the America being depicted in the daily news headlines, where corruption, cronyism and abuse have taken precedence over the rights of the citizenry and the rule of law.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015(8 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.