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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, July 14, 2014 What I Don't Like About Life in the American Police State (12 comments)
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 The Emperor's New Clothes: The Naked Truth About the American Police State (8 comments)
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 The U.S. Supreme Court Is Marching in Lockstep with the Police State (13 comments)
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 Has the Dept. of Homeland Security Become America's Standing Army? (13 comments)
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 Questions We Should All Be Asking Our Government (26 comments)
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 The War on America's Military Veterans, Waged with SWAT Teams, Surveillance and Neglect (2 comments)
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 Martial Law, Detention Camps and Kangaroo Courts: Are We Recreating the Third Reich? (8 comments)
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 The Bundy Paradigm: Will You Be a Rebel, Revolutionary or a Slave? (47 comments)
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 Jesus Lived in a Police State (3 comments)
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 Why Are Americans Paying to Be Searched, Spied On, Shot At and Robbed Blind by the Government? (5 comments)
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 'Just Salute and Follow Orders': When Secrecy and Surveillance Trump the Rule of Law (1 comments)
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 A Military Plot to Take Over America: Fifty Years Later, Was the Mission Accomplished? (5 comments)
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 The Second Amendment: A Symbol of Freedom or An Invitation to Violence? (45 comments)
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 Free Speech, RIP: A Relic of the American Past (7 comments)
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.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 Vigilantes with a Badge: The War Against the American People (7 comments)
The following incidents are cautionary tales for anyone who still thinks that they can defy police officers, even if it's simply to disagree about a speeding ticket, challenge a search warrant or defend oneself against an unreasonable or unjust charge, without deadly repercussions. The message they send is that "we the people" have very little protection from the standing army that is law enforcement.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 Pete Seeger (1919-2014): He Changed the World One Song at a Time (3 comments)
Long before the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, Jim Hendrix or Bob Dylan, there was Pete Seeger, a lone ranger fighting injustice with little more than a five-string banjo in hand and a gift for putting words to music.
Thursday, December 19, 2013 A Christmas To-Do List for a Better World
How do we press on and make the world a better place in the face of weaponized drones, far-reaching surveillance and a government that with every passing day is coming to resemble authoritarian regimes of old?
Monday, December 9, 2013 The End of Private Property in the Era of the American Police State (5 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.