Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Friday, May 18, 2007

Big Brother at the door

As always, the stealth cut is the deepest. Orwell was right, just off by a few years.

Did any of us hear about this 'National ID' that was apparently slipped into a House spending bill last week?

In the words of Representative Ron Paul, who was there when it passed:

Absent a political miracle in the Senate, within two years every American will need a conforming national ID card to participate in ordinary activities. This REAL ID Act establishes a massive, centrally coordinated database of highly personal information about American citizens: at a minimum their name, date of birth, place of residence, Social Security number, and physical characteristics. The legislation also grants open-ended authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to require biometric information on IDs in the future. This means your harmless looking driver's license could contain a retina scan, fingerprints, DNA information, or radio frequency technology.

Think this sounds farfetched? Read the REAL ID Act, HR 418, for yourself. Its text is available on the Library of Congress Web site. A careful reading also reveals that states will be required to participate in the "Driver's License Agreement," which was crafted by DMV lobbyists years ago. This agreement creates a massive database of sensitive information on American citizens that can be shared with Canada and Mexico!

The first I heard of the existence of the 'National ID card' was a throw-away comment by Senator Schumer while he was being interviewed about a book on the Daily Show, and I immediately recoiled in horror. I don't think I heard a word he said afterwards, I was in a state of shock.

As I recall, the Nazis expected all of their conquered citizens to carry 'papers' around, everywhere they went, so their every actions could be tracked and monitored. The Nazis could only have dreamed of the 'tracking' technology available today.

As usual, my government doesn't plan to use this technology to track known offenders, criminals or true terrorists. They plan to turn it on us: the American people. And of course, once this technology is in place, we will no longer be free citizens in a free society, we will in effect be wearing 'ankle bracelets:' be cowed and monitored residents in a national prison.

No - terrorists are definitely not the biggest threat to our democracy. They never have been. It was always those who strive to subvert real freedom in our country.

As Lincoln once said: "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves". Or perhaps Thomas Jefferson's words will be more to the point: "My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."

By the way, I thought Republicans didn't believe in big government. What happened?

This is outrageous.

I keep thinking, each day, that I've somehow reached my 'max' for outrage, but this truly takes the cake. This provision passed the House?

Slipped into another bill of course, so as to escape detection, like all of the other unconstitutional 'laws' that have been passed since the Bush presidency began. If not for Senator Specter, I doubt anyone would have known that habeas corpus was even under attack.

Oh yes, I know, its all about tracking 'terrorists.' Sure thing - we were all warned in advance that despotic rulers would say this, by our forefathers themselves. I'll take the bridge too - and an order of fries with that.

I read all about the rise of the Nazis when I was growing up, desperate to understand how this could have happened. I have German ancestry and really wanted to understand how the German people failed to see and stop the rise of fascism. Now I understand. It was a gradual creep. It was all done via stealth, propaganda and nationalism, with much flag-waving and of course loud patriotism, against some foreign and of course domestic (the Jewish people then, illegal aliens and Muslims today) - enemies.

There are always enemies. And while we are focused on these other enemies, our freedom is snatched out from under us.

It never occurred to me that it could happen in America. But because I read history so closely, and have done so for so many years, I cannot help but notice all the signs that we are headed right down that dark road. Its astounding and horrifying.

Its not like great leaders from our past didn't warn us either. Even before the rise of Nazis, our forefathers and even more recent Presidents saw that this could happen one day. Maybe it always happens.

James Madison was ahead of this:

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.... [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and ... degeneracy of manners and of morals.... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. - James Madison

Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power. - James Madison

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. - James Madison

Or the words of a few other founding fathers:

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide. - John Adams

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. - John Adams

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. - Thomas Jefferson

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. - Thomas Jefferson

Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence. - Thomas Jefferson

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. - Thomas Jefferson

Or perhaps Eisenhower:

How far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without? - Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Only Americans can hurt America. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

There is a theme here: the theme being that the biggest threat to our freedom will never, ever be from the outside, but from subversion on the inside.

Any legislation that is slipped into another bill, behind our backs, so as to not arouse our suspicions, is likely against our best interests.

This National ID is an abomination. It is a major step in some sort of concerted attempt to monitor everything we do: and in the wrong hands (think Gonzales, Bush, Cheney, Rove, et al) this can easily lead to controlling everything we do. I can only assume that there would be no need to 'monitor' us at all if this was not to be followed by a concerted attempt to take away our freedom. Why track us, spy on us - obviously most of us are law abiding citizens - if not out of fear of us?

And why fear us? Clinton obviously didn't fear us. Bush Sr. didn't even fear us.

If our current Federal government - now so very secretive and off limits to the very people for whom it was created - is this afraid of us - it is obviously no longer working on our behalf. Perhaps it is preparing for the inevitability that we will find out what is really going on... and rightfully be angry.

One has only to take a close look at Alberto Gonzales - in charge of our 'Justice Department' - to realize that we are on shaky ground. If you listen to Comey's testimony and realize that John Ashcroft was so appalled by what these people were doing that he was going to actually resign... things are grim indeed.

Why should I trust my government when it is now being run by sociopaths? I'd be a fool... and I am not a fool.

I am not some radical lunatic. I was a computer programmer for 18 years. I am one of the most logical people I know. Also, the most skeptical when it comes to politics.

I hate politics - never followed it, or wanted to really know what was going on until I saw the damage and lack of response after Katrina. At that point, I realized I could no longer shirk my duties as an American citizen.

And so, whenever I see some horrible new idea like this one rear its ugly head, I have to once again write to my Senators, write to my Congressmen, sign petitions... its tiring. I'm sick of having to read this stuff every day. I keep hoping, one day, that I can finally stop... that we will have a responsible president, a responsible Congress, and that once again the will of the people will trump the will of corporate and money interests (or worse.)

Or is it now too late? Is the fat lady warming up at last?

Freedom. Its all about freedom from tyranny. Remember that, please, because protecting our freedom is everyone's job.

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