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Jan 16 2012

No longer the land of the free

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has been on a tear recently. His recent op-ed in the Washington Post lists ten reasons why the US should no longer consider itself the land of the free.

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.

These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.

Just go down the list to see how the bogus ‘war on terror’ waged by both Bush/Cheney and Obama has been used to steadily strip away all the protections that used to be considered sacrosanct. It is both shocking and depressing.

4 comments

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  1. 1
    unbound

    Conveniently buried into a Friday posting at Washington Post where everyone knows the fewest readers will encounter it.

    Thanx much for the link!

  2. 2
    P Smith

    There was a Cold War saying about the differences between the US and the USSR. How interesting that reverse is now true about the two countries:

    “In the US, anything not expressly forbidden is permitted. In the USSR, anything not expressly permitted is forbidden.”

    Americans whine in large numbers about “socialism” while being blissfully ignorant about the US acting like the Soviet Union in other ways.

    .

  3. 3
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Capitalist dictatorships are just peachy, right? So if were not quite at the dictatorship-level of things, we must be doing really well. Besides, sometime you have to give up rights and privacy and security to preserve the same. It all makes perfect sense.

  4. 4
    Richard Frost

    And how many of these issues are being debated on the flag-draped stages of the glorious Republican candidates – you know, the ones who keep telling us how wonderful America is? None.

    How many of these issues will figure prominently in the 2012 elections? Probably none.

    And for how many more years will we be able to discuss these issues after passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act? Not many.

    The only freedom that matters in America is the freedom to consume. As consumers, we have countless choices. As voters, we have only a phony choice between two flavors of oligarchy. When the vast majority of Americans are primarily concerned with consumption – which they have been taught to be since birth – it is no wonder they still consider themselves free.

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