Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: The Year in Civil Liberties

All in all, it’s been a mixed bag of a year in America; but on the civil liberties front, things were particularly grim

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin
Historical Review of Pennsylvania

What does 2012 hold for us? Only time will tell. But as Jane Addams, the first U.S. woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize advised, “America’s future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach and how we live.” If we want to avert certain disaster in the form of authoritarianism, then we’d do well to start teaching the principles of freedom to our young people right away and hope the lesson sticks.

John W. Whitehead - ANTIWAR.COM
2011: The Year in Civil Liberties
December 29, 2011

Eye-opening end-of year American civil liberties retrospective by John W. Whitehead of ANTIWAR.COM. Here's the lede:
It’s been a year of populist uprisings, economic downturns, political assassinations, and one scandal after another. Gold prices soared, while the dollar plummeted. The Arab Spring triggered worldwide protests, including the Occupy Wall Street protests here in America. Nature unleashed her forces with a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, flooding in Thailand and Pakistan, a severe drought in East Africa, and a famine in Somalia. With an unemployment rate hovering around 9.5%, more than 4 million Americans passed the one-year mark for being out of a job. After a death toll that included more than 4,500 American troops and at least 60,000 Iraqis, the war in Iraq officially ended. At the conclusion of their respective media circus trials, Casey Anthony went free while Conrad Murray went to jail. And Will and Kate tied the knot, while Demi and Ashton broke ties. All in all, it’s been a mixed bag of a year, but on the civil liberties front, things were particularly grim.
Brief article "highlights":
1) Welcome to the new total security state
2) GPS tracking and secret spying on Americans
3) Internet surveillance
4) Intrusive pat-downs, virtual strip searches, and screening stations
5) More powers for the FBI
6) PATRIOT Act redux
7) Drones over America
8) Increased arrests for recording encounters with police
9) Terrorism liaison officers
10) Fusion centers
11) Merger of the military and the police, and the establishment of a standing army
12) Court rulings affirming the right of police to invade our homes without warrants
13) Bringing the war home
Read up, folks!
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