Are the American People FINALLY Starting to Stand Up to Those Who Are Trying to Take Away Our Liberties?

Are Americans Starting to Stand Up and Resist the Increasing Encroachments On Our Freedom?

Americans are starting to wake up from our fear-induced haze:

Indeed, the American people are starting to actively push back against those who want to strip us of our basic freedoms.

University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds wrote last week at USA Today:

America’s ruling class has been experiencing more pushback than usual lately. It just might be a harbinger of things to come.

First, in response to widespread protests last week, the Department of Homeland Security canceled plans to build a nationwide license plate database.

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But the proposal was suddenly withdrawn last week, with the unconvincing explanation that it was all a mistake. I’m inclined to agree with TechDirt’s Tim Cushing, who wrote: “The most plausible explanation is that someone up top at the DHS or ICE suddenly realized that publicly calling for bids on a nationwide surveillance system while nationwide surveillance systems are being hotly debated was … a horrible idea.”

On Friday, after more public outrage, the Federal Communications Commission withdrew a plan to “monitor” news coverage at not only broadcast stations, but also at print publications that the FCC has no authority to regulate.

***

How this program appeared was, like the DHS program, a bit of a mystery: FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said: “This has never been put to an FCC vote; it was just announced.” But the blowback was sufficient to stop it for now.

***

Though people have taken to the streets from Egypt, to Ukraine, to Venezuela to Thailand, many have wondered whether Americans would ever resist the increasing encroachments on their freedom. I think they’ve begun.

Similarly, Mike Lofgren – a former GOP congressional staff member with the powerful House and Senate Budget Committees – points out that the American people are starting to push back against the Deep State which has operated without regard for the Constitution or the good of the people for far too long:

There are signs of resistance to the Deep State and its demands. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, the House narrowly failed to pass an amendment that would have defunded the NSA’s warrantless collection of data from US persons. Shortly thereafter, the president, advocating yet another military intervention in the Middle East, this time in Syria, met with such overwhelming congressional skepticism that he changed the subject by grasping at a diplomatic lifeline thrown to him by Vladimir Putin.

Has the visible, constitutional state, the one envisaged by Madison and the other Founders, finally begun to reassert itself against the claims and usurpations of the Deep State? To some extent, perhaps. The unfolding revelations of the scope of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance have become so egregious that even institutional apologists such as Senator Dianne Feinstein have begun to backpedal — if only rhetorically — from their knee-jerk defense of the agency. As more people begin to waken from the fearful and suggestible state that 9/11 created in their minds, it is possible that the Deep State’s decade-old tactic of crying “terrorism!” every time it faces resistance is no longer eliciting the same Pavlovian response of meek obedience. And the American people, possibly even their legislators, are growing tired of endless quagmires in the Middle East.

But there is another more structural reason the Deep State may have peaked in the extent of its dominance. While it seems to float above the constitutional state, its essentially parasitic, extractive nature means that it is still tethered to the formal proceedings of governance. The Deep State thrives when there is tolerable functionality in the day-to-day operations of the federal government. As long as appropriations bills get passed on time, promotion lists get confirmed, black (i.e., secret) budgets get rubber-stamped, special tax subsidies for certain corporations are approved without controversy, as long as too many awkward questions are not asked, the gears of the hybrid state will mesh noiselessly. But when one house of Congress is taken over by tea party Wahhabites, life for the ruling class becomes more trying.

If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past. It is even willing to tolerate a degree of gridlock: Partisan mud wrestling over cultural issues may be a useful distraction from its agenda. But recent congressional antics involving sequestration, the government shutdown and the threat of default over the debt ceiling extension have been disrupting that equilibrium. And an extreme gridlock dynamic has developed between the two parties such that continuing some level of sequestration is politically the least bad option for both parties, albeit for different reasons. As much as many Republicans might want to give budget relief to the organs of national security, they cannot fully reverse sequestration without the Democrats demanding revenue increases. And Democrats wanting to spend more on domestic discretionary programs cannot void sequestration on either domestic or defense programs without Republicans insisting on entitlement cuts.

So, for the foreseeable future, the Deep State must restrain its appetite for taxpayer dollars. Limited deals may soften sequestration, but agency requests will not likely be fully funded anytime soon. Even Wall Street’s rentier operations have been affected: After helping finance the tea party to advance its own plutocratic ambitions, America’s Big Money is now regretting the Frankenstein’s monster it has created. Like children playing with dynamite, the tea party and its compulsion to drive the nation into credit default has alarmed the grown-ups commanding the heights of capital; the latter are now telling the politicians they thought they had hired to knock it off.

The House vote to defund the NSA’s illegal surveillance programs was equally illustrative of the disruptive nature of the tea party insurgency. Civil liberties Democrats alone would never have come so close to victory; tea party stalwart Justin Amash (R-MI), who has also upset the business community for his debt-limit fundamentalism, was the lead Republican sponsor of the NSA amendment, and most of the Republicans who voted with him were aligned with the tea party.

***

Evidence is accumulating that Silicon Valley is losing billions in overseas business from companies, individuals and governments that want to maintain privacy. For high tech entrepreneurs, the cash nexus is ultimately more compelling than the Deep State’s demand for patriotic cooperation. Even legal compulsion can be combatted: Unlike the individual citizen, tech firms have deep pockets and batteries of lawyers with which to fight government diktat.

This pushback has gone so far that on January 17, President Obama announced revisions to the NSA’s data collection programs, including withdrawing the agency’s custody of a domestic telephone record database, expanding requirements for judicial warrants and ceasing to spy on (undefined) “friendly foreign leaders.” Critics have denounced the changes as a cosmetic public relations move, but they are still significant in that the clamor has gotten so loud that the president feels the political need to address it.

When the contradictions within a ruling ideology are pushed too far, factionalism appears and that ideology begins slowly to crumble. Corporate oligarchs such as the Koch brothers are no longer entirely happy with the faux-populist political front group they helped fund and groom. Silicon Valley, for all the Ayn Rand-like tendencies of its major players, its offshoring strategies and its further exacerbation of income inequality, is now lobbying Congress to restrain the NSA, a core component of the Deep State. Some tech firms are moving to encrypt their data. High tech corporations and governments alike seek dominance over people though collection of personal data, but the corporations are jumping ship now that adverse public reaction to the NSA scandals threatens their profits.

The outcome of all these developments is uncertain. The Deep State, based on the twin pillars of national security imperative and corporate hegemony, has until recently seemed unshakable and the latest events may only be a temporary perturbation in its trajectory. But history has a way of toppling the altars of the mighty.

The tide may be starting to shift …

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  • Charlie Primero

    Good post WB! People are beginning to realize that the most effective way to fight oligarchs is not the ridiculous pablum of “Arrest them!” or “Vote the rascals out!”, but to Stop Feeding Them.

    Stop caring what some bureaucrat a thousand miles away in the District of Columbia says or does. Stop reading about them. Stop calling them. Stop complaining about them. Just ignore them and stop giving them attention and money!

    If enough people do that, they will thrash and squeal like a rat in a trap, then die from starvation.

  • fred

    The tea party is not plutocratic, it is republican. It is not about “fundamentalism” its about sound currency and a viable economy. Apparently you are opposed to the constitutional state.

    • Pronto

      The Baggers are a corporate creation that was built specifically to rebrand old tired and failed conservative propaganda. Corporations (alone) have taken away our liberties. There is no US Gov’mint now that doesn’t see it’s sole purpose as being by and for the same interests who relentlessly try to convince people of it’s failures. Birchers and Rand cultists were always promoted by Government going back more than 40 years. As we head towards a full on police state it is no surprise a far more aggressive libertarian brownshirt ideology has taken root, to complete the last mile in the neocon/neoliberal destruction of Democracy. Corporations, Banks MUST spy, at the same time they are claim their interpretation of the constitution allows them to steal.

  • Anon

    Dual Citizenship — Loyal to Whom? by Dan Eden
    http://www.viewzone.com/dualcitizen.html

    America, Wake Up. The Rothschilds took over this country, when, on Dec. 23, 1913, they gave us the so-called “Federal” “Reserve” Act. (They created the State of Israel in 1948. Before 1948, it was ALWAYS known as Palestine). They are the funders of the ideology of ZIONISM. They use Israel and ZIONISM, to control the dumbed-down Christian ZIONISTS in the United States, via AIPAC, and the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations), to control the U.S., and U.S. Foreign Policy. It’s NOT entirely about the average street-level “Jews” (who are really Ashkenazi-KHAZARS. Read Arthur Koestler’s ground-breaking work: THE THIRTEENTH TRIBE).

    In 1917, Jacob Schiff handed Lev Bronstein, (Leon Trotsky) $15-20 Million USD, before Trotsky boarded a ship, in New York Harbor, bound for Russia, and the Rothschild/Schiff-funded overthrow, of the Romanov Dynasty (in the plans, since 1824!) What did this newly formed “Bolshevist” Government do, under Lenin, then Stalin? These “Jews” comprising 72-82% of the new Russian Government SLAUGHTERED 20-60 MILLION RUSSIAN (mainly CHRISTIAN) PEASANTS, and gave the proceeds (personal property, and land) to themselves, and their cronies. Question: With all these dual Israeli/American (Zionist) “Citizens” currently living inside the United States – IS the United States being set-up, for another HOLOCAUST?????

    The 20th Century was the HOLOCAUST OF THE “GENTILE” (some 250 Million people died by governments, in the 20th Cent., under the International Central Bankers watch)

    So, why the inordinate focus, of “our” LAME-STREAM media, on the reported deaths of the supposed “6 Million” (“Jews”) in Nazi Concentration Camps?

    Read: NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY, by Gary Allen. Read: TRAGEDY AND HOPE, A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN OUR TIME, by Prof. Carroll Quigley. Read: THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN, by Andrew C. Hitchcock. Read: THE JEWISH REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT AND ITS IMPACT ON WORLD HISTORY, by E. Michael Jones, PhD. (http://www.culturewars.com/Reviews/RevolutionaryReviews.html) Watch: Watch the film, DEFAMATION, by Yoav Shamir

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yvTHaDYFcc

    We are ALL, being PLAYED, by the International Central Bankers, Euro-”Elites” like the “Windsors” (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) and their Fabian Socialist groups, like Bilderberg and the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations)

    • John Cook

      I watched that video and was overwhelmed by how pathological the Israeli state and Zionists in general are. To indoctrinate their children with such hatred is unbelievable, it is child abuse.
      Imagine a world where every group that believe they were hard done by sometime in the past did this, never let bygones be bygones. The whole world would be full of hatred and pain.
      The other thing that struck me is how totally the Jewish identity is dependent on Never recognising that they have ANY part in creating “anti-semitism” – they are dependent on blanking out any possibility that the goyim may not be irrational in their dislike of being remorselessly exploited by Jews (whose very holy books recommend, even demand such treatment of the mear animals that the goyim are to them).
      And imagine what would happen to their “eternal innocent victim” self image if one proved to them that their precious “holocaust” never actually happened. That it was in fact carefully constructed and marketed by Zionists to gain imigrants to Israel.

    • metanoic

      What I find remarkable about the mainstream media holocaust coverage is they always avoid making the main point that these were forced labor camps. I think they’d prefer for everyone to think these were simply death camps. If forced labor were the focus perhaps the next logical question would be who/what companies were the forced laborers working for…the answer to that opens pandoras box and explains ALOT.

  • gozounlimited

    History has a way of toppling the altars of the mighty.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdUkLtwl_hI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GpUW0CVGKA

  • bert

    the people of ameriKa collectively will NEVER stop it’s gov’t from doing what it is going to do. and to you repub voters who think the repubs will change things you are either ignorant or STUPID for being ignorant of the fact that the repubs are just as deep as the dems into destroying your freedom. if the people of ameriKa will allow a presidential executive order (no other way to slice it eo’s are UNCONSTITUTIONAL PERIOD!) that allows any president at anytime to order the assassination of any ameriKan citizen anywhere in the world they will never stop their gov’t from creating the police state which is burgeoning around them they will alow their gov’t to do ANYTHING to them..

  • Paul Prichard

    The deep state can kiss my fat arse.

  • garand555

    The tide is starting to shift, GW. After a drug “sweep” by the FOREST SERVICE in my state with drug sniffing dogs, Forest Service members reported being called Nazis to their faces just for walking into the store. People are getting pissed and are seeing what people like you and I have seen happening for a long time. There was also that guy in Texas who killed that cop who was executing a no-knock warrant on his house who was no-billed for capital murder, not to mention all of the gun owners in Connecticut who refuse to register their “assault” weapons.

    • Pronto

      This isn’t Government at all. Follow the money. Corporations (prison industrial complex, Banks, the Treasury Department et al) will use their internal Government brand jackboots to harass people who step out of line. By the way, you are free to keep your peashooter arsenals., while people are bankrupted left and right, unemployed and rotting in prisons.

  • Steve

    Listen to the opening narration in ‘The Power of Nightmares’. Bureaucrats are seen as incompetent oafs UNLESS they are protecting the public from a perceived danger. Then, Bureaucrats become HEROS.

  • Steve

    VO: In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this. But their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered to their people. Those dreams failed. And today, people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life. But now, they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism. A powerful and sinister network, with sleeper cells in countries across the world. A threat that needs to be fought by a war on terror. But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It’s a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media.

  • Brabantian

    Re Deep State and its doings … Correspondence with Edward Snowden from another, more senior political refugee from the USA … Where Snowden is confronted with how Greenwald, the Guardian & the ACLU seem to be betraying him … likely using his name to entrap and kill other American dissidents … how Greenwald & co are hiding facts and refusing to help Snowden, hiding files proving corruption of US judges who would put Snowden on trial. Greenwald looks worse the more you learn about him.

    Seems Guardian etc may have joined the CIA into tricking Snowden into leaving China, where he was in fact safe, and giving them his documents, which Greenwald & Guardian likely have sold back to the CIA-NSA already, so they will never be revealed. Most Snowden ‘revelations’, tho corp-media-hyped now, were already known from other NSA whistleblowers.

    ‘Operation Snowden’ might have been partly to limit the NSA – which had become a threat to US oligarchs of its Deep State, financially and otherwise – but also to give un-deserved credibility to people like the Rothschild family UK Guardian, and Glenn Greenwald, with quite a chequered history as he began work for three billionaire families (Bill Gates / Salon, Rothschilds / Guardian, and now Pierre Omidyar / ‘FirstLook’). That ‘bust-up’ of the Guardian computers was really a CIA-GCHQ joke.

    Snowden also is also confronted with how he himself looks possibly a US agent, with his connections to the CIA-advising Brzezinski family, his dubious CV, his eagerness to go to places where CIA agents frolic, and how he was pumped by CIA-tied media like the Guardian and New York Times.

    We are going to learn a lot more in weeks ahead as Edward Snowden responds to his apparent betrayal … Russian intelligence agents are obviously having a good look at this as well.

    Edward Snowden and Julian Assange Betrayed – Correspondence with Edward Snowden, and the key to freedom for Julian Assange
    http://homment.com/6JkR33pBeJ

    ‘Saving Agent Snowden From His Handlers Greenwald & Omidyar’
    http://www.rense.com/general96/saving.html

    Related to above, and also referenced in Snowden correspondence –
    EU countries beginning the prosecution of the CIA’s Wikipedia for fundraising fraud
    Report outlines ‘Twenty major techniques of CIA – Wikipedia deception’ – Quite a bombshell
    CIA Wikipedia fraud Finland police report
    http://homment.com/FB3PjBQ2DF

  • Glenn Green

    The average American worker works 5 to 8 months of every year to pay for Federal and State Income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, fuel taxes, manufacturing taxes on all raw materials, import taxes = taxes upon taxes = pay your taxes slave. Our founding Fathers considered taxes evil = Abraham Lincoln and his cronies loved taxes they imposed the first Federal Income tax of 3% on every income over $800 in 1861.

    Before the South’s Subjugation we were a nation of Liberty = because the government took over America by force we are now a Nation of Laws = Rule of Law = and there is a law that governs every aspect of your life = 100s of thousands of laws, (3000 new laws and regs are written every year) regulations, ordinances that dictate what you can do, when you can do it , who you can do it with the very air we breathe and every drop of water is regulated all ultimately resulted because the South lost the war and the Federal govt. assumed complete control of every American.
    No American has experienced true Liberty in America for 150 years now

  • mar1950

    If the ruling class believes they are losing control they will instantly collapse the economy and declare marshal law. There not going to just roll over and go away.