Is It Time for a Revolution?
Publisher's Note: Today I present to you the editorial I wrote for last year's Independence Day. It's still spot on. I hope you agree.
An American is seeking political freedom in Russia.
Happy Independence Day!
As you prepare to light up the grill and the sky in celebration of our signing of the Declaration of Independence, Edward Snowden is living proof that the America you're celebrating no longer exists.
To bring you up to speed, Snowden is the man who told the world what it already knew: That the U.S. was unconstitutionally spying on all its citizens, scanning their emails and texts, and collecting their phone data. We now also know the U.S. was spying on its allies.
Like the emperor with no clothes, everyone already knew the truth — but like the disappearance of the middle class, no one wanted to acknowledge the reality of what's going on.
Some will still choose not to accept it. Tomorrow they'll eat their burgers and wave their flags, take their Lexapro, and go to bed dreading work on Friday...
Some of us get it, though. We know what Edward Snowden put on the line, we appreciate his sacrifice, and we understand what he was fighting against.
Is It Time for a Revolution?
What we see going on today is reminiscent of what the Founding Fathers were fighting against all those years ago.
At the heart of it, we declared our independence from "abuses and usurpations" against our unalienable right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
You can find some of those abuses and usurpations in the list below, which I took directly from the Declaration of Independence. I've added some keywords in parenthesis to help you relate it to the present:
- He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people (Transportation Safety Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service, militarized police)
- For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world (Cuba)
- For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent ($16.75 trillion national debt, 74,000 page tax code, Obamacare)
- For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury (Guantanamo, Killing Americans with Drones)
- For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States (police killing civilians, fines for banks instead of prosecution)
- He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power (it prevents terrorism, martial law after Boston Bombings, defense contractors)
- He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries (revolving door, corporatism, oligarchy)
Like I said, many of the very things we fought for independence from are happening once again.
Let me remind you what Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams said we should do if that happens:
... whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,
it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,
and to institute new Government...
What say you?
Is the government now destructive of your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness?
I read yesterday about someone being fined $500 per day because he had a pet duck. Cops this week arrested a man for filming them (which is his right) and then shot his dog dead in the street right in front of him. You can't even pursue sodas of a certain size anymore...
Let the Facts Be Submitted
It was Jefferson who said: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
I fear the Department of Homeland Security's purchase of enough bullets to kill every man, woman, and child in the country. I fear that they're trained on American targets. I fear the willingness to let banks call the shots, not prosecute them for wrongdoing, and allow them to continue practices that hurt more people than they help. I fear fiat currency. I fear the militarization of police and their willingness to apply brutal force to their fellow citizens. I fear the path government has taken over the past half-century has led us to become less educated, debt-laden, politically polarized, and ever more unhappy.
Facts — like aptitude test scores, graduation rates, savings rates, wealth disparity figures, and welfare statistics — will not dispute this.
Public opinion polls like Gallup and Pew will show a majority are starting to share these same fears. In the past few weeks, polls and surveys have found that:
- 29% of registered voters believe armed revolution might be necessary in the next few years, according to Fairleigh Dickinson University
- 73% of Americans say they can only trust the Federal Government some of the time or never, according to Pew
- 53% of Americans think the Federal Government threatens their personal rights, according to Pew
- 56% of Americans favor a smaller government that provides few services, according to Pew
So while you're celebrating independence from Britain's corrupt system of government, perhaps you should take some time to ponder the one you currently live under.
Some people already are...
It's actually been interesting to see who supports Edward Snowden and who condemns him. Sadly, politicians from both sides have called him a criminal and touted the NSA program of violating your privacy as making us safer.
David Gregory of Meet the Press asked if Glenn Greenwald, who helped Snowden blow the whistle, should be charged with a crime. Others, like Steve Wozniak and Oliver Stone, have called Snowden a hero.
I've seen infighting among journalists for the past two weeks.
We continue to find out who the Insiders and Outsiders are.
Where do you fall?
Is this still the greatest nation on earth, the freest, the place where dreams are made reality, where all men are free and equal... or has it fallen from grace, deviated from the principles that once made it great, allowed division by class and belief, and concentrated power and wealth in the hands of a few?
To influence your answer, I'll leave you with a letter Edward Snowden released on Monday, along with some memorable quotes he's racked up in this ongoing saga that could end up defining what kind of country we want to be.
One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.
On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.
This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.
For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.
In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.
I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.
And here's a list of the best Snowden quotes I've found so far:
"The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things... And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that... because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny."
"I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
"I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."
"... they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them."
"With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards."
"The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to."
"The majority of people in developed countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate."
"Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."
"Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded... It's getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life."
"... I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents."
"Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they're talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state."
"I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under."
Call it like you see it,
Nick is the founder and president of the Outsider Club, and the investment director of the thousands-strong stock advisories, Early Advantage and Wall Street's Underground Profits. He also heads Nick’s Notebook, a private placement and alert service that has raised tens of millions of dollars of investment capital for resource, energy, cannabis, and medical technology companies. Co-author of two best-selling investment books, including Energy Investing for Dummies, his insights have been shared on news programs and in magazines and newspapers around the world. For more on Nick, take a look at his editor's page.
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