As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are
reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is
broken. But almost no
one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution,
with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional
commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws
and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or
property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.
But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance
In July, the Fed chairman sent letters of gratitude
to five Democratic members of Congress after they delivered speeches on
the House floor urging fellow lawmakers to reject the “Audit the Fed”
bill authored by retiring Texas Republican Ron Paul, the central bank’s
Their efforts failed to defeat the bill, but they were not in vain, at least in Bernanke’s eyes.
“While the outcome of the vote was not in doubt, your willingness
to stand up for the independence of the Federal Reserve is greatly
appreciated,” Bernanke wrote in the letters, which were obtained by
POLITICO through a Freedom of Information Act request.
So who did Bernanke send those letters to?
According to Politico,
the thank you letters were delivered to U.S. Representatives Barney
Frank, Elijah Cummings, Melvin Watt, Carolyn Maloney and Steny Hoyer.
One. The National Security Agency (NSA) collects hundreds of millions of emails, texts and phone calls every day and has the ability to collect and sift through billions more. WIRED just reported NSA is building an immense new data center which will intercept, analyze and store even more electronic communications from satellites and cables across the nation and the world. Though NSA is not supposed to focus on US citizens, it does. (Source)
Two. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) has more than 1.5 billion government and private sector records about US citizens collected from commercial databases, government information, and criminal probes. (Source)
Three. The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times recently reHere I document all the ways government tracks usported that cellphones of private individuals in the US are being tracked without warrants by state and local law enforcement all across the country. With more than 300 million cellphones in the US connected to more than 200,000 cell phone towers, cellphone tracking software can pinpoint the location of a phone and document the places the cellphone user visits over the course of a day, week, month or longer. (Source)
Four. More than 62 million people in the US have their fingerprints on file with the FBI, state and local governments. This system, called the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), shares information with 43 states and 5 federal agencies. This system conducts more than 168,000 checks each day. (Source)
Five. Over 126 million people have their fingerprints, photographs and biographical information accessible on the US Department of Homeland Security Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT). This system conducts about 250,000 biometric transactions each day. The goal of this system is to provide information for national security, law enforcement, immigration, intelligence and other Homeland Security Functions. (Source)
Six. More than 110 million people have their visas and more than 90 million have their photographs entered into the US Department of State Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). This system grows by adding about 35,000 people a day. This system serves as a gateway to the Department of State Facial Recognition system, IDENT and IAFSIS. (Source)
Seven. DNA profiles on more than 10 million people are available in the FBI coordinated Combined DNA index System (CODIS) National DNA Index. (Source)
Eight. Information on more than 2 million people is kept in the Intelligence Community Security Clearance Repository, commonly known as Scattered Castles. Most of the people in this database are employees of the Department of Defense (DOD) and other intelligence agencies. (Source)
Nine. The DOD also has an automated biometric identification system (ABIS) to support military operations overseas. This database incorporates fingerprint, palm print, face and iris matching on 6 million people and is adding 20,000 more people each day. (Source)
Ten. Information on over 740,000 people is included in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) of the National Counterterrorism Center. TIDE is the US government central repository of information on international terrorist identities. The government says that less than 2 percent of the people on file are US citizens or legal permanent residents. They were just given permission to keep their non-terrorism information on US citizens for a period of five years, up from 180 days. (Source)
Eleven. Tens of thousands of people are subjects of facial recognition software. The FBI has been working with North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and other state and local law enforcement on facial recognition software in a project called “Face Mask.” For example, the FBI has provided thousands of photos and names to the North Carolina DMV which runs those against their photos of North Carolina drivers. The Maricopa Arizona County Sheriff’s Office alone records 9,000 biometric mug shots a month. (Source)
Twelve. The FBI operates the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (SAR) that collects and analyzes observations or reports of suspicious activities by local law enforcement. With over 160,000 suspicious activity files, SAR stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime but who are alleged to have acted suspiciously. (Source)
Thirteen. The FBI admits it has about 3,000 GPS tracking devices on cars of unsuspecting people in the US right now, even after the US Supreme Court decision authorizing these only after a warrant for probable cause has been issued. (Source)
Reagan’s presidency was a disaster for the American people.
Social Security taxes increased and inflation pushed millions into higher tax brackets. Reagan closed “loopholes” and increased government revenue from $517 billion in 1981 to $1.031 trillion in 1989.
These so-called loop-holes included the abolition of numerous shelters, the elimination of the deductibility of IRA contributions, the imposition of the Alternative Minimum Tax, lengthening of depreciation schedules, the tightening of investment-related deductions, and overall tightening of IRS enforcement.
“The federal deficit ballooned from 2.7% of GDP in 1980 to 6% of GDP in 1983, the largest peacetime deficit in history, and was still 5% of GDP in 1986,” notes John Miller for Dollars and Sense.
Reagan appointed Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman who played an instrumental role in the economic disaster we are all now living through.
Reagan was a tax-and-spender and promoter of big government from the get-go. “As governor of California and president of the United States, he enacted policies that, in the main, greatly expanded the role and size of government,” writes Anthony Gregory. “As governor, he oversaw the largest tax increase in Californian history. Democratic Governor Jerry Brown cut back the tax rate when he came to office.”