Since the turn of the 21st century, there has been an escalation in the rate of political and cultural events that are contributing to the erosion of democracy, justice and freedom in our country. Waves of crises, led by politicians from all points on the political spectrum, have shifted power from the people to the privileged few. This has led to an instability in our society and political system, which if not corrected, could result in the possible collapse of our country.
Our country's greatness is our people, not our politicians, but the historical tendency is to relinquish power to our leaders in times of crisis, or in order to correct an injustice. This has in the long run, always led to more injustice at the hands of the few who wield that concentrated power. Even when the cause is just, a shift of power from the people to the privileged few, eventually is detrimental to our democracy. Even when those who initially accept the power are pure in their motives and actions, those who come later usually aren't. And any shift of power from the people always involves a corresponding reduction in freedom and justice.
It is the sincere hope of the people who support the process of change, that America will wake up from her apathy and stem the erosion of freedom that is leading our country to collapse. We believe that the Uniting Amendment is a key part of that process. To support that process, it is necessary to study the failures we've had in the past and to have an understanding of some of the events that have led us to this point.
Here are the events that have caused the dismal state of our nation and which compel the development of the Uniting Amendment:
1901 – Assassination of President McKinley sets the stage for rising corruption during the early 20th century. That corrupt environment allowed industry leaders to wield narrow control of the government and the economy, and to limit the freedom of disenfranchised groups.
1914 – Ludlow Massacre: National Guard troops, at the request of the mining industry, slaughter scores of men, women and children in a mine workers' tent city. The event brought widespread attention to the plight of workers and accelerated a shift in popular support to increase federal power to address the injustices.
1930 – The Great Depression begins (caused in part by inadequate banking reserves), causing widespread extreme poverty. Politicians take advantage of the despair to grab unprecedented power.
1937 – The Supreme Court ruling in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish gives power to Congress to void lawful contracts between citizens. The so-called "switch in time that saved nine", begins a rapid expansion of congressional and executive power and corresponding reduction in protections for constitutional rights.
1937 – The Supreme Court ruling in National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation is the first of a series of rulings that use the interstate Commerce Clause to expand congressional and executive power by allowing Congress to use the interstate Commerce Clause to regulate activity that is not interstate commerce.
1942 – Roosevelt uses his vastly expanded power to intern 100,000 Americans of Japanese decent during World War II.
1942 – Less than a year after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the Supreme Court takes advantage of the national mood and issues a decision in Wickard v. Filburn that stretches judicial interpretation to the point of absurdity. It vastly expanded the powers of Congress to regulate virtually any activity under the guise of the interstate Commerce Clause, even when there is no commerce involved in the case at all. The central point of the Constitution is to protect the people by limiting what Congress can do and this ruling completely undermined that protection.
1950 – In a backlash to the exercise of government power to limit business activity, McCarthyism begins to use the power of Congress to prevent a further slide into communism, and in the process further erodes civil liberties.
1959 – Wisconsin becomes the first state to pass a collective bargaining law for public employees. During the next couple of decades, most states adopt similar laws and the NEA begins to act as a labor union for its teachers.
1968 – The Supreme Court rules in Terry v. Ohio that police can stop and search a person, and their effects or their vehicle without probable cause of a crime, in opposition to the Constitution's 4th Amendment protections.
1983 – Department of Education publishes the report “A Nation at Risk” asserting the failure of public education. Several attempts at reform are attempted in the following decades with little effect.
1984 – The Supreme Court rules that law enforcement can search and seize property without a warrant if they say that they acted in “good faith”.
1990 – 2005 Federal law enforcement increasingly uses in rem jurisdiction (aka asset seizure laws) to take people's property without due process or even without any accusation of a crime.
1991 – The first web page is created. The World Wide Web ushers in an era of increased voice and access to information for the people, however, it also causes wide divergence in our common experiences which exacerbates political divisions and instability. It also provides a convenient method for the government to spy on its citizens.
December 2000 - The U.S. Supreme Court subverts the democratic process by preventing the counting of ballots in the Presidential election and appoints George W. Bush as President. (Bush v. Gore)
Early 2001 – Bush administration draws up plans for war in Iraq.
August-September 2001 – Pres. Bush ignores intelligence reports predicting the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C.
September 11, 2001 - Terrorists from Saudi Arabia hijack jetliners and use them to attack NYC and Washington, DC., killing thousands.
2002 - Pres. Bush, V.P. Cheney, and other Bush Administration officials lie about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq to gain support for the Iraq war.
March 2003 – U.S. invades Iraq in order to keep Iraqi oil off of the market so that oil prices will skyrocket (Cheney was CEO of an oil services company when Bush picked him for VP).
July 2003 - At Cheney's suggestion, a member of the Bush Administration reveals the name of one of our CIA agents to punish her husband for questioning the WMD claims.
2003-2014 - Cheney's former company makes billions providing "services" for the Iraq war.
2002-2014 - Trillions of dollars of wealth is transferred to Saudi Arabia because of high oil prices; Hundreds of thousands are killed in the Iraq war. WMDs are never found in Iraq.
2014 - President Obama launches another oil war in Syria, condemning the U.S. to a continued perpetual state of war and a continual erosion of constitutional rights.
Suppression of political participation
A culture of politically correct speech
1988 – The terms “politically correct” come into common use during the 1980s as a tactic to mold public opinion. It has now been contorted to such a point of absurdity that today it's a sin to say that someone is “bossy” or "fat". The slightest misstatements cause grossly disproportionate and overwhelming condemnation. The result is a general abatement of political speech.
IRS uses it power to suppress political participation
2013 - IRS admits to a politically motivated investigation of conservative political groups associated with the Tea Party, which hindered their participation in the political process.
2014- President Obama, in an ambiguously sarcastic statement broadcast to the massive Superbowl audience, says there was "Not even a smidgen of corruption." involved in the IRS scandal. The statement completely shreds what little confidence remained in our public institutions.
Suppression of transparency
March 25, 2003 - Pres. Bush signs an executive order making the workings of the government more opaque by classifying more information for longer periods with less oversight. (The order, EO 13292, actually modified an earlier order by Pres. Clinton which had set declassification deadlines/restrictions for classified material.
Intimidation of journalists and their sources
January 2008 - Journalist James Risen is subpoenaed in relation to whistle-blower, Jeffrey Alexander Sterling
April 2010 – In an unprecedented move, the Obama administration subpoenas journalist James Risen again in relation to whistle-blower, Jeffrey Alexander Sterling
April 2010 - Thomas Andrews Drake, an NSA official was indicted in relation to his communications with Siobhan Gorman of the Baltimore Sun and Diane Roark of the House Intelligence Committee as part of his attempt to blow the whistle on several issues including the NSA's Trailblazer project.
August 2010 - Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department contractor, is indicted and charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information to Fox News reporter James Rosen, an excessive and unprecedented move as such communications with the press are commonplace.
May 2013 - Edward Snowden discloses information on multiple abuses by the NSA, including mass surveillance programs against most U.S. Citizens. He flees the U.S. to avoid retaliation.
June 2013 – Snowden is charged with espionage for leaking documents to the press.
Subversion of due process
October 2001 – As an emergency measure in response to the 9/11 attacks, Congress passes, and Pres. Bush signs the “Patriot Act”, which makes sweeping abridgments to our Constitutional rights, including mass surveillance, seizing of persons and property, and restricting free speech. The “emergency” legislation is still in place, 13 years later.
January 2002 – The Department of Defense establishes The Information Awareness Office (IAO) focused on applying surveillance and information technology to track and monitor “asymmetric threats” by achieving “Total Information Awareness (TIA)”.
January 2002 – Hundreds of people suspected of terrorism begin to be held in Guantanamo Bay detention camps for years without due process, and with no habeas corpus. Some are still being held even though the Supreme Court has ruled that they have the Constitutional right to habeas corpus and that many should be released.
February 2003 – A copy of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 was leaked to the public. The proposed legislation would have enacted draconian measures, shredding many key civil liberties required to maintain our democracy. Because it was leaked to the public and received widespread criticism, it was never enacted.
2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 - National Defense Authorization Acts: The NDAA's contain provisions for: extraordinary presidential power, reduction in Congressional oversight, indefinite military detention of civilians, including U.S. citizens, without habeas corpus or due process, and extraordinary renditions.
2002 – 2013 New York police conduct a “Stop and Frisk” program, searching millions of people without a warrant and without any probable cause that people had committed a crime. Only a tiny fraction of those searched are ever convicted of crimes.
2008 – 2014 President Obama ramps up the killing of noncombatants with drones.
2002 - Some Officers and enlisted personnel torture to death two civilian prisoners at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility in Afghanistan.
2003-2004 – Some members of the U.S. Army military police and the CIA torture, rape, sodomize, and kill prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
2001-2006 - The CIA conducts its Detention and Interrogation Program which uses various forms of torture (euphemistically described as "enhanced interrogation techniques") on detainees, some of whom were completely innocent.
May 2014 – Department of Veterans Affairs is investigated for allowing up to 40 veterans to die while waiting months for an appointment.
The 2001 presidential election shined a spotlight on the corruption of partisan election administration in Florida. Since then, there has been a continual escalation of voter suppression efforts across the country, including:
- Cumbersome voter registration requirements
- Long lines at the polls and other intentional resource constraints
- Photo ID laws
- Purging of voters from registration databases
- Disenfranchisement of convicted felons
- Disinformation about voting procedures
- Targeting of voter segments for registration challenges (Caging lists)
Squelching the economy
2003-2008 - The invasion of Iraq causes an increase in oil prices that shifts $750B per year from the U.S. to the middle eastern OPEC countries.
2001-2008 – Congress, the president and the Federal Reserve, acting on behalf of the banking industry, implement a series of policies that cause excessive borrowing and lending which leads to a collapse in the housing and finance industries, followed by the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
2008-2014 – Congress proposes the “Marketplace Fairness Act”, which would require companies to collect sales tax for each of thousands of different tax jurisdictions. Just the speculation of such a convoluted tax scheme causes a drop in the number of companies selling online, and deepens and extends the recession.
Raiding the treasury
Through 2014 - Congress has given themselves lavish pay and benefits, and awarded to their friends massive amounts in grants, subsidies, and contracts, while running up more than $17 trillion in public debt.
2005 – Supreme Court rules in Kelo v. City of New London that local governments can arbitrarily seize a person's private property and give it to another private person if they think it will increase tax revenue. The Constitution expressly forbids this.