The Federal Coup to Overthrow the States and Nix the 10th Amendment Is Underway – River Cities Reader

I dont need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors, to do our job. Were going to do that, whether they like us there or not. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolfs defense of the Trump Administrations deployment of militarized federal police to address civil unrest in the states

This is a wake-up call.

What is unfolding before our very eyes with police agencies defying local governments in order to tap into the power of federal militarized troops in order to put down domestic unrest could very quickly snowball into an act of aggression against the states, a coup by armed, militarized agents of the federal government.

At a minimum, this is an attack on theTenth Amendment, which affirms the sovereignty of the states and the citizenry, and the right of the states to stand as a bulwark againstoverreach and power grabs by the federal government.

If youre still deluding yourself into believing that this thinly-veiled exercise in martial law is anything other than an attempt to bulldoze what remains of the Constitution and reinforce the iron-fisted rule of the police state, you need to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

This is no longer about partisan politics or civil unrest or even authoritarian impulses.

This is a turning point.

Unless we take back the reins and soon looking back on this time years from now, historians may well point to the events of 2020 as the death-blow to Americas short-lived experiment in self-government.

The governments recent actions in Portland, Oregon when unidentified federal agents (believed to be border police, ICE, and DHS agents), wearing military fatigues with patches that just say Police and sporting all kinds of weapons,descended uninvited on the city in unmarked vehicles, snatching protesters off the streets,and detaining them without formally arresting them or offering any explanation of why theyre being held is just a foretaste of whats to come.

One of those detainees was a 53-year-old disabled Navy veteran who was in downtown Portland during the protests but not a participant. Concerned about the tactics being used by government agents who had taken an oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution, Christopher David tried to speak to the secret police. Almost immediately, he wasassaulted by federal agents, beaten with batons, and pepper-sprayed.

Another peaceful protester wasreportedly shot in the head with an impact weaponby this federal goon squad.

The Trump Administration has already announced its plans todeploy these border patrol agents to other cities across the country(Chicago is supposedly next) in an apparent bid to put down civil unrest. Yet theoverriding concerns by state and local government officialsto Trumps plans suggest that weaponizing the DHS as an occupying army will only provoke more violence and unrest.

Weve been set up.

Under the guise of protecting federal properties against civil unrest, the Trump Administration has formed atask force of secret agents who look, dress, and act like military stormtroopers on a raid and have been empowered to roam cities in unmarked vehicles, snatching citizens off the streets, whether or not theyve been engaged in illegal activities.

As theGuardianreports, The incidents being described sound eerily reminiscent of the CIAs post-9/11 rendition program under George W Bush, where intelligence agents would roll up in unmarked vans in foreign countries, blindfold terrorism suspects (many of whom turned to be innocent), and kidnap them without explanation. Only instead of occurring on the streets of Italy or the Middle East, its happening in downtown Portland.

The so-called racial-justice activists who have made looting, violence, vandalism, and intimidation tactics the hallmarks of their protests have played right into the governments hands.

They have delivered all of us into the police states hands.

Theres a reason Trump has tapped the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for this dirty business: These agencies are notorious for their lawlessness, routinely sidestepping the Constitution and trampling on the rights of anyone who gets in their way, including legal citizens.

Indeed, it was only a matter of time before theseroving bands of border patrol agents began flexing their muscles far beyond the nations borders and exercising their right to disregard the Constitution at every turn.

Except these border patrol cops arent just disregarding the Constitution.

Theyretrampling all over the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the government from carrying out egregious warrantless searches-and-seizures without probable cause.

As part of the governments so-called crackdown on illegal immigration, drugs, and trafficking, its border-patrol cops have been expanding their reach,roaming further afield,and subjecting greater numbers of Americans to warrantless searches, I.D. checkpoints, transportation checks, and even surveillance on private property far beyond the boundaries of the borderlands.

That so-called border, once a thin borderline, has become an ever-thickening band spreading deeper and deeper inside the country.

Now, with this latest salvo by the Trump administration in its so-called crackdown on rioting and civil unrest, America itself is about to become a Constitution-free zone where freedom is off-limits and government agents have all the power and we the people have none.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with its more than60,000 employees, supplemented by the National Guard and the U.S. military, is an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, a national police-force imbued with all the brutality, ineptitude, and corruption such a role implies.

As journalist Todd Miller explains:

"In these vast domains, Homeland Security authorities can instituteroving patrols with broad, extra-constitutional powers backed by national-security, immigration-enforcement, and drug-interdiction mandates. There, the Border Patrol can set up traffic checkpoints and fly surveillance-drones overhead with high-powered cameras and radar that can track your movements. Within twenty-five miles of the international boundary, CBP agents can enter a persons private property without a warrant."

Just about every nefarious deed, tactic, or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police-state mindset, and thebillions of dollars it distributesto local police agencies in the form of grants to transform them into extensions of the military.

As Miller points out, the government has turned the nations expanding border regions into a ripe place to experiment with tearing apart the Constitution, a place where not just undocumented border-crossers, but millions of borderland residents have become the targets of continual surveillance.

In much the same way that police across the country have been schooled in the art of sidestepping the Constitution, border cops have also been drilled in the art of anything goes in the name of national security.

In fact, according to FOIA documents shared withThe Intercept,border cops even have a checklist of possible behaviors that warrant overriding the Constitutionand subjecting individuals including American citizens to stops, searches, seizures, interrogations, and even arrests.

For instance, if youredriving a vehicle that to a border cop looks unusualin some way, you can be stopped. If yourpassengers look dirtyor unusual, you can be stopped. If you or yourpassengers avoid looking at a cop, you can be stopped. If you or yourpassengers look too long at a cop, you can be stopped.

If youreanywhere near a border(near being within 100 miles of a border, or in a city, or on a bus, or at an airport), you can be stopped and asked to prove youre legally allowed to be in the country. If youretraveling on a public roadthat smugglers and other criminals may have traveled, you can be stopped.

If yourenot driving in the same direction as other cars, you can be stopped. If youappear to be avoiding a police checkpoint, you can be stopped. If yourcar appears to be weighed down, you can be stopped. If yourvehicle is from out of town, wherever that might be, you can be stopped. If youredriving a make of car that criminal-types have also driven, you can be stopped.

If yourcar appears to have been altered or modified, you can be stopped. If thecargo area in your vehicle is covered, you can be stopped.

If youredriving during a time of day or night that border cops find suspicious, you can be stopped. If youredriving when border cops are changing shifts, you can be stopped. If youredriving in a motorcadeor with another vehicle, you can be stopped. If yourcar appears dusty, you can be stopped.

Ifpeople with you are trying to avoid being seen, or exhibiting unusual behavior, you can be stopped. If youslow down after seeing a cop, you can be stopped.

In Portland, which is 400 miles from the border, protesters didnt even have to be near federal buildings to be targeted. Some claimed to be targetedfor simply wearing black clothingin the area of the demonstration.

Are you starting to get the picture yet?

This was never about illegal aliens and border crossings at all. Its been a test to see how far we the people will allow the government to push the limits of the Constitution.

Weve been failing this particular testfor a long timenow.

It was 1798 when Americans, their fears stoked by rumblings of a Quasi-War with France, failed to protest theAlien and Sedition Acts, which criminalized anti-government speech, empowered the government to deport dangerous non-citizens and made it harder for immigrants to vote.

During the Civil War, Americans went along when Abraham Lincolnsuspended the writ of habeas corpus(the right to a speedy trial) and authorized government officials to spy on Americans mail.

During World War I, Americans took it in stride when President Woodrow Wilson and Congress adopted the Espionage and Sedition Acts, which made it a crime to interfere with the war effort andcriminalized any speech critical of war.

By World War II, Americans were marching in lockstep with the governments expanding war powers to imprison Japanese-American citizens in detainment camps, censor mail, andlay the groundwork for the future surveillance state.

Fast-forward to theCold Wars Red Scares, the McCarthy eras hearings on un-American activities, and the governments surveillance of Civil Rights activistssuch as Martin Luther King Jr all done in the name of national security.

By the time 9/11 rolled around, all George WBush had to do was claim the country was being invaded by terrorists, and the government was givengreater powers to spy, search, detain, and arrestAmerican citizensin order to keep America safe.

The terrorist invasion never really happened, but the government kept its newly-acquired police powers made possible by the nefarious USA Patriot Act.

Barack Obama continued Bushs trend of undermining the Constitution, going so far as to givethe military the power to strip Americans of their constitutional rights, label them extremists, and detain them indefinitely without trial,all in the name ofkeeping America safe.

Despite the fact that the breadth of the militarys power to detain American citizens violates not only U.S. law and the Constitution but also international laws, the government has refused to relinquish its detention powers made possible by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Then Donald Trump took office, claiming the country was being invaded by dangerous immigrants and insisting that the only way to keep America safe was to build an expensive border wall, expand the reach of border patrol, andempower the military to assist with border control.

That so-called immigration crisis has now morphed into multiple crises (domestic extremism, the COVID-19 pandemic, race wars, civil unrest, etc.) that the government is eager to use in order to expand its powers.

Yet as weve learned the hard way, once the government acquires and uses additional powers (to spy on its citizens, to carry out surveillance, to transform its police forces into extensions of the police, to seize tax-payer funds, to wage endless wars, to censor and silence dissidents, to identify potential troublemakers, to detain citizens without due process), it does not voluntarily relinquish them.

This is the slippery slope on which weve been traveling for far too long.

As Yale historian Timothy Snyder explains, This is a classic way that violence happens in authoritarian regimes, whether its Francos Spain or whether its the Russian Empire.The people who are getting used to committing violence on the border are then brought in to commit violence against people in the interior.

Sure, its the Trump Administration calling the shotsright now, but itsgovernment agentsarmed with totalitarian powers and beholden to the bureaucratic Deep State who are carrying out these orders in defiance of the U.S. Constitution and all it represents.

Whether its Trump or Biden or someone else altogether, this year or a dozen years from now, the damage has been done: As I make clear in my bookBattlefield America: The War on the American People, we have allowed the president to acquire dictatorial powers that can be unleashed at any moment.

Theres a reason the Trump Administration isconsulting with John Yoo, the Bush-era attorney notorious for justifying waterboarding torture-tactics against detainees. Theyre not looking to understand how to follow the law and abide by the Constitution. Rather, theyre desperately seeking ways to thwart the Constitution.

As Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe recognizes, The dictatorial hunger for power is insatiable.

This is how it begins.

This is how it always begins.

Dont be fooled into thinking any of this will change when the next election rolls around.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president ofThe Rutherford Institute.

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The Federal Coup to Overthrow the States and Nix the 10th Amendment Is Underway - River Cities Reader

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