Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The groundwork has been laid for an imperial presidency

Dear Mr. Leonard Henderson,

The groundwork has been laid for an imperial presidency, a state of affairs that will not improve unless something is done to restore the balance between government and its citizens. We may not have gone looking for this fight, but it has come to each and every one of us, and we’ve all got a part to play in the final outcome. The first step in ensuring that all of our freedoms are protected is making sure that we can remain on the front lines in each and every battle to come.

We must not only be concerned about the battle for religious freedom, which we fight daily at The Rutherford Institute. We must also concern ourselves with the battle to protect our other freedoms—namely, our privacy rights, the state of our economy, our national security, etc.—all issues that The Rutherford Institute is heavily involved in defending. The future of America, as we have known it, is at stake.

The following are just a few of the issues that our attorneys have been called on to deal with, either by defending Americans who have been victimized by egregious government policies or by challenging the policies outright. All of these issues play a major role in contributing to America’s ongoing transformation into a police state.

  • Drones. As mandated by President Obama, there will be 30,000 drones crisscrossing the skies of America by 2020, all part of an industry that could be worth as much as $30 billion per year. These machines will be able to record all activities, using video feeds, heat sensors, radar and even scanners to see through the walls of your home. Some drones are capable of hijacking Wi-Fi networks and intercepting electronic communications such as text messages.
  • SWAT team raids. With more than 50,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans for relatively routine police matters and federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions, the incidence of botched raids and related casualties is on the rise. Nationwide, SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances including angry dogs, domestic disputes and improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, to give a brief sampling.
  • Suspect society. Due in large part to rapid advances in technology and a heightened surveillance culture, the burden of proof has been shifted so that the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty has been usurped by a new norm in which all citizens are suspects. This is exemplified by police practices of stopping and frisking people who are merely walking down the street and where there is no evidence of wrongdoing. Making matters worse are Terrorism Liaison Officers (firefighters, police officers, and even corporate employees) who have been trained to spy on their fellow citizens and report “suspicious activity,” which includes taking pictures with no apparent aesthetic value, making measurements and drawings, taking notes, conversing in code, espousing radical beliefs and buying items in bulk. TLOs report back to “fusion centers,” which are intelligence centers spread across America that collect information on us and watch virtually everything that we do.
  • Invasive surveillance technology. Police have been outfitted with a litany of surveillance gear, from license plate readers and cell phone tracking devices to biometric data recorders. Technology now makes it possible for the police to scan passersby in order to detect the contents of their pockets, purses, briefcases, etc. Full-body scanners, which perform virtual strip-searches of Americans traveling by plane, have gone mobile, with roving police vans that peer into vehicles and buildings alike—including homes. Coupled with the nation’s growing network of real-time surveillance cameras and facial recognition software, soon there really will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
  • Rise of the Imperial President. The last several presidents, including Obama, have repeatedly stepped outside the boundaries of the Constitution and assembled an amazing toolbox of powers that greatly increased the authority of the Executive branch and the reach of the federal government. As a result of this expanded presidential power, government agents can now secretly open the private mail of American citizens; secretly, and illegally, listen in on the phone calls of American citizens and read our e-mails. Additionally, the president can assume control of the federal government following a “catastrophic event” and declare martial law.
Unless we address these threats to our freedoms now, these policies are here to stay.

With more than $500,000 still to be raised before December 31 in order to balance our budget through this calendar year, we need your support now more than ever. Please take a moment to show your support for the critical legal cases and educational work that we’re carrying out on your behalf.

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Yours faithfully,

John W. Whitehead

The Rutherford Institute
Post Office Box 7482
Charlottesville, VA 22906-7482
Phone: 434-978-3888
FAX: 434- 978-1789

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