The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought. And, as a result, it's time that we broke up the failed national security experiment known as the Department of Homeland Security. Returning to dozens of independent agencies will return internal checks-and-balances to within the Executive branch, and actually make us both safer and less likely to be the victims of government snooping overreach. – AlterNet/Hartmann
Dominant Social Theme: These vast spy facilities must be disbanded.
Free-Market Analysis: You know something has gone wrong with modern Leviathan when even the great progressive Thom Hartmann demands a rollback.
Hartmann has wide distribution via Aol.com and various radio channels. He is very good, too, as a political commentator because he has an acute eye for what's gone wrong with the modern authoritarian state.
The trouble is that, as a progressive, he is constantly serving up solutions that demand the state be employed to rectify its wrongs. This is, of course, a form of populism – that somehow the "people" can rise up and take over the mechanisms of their oppression and confusion and use those facilities to create a better nation.
Our stance here at The Daily Bell is much different than Hartmann's. We believe that libertarian education, patiently applied, is necessary for substantive and positive change. What we call the Internet Reformation has been of great value in spreading real education about how civil society can be created and sustained.
Ultimately, people must live in community where they have actual influence over decisions that have an impact on their lives and the lives of their friends and colleagues. This is not to say that the various urban realities of modern society would not exist, only that they would not be expanded via coercion and false pretense.
It is modern monopoly central banking that has created modern society complete with the masquerade of regulatory democracy that seeks to provide people with the perception of influence while denying them its reality.
The US's Homeland Security is a good example of how modern regulatory democracy operates. The putative cause of its formation was 9/11, a terrible episode around which vast questions still swirl. But that did not stop the regulatory state from passing the sweeping and authoritarian Patriot Act and then forming the largest and most abusive intel shop in human history … so-called Homeland Security.
Its name is redolent of Germany's National Socialist past and the many pre-World War II invocations of the "Fatherland." Such references are a fiction, as there are no nations, only individuals bound by culture and family. But those who espouse globalism are determined to continue with the fiction of nation-states, as these provide effective control over the masses.
Homeland Security lies at the center of a vast and increasingly authoritarian web of civil solutions to problems of "terrorism" that are surely less of a threat than advertised. In fact, one could characterize terrorism as one globalist dominant social theme and its anodyne, Homeland Security, as another.
Thom Hartmann is right to take aim at this globalist institution. Here's more from his article:
Last Wednesday, the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald revealed that the National Security Agency is secretly collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon users. The agency received authorization to track phone "metadata" over a 3 month period from a special court order issued in April.
We now also know that what the Guardian uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg of an ongoing phone and internet records collection program that likely includes almost all major U.S. telecommunications companies. President Obama – who promised the "most transparent administration ever" – now finds himself and his DHS at the center of yet another civil liberties controversy.
That controversy has deepened in the wake of two reports published last night in both the Washington Post and the Guardian that outlined a different NSA snooping program – a data mining initiative code-named "PRISM." PRISM – which was created in 2007 during the Bush Administration – is almost certainly the most far-reaching surveillance program ever created. By reaching into the servers of 9 different major U.S. internet companies – including Facebook, Google and Apple – the NSA has access to millions of users' personal data, including emails, chats and videos.
Although PRISM is supposed to only be used to gain information about "foreign individuals" suspected of terrorism – the very methods used to access such information inevitably suck up the private data of American citizens As the Washington Post pointed out: "Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as "incidental," and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect's inbox or outbox is swept in."
These startling revelations about American intelligence agencies raise a number of questions, the first being, of course, who's the Guardian's source? We don't know for sure just yet, but I'd bet on WikiLeaks. The Guardian has always been the go-to paper for the group – and exposing the NSA could be its payback for the trial of Bradley Manning, which started this week at Fort Meade in Maryland. Or, it could be somebody in the DHS who sees what a monster Bush created when he borrowed the word "Homeland" from the last generation's Germans and used it to create a huge national security agency.
Ultimately, however, the biggest question here is, "What have we become as a nation?" Because here's the scariest thing of all: PRISM, just like the NSA's phone records collection program, is perfectly legal. Arguably unconstitutional and totalitarian, yes, but, at the moment, legal … Just this past December, Congress reauthorized an amended version of the FISA act and the President signed it without complaint.
In this article, Hartmann hits on a number of themes we have previously mentioned, including then-President Bush's determination to invoke Nazi Germany with the name "Homeland Security" and the even larger issue of what is legal in the modern state versus what is normal and natural.
Natural law should indeed provide the foundation for any state, as distortions of natural law – what is normal and natural for human habitation – inevitably provide conflict, social dissension and the expansion ultimately of an ever-vaster penal system. Sound familiar?
While Hartmann's analysis is courageous, his question, "What have we become as a nation?" seems disingenuous. It is clear what the US has become: a region that partakes of European-style, top-down elitism, the same recipe that Thomas Jefferson warned of so long ago, when he counseled US residents to resist the "tyranny of banking."
The handmaiden of banking is the current system of regulatory democracy and people like Hartmann, unfortunately, endorse that system every day and even now seek to use it to counteract the various neo-totalitarianism it has emplaced.
Hartmann's call to disband Homeland Security is a good first step but progressives like him need to go much further. They need to renounce the fiction that state force is always the solution to creating a better world. Individuals, unentangled from the state, can probably do the job in a better and more lasting way.