Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Welcome To The Fascist State Of America


Liberals are fascistic tyrants and conservatives are whiny little bitches who run around looking for excuses to get offended. -- Caitlin Johnstone, Study US Foreign Policy By Looking At Oil Reserves

Happy Seventh Anniversary, TRC! It's been seven years since this blog began with a handful of enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporters. Who knew it would last this long? Not us! Of course, there's been some changes over the past seven years, starting first with a name change in mid-2016 after Bernie dropped out of the race and backed *cough* Hillary. 

We never looked back after that. In fact, we continued to grow, discover, explore, and learn more about neoliberalism, capitalism, and then socialism. It's called just socialism or eco-socialism by us, as the term "democratic socialism" makes it sound as if we're acolytes of the poorly-named party of the duopoly who wouldn't know what democracy was even if it hit them over the head repeatedly. After Bernie's screw over by the DNC, we've never considered returning to either of the corrupt establishment's factions. 

We're loud, we're proud, and we're proudly independent and pro-third party. And this week, we're taking a look at how (once again) our government tramples human rights and expects us to shut up and take it lying down. As if!

Welcome to the Fascist State of America
by C.A. Matthews

You live within 100 miles of Canada, Mexico, a coastline, or an international airport. There is no knock on the door. CBP or Border Patrol agents come bursting into your home without warning, without a warrant, and without fear that they'll ever be held accountable for damages or violating your rights in a court of law. They ransack your domicile and take what they will and you can't stop them--they're within their rights. 

Welcome to America 2022.

Why does Homeland Security believe the US "border" is 100 miles wide? Why does it believe that an international airport in the middle of the country is also "on the border" and so 100 miles around it is also the Border Patrol's domain? Why indeed.

Dr. Reece Jones, author of White Borders (2021) and Nobody Is Protected (2022) tells us more about how this concept of the US border zone came about:

"Preserve Racial Types As It Exists Here Today."   (Yes, our immigration laws are inherently racist. This bill was passed less than 100 years ago and remains on the books. Do you feel better or worse about the US as a "democracy" now?)

The Border Patrol was established two days after the eugenics-derived national origins quotas in the 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act was signed, in order to enforce the new restrictions. The original authorization for the Border Patrol was meant to keep the agents at the border line itself. Senator David Reed explained: "They have no right to go into the interior city and pick up aliens on the street and arrest them."

Nevertheless, the agents did go into the interior. In 1930 Treasury Undersecretary Ogden Mills proposed a new law to stop it. "You will not have a Border Patrol operating 20 miles inside the United States. You will have a border patrol where it belongs, and that is on the border."

Mills' and other efforts to rein in the Border Patrol failed in the 1930s. In 1946, Congress revised the Border Patrol's authorization and clarified (kind of) how far inside the US they could go: “within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States.” At the time, the Border Patrol was part of the Department of Justice. In July 1947, the DOJ released a routine update to its policies in the Federal Register. In tiny print on page 5071, they defined the term reasonable distance.

Without public comment or consultation, the Department of Justice defined the reasonable distance for the Border Patrol as “a distance not exceeding 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States.” Since 1947, the reasonable distance has remained unchanged at 100 miles from borders and coastlines. If DHS Secretary Mayorkas wanted to change it, he could do so immediately himself.

This 100 mile "border" includes about two-thirds of the population. That's about 200 million Americans. Our largest cities, largest ports, and airports are included in this zone CBP can "police" within its confines. They don't have show a warrant to search or arrest you like your local cops. Why can't Americans protect themselves from a government agency with seemingly infinite powers?

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects Americans from random and arbitrary stops and searches. According to the government, however, these basic constitutional principles do not apply fully at our borders. For example, at border crossings (also called "ports of entry"), federal authorities do not need a warrant or even suspicion of wrongdoing to justify conducting what courts have called a "routine search," such as searching luggage or a vehicle. 

Even in places far removed from the border, deep into the interior of the country, immigration officials enjoy broad—though not limitless—powers. Specifically, federal regulations give U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authority to operate within 100 miles of any U.S. "external boundary." The regulations establishing the 100-mile border zone were adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice—without any public comments or debate. At the time, there were fewer than 1,100 Border Patrol agents nationwide; today, there are over 21,000. 

That's 21,000 federal cops free to use their "broad powers" to search, harass, and arrest citizens and non-citizens alike. Who keeps these modern-day "American Brown Shirts" in check? Anyone?

"The Constitution-Free Zone of the United States"

ACLU ominously states:

The Border Patrol often ignores this (100 mile zone) regulation and, aside from limiting interior checkpoint locations to within the 100-mile zone, rejects any geographic limitation on agents' authority. At least two federal circuit courts condone Border Patrol operations outside the 100-mile zone, federal regulations and Supreme Court precedent notwithstanding.

Federal border agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing, and often in ways that our Constitution does not permit.  For example, Border Patrol, according to news reports, operates approximately 170 interior checkpoints throughout the country (the actual number in operation at any given time is not publicly known). The ACLU believes that these checkpoints amount to dragnet, suspicionless stops that cannot be reconciled with Fourth Amendment protections. 

The spread of border-related powers inland is inseparable from the broader expansion of government intrusion in the lives of ordinary Americans. For example, CBP claims the authority to conduct suspicionless searches of travelers' electronic devices—such as laptops and cell phones—at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports. These searches are particularly invasive as a result of the wealth of personal information stored on such devices.

Americans do not have the right to privacy. Border Patrol agents are free to search your personal information. They can confiscate your computer, cell phone, or other electronic devices to look even deeper for juicy tidbits on you or others. You'd better delete those embarrassing personal photos and text messages now--and I mean now.

Seeing the maps and digesting these facts are sobering. Americans might have thought we lived in a democracy--a flawed one, but at least it had its heart in the right place. But think again: the Border Patrol can enter your home, your vehicle, your business and take whatever items it deems "necessary" for their investigation and arrest you without a warrant. The federal courts will back them up as did the Supreme Court in its recent ruling.  

Is the US a democracy? (Was it ever? Ask a person of color.)

Do you feel safe? (I know I sure as hell don't.) 

What can we do about it? Learning more about the powers Customs and Border Protection wields and what legal recourse(s) we may or may not have to prevent them from continuing their fascistic behavior is a good start. Also, not cooperating with the Border Patrol is an action we all can take. We need to emphasize the point to our oligarch leadership that we are not prisoners in a "border zone" without human rights. We need to stand up and demand the protections listed in the Bill of Rights, rights that apply to citizens and non-citizens alike.

Welcome to the fascist state of America in the year 2022. It's not exactly what the founders envisioned in 1776. Perhaps it's time for us to do like they did and start a Revolution.

Related Articles:

Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Bivens Claims Under First Amendment and Against Border Patrol Agents  https://www.abajournal.com/web/article/supreme-court-refuses-to-allow-bivens-claims-under-first-amendment-and-against-border-patrol-agents

A Border Patrol Agent Assaulted a Citizen in His Own Home. The Supreme Court's Ruling Lets the Agent Off  https://immigrationimpact.com/2022/06/10/border-patrol-assaulted-citizen-supreme-court-ruling/

ACLU: The Constitution in the 100-Mile Border Zone https://www.aclu.org/other/constitution-100-mile-border-zone 

ICE Now Holds 25,000 People In Detention, Monitors 266,000 Using Electronic Monitoring Technology   https://austinkocher.substack.com/p/ice-now-holds-25000-people-in-detention?s=r 

We Don't Need More Evidence That Police Can't Be Trusted. We Need Real Safety  https://truthout.org/articles/we-dont-need-more-evidence-that-police-cant-be-trusted-we-need-real-safety/

The Uvalde Massacre Has Exposed the Lies That Once Justified Police Militarization https://www.rsn.org/001/the-uvalde-massacre-has-exposed-the-lies-that-once-justified-police-militarization.html 

Mother of Buffalo Shooting Victims Says This Is Exactly Who We Are https://scheerpost.com/2022/06/09/mother-of-buffalo-shooting-victim-says-this-is-exactly-who-we-are/

Study US Foreign Policy By Looking At Oil Reserves https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/study-us-foreign-policy-by-looking?s=r

Democratic Leaders Call For a Stronger Republican Party. Why? https://www.directleft.com/p/democratic-leaders-call-for-a-stronger?s=r 

Nobody Is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United States (Book)  https://www.counterpointpress.com/dd-product/nobody-is-protected/

Seen on Twitter: 


In a near-future dystopian world, hope blossoms where mutual aid and democracy begins...

Zonta’s world is turned upside down when Jake arrives at the commune to investigate the disappearance of agents of the Authority. Can she persuade him to switch sides before the Protectors (antifascist fighters) take action?

Available now from Extasy Books: https://www.extasybooks.com/Where-the-Bodies-Lie 

Please buy direct from the small publisher and not via Amazon. Why? Amazon takes a huge percentage of the book's price and leaves very little for the publisher and author to share. Thanks.


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