William Thien

Archive for December 2010

Here you will find a collection of essays to be included in my upcoming book titled Notes from The Silent Majority.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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The dictionary on my desk defines a Police State as “A state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls, especially by means of a secret police force.” But it is a small pocket dictionary and does not offer a very comprehensive perspective of what a police state might be in my estimation.

And admittedly I am more concerned in this discourse with the most blatant symptoms of what a modern police state might be in such a country as The United States. First, for those of us unfamiliar with the term “police state” and to remove any logical false conclusion from the discussion which might get under foot, let me explain that a police state is not a state where only police reside. And I am not discussing the local municipal police in your community, though they do participate in the activities I describe here from time to time in an ancillary way. We can all appreciate the services of the local police. It may seem simple to you and I, but it is necessary to make those statements omitting such a potential misunderstanding in order to proceed with this argument. Now that we have that out of the way, we can get to the obvious.

The most obvious and blatant symptom of the police state in which we now reside, “The United States of Police States” it could be called, is the groping of elderly American women and men at the airport by The Transportation Security Administration and Homeland Security. It is first and foremost a position by our government that everyone is suspect. It is an absolute condition of the state to which there is little or no variance. It is a “rigid and repressive” form of control as described in my dictionary’s definition of a “Police State.” This to me is the most obvious indication that we are living in a police state, although a modern form of a police state, one not clearly defined by the little pocket dictionary within reach on my desk.

One might say, well in order to be as comprehensive as possible, everyone boarding a plane must be searched. Nonsense! She’s ninety years old. Get your hands off of her you imbecile! Someone else might say, we are doing that in order not to discriminate against any other social cross-section of society; we do not want to profile. Again, nonsense! And a complete waste of tax dollars and resources. We are fighting a war and clearly losing it by those standards then, even though the declared enemy has a small, minute fraction of our forces. No, something else is going on here. This isn’t about a war against terrorism. This is about the desire for a complete and total authoritarian repression of the American public. You know this because the law extends and is exercised even upon the most vulnerable and fragile, the most cherished and harmless of us, our elderly, as if even they are the enemy. If certain segments of society were not subject to such searches, it would mean then that complete and total authoritarian control was not in effect. Simple as that. Such things don’t always seem so obvious on the surface of things. And we can’t let our fear of getting on some list or catching the attention of “the authorities” prevent us from speaking up about such behaviors by our government. That’s how it all starts. That’s how it gets out of hand. That is why we are having this discussion today.

Americans travel. We have freedom of movement here in The United States. We are a society that travels. All of the terrorists during 9/11 were of a particular social persuasion. They were not elderly American men and women. In fact, they were the furthest removed! Instead, we are searching the victims as if they were the terrorists! Such nonsense must not be allowed to persist or it will sneak up on us as a country in the future in some other form.

Our government, or some portion of our government, or perhaps a foreign or a conglomerated concern deftly manipulating our government (the most frightening aspect of this discussion indeed and fuel for another essay on the matter, I’m sure), is simply using the war on terrorism to further its war on Americans. And the groping of elderly women at the airport, whether it be by a human, or a machine, is the most obvious indication. And if it is not a war on Americans, that is the net effect of what is happening, an inwardly directed form of repression. Americans are the ones having to endure the conditions.

Often the most obvious indications are not the most insidious, the most dangerous to us and to our freedoms, however shocking to our sentiments they may be.

From my perspective, the most dangerous aspect of allowing such warrant less searches of our elderly is the mere fact that someone is probably saying, well if they will let us get away with that, we can probably do just about anything we want to them. The groping of elderly women at the airport is then a symptom, an indication of something coming, a disease of a waning, sick, once free state, now a “Police State” where more pernicious activities are sure to follow as time advances and transgressions against the citizenry become progressively worse. This to me is the most dangerous aspect of the current situation.

Welcome to post 9/11 America: The United States of Police States.

So what are my conclusions? First, what has happened essentially is that our government has labeled everyone “a suspect.” They have done this not to catch terrorists or to prevent terrorism, it is perhaps to place themselves above us in order to maintain their perception of control. They are after all the experts on security. Right? Secondly, our government has labeled everyone “a suspect” to justify their existence. Without the so-called necessity to search everyone, even our most elderly, World War Veterans, you name it (our government does), there would be no need for such massive blanket, warrant less searches. In other words, if they only have to search a small fraction or a segment of our society, we don’t need them. And as a result, if we don’t need them, we also don’t need the massive expenditures involved.

Here is what we must do:

We must start profiling once again. Why, if profiling is racist? Because searching elderly women and men at the airport is worse, it is indecent, it is un-American, and it is just as if not more importantly, inefficient. We search them regardless of the race or denomination, by the way. So, as a matter of such profiling being racist, the point is invalid.

You might say, well how would you like it if they profiled you? They probably already do. The government at every level has never liked my rhetoric. If you think I wouldn’t know what I’m talking about, read my “About” page. You might add, aren’t you afraid someone will play the “race card” and accuse you of racism? No. I’m not afraid of “the race card.” And we cannot make security policy based on fear of one social group or another screaming racism if it opens up a defensive hole to us all as a country, as a society to which a terrorist can pass through. What is the greater danger? Everyone is already searched anyway. I’d be more than willing to endure a search at the airport to relieve others of it if the profile was “white males,” but it isn’t. That’s all. If it were males of another race I should hope they would have the intestinal fortitude to accept such profiling instead of dragging the rest of us into the organized chaos within which we reside today.

Secondly, the cost to the taxpayer of such blanketed searches is tremendous and counterproductive. What do you mean it is counterproductive?

If one fights a war, one does not concentrate all of its resources on non-combatives. That is the surest way to lose the war. But that is exactly what is happening. 99.9999999999 percent of people who pass through security at an airport, for example, are not terrorists and have no such inclinations. But all are searched. This is nonsense. The government knows these people are not planning on blowing up the plane. But the government concentrates massive expenditure and effort to search these people. No, there is something else going on. As paranoid as it sounds, Americans are being sized up for something to come. This is perhaps a test, a test to see if they can soon be at our door and we shall not be able to stop them. They will be in our bank accounts only to withdraw. They already collect all of our credit card transactions using systems such as LexisNexis and then run them through profiling software to see if our monetary activities indicate potential terrorist behaviors (As an aside some media outlets have this access as well, and I don’t know why. It should be illegal. That is definitely an abuse of the constitution). If they are profiling all of our monetary activities, then why not selectively profile at airports?

If we allow such behaviors by our government to persist, if we do not screen the most criminal and stop wasting our resources on the most benign, we will surely pay as a country, and not just in terms of the massive tax expenditures to perpetuate the “Police State.” We may not have a catastrophic terrorist event. But the greater catastrophe is that we will be left without the country we once had. Or, isn’t that what has already happened?

Welcome to post 9/11 America: The United States of Police States.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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Recently I have heard a number of politicians and economists, even a nominee for the Federal Reserve suggest that it is time to end The Bush Era Tax Cuts, at least for the highest income earners. It sounds good on the face of things. And it would seem like a good source of funds, to take the tax dollars from the most wealthy. At least you know where there is some money to take, right? But is that all such economists and politicians have to offer America, some form of communism/socialism?

There is a problem with that logic. For one, using that rationale is the same as saying nobody should be able to make more money than anyone else. Such taxation is punitive.

Such taxation is also a tyranny, perhaps a tyranny of the masses since there are fewer people making such amounts of money and therein lies within the masses the greatest demand. Such method is merely taking from one to give to another who may not be perhaps as happy with their station in life. We all know that most of that money, or at least a large portion of it, will go to pay for social programs and government programs that the government did not offer just 75 years ago and that have grown large social groups that could not survive, indeed flourish without such communist/socialist programs. But the real travesty of such public policy is that it creates a class of people enchained to a government handout, unable to ever be independent citizens by learning how to provide for themselves. AND such policy enslaves a public that must oil and produce such chain by offering up its wages to the state for said redistribution in perpetuity. Only big government prospers given such circumstances, ladies and gentlemen.

Some government programs are useful to us all to be sure, but many more are simply entitlements that are abused, something we all know but that many in leadership will not publicly admit for whatever reason. Perhaps some do not want to admit such a fact for fear of not getting elected or re-elected. That is denial, the most pernicious form of denial to a country such as ours that relies on the democratic process to choose its leadership and a free market economy to perpetuate its existence.

So, as a matter of social fairness, it really is not fair to those who have the most money in the first place to tax them and only them to obtain the tax revenue. Furthermore, it is not as if the most wealthy use more government services. Frequently the most wealthy use fewer services because they can afford to choose, so their tax burden is less. Why then should the most wealthy pay more, simply because the most wealthy have more money? What if you made millions next week on a new product you designed? Would you be alright with the idea of paying half of your income in taxes all of a sudden simply because of your newly earned wealth? Doubtful.

And let us not forget it is taxation of income from those who “earn” it just like everyone else. They simply earn more than everyone else, that is all. It is not only a taking of the tax dollars but a form of punishment, then, as it says to those who make the most money that there is a price for such success.

During the era of The Soviet Union, the same economists would have said that such taxation is also a taking of the incentive to be successful in the first place because the greater portion of your sweat and toil goes straight to the government who then decides what to do with it. The Berlin Wall fell only twenty years ago when The Soviet Union, the world’s largest communist nation ended, but such esteemed economists as those up for nomination to The Federal Reserve have forgotten that sentiment already. How did they win so many awards? Is that how you win an award as an economist, by simply offering some form of communist/socialist dogma as your thesis?

Look, America is has passed that era and is coming out of it.

Even one of the most liberal of them all, the late President John F. Kennedy, said that “It is the paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now…Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.” (Nov. 20, 1962)

We must extend The Bush Era Tax Cuts for all and even lower taxes more, so all can have a chance to prosper, to prosper and not be punished for it.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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December 2010
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