Covid-19 and our disappearing civil liberties and privacy rights

frida kahlo; The Wounded Table

Or: Will there be a post-coronavirus world or more of the same?

Some of our rights are ceded willingly, if reluctantly due to the intensity of the pandemic panic; others are more covertly arranged.  My last post demonstrating our disappearing rights was global, but included for the US:

The InJustice Department has quietly asked Congress to suspend habeas corpus, as in: ‘Let them rot in jail until we have the time for trials’.

Would you trust Gates and Zuck with your DNA and RNA?

The two tech titans funded an effort to bring metagenomic sequencing and software to poor countries. Now, it’s helping trace the spread of the new coronavirus’, March 17 2020, wired.com

Speculative but past-as-prologue?  ‘Bill Gates will use microchip implants to fight coronavirus’, 19-Mar-2020, Biohackinfo News.

‘Inside the U.S. Military’s Plans to Stop ‘Civil Disturbances’ Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Something They Haven’t Done in 30 Years’, William M. Arkin, 3/20/20, newsweek.com

And of course the notion of Global Health Imperialism was born at WEF:

From Nov. 6, 2019: ‘Pandemic simulation exercise spotlights massive preparedness gap;  Event 201, hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, envisions a fast-spreading coronavirus with a devastating impact’, “For Event 201, hosted in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the experts added a new layer of realism by reaching beyond government and NGOs to leaders in the private sector and business community. Participants included representatives from NBCUniversal, UPS, and Johnson & Johnson.”

It’s good to see that an increasing number of alternative websites are asking the right questions about our disappearing Constitutional rights, and whether they will simply become the New Normal as the US police state has burgeoned and become epically militarized.  In a separate post, I’ll bring some of the authors who ask (in effect): How Deadly is Covid-19?

John Whitehead: The Attack on Civil Liberties in the Age of COVID-19;  in an exclusive for MintPress, constitutional attorney John Whitehead warns that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to bring the American Police State out into the open on a scale we’ve not seen before’, April 2, 2020 (CC, non-commercial)

“You can always count on the government to take advantage of a crisis, legitimate or manufactured. This coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

Not only are the federal and state governments unraveling the constitutional fabric of the nation with lockdown mandates that are sending the economy into a tailspin and wreaking havoc with our liberties, but they are also rendering the citizenry fully dependent on the government for financial handouts, medical intervention, protection and sustenance.

Unless we find some way to rein in the government’s power grabs, the fall-out will be epic.” [snip]

Deploying the same strategy it used with 9/11 to acquire greater powers under the USA Patriot Act, the police state—a.k.a. the shadow government, a.k.a. the Deep State—has been anticipating this moment for years, quietly assembling a wish list of lockdown powers that could be trotted out and approved at a moment’s notice.

In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been quietly trotting out and testing a long laundry list of terrifying powers that override the Constitution.

We’re talking about lockdown powers (at both the federal and state level): the ability to suspend the Constitution, indefinitely detain American citizens, bypass the courts, quarantine whole communities or segments of the population, override the First Amendment by outlawing religious gatherings and assemblies of more than a few people, shut down entire industries and manipulate the economy, muzzle dissidents, “stop and seize any plane, train or automobile to stymie the spread of contagious disease,” reshape financial markets, create a digital currency (and thus further restrict the use of cash), determine who should live or die…

You’re getting the picture now, right?

These are powers the police state would desperately like to make permanent.

Bear in mind, however, that these powers the Trump Administration, acting on orders from the police state, are officially asking Congress to recognize and authorize barely scratch the surface of the far-reaching powers the government has already unilaterally claimed for itself.

Unofficially, the police state has been riding roughshod over the rule of law for years now without any pretense of being reined in or restricted in its power grabs by Congress, the courts or the citizenry.” [snip]

“Here’s what we know: whatever the so-called threat to the nation—whether it’s civil unrest, school shootings, alleged acts of terrorism, or the threat of a global pandemic in the case of COVID-19—the government has a tendency to capitalize on the nation’s heightened emotions, confusion and fear as a means of extending the reach of the police state.

Every day brings a drastic new set of restrictions by government bodies (most have been delivered by way of executive orders) at the local, state and federal level that are eager to flex their muscles for the so-called “good” of the populace.

This is where we run the risk of this whole fly-by-night operation going completely off the rails.

It’s one thing to attempt an experiment in social distancing in order to flatten the curve of this virus because we can’t afford to risk overwhelming the hospitals and exposing the most vulnerable in the nation to unavoidable loss of life scenarios. However, there’s a fine line between strongly worded suggestions for citizens to voluntarily stay at home and strong-armed house arrest orders with penalties in place for non-compliance.

More than three-quarters of all Americans have now been ordered to stay at home and that number is growing as more states fall in line.

Schools have canceled physical classes, many for the remainder of the academic year.  Many of the states have banned gatherings of more than 10 people.

At least three states (Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania) have ordered non-essential businesses to close.

In Washington, DC, residents face 90 days in jail and a $5,000 fine if they leave their homes during the coronavirus outbreak. Residents of Maryland, Hawaii and Washington state also risk severe penalties of up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine for violating the stay-at-home orders. Violators in Alaska could face jail time and up to $25,000 in fines.

Kentucky residents are prohibited from traveling outside the state, with a few exceptions.

New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., is offering its Rikers Island prisoners $6 an hour to help dig mass graves.

New Jersey’s governor canceled gatherings of any number, including parties, weddings and religious ceremonies, and warned the restrictions could continue for weeks or months. One city actually threatened to prosecute residents who spread false information about the virus.

Oregon banned all nonessential social and recreational gatherings, regardless of size.

Rhode Island has given police the go-ahead to pull over anyone with New York license plates to record their contact information and order them to self-quarantine for 14 days.

South Carolina’s police have been empowered to break up any public gatherings of more than three people.

Throughout the country, more than 14,000 “Citizen-Soldiers” [Now 20,000, Trum called 1 million to stand by status] of the National Guard have been mobilized to support the states and the federal government in their fight against the coronavirus.

Thus far, we have not breached the Constitution’s crisis point: martial law has yet to be overtly imposed (although an argument could be made to the contrary given the militarized nature of the American police state).” [snip]

“Generally, the government has to show a compelling state interest before it can override certain critical rights such as free speech, assembly, press, search and seizure, etc. Most of the time, it lacks that compelling state interest, but it still manages to violate those rights, setting itself up for legal battles further down the road.

These lockdown measures—on the right of the people to peaceably assemble, to travel, to engage in commerce, etc.—unquestionably restrict fundamental constitutional rights, which might pass muster for a short period of time, but can it be sustained for longer stretches legally?

That’s the challenge before us, of course, if these days and weeks potentially stretch into months-long quarantines.

At the moment, the government believes it has a compelling interest—albeit a temporary one—in restricting gatherings, assemblies and movement in public in order to minimize the spread of this virus.” [snip]

“What we must guard against, more than ever before, is the tendency to become so accustomed to our prison walls—these lockdowns, authoritarian dictates, and police state tactics justified as necessary for national security—that we allow the government to keep having its way in all things, without any civic resistance or objections being raised.

Most of all, don’t be naïve: the government will use this crisis to expand its powers far beyond the reach of the Constitution.

The government never cedes power willingly.

Neither should we.”

When a man sees the future without hope,
Whenever he endorses Hobbes’ report
‘The life of man is nasty, brutish, short,’
The dragon rises from his garden border
And promises to set up law and order. 

~ WH Auden, Letter to Lord Byron

But isn’t it inconvenient that protests of any kind are not permitted, whether it be to Amerikan militarizing cornovirus thru killing sanctions on nations in dire need, or against the $4 trillion coronavirus stim package that offers nothing to the serfs, but funds the oligarchy?  If a general strike does happen, will picket lines be permitted?  Stay tuned.

For the satirists among us: ‘The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order’, by Henry A. Kissinger, April 3, 2020
The U.S. must protect its citizens from disease while starting the urgent work of planning for a new epoch.

“The U.S. administration has done a solid job in avoiding immediate catastrophe. The ultimate test will be whether the virus’s spread can be arrested and then reversed in a manner and at a scale that maintains public confidence in Americans’ ability to govern themselves. The crisis effort, however vast and necessary, must not crowd out the urgent task of launching a parallel enterprise for the transition to the post-coronavirus order.”

‘Meet the world’s most powerful doctor: Bill Gates; The software mogul’s sway over the World Health Organization spurs criticism about misplaced priorities and undue influence’ politico.eu, 5/4/17

[Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases since 1984, served on the Scientific Board of the Global Great Challenges program – Gates Foundation from 2003 – 2010.]

(cross-posted at caucucus99percent.com)

9 responses to “Covid-19 and our disappearing civil liberties and privacy rights

  1. This is Dana Ashlie’s latest. It is disappearing from the internet. .

  2. It is only going to get worse.

  3. I wonder…who are the enforcers? The one percent? There are too many questions, and it is too late to ask them, but soldiers, policemen, even politicians and judges, all have families…and families have families. Too many restrictions and something will give. Something surely will give…

    What on earth is Kissinger talking about? ‘Solid job’, what solid job? ‘Americans’ ability to govern themselves’???

    I am looking at Aeschylus’ s “Prometheus Bound”. It’s bleak, chained as he is to that rock in the Caucasus. Lover of mankind he be, far-sighted. On ‘Antiques Road Show’ tonight was, of all people, an elderly lady who had been in Kennedy’s press corp. In the second plane leaving Dallas … she managed to say that the Johnson entourage seemed, some of them, happy! Unbelievable. But she did say that. Wait! That was important! That was earth shattering!!

    Moving right along…the next item.

    Will no man rid me…oh, sorry; wrong play.

    • yes, the enforcers are hired by the capitalists, both national and state. yes, they have families, and what is the ACLU calling for? i mean: the american civil liberties union? good gawd all-friday:

      ‘Police, Prosecutors, Sheriffs, Parole Officers, and Governors can Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19 — Here’s How; Public health experts have encouraged stakeholders in the criminal legal system to minimize the number of people entering the system in the first place, while also releasing individuals in prisons and jails most vulnerable to the virus.’

      https://www.aclu.org/news/smart-justice/police-prosecutors-sheriffs-parole-officers-and-governors-can-help-stop-the-spread-of-covid-19-heres-how/

      big fucking whoop. but yes prometheus bound, ‘be farsighted’ works fine. as would ben franklin’s “”Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

      ‘some of the johnson entourage were happy’? lotta ways to parse that, but: pffft altogether.

    • oh, and kissinger is calling for a one-world government headed by ‘western democratic enlightenment thinking’ (hint, hint clue clue).

  4. There was this little lady, and she had been right there. Jaw dropping moment, nobody awestruck but me. Good for you, old gal.

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