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Questions We Should All Be Asking Our Government

Government

The consequences of the failure to do our due diligence in asking the right questions, demanding satisfactory answers, and holding our government officials accountable to abiding by the rule of law has pushed us to the brink.

Photo Credit: AP

Why should anyone trust a government that kills, maims, tortures, lies, spies, cheats, and treats its own citizens like criminals?

For that matter, why should anyone trust a government utterly lacking in transparency, whose actions give rise to more troubling questions than satisfactory answers, and whose domestic policies are dictated more by paranoia than need?

Unfortunately, “we the people” have become so trusting, so gullible, so easily distracted, so out-of-touch, so compliant and so indoctrinated on the idea that our government will always do the right thing by us that we have ignored the warning signs all around us, or at least failed to recognize them as potential red flags.

As I point out in my book "A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State," the consequences of this failure on both our parts—the citizenry’s and the government’s—to do our due diligence in asking the right questions, demanding satisfactory answers, and holding our government officials accountable to respecting our rights and abiding by the rule of law has pushed us to the brink of a nearly intolerable state of affairs.

Detective Sgt. Childers stands atop the massive MRAP armored vehicle recently acquired by the Livingston County Sheriff's Department for use by its tactical response team, July 16, 2013 in Howel, Mich. PhotovCredit: ALAN WARD/AP Detective Sgt. Childers stands atop the massive MRAP armored vehicle recently acquired by the Livingston County Sheriff's Department for use by its tactical response team, July 16, 2013 in Howel, Mich. PhotovCredit: ALAN WARD/AP

Intolerable, at least, to those who remember what it was like to live in a place where freedom, due process and representative government actually meant something.

There’s certainly no shortage of issues about which we should be asking questions of our government representatives, demanding truthful answers, and subsequently insisting on changes within our government. Keep in mind, however, that the government has mastered the art of evasion.

Thus, it’s not enough to ask the questions. We need to demand answers, and when those answers aren’t forthcoming—either because a government official claims to not “know” or because it’s outside his or her jurisdiction—we need to demand that they find out.

To start with, what’s the rationale behind turning government agencies into military outposts? There has been a notable buildup in recent years of SWAT teams within non-security-related federal agencies such as Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Education Department.

What’s with all of the government agencies stockpiling hollow point bullets? For example, why does the Department of Agriculture need .40 caliber semiautomatic submachine guns and 320,000 rounds of hollow point bullets? For that matter, why do its agents need ballistic vests and body armor?

Photo Credit: AP Photo Credit: AP

Why is the federal government distributing obscene amounts of military equipment, weapons and ammunition to police departments around the country? And why is DHS acquiring more than 2,500 Mine-Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles, only to pass them around to local police departments across the country?

Why is the military partnering with local police to conduct training drills around the country? And what exactly are they training for? In Richland, South Carolina, for instance, U.S. army special forces are participating in joint and secretive exercises and training with local deputies. The public has been disallowed from obtaining any information about the purpose of the drills, other than that they might be loud and to not be alarmed.

What is being done to protect the American populace from the threat of military arms and forces, including unarmed drones, being used against them?

Why is FEMA stockpiling massive quantities of emergency supplies? On Jan. 10, 2014, FEMA made a statement enlisting the service of contractors who could “supply medical biohazard disposal capabilities and 40 yard dumpsters to 1,000 tent hospitals across the United States; all required on 24-48 hour notice.” This coincides with other medical requests seeking massive amounts of supplies, such as “31,000,000 flu vaccinations,” “100,000 each of winter shirts and pants and the same for summer” and other goods and services requests as well like tarps, manufactured housing units, and beverages.

FEMA travel trailer staging areas like this one in Purvis, Miss,. have caused concerns for neighbors — like Phillips — who worry about formaldehyde fumes and are suing the federal government. Photo Credit: Pam Fessler/NPR FEMA travel trailer staging area in Purvis, Miss. Photo Credit: Pam Fessler/NPR

Why is the Pentagon continuing to purchase mass amounts of ammunition while at the same time preparing to destroy more than $1 billion worth of bullets and missiles that are still viable?

Moreover, what is really being done to hold the Pentagon accountable for its doctored ledgers, fraud, waste and mismanagement, which has cost the taxpayer trillions of dollars?

According to Reuters, “The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output last year.”

Given the similarities between the government’s Live Active Shooter Drill training exercises, carried out at schools, in shopping malls, and on public transit, which can and do fool law enforcement officials, students, teachers and bystanders into thinking it’s a real crisis, how much of what is being passed off as real is, in fact, being staged by DHS for the “benefit” of training law enforcement, leaving us none the wiser?

Why is the government amassing names and information on Americans considered to be threats to the nation, and what criteria is the government using for this database? Keep in mind that this personal information is being acquired and kept without warrant or court order. It’s been suggested that in the event of nuclear war, the destruction of the US Government, and the declaration of martial law, this Main Core database, which as of 2008 contained some 8 million names of Americans, would be used by military officials to locate and round up Americans seen as threats to national security, a program to be carried about by the Army and FEMA.

Taken individually, these questions are alarming enough. However, when viewed collectively, they leave one wondering what exactly the U.S. government is preparing for and whether American citizens shouldn’t be preparing, as well, for that eventuality when our so-called “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is no longer answerable to “we the people.”

Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute and author of "A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State." Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

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