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 from Café Babylon)

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Raggedy Ann's picture

We may have to suffer through some of this for a couple of years, but we are moving to a higher consciousness, so it won't last long, if the people allow it to begin with. Pleasantry

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"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

wendy davis's picture

@Raggedy Ann

but it depends which WE you mean is moving to a higher consciusness; i see the opposite, but iirc, you'd said something similar about bernie sanders' ideas. and it is all going down, so WE apparently either approve or are watching helplessly.

thanks for weighing in, raggedy ann.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis for "higher consciousness", please adjust to reality: "higher wealth and power inequality". This is the message.

The rest is religion. Once I worshipped at the feet of Bernard of the 40 Acre Wood. But, lo, my love turned cold. I slowly crawled away from my First True God , Bernie-sen. The vision of St. Bernard (the human, not the canine) dimmed when he began scatographagy. Then, I lusted after my Aloha Goddess, Tulsi. But she repulsed my advances and desires. Tulsi gave the middle finger salutation to the DNC and to all her supporters. Once bitten shame on you, twice bitten shame on me.

I now lack the vision of a higher destiny operating upon existence with the attention to our here and now as proportionate to the contemplating the numbers of atoms of water in single drop. How many persons have been so concerned about such a physical fact, talking pure physics, here?

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

as baffling as your construction is. all i could think of is how far we've DeVolved over the past number of decades. i'll simply link to, rather than embed, their 'it's a beautiful world'. but those fellas were significantly affected by the national guard murders of those at kent state who were protesting the viet nam war. 'four dead in ohio' (oft' forgotten): 2 dead, 10 wounded at jackson state.

is the current zeitgeist much different?

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis for "higher consciousness", please adjust to reality: "higher wealth and power inequality". This is the message.

The rest is religion. Once I worshipped at the feet of Bernard of the 40 Acre Wood. But, lo, my love turned cold. I slowly crawled away from my First True God , Bernie-sen. The vision of St. Bernard (the human, not the canine) dimmed when he began scatographagy. Then, I lusted after my Aloha Goddess, Tulsi. But she repulsed my advances and desires. Tulsi gave the middle finger salutation to the DNC and to all her supporters. Once bitten shame on you, twice bitten shame on me.

I now lack the vision of a higher destiny operating upon existence with the attention to our here and now as proportionate to the contemplating the numbers of atoms of water in single drop. How many persons have been so concerned about such a physical fact, talking pure physics, here?

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TheOtherMaven's picture

Covid-19 wreaks havoc in prisons as in other cramped enclosed spaces. Just another form of "culling the herd".

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

wendy davis's picture

@TheOtherMaven

indeed at higher risk, take julian assange for instance. belmarsh evicted all but two low-risk inmates save for two: julian and one other. the disease is popping up in palestinian prisons, too, what does bibi care?

here's the story at politico, and it's worse than i'd thought, as they'd already published one story prior to this one.

thanks, the Other Maven.

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wendy davis's picture

i'll finish with a quote, not a song:

'the only thing neccessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'

~ edmund burke

but maybe many here are willing to cede their constitutional rights given the panic, and hope it's all temporary.

good night.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

or here in this country?

but maybe many here are willing to cede their constitutional rights given the panic, and hope it's all temporary.

I have been talking about how this epidemic will be used as an excuse to implement the policies that congress has already passed including the 2012 NDAA that was signed during Obama's wonderful tenure. People are freaking out about Barr wanting to do this, but they don't know how it has already been setup to go into effect. I have been talking about the NDAA since it got passed, but people are thinking it's just something that Trump wants to do because of blind tribalism. Not here, but elsewhere on the blogosphere.

People who were against what Bush did with our liberties went to sleep during Obama's administration because oh wasn't he so very charming and could talk in full sentences? But I doubt that they know that it was written and pushed by Joe F Biden along with his many other horrible bills. The anti war left also went to sleep cuz Obama had such a great family don't you know? Libya of course was a righteous war because.....reasons and Hillary and Obama. Same with Syria and Yemen, but they rarely even discuss what is happening to it. This attempted coup on Venezuela? Yup. This is Obama's doing to because for some reason socialism was a national security threat to us. But of course we need to vote Trump out because of kids in cages that were built guess when?

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"I will be the best, the best, you know, you know the thing!”
- Joe Biden

Grope and Hope

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

i meant in this country, among folks who should know better™. i'd finally remembered to go back and read the comments under john whitehead's piece, and yes, he took a hella lot of grief.

what's the ACLU calling for? oh, for sheriffs, the po-po, parole officers and judges to help by decarcerating jails and prisons, big fucking whoop.

similarly for other posts at RT asking about constitutional rights. and while TRNN has video interviews up, while i can scarcely read the new white on black pages, it's mainly about coronavirus and color inequality with incarceration.

the duran? christ in a canoe: 'covid lockdown is all about the virus being chinese! (which i agree may be part of the keen interest, constant coverage, and paranoia) followed by epic levels of china bashing.

it's good to hear that you've taken issue with what's afoot, but yes: this is like the new 9/11 permission to ameliorate our civil and privacy rights. "and while all eyes were on the virus, look what WE did to you!"

and yeppers, i have photos of kids in cages on concrete from obomba rule.

p.s. when i'd used IE yesterday to open a new Bing search window? NOT possible: the window was only for current updates on covid-19.

and this a.m. the msn.com rolling thunder is full of stuff like this: 'CDC head says death levels will be much lower than models...'

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snoopydawg's picture

certainly here

but maybe many here are willing to cede their constitutional rights given the panic, and hope it's all temporary.

I haven't seen any comments where people said that they were okay with losing their freedoms. Just the opposite.

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"I will be the best, the best, you know, you know the thing!”
- Joe Biden

Grope and Hope

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

and thumbs, of course. and lack of interest into two of my earlier posts on the same subject.

but by my reckoning, too many people around the USA planet are lost to the pandemic porn fear: every headline, even at many non-MSM sites...is about 'coronavirus'. that's all.

you reckon i'm incorrect, then? have you evidence from the blogging you've done here that suggests otherwise? i'd seen your having posted a whitney webb exposé that turned out to be not at mintpress news, but global research, far too long for me to dive into at the time.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

Yes I know many people here are concerned about what's happening to our civil rights. The lack of thumbs up or comments might be because of other issues.

have you evidence from the blogging you've done here that suggests otherwise?

Yes again. The essays I've written on this here have had great discussions on it. You can check my history if you're interested.

i'd seen your having posted a whitney webb exposé that turned out to be not at mintpress news, but global research,

Huh?

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"I will be the best, the best, you know, you know the thing!”
- Joe Biden

Grope and Hope

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

but at least by the titles i couldn't spot one. perhaps in your comments?

as it turns out, this was published on altweb, not global reasearch, although her oeuvre there is extensive. dunno why it wasn't on mint press news. i'd thought it might have been something you'd put up that reflected dissatisfaction with our shrinking civil and privact rights...

"The leaders of two controversial pandemic simulations that took place just months before the Coronavirus crisis – Event 201 and Crimson Contagion – share a common history, the 2001 biowarfare simulation Dark Winter. Dark Winter not only predicted the 2001 anthrax attacks, but some of its participants had clear foreknowledge of those attacks."

but it's fine; i'm glad to hear that you've discovered many here are bothered by their disappearing constitutional rights, you're among the top thought leaders here.

the peoples' economy is dying as we head into a second great depression, but some of us serfs may get a check for $1200 dollars; as a greezer, i figure i'll get $600 unless they've tweaked the standards.

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@wendy davis Articles originate in a site, then get re-published in consortion sites. All you have to do is read the article where you find it.It often gives attribution to the original posting site.
Also, I was unclear is "here" meant the site or the country.
c99 is filled with folks who are greatly concerned of looming curtailed rights. I myself am concerned about damn martial law!

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wendy davis's picture

I am an American constitutional lawyer – and I see our government using Covid-19 to take away our fundamental rights’, 22 Mar, 2020, RT.com, robert barnes

it's long, so opening and closing graphs:

"Governments across America already used the pandemic, and the media-stoked panic around the pandemic particularly, to limit, restrict or remove First Amendment freedoms of speech and free association, with officials complaining about the potential restraints the freedom of religion imposed upon them. Others denied or declared the right to deny Second Amendment rights of gun purchase for personal safety (at a time governments are issuing no-arrest and no-detention orders for a wide range of crimes in their community while publicly freeing inmates from jails and prisons). They want to coordinate with tech companies to surveil and spy on your everyday movements and activities, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and potentially waive, unilaterally, your medical right to privacy in multiple contexts. Stay-at-home orders deprive you of your profession, occupation, business and property, without any due process of law at all beyond an executive fiat in violation of the Fifth Amendment right to due process. Governments request the authority to involuntarily imprison any American on mere fear of infection without any probable cause of crime or clear and present danger of harm by that person’s volitional conduct, deny access to personal counsel in an unsupervised, un-surveilled manner in violation of the Sixth Amendment, and act as judge, jury and executioner in violation of the Seventh Amendment right to a trial by jury, as jury trials themselves get suspended around the country in the nation’s quieted courts and fear-muted public.

The real pandemic threat is here. It’s the panic that will quarantine our Constitution."

Conclusion

Our founders were intimately familiar with pandemics, viruses and plagues, yet they did not allow any to suspend our Constitutional liberties. Not one word in the Constitution about plagues or pandemics to exempt the government from any of our Bill of Rights. Why do our current courts allow it? Because the public is asleep at the wheel. Think the pandemic threatens to kills us all? A review of the data shows the pandemic is more panic than plague.

Time to wake up. Maybe it is time in the motto of V for Vendetta, to "Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot." As that film's lead character well said: “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” Only when an awake public asserts their human liberties to protest the loss of their liberties will, then, governments quit using public health crises to seize power that does not belong to them. The answer to 1984 is still 1776."

reminding one of ben franklin:

'Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.'

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis What is being stolen, all in the name of public safety, is a massive power grab by the elites. The reality is the mitigating measures (not even a cure) rob us of what the 1776 Revolution sought to guarantee.

Yes, now we have 1984 painted over and suppressing the vision of 1776. This has been sold to the gullible public, sated by decades of beer and "reality television". One study measured electroencepholgraphic tracings in awake persons watching TV. The findings: significant percentage of each recording revealed sleep spindles--the body was awake while the mind slumbered.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

and now with lockdowns the rule of the land, more are either watching theboobus toobus or their other screens for the only ubiquitous news available.

tonight's full moon will rise here soon, and is called the pink supermoon. ah, she'll be yar.

given the current horrific zeigeist, this is my hope: we'll eventually reach the higher goround:

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis The deluge is nearly upon us. Get to higher ground before you drown.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

so is the concept of playing for change's 'world peace thru music'. i have no idea how they piece together all the musicians playing separately and in the same key...and some of the singers are beyond compare.

ah...but: After the deluge? ; )

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