Washington’s Blog is written by American writers (with guest posts by Brits, Canadians, Aussies, etc).
The owner of this site is an American who was born and raised here, lived here his whole life, and loves the United States. He is a busy professional, former adjunct professor and family man.
A non-partisan site, we routinely interview high-level retired American military and intelligence officials, to provide the American view on the world. But they often disagree with current policy, which they say harms America’s national security.
For example, we’ve consistently documented that:
- Torture reduces our national security
- Mass surveillance makes us less safe
- The war in Iraq and other unnecessary wars have increased terrorism
[Here are the themes we write about. ]
Does saying these things consistently for years – even when the Bush Administration or others said the exact opposite – make us bad people or “fake news”?
The Founding Fathers said that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. We agree.
The following essay from 2010 summarizes our views …
The following quotes all have something in common:
“It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error”
– United States Supreme Court decision in American Communications Association v. Douds
“To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
– Ben Franklin
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
– Robert F . Kennedy
“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”
– Samuel Adams
“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.”
– Teddy Roosevelt
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
– Teddy Roosevelt
“The citizen who sees his society’s democratic clothes being worn out and does not cry it out, is not a patriot, but a traitor.”
– Mark Twain
“Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of government power, not the increase of it.”
– Woodrow Wilson
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”
– Thomas Jefferson
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”
– Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural
“In this point of the case the question is distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions.”
– Andrew Jackson
“I am more than ever convinced of the dangers to which the free and unbiased exercise of political opinion — the only sure foundation and safeguard of republican government — would be exposed by any further increase of the already overgrown influence of corporate authorities.”
– Martin Van Buren, Eighth President of the United States
“As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”
– Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States
“I again recommend a law prohibiting all corporations from contributing to the campaign expenses of any party.… Let individuals contribute as they desire; but let us prohibit in effective fashion all corporations from making contributions for any political purpose, directly or indirectly.” Teddy Roosevelt added, “The fortunes amassed through corporate organization are now so large, and vest such power in those that wield them, as to make it a matter of necessity to give to the sovereign — that is, to the Government, which represents the people as a whole — some effective power of supervision over their corporate use. In order to insure a healthy social and industrial life, every big corporation should be held responsible by, and be accountable to, some sovereign strong enough to control its conduct.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
“It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. …And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man….
– Franklin Roosevelt
“A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor — other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.”
– Franklin Roosevelt
“These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.”
– Franklin Roosevelt
“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
-Thomas Jefferson, American Declaration of Independence
What do the quotes all have in common?
The great Americans who said them would be considered terrorists today.
An FBI memo also labels peace protesters as “terrorists”.
Indeed, police have been terrorizing children, little old ladies and other “dangerous” people who attempted to protest peacefully.
And a 2003 FBI memo describes protesters’ use of videotaping as an “intimidation” technique, even though – as the ACLU points out – “Most mainstream demonstrators often use videotape during protests to document law enforcement activity and, more importantly, deter police from acting outside the law.” The FBI appears to be objecting to the use of cameras to document unlawful behavior by law enforcement itself.
The Internet has been labeled as a breeding ground for terrorists, with anyone who questions the government’s versions of history being especially equated with terrorists.
Government agencies such as FEMA are allegedly teaching that the Founding Fathers should be considered terrorists.
Claims of “national security” are also used to keep basic financial information – such as who got bailout money – secret. That might not bode for particularly warm and friendly treatment for someone persistently demanding the release of such information.
The state of Missouri tried to label as terrorists current Congressman Ron Paul and his supporters, former Congressman Bob Barr, libertarians in general, anyone who holds gold, and a host of other people.
And according to a law school professor, pursuant to the Military Commissions Act:
Anyone who … speaks out against the government’s policies could be declared an “unlawful enemy combatant” and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.
The Founding Fathers, Supreme Court justices and presidents quoted above would vigorously protest.
Note: Government apologists are also eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a Stalinist trip to the insane asylum. I guess the famous Americans quoted above were not only terrorists, but they were also crazy.