Let us not mince words.
We are living in an age of war profiteers.
We are living in an age of scoundrels, liars, brutes and thugs. Many of them work for the U.S. government.
We are living in an age of monsters.
Ask Donald Trump. He knows all about monsters.
Any government that leaves “mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air” is evil and despicable, said President Trump, justifying his blatantly unconstitutional decision (in the absence of congressional approval or a declaration of war) to launch airstrikes against Syria based on dubious allegations that it had carried out chemical weapons attacks on its own people. “They are crimes of a monster.”
If the Syrian government is a monster for killing innocent civilians, including women and children, the U.S. government must be a monster, too.
In Afghanistan, ten civilians were killed — including three children, one an infant in his mother’s arms — when U.S. warplanes targeted a truck in broad daylight on an open road with women and children riding in the exposed truck bed.
In Syria, at least 80 civilians, including 30 children, were killed when U.S.-led air strikes bombed a school and a packed marketplace.
Then there was a Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz that had 12 of its medical staff and 10 of its patients, including three children, killed when a U.S. AC-130 gunship fired on it repeatedly. Some of the patients were burned alive in their hospital beds.
Yes, on this point, President Trump is exactly right: these are, indeed, the crimes of a monster.
Unfortunately, this monster — this hundred-headed gorgon that is the U.S. government and its long line of political puppets (Donald Trump and before him Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc.), who dance to the tune of the military industrial complex — is being funded by you and me.
It is our tax dollars at work here, after all.
Unfortunately, we have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used.
We have no real say, but we’re being forced to pay through the nose, anyhow, for endless wars that do more to fund the military-industrial complex than protect us, pork barrel projects that produce little to nothing, and a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.
Consider: we get taxed on how much we earn, taxed on what we eat, taxed on what we buy, taxed on where we go, taxed on what we drive, and taxed on how much is left of our assets when we die.
Indeed, if there is an absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the American taxpayer always gets ripped off.
This is true whether you’re talking about taxpayers being forced to fund high-priced weaponry that will be used against us, endless wars that do little for our safety or our freedoms, or bloated government agencies such as the National Security Agency with its secret budgets, covert agendas and clandestine activities. Rubbing salt in the wound, even monetary awards in lawsuits against government officials who are found guilty of wrongdoing are paid by the taxpayer.
Not only are American taxpayers forced to “spend more on state, municipal, and federal taxes than the annual financial burdens of food, clothing, and housing combined,” but we’re also being played as easy marks by hustlers bearing the imprimatur of the government.
With every new tax, fine, fee and law adopted by our so-called representatives, the yoke around the neck of the average American seems to tighten just a little bit more.
Everywhere you go, everything you do, and every which way you look, we’re getting swindled, cheated, conned, robbed, raided, pickpocketed, mugged, deceived, defrauded, double-crossed and fleeced by governmental and corporate shareholders of the American police state out to make a profit at taxpayer expense.
Yet as Ron Paul observed, “The Founding Fathers never intended a nation where citizens would pay nearly half of everything they earn to the government.”
We are now ruled by a government consumed with squeezing every last penny out of the population and seemingly unconcerned if essential freedoms are trampled in the process.
If you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your property and your money, you’re not free.
You’re not free if the government can seize your home and your car (which you’ve bought and paid for) over nonpayment of taxes.
You’re not free if government agents can freeze and seize your bank accounts and other valuables if they merely “suspect” wrongdoing.
And you’re certainly not free if the IRS gets the first cut of your salary to pay for government programs over which you have no say.
Somewhere over the course of the past 240-plus years, democracy has given way to kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves), and representative government has been rejected in favor of a kakistocracy (a government run by the most unprincipled citizens that panders to the worst vices in our nature: greed, violence, hatred, prejudice and war) ruled by career politicians, corporations and thieves — individuals and entities with little regard for the rights of American citizens.
As I make clear in my book, “Battlefield America: The War on the American People,” the American kleptocracy continues to suck the American people down a rabbit hole into a parallel universe in which the Constitution is meaningless, the government is all-powerful, and the citizenry is powerless to defend itself against government agents who steal, spy, lie, plunder, kill, abuse and generally inflict mayhem and sow madness on everyone and everything in their sphere.
But what if we didn’t just pull out our pocketbooks and pony up to the federal government’s outrageous demands for more money?
What if we didn’t just dutifully line up to drop our hard-earned dollars into the collection bucket, no questions asked about how it will be spent?
What if, instead of quietly sending in our checks, hoping vainly for some meager return, we did a little calculating of our own and started deducting from our taxes those programs that we refuse to support?
If we don’t have the right to decide what happens to our hard-earned cash, then we don’t have very many rights at all.
If the government can just take from you what they want, when they want, and then use it however they want, you can’t claim to be anything more than a serf in a land they think of as theirs.
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute.