Warning Signs Point to More Loss of Our Liberties in 2017

 

 

By John W. Whitehead
January 03, 2017

Rutherford.org

“When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Despite our best efforts, we in the American police state seem to be stuck on repeat, reliving the same set of circumstances over and over and over again: egregious surveillance, strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, government spying, censorship, retaliatory arrests, the criminalization of lawful activities, warmongering, indefinite detentions, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, etc.

Unfortunately, as a nation we’ve become so desensitized to the government’s acts of violence, so accustomed to reports of government corruption, and so anesthetized to the sights and sounds of Corporate America marching in lockstep with the police state that few seem to pay heed to the warning signs blaring out the message: Danger Ahead.

Remember, the Titanic received at least four warnings from other ships about the presence of icebergs in its path, with the last warning issued an hour before disaster struck. All four warnings were ignored.

Like the Titanic, we’re plowing full steam ahead into a future riddled with hidden and not-so-hidden dangers. We too have been given ample warnings, only to have them drowned out by a carefully choreographed cacophony of political noise, cultural distractions and entertainment news—what the Romans termed “bread and circuses”—aimed at keeping the American people polarized, pacified and easily manipulated.

However, there is still danger ahead. The peril to our republic remains the same.

As long as a permanent, unelected bureaucracy—a.k.a. the shadow government— continues to call the shots in the halls of power and the reach of the police state continues to expand, the crisis has not been averted.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the nefarious government programs we’ll be encountering on our journey through the treacherous waters of 2017.

Mandatory quarantines without due process or informed consent: Under a new rule proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, government agents will be empowered to indefinitely detain any traveler they suspect of posing a medical risk to others without providing an explanation, subject them to medical tests without their consent, and carry out such detentions and quarantines without any kind of due process or judicial review.

Mental health assessments by non-medical personnel: As a result of a nationwide push to train a broad spectrum of so-called gatekeepers such as pastors, teachers, hair stylists, bartenders, police officers and EMTs in mental health first-aid training, more Americans are going to run the risk of being reported by non-medical personnel and detained for having mental health issues.

Tracking chips for citizens: Momentum is building for the government to be able to track citizens, whether through the use of RFID chips embedded in a national ID card or through microscopic chips embedded in one’s skin. In December 2016, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation allowing police to track individuals suffering from some form of mental disability such as Alzheimer’s or autism by way of implanted chips.

Military training to deal with anti-establishment movements in megacities: The future, according to a Pentagon training video, will be militaristic, dystopian and far from friendly to freedom. Indeed, if this government propaganda-piece that is being used to train special forces is to be believed, the only thing that can save the world from outright anarchy—in the eyes of the government, at least—is the military working in conjunction with local police. The video confirms what I’ve been warning about for so long: in the eyes of the U.S. government and its henchmen, the battlefield of the future is the American home front.

Government censorship of anything it classifies as disinformation: This year’s National Defense Authorization Act, which allocates $619 billion for war and military spending, not only allows the military to indefinitely detain American citizens by placing them beyond the reach of the Constitution, but it also directs the State Department to establish a national anti-propaganda center to “counter disinformation and propaganda.” Translation: the government plans to crack down on anyone attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights by exposing government wrongdoing, while persisting in peddling its own brand of fake news.

Threat assessments: Government agents—with the help of automated eyes and ears, a growing arsenal of high-tech software, hardware and techniques, government propaganda urging Americans to turn into spies and snitches, as well as social media and behavior sensing software—are spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports aimed at snaring potential enemies of the state. It’s the American police state rolled up into one oppressive pre-crime and pre-thought crime package.

War on cash: The government and its corporate partners are engaged in a concerted campaign to do away with large bills such as $20s, $50s, $100s and shift consumers towards a digital mode of commerce that can easily be monitored, tracked, tabulated, mined for data, hacked, hijacked and confiscated when convenient. As economist Steve Forbes concludes, “The real reason for this war on cash—start with the big bills and then work your way down—is an ugly power grab by Big Government. People will have less privacy: Electronic commerce makes it easier for Big Brother to see what we’re doing, thereby making it simpler to bar activities it doesn’t like, such as purchasing salt, sugar, big bottles of soda and Big Macs.”

Expansive surveillance: Whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, will still be listening in and tracking your behavior. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers who work with the government to monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere. In such an environment, we are all suspects to be spied on, searched, scanned, frisked, monitored, tracked and treated as if we’re potentially guilty of some wrongdoing or other.

Militarized police: Americans are finding their once-peaceful communities transformed into military outposts, complete with tanks, weaponry, and other equipment designed for the battlefield. Now, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation’s police officers into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone extraction software, Stingray devices and so much more.

Police shootings of unarmed citizens: Owing in large part to the militarization of local law enforcement agencies, not a week goes by without more reports of hair-raising incidents by police imbued with a take-no-prisoners attitude and a battlefield approach to the communities in which they serve. Indeed, as a special report by The Washington Post reveals, despite heightened awareness of police misconduct, the number of fatal shootings by officers in 2016 remained virtually unchanged from the year before.

False flags and terrorist attacks: Despite the government’s endless propaganda about the threat of terrorism, statistics show that you are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack. You are 11,000 times more likely to die from an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane. You are 1,048 times more likely to die from a car accident than a terrorist attack. You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack. And you are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist.

Endless wars to keep America’s military’s empire employed: The military industrial complex that has advocated that the U.S. remain at war, year after year, is the very entity that will continue to profit the most from America’s expanding military empire. The U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest employer, with more than 3.2 million employees. Thus far, the U.S. taxpayer has been made to shell out more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When you add in military efforts in Pakistan, as well as the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt, that cost rises to $4.4 trillion.

Attempts by the government to identify, target and punish so-called domestic “extremists”: The government’s anti-extremism program will, in many cases, be utilized to render otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities as potentially extremist. To this end, police will identify, monitor and deter individuals who exhibit, express or engage in anything that could be construed as extremist before they can become actual threats. This is pre-crime on an ideological scale.

SWAT team raids: More than 80% of American communities have their own SWAT teams, with more than 80,000 of these paramilitary raids are carried out every year. That translates to more than 200 SWAT team raids every day in which police crash through doors, damage private property, kill citizens, terrorize adults and children alike, kill family pets, assault or shoot anyone that is perceived as threatening—and most often in the pursuit of someone merely suspected of a crime, usually some small amount of drugs.

Erosions of private property: Private property means little at a time when SWAT teams and other government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, wound or kill you, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family. Likewise, if government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property.

Overcriminalization: The government’s tendency towards militarization and overcriminalization, in which routine, everyday behaviors become targets of regulation and prohibition, has resulted in Americans getting arrested for making and selling unpasteurized goat cheese, cultivating certain types of orchids, feeding a whale, holding Bible studies in their homes, and picking their kids up from school.

Strip searches and the denigration of bodily integrity: Court rulings undermining the Fourth Amendment and justifying invasive strip searches have left us powerless against police empowered to forcefully draw our blood, forcibly take our DNA, strip search us, and probe us intimately. Accounts are on the rise of individuals—men and women alike—being subjected to what is essentially government-sanctioned rape by police in the course of “routine” traffic stops.

Drones: As corporations and government agencies alike prepare for their part in the coming drone invasion—it is expected that at least 30,000 drones will occupy U.S. airspace by 2020, ushering in a $30 billion per year industry—it won’t be long before American citizens find themselves to be the target of these devices. Drones—unmanned aerial vehicles—will come in all shapes and sizes, from nano-sized drones as small as a grain of sand that can do everything from conducting surveillance to detonating explosive charges, to middle-sized copter drones that can deliver pizzas to massive “hunter/killer” Predator warships that unleash firepower from on high.

Prisons: America’s prisons, housing the largest number of inmates in the world and still growing, have become money-making enterprises for private corporations that manage the prisons in exchange for the states agreeing to maintain a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years. And how do you keep the prisons full? By passing laws aimed at increasing the prison population, including the imposition of life sentences on people who commit minor or nonviolent crimes such as siphoning gasoline.

Censorship: First Amendment activities are being pummeled, punched, kicked, choked, chained and generally gagged all across the country. Free speech zones, bubble zones, trespass zones, anti-bullying legislation, zero tolerance policies, hate crime laws and a host of other legalistic maladies dreamed up by politicians and prosecutors have conspired to corrode our core freedoms. The reasons for such censorship vary widely from political correctness, safety concerns and bullying to national security and hate crimes but the end result remains the same: the complete eradication of what Benjamin Franklin referred to as the “principal pillar of a free government.”

Fascism: As a Princeton University survey indicates, our elected officials, especially those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen. We are no longer a representative republic. With Big Business and Big Government having fused into a corporate state, the president and his state counterparts—the governors—have become little more than CEOs of the Corporate State, which day by day is assuming more government control over our lives. Never before have average Americans had so little say in the workings of their government and even less access to their so-called representatives.

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, put it best when he warned: “Take alarm at the first experiment with liberties.” Anyone with even a casual knowledge about current events knows that the first experiment on our freedoms happened long ago.

We are fast moving past the point of no return when it comes to restoring our freedoms. Worse, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we can barely see the old America with its revolutionary principles and value for independence in the rear view mirror. The only reality emerging generations will know is the one constructed for them by the powers-that-be, and you can rest assured that it will not be a reality that favors individuality, liberty or anything or anyone who challenges the status quo.

As a senior advisor to George W. Bush observed, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

In other words, the government has been operating ten steps ahead for quite some time now, and we have yet to catch up, let alone catch our breath as the tides of change swirl around us.

You’d better tighten your seatbelts, folks, because we could be in for a rough ride in 2017.

Advertisements

California Democrats Legalize Child Prostitution

Travis Allen

www.washingtonexaminer.com

Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California. Yes, you read that right.

SB 1322 bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with the intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution.

This terribly destructive legislation was written and passed by the progressive Democrats who control California’s state government with a two-thirds “supermajority.” To their credit, they are sincere in their belief that decriminalizing underage prostitution is good public policy that will help victims of sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the reality is that the legalization of underage prostitution suffers from the fatal defect endemic to progressive-left policymaking: it ignores experience, common sense and most of all human nature — especially its darker side.

The unintended but predictable consequence of how the real villains — pimps and other traffickers in human misery — will respond to this new law isn’t difficult to foresee. Pimping and pandering will still be against the law whether it involves running adult women or young girls. But legalizing child prostitution will only incentivize the increased exploitation of underage girls. Immunity from arrest means law enforcement can’t interfere with minors engaging in prostitution — which translates into bigger and better cash flow for the pimps. Simply put, more time on the street and less time in jail means more money for pimps, and more victims for them to exploit.

As Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, a national leader on human trafficking issues, told the media, “It just opens up the door for traffickers to use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them even worse.” Another prosecutor insightfully observed that if traffickers wrote legislation to protect themselves, it would read like SB 1322.

Minors involved in prostitution are clearly victims, and allowing our law enforcement officers to pick these minors up and get them away from their pimps and into custody is a dramatically better solution than making it legal for them to sell themselves for sex. That only deepens their victimization and renders law enforcement powerless to stop the cycle of abuse. SB 1322 is not simply misguided — its consequences are immoral.

Unfortunately for Californians, SB 1322 isn’t an outlier — it’s only the tip of the liberal iceberg. 2017 will see the Golden State subjected to wave after wave of laws taking effect that are well-intentioned but disastrous embodiments of progressive utopianism.

One such new Democratic-authored law throws open the door to even greater government dependency on the part of the poor by rolling back proven reforms. In 1996, welfare reform was one of the greatest social legislation achievements of the last century, ending the lifetime welfare system and putting millions of Americans on the road to self-reliance and self-respect. In its wake, California lawmakers passed a law barring increased payments to women who have more children while still on welfare, in order to encourage women to achieve independence before having more children.

It’s a tough provision that works — which was apparently irrelevant to Gov. Jerry Brown, who just signed a bill repealing that prohibition. Henceforth, no matter how many children someone has while on welfare, the state government will ratchet up payments with each child, with no limit. Incredibly, the Democratic author of this bill claims she wants to discourage women from having more children while on welfare — but instead passed legislation replacing that effective reform with a law that restarts the cycle of welfare dependency.

In similarly inverted fashion, state Democrats have taken action to make California’s youth unemployment rate — one of the nation’s highest — even worse by boosting the minimum wage. It is an empirical fact that minimum-wage hikes increase unemployment among those who are the least skilled and most in need of entry-level jobs — our youth. Like other misguided liberal policies, this latest minimum-wage legislation will only lead to fewer jobs for our youth.

And the list goes on. Thanks to other new Democratic-sponsored bills, an estimated 50,000 felons will be voting in the next state election, many from their jail cells; if you go hunting with a buddy and lend him your shotgun, you’ll be breaking the law; state employees will be forbidden from traveling on business to states which prohibit transgender bathrooms. The parade of inane and idiotic legislation in California is virtually unending.

The common thread running through this avalanche of liberal-left legislation is the total absence of common sense and a stubborn insistence on ignoring human nature. On a certain level, we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, progressives still believe eliminating poverty is a matter of spending enough money on enough government programs. Despite spending $15 trillion on anti-poverty and welfare programs since 1965, our national poverty rate is actually slightly higher today than it was then.

California is loaded with natural resources and talented people who want to work hard, be successful and enjoy the fruits of that success. The tragedy is that California is in the grip of liberal politicians who believe we can help underage prostitutes by making it legal for them to be prostitutes; who believe we can reduce welfare dependence by increasing opportunities to become dependent; and who think we can increase employment by making it more expensive to hire people. California is ruled by a political party that places a higher priority on dictating to public schools their mascot choices than enabling parents to send their kids to the school of their choice.

Do Brown and the Democrat politicians behind this wave of bad legislation mean well? I believe they do, but unfortunately they’re only succeeding in proving that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It’s the bad luck of Californians that they’re dragging the rest of our state down that road with them.

Travis Allen, a Republican, represents the 72nd Assembly District in the California legislature. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

Obama Takes Parting Shot at Gun Owners with Social Security Disarmament Ruling

4_p071816ps-0408

All smiles? Just don’t need help with your finances, gentlemen… (Photo: The White House)

Making “good” on a warning issued in this column a year-and-a-half ago, Barack Obama’s Social Security Administration issued its final ruling, reclassifying some of the most vulnerable citizens among us literally as “mental defectives,” and thus ineligible to own a gun. The ruling applies to recipients of disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and virtually ignores over 91,000 public input comments, most condemning the move.

“[T]he SSA did not attempt to answer most of the legal questions raised about its authority,” the National Rifle Association observed. “Incredibly, the SSA also brushed aside empirical evidence the NRA submitted suggesting that the proposed rule would have no public safety benefit … The administration further acknowledges that the rule would not provide those subject to its terms the ability to defend their suitability to possess firearms before the actual loss of rights took place.”

This can happen because a citizen”adjudicated” by SSA* needs help managing finances, something everyone unable to decipher all the various federal, state and county/municipal tax codes and reporting requirements and schedules could well admit to. That can now be used to make certain these citizens are defenseless.

And that must be viewed across the backdrop of recent headlines such as:

We could go on, but the point has been made. And would a gun have made a difference in any of these reported incidents? The question should be “Whose decision is that to make?”

Americans who have not been adjudicated as posing a danger to themselves and others are being denied a fundamental right without the due process that would be afforded criminal suspects. Nor is it clear how rights could be restored, and how anyone in need of financial affairs assistance would even be able to afford a challenge or be in a position to try. Even less clear are incentives for “mental health professionals” to risk a liability lawsuit by giving officially-designated “prohibited persons” a clean bill of health – particularly noting the extreme anti-gun agenda dominating their profession.

What’s apparent is those in power positions representing themselves as “the government” want to disarm the citizenry and this is one way to make incremental gains toward that goal using a divide-and-conquer strategy. From the monopoly of violence point of view, disarming veterans makes sense, because these are people who have been trained to arms. And disarming all “civilians” of Social Security age who meet the arbitrary disqualifying criteria is another way to diminish a demographic that includes – or will include before too long – many, including Oath Keepers, who are among the strongest proponents of the right of the people to keep and bear arms

* Correction made in response to a Facebook critique by a former SSA adjudicator. I’ll be looking at this in light of that comment to see if further changes are warranted.