In today’s America, Republicans and Democrats in all three branches of government are working tirelessly on a never-ending list of ways to strip us of our God-given right to liberty in the name of safety. And it’s a sad fact that many Americans are so constitutionally ignorant and/or indifferent that they are growing more willing to sacrifice liberty on the altar of bigger, more tyrannical government with each passing day.
Our present condition didn’t happen in a vacuum. Rather, it is the culmination of sequential events occurring over the hundreds of years since 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in support of the Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of the British Crown.
Recently, we’ve witnessed an intensification in the attack on liberty, most notably in the aftermath of 9/11 when our God-given rights were not destroyed by terrorists, but by George W. Bush and a Unibrow Party Congress. Together, they vastly expanded Big Brother’s surveillance and investigative powers and eliminated the constitutional protections designed to keep them from violating our rights.
While Obama carried the anti-liberty torch throughout his presidency with proposals like the U.S. Cyber Command to address cyber security and using the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “monitor” our elections, these ideas never saw the light of day thanks to a GOP majority.
Unfortunately, the GOP majority sings a different tune in the Age of Trump. For example, Trump and the GOP completed Obama’s dream of the U.S. Cyber Command and partnered it with the NSA — allegedly a temporary arrangement — and they have been working since 2018 on a DHS reauthorization bill that will make government-monitored national elections a reality.
In an article this past October, I documented some of the ways Trump is a threat to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But ever since the 2016 election, he and the GOP have been responsible for an explosion of proposals that will make warrantless government spying on Americans standard operating procedure. Here are a few examples:
- November 2017 – The GOP-controlled Congress teamed up with Democrats to create a national database of children and parents, making it possible to establish “a system of lifelong tracking of individuals by the federal government.”
- December 2017 – Trump proposed the creation of a global spy network that would report only to him and operate “totally off the books.”
- January 2018 – The GOP-controlled House introduced the Securing America’s Future Act, a bill allegedly designed to address illegal immigration. The bill required the creation of a biometric National ID card that could be used as a tracking device.
- January 2018 – Trump and the GOP reauthorized FISA 702, thus allowing the U.S. government to continue spying on anyone “outside the US.”
- August 2019 – Trump demanded that the NSA’s unconstitutional domestic spying programs — PATRIOT Act and USA FREEDOM Act — be permanently reauthorized.
- August 2019 – Trump proposed the use of in-home technology such as Apple Watches, Amazon Echo, and Google Home to spy on people in their homes in a search for people considered to exhibiting “violent behavior.”
- November 2019 – The House passed the Safe Drivers Act, a bill that lays the foundation for building a nationwide driver surveillance system. SDA was based on a 2015 law passed by Obama and the GOP-controlled Congress to help DEA track drug dealers and a 2018 law passed by Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with “immigration control.”
Earlier this week, Trump demanded via tweet that Apple Corp. give the government backdoor access to iPhones as a tool to fight terrorism following the shooting at the naval air station in Pensacola, FL last month.
We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2020
Trump’s attack on Apple for not giving the government access to cell phone data isn’t new. In February 2016, then-candidate Trump called for a boycott of the tech giant after the company refused to cooperate with government authorities wanting to hack into the iPhone of one of the shooters involved in an attack at a San Bernardino, CA community center.
The war against terrorism has been foundational to government’s goal of expanding its power to spy on Americans, so it’s no all that surprising to see Trump and the GOP play the terrorism card as an excuse to advance their liberty-killing agenda.
The administration is asking for a backdoor to access encrypted data. Creating such backdoors makes everyone vulnerable to abuses by our government, hostile foreign governments, and cyber criminals. Pres. Trump should be praising strong encryption, not working to undermine it. https://t.co/Brd8GrkaQD
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 15, 2020
As the days grow darker, we can’t allow government’s same ol’ same ol’ behavior lull us into a state of complacency where we become unaware of the serious threat facing liberty in America. Instead, we need to be like the Founders: pledging our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to ensure our independence from tyrannical government.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative.