Dec 13, 2010

Dawn of a Surveillance Society

Todd StrandbergBy Todd Strandberg
Rapture Ready

I am very alarmed by a trend I see taking place in America. Hardly a day goes by when I don't read of some new plan by the government to take greater control of our lives.

A few weeks back, I reported on the Transportation Security Administration's new rules that require the flying public to either pass through body-scanning machines that show a naked image of themselves to a TSA agent or endure a physical pat-down that would qualify as sexual groping. I must live in a nation of exhibitionists, because it appears that people are willing to tolerate this massive invasion of personal privacy.

Thomas Jefferson is credited for coining the motto, "The best government is that which governs least." He said this because he knew what would happen if there were no check of the power of government: Instead of the government being here to serve us, we would be here to serve it.

Here are just a few examples of the power grabs that have made headlines just this year:

  • Starting in 2011, all U.S. payment providers will be required by the IRS to file a report on all merchants who receive over $20,000 in gross sales volume and two hundred payments or more.

  • The FBI is now tracking credit card transactions of individuals under investigation; these subpoenas are known as “HotWatch” orders. The FBI claims to have the authority to do this, but is not backing up the claims with any act of Congress or any ruling by the courts.

  • Coin dealers are required to track and report all purchases of gold and silver that exceed $600 during a calendar year.

  • Anyone with $10,000 in assets in a foreign country is required to let the government know of those holdings.

  • The Feds have seized dozens of Internet domain names. The websites were nabbed for enabling copyright infringement or selling counterfeits of trademarked goods. The troubling part is that government agencies are now able to confiscate domains without warning.

  • Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps proposed that the government create new regulations to promote diversity in news programming. In a speech, he suggested that broadcasters be subject to a new "public values test" every four years.
The branch of government that has me the most concerned is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It was created as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks. Rather than focusing on protecting our borders, this agency has developed a severe case of mission creep.

I found it spooky to read that the DHS head, Janet Napolitano, is hooking up with Wal-Mart. She is bringing the agency's "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign to hundreds of Wal-Mart stores across the country. In a video message, the secretary asks Wal-Mart shoppers to contact local law enforcement if they see suspicious activity. What we have here is the genesis of what has been the bedrock of most communist governments – neighbor spying on neighbor.

The DHS seems to be following the same path that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler's SS. The original purpose of the SS was to act solely as Hitler's personal bodyguards. From its small beginnings, this outfit grew into a monstrosity. By the end of World War II, the SS had over a million members, and it was responsible for three-fourths of the war crimes committed by the Nazis.

I'm wondering where all the conspiracy folks who were in such great abundance in the 1980s and 1990s are now. These encroachments on our freedom should be their bread and butter. I went to look at the site of a gentleman who was very active a decade ago in warning against Big Brother, and to my surprise, I found his domain to be in a state of neglect. The watchmen seem to have abandoned their post, so the devil is allowed to operate freely.

I'm still mystified over how all these new rules can flourish without a major crisis as a catalyst. As this stuff is going on, I’m asking myself, "Didn’t the Republicans just win back the House?" It chills me to think what would happen if we suffered a major economic collapse - an event that could occur at any moment.

We know from Bible prophecy that much of the world will come under dictatorial rule. It is my prayer that the U.S. be the last to see freedom overrun. Unless we as Christians are willing to stand against the tide of government intrusion, we will find ourselves living in a nation we don't recognize.

Related Links
Operation “HotWatch” tracks credit card use - Atlanta Journal Constitution (Blog)
Obama spies, freedom dies - WorldNetDaily (Roger Hedgecock)
IRS Under Scrutiny After Pro-Israel Group Cries Discrimination - FOX News
TSA Gets Up Close and Personal - The New American
'See something, say something' campaign expanded to federal buildings -
Are You Rapture Ready?: Signs, Prophecies, Warnings, Threats, and Suspicions that the Endtime is Now - Todd Strandberg (Book)