By Aaron Kesel
The saying, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone really can’t apply to former President Donald Trump as he was as bad as the presidents before him, with the only exception of not starting a war. But maybe we might wish in the future that Trump was president due to the disdain held by his political opposition which prevented him from passing draconian laws and doing things without heavy scrutiny.
Joe Biden’s administration, on the other hand, appears to have full clearance to introduce laws so Orwellian it would be shocking if they didn’t get these ideas straight from the pages of George Orwell’s infamous book 1984. Biden is not Trump, constantly being hounded by a media that scrutinizes his every move. Politically empowered, Biden’s administration will be able to get away with far more than Trump’s admin ever could.
Trump’s rule was authoritarian, and some may even say somewhat of a dictatorship with the added caveat from groups like QAnon and diehard MAGA followers who would argue with you even if Trump was publicly seen committing a crime; in their mind the man could do no wrong, despite Trump being friends with Jeffrey Epstein and being accused of multiple accounts of rape by numerous women. But that’s a story for another day.
Since Biden has taken office there hasn’t been a peep from the mainstream press about how Biden’s administration in his first two weeks alone has been far more fascist than Trump’s admin ever was. It’s quite shocking what proposals are coming out to be honest with you. The police state has expanded in a matter of weeks. Biden recently signed a mandate to require individuals to wear masks on federal property, for one. And if that’s not enough, he’s hoping to pass a further “domestic terrorism” law, following the Capitol attack last month.
Many, including mainstream media NBC News, warn that using the “domestic terrorism” label will allow surveillance of unintended targets. NBC expressed that “our country’s leaders are invoking systems that have been — and will continue to be — used to target and harm Black and brown people.” But let’s take race out of the conversation and focus more on the different types of groups and ideologies that will be watched. I am willing to bet it will be the same ones that Obama’s DHS designated.
Obama’s DHS didn’t hesitate to call those who believe in conspiracy theories potential right-wing terrorists, stating that the following points might make someone a terrorist in a study by the University of Maryland, which was funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security.
- Americans who “are fiercely nationalistic, as opposed to universal and international in orientation”
- Americans considering themselves “anti-global”
- Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”
- Americans who are “reverent of individual liberty (especially their right to own guns and be free of taxes)”
- Americans exhibiting a belief in “conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty and a belief that one’s personal and/or national way of life is under attack”
More so, future presidents could expand upon that, targeting people protesting police brutality, ICE and immigration reform. In fact, the Trump administration did monitor people protesting police brutality and protesting the administration’s separation of immigrant families. Congress also created a federal definition of “domestic terrorism” in the Patriot Act that has been used to disproportionately and unjustly target individuals due to religious or political views, people with mental, intellectual disabilities, indigent people and others, with surveillance, investigation and in some cases prosecution. Basically, if you have a difference of opinion and want to stand up and protest you could be labeled as a “domestic terrorist” due to how broad the language is. Unless clearly defined, it can and will be exploited against anyone.
Now, Biden can’t force states to pass a law requiring masks but he can urge states to do the same, and if you are on federal property now and without a mask you risk facing fines and even possible jail time. But while Biden can’t force you to wear a mask, he can impose a domestic terrorism law that will enhance the current police state in other ways. Although, the CDC has also now announced that masks are required to be worn on public transit as well. The CDC rules apply to any passengers, operators, or staff of any “aircraft, train, road vehicle, vessel…or other means of transport,” including “rideshares meaning arrangements where passengers travel in a privately owned road vehicle driven by its owner in connection with a fee or service.” The order also applies “on the premises of a transportation hub,” defined as “any airport, bus terminal, marina, seaport or other port, subway station, terminal (including any fixed facility at which passengers are picked-up or discharged), train station, U.S. port of entry, or any other location that provides transportation subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.”
Most may forget, but Joe Biden used to brag that he practically wrote the Patriot Act, the Bush-era law that allowed for increased government surveillance over citizenry. Biden was regularly claiming the Patriot Act was his own idea, bragging in an interview with the New Republic: “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill.” In fact, key parts of the Bush administration’s national security bill were taken from provisions contained in Biden’s own 1995 anti-terrorism bill which was originally called the Omnibus Counter-terrorism Act.
If that’s not enough, while discussing the Patriot Act, Biden said that the bill was “measured and prudent” during an approving speech of the Act on the Senate floor. Yes, Biden’s ambitions and his administration’s own proposals for the country are well known and it’s not pretty. Trump may have given police military weapons under his presidency, but the Biden Congress is trying to expand digital surveillance with an online snitch police policy which aims to punish companies for not monitoring and reporting their users who espouse anti-government rhetoric deemed suspicious, even if peaceful.
Activist Post Recommended Book: Snitch Culture: How Citizens Are Turned Into The Eyes And Ears Of The State
In 1996, Biden also voted for Bob Dole’s Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act which was deemed by legal scholar Lincoln Caplan to be “one of the worst statutes ever passed by Congress,” as it undermined habeas corpus.
Meanwhile, the “See Something, Say Something Online Act,” which was introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) a Democrat and not Trump, while co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R–Texas), is the latest attack on the FCC law known as Section 230, as well as freedom of speech and online privacy itself. The piece of legislation states that any service provider—that means ISPs, social media giants, small blogs, podcast hosting services, app stores, consumer review platforms, independent political forums, crowdfunding and Patreon-style sites, dating apps, newsletter services, and way more—will lose Section 230 protections if they fail to report any known user activity that might be deemed “suspicious,” within 30 days.
“Suspicious” content is defined as any post, private message, comment, tag, transaction, or “any other user-generated content or transmission” that government officials determine “commits, facilitates, incites, promotes, or otherwise assists the commission of a major crime.” Major crimes are defined as anything involving violence, domestic, or international terrorism, to a “serious drug offense.” Yes, the Biden administration’s Congress is attempting to take the war on drugs online.
So basically, anything the government says is “suspicious” needs to be reported by internet services and providers or they risk having their Section 230 protections stripped, which is the law that is supposed to protect businesses from being responsible for anything their users post online in their first place. So you might as well say that the See Something Say Something Online Act erodes Section 230 while trying to say the companies still have those protections. Mind you this is a bipartisan bill being pushed by both a Republican and Democrat, proving that if it’s about going after our rights both political parties can find a way to agree. Oh and the best part is if this does pass into law, a new agency will be created dedicated to accepting these Suspicious Transmission Activity Report (STARs) on suspicious individuals from companies; therefore, expanding big government.
But don’t expect Biden to turn down a bill like that. Joe Biden’s record on privacy issues extends back to at least 1994 when, as a U.S. Senator from Delaware, he introduced the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The law required telecom carriers and manufacturers to design their equipment and services to ensure that they were accessible to surveillance by law enforcement, i.e., requiring them to create a backdoor. It was later expanded to cover broadband Internet and VoIP traffic. In other words, Biden is the single reason for encryption; and Phil Zimmerman, who created Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), an encryption program to secure communications, stated just that.
CALEA additionally forces cell phone manufactures like Apple or Samsung to hand over hardware and software designs to law enforcement with a warrant.
If snitching on your neighbor wasn’t enough, how about a reality czar, which might as while be called the Ministry of Truth? Recently the New York Times reported that experts agreed we need a “reality czar”, as insane and dystopian as that sounds. The New York Times further said that Biden should set up a “cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by this “reality czar.”
If you think that’s far fetched, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said that Congress is looking at controlling misinformation by “reining in our media environment.”
“I do think that several members of Congress and some of my discussions have brought up media literacy because that is a part of what happened here,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a livestream. Adding, “And we’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so that you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation. It’s one thing to have differing opinions, but it’s another thing entirely to just say things that are false.”
If these surveillance, domestic terrorism and other crazy bills that reduce our freedom and liberties pass in the House and Senate, they will surely be signed into law by Joe Biden without much resistance or pushback given his earlier history with the Patriot Act as discussed above.
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At the same time, though, Biden argued that metadata is “very, very intrusive” to the privacy of Americans, and asked perhaps the single most important question about the National Security Agency’s domestic spying in light of the revelations by Edward Snowden. In 2006, Biden said, “I don’t have to listen to your phone calls to know what you’re doing. If I know every single phone call that you made, I am able to determine every single person you talked to. I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive.” Adding, “The reason question here is, what do they do with this information that they collect that does not have anything to do with Al Qaeda?” It’s important to mention, however, that if Biden’s own Patriot Act didn’t pass, that surveillance never would have happened, so this is really just crocodile tears.
The former Vice President also once warned and threatened foreign countries that there would be “consequences” if they granted NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum. Besides Snowden, Biden has also called journalist Julian Assange a “hi-tech terrorist.” However, Biden claimed that if Assange had received the leaked material and he had not been working directly with Chelsea Manning to get it, he would be considered a journalist.
“If he conspired to get these classified documents with a member of the U.S. military that is fundamentally different than if someone drops on your lap … you are a press person, here is classified material,” Biden said in 2010.
Thus it’s anyone’s guess what Biden would decide to do as President if any additional Orwellian bills come to his desk. One thing is for sure: he has already discussed backing an anti-domestic terrorism law. But whether he would further erode our privacy and domestic liberties remains to be seen. However, we know that Biden’s plans for immigration dwarf Trump’s by comparison when it comes to expanding surveillance. According to a report in The Nation, a leaked text of Biden’s immigration legislative proposal fact sheet to journalists, contains a section entitled: “Supplement existing border resources with technology and Infrastructure.” In that section it calls for additional funding to, “enhance the ability to process asylum seekers” and “manage and secure the southern border between ports of entry that focuses on flexible solutions and technologies that expand the ability to detect illicit activity.” This is essentially a virtual border wall formed with surveillance technology, drones and facial recognition cameras.
In conclusion, this author predicts that while Trump was the president who openly implemented various fascist policies, Biden will be the president who expands both the police state and surveillance much further than Trump ever could due to lack of media scrutiny and full congressional support. Establishment media will likely ignore Biden as he passes fascist policies that take away more and more of our rights in the name of the excuse of fighting terrorism, domestic extremism and protecting national security. Trump was the tumor to the nation, and Biden will be the cancer, there is not much of a difference except party affiliation. Trump paved the way for Biden; and as Danny Glover said prior to the Biden presidency: this is America “don’t catch you slippin’ now.”
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post.
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