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, few seem to pay heed to the warning signs blaring out the message: Danger Ahead.
Much like the Titanic, we're plowing full steam ahead into a future riddled with hidden and not-so-hidden dangers, all the while ignoring the many warnings being issued about threats to our freedoms. However, 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 2017.
Mandatory quarantines without due process or informed consent: Under a new rule proposed by the CDC, 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.
Military training to deal with anti-establishment movements in megacities: As a Pentagon propaganda video that is being used to train special forces makes clear, 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 NDAA not only allows the military to indefinitely detain American citizens by placing them beyond the reach of the Constitution, but it also paves the way for the government to crack down on anyone attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights by exposing government wrongdoing.
Threat assessments: Government agents 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.
Expansive surveillance: In today's surveillance state, 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: Having already transformed America's police into extensions of the military, the DHS, DOJ 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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
Drones: As corporations and government agencies alike prepare for their part in the coming drone invasion, it won't be long before American citizens find themselves to be the target of these unmanned aerial vehicles.
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.
Censorship: 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 First Amendment freedoms.
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. 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, 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.