Eternal Vigilance Is The Cost Of Freedom

While we were waiting for Donald Trump to become President, there were some things going on in Washington that we need to look at. At the time these things may not have seemed important, but in view of recent events, they need to be re-examined.

Yesterday PJ Media reported on a New York Times story from January 12, 2017,.

The New York Times reported:

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

PJ Media states:

Let’s call the roster of the bad guys:

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed the new rules, permitting the N.S.A. to disseminate “raw signals intelligence information,” on Jan. 3, after the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., signed them on Dec. 15, according to a 23-page, largely declassified copy of the procedures.

Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.

Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.

This is essentially a land mine placed in the path of the Trump Administration by the Obama Administration. If I told you how angry I was about this, this blog would no longer be family-friendly.  I hope Americans can put partisan politics aside and realize how damaging this is to the country and to the Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans. Former President Obama has gone out of his way to make things difficult for President Trump. This is not appropriate. It is petty, vindictive and unpatriotic. If laws were not broken, there cannot be a legal penalty, but there should be a public censure of some sort. I have always felt that former President Obama did not understand America. His actions in the last months of his presidency and his actions since leaving office have convinced me that is true.

How To Solve A Problem

The first step in solving any problem is identifying the problem. Once you have identified a problem, it can be broken down into small parts and easily solved. That is exactly what needs to happen with the current state of the American military and our treatment of our soldiers and veterans.

On Saturday The Daily Signal posted an article about the steps President Trump is taking to rebuild our military.

The article reports:

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an exceptionally important executive order initiating both the beginning of the rebuilding of the U.S. armed forces and the fulfillment of a campaign promise.

Because he signed this order on the same day he signed the order on immigration it hasn’t yet gotten the attention it deserves. That’s a shame.

The order, titled “Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces,” has not yet been officially posted to the White House website. But a draft of the order, accompanied by news reports, gives us enough details to be able to assess it.

The order directs Secretary of Defense James Mattis to conduct a 30-day review of the readiness of the armed forces to assess their ability to conduct the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, and other forms of radical Islamic terrorism, as well as near peer competitors and regional adversaries.

The article includes some disturbing information:

The Heritage 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength assessed our overall military capability as “marginal, trending towards weak” because of many years of budget cuts and overuse. Our assessment found that the U.S. Army today is the smallest it has been since the start of World War II; the Navy is the smallest it has been since World War I; and the Air Force suffers from crippling shortages of pilots and maintenance personnel. For example, the average age of the Air Force’s planes is 27 years old.

The evaluation and rebuilding of our military could and should have been done through Congress, but unfortunately Congress has chosen not to make military preparedness a priority. Hopefully President Trump will be able to lead Congress to a place where they understand the necessity of a strong American military.