Apple vs. Obama

Obama wants to force Apple to write new software to violate the rights of its customers — so that Obama can protect us from violent Muslims. Now just think about what’s wrong with this statement.

“The U.S. government wants Apple to unlock an iPhone 5C that belonged to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. The order, handed down by a U.S. magistrate judge, demands Apple (AAPL) write new software that would help the FBI get around the passcode so it can search the phone for evidence. And Apple isn’t playing ball.

The FBI was successful in getting the order issued thanks to a law from 1789 for just this kind of situation: A federal court asking a third party to help a different government entity. But that doesn’t matter — this fight has quickly become an ethical one, and both prominent individuals and corporations are making it clear where they fall based on such lines.”

Donald Trump and President Obama say all the government wants to do is track down a known terrorist’s ties. Nobody supports terrorism, other than terrorists themselves. What could be wrong with that?

The issue is not merely legal and political. It’s psychological, and ultimately ideological, as well. Put simply, the United States of America in 2016 is not the United States of 1789; and I’m not just talking about technology. The present day federal government, while not a dictatorship, is no longer a consistently rights-respecting entity honoring the spirit and the letter of the original U.S. Constitution. This is not the era of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It’s not even the era of Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. It’s the era of Obama, Hillary Clinton as well as anti-free speech Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The Obama administration asking for help in fighting a terrorist is the very same Obama administration whose Attorney General has threatened legal action against people who criticize Islam. Now think about this for a moment. The White House asks us to believe that all it wants to do is stop a terrorist. The whole point of fighting terrorism, or any enemy of the American government, is to uphold the American way of life. Yet it’s that very American way of life – freedom of speech, individual rights, property rights – under relentless and daily attack by that very same Obama administration (and most of the Congress, as well). It’s like a twisted joke.

A lot of the problem stems from the false idea, promoted by the Obama administration, that Islamic-based terrorism (which they will not even call Islamic-based terrorism) is strictly a criminal matter, and not a matter of U.S. defense. This is why we do nothing of substance militarily to fight ISIS, and we actively take steps to arm the other greatest sponsor of terrorism, Iran. As with gun control, the federal government seeks to penalize peaceful, law-abiding citizens for the actions of terrorists whose governments and political-religious ideologies that very same federal government will never criticize. It’s crystal clear, if you’re paying even a little attention, that the Obama administration cares nothing about fighting Islamic-based terrorism, and everything about increasing the power of the federal government over citizens.

Context matters. When evaluating a person or entity’s action, you must always consider the source. The idea of the Obama administration caring about protecting citizens from Muslim terrorism more than monitoring and controlling the actions of individual citizens is laughable, and totally undercut by their own words and actions over the last seven years.

Facebook, who is not always right on matters of Constitutional freedom and individual rights, got it right when it issued the following statement: “When we receive lawful requests from these authorities we comply. However, we will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems. These demands would create a chilling precedent and obstruct companies’ efforts to secure their products.”

Asking for a private company’s cooperation in providing information to track down a known enemy of everyone is one thing. Demanding that a company take intrusive, unethical and even illegal steps against the property and individual rights of its own customers as a matter of future policy is something else entirely. The White House publicly insists that it’s “simply asking for something that would have an impact on this one device.” This simply is not true. The Obama administration and the FBI are demanding that Apple write new software to serve the interest of the government over and above the interests of Apple and its customers. They blatantly seek to establish a new precedent, presumably to set the stage for harassing and persecuting citizens for offenses the Obama administration considers far worse than Islamic-based terrorism; offenses such as criticizing the Obama administration, or criticizing Islam, to name just two examples.

Americans have lost trust in their government for good reasons. A lot of that recent loss of trust has to do with the current administration in power. Individual rights are far less safe now than they were seven years ago, and they were not especially safe seven years ago. Good for Apple for taking a stand. It’s up to Americans to try and find people to elect who will uphold the Constitution, people we can actually believe when they say, “We want to protect you from bad guys.”

Maybe we can start by electing a commander-in-chief who actually thinks the bad guys are bad.

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