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Frankly, there is widespread dread in this country. Nothing feels the same anymore. Much of this has to do with the current occupant of the White House.

Surveillance, disregard for traditional American values and now – reports that the First Lady is asking school kids to monitor their parents – all add up to a scary new reality in which the State controls all.

Is this America?

Cheryl Chumley wondered and her research led to a new book, “Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality.” It is a chilling account of how this country became a “de facto” police state. In other words, that’s already a reality, not merely possibility.

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Chumley, a journalist and fellow with The Phillips Foundation, doesn’t feel the present situation is necessarily permanent, and her thoughts on reclaiming our freedoms is hopeful enough to offset the dark tactics being used by the government this very minute.

For example, even a mundane activity like purchasing items at a store can lead to the third degree from a clerk. They ask for phone number, email address, etc. When questioned, they say, “Oh, it’s just routine.”

Not according to Chumley: “It’s not all harmless store routine. Collecting and processing personal data is big business, and the private sector is among the worst offenders when it comes to asking citizens to relinquish their personal information. Moreover, plenty of privacy advocates agree: Americans generally don’t know how much information businesses are collecting, what they’re doing with it, or even why the concern is so great.”

The intense focus on data collection should alarm every American.

Or how about the 2012 story of a former Marine, living in Virginia, who was tossed into jail and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation by law enforcement. Why? He had posted unflattering comments about the government on his Facebook page.

In “Police State USA,” Chumley catalogues and documents a vast amount of stories that point to the tyrannical efforts of the U.S. government.

Taking on a wide variety of subjects and examples, Chumley brings a thorough understanding of the breadth of tactics used by the government.

In discussing presidential executive orders (though they had been used since Washington, the term “executive order” did not become used until 1862), Chumley spells out the potential dangers: “Nowadays, executive orders are signed by the president – sometimes with much fanfare and publicity –and then assigned a number by the Office of the Federal Register. They’re then printed in the Federal Register and formally recorded in the section ‘Title 3: The President, Code of Federal Regulations.’

“Regardless, they’re still not found in the enumerated powers for the president in the Constitution. Neither are presidential proclamation and presidential memorandums, two other means the executive branch has at its disposal to enact policies without legislative approval.”

Of course, a source of major concern now even to average Americans is the cracking down on religious expression. Chumley cites several instances.

Who can forget the 2012 incarceration of a Phoenix pastor who was jailed for two months for … holding prayer services in his home? Local authorities said he was violating “sixty-seven different zoning laws,” and holding such services just wouldn’t do.

Still, according to Chumley, all is not lost. There is still time to circle back and reclaim the freedoms taken by an overreaching federal government.

The author of “Police State USA” advocates sharing information about excesses, and cites many examples of groups (and yes, some media!) bird-dogging public officials who lie. Needless to say, President Obama is at the forefront of a great many deceptions, and Chumley points out that when these falsehoods are made known to the general public, Obama’s approval numbers go into freefall. A politically damaged president is less likely to overreach.

Further, some of the mainstream media now apparently get it (the grabbing of personal freedoms is a universally hated method of governing). In November 2013, the Washington Post’s Fact-Checker site “issued to Obama and his press secretary, Jay Carney, a ‘Pinocchios’ rating of 3 (out of 4) – the second-highest category for blatant lies – for telling Americans that insurance companies, not Obamacare regulations, were at fault for cancelling policies.”

Chumley also (humorously) points out that even ideological opponents can have their fill of government interference and lying, as well. She cites Chris “Tingles” Matthews, who in October 2013 flew into a rage during his show, all because he wanted answers on Benghazi.

So there you have it: A nation bathed in freedom doesn’t give it up so easily. Pushback, as Chumley expertly points out, does have an effect. We are not yet at a point of no return.

I found “Police State USA” to be hugely informative, even hopeful and buoyant as a call to action (dare I say, call to arms?) in protecting the precious freedoms that have made America … yes, exceptional.

Even if our current leaders don’t believe it.

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Discover how real and relevant Bible prophecy is to you with Jim Fletcher’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these end times”

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