If you are a conservative Republican, and you are just now hearing about the government's ability to collect your telephone calls, email and Internet activity; call yourself uninformed. If you're a fire-breathing liberal who is disappointed with President Obama for continuing the use of data mining procedures that were really started way back in 1978; then you’ve had your head in the sand for five years. If you’re a tin- foil libertarian like Rand Paul and think that these procedures violate the 4th Amendment, then you have to make a case of what constitutes" unreasonable search and seizure” in today’s world.
It's a good thing that I take my blood pressure pills first thing in the morning before I turn on “Morning Joe.” I don't know if people like Joe Scarborough and Bill O’Reilly are really that dumb or they are just playing a role to increase their ratings. I remember when all the talking heads of Fox News wanted to charge the New York Times with treason for publishing the first stories about the Bush Administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program called NSA. This morning Joe Scarborough stood with the New York Times because they wrote that President Obama lost all is credibility on this issue. Joe tried to make a case that legislators had no idea all this was in the Patriot Act, and that's where stupidity comes in for O’Reilly and Scarborough. Bill O’Reilly tried to say that the Obama Administration would use this information to go after conservatives, as if if a respected judge would sign off on that.
The Patriot Act allows the government to monitor library books that are checked out;purchases and much more but congressman fear losing an election if they vote against the Patriot Act. Joe Scarborough is trying to redeem himself because he supported the Iraq war and torture. Today, he's trying to say that Obama is to the right of George W. Bush but as someone on the panel said" Obama didn’t invade a country nor did he torture anyone.” One important difference between Bush and Obama is transparency. President Bush had to be dragged from his illegal acts to something more reasonable.
I certainly knew that the telecoms were cooperating with the government, and I also know that the telecoms wanted and received immunity for doing so. I can’t remember if I blogged about it, but I remember reading where the government was asking Apple to leave a backdoor open for the government to tie into their software.
For all of those who say that you don't mind that the government has access to all your communication; I don't believe that. We all lock our doors at night ,use passwords and some of us refuse to use Facebook. I also know that some people don’t mind what the police or government is able to obtain because their life is an open book.
There is another side to this issue, and I'm sure the president has considered it. If we were to get attacked again the president's detractors would point to this program and say, “ you had the ability to keep us safe by using this electronic surveillance, but you chose not to; shameful you should be impeached.” Some people are calling for a national debate, but that’s like closing the gates after the cows got out. I don’t see the government getting rid of these programs, but perhaps they can leave all those phone numbers on the carrier’s servers until they get the proper warrants to access them. In the meantime, we will be hearing Rand Paul and others baying at the moon but what have they’ve got to lose since they will never be president.
We finally got a dose of reality but it took six IRS hearings to get there. A congressman explained the intent of the original law to the new appointed IRS Commissioner that got to the heart of the matter. The congressman explained and the commissioner agreed that Congress makes law and the IRS writes the regulations but they must match the law. The congressman said “ remove the word “primarily” and leave in“exclusively” from the regs to make it comply with the original law.” This took the Republicans by surprise because now the applications that were approved will have to be rescinded if the commissioner acts.
This issue is about trust. President Bush and Dick Cheney took our civil liberties to a different level in the name of security, and we allowed it. We didn’t hold our legislators feet to the fire because fewer taxes and smaller government were the primary goals. We then elected President Obama, who said he would rein in the Bush policies, but we remained silent when he doubled the troops in Afghanistan and now some are shocked because he is using the same intrusive tactics as the previous administration. Truth is, if Rand Paul (Lord help us) were elected president, he would be continuing this program because of the consequences of completely canceling this program. After the Boston bombing, many on the right were going after the FBI for not digging into the suspect’s life before the bombing. The FBI was following the law. Some were even angry about the city of Boston being locked down by the police. I have no doubt that this issue will make its way into a campaign against Obamacare.
Important to note that the government is not listening to your phone calls, and the Internet surveillance applies to foreign sources, but we have to remember ,the government can get a warrant (without your permission) to wiretap your phone, so we are already threading an acceptable thin line anyway.