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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Guess What Houston?

“Never trust a government that doesn't trust its own citizens with guns.” Benjamin Franklin

 Recent remarks by House Speaker John Boehner that an immigration reform bill would pass the House by the end of the year caused some idle speculation that the NSA must have provided information about the Speaker to blackmail him into supporting it. Obviously, there Is no evidence to support that theory, but it is easy to see why the thought might cross your mind. It has even been suggested that the once secret NSA surveillance program might explain Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ profoundly flawed ruling on Obamacare. Again, there is no evidence to support the notion, but the thought does reside in the back of many minds.

President Obama, discussing the NSA wiretap issue, recently remarked that “If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.” Well guess what Houston? We have a problem.

Thomas Jefferson warned us that “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” Why am I not surprised that Barack Obama and Thomas Jefferson are not of the same mind on this issue? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Barack Obama recently we should reject those voices that warn that “tyranny is lurking around every corner”, once again disputing Jefferson’s contention that “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”. It is not an accident that the only President in history to tell the American people to not be fearful of tyranny is the one most intent on committing it.

It boggles the mind that Barack Obama could assure us that we should trust our government after the lies his administration told us regarding Benghazi, as we find that the IRS has been abusing its power in an effort to intimidate Obama’s political opposition, that the EPA has been using illegal private email accounts to avoid public scrutiny of their communications, and as his sitting Attorney General repeatedly lies under oath and is not held accountable.

 When the federal government, run by politicians who are guided primarily by their lust for power, takes upon itself the authority to spy upon the citizens with no regard for the restraints of the Constitution, there is no room left for trust. Regardless of how well intentioned the government was in collecting this data, no violation of the Constitution is ever justified or necessary, nor should it be tolerated.

Yes, it is sometimes necessary to collect data, listen to phone calls and read emails, but there are limits to how that can be done. The 4th Amendment protects citizens from such intrusions into our private lives, and by granting a blanket warrant the FISA courts effectively negated those protections. 

President Obama said "You can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy …”   The stated purpose of the program was to protect us from terrorists, but the purpose of the Constitution is to protect us from the government. Although the threat of terrorist attacks is very real, it would seem that attacks on our freedom from our own government are a much more common event.


  1. More likely Boner is just caving to the Republican's actual constituency, big business interests. The problem is that the corporatist left have already co-opted big business so the Republicans were left at the alter some time ago but can't get over the affair being over.

    1. You just contradicted yourself...

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  3. My apologies for the formatting issues on the last paragraph. Apparently, Blogspot doesn't like that particular part of what I said.