You do not have to wear tin foil on your head or keep a fully supplied bunker in your back yard to be suspicious of the government these days. In fact, those who are not at least somewhat skeptical of what the government is doing are the ones who at best are in a state of denial and at worse delusional. This is not to say there is a grand conspiracy to deny American’s their freedoms, only that their protection is not a top priority for many who are sworn to defend them. If fact liberty is as disposable as yesterday’s news for those who seem to think there are more important things to tend to. This seems especially true when it comes to the right to privacy and freedom from government intrusion.
Spying on ones own people use to be the playground of despots. Countries like China, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela are experts in the art of internal information gathering. Apparently they are no longer the only ones. Lately America, the Land of Free, has been doing a little Big Brother activity of its own.
The U.S. government spying on its citizens is nothing new. This has been especially true during times of war or civil unrest. President Wilson set up a network for neighbors to report on neighbors, Roosevelt was also paranoid about domestic espionage and even locked up U.S. citizens without warrant or even cause. Presidents Kennedy and Nixon used the FBI as spies against civil rights and anti-war protestors. All these incidences are part of American history and were subsequently condemned by society. Today’s domestic data gathering is different both in scale and the methods employed.
A new intrusive dragnet style form of spying is taking hold in America. It started with doctors being encouraged to ask targeted questions of patients and report the answers. Then it was school children proposed to act as parental spies. Now we have the IRS illegally confiscating tens of millions of private medical records and refusing to give them back. Using their power to harass Obama’s opponents and target conservative organizations. The latest revelations about the NSA are only fuel to a raging fire of government mistrust.
The massive gathering of metadata on every American in the United States is both unprecedented and uncalled for. Unfortunately it does not end there. Despite initial claims that American phone calls were not being intercepted without a warrant the NSA had to admit they were. Apparently the court overseeing them said they could listen to anyone anytime as long as they wrote the intercepts were “inadvertent.” Of course warrants are not that big of an issue since the FISA court approves every request sent them. The NSA’s defenders on this subject* claim the public should not be alarmed. Former President Bush says it is all about connecting the dots.
Given the latest revelations maybe the American public should be wondering why the IRS ordered clock radios and artificial plants with audio and video recording capability. The TSA’s plans to expand their role outside airports to the byways of America probably should have a closer look as well.
The fact is the world of the paranoid is fast becoming a way of life. No place where there is technology can one safely say they are free from the prying eyes of the government. Cell phones can be remotely turned on, computer video cameras as well. Pick up a phone, buy a newspaper with your debit card, search for a movie on Google and go to bed knowing your every move has been recorded and stored for government use. Is it little wonder that wild rumors of Supreme Court justices being blackmailed and CIA involvement in the drug trade are taken seriously? What is beyond the bounds of a government who has lost all credibility? Are these any more incredible than George Zimmerman protests being paid for by the government or the ATF sending guns to drug cartels?
George Washington once said, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” The fact is those that love government more than fear it are bound to be ruled by it. It is time for the American people to ask, is this the America they really want? The fact is the liberty of United States has been purchased for too dear a price to be exchanged for so little.
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*A note of clarification. This article is not suggesting the NSA or the IRS are rogue organizations. They are but tools that do what they are instructed to do, not inherently good or evil. In fact the vast majority of their work is prudent and necessary. If they have gone too far, exceeding their mandates or even the constitution they have sworn to defend, the fault lies with the leadership and ultimately with the President himself. As far as Snowden, he is no patriot nor a hero. He has done more damage than most imagine. A publicity seeking traitor, the fact he laced his poison with some legitimate complaints does not excuse what he has done. The truth is he could of gotten the right people to take notice of the more questionable actions of the NSA if he had so chosen do so and without resorting to grandstanding on foreign soil. If not within his chain of command then by going elsewhere. There are congressman in oversight committees and others he could of turned to. People who might of taken interest and even taken action without jeopardizing whole operations. Instead in went to a foreign land first and blab all that has been entrusted to him. There is no sympathy accorded a devil here.