Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Too Much Power in Washington

At a dinner party last week a friend said, “I’m going to say one word and I’d like you to answer in one word.”



I had to think for several seconds. “Ambivalence,” was my response.

Edward J. Snowden shocked me with revelations of the extent to which government spies on us. It upset me and forced me to readjust my understanding of the threat to our Constitution government surveillance has become.

The Constitution limits government; that’s its primary purpose. Our Founding Fathers considered government a necessary evil to be constrained as a threat to liberty. As originally ratified, our Constitution says government may have only these powers and no others. Two years later, the Bill of Rights was added to spell out constraints more specifically.

Snowden showed me that’s all at risk now. The Fourth Amendment is violated when government collects all our phone calls and all our emails. We’re assured government won’t read them unless we’re communicating with a foreign terrorist.
Do I believe that? No. Do you? The Obama Administration uses the IRS to harass conservatives. Can we trust it not to read our emails or listen to our calls? Who would doubt it will continue to spy on - and leak information about - its political adversaries?

So now what? The federal government knows more about us than I ever would have believed and I’m a fairly well-informed person. I was relatively confident of my ability to sniff out paranoid conspiracy theories about secret cabals like the Trilateral Commission, or Bilderberg, or the Illuminati controlling the world. However, other things I’ve learned this year are worrying me more than they did when I first heard about them - all because of Edward J. Snowden.
What things? Department of Homeland Security buying 2700 mine-resistant, armor-protected vehicles and 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition for one. Inserting an “indefinite detention” proviso in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allowing government to suspend our right to due process is another. Then there’s defining people reverent of individual liberty as terrorists, and that definition would include this writer. All this had the support of Republican congressional leaders as well. Where then, are the constitutional checks and balances designed by our Founding Fathers?
When Obama ignored the War Powers Act, thereby violating Congress’s constitutional authority to declare war in his attack on Libya, he was assisting rebels linked to al Qaeda. After they killed Ghaddafi, those rebels killed our Ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi. Though President Obama promised repeatedly to get to the bottom of what happened, all his efforts have been to cover it up. Republicans in Congress with the power to subpoena witnesses, have so far let him get away with all this. Are they complicit? Tacitly so, at least.
 There are reports here and here and here and elsewhere that Obama’s CIA was shipping weapons such as Gaddafi’s shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles to Syrian rebels from Benghazi at the time of the attack. There are reports by his own former justice minister that Gaddafi also had sarin nerve gas. There reports that sarin gas was used - not by Basher Assad - but by al Qaeda-affiliated rebels in Syria last May to kill innocent civilians. In June, Syrian rebels were caught with sarin over the border in Turkey.

President Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton both lied repeatedly about what caused the Benghazi attack. They claimed to be repeating the best intelligence available at the time, but no intelligence about an obscure movie ever existed. Both knew that.

Having squandered credibility, President Obama painted himself into a corner in Syria with his “red line.” American and world opinion has forced him to defer to congress for constitutional authorization. American citizens now must wade through misinformation and fashion at least a tentative understanding with which to lobby our congressmen and senators as they debate a military strike. I recommend: "When our enemies are killing each other, don't interfere."

Four-plus years of Obama foreign policy shows me that our president is both incompetent and deceitful. Snowden’s revelations show me that neither Democrats nor Republicans have lived up to the oath they took to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” when they were sworn in. All, however, are reflections of the citizens who elected them. Us. Again, I must quote Pogo, who said: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
We’re bad enough, but there are greater enemies out there. Edward J. Snowden has shown us what we need to see, but he has also betrayed his country - our country - to those greater enemies who wish to destroy us. What’s nagging at me now is columnist Mark Steyn’s often-repeated question: “[Have we become] too stupid to survive?”

The Tenth Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people,” but Congress and the White House act as if it didn’t exist. It needs to be taken out of mothballs and applied vigorously. The federal government must be scaled back drastically.


Anonymous said...

Right on, Tom. Keep up the good work!

Harry said...

It is so great to see conservatives coming around on this issue with Obama in office, something they would never do with Bush or Reagan in office. All tree-huggin', flaming liberals have been hating on the Man's All-Powerful abuses of the little people for ages - big government is way out of control.

I'm glad we agree. Just don't spin back when the moronic two-party system switches back to a "conservative" president.

rhondajo said...

I'm convinced that the government uses the information it gathers to add to it's database at the NSA. I'm even wondering if Texas' blood tests at DWI points is also a way to add DNA to the database.

Winston Smith said...

Are you denying that the Bildeberg group exists? Or, that they wield any power? It seems they certianly exist. No doubt about it actually. And it seems they would have massive influence over nearly every facet of our lives when you consider who attended the last meeting.

Trilateral? Same thing essentially.

I was posting here months ago when Chris hedges and Noam Chomsky, et al, were suing obama over Ndaa and I didn't get any serious responses. Hedges is still trying to win that suit. You can follow it at I urge all to go there and read what hedges has to say about Ndaa and Obama and the surveillance state.

We are living in 1984

Tom McLaughlin said...

They exist, yes, but their power is exaggerated.

Hedges is right on this one. NDAA worried me, but not as much as it does now.

It will be very hard for me to consider voting for any candidate who won't work to cut back the federal government size and power.

Winston Smith said...

Exaggerated? They helped create the euro.
And I'm pretty sure that having our elected officials attend in secret is illegal.
If you take a look at who attends then its pretty clear this isn't some good ol boys club.

"The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings." -- John F. Kennedy

Tom McLaughlin said...

Influential is what I would call them. Ultimately people have to vote to join the Eurozone. In a democracy, power still lies with the people.

There's ample evidence that we may be too stupid to survive, but I choose to be optimistic in face of it.

Anonymous said...

Shameless plug for Mark Levin's new book "The Liberty Amendments"
I don't like the "new rules" aspect vs. repeal of existing extraconstitutional "interpretations", but it's a good reference to the same contemporary chicanery that you seem to write of.
(Shameless promotion) The nice folks at White Birch Books were able to get it for me in a few days,. but that was before it cannonballed to #1 on the NYT best seller blah blah blah. Maybe it's even "on the shelf" now.

I thought it was sweet of (a local paper)to cut/paste a piece by Mr.Krugman from that other paper to run alongside yours on 5 Thursday

Nathan Pitts said...

As you say, our nation is in an evermore rapidly increasing downslide towards its ultimate destruction.

I have thought a lot about all of this. Our federal govt is hopelessly corrupt and unable to be fixed by "voting". Our culture is similar with ignorant voters swayed by only what will put largesse in their hands.

Our situation can be envisioned by looking at a 15th century painting by artist Jerome Van Aken, entitled "A Garden of Earthly Delights". The left panel depicts the garden of Eden, the center panel depicts life with no moral compass, where everything goes, and the right panel depicts the inevitable Hell. A prediction of our ultimate future.....made over 500 yrs ago!

The founders left seeing that the constitution was "We the People". Not the President, not Congress, not the SCOTUS, but rather to US!

According to their writings, they envisioned the possibility that we could have problems not fixable by "voting", and they gave us the tools to do just that.

How much more will we stand,before decent, patriotic Americans will decide they have had enough?

Tom McLaughlin said...

Thoughtful post, Nathan.

"How much more will we stand,before decent, patriotic Americans will decide they have had enough?" you ask.

Something is afoot now and it's across the political spectrum. Distrust in government, especially the closet communist in the White House. People aren't buying what he's selling.

Finally, they're embarrassed by what they voted for in 2008 and 2012.

Is it enough to reverse America's course? I don't know, but something is going on.