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Friday, June 7, 2013

The Welfare Of The People Has Always Been The Alibi Of Tyrants

The Welfare Of The People In Particular Has Always Been The Alibi Of Tyrants-Albert Camus

America is slowly moving toward abandoning those rights endowed to us by our creator and protected by the United States Constitution.

Those of you who read this article and think it a hit piece on Barack Obama and/or George W. Bush you are wrong. This trend of abdicating freedom started way before 9/11. The American people have been voluntarily transferring their rights to the government—not an overt transfer; electing both Republicans and Democrats who believe that government can solve all of your problems has done it. When you put government in control of solving problems—by necessity they take away your freedoms to execute their solutions.

This week has revelations about the federal government's data mining by collecting phone records, credit card spending information and Internet data from virtually every telephone and computer in the country regardless of probable cause. They go to FISA courts to get approval in secret and the people being spied upon don’t have to know.

When the FISA law was passed many people (including me) naïvely thought it would only be used to spy upon US/Foreign communication and all with some sort of probable cause. Now we know they are collecting data from all communications, all interaction with the Internet, even the ones which are totally domestic-- going where an American government is not supposed to go. But of course its all legal and its only being done to protect us from terrorism. The government is solving a problem by taking away our freedoms.

The government is proposing or has already approved the collection of other kind of personal information about each and every person in the United States.

A key part of Obamacare is the electronic data component. Doctors will have to comply with Health Information Technology standards regarding storing and sharing the personal health records of each patient on a massive database. What happens when the government begins to collect that data to make heath care decisions for you? One could say it will never happen but most thought the government wouldn’t collect telephone or Internet information without probable cause?

Think about what could happen with the massive databases when the information is accessed by the IPAB, the so-called “Death Panels. Yes there ARE Death Panels. They aren't called that but President Obama’s health care law empowers IPAB an “unelected, unaccountable” panel of bureaucrats to make decisions that will cause people to lose access to health care treatments. Who says they exist? Robert Gibbs, Obama's former press secretary confirmed their existence to Chris Wallace in August of 2012.

The government wanted to help those who didn’t have heath care but since there are only a finite amount of resources they had to take away some of your healthcare freedom and give it to others.

And don’t forget the recent Supreme Court decision that says the police can take a person’s DNA if they are arrested for a crime before conviction. Folks a traffic ticket is a form of arrest. Do I really believe that police officers are going to start taking DNA swabs from anybody who runs a stop sign? Not today. But can we really say never? Did you ever think the government would be able to compel someone to purchase healthcare?

Just about everyone knows that under a process called eminent domain, the government can (and does) seize private property for public use, to build a road, a school, or a courthouse, for example.

But did you know the courts have ruled the government can also seize your land for private use if they can prove that doing it will serve what's called "the public good"? Cities across the country use eminent domain to force people off their land, so private developers can build more expensive homes or stores etc. that will pay more in property taxes than the buildings they're replacing. The government needs more income to provide us with additional services so does it really matter if they take away some freedom for the public good?

You may remember that the Transportation Department wanted to force all new cars to have “black boxes” like airplanes. These boxes would record speed, direction, breaking, and other rudimentary driving data. The government could use the black boxes to track where someone is going. Would that happen today? No! Could it happen tomorrow? What if, God forbid, there was a series of car bombings across the country—is it that far out to believe the government could get a FISA court to approve the information collection to track possible bombers? Who could anticipate the government would ever develop a program that would save the pictures my daughter is sending me from her out of town summer job?

As a regular NY Subway rider, every time I pass through the turnstiles and swipe my MetroCard there is a record of where I entered the subway system, how hard would it be to figure out my daily commute from that record? Do you have an E-Z Pass on your car? That is all tracked. How about your TV? Do you have cable or satellite? It’s basically a computer system that could be mined to see what and when you watch TV? These viewing habits data is great information for TV programmers and advertisers, but what if the government got its hands on the data?

I am not saying that government is gathering this, or intending to do this…but is it that far out of line?

Do we want our government to spy on the free press as they did with James Rosen and the AP? These incidents may be rather benign to what could be done, like the DOJ using phone taps to get damaging information about a news service or reporter as black mail to get them to change a story.

According the Wall Street Journal, the IRS and Department of Health and Human Services are working together to create the largest personal information database the government has ever attempted. Known as the Federal Data Services Hub, the project is taking the IRS's own records (for income and employment status) and centralizing them with information from Social Security (identity), Homeland Security (citizenship), Justice (criminal history and in the future DNA), HHS (enrollment in entitlement programs and certain medical claims data) and state governments (residency).

The data hub will be used as the verification system for ObamaCare's complex subsidy formula. All insurers, self-insured businesses and government health programs must submit reports to the IRS about the individuals they cover, which the IRS will crosscheck against tax returns. This is the same IRS under investigation for “attacking” conservative groups.

Could a nefarious government combine the Federal Data hub information with the phone, Internet, credit card purchases, health data, and where you travel with your car, etc. into one giant database that knows everything about everyone? Could they add in a possible federal database of gun owners, connect it with a domestic drone program? I’m sure there is a 15-year-old in this country that can create that program right this second, and it would take ten minutes.

This is not to say this is the administration that will (or even has the desire) to do it, however we cannot trust ANY administration avoid taking our rights--it can  be done and if we don’t stop it, and stop it FAST, it will be done.

Our representatives must be forced to explain what they are doing to protect our freedoms, not generalities but specifics! How will they amend FISA to guarantee Americans won’t be spied upon? How will they change the tax code so we can eliminate an all-powerful IRS whose modus operandi is to collect information about and intimidate American taxpayers? Will you vote to block funding for the Obamacare to the point of filibuster (and that’s just a start)?

There is a tale about Benjamin Franklin, that he emerged from Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a woman asked him, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Mr. Franklin replied, “A republic, madam – if you can keep it.”

Folks we still have that republic, and thankfully it is still the freest republic ever created in the history of the world, but if we want to keep it the number one issue for each and every one of us must be taking back those freedoms we have allowed our government to take away. If we don’t do it today…we might not be able to do it tomorrow.

3 comments: said...

Don't forget the 400 points of information they will be collecting from your children and grandchildren in their schools under the Common Core standards. These will follow them throughout their lives - academic and psychological profiles...

Michael Brenner said...

In 2007, on this blog, you strongly supported the expansion of the FISA statute. Did your mind change, or just the party in power?

Jeff Dunetz said...

Mr Brenner ...In the article I admit that I supported FISA initially because I thought It would only be used for American/Foreign conversation. See the paragraph below:

"When the FISA law was passed many people (including me) naïvely thought it would only be used to spy upon US/Foreign communication and all with some sort of probable cause. Now we know they are collecting data from all communications, all interaction with the Internet, even the ones which are totally domestic-- going where an American government is not supposed to go. But of course its all legal and its only being done to protect us from terrorism. The government is solving a problem by taking away our freedoms."

I also said I now realize that belief was Naive. I hope that answers your question.