Saturday, December 3, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 
holidayextravaganza2016.pdf

WCN Site Search


Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found


VideoFound: Dog, chocolate color, on old Pittman Rd., be prepared to prove it's your dog, looking for owner. Call or text Tammy at 830-391-6662.
Found: Red Chihuahua, male, friendly but frightened, need to find his owner, in Floresville. 830-534-6413.
*Includes FREE photo online! mywcn.com/lostandfound
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Although we make every effort to spot suspicious ads before they run, one may occasionally get into print. If that happens, we ask the consumer to call us ASAP so that we can take corrective action.
CCSCT, a nonprofit, is seeking an Assistant Cook to assist with preparation and cooking of home-delivered meals for its Senior Nutrition Program in Floresville. Applicants must have HS diploma equivalent and minimum of 1 year of experience in meal preparation, meal planning or related work experience. Additional work experience may be substituted for education. Interested applicants can apply online at www.ccsct.org or can apply in person at 1513 3rd St., Floresville, Texas.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›

Commentaries


The Surveillance State Lives




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

Disclaimer:
The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
January 21, 2014 | 3,652 views | Post a comment

By Sheldon Richman

President Obama has some nerve. He opened his speech on NSA spying by likening his surveillance regime to Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty. How insulting! They were helping people resist government tyranny, and the British spied on them to put down the coming rebellion.

In sizing up Obama’s “reforms” of the indiscriminate gathering of data on every American, remember this: Politicians will do everything they can get away with in pursuit of their own agenda. To them, liberty and privacy are unimportant, things to be gotten around with the minimum of public attention. Should the public get wind of some untoward thing the politicians are up to -- as it did, thanks to Edward Snowden -- they will put on a public-relations show to lull the people back to sleep, enabling the state once again to go about its unsavory business unobserved.

That is what’s happening here. As Glenn Greenwald aptly put it, Obama’s “defining value to the permanent power factions that run Washington” is that he “prettifies the ugly; he drapes the banner of change over systematic status quo perpetuation; he makes Americans feel better about policies they find repellent without the need to change any of them in meaningful ways. He’s not an agent of change but the soothing branding packaging for it.”

Thus, the appropriate attitude toward the so-called reforms is deep skepticism. You want evidence? Obama expressed confidence “in the integrity of those who lead our intelligence community.” He has apparently forgotten that the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, told a boldfaced lie to a Senate committee when he said “No, sir” to this question from Sen. Ron Wyden: “Does the [NSA] collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” (Clapper later explained that this was the “least untruthful” answer he could give.) Obama’s spokesman said the president “certainly believes that Director Clapper has been straight and direct in the answers he’s given.”

Obama’s own veracity must also be questioned. In his speech he said that when he was a senator he was critical of the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless eavesdropping. But if that’s true, why did he vote for the 2008 FISA law, which, as Greenwald notes, “legalized the bulk of the once-illegal Bush program”?

To the extent Obama has become more favorable to surveillance since the Bush years it’s apparently because, as a former aide told the New York Times, “he trusts himself to use these powers more than he did the Bush administration.”

In light of this flagrant disregard for the truth and willingness to bamboozle the people, why should anyone take Obama’s “reforms” seriously? He promises mostly executive-branch safeguards -- created by Clapper and Attorney General Eric Holder -- but in the end, this will be little more than window dressing to regain public trust. There are always emergency escape clauses.

To be sure, Obama is clever. He says: Given the unique power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say: Trust us, we won’t abuse the data we collect. For history has too many examples when that trust has been breached. Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power; it depends on the law to constrain those in power.

But “the law” can’t constrain those in power, because the law is always interpreted and enforced -- or not enforced -- by those very people in power. Ultimately, government officials define their own powers. Checks and balances mean that one part of the state monitors another part. It’s hard to muster confidence in such a weak safeguard.

Obama says we need surveillance to protect us from terrorists. But we could be safe without having our freedoms trampled if the government would stop committing and enabling oppression in foreign countries, thus creating the desire for revenge against Americans.

Freedom and security require no trade-off, because genuine freedom includes security against government snooping. Obama asks for trust, but we have too much experience to grant him his wish. Yet even if government officials had pure motives, they still should not be trusted with the power to spy.

Sheldon Richman is vice president and editor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va. (www.fff.org).
 
‹ Previous Blog Entry
 

Your Opinions and Comments


Be the first to comment on this story!


You must be logged in to post a comment.




Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Commentaries Archives


Commentaries
Commentaries page govtrack.us
Commentaries who represents me?
Heavenly Touch homeTriple R DC ExpertsAllstate & McBride RealtyFriesenhahn Custom WeldingVoncille Bielefeld home

  Copyright © 2007-2016 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.