Wednesday, November 25, 2015
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search

Lost & Found

VideoLost: Chocolate Lab, female, named Linda, from Abrego Lake Subdivision. Text/call if spotted or found, 916-508-6024.
Lost: Small black male dog, white on chest, has Harley Davidson collar, answers to Spaz, last seen Nov. 10 on corner of Eagle Ridge/Hwy. 181. Call/text 210-723-5893.
*Includes FREE photo online!
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Warning: While most advertisers are reputable, some are not. Unfortunately the Wilson County News cannot guarantee the products or services of those who buy advertising space in our pages. We urge our readers to use great care, and when in doubt, contact the San Antonio Better Business Bureau, 210-828-9441, BEFORE spending money. If you feel you have been the victim of fraud, contact the Consumer Protection Office of the Attorney General in Austin, 512-463-2070.
*Fair Housing notice. All help wanted advertising in this newspaper is subject to the Fair Housing Act which makes it illegal to advertise "any preference limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention, to make any such preference limitation or discrimination." This newspaper will not knowingly accept any advertising for help wanted ads, which is in violation of the law. Our readers are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised in this newspaper are available on an equal opportunity basis.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos

Video Vault ›


The Surveillance State Lives

E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
January 21, 2014 | 3,321 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. (
‹ 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 page
Commentaries who represents me?
auto chooserAllstate & McBride RealtyHeavenly Touch homeTriple R DC ExpertsClarity WellVoncille Bielefeld homeDrama Kids

  Copyright © 2007-2015 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.