We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Lets not lose sight of the fact that there is a major scandal in fact a crime that was committed by some people in the government. They used and misused the data and their powers to targets citizens. We need to push for some prosecutions of these criminals; perp walks, trials and jail time. Don't let them divert your attention with all the discussion about data collection. Two different problems; two different solutions.
Aside from the annoyance of a email from future President Lepetomane that the car's black box says its overdue for a oil change, the cat's chip says she needs a rabies booster, a prostate check has been scheduled for next week, and cautioning me about responsible use of pyrodex, is the notion that innocent until proven guilty is going away, much like it as with traffic court, the IRS and some other government agencies.
re: that last article on the list: the IRS scandal is bad but I still think the top-down failure to take care of our people in Benghazi is the most heinous act of this administration. It destroyed the trust at the military and international defense level, where lives are at stake. How can we ask anyone to step up to defend our Country if we can't promise that we'll have their back?
I suppose I should be happy that the fact that the IRS has the potential to commit political crimes is better understood, but I do find it more than a little bit maddening.
The IRS (as it's constituted) has no place in a free society with or without the Sixteenth Amendment. No arm of the government should be able to trample the civil rights of citizens with impunity yet the IRS has been doing it for decades and there's not a court in this country that would take your case if they do it to you.
It's almost a joke to hear "civil libertarians" bleat on about how our Forth and Fifth Amendment rights are in jeopardy. In jeopardy??? They are merely given lip service by our government and the rest of us.
The IRS can and routinely does violate the both of those amendments. Every time you file out a 1040 tax form, you are required to be a witness in a potential criminal case against you. Every time the IRS conducts an audit, it searches through your private papers without even discussing the situation with a judge much less procuring a warrant. Every time it seizes property, garnishes wages, drains a bank account, or shutters a business, it does so without due process.
The fact that we and our politicians have allowed that to go on for so long with essentially no dissent is evidence that we are getting just what we deserve. However much we deserve it because of our lack of attention to our liberties, our children do not and they will be the ones most affected by the lack of our vigilance.
Never lose sight of the fact that very little---maybe even none---of the NSA's spying could be justified if there were no Islamist terrorists to threaten us. Since 9/11 the Islamists have managed to murder only a few Americans on US soil, but they have won the more significant victory of having convinced a great many Americans to surrender their liberty and freedom to a government that no longer believes in our nation's founding principles and documents.