NEWPORT NEWS, Va., June 12, 2013 — With the storm clouds of the NSA scandal suspended above Washington and the NSA’s secretive house of cards falling to the ground, the White House and the mainstream media are pulling out all the stops.
At the onset of any good scandal — or a simple gaffe, for that matter — the first line of defense from this president is always focused on having a good “public conversation.” He’s just like the father on Leave it to Beaver: When there’s a disagreement in the family, we can talk about it, but remember, father knows best.
We have had discussion, for years, on how far “Big Brother” can reach. When Edward Snowden came forward, Obama headed to the cameras and the microphones to remind us that, in fact, father does know best.
In his press conference on June 7 he said:
“We’ve got congressional oversight and judicial oversight and if people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and the rule of law, then we’re gonna have some problems here.”
Rather than sounding like a chief executive ready to get to clean up messes that leaked on his watch, he is scolding us for holding our public servants accountable.
A good talking to isn’t always the solution, but the president knows he holds the cards in this situation. Obama is able to use the argument he has used ever since he became responsible for overseeing implementation of the Patriot Act: We can publicly discuss the fading line between privacy and security, but we cannot take it to court.
This situation cannot darken the doors of the courts because, due to security concerns, no specific details can be openly reviewed in a court case. On top of that, who has standing to bring a suit? You don’t know if you’re being watched or not. There is more than one way to divert the curious public.
Ever since Obamacare took center stage, the White House has taken advantage of a hugely successful tactic: broadening the subject. The U.S. healthcare system was in dire need of attention; the Obama administration created the Affordable Care Act. When specific questions or critiques arose, woeful words of the destruction of our healthcare system were stained on every White House talking points memo.
We are seeing the exact same method used with this current issue. If it works, why not recycle? Going green is all the rage, after all. When debate sparked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, came to the rescue, delivering the broad answer that halts all conversation: “Wait until the next terrorist attack.”
Host Mika Brzezinski, pleased to hear Haass drop the “trump card,” as Joe Scarborough called it, hurriedly replied, “Exactly … Thank you,” and the discussion ended.
Should scare-tactics not do the trick, there is one last major line of defense: change the subject.
This method has been wildly revolutionized with the recent NSA scandal. While the American people have found out that the entire federal government has access to every digital detail of our lives, sensationalism has everyone’s phone buzzing with the most recent tweets on the whereabouts of whistleblower — or, as John Boehner argues, traitor — Edward Snowden.
The White House could not get a better deal: the surveillance state continues to expand while the media argues whether Snowden is a hero or deserves to be brought to trial.
While the Justice Department is preparing charges against Edward Snowden, when Charlie Rose asked if he believes Snowden is a hero or a traitor, Senator Rand Paul replied, “I think it’s sort of a side point. I think the real point is that the Bill of Rights is being violated, our privacy is being violated, and really, no government should do this. So, we’re going to try to hold the President accountable.”
Responding to claims that it must be all right because the government approved of it, Senator Paul reminded reporters, “Just because Congress approved it, doesn’t make it right.” While many on Capitol Hill, like Senator Lindsey Graham and House Speaker John Boehner, hurry to change the subject, others are keeping the focus on this growing NSA terror.
Our Founders foresaw the storm that would come when our elected officials no longer saw their positions as places of authority, but rather chambers of power. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
From the Patriot Act to the reigning Big Brother under this administration, our rights as citizens have been breached. It is neither extreme nor irrational to consider this government tyrannical. In fact, it would be irrational to consider otherwise.
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