Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Big Brother Barack 

It's a new day in Washington and there are stunning new developments making headlines. Newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic broke a story by the left-wing British paper the Guardian that the Obama Administration is not only seizing the phone records of journalists, but of millions of other Americans too. 

The Guardian reports that Obama's National Security Agency obtained a secret court order demanding Verizon turn over all of its phone records on an "ongoing, daily basis." Phone calls were not being listened to, but the information collected would allow the government to know "the identity of every person with whom an individual communicates electronically, how long they spoke, and their location at the time of the communication." 

One left-wing civil rights group called the order, "the broadest surveillance order to ever have been issued: it requires no level of suspicion and applies to all Verizon subscribers anywhere in the U.S." 

As the story developed throughout the day, leading senators on the Intelligence Committee said the program has been in place for seven years and that Congress has been routinely briefed. Other senators disputed that. Sen. Lindsey Graham defended the program. However, some senators have said that Americans would be "stunned" if they knew the full extent of the surveillance of U.S. citizens.

In war, it is often necessary to do things that you would not do in peacetime. But such things are done ultimately to preserve all of our liberties. Under different circumstances, I and other Americans might be more comfortable with this program. 

But given all we know about recent efforts to intimidate the news media and to use the IRS to silence some Americans -- I have no tolerance for this sort of massive data seizure. 

Think about this: Obama's politically correct military missed all the signals about the radicalization of Fort Hood shooterNidal Hasan. Even after he murdered 14 people, top officers fretted about "diversity." We were told that the government missed the Tsarnaev brothers because the anti-terror database was "too big" and "vague." 

Yet, the same government is seizing all our phone records, and the IRS is zeroing in on a mother in Alabama for merely wanting to promote the values of our country's founding. Something is very wrong. Add this latest development to the growing list of items requiring congressional review and oversight. 

Speaking Of The IRS… 

Here are some quick updates on the various scandals involving the IRS. 

  • Two IRS employees in the Cincinnati office have reportedly identified Carter Hull, an IRS attorney at the agency's Washington headquarters, as the individual who directed their efforts to target Tea Party groups. 

    One Cincinnati agent, Elizabeth Hofacre, said she was "furious" when Washington officials tried to pin the blame on her office, adding, "I was essentially a front person, because I had no autonomy or no authority to act on [applications] without Carter Hull's influence or input." 

    It is not clear whether Hull is the person who first ordered the IRS harassment of conservative and Christian groups. But it is abundantly clear that the Cincinnati office got its orders from Washington. Now let's wait to hear what Mr. Hull has to say to House investigators. 

  • The Daily Caller reports that Sarah Hall Ingram, who now directs the IRS office responsible for the implementation of Obamacare, visited the White House 165 times. None of her 165 meetings coincided with former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman's 157 meetings. 

    So these two IRS officials visited the White House more than 300 times. Top cabinet secretaries did not have that kind of access to the president! That suggests how much influence the IRS has in the Obama Administration and will have in your life if Obamacare remains the law of the land. 

  • Two IRS officials, one of whom is Ms. Ingram's deputy in the Obamacare enforcement office, were suspended yesterday for accepting free gifts in connection with the lavish conferences that have caused so much outrage in recent days. 

    Meanwhile, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is demanding to know why the IRS lied to him. Coburn, a fierce critic of government spending, was told last year that the IRS spent $500,000 on just five conferences, when in fact the real figures are $50 million on more than 200 events.

D-Day Remembered 

Usually much of this report is about bad things that happen in Washington. Sadly, I want to predict that today will be marked in part by what will not happen. Today is the 69th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of France and the beginning of the end of World War II. 

The World War II generation is inevitably falling to the ravages of time. As they pass away, our collective national memory of what they did, what this country did, what free men and women all around the world did, to defeat Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito is passing away with them. 

Sometimes people will write to me and ask how they can make a difference. Here's something you can do: Ask your child or grandchild today, "Do you know what D-Day is?" If you discover that they do not know, use the opportunity to talk to them about World War II and the courage it took to preserve our freedom. Even if our schools are failing at it, you can still produce young patriots in your home. 

Good Job, Roy! 

Kudos to Roy Costner, IV. The valedictorian of Liberty High School in Liberty, South Carolina, literally tore up his speech and began to recite the Lord's prayer. He did it in response to efforts by the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation to drive faith from the public square. His faith was important to him and he wasn't going to let anybody tell him to shut up. 

I often get messages from good people who are depressed about the state of culture, and I get it. Sometimes they suggest crazy ideas like secession. My friends, we don't need to break up the country. What we need is for more people to stand up and demonstrate the same level of commitment and courage as Roy Costner! 

Think about Martin Luther King, Jr. The civil rights movement did not take off until enough black men and women, led by their pastors, stood up and said, "Enough! I am going to sit here! I am going to express myself! I am going to exercise my rights!" 

While a few of our pro-life and Catholic friends have raised the issue, on the whole the conservative, pro-family movement has not yet seriously considered the concept of civil disobedience. Now just imagine priests, pastors and rabbis -- and whole congregations -- waking up every morning with the courage of Roy Costner -- and acting on it!