Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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My turn: Freedom in the balance

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From page A4 | July 03, 2013 | 30 Comments

Three major developments have occurred within the last six weeks that are each disturbing by themselves, but extremely alarming when viewed together.

The first was the revelation that for more than two years, one of the most powerful and feared agencies of the federal government was used to harass and intimidate individual Americans based upon their political beliefs.

Evidence has already established that hundreds of conservative groups were subjected to invasive interrogations when they sought to participate in the political process. This pattern of conduct was not limited to applications under section 501(c), but included audits of established conservative groups and individuals as well. This conduct reached the highest levels of the IRS. A similar pattern of abuse has been demonstrated in several other agencies including the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency.

These facts are undisputed and their implications are utterly toxic to a free society.

The second development was news that the Justice Department had surreptitiously seized the telephone records of some 20 reporters covering Congress for the Associated Press in an obvious attempt to discourage whistleblowers from talking to the press.

Fox News Reporter James Rosen and his family were stalked by authorities as he tried to get to the bottom of the Benghazi scandal. To obtain the search warrant to allow this, the Attorney General of the United States filed an absolutely spurious claim with the federal court charging that Rosen had conspired to violate the Espionage Act – the same act under which the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in 1953.

The message to reporters asking inconvenient questions of the administration could not possibly have been more powerful or terrifying. And this week, the head of AP reported that their news sources have dried up in response to these naked acts of intimidation.

The third development is that the federal government has swept up the phone and internet records of millions of Americans in the name of state security.

The practice of the government searching your personal records without having first established reason to believe you have committed a crime is expressly forbidden by the Fourth Amendment –which was adopted in direct response to British officials indiscriminately searching homes and records for evidence of contraband.

Yet this government has done precisely that on a scale unimaginable in colonial times searching for evidence of terrorism.

If I know what web sites you’ve visited and what phone numbers you’ve called – I know a very great deal about your political and religious beliefs, your personal relationships, your sexual interests, your mental and physical health, your family finances.

And with that information in the hands of officials who have already demonstrated a clear willingness and ability to use their power to intimidate political adversaries into silence and to discourage reporters from asking embarrassing questions, our society could very quickly cross a very bright line between freedom and authoritarianism.

As if to underscore the point, the administration’s spokesman recently told a national television audience that quote — “the law is irrelevant.” He called these matters “a distraction.” What does that say about a society that once prided itself on being a nation of laws and not of men?

All around us in this Capitol are the trappings of the Roman Republic. They serve as an inspiration – but also as a warning.

The Roman Republic didn’t end because Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his legion. It ended because that illegal act was not effectively resisted and led to another usurpation and then another and then another over a period of years. It was the accumulation of many such infringements that brought the inexorable decline of freedom and set the stage for Rome’s age of tyrants.

That is what Jefferson meant when he said the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. My great fear, as we adjourn tomorrow to celebrate the 237th anniversary of American freedom, is that sometime between the barbecues and the fireworks we shrug off these profound developments and go about as if nothing has happened.

This summer of 2013 has brought us to a crossroads, and I rise today to urge the House to give these events its full and undivided attention. All the facts surrounding these matters must be fully laid out, those responsible held fully accountable, and the rule of law – and especially of our Constitution — fully restored.

Tom Mcclintock

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 30 comments

  • James E.June 28, 2013 - 5:47 pm

    As I was reading this I thought it was written by John Garon, but when I got to the bottom I find it was written by my favorite carpetbagger getting his base all excited. Tom, if you've read the news in the last few days you know that the IRS "scandal" has fizzled. Even Issa has dropped it and is now running to Benghazi for a new "Issa PR" non-issue. Benghazi is, of course, that scandal that will bring down the government over talking points. Sorry, Tom, not a Tea/Republican winner. And, for the government bugging us, what don't you stand up on the floor of the House and demand the Patriot Act be repealed? Not going to happen, is it? Good to agitate your base, but nothing you would do in real life. Tom, finally, you have carpetbagged into the right district and you will be employed for life. Good cushy work and you got it. As a sign of respect, should we ever chance to meet, I will turn my back to you. And, not to get too personal, I saw a photo of you a few months ago -- buy a decent suit will you please.

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  • MartinJuly 03, 2013 - 4:03 pm

    The problem with our government it is corrupt to the point that nothing we do will change it. when they want something they get it regardless of points made. Get rid of all of them and start over;that is the only way that it will get better.

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  • cookie65July 03, 2013 - 4:32 pm

    Restoring our Constitution is a matter of returning to 3 branches of government. Let me know when we eliminate even one unconstitutional federal government agency. Until then your hot air isn't much different than the emptysuit-in-chief.

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  • cookie65July 03, 2013 - 4:40 pm

    Freedom in the balance? Interesting title. We are so far past being no longer free that when I hear a so-called conservative speak of "preserving freedom", I chalk it up as a pseudo conservative. Here is why, name for us 3 things you can do that the government has NOT involved itself in, in one form or another. If you can't, and you can't, how could you call government intrusion into ever facet of our lives freedom?

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  • FranJuly 03, 2013 - 4:57 pm

    hello

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  • FranJuly 03, 2013 - 4:58 pm

    yay it worked...of course I have nothing to say

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  • FranJuly 03, 2013 - 4:59 pm

    if I am lost again...I am watching...lololol

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  • Phil VeerkampJuly 03, 2013 - 4:59 pm

    YES?

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  • James E.July 03, 2013 - 5:04 pm

    Cookie, three things I can do without government? Well, I can look at the Moon, I can daydream (which is a good activity as it is step one in getting something done), and I can watch Mr. Fred acting like a little puppy.

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  • FranJuly 03, 2013 - 5:05 pm

    Phil--James--Cookie...here s my virtual hug...lololol Evelyn...RJ...Walking Tall (although I do not agree with most of what you say) Okay back to your posts gentle people...Im off to torture a town. And Ken--he seems the most sensitive...Hello

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  • cookie65July 03, 2013 - 6:43 pm

    James, as far as looking at the moon, the government is taxing us to control the atmosphere. Daydreaming, the government is heavily invested in controlling thought. Mr. Fred is required to have a license and vaccinations. NEXT

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  • FranJuly 03, 2013 - 7:16 pm

    Cookie...standing in the mud. Howling at the moon. Sitting on a rock.

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  • James E.July 03, 2013 - 7:59 pm

    Yes, Mr. Fred is required a license and his shots. All for the public good. I'll check my next tax bill to see if there is a tax on the Moon in El Dorado County. As for day dreaming, the government cannot control it because I don't let them know I'm day dreaming -- they think I'm just drooling and staring off into space.

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  • James E.July 03, 2013 - 8:02 pm

    ADDED: And, while Mr. Fred is taxed and shot, the actual act of my watching him is not controlled by the government. They do not dictate how long I can watch him. My little friend.

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  • Phil VeerkampJuly 03, 2013 - 8:16 pm

    James, that drooling thing . . . A side effect of those little blue pills you're taking?

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  • cookie65July 04, 2013 - 8:01 am

    James, the state is going to make it illegal for a landlord to rent a house without a/c. One more facet of life the government is going to put itself in charge of. http://www.kcra.com/news/landlords-could-be-required-to-provide-cooling/-/11797728/20835086/-/8h6qo7z/-/index.html

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  • cookie65July 04, 2013 - 8:05 am

    Didn't obama just declare to a crowd of kookaid drinkers in Africa that not everyone should have a/c if we are to save the planet? But the people he was talking to don't vote here, until the left passes amnesty. LOL!!!

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  • Jim RiordanJuly 04, 2013 - 10:43 am

    I agree Tom and cookie, it is difficult to look at my flag on this fourth of July and not feel as though it is being destroyed from within. Sad thought for my kids and grandkids.

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  • cookie65July 04, 2013 - 12:03 pm

    Freedom is being determined by our government at every turn. The FBI has yet to contact a single Tea Party or Conservative group that was targeted for discrimination by the IRS. http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/07/03/fbi-has-yet-to-contact-irs-targeted-tea-party-groups/

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  • cookie65July 04, 2013 - 12:09 pm

    Here is the tolerance the union run schools are teaching the kids. Reinforced by obama and the left. http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2013/07/04/american-flags-ripped-down-day-before-turlock-fourth-of-july-parade/

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  • cookie65July 04, 2013 - 12:19 pm

    obama's sequester caused the government to cancel a fireworks celebration for 47,000 Marines, Sailors and their families even though a company promised to do it for free. Good thing obama's sequester hasn't effected moochelle's $100million vacations. These people are beyond description. http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/07/03/military-fireworks-show-cut-even-though-local-company-volunteered-to-do-it-for-free/

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  • PNBJuly 04, 2013 - 1:39 pm

    Mcclintock, the audacity of your hypocrisy amazes me!

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  • James E.July 04, 2013 - 2:02 pm

    Cookie, perhaps the FBI didn't contact them because there was no reason to contact them.

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  • James E.July 04, 2013 - 2:22 pm

    Obama's sequester? The House of Representatives had nothing to do with it??? How about we go 50% President Obama and 50% John Boehner.

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  • cookie65July 04, 2013 - 2:56 pm

    Who authored the sequester? Who left themselves the option of who, what, when and where to cut? Blaming the repubs for sequester is like blaming the teaparty for obama's spending.

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  • cookie65July 04, 2013 - 3:25 pm

    James, individuals have offered to pay/donate the costs of opening the Whitehouse back up to the American Citizens but the residents don't want the trailer trash invading their crib. How you can continue to make excuses for this group is disturbing to me. Freedom loving American taxpayers are celebrating INdependence day, obama voters are celebrating DEpendence day.

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  • James E.July 04, 2013 - 3:39 pm

    Cookie, invading their "crib?" Would that bring our attention to the fact that the President is African American? And, you state as fact that Tea/Republicans celebrate Independence Day while Obama voters celebrate Dependence Day. Wouldn't that be better stated as your opinion?

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  • Phil VeerkampJuly 04, 2013 - 4:13 pm

    OFF TOPIC? LINK - Oakland Votes to Give Over $1 Million to Settle Occupy Lawsuit

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  • cookie65July 04, 2013 - 4:33 pm

    James, the Whitehouse does NOT belong to them, it belongs to the American people. They are so out of line closing down the tours it can only be compared to some 3rd world banana republic. What do the obama voters want more than anything else? Answer, access to other people's private property. I call that dependence. They kids don't want to be lectured about how to eat or dictated to about how to eat, they want to tour the Whitehouse and not be responsible for $20trillion in debt.

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  • cookie65July 04, 2013 - 4:43 pm

    Phil, don't tell anyone that I said this BUT, that is what they were protesting for. A bunch of kids who have no interest in doing what their parents and grandparents did, work, earn, and climb the ladder, pushing a broom, washing some dishes and digging a ditch. They want government to confiscate what their parents and grandparents have worked their entire life to accumulate and save and give it to them. Generation U (useless). Thank the schools they are the ones who taught them that everyone gets a trophy.

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