Reflections on a holiday

By From page A4 | July 05, 2013

The key words of the Declaration of Independence are,  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Clearly what the Internal Revenue Service has done to conservative groups and Tea Party groups seeking the same non-profit status as left leaning groups and environmentalist groups, does not reflect the principle of “created equal.”

The Tea Party and other groups were confronted with lengthy questionnaires asking what books they read, what prayers they said, and made one group promise not to picket abortion clinics. While this was going on the previous IRS director made 157 visits to the White House. It’s a cinch he wasn’t taking youth groups on White House tours.

One applicant was visited by the FBI and the Labor Department.

Others have been audited and still others have had their donor lists revealed by someone at the IRS to an opposition group.

Not to be outdone by the IRS, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed the names and GPS coordinates of farmers across the country to environmentalist groups, some of which are so-called animal rights groups.

Americans are outraged about this. And they are a little suspicious that the government secretly seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters covering the Capitol and a Fox News reporter.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the government has everybody’s phone logs anyway. They just needed to zero in on a few reporters to figure out who in government was leaking  stuff. In the case of the Fox News reporter it was a really inconsequential estimate about North Korea that could have been gleaned from academic publications about diplomacy.

National security secrets blabber Edward Snowdon certainly made all of us feel a little creeped out about the mass of phone data our government has collected in an attempt to ferret out the next jihaddi attack. We certainly appreciate the country has been kept safe since 9/11/2001, except for those crazy Chechen Boston Marathon bombers.

Snowdon set off a national discussion about what the National Security Agency is up to, but he went too far when he started telling everyone what the U.S. was doing in the way of spying on foreign governments and hacking the Chinese. That’s where we get off the fear-and-loathing parade. We expect our government to spy on foreign governments, including allies. Is Snowdon so naive that he thinks our allies aren’t spying on us? For sure, less friendly governments are. And after all the whining our government has done about Chinese hacking, it’s nice to hear we’re hacking China back. Let’s hope we do it as thoroughly as they have done to us.

What’s with the Snowdon guy anyway? He only went to work for government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton in March and then checked out May 20 after only three months on the job, making an obviously false claim that he needed treatment for epilepsy — in Hong Kong. Before he even started work there, he had arranged an encrypted Skype account with Laura Poitras and Guardian blogger Glenn Greenwald, according to journalist Edward Jay Epstein, who detailed this in a Wall Street Journal piece June 30. Both of the aforementioned were on the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, “that among other things, funds WikiLeaks.”

Poitras and Greenwald both flew to Hong Kong “They were later joined by Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks representative who works closely with Julian Assange, the WkiLeaks founder.” Poitras filmed Snowdon and Greenwald picked up extensive info for the Guardian newspaper in London. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks published all sorts of U.S diplomatic cables and national security information, including the names of agents and people in Iraq who cooperated with the military. It’s pretty obvious that Snowdon is not a hero, but a scoundrel who planned to get access to the National Security Agency’s files and expose them without any regard to the effect on the rest of us trying to pursue happiness without being bombed by a bunch of crazy jihaddis.

Snowdon doesn’t even qualify as a Benedict Arnold. At least Arnold was a key figure in the battle of Ft. Ticonderoga, the naval battle of Lake Champlain and the victory over the British at the Battle of Saratoga. And he led a troop of men up the Kennebec River and the Dead River to the St. Lawrence to be part of a two-pronged attack on Quebec. He accomplished a lot for the Revolutionary War before he went over to the British side and gave them a map of West Point.

What has Snowdon done for his country? Obviously nothing of that order. He has done nothing but act like a spy.

Mountain Democrat

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