NSA Data CollectionSenator Rand Paul  (TN–R) spoke for over 11 hours on the Senate floor the other day against massive unwarranted data collection by the NSA. A part of the Patriot Act which Congress was attempting to reauthorize prior to its sunset provision. The sunset provision is the only thing I like about the Patriot Act. Government has the unique knack of producing outcomes completely opposite of what the bills they pass say they’ll do or opposite of what they’re called. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is not at all affordable. No Child Left Behind seems to have left them all behind. As a matter of fact if the government ran an ice cream store and they served you a two scoop cone of chocolate ice cream expect it to be only one scoop and expect that to look and taste exactly like vanilla. The Patriot Act defies the Bill of Rights. Not exactly patriotic. Sen. Paul took an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. So did every senator, congressman and the president . Sen. Paul and others like him understand and respect that oath. Others just treat it like buying a ticket, just a price you have to pay to get in the door. Paul at one point said, and I paraphrase, “at one point in this country you were innocent until proven guilty. Now we’re at the point where if you have nothing to hide, you should have nothing to fear.” That is not what this country is based upon and a few steps down along this slippery slope we find ourselves on. Congressman Peter King (NY-R) says that Rand Paul is wrong. That the data collection does not include personal information and aids the United States in fighting terrorists. King adds that the people who work for the NSA are patriots and are keeping us safe. Who is right and who is wrong? Benjamin Franklin is right. It was Franklin who said, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” Oh but times have changed. No. Liberty and Security have the same meaning. Are we secure? Do we know who is in our country? Do we know how many terrorists have filtered in with other immigrants through our porous borders, north and south? Is your government willing to do anything about it? Yet somehow collecting data on who you converse with will solve all our problems. I say the best way to stop criminals from entering your house is to keep the doors shut and locked. Not wait for lots of people to come in, listen to what they’re saying and then decide which ones are good and which are bad. I’m sure that Peter King is correct when he says that the hardworking people of the NSA are patriots. Of them I have no fear. They are but the tool. I fear their masters, those that control and use the tool. When King says that the data is used to fight terrorists who is he talking about? I’m sure that King is talking about the Islamic Jihadists, ISIS, the ones beheading journalists, the ones killing Christians for being Christians, but King isn’t in charge. King isn’t part of the Obama administration which cannot use Islamic and Jihad in the same sentence. King isn’t part of the Obama administration whose Dept. of Homeland Security drafted a memo talking about home grown terrorists as people who support the Second Amendment, the Constitution, and returning veterans. Are those the ‘terrorists’ being targeted? It was Obama, not King, who has said at numerous military graduations that our greatest threat is climate change. Would that make those who use fossil fuels enemies of the state? Are climate change deniers now the new terrorist? Are we sending in the military to take down those who set their A/C too low? A government that would allow targeting of its own citizens (IRS); that would give guns to criminals to be used against our own law enforcement agencies (Fast and Furious); that would leave four men to die on foreign soil while they sat back, watched and did nothing (Benghazi), is not a government I trust with any more power than legally necessary. If you do not believe Obama capable of all this, of targeting his own citizens, what about the next president, or the one after that, or the one after that. Laws should not change based on who you trust and who you don’t. No body of people voluntarily place someone in power they believe will bring atrocities upon them. Yet, it happens all the same. When people tell you, “That can’t happen here.” Ask them why not? We no longer have the checks and balances written into the Constitution. Instead we have a pen and a phone. The protection of your privacy, and the privacy of your papers and documents, from illegal search and seizure, that is the basis of the Fourth Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights; to limit the government and its powers. Whether those papers are made from velum, the finest parchment, wood pulp fiber, 100% recycled consumer card board, or virtual paper in a cloud. Times may change how we communicate our thoughts, and keep our records, but the right to have those thoughts and records out of the prying eye of an all too powerful government should never change.

It’s Just Data… Yeah, but it’s mine.