Government strips us of privacy while demanding its own

Historically, in our nation, citizens were entitled to privacy while the government was supposed to operate as transparently as possible, so we could see what was going on.  What we have seen instead is this concept turned on its head.

Citizens have been stripped of their privacy rights.  The government collects phone, mail, e-mail, and browsing data on millions of Americans.  In the old days, when Republicans held the White House, there would be an immediate scandal if the government collected phone records of anyone not directly suspected of connection with terrorists, and resignations would be demanded.  Now, with the Democrats in charge, the NSA openly collects this data on all of us, and the media is as compliant as sheep, and no one says a peep.  And the IRS is now the master of our health information through Obamacare, and we know how abusive the IRS can be.

Conversely, the government operates on a higher level of secrecy than ever before.  You can see only the latest example of that in the Fast Track trade bill.  The bill is kept in a room, and senators have to go to the room to read it.  They are not allowed to make copies of it or discuss it with the media.  Why can't a piece of legislation be discussed with the media?  Because Obama doesn't want the public to know what he is doing, and Republicans cooperate.

You can also see it in the sheer size and speed of the most recent budget bill.  It was many hundreds of pages, and it was announced with no hearings, no committee markups, simply a quick up-and-down vote.  While the bill itself technically wasn't a secret, the size of the bill and the speed with which it was voted upon effectively gave no time for people to review what was in it.  This has become the common method of legislating today.  Obamacare?  We had to pass it to "find out what is in it."

Mark Levin has talked at length on his show how the government has refused to comply with his FOIA requests of the EPA, to find out what regulations are pending.  The bureacracy rolls out thousands of pages of regulations in secret with virtually no oversight.  And then there is Hillary Clinton, who does State Department business out of a private e-mail server in her home, and she is still regarded as a viable candidate.  And she's not the only one.  Former EPA director Lisa Jackson used private e-mail addresses as well to avoid having her communications recorded by the government.

What this has effectively done is lay bare the lives of the citizenry while making the operations of the government opaque.  That has serious implications for power.  Formerly the citizen, by nature of his anonymity, had some degree of protection from government abuse.  And since the government is now operating in secrecy, we can't even protest what is going on because, quite frankly, we don't know what is going on.

I wish some of the Republican candidates for president would speak about this – the perverse inversion of privacy and secrecy in our government.

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