Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume V, Issue XXVII
In the Steps of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
“I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner, by saying no,” -- James Clapper, NSA Director
"All men having power ought to be distrusted..." --James Madison (1787)
The 'other' weekly news magazine this week features The Informers [click to read]. They observe that about half of the people approve of the informers and half disapprove: "Fifty-four percent of respondents said the leaker, Edward Snowden, 29, did a “good thing” in releasing information about the government programs, which collect phone, email, and Internet search records in an effort, officials say, to prevent terrorist attacks. Just 30 percent disagreed. But an almost identical number of Americans — 53 percent — still said he should be prosecuted for the leak, compared to 28% who said he should not." -- Zeke J. Miller in TIME [1.]
Scrutiny of the government, however, is not something we vote on. It is a principle that was established by our Founders and codified in our Constitution. Thus it becomes the duty of the citizen to oversee the operations of the government, rather than the duty of government to oversee the activities of the citizen. In fact, it would trouble the Founders no end to see the revenue agency recast as an agent of 'change,' overseeing the activities of citizens and supressing First Amendment speech. The founders would probably frown on ANY activity of the IRS outside of that of funding government's obligations. Certainly allowing the revenue agency to discriminate between 'good' speech and 'bad' is a serious overstepping of authority.
Even those citizens who feel they have 'nothing to hide' should take heed of This Warning [click to read] from Scott Shackford. The Founders saw their rights and mandate as given by G-d and believed in a higher truth and its oversight. Now, in a relativistic culture, what is to prevent some bureaucrat from deciding that your church or synagogue is a 'subversive group?' The IRS's targeting of organizations philosophically in opposition to the President's agenda begs us to consider that scenario. Beyond handicapping the election, such actions have a much larger chilling effect.
Director Clapper's 'least untruthful' statement [2.] begs a discussion of the importance of oversight, especially in a world of relativistic thought. As THYME has pointed out before, history bears out the truth that relativism and lack of oversight can lead to Dire Consequences [click to read].