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Friday, June 7, 2013

I told you so, I did

Back in 2004, I wrote an 8-part series in the Watauga Democrat on the USA PATRIOT Act. I explained the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here it is.

Then I spoke everywhere I could get myself invited to speak about it, trying to build support for a resolution I was bringing to the Town of Boone. The resolution was supported by five other entities who passed support pieces. And we gathered about 500 signatures in support.

The resolution passed narrowly (3-2). Here it is.

This was a movement to call on Congress to modify the USA PATRIOT Act. Specific sections of the law were identified as serious threats to the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution. More than 400 towns and counties and eight states passed these resolutions.

Yet, here we are, nine years later (and almost 12 years since the law was passed in the first place), and we're learning about how the law is being abused, as well as other federal data mining and spy programs being employed across the nation. And, thankfully, it's all over the news.

Here are some examples:

Obama Administration Under Fire
Over 2nd Mass Surveillance Project

Director of National Intelligence Clapper defends administration's surveillance efforts after report says a secret program is allowing the government to mine nine American tech giants, including Facebook and Google, for user data, a day after report of a secret court order that allows NSA to seize millions of phone records for American Verizon customers.
  • Author of Patriot Act Says NSA Records Collection 'Never the Intent' | VIDEO: Misuse of Patriot Act?
  • Lawmakers Misled on Collection of Phone Records? | Verizon EVP Statement | VIDEO: Government Run Amok?
  • NY Times Editorial Board Says Administration Has 'Lost All Credibility' | VIDEO: McCain Says Explanation Needed
  • OPINION: Even New York Times Sounds Like Tea Party | OPINION: Records Grab May Be Legal, But Is It Wise?

  • I could say, "I told you so." But I won't

    But I will say this: Thank God for the news media. I mean, this is why they exist, to operate as a check on power, to keep us informed, to make sure we are free. So this is a good reminder of why we need to make sure the corporations that own them don't dupe us or keep us in the dark.

    My personal solution would be to wrestle control of the media from the corporations and give it back to the people.

    And of course there are independent media organizations that cover these stories everyday, even when the mainstream media are not. Try Truthout and Common Dreams, just to name a couple!

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