Looking back at Watergate, I can’t help but think it is child’s play compared to what the government is doing to each and every American citizen: cellphone tapping and recording, monitoring Internet searches, and logging your location through GPS location databases.

Yes, it sounds conspiratorial, but it is happening right now. George Orwell’s “1984” got it completely correct; he just didn’t go far enough, and he missed it by few years.

How could this have happened? We all gave a little freedom to secure ourselves from “terrorists,” and somehow we wrote around the Fourth Amendment. Apparently, any devices not in place during the writing of the Constitution are exempt from the searching eyes of government in 2013 and beyond. People are being arrested and held without bail for merely mentioning terrorist activity, America needs to wake up before it is too late — if it’s not already.

As for Edward Snowden being a traitor or hero? I leave that to your interpretation, but seeing that he warned Americans about abuse by the U.S. government and was forced to leave the country to live in Russia, I’ve made my choice.

William Kastner / Napa

(32) comments

skeptic

it’s not paranoia when facts can be proven to show that every e-mail and phone call is recorded. it’s true that we are not being watched in real time by the 50,000 analysist's that listen in and watch us.first, the echelon program robotically kicks out suspicious phrases like “freedom” or “constitution” for further checking. if only orwell could have predicted this level of invasiveness. he wasn’t paranoid but experienced in the workings of british intelligence. the courts have recently ruled that this intrusion is unconstitutional. who disagrees with that decision ?

alucawanza

skeptic: Do some research. Every email and phone call is not being recorded. There aren't enough grains of sand to build the technology for this or to store it. Every number is being recorded that is called...not the content of the call. If it is related to a suspicious number it is noted and followed. Subsequent calls are noted to see if there is a connection that is important enough to be investigated. It's like a spider web. or a family tree chart. Your innocent calls are not being recorded.
I don't disagree with this decision. I do want to be safe from terrorist actions.
More information: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/arnold-ahlert/the-terror-plots-the-nsa-program-stopped/

StillInNapa

Two things:
The technology to record audio and all other information is there and the storage facilities are underway. See: www.propublica.org/article/nsa-data-collection-faq
There are others but I don't have the time at the moment. Do some internet searching and you'll discover that nsa can do a lot more than you realize.
Second, with the abuse of authority from governmental many offices and/or officials, not to mention the abuses from nsa recently exposed to the public, how could anyone, especially a citizen of the US that is protected by the constitution ever think that the methods of the nsa are legal?
Terrorism can happen anywhere in the world. Freedom and rights, on the other hand, are guaranteed in very few governments in the world. I would like to see that continue! The very fact that, under the circumstances, Snowden has been vilified by many citizens makes one wonder if we value the constitution or what it stands for.

Flaneur

Publiusa continues to condemn Obama's surveillance abuses while refusing to criticize Bush surveillance abuses. He writes "It's laughable to blame Georg Bush for anything at this point." That implies that you see some sort of statute of limitations for presidential abuses. I imagine, though, that you will not (as you should not) give Obama such slack. I say again: Bush is responsible for the Patriot Act, which Congress had only 24 hours to before a pressured vote read during a crisis. His administration illegally spied on us, authorized the FBI to break into our homes and seize files without telling us afterwards, seize and copy computers in airports without explanation, and he criminalized a lot of free speech, etc. You do not condemn these abuses when a Republican does them, only when a Democrat does. That does make a person patriotic, that makes him or her a partisan party loyalist. America has far too many of those, of both parties. It is intellectually dishonest, bad for America.

StillInNapa

According to the federal judge the methods used by the government are unconstitutional. In other words, the government is breaking the law, they are criminal. Anyone who has read the forth amendment should agree. It's not a matterof if you haven't done thus and so you shouldn't worry if the government is breaking the and collecting your personal/private information. If an officer strip searches you, including cavity search, for no reason at all, would you say, "it's ok, I had nothing to hide?" Some of the commenters here are so ignorant I think they need a cavity search, just to clear their thinking. It's rather frightening to me that the two sides that make up the majority willingly allow lawmakers to undermine the very foundation of the greatest governing document on earth. Snowden realizef they were breaking the law and wanted the public to know. There should be public outcry for change, for the government to obey her own laws.

StillInNapa

News flash, federal judge, says NSA methods are unconstitutional. To which I say no $#!+@. Thank you Edward Snowden, you are a constitutional hero, a hero of liberty and justice for all! Shame on those of you that support the illegal actvity of our government! Without the constitution we have no rights. It is detrimental to every citizen of the US that our lawmakers do not undermine the very foundation of our government. Blessings to the federal judge as well!

a teacher
a teacher

Snowden took an oath to keep government secrets. Governments do need to operate outside of the public eye, especially in times of war, so it can't be a good thing that someone like Snowden is revealing secrets. I can't call him a hero.

Nor is what he revealed particularly surprising (maybe I'm a cynic, but I always believed the government spied on us to some extent). And the clues were there as far back as 2006 when it was revealed that Verizon was aiding the government in it's efforts to get phone records they were interested in. Paul Revere he is not.

Traitor is a little strong, though. A traitor willingly aids the enemy. Snowden released what he believed was information that Americans should know about their government's efforts to spy on them. Unless we're the enemy (maybe?), he's not a traitor.

alucawanza

pub said: Quite frankly, I am fearful every time I write anything negative or in opposition to the Obama regime. The NSA is watching and reporting.
Paranoia: a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.

skeptic

paul revere was rebellious lawbreaker. like snowdon, he not only warned against the duly-constituted government of america coming to execute the law, but he snuck away from the british and didn’t turn himself in for torture and death. how dare anyone hold up the criminal paul revere as a role model. he did not work peacefully within the system to change it but revealed government secrets to the detriment of the whole country. today he would be in a secret prison and held without trial forever, if not executed for his crimes.

Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes

And just like any outspoken crtiic of the Obama regime today would be incarcerated in Guantanamo and waterboarded and broken, Paul Rever would have been ravaged then hanged by the British if they coud have caught him.

alucawanza

There are no American outspoken critics of the Obama regime in Guantanamo.

Madison Jay Hamilton
Madison Jay Hamilton

Dozens of those now held in cages at Guantanamo are conducting a hunger strike. In response, they're being force fed---an extremely painful form of abuse. Amazingly, many of those held at Guantanamo have never been charged with any crime.

The U.S. is a country that does not respect the rule of law.

alucawanza

pub...You're only in trouble with the NSA if you're having conversations or emails with known Al Quaida operatives, planning a terrorist attack, etc. Are you doing these things??? If not, you can relax. No one is listening to you or to me. We are unimportant in security matters.

Madison Jay Hamilton
Madison Jay Hamilton

It's an interesting time: Law-breaking by government officials goes unpunished while those who report illegal activity must flee the country to protect themselves.

alucawanza

Mr. Snowden chose his fate. He is enjoying his life as a martyr. What other avenues were open to him to avoid this situation? What would you have done?

Michael Haley

I think Snowden is a hero. What he did was illegal, yes, but if he hadn't of done that we would not know how much our government has stepped over the line. Where are the calls for justice against the government officials who illegally sanctioned the total violation of the 4th amendment?

If Snowden came back here they would torture him and break him like they did Manning. I hope he stays away and they don't find him and kill him. He is a huge threat to the machine that controls our government, and it sure ain't the people.

publiusa

What Lenin did in the 1905 and1917 reviolutions was illegal in theregime of Czar Nicholas II. He was lucky that the Bolshevicks exterminated the monarchy family and he didn't have to face a regime of terror as we does Mr. Snowden and we as citizens of America do today..

alucawanza

A regime of terror? Really? What terror are you facing pub?

publiusa

Quite frankly, I am fearful every time I write anything negative or in opposition to the Obama regime. The NSA is watching and reporting.

rocketman
rocketman

It's Obama's administration and the Democrats support whatever Obama does. That pretty much sums up why there is no investigation. Bengazi?? Fast and Furious?? No or little concern.

Madison Jay Hamilton
Madison Jay Hamilton

Small government conservatives support "whistleblowers" such as Mr. Snowden.

Big government liberals attack "whistleblowers" attempting to hold government officials accountable.

Mr. Ellsberg has written and spoken in support of the actions taken by Mr. Snowden.

Too many Republicons advocate for a type of corporate fascism that only "Big Government" can maintain.

glenroy
glenroy

Too many liberal myths…Corporate Fascism is alive and well, dominated by the Democrat Party…anything or one who refers to ‘Progressive’ is little more than lingo for socialism, Fascist Socialism as model in practice.
The Nazis granted massive government funding to Nazi supporters…that is the Progressive Model rather than letting corporations compete where competition would bring the cost down for the tax payers.
http://www.americanprogress.org/about/our-supporters/
So…at the end of the day as a group public employee unions dominate donations with well over 90% going to straight to far-left Democrats who depend on Government Citizens for the bulk of their man power and who in-turn benefit though government cronyism.
In cohorts to be kind.

Madison Jay Hamilton
Madison Jay Hamilton

Fascist Socialism? I've never heard of that!

Fascism is a right-wing philosphy embracing capitalism, nationalism and militarism. (Benito Mussolini, a "founding father" of fascism, said that fascism should be called "corporatism.")

Socialism is a left-wing philosophy embracing public ownership of the means of production, self-determination and democractic decision-making.

Fascists such as Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Francisco Franco hated socialists!

Corporations do not exist in a "free market." Corporations are government-created entities with rights and privileges denied to other forms of businesses and real, live citizens.

In 2013, an "uncivil war" has been taking place within the Repubicon Party between "Corporate Repubicons" and "Tea Party Republicons" for control of what is rapidly becoming a regional political party (the old Confederacy)

Too many Republicons---of both Corporate and Tea Party varieties---love Big Government and fight against freedom and liberty.

publiusa

Easy for anentrenched government worker to say.

Madison Jay Hamilton
Madison Jay Hamilton

Making a snide, ad hominem remark about a commenter is a poor substitute for rational argument. (Fail!)

publiusa

Watergate, a simple burglary in an office building brought down a Republican president - Snowden uncovered the assault by this president on the freedoms of an entire nation....How's your hope and change now?

Flaneur

And by the previous president, too. It was Bush who extended the imperial presidency, intimidated Congress into passing the Patriot Act (they had to pass it before they could read it), used the Patriot Act to spy on Americans, pushed for immunity for telephone companies colluding in the spying, etc. Unfortunately, while there was hope for change there was no change, as Obama continued and worsened Bush's intrusions. Publiusa, how can you support assaults on our freedom by Bush yet oppose them when done by Obama? Can we get beyond party politics on this crucial issue? I share your disgust at Obama's abuses, but those abuses did not start in January, 2009.

publiusa

This president has been in office for 5 years...he could have changed anything he wanted to...but apparently he wants this asault on our rights or doesn't know how to correct it. It's laughable to blame Georg Bush for anything at this point.

alucawanza

It was more than a simple burglary.
Nixon's crimes: They accused him of three crimes: blocking justice in a federal crime, abusing presidential powers and keeping back evidence. It was his own re-election staff that burgled the Watergate office. Don't you remember this history??
President Obama is continuing the program that Congress passed as Flaneur explains below.

Crosscountrykid
Crosscountrykid

A more apt comparison than Paul Revere for revealing government skullduggery would be the example of courage set by Daniel Ellsberg. However, Mr. Ellsberg also had the courage to face the consequences of his actions. Heroes, unlike Mr. Snowden, don't run away but stand their ground.

glenroy
glenroy

Well said....

V-Twink
V-Twink

Snowden is a traitor. The US should find him, sieze him, and he should have a military tribunal. End of story.

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