Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Where has our democracy gone?

Mountains' majesty
Where has our democracy gone?  We are suppose to be the home of the free and the brave.  Purple mountain majesties is part of our folklore.  In God we Trust.  Americana.  Don't tread on me.

What has happened to America?  We seem to have misplaced our democracy along the way.  Exactly which way are we going?  Exactly which road are we taking?

I am saddened to hear our own Justice Department, headed by Eric Holder, has been wiretapping journalists' telephones and/or confiscating their phone records at the Associated Press (AP).  Not one journalist, but about twenty have been wiretapped.  This has compromised their sources and informants and is an egregious breach of freedom of the press.

We have a First Amendment that guarantees a free press.  The reason it is First, is because it holds our most important freedoms - freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom to assemble and protest. There are no more important freedoms than those and that is why they are First.

Yet, our own Justice Department is trampling on our freedom of press.  We need that freedom to have a democracy.  If we have a press that is run by the government or is fearful of the government then we have lost our freedom of the press.

It was always my understanding that to wiretap a telephone in America for any reason or confiscating phone records, the government or Justice Department had to have a subpoena to do so issued by a judge.  There had to be probable cause to wiretap the phone of any American and evidence to that effect had to be presented to a judge in order for the judge of make a decision as to whether to issue the subpoena or not.

But, the Justice Department has wiretapped these journalists' telephones and confiscated phone records at the AP offices without a subpoena from any judge.  This is overstepping their boundaries as a government office.  This is how governments become dictatorships and tyrannies.  I think we have been through this back in 1776?  And revisited this during Watergate in the 1970's?

The Justice Department has no business wiretapping journalists' telephones and confiscating phone records without going through the court system, subpoenas and judges.  Even if the cause is to find terrorists and root them out, the Justice Department is going about it in  the wrong way.  If it is so important to national security, then getting a judge's subpoena should not be a problem.

I am saddened to hear this 'news' and to see we are losing our freedoms and in turn our democracy.  If President Obama does not know about this -- he should.  The buck stops in his office.  This is dangerous territory and President Obama needs to put the brakes on Eric Holder and the Justice Department.

We cannot have a free press to look into our government and do its duty and responsibility if journalists' are being secretly wiretapped.  This is an invasion of privacy and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Where has our democracy gone?

And now the infamous and notorious IRS is harassing and targeting political parties and congressmen?  I don't like the Tea Party or their set of values and beliefs.  But, they have a right to group together, and have their set of values and beliefs in the United States of America.

The First Amendment gives them the right to free assembly and protest if they want to do so.  Do I like their protests?  No I don't. They are ridiculous.  They are right wing fundamentalists that are far too conservative for my tastes.  But, I will always defend their right to have their Tea Party, to assemble, and to protest whenever they want to without IRS harassment or looking into their lives.

What is happening to our First Amendment rights in this country?  Where does the IRS get the idea they can harass and target the Tea Party or any conservative thinking congressman/woman?

This is absolutely outrageous.  Again, President Obama is not aware this is going on.  Well, he should as the leader of this nation.  This situation is so Nixonian it is disturbing.  Have we not learned anything from our past?

We teach our students and children to make good and right decisions and choices and to accept the consequences when they don't.  We counsel them to learn from their past mistakes, move forward and do better.  And, now we have a government agency that can't seem to make good and right choices and decisions.  They have not learned from their past mistakes or from Richard Nixon's presidency and his sick paranoia.

I am outraged.  I am appalled at both of these dire situations that have come to light this week in the news.  Both the Justice Department, what a play on the word justice here, and the IRS two of the most powerful government agencies, just overstepping their boundaries in such egregious ways.

I am also concerned and saddened that these oversteppings of democratic boundaries are happening during Obama's presidency.  He should be aware of his own government agencies and departments and what they are doing at all times.  I thought better of Obama and his management abilities.

Where has our democracy gone?