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Off The Editor’s Desk – 5-20-2015

Spring has finally arrived, I think, as the weather this past weekend was great, but as I write this piece on Monday forenoon the temperature is in the forties and not great weather for summer outdoor events.

We spent the Saturday fishing on Lake Hayward and the Northerns were hitting, but only the little ones. Our neighbor Mike accompanied Paula and I out on the pontoon. Mike got the biggest at 22 inches. All were returned in the lake. The water temperature was only 51 degrees.

That evening, I sat and watched the national news on television and it was mostly about the war in the Middle East and that the Muslims are out to destroy infidels, and that is us Christians and others.

But what will be the big issue in the next presidential election in the fall of 2016? Many things can change in the next year and a half, but I believe that the Democrats will push the global warming agenda as the main topic of the presidential campaign. But that is at the bottom of my list of concerns about our nation and our world.

As I said, the war in the Middle East and our national security is at the top of my list of concerns for our welfare, along with the enormous national debt, employment, or lack of it. And, that our government over the years has made us dependent on it for survival, instead of a government that serves us.

One other thing is that the government has too much power and is the big brother looking at everything that we do and has reduced our freedoms with rules and regulations. If all these rules were enforced a couple hundred years ago, we would all be living in grass huts or caves on the east side of the Appalachian Mountains.

While watching TV I was happy to learn that the House passed the so-called “USA Freedom Act” that promises to prohibit the bulk collection of our information by the National Security Agency (NSA). If you remember there has been a lot of talk about the NSA collecting your private information including your phone records. And, that is why I was happy to hear that Congress (the house voted 388 to 88) was putting a stop to that program.

Ahead of the vote, the White House, a strong supporter of the agency’s mass surveillance program, has said it is vital to security, issued a statement in favor of the legislation, promising that it would, “enhance privacy and better safeguard our civil liberties, while keeping our nation safe.” But there is only one problem, so says Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) warned. “The bill actually expands the statutory basis for the large-scale collection of most data.”

If this legislation becomes law, it may undermine pending lawsuits against the agency, Amash warns. The bill gives our intelligence agencies, for the first time, statutory authority to collect Americans’ data in bulk. In light of the Second Circuit’s opinion that the NSA has been collecting our information in bulk without statutory authority for all this time, it would be a devastating misstep for Congress to pass a bill that codifies that bulk collection and likely ensures no future court will ever again be positioned to rule against the government for over collecting on statutory grounds.”

According to Robert Romano, the senior editor for Americans for Limited Government, “the only remaining recourse would be to sue on constitutional grounds, leaving it to chance how courts might rule on the basis of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against warrantless surveillance.”

Romano continued, “Congress would be better off doing nothing, since that would increase the odds of the warrantless surveillance being overturned in federal court. Instead, now members are giving their imprimatur to the program.”

Thanks for reading! — Carlton