Inside Source Tells How Intrepid FBI Agents Snuck Past DOJ Stonewalling on Clinton Investigation

FROM AN ANONYMOUS SOURCE:

(1) The reason Comey was able to engage in open insubordination Friday is the obvious one: They all know he has the goods on them, and there is absolutely nothing they can do to stop him.  He is the most powerful person in DC right now.  He got talked into the ridiculous pass for Hillary in July and the agents were all screaming bloody murder.  He knew he couldn’t keep a lid on it any longer, and that the administration could do nothing to stop him, lest he blow the whistle on the whole damned lot of them.

(2)  He has the goods on Obama too.  That’s why the White House had nothing but good things to say about him yesterday.  Why would someone use an alias on a secure system?  Again, the obvious answer is that Obama knew he was communicating classified info on an unsecure system.  So he is as guilty as she is.

(3)  That’s the message Bill Clinton delivered on the tarmac to the less-than-brilliant Loretta Lynch—that Obama is in this up to his ears, so if Hillary goes down, everyone does, including her boss.  And including Lynch herself: ordering investigating agents not to use subpoenas, a grand jury, or search warrants, as in literally every other investigation in FBI history, and to stop investigating the Foundation fraud, is obstructive conduct, in violation of several criminal statutes.  So everyone up and down the chain is guilty.  Bill just needed to make sure this dim-witted Attorney General got it.

(4)  We need to put out an APB for Loretta Lynch.  Maybe she is in hiding along with Huma.  Immediately after your subordinate openly flouts your direct order to stand down, you just vanish.  What does that tell you?

(5)  The whole cabal took their eyes of the ball while the angry FBI agents got their field office in NY to open the Weiner investigation.  The FBI doesn’t investigate sexting cases!  But the agents knew, from private communications with Judicial Watch, that Huma had most of the “deleted” emails stored on her unsecure home computer, the same computer housing the inbox for her unsecure yahoo email account which was hacked along with all of the yahoo accounts several months earlier.  The agents knew they could access the incriminating evidence through the contrived Weiner investigation, and it worked.  Before the DOJ leadership realized what was happening, the NY agents got a search warrant and seized the computer.  Checkmate.

(6)  The “deleted” emails contain enough incriminating admissions to put Hillary and Bill away for life.  All these emails are maintained and accessible from the NSA, and everyone in DC knows it.  It would take the NSA about five minutes to retrieve them all and copy them to a thumb drive.  But Comey wasn’t allowed to go there.

(7)  The whole thing is going to blow, either before or after election day.  It will blow up before Tuesday if Julian Assange releases the 33,000 “deleted” emails this week, as anticipated.

Embrace The Debate – the FREE e-book

FINALLY…real-life examples of someone intellectually defeating liberals who want the government to do more than it’s allowed, as well as libertarians who don’t even want the government to do the very few things it’s required to.  Also includes many free-form topical columns about various topics, all based upon one simple premise: the purpose of the Constitution is to limit government in favor of individual liberty, not the other way around.

Read this free e-book to learn how to focus on the core fundamental truth that really matters, despite any efforts to distract by those with whom you might find yourself engaged in a debate.  See how to steer any discussion back to the singular issue that matters in any argument about government: if it’s not REQUIRED by the Constitution, then it’s not ALLOWED.

Just click on the below link, and enjoy!  As you’ll discover with the pages of this book, I welcome any and all feedback.  You can comment on this page, or I can be contacted at embracethedebate@ymail.com or on Twitter: @embracethedeb8.  Good luck trying to win an argument with me though!

Embrace The Debate

 

IF IT’S NOT ENUMERATED, THEN IT MUST BE ELIMINATED!

 

MY LETTER TO THE SUPREME COURT

Like so many Americans, I am tired of seeing our Constitution ignored in favor of misguided notions of “fairness” or “compassion” or “justice”, which only serves to decimate our country (which, of course, is the overall goal for many leftists).  But this is what happens after decades upon decades of miseducation and indoctrination…and people choosing to get offended instead of thinking, and others too worried about being accused of being “offensive” or “insensitive” to stand up for the actual truth.

Hoping for a miracle, I submitted the following to the US Supreme Court via its website in April 2015, before their disastrous second ruling upholding Obamacare and their equally horrible ruling giving legal validation to “gay marriage”.  This was my small – and ultimately unsuccessful – effort to remind the justices of their actual job: interpreting laws in accordance with the purpose of the Constitution (to limit government).  How ironic then that Chief Justice Roberts stated in his ruling on Obamacare that the stated goal/purpose of the law overruled whatever the actual wording was…while completely ignoring the purpose of the Constitution (which is supposed to be THE legal precedent).

*********************************************************

FOR THE COURT’S CONSIDERATION

When arguing in Federalist 84 AGAINST the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, Alexander Hamilton wrote the following:

“I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous.  They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted.  For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?  Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?  I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power.  They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government.”

The above makes it quite clear that the only authorities the government has are those it is specifically granted/given in the Constitution, via the enumerated powers.  “For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?”  In other words, Hamilton was stressing the needlessness of enumerating specific individual rights that the government shall not infringe upon, when it was never granted a specific power to do so in the first place.

Of course the Bill of Rights ended up in the Constitution, and we are all very fortunate that the framers were appropriately pessimistic about the designs of those “disposed to usurp” to include them.  Also, the framers made sure that a few of those original ten amendments addressed concerns such as Hamilton’s directly.  The 9th Amendment explains with utter clarity that the purpose of the Constitution is to limit government, not the people.  The 10th Amendment stipulates that the federal government is only allowed to do what it’s specifically required to do, with all the rest left to the states or the people.  And, just in case the government should ever violate its strict constitutional limits, the framers also made sure to clarify via the 2nd Amendment that absolutely NO gun control laws are allowed at ANY level of government, so the people would never be deprived of the ability to defend themselves.

Now, let’s extend the above truths about the purposefully strict Constitutional limits placed on the federal government to a few specific cases either currently being, or soon to be, considered by the Supreme Court.  The first is the latest case related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly referred to as “Obamacare”.  This case challenges the legality of federal health insurance subsidies, according to the actual wording of the ACA, which limits that money to state exchanges.

But, in light of the above explanation about the purpose of the Constitution, I prefer to approach this from a different, more fundamental angle: which enumerated power requires the federal government to have anything at all to do with health insurance?  Where in the Constitution is the government authorized to pay any subsidies, or to provide any benefits at all?  Where in Article 1 is Congress empowered to force anyone to buy anything, for any reason?

Hamilton also clarified in Federalist 84 that the Constitution “is merely intended to regulate the general political interests of the nation”, and is not for “the regulation of every species of personal and private concerns.”  And it is also clear from the other writings of the framers that, Constitutionally speaking, the use of the word “regulate” refers to government ensuring that people play by the rules – NOT writing those rules.  We have legal recourse through the courts, in case of contract violations, but the government does not get to dictate the terms of the contract, especially in opposition to the wishes of either or both of the parties engaging in the contract.

The second case coming before the court deals with “gay marriage”; specifically, the constitutionality of the laws of various states which do not recognize them as legal.  Aside from the simple questions of definitions (if we legally recognize a definitional impossibility such as “gay marriage”, what’s next – “pregnant men”?), we must focus on the more fundamental question about Constitutional limits on government.

Once again, it’s important to remember that the Constitution specifically limits the FEDERAL government – NOT the states.  The 10th Amendment says that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  This makes absolutely clear that the only things the states are NOT allowed to do are those things specifically prohibited to them by the Constitution, while the federal government is ONLY allowed to do those few things required of it by the enumerated powers.

So, to paraphrase my earlier question about Obamacare: which enumerated power requires the federal government to have anything at all to do with marriage?  Where in the Constitution is the government authorized to provide any benefits or preferential tax treatment to any class/group of people, including married couples?  Where in Article 1 is Congress empowered to change the definition of marriage?

By law, people are allowed to be gay.  And gay people are legally allowed to marry.  But why would they want to, since doing so means – by definition – entering into a union with someone of the opposite sex?  Because that’s what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman, which grew out of the natural fact that it takes one of each to produce children.

But none of this changes the fact that the federal government is limited to those few duties specifically required of it by the enumerated powers.  And none of those enumerated powers require the federal government to change the definition of marriage, or to pay benefits to anyone for any reason, or to tax certain groups of people differently than any others.

Thus we find ourselves facing yet another instance of the federal government considering granting to itself more power for which it has no constitutional authority whatsoever.  And here’s the kicker…whenever that happens, EVERY American citizen has legal standing to challenge it.  Since the federal government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, it is every citizen’s right – no, duty – to ensure that every law passed or even considered comports fully with the Constitution, which is THE legal precedent that trumps all others.

I fully understand the ramifications of what I am saying in this letter, and how many more laws/programs/departments/agencies would be affected by properly implementing the constitution’s purposefully strict limits on the federal government.  But the Constitution is clear in its purpose, and the Bill of Rights reinforces that clarity beyond a shadow of a doubt.  To ignore that, for any reason – especially for political ones – is an abrogation of our responsibility as a free people to maintain the liberty with which we’ve been endowed.

Trump Has Succeeded in Convincing Conservatives to Discard their Fears Overnight

Charles C. W. Cooke wrote a piece recently in National Review Online entitled “Trump Has Succeeded in Convincing Conservatives to Discard their Principles Overnight“…and he so misses the boat in this one that I just had to comment.  Not only have conservatives not abandoned their core beliefs, but they are responding to Trump in such a positive way now precisely because the Republicans they have been electing for decades are guilty of that charge.

Cooke laments that GOP base voters have decided on Trump as their spokesman despite the fact that “their pick lacks any sort of conservative message at all”.  Regardless of what Trump actually believes, Cooke thinks his current appeal lies in HOW he delivers his message.  And Cooke is right about that part, actually….what he misses here is WHY Trump’s method of message delivery is resonating so well with the base.

It is no more complicated than this…Trump is leading the way in showing people how easy it is to not worry about being politically correct, and to not really give a hoot if anyone chooses to get offended by what you say.  And when you consider that, in conjunction with how sorely disappointed GOP voters have been over decades with most Republicans they elect to represent them, what you have is a recipe for true “hope and change” (to borrow a phrase).

Cooke is a self-described “conservatarian” — fiscally conservative but socially liberal.  And as such, he expresses frustration with what he describes as the GOP base’s “penchant for political purity” over the past few years.  But now, conversely, he is vexed by what he sees as their discarding of a desire for ideological perfection by hitching their wagons to Trump, “the greatest shape-shifter of them all.”  Well, which is it, Charles — do you want Republican voters to be strict conservative ideologues, or not?

Cooke rightly states that these “wannabe purists” hate the GOP leadership.  What he fails to mention — probably because he fails to realize it — is that the base hates Republican party leadership precisely because those “leaders” have discarded conservatism.  They run for office on promises to, for example, repeal Obamacare or stand up to the president’s lawlessness, but when push comes to shove, they not only get steamrolled by Obama, they often facilitate his political victories via their own willful capitulation.  And that happens largely due to the simple fact that they are afraid…afraid of being attacked for criticizing Obama and getting tagged with the any of the usual labels assigned to those who dare to be politically incorrect or stand on principle: racist/sexist/homophobe/bigot/partisan/caveman/exremist/etc.

The base is just tired of getting snookered by candidates who talk tough during a campaign, but then govern as wusses.  And, possibly even more than that, voters of all stripes are absolutely fed up with political correctness.  Almost no one outside of the media actually cares if someone takes offense at something they say…but almost everyone now operates under the very real fear of something they say/write/think being used against them by anyone who might disagree…often toward the goal of destroying their lives and/or careers.

This is why Trump resonates with voters.  His fearless delivery of his message — regardless of its content — is what people have been longing for.  So Trump insults someone, or retweets a “bimbo” insult about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly…so what?  Kelly — and everyone else — can just consider the source, choose NOT to take offense, and move on with their lives.  All of this talk about Trump not being “presidential” rings absolutely hollow…it’s un-presidential to insult someone, but not to shred the Constitution and actively work to degrade and weaken America?  Voters are beyond impatient with this utter lack of perspective and common sense.

The support for Trump has has less to do with his pop culture appeal, as Cooke contends, than it does with the fact that he’s not a politician, and apparently has no desire to be.  The American people are so fed up with politicians who spend careers in Washington lining their pockets and ignoring the desires of constituents and, more importantly, the Constitution.

Cooke quoted an article in the New York Times, which said: “For years, Republicans have run for office on promises of cutting taxes and bolstering business to stimulate economic growth. . . . But this election cycle, the Republican presidential candidate who currently leads in most polls is taking a different approach, and it is jangling the nerves of some of the party’s most traditional supporters.”

Therein lies the rub, Charles…despite all those promises by Republican candidates during campaigns, if and when they actually get elected to office, they almost never follow through!  Why keep voting for people who you KNOW are going to end up being nothing more than unresponsive, spineless liars who care more about pleasing the media than the people who elected them?  How many election cycles do we have to go through before we finally wake up and say “enough is enough”?

Unconscionably, Cooke goes on to defend conservative candidates for public office who “take a free-market approach to fiscal policy…because they believe in earnest that it helps the whole country.”  Well, when is the last time our federal government got anywhere near anything even remotely resembling a free-market fiscal policy?  The last GOP presidential candidate instituted in his state the predecessor to Obamacare, and during a debate with Obama, proclaimed his support for the continuation of a progressive income tax system.  Before that, the 2008 candidate had a reputation as a “maverick” who fought more against his fellow Republicans than Democrats, and went all in for growing government at the expense of individual liberty in relation to campaign contributions and “man-made climate change”.  Not very free-market or helpful for the whole country in the eyes of true conservatives.

Trump is not, as Cooke claims, “winning their support with the sort of brainless, simplistic, counter-Bastiatian snake-oil that is typically dismissed out of hand”.  He’s winning their support for nothing more than not being a politician-as-usual.

Voting for the lesser of two evils can be draining, especially when done year after year after year, and then the lesser evil turns out to be not-so-much-less evil.  Why not try a different tack, and support someone who, while he might not claim to have a message in line with the purpose of the Constitution, is simply bold and unapologetic in his delivery and not hampered by politicians’ typical fears?

And honestly, can we really do any worse than the guy currently playing president?  At least Trump doesn’t appear to be opposed to the founding of America, or embarrassed for its greatness and exceptionalism, or actively trying to degrade and dismantle it.  That’s something.

Also, this is not to say that those conservatives currently lining up behind Trump will agree with whatever policies he tries to implement if he does manage to get elected, or will not hold his feet to the fire and perhaps primary him in 2020.  Those voters might not even stick with him throughout this whole current campaign; perhaps he’ll end up just being a trailblazer who served to show other candidates how audacious boldness can garner support from millions of frustrated voters.

Who knows…maybe Trump’s fearless, politically incorrect approach will pave the way for more candidates to enter the fray — perhaps even for the 2016 election — and some of them will be ACTUAL constitutionalists who boldly preach strict adherence to the enumerated powers?  After the support Trump has managed to amass simply for HOW he delivers his message, imagine how much MORE support would accrue to an equally fearless candidate whose message was focused on the fact that the federal government is only ALLOWED to do those very few things the Constitution specifically REQUIRES it do to — no more, no less.

If Trump’s “different approach…is jangling the nerves of some of the party’s most traditional supporters”, how much more shaken up would they be if another fearless non-politician entered the race proclaiming something like: “IF IT’S NOT ENUMERATED, IT MUST BE ELIMINATED!”?  You’d have the delivery that we know base voters love, coupled with the message they’ve actually been craving for years.

Now THAT would be fun to see.

Whatever Happened to MOST Freedom?

Roger Pilon of the CATO Institute wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal recently entitled “Whatever Happened to Religious Freedom?”  That’s a good question, but it skates right on past the main issue…the disappearance of MOST freedom.  Pilon discusses statutory law which outlaws discrimination for businesses considered “public accomodations” (based on Title 2 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act), but ignores the utter unconstitutionality of any such law.

Any business owner has the right to do business with — or to deny service to — anyone they choose, for whatever reason they choose.  While I would never support any business that refuses to serve black people, for instance, I will always fully support that business’ RIGHT to do so.  And I’m fine with anyone publicly calling out those businesses as racists (I certainly would), and working to convince other people not to patronize them.  Even though I loathe racism, I fully support anyone’s right to be a racist…as well as anyone else’s right to criticize or shun them for being one.

But for the government (especially on the federal level) to step in and legally mandate that any business must accept any customer, then that is a direct violation of the personal property rights of the business owner.  The federal government is strictly forbidden to intervene, by virtue of not being required to by any enumerated power.

Any statutory law that grants the federal government powers not specifically enumerated in the Constitution — THE legal precedent — is absolutely unconstitutional, and therefore illegal.

Also, we need to disabuse ourselves of this notion that we have “constitutional rights”…far too many people have succumbed to the misconception that individual rights exist only if they’re listed in that document.

People fall into the trap of thinking that the Constitution guarantees our rights by “listing” them…no, it actually guarantees our rights — which are innumerable — NOT by listing them, but by limiting the government’s ability to infringe upon them.  The few individual liberties listed in the Bill of Rights are not the only ones we have, and their listing therein is not what guarantees them.

We are now in a situation that Alexander Hamilton feared would happen, which is why he argued AGAINST the inclusion of a Bill of Rights before the Constitution’s ratification.  In Federalist 84, he said that a Bill of Rights “would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted.  For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?  Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?  I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power.” (emphasis mine)

And Hamilton has been proven absolutely correct in his prediction that some people would use the Bill of Rights to claim more power for government than is specifically authorized throughout the entire Constitution.  This despite the addition of the 9th and 10th Amendments, which addressed his fears by explaining clearly that individual rights are not limited to those enumerated (9th), while the powers of the federal government are strictly limited to those enumerated (10th).

The PURPOSE of the Constitution is to limit government, which is why it lists the very few required duties of the federal government.  And if something is not REQUIRED by the enumerated powers, then it’s not ALLOWED.  Anything that is not specifically listed is absolutely prohibited, by virtue of that omission (including redefining marriage).

We need to stop referring, for example, to our “1st Amendment rights” or “2nd Amendment rights”, as if their enumeration in the Bill of Rights is what guarantees them.  They are guaranteed by virtue of the strict, purposeful limits placed on government throughout the Constitution, which confines government’s duties to ONLY those required by the enumerated powers…no more, no less.

We have completely lost sight of the fact that the purpose of the Constitution is to strictly limit government…NOT individual liberty.

— written on 22 July 2015

THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS NOT ALL-INCLUSIVE

We often hear talk about our “constitutional rights”, a reference to those enumerated in its first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights.  Unfortunately, by solely focusing on on the few rights specifically identified there, we are missing all those that are not.

People fall into the trap of thinking that the Constitution guarantees our rights by “listing” them…but it actually guarantees our rights – which are innumerable – NOT by listing them, but by limiting the government’s ability to infringe upon them.  The few individual liberties listed in the Bill of Rights are not the only ones we have, and their listing there is not what guarantees them.

We must not succumb to the common misconception that individual rights exist only if they are listed in the Constitution…which is precisely what Alexander Hamilton feared would happen, and is why he argued against the inclusion of a Bill of Rights before ratification.

In Federalist 84, Hamilton said that a Bill of Rights “would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted.  For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?  Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?  I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power.” (emphasis mine)

And Hamilton has been proven absolutely correct in his prediction that some people would use the Bill of Rights to claim more power for government than is specifically authorized throughout the entire Constitution.  This despite the addition of the 9th and 10th Amendments, which addressed his fears by explaining clearly that individual rights are not limited to those listed (9th), while the powers of the federal government are strictly limited to those listed (10th).

The PURPOSE of the Constitution is to limit government, which is why it lists the very few required duties of the federal government.  And if something is not REQUIRED by the enumerated powers, then it’s not ALLOWED.  Any government power that is not specifically listed is absolutely prohibited, by virtue of that omission.

We need to stop referring to our “1st Amendment rights”, for example, as if their enumeration in the Bill of Rights is what guarantees them.  They are infinite, and are guaranteed by virtue of the strict, purposeful limits placed on government throughout the Constitution, which confines government’s duties to ONLY those required by the enumerated powers…no more, no less.

–first written on 25 February 2015

The NSA is not “spying” on Americans

So, the “left” and “right” have teamed up in opposition to the NSA’s bulk collection of phone metadata, which is often referred to by many as the federal government “spying” on Americans.

In “ACLU & Tea Party: NSA reform bill has gaping holes“, Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Matt Kibbe, the president and founder of FreedomWorks, write a spirited diatribe against Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes this bulk metadata collection and is set to expire on June 1.  In reading this column, I have discovered that Mr. Romero and Mr. Kibbe (strange bedfellows indeed), are operating under a few obvious misconceptions, and I thought it necessary to point those out.

Let’s dive right in.

FIRST: You do not OWN that metadata.  The Fourth Amendment guarantees “The right of the people to be secure in THEIR persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” (emphasis mine).  That means you are only guaranteed the right of security for things YOU own, and not data owned by someone else, such as a phone or internet service provider…even if that data is ABOUT you.

Despite what courts have ruled – in direct contradiction to the clear wording of the Constitution, as they often do – the Fourth Amendment does NOT guarantee our privacy, but simply our property rights.  And if you do not own something, then it is – obviously – not YOUR property, and the Fourth Amendment does not apply.

Consider this (admittedly overly-simplified) analogy: Let’s say that you borrow a book from me, and proceed to write a bunch of your own personal information inside it.  That book is still my property, and thus so too is the data about you now contained within its pages.  Yes, I am still legally prevented from using that data for nefarious purposes (such as identity theft, etc.), but that does not make the data any less my property now.  I did not steal it; you willingly gave it to me.  How much more then in the case of telephone numbers which are ALWAYS owned by the service providers?

Or imagine that you are walking past some landmark right when a tourist snaps a picture of it – and you – with his camera.  Your presence at that specific location at that specific time is now recorded by someone else, and, if later applicable and/or necessary, is admissible as evidence in a court of law.  And you did not even give that tourist permission to take your picture, which gives him specific data ABOUT you, as you do with a phone company when you sign up for their service.  But that data about you is now the property of that tourist, to do with as he pleases.

SECOND: Romero and Kibbe cite the fact that “the White House’s own review group found that the nationwide phone-records program operated under Section 215 has not prevented a single attack.”  This is a disingenous and misleading characterization that completely ignores a couple key points.

The public will never fully know about every single prevented attack, as much of the relevant information remains classified, and revealing it would tip off would-be attackers and their associates that we know who they are and are monitoring their communications.

Being able to investigate AFTER successful attacks who the perpetrators communicated with in the past – prior to their coming to our attention by virtue of their successful attacks – is very useful to learning more about what other attacks might be planned, and by whom.  Unfortunately, we often do not even know who to be on the lookout for until they carry out an attack, because of legal safeguards in place to protect them from unwarranted scrutiny prior to committing a crime.  But to tie our hands by not being able to look back into their past communications after they do conduct an attack would be utter negligence.

THIRD: Our rights are protected not by limiting the government’s ability to collect data (which, again, we individuals do NOT own), but by stipulating what the government can DO with that collected data, under what circumstances they can do it, and to whom.

Collection does NOT equal surveillance.  As the former head of Britain’s GCHQ (their version of NSA) has explained, “The distinction between mass surveillance and bulk access to data is confused in the media.  Mass surveillance would mean persistent observation of the population.  Observation needs observers.  There is no such mass surveillance team at GCHQ.  Computers, not people, have access to bulk data, zillions of gigabytes, in order to find the very small amount of information relevant to the legally authorized intercept on the terrorist, criminal or other legitimate target.”

If we prevent the government from being able to collect bulk data – or even from being able “to turn on your computer, cellphone or mobile device in your home and elsewhere, and use your own devices to spy on you” – then we are limiting the government’s ability to carry out those activities against our enemies as well.  And never forget that many of those enemies live here among us.

FOURTH: The government’s ABILITY to collect bulk metadata does not mean it has the AUTHORITY to comb freely through all of that collected data.  There are safeguards in place to protect the rights of Americans that precede passage of the Patriot Act, but which still apply to any data collected as a result of it.

Executive Order 12333 (EO 12333) lays out specifically in Part 2 (“Conduct of Intelligence Activities”) how collection activities should proceed in a manner “consistent with the Constitution and applicable law and respectful of the principles upon which the United States was founded” including finding “the proper balance between the acquisition of essential information and protection of individual interests.”

Also, United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibits the “interception or collection of information about…U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations” without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders.

The same holds true for the government’s ability to remotely turn on electronic devices and use them to spy on their users.  The bad guys use the same types and brands of computers and cell phones that we do, and I certainly want the government to be able to target them in whatever way possible.  But, again, having the ability to do that does not give the feds the authority to direct those actions against innocent Americans.

FIFTH: This whole debate is largely a distraction from a much more important discussion we SHOULD be having: one of enumerated powers vs. extra-constitutional ones.  National security/defense most certainly is a constitutionally required duty of government, while most of what the federal government does is not.

I am all for debating HOW the government should best act to fulfill its enumerated powers, but that is a completely separate discussion from the much more important and basic one about limiting government TO those few powers.

SIXTH: This debate also distracts from the much larger problem of our new overall foreign policy under President Obama, which diminishes America and emboldens our enemies.  In Obama’s rush to withdraw from Iraq, for instance, we left a vacuum that allowed the emergence of ISIS, which is now stronger than al-Qaeda ever was and controls more area than al-Qaeda ever did.  Also, countries like Russia and Iran have no qualms about flexing their muscles when they know they will no longer face any real pushback from the U.S.

Not to mention the fact that Obama wants to now extend legal safeguards for Americans to foreigners as well, which would all but annihilate the IC’s ability to properly conduct foreign intelligence collection.  Presidential Policy Directive 28 (PPD 28) outlines Obama’s goal to ensure that “U.S. signals intelligence activities must…include appropriate safeguards for the personal information of all individuals, regardless of the nationality of the individual to whom the information pertains or where that individual resides” (section 4).  He also seeks to ensure that legal protections and definitions are applied “in a manner that is consistent for U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons” (footnote 7).  There is absolutely is NO legal basis for this presidential proposal at all…it’s COMPLETELY policy-driven.

There are thousands of good people throughout the intelligence community (IC), who work their butts off trying to stop terrorists from killing Americans.  Unfortunately, they all work for a president who is more than content to make the country more and more vulnerable, thus making their jobs to protect America much harder, if not altogether impossible.

The IC strives mightily to stop individual terrorists from engaging in travel or acts related to terrorism – what I like to refer to as “terrorist whack-a-mole” – while the dangerous organizations they belong to or support ideologically continue their conquest largely unabated.  Stopping a few wanna-be jihadis here or there does next to nothing to curb the overall, ever-growing scourge of terrorism…especially when your country’s new approach is apparently to snatch defeat from the jaws of hard-fought victory, to support Islamist uprisings throughout the Middle East, to ensure that your national borders are as unsecured as possible, and to work feverishly to diminish America’s superpower status.

Regardless of whatever tools the IC has at its disposal – from bulk metadata collection to the ability to remotely operate electronic devices as spy gadgets – when our national policy now largely contravenes and undermines that intelligence work…what’s the point?  “Leading from behind” not only gives you a horrible view, but is not really “leading” at all.

Romero and Kibbe say that we should let Section 215 expire and “Then, the American people can debate how far we are willing to allow the government to go in the name of national security.  It is a discussion the government has disgracefully prevented its citizens and their elected representatives from having for 14 long years.”

Well, why wait for Section 215 to expire?  And why wait until the government ALLOWS us to have that discussion?

Let’s continue that chat right now.

The ball’s in your court, gentlemen.

If it's not enumerated, it must be eliminated!