Data collection issue is a bipartisan failure
It’s fascinating to read the complaints of Carver County Republican Executive Committee members Vince Beaudette and Joe Polunc from last week’s edition regarding the data collection being performed by the National Security Agency (NSA).
I share their concern about what appears to be an overly broad collection of personal data by the federal government.
However, their finger-pointing at the Obama Administration ignores the fact that their Republican Party played a key role in the creation of such programs. This was a bipartisan failure, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is not telling you the truth.
First off, let’s remember that the NSA’s collection of phone metadata actually began shortly after 9/11 and took its current form in 2006. The PRISM program in its current form originated in 2007. Where were Beaudette and Polunc when the Bush Administration was engaging in these tactics? Their objections now seem politically convenient, especially given the fact that collection of phone metadata by the NSA has been publicized in several mainstream media outlets going back to 2006.
Second, since 2001 there have been five key votes in Congress that have given legal authorization to these programs.
Republicans in the United States Senate have voted a combined 237-5 in favor of legally authorizing these programs.
In the House, Carver County’s Republican U.S. Representatives Erik Paulsen and Michele Bachmann have also cast multiple votes for the legislation that authorized these programs. In the votes where both Bachmann and Paulsen have been in Congress, House Republicans have voted a combined 437-34 in favor of legally authorizing these programs. Yet Beaudette and Polunc offer no criticism for Paulsen and Bachmann’s role in the authorization of such data collection.
Finally, let’s also point out that Beaudette and Polunc offer no alternative path.
Do they propose that the NSA stop this data collection completely, even though Congressional officials and military officers say they are valuable to national security? What would Beaudette and Polunc suggest the government do differently? We don’t know. Typical of Republican rhetoric these days, they are long on complaints, but short on solutions.
The reality is that both parties have failed on us this issue, and as citizens, we need to work together to pressure our elected officials — Republican and Democrat alike — to strike the appropriate balance between liberty and security. Let’s take off the partisan hats and put on our American hats for a change.
Do your part to help stop domestic violence
As a child, I remember watching the TV sitcom, “The Honeymooners” with my family.
One line Ralph Kramden used to address his frustration with his wife, Alice, was, “One of these days, Alice, Pow! Right to the moon!” And, of course, we would all laugh.
With more and more domestic violence being exposed in family units, Ralph’s line from the past is not funny anymore, but alarming!
Physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse is not something at which to laugh. It is dangerous. It is destructive. It is deadly to the physical, emotional and spiritual state of those abused. It is contrary to everything that Jesus teaches us. Eighty-five percent of those abused are women and children, 15 percent of those abused are men.
Just in this month alone there have been countless reports of abusive relationships that have ended in the murder of those being abused. The abused reduces all those that he/she abuses to a commodity, something that he/she uses, and controls.
The victims of abuse often find their personalities systematically being erased by the abuser, sometimes being erased to the point of not existing in any public record, and in extreme cases being murdered.
Abuse is not just something found among the poor, unlearned, and the lower classes. Rather abuse is found among the rich, the successful, the celebrity, Bing Crosby, Ann Bancroft, and Kirby Puckett being terrible perpetrators of abuse.
There are examples in scripture that point out the evil of abuse, Sarah’s treatment of Hagar in Genesis, and the rape of Susannah in the Book of Daniel. Jesus teaches us that the “Power Over” relationship of the abused over a victim is not what God intends. Jesus shows us that God’s relationship with all humanity is one of “Power With” exemplified by Jesus’ Incarnation when all that is Divine is united equally with all that is human. The relationship of humans is to mirror the mutual relationship of God with humanity.
If you are being abused or know of anyone being abused, it is necessary that help is found. In New Prague, since 1983 there have been 549 reported cases of domestic abuse, 31 cases reported in 2012. In Scott and Carver County, call the Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women (SVABW), at (952) 873-4214. If anyone is in imminent danger, call 9-1-1.
Deacon Bob Wagner
SVABW Board Member