This is about human rights

Freedom from tyranny is not a conservative or liberal issue

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Questioning authority and pushing back against a tyrannical government isn’t a conservative cause. Fact is, it has often been a liberal one.

It’s a human rights issue. It’s about freedom.

It is in this spirit that we implore our liberal friends to make common cause with conservatives in fighting the attacks on freedom coming from this presidential administration.

The Justice Department’s spying on journalists – at the Associated Press, Fox News and perhaps elsewhere – and the use of the IRS and other federal agencies to target conservative groups and individuals have to be seen as what they are: attacks on us all.

The reasons should be obvious, but to summarize:

1) If the government manages to track journalists’ interactions with their sources, that will cast a chill on the news-gathering process that has helped keep Americans free. It will undoubtedly intimidate sources into withholding vital public information. And we will all be diminished by that.

2) If this administration is free to use the awesome power of the federal government to cower and harass conservative opponents, then no one is safe. Another administration with a different ideological bent might feel free to single out liberal groups and individuals for harassment.

Besides, no fair-minded individual would want that kind of treatment extended to anyone, even a political rival.

At least, that’s the America we should all want.

We are encouraged that some very prominent liberals in the news and entertainment media have come forward, however reluctantly, to decry the Obama administration’s abuses of power, including Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and, to some extent, CNN’s Piers Morgan and even the late-night comedians.

“The Obama administration,” Robinson writes, “has no business rummaging through journalists’ phone records, perusing their e-mails and tracking their movements in an attempt to keep them from gathering news. This heavy-handed business isn’t chilling, it’s just plain cold. It also may well be unconstitutional.”

“Our job, simply,” he adds, “is to find out what the government doesn’t want you to know.”

If the Obama administration view of journalism “had been the view of prior administrations, surely Bob Woodward would be a lifer in some federal prison. The cell next door might be occupied by my Post colleague Dana Priest, who disclosed the CIA’s network of secret prisons. Or by the New York Times’ James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, who revealed the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program,” Robinson writes.

CNN’s Morgan, who repeatedly mocked and attacked gun advocates after the Newtown shooting, admits he’s thinking differently these days.

“I’ve had some of the pro-gun lobbyists on here, saying to me, ‘Well, the reason we need to be armed is because of tyranny from our own government,’ and I’ve always laughed at them. And I’ve always said, ‘don’t be so ridiculous; your own government won’t turn itself on you,’” he told a recent guest. “But, actually, this is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American government. I think what the IRS did is bordering on tyrannical behavior. I think what the Department of Justice has done, actually, to the AP is bordering on tyrannical behavior.”

Our only complaint with Mr. Morgan is his use of the words “vaguely” and “bordering.”

Freedom is a human issue, with no ideology.

Let’s fight for it together.

Comments (45) Add comment
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carcraft
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carcraft 05/25/13 - 04:28 am
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1
Excellent editorial

Very well done and to the heart of the matter!

carcraft
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carcraft 05/25/13 - 05:14 am
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This gives us food for thought

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
(Wikiquote, see[3])
Author [edit]
Martin Niemöller was a German pastor and theologian born in Lippstadt, Germany, in 1892. Niemöller was an anti-communist and supported Hitler's rise to power at first. But when Hitler insisted on the supremacy of the state over religion, Niemöller became disillusioned. He became the leader of a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 he was arrested and eventually confined in Sachsenhausen and Dachau. His crime was “not being enthusiastic enough about the Nazi movement”[citation needed]. Niemöller was released in 1945 by the Allies. He continued his career in Germany as a clergyman and as a leading voice of penance and reconciliation for the German people after World War II. His statement, sometimes presented as a poem, is well-known, frequently quoted, and is a popular model for describing the dangers of political apathy.

myfather15
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myfather15 05/25/13 - 05:40 am
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Yes, very well said;

BUT, good luck getting liberals to support this. Democrats? Maybe a few; but you'll never get rabid, foaming at the mouth committed liberals to support ANYTHING against their side. Why? Because they WANT full control; so they have ZERO problem with anything this administration does to get it and will NEVER openly criticize it. They will discredit, demean and lambast the accusers, and make excuses such as "this isn't the first time this has happened". Bottom line; they will do ANYTHING but join you in the call for heads to roll on this.

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 05/25/13 - 05:54 am
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The Republicans deserve the

The Republicans deserve the exact same amount of support and assistance that they have provided across the aisle since January 20, 2009.

myfather15
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myfather15 05/25/13 - 06:35 am
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Point proven!!

Excuses!! Doesn't matter that this administration is currently engaging in illegal activity; oooooh noo, they're going to give the investigation the same support (Conservs) have given the administration since 2009.

But hey; Bush did this and Bush did that!! "This isn't the first time this has happened, so leave my guy alone." Doesn't matter that this administration is using the federal government (IRS) to supresss opposing opinions (Which liberals are SUPPOSED to be the champions of diversity); nope, nope, that doesn't matter because it's THEIR SIDE doing it.

Doesn't matter that they ILLEGALLY Judge shopped and found one that would give them permission to seize emails of reporters (especially FAUX News reporters, who cares about them). Doesn't matter that Americans were murdered in Benghazi; why? Because Obama is THEIR GUY!!

Now, you watch and see; one of them is going to bring up something a republican did, years ago to say "See, they did this and you guys weren't so upset about it." Justifying bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior is one of their favorite tactics. Mark my words; this will happen and it will probably be something that happened years ago, before I started paying attention to politics.

These guys are absolutely so predictable, every single time. The same talking points over and over. Discredit the story, demean the accuser; rationalize the behavior by pointing to other bad behavior. Pathetic!!! As I stated in the first post; good luck getting them to join you in this fight.

myfather15
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myfather15 05/25/13 - 06:39 am
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The only good thing I can see

The only good thing I can see coming from this administration is conservatives coming back strong. Why? Because this administration is going to fully disclose to ANY common sense human being; just how hypocritical LP's are.

They CLAIM to be champions of diversity, poor, minorities, civil liberties, etc. But THIS administration is fully disclosing LP's for what they really are. They couldn't care less about civil rights and diversity!! The only time they care about them is when it benefits them politically. When it's THEIR FOLKS violating them; civils rights mean squat!!! Again, by the time this administration is done WRECKING the constitution; Americans will have LP's in full view and see just EXACTLY who they are.

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 05/25/13 - 06:42 am
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The Chronicle didn't used to think much of James Risen

"The Pulitzer that went to James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times for their reports on the Bush administration eavesdropping on persons in the United States communicating with al-Qaida terrorists abroad is another example of rewarding reporters for undermining U.S. security." 4/30/06

They somehow neglected to mention that the Bush Administration was tracking the calls made by ABC reporters Brian Ross and Richard Esposito and that a contact of Risen's was tracked and had to sign a form saying he wasn't a confidential source. Phone calls and contacts for ABC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post were tracked. Not a peep of outrage. My how times have changed.

deestafford
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deestafford 05/25/13 - 06:47 am
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Did you notice

That the liberals did not get upset until their ox was gored?

That some liberals are saying, just as they did when Jimmy Carter was president, that the office of president is simply too big for one man?

This boils down to obama's lack of leadership experience beyond that of a community agitator. You see community agitators are only interested in stirring up things in order to advance their leftist agenda of taking from the producers. obama has put people in his cabinet and positions of power not for their competence but for their statist ideology. By appointing all those czars he increased his span of control. Effective leaders know that a leader does all they can to decrease their span of control. Not working on the real problems is also a sign of his lack of leadership. I wonder how often he has cabinet meetings, meetings in which these scandals should have been discussed rather than meetings used for photo ops.

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 05/25/13 - 06:56 am
5
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Ah, those cute little right

Ah, those cute little right wing buzz words and initials to start the day. They're so cute. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the rest of the neocons created the Imperial Presidency. Silence for 8 years against it, many arguments in favor of it and defending it, and now a tizzy from the right? Crocodile tears.

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 05/25/13 - 08:03 am
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myfather15 "Point Proven"

Already has by 3 posted comments....

carcraft
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carcraft 05/25/13 - 08:22 am
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Once again we see the defense of Obama's hypocrisy

Here is Mother Jones ( I know another right wing web site) take of Obama http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/06/obamas-whistleblowers-stuxne... Of course the fact that Obama has refused more freedom of information requests than any resident, gone after AP in a way that violates the White Houses and Justice department protocols means nothing. Like I said the other day, Gee maybe we can bring up Tammany to defend Obama. I guess Obama isn't any worse than Caligula, is that the defense for the man who PROMISED to run the most open government in history!

TrukinRanger
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TrukinRanger 05/25/13 - 08:27 am
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Wow, the tea bags are flying
Unpublished

Wow, the tea bags are flying today. The Patriot act opened the door for the government to get into your business. Now that the door is open, I'm perfectly fine with the IRS looking into these organizations claiming tax exempt status. We need to do away with tax exempt organizations all-together, including religious institutions.

ymnbde
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ymnbde 05/25/13 - 08:47 am
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3
who will rid me of this meddlesome Tea Party?

why, any sycophant with a thrill up her leg
who will rid us of these meddlesome inalienable rights?
why, Obama, that's who...
but oh my goodness, did Bod just admit that we have an
Imperial Presidency? why, yes, i believe he did

KSL
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KSL 05/25/13 - 08:48 am
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2
Bush did it, Bush did it, Bush did it.

Bod, it sounds like you think it was wrong. So where is your criticism of the current president who is doing it?

KSL
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KSL 05/25/13 - 08:53 am
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2
ymnbde

You beat me to it. I posted more, mentally debated it, then backed off.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 05/25/13 - 08:59 am
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" They will discredit, demean
Unpublished

" They will discredit, demean and lambast the accusers, and make excuses such as "this isn't the first time this has happened"."

Followed immediately by:

"The Republicans deserve the exact same amount of support and assistance that they have provided across the aisle since January 20, 2009."

Thanks Bod, for not letting us down with your usual rationalization.

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 05/25/13 - 09:02 am
0
0
Somewhere along the
Unpublished

line Bodhisattva must have been asleep. libbies have had control of 2/3rds of congress or the White House since Jan., 2006. Those communist morons wouldn't understand governance even if they had attended a school that wasn't taught by the likes of saul alinsky and bill ayers.

KSL
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KSL 05/25/13 - 09:06 am
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2
Bod

You are constantly harping at concervatives about Bush doing the same thing we are complaining about Obama. Did you ever think that perhaps we conservatives were busy working and did not have as much time to keep up., that the internet was not as portable then as it is now?

KSL
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KSL 05/25/13 - 09:14 am
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2
Bod said:The Republicans

Bod said:The Republicans deserve the exact same amount of support and assistance that they have provided across the aisle since January 20, 2009.

TRANSLATION: Well never mind what is right for this country. It is our turn.

carcraft
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carcraft 05/25/13 - 09:37 am
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Well Bod is simply wrong!

Well Bod is simply wrong! Obama has gone far beyond Bush. Mother Jones points out Obama has prosecuted more leakers than all Presidents combined. The IRS targeted tea party and pro life groups since at least 2010. We would be fortunate if Obama ONLY WENT AS FAR AS BUSH! None on the left seem willing to address Obama's promise of open ethical government. Was Obama lying then or now?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/25/13 - 09:51 am
9
1
Watch Out for the Drones

The drones over America are now changing their flight path to include circling over the Chronicle building.

faithson
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faithson 05/25/13 - 09:52 am
2
8
you have to accept the premise given to agree...

I well know that many, especially those who find this administration illegitimate, find quarter with these assertions. Some don't, and I would expect an allowance for differing, although I know it will not be found here. First of all, one has to see the IRS debocal as a conspiracy, a finding that has NOT been proven by any reasonable standard, yes, opinion, but not by evidence. Second, there is obviously a culture at DOJ, that has been developed over a long period of time, not just in the last few years, where in the case of state secrets being compromised, an intense investigation was initiated. Now in our free society, not everything is free, and IF state secrets are being revealed that cause harm in our defense of this Country, something must be done. I see all this as good for the republic, the cleansing of corruption should be our motivation, not the political theater so many find to push their idealist agendas.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 05/25/13 - 09:57 am
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3
Whether or not it is a
Unpublished

Whether or not it is a conspiracy with the IRS, the fact remains that they DID it.

carcraft
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carcraft 05/25/13 - 10:06 am
8
3
Humble Angela, yes the IRS

Humble Angela, yes the IRS did it and despite this abuse of the PUBLIC TRUST the IRS is being given more power over our lives by being the enforces of Obama care! The individual at the center of this storm is in charge of implementing Obama care at the IRS! STOKES MY CONFIDENCE!

myfather15
52755
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myfather15 05/25/13 - 11:30 am
6
3
@faithson

"I well know that many, especially those who find this administration illegitimate"

Is this your sneaky way of saying all this is about the "birthier" issue and people don't consider this administration legitimate because of that issue? You can look at all my previous posts; I've never mentioned the birther issue. I don't question him being legitimate; I question his judgement and actions.

Also, you wrote "I see all this as good for the republic, the cleansing of corruption should be our motivation, not the political theater so many find to push their idealist agendas."

When I see people actually being punished, to include criminal prosecution; I will agree with you. Until then, we haven't cleansed a darn thing. Can you please name me ANY high ranking official who has been held accountable for the IRS scandal, Benghazi, Fast&Furious, Black Panther voter intimidation in Philadelphia?

All of these are HUGE issues; so who has been held accountable and CLEANSED from the system? During fast&furious they punished two low level nobobies, and those in CHARGE of the decisions didn't answer for ANYTHING.

Noone has been PUNISHED for the IRS scandal; Steve Miller was ASKED to resign and he did; but was already scheduled to leave the IRS in June. Wow, now thats some real punishment to make a man resign who was already leaving next month!! Lois Lerner is on PAID administrative leave; while this is being "Investigated" but probably more like "until it blows over". Now there is some real punishment; PAID VACATION!! As Humble Angela stated the IRS ADMITTED their actions; so it doesn't take a TRIAL; someone should have been fired immediately!! I'm a deputy; if I ADMIT that I lied on a report or stole something while on a call for service; I will be FIRED IMMEDIATELY.

Absolutely NOONE has been held accountable for Benghazi; end of that topic.

Black Panther voter intimidation? Nope, no one prosecuted there as well, when we've got evidence they were standing at the polls with BATONS, scaring people away!!

I don't expect ALL these scandals are direct orders from the President; just as many all decisions in business doesn't come from the boss. But Obama IS THE BOSS; when his morons working under him do idiotic and CRIMINAL things; he should be holding the accountable and resposible.

Now faithson; please tell me where I'm wrong and explain exactly why we should ALREADY feel this is a "cleansing of the republic".

myfather15
52755
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myfather15 05/25/13 - 11:34 am
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3
My point is, it simply DOES

My point is, it simply DOES NOT take this long to hold people accountable for their actions. ESPECIALLY when they've ADMITTED wrong doing. Even if they're still looking into the criminal aspects; fire the morons for incompetence. You don't have to prove criminality; to fire them for incompetence.

So yes; it does appear this administration likes to hold off until the flames die down; then they do nothing. No one is held accountable.

Darby
24763
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Darby 05/25/13 - 11:45 am
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4
"The Republicans deserve the exact same

amount of support and assistance that they have provided across the aisle since January 20, 2009."

.
And that would be about a twenty-five to thirty percent improvement over what the Dems gave to George Bush during the previous eight years.

So, bring it on!!!!!!!!!!

dahreese
4703
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dahreese 05/25/13 - 11:52 am
5
7
The following has seemed to
Unpublished

The following has seemed to rile up our conservative friends here with many negative votes from them.

"The Republicans deserve the exact same amount of support and assistance that they have provided across the aisle since January 20, 2009."

By those negative votes our conservative commentors are apparently not satisfied with the "same amount of support and assistance [Republicans] have provided across the aisle since January 20, 2009."

So, by their negative votes do our negative voting conservative friends think Republicans have reached too much across the aisle, or Republicans have not reached enough across the aisle, or that Democrats ought to reach farther across the aisle than have Republicans?

dahreese
4703
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dahreese 05/25/13 - 12:02 pm
4
8
"And that would be about a
Unpublished

"And that would be about a twenty-five to thirty percent improvement over what the Dems gave to George Bush during the previous eight years."

Other than an unfunded war what did George Bush improve twenty-five too thirty percent in eight years?

"Iraqi oil will pay for the war" - but has it?

"We will be greeted as liberators" - well, when is that going to happen?

A booming economy? When did it start booming?

Exactly what is that 25 - 30 percent improvement you're talking about?

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 05/25/13 - 12:02 pm
5
5
Who on earth would you expect
Unpublished

Who on earth would you expect the republicans to vote in favor of destructive laws and regulations?

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