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It’s about government overreach

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POSTED April 7, 2017 1:17 a.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The editorial cartoons depicting Congressman Devin Nunes from Tulare as a Trump apologist missed the point entirely. We have to get over the Trump hate —what is at stake here is our losing personal privacy to an overreaching government with unlimited resources.
Back in 2012, press secretary Carney bragged that Obama was a “…voracious consumer…” of intelligence. So it is not too surprising that after Reagan and Bush enabled warrantless spying on conversations coming into the US that expansion and questionable activities occurred under Obama. Now exposed, Susan Rice (Obama’s national security advisor) could not keep her statements straight between PBS (“I know nothing about (spying on Trump)”) and MSNBC (“…we increased surveillance reporting on the Trump team after the election”).
These antics are not new to the Obama White House. Fellow Democrat Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) complained bitterly that he was spied on by the White House while in his DC office (violating Constitutional separation of powers) and that it was destructively leaked to the press (violating law). His sin: he publically disagreed with the Obama White House policy on Libya. He is no longer in Congress.
There is plenty of politics on both sides. But even after eight months of investigation yielding no evidence, let’s go ahead and assume Trump collaborated with Russia. Constitutional expert and Democrat lawyer Lawrence Tribe (of 2000 Bush v. Gore fame and leader in the “Impeach Trump” movement) has candidly said that there are no laws on the books that would undo his election. As a matter of fact, in the 1990s after the fall of Russian communism, then President Bill Clinton shoveled $15 billion of US taxpayer money into their economy that encouraged lasting US-Russia business relationships. There is no foul interacting with Russia. On the other hand, someone taking highly sensitive information about Trump and Kucinich and leaking it to the press faces 5 to10 years in federal prison, — there is a severity with Nunes’ point.
In this country, it used to be that paranoia of being spied on by the Federal government was reserved for the “tin foil hat” crowd. But with the recent news revealing government programs that seek to turn our personal smart phones and computers into remote eavesdropping microphones, maybe all of us should be looking over our shoulders.
No, even with Nunes temporarily stepping aside, the central point is not him. The central point is that our privacy can be violated by an overreaching government with unlimited resources. But fortunately, Nunes along with Trump’s explosive tweet, made us much more aware of a government that needs to be severely limited.

Stephen Sampayan
 Manteca

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