QUESTION: Last week, I received an opinion that contained the sentence, "As I listen to the news and watch television, one by one my rights and freedoms are being taken away." Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

QUESTION: Last week, I received an opinion that contained the sentence, "As I listen to the news and watch television, one by one my rights and freedoms are being taken away." Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

Don’t believe a talking head

 Doesn't it seem odd that "As I listen..and watch.." this person feels their "..rights and freedoms are being taken away."
Wouldn't a person feel a right or freedom was being taken away when they attempt to express that right or freedom?
Why would you feel a right is being taken away when some talking head tells you it has?  Especially since this talking head has a vested interested is influencing you and increasing their "following."  I don't feel any of my rights have been lost and to the contrary I think it is a great time to be a U.S. citizen.  I think the reason people say this has a lot to do with the 24/7 "news" coverage.  There is only a fraction of the 24hours that involves reporting the facts, after that the media is compelled to spin the political implications and/or speculate on the repercussions.  Couple this with the fact that Rupert Murdoch discovered that a conservative bias sells more advertising (thereby makes him more $$) than objective news reporting and you get a media that feeds on itself. If this person feels that "one by one my rights and freedoms are being taken away" my advice would be to turn off the TV.
Craig Bischof

Constitution is being taken away

Agree with it?  How could you not agree with it?
Slowly but surely the constitution is being shredded and disregarded in almost every area.  If you belong to the wrong political party, you get the IRS to jump on you.  Our freedom of speech is questionable.  If the press puts out anything that the regime disagrees with, they start getting investigated by one of any number of any agencies; be it homeland security, FBI etc.  Your right to privacy is slowly being taken away.  If you don't think so, apply for a permit to carry a firearm.  Your name goes on a federal watch list.  Which takes us to another right that they are trying to take away; the right to bare arms.  And it goes on and on.  This administration feels that they just mandate whatever they want and if we don't like it, that's just too bad.  If it doesn't stop soon, we are going to wind up like cold war era Russia.   I think everyone in this country should sit down and read George Orwells's "1984."   It seems the only thing that was wrong in that book, was the date.  A lot of it is coming to pass and I'm afraid there is more on the way.  
Mike Donovan

Big government troubling for citizens

A recent Fox News poll shows 68% of Americans feel the government is out of control. We are a nation of laws, but this administration goes its own direction.
 The IRS targets organizations and individuals based on political affiliation or donations to a particular candidate or party. These citizens have been subjected to lengthy, and possibly illegal application questions, audits and investigations. Groups have not had their tax exempt status approved or denied for three years, a process that should take no longer than six months. The President and IRS directors “did not know” this was happening and the person in charge of the division is (planning on) taking the fifth amendment instead of answering questions. We are all subject to IRS scrutiny and could have our lives turned upside down by this organization at any time.
 The justice department spied on the Associated Press news organization and an individual reporter — even his parents. These victims of government abuse of power may be the tip of the iceberg. There could be many more. The first amendment gives the press freedom to question and investigate without government interference or repercussion. The Attorney General “did not know” this was happening and has recused himself from the investigation. The President also “did not know” about this. Any one of us could be next to have our email read or phone records subpoenaed without our knowledge.
 People within the government who do speak up are subject to punishment. The Deputy Ambassador to Libya was threatened then demoted after discussing the attack on the embassy there. Others at the scene have been afraid to come forward with what they know. The President “did not know” this was occurring. The administration lied about the facts of the attack and the changing stories about the cause. The Secretary of State testified this “didn’t matter.” She and the President also lied directly to one of the victims’ parents. What else have they covered up this way?
 The government is forcing us to to make a consumer health insurance purchase. The supreme court has designated the penalty a tax, making it legal. We may be forced to make other consumer purchases at the direction of the government and pay a “tax” if we do not comply.
 The mass curfew in the Boston area following the marathon bombing seemed to make sense. However, the ease with which government officials could herd citizens into their homes and have armed police go door-to-door is troubling. They could do this anytime and search for weapons, people of a certain religion or political party, our computers — anything they decide.
 This administration has created a complete mistrust of government. It is also poor management when officials “did not know”, take no responsibility or blame someone else for wrong doing. Let us hope our out of control government is brought back to being of the people, by the people and most importantly, for the people of our great country.
Greg Stageberg

Don’t cut and paste from events

As I sat at the computer last night starting to put together my response, I became frustrated and deleted my attempt to respond.  Then I read the Lake Sun and at least for me, I had a realization after reading the comments in "Lake View" that sort of focused my thoughts.  I'm sure that Nancy Steward of Linn Creek has the best of intentions, but the article gave me my an "aha" moment.
 I've come to the belief that most of the voting public listens to the right wing, left wing, liberal wing, conservative wing, religious wing politicos whose purpose is to spew forth the "truth." That "truth" is usually taking the facts and "cutting and pasting" their version of events.  The problem being that the advocate, of the wing, believes this whole heartily and accepts it at face value.    
 Politicians prefer scare tactics to sensible reform, that is a quote from and who couldn't agree with a reasonable point of view?  I don't believe that 100% because there are politicians out there who do fight for sensible reform, but in my humble opinion, they are outnumbered by politicians and out-spent by lobbyist.  I found this interesting, a synonym for lobbyist is peddler and pressure group.  The amount of money spent by lobbyists has tripled since 2008 to $3.3 BILLION.
 Just a heads up.  From that $3.3 BILLION the pharmaceutical/health products lobbyists spend the most and what has the most recent round of controversy been about, Obamacare.
 I'm digressing from my "aha" moment.  To quote from "Implications of IRS scandal," first,  "The information that the IRS derives from a simple 1040 is massive", second, "...Congress is the IRS's "boss"" and last "Can we be assured of the information we put in a 1040 won't be used against us?"  I'm not scared about my information being used against me... Let me repeat, I'm not scared.
 I first went into a federal database when I started filing tax returns in 1966.  The second time I went into a federal database was when I went into the service in 1968.  My first savings account started about 1960 was FDIC insured, that "F" is for federal.  All the financial institutions I have dealt with have had my information for over five decades and I'm probably part of the latest "breach" of security in Missouri.  But, know what, I've not been targeted to my knowledge.  And even if I was scrutinized, regardless, of whom did the scrutiny, I have nothing to hide.  
 If you have something to hide, then be afraid, but in this day and age I'm glad that any and all law enforcement agencies are watching.    The threats to the American way of life are coming from outside not within.  As the saying goes, it's not a matter of...if but when.  I want to know that the people who are charged to protect us have everything at their disposal to make sure the "when" is truly changed to "if".
 If you want/need to be afraid of something reread the second quote from Nancy's article....Congress is the "boss."   Unfortunately, the 22nd Amendment didn't go far enough with limiting the Presidency to two terms, it should have set limits on our Representatives as well, but who enacted the law, Congress protecting themselves and setting the American public up for dealing with the same people year after year. This should strike fear in your heart.  Remember, the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Don't just take your Congressperson's word that they are out to look after you, take the time to research the candidates and then use the most powerful tool we as American citizens have, the vote.  
 Somewhere near the top of most powerful tools is the internet.  You can find all kinds of information if you use it.  But also, read the searches whose title you may not agree with and you might get lots of additional insight.  If you think the IRS has boatloads of information, just search yourself on the internet and see what billions of people have access to, that should make you afraid.
 Our information is somewhere.  I'm still waiting for the knock at my door to take my rights away.
Brad Mitchell
Sunrise Beach

No serious erosion of rights

I don't believe there has been any serious erosion of our rights as citizens. In the current atmosphere of all politics all the time there have  been many attempts to convince people that is the case.
There is a danger however to this parroting that the sky is falling. If people start to believe what they  are hearing they may fail  to exercise their rights for fear of being charged with a violation. In that case  the very thing those who parrot these false claims allegedly are fighting they will make a reality.
Francis Carr
Sunrise Beach

Life has become more regulated

In order to know what rights have been lost one must know history or have remember when scenarios.
I remember a time when drug tests were not required as part as the employment process. I remember when I or anyone could smoke and not have to worry about where and when. I remember when I didn't wear a seat belt and my parents were not breaking the law when I didn't, and the fact that it was not a required feature in a car. I remember flying commercially and not having to go through a metal detector.
I remember when you could actually spank your child for misbehavior and it was encouraged when they were acting out. I remember when I applied for my first license all I needed was 1 form of id and it wasn't required to have a picture.  Our rights are infringed upon by others past bad behaviors. In life today, another persons bad behaviors, seems to always end in a law past that I have to comply with. I am innocent but I do lose by degrees the right of innocent until proven guilty. It is an assumption if one has done it all will do it.
So the comment that was made I can relate to. I do remember when life was less complicated, and less regulated.
Nancy Steward
Linn Creek