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Michael Gerson: Issuing threats for political purposes only poisons patriotism

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  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 15, 2013 11:19 p.m.

    I believe everything right wing radio tells me. Which means I must ignore reality to get through my day.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    June 15, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    Forgetting the "evil" Bush, and the walk in his shoes Obama - one asks, ok, is the free for all snooping and collecting of billions of emails and phone calls going to continue? Is the press to be monitored by the government? Is an whole segrment of our society to be targeted by the IRS?
    It used to be that the telephone company was only allowed phone taps under a court order of 'Just Cause.' Now we have a million count blanket order ordered by the US governement - is this what we the citizens want?

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    June 14, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    June 2006, Denver Man Sues Secret Service for Arrest After He Criticized Cheney on Iraq War

    The dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy was initiated by the unprecedented[1] midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys on December 7, 2006, by the George W. Bush administration's Department of Justice.

    Bush Warned of Hijackings Before 9-11 --- U.S. intelligence officials warned President Bush weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might hijack American planes, but White House officials stressed the threat was not specific.

    A White House official acknowledged to ABCNEWS that the information prompted administration officials to issue a private warning to transportation department and national security agencies weeks before the attacks.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 14, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    one old man,

    "....What we all need to be REALLY worried about is not the NSA, but the data mining of personal personal information far beyond just our phone call records....."
    _____________________________

    You just hit the nail right on the head. The extensive records kept on us by companies on such matters as our buying habits, credit scores, financial holdings and on and on are used and sold to other companies without our awareness. I don't hear any cries of outrage from the right wing when the private sector does it and in the process sometimes breaks the law. Do you?

  • CLM Draper, UT
    June 14, 2013 3:50 p.m.

    Atl134: I stand corrected, thanks for pointing out my error, which resulted from looking at the wrong column for 2006.

    However, My mentioning the Republican numbers had little to do with my main point that the CIA had correctly predicted what would happen with Obama's election. You can bet the CIA now considers Obama a valuable asset.

    If you go back to 2006 and look at the surveillance debate between the Dems and GOP, you'll find the Republican arguments are virtually the same as those the Democrats are making today.

    Whether by the left or right, supporting massive, indiscriminate surveillance that destroys our privacy is destructive to the health of a democracy.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 14, 2013 2:45 p.m.

    One of the most frightening things happening in this country is the number of people who accept without question the outright lies of people like Rush, Sean, Glen and others who infest the airwaves of hate radio.

    What we all need to be REALLY worried about is not the NSA, but the data mining of personal personal information far beyond just our phone call records. Why aren't Rush and Sean and Glen and the conservatives worked up over the involuntary collection of information about us and our families by big corporations like WalMart, Smith's Foods, banks, and countless other big money "free enterprisers" who are recording everything we buy, when we buy it, where we buy it and other data that should scare us all half to death.

    Is it secret? Well, yes. They don't want you know they're collecting it. Yet I can use Google to find any number of websites where I may -- for a small fee -- learn virtually anything I want to learn about you, your children, your finances and all sorts of juicy stuff.

    Could it have something to do with money from the hate radio guys' corporate sponsors?

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    June 14, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    We now know that the Obama administration has used the I.R.S. to attack citizens. We now know that the Obama administration has spied on the AP. We now know that the Obama administration has spied on all of us by collecting information about whom we have called, where we send emails, what websites we visted and much more. We now know that the Obama administration is building a huge facility in Bluffdale that will be used to "examine" and "store" that information.

    Why are Obama's supporters not asking where he got the authority to spy on us? Why do they think that Congress can pass a "Patriot Act" that supercedes the Constitution? Why are they not demanding that Obama obey his oath of office to defend the Constitution and shut down NOW all illegal activities? Why do they defend him when they know that he is ignoring the limits that the Constitution has placed on him?

    Why do they think that they will be exempt when all of that information is processed and used against them?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 14, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    @CLM
    "A Pew survey, published two weeks ago, tracking the partisan shifts in views of NSA surveillance programs from 2006 to 2013, shows a full 61% of Democrats against and only 37% pro-surveillance. However, June 2013 shows a drastic turn-around, with 64% of Democrats now finding surveillance acceptable and only 34% finding it unacceptable. (Republicans have remained almost 50-50 pro/con surveillance.)
    "

    That last sentence is incorrect. The Pew poll notes that Republicans were 75-23 in favor of it in 2006 and are 52-47 now. That's a -23% shift (75->52) for Republicans vs +27% for Democrats (37->64) so there's a lot of hypocrisy to go around.

    (Republicans would probably rationalize it by saying that in 2006 it wasn't as widespread as now and Democrats would probably rationalize it by saying that in 2006 the issue was illegal warrantless wiretapping rather than the current thing which appears to be legal. I opposed it from the start and still do).

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 14, 2013 12:07 p.m.

    lost in DC,

    "....He needs to remember it was BO who first disdained the idea of American Exceptionalism...."
    ______________________________

    Why should Gerson remember that? It’s not how I remember that sorry episode when Mitt Romney mischaracterized Obama’s view. Mitt was running for President. That’s rationale enough for fomenting a bogus campaign issue. Obama the politician understood that.

    America has no divine destiny to remake the world in its image which how some read the concept of American exceptionalism. But election of the first African-American President was American exceptionalism that the world applauded.

  • CLM Draper, UT
    June 14, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    A Pew survey, published two weeks ago, tracking the partisan shifts in views of NSA surveillance programs from 2006 to 2013, shows a full 61% of Democrats against and only 37% pro-surveillance. However, June 2013 shows a drastic turn-around, with 64% of Democrats now finding surveillance acceptable and only 34% finding it unacceptable. (Republicans have remained almost 50-50 pro/con surveillance.)

    This is exactly the result the CIA predicted would happen in 2008 with Obama's election! This makes it abundantly clear that "perception management" is being used as a tool by government and military agencies to promote their agendas. The election of Barack H. Obama to the presidency seemed to solve the challenge of winning over the Democrats.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 14, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    @Mountanman
    "Well said Michael! But don't expect liberals to even have the slightest comprehension what you are saying, they are so blinded by their ideology and partisanship then can't even see the culture of corruption they are creating."

    Uh... the writer SUPPORTS these invasive programs. He was arguing against you (and I since, at least on the issue we agree even if we vastly degree as to who is to blame for this... incidentally I would blame people like Gerson who peddles even today the notion that opposing expansion of gov't power is unpatriotic).

  • 1776 West Jordan, UT
    June 14, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    What is it about the current political speech that has Gerson so worried? What “resistance” is he referring to? Is there an armed rebellion or marauding mob of right-wingers? If there were, you can bet the leftist “main stream” media would have been all over it. The closest we’ve come to an organized mob was Occupy Wall Street, which said media dutifully painted as peaceful, all-American political speech despite the revolutionary communist flags and multiple rapes in the camps.

    Only in the land of butterflies and lollipops can the assertion be made that there are no nefarious intentions or actions of those in power. Apparently, Gerson is disappointed that not all of us are lemmings that have come to accept that those in power have pure intentions. I agree with James Madison: “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree”. That includes Republicans, Democrats, and anyone else.

    The good news is that there are checks and balances in our form of government, the largest and most powerful of which is (or ought to be) the voice of the American people...despite what Gerson may think.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 14, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    @george of the jungle
    "Why hasn't impeachment's began."

    Because Benghazi involved intelligence errors, not crimes. The IRS scandal involved lower level officials. The NSA thing is, as far as we can tell so far... completely legal (because we passed the laws that made it legal). If you're going to impeach the president you kinda need an impeachable offense.

    @Mountanman
    "Your hero Obama spent nearly a trillion taxpayer dollars bailing out banks"

    First off, the bailout started under Bush (passed in late 2008 before the election) when he and Democrats worked together to pass it. Secondly, the loans given to banks were paid back so we actually made some money off of it (through interest payments by the banks on those loans).

    "killed thousands of innocent people in sovereign countries with drone attacks"

    You only support civilian deaths in land wars then? Because we had way more civilian deaths in Iraq than from drones.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 14, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    Everything these days is being overblown and shrouded in hyperbole. It's terrible.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 14, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    Gerson asks how is possible to even love such an Amerika. He needs to remember it was BO who first disdained the idea of American Exceptionalism. We cannot love what BO is trying to make us, because it is the failed European model.

    “The continuity of anti-terrorism efforts across two administrations…” Verixon reports requests for data have increased 15% each of the past 5 years (BO administration – not bush)

    “The introduction of extreme political polarization into this debate could be debilitating.”

    But it was OK when BO did it for Obamacare or for gun control or when the dems did it to attack Ryan’s budget or Romney’s anything.

    Traditional conservatism recognizes the balancing of principles — in this case, security and privacy —

    I would consider Patrick Henry very traditional – the prior statement would curl his toes.

    “Questioning the legitimacy of our government is the poisoning of patriotism.”

    Uh, were you around during the bush administration? If so, where was this complaint then?

    This is a complete whitewash. The Japanese really could have used Gerson 12/8/1941.

    DN - this does NOT violate your standard!

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 14, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    mountanman..of course, but thousands? Hardly.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    June 14, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    Best editorial yet by Gerson. I find it troubling that so many of the self-proclaimed "patriots" in this country are only patriotic if their leaders see the world through the same extremist glasses as they do. The quotes from Limbaugh and his ilk are enough to make any sane person wonder what planet these right-wing voices are from.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 14, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    For 12 YEARS I've spoken out against the Bush Patriot Act.

    For 12 YEARS - I - a veteran who has served, have been ridiculed for NOT supporting Bush's Ghestapo Surveillance and Trampling of that 'blankity-blank piece of paper' the Constitution and not being a True Patriot, NOT being a TRUE American, [ie., Tea Party Conservative, DittoHead].

    For 12 YEARS I told conservatives that a national gun registry wasn't even necessary because of all the spying the Bush "Patriot Act" was allowing on ALL citizens [not just the paranoid AM hate radio listeners].

    Don't say I didn't tell you so.
    Don't act so surprised.
    Don't even THINK of blaming the 'Obama regime' for using Bush's tactics.

    Who's sorry now?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 14, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    "Questioning the legitimacy of our government is the poisoning of patriotism. It is offensive for the same reasons it was offensive when elements of the left, in the 1960s and 1970s, talked of the American "regime."
    ______________________________

    Right on the mark. As Gerson points out, both left and right have been guilty of it when their party is the one on the outside looking in after election day. Bush and Obama are successive Presidents who as such led or lead successive Administrations, not regimes. How sad that choosing language that shows proper respect is not cool or hip, as we often say. Sniping from the gutter apparently feels more macho for some. And the more you do it, the more justified the other side feels in getting down on all fours with you.

    Not everyone does it. The Deseret News does make an admirable effort to make civility and restraint the standards for their discussion boards. I appreciate that.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    June 14, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    Proclaiming threats to national security is a very old game. I recall that Pres. Lyndon Johnson made it a dominant campaign theme, warning that Sen. Barry Goldwater, if elected to the presidency, was destined to take us into nuclear war. In fact, nearly every presidential camaign in US history has featured dire warnings and overblown threats.

    I'm an unabashed patriot, while still recognizing that the constitution has been taking a beating. This nation can stand a lot of abuse and still maintain its nobler ideals. The only way America will falter is if we lose those ideals.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    June 14, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    Prag. Don't you remember Obama apologizing to Pakistan and Afghan governments for collateral damage drone strike deaths in both countries?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    June 14, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    Who did Bush put in jail for opposing him politically? Just one name please?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 14, 2013 8:25 a.m.

    Mountanman..do you realize that Michael when talking about poisoning was criticizing the supposedly conservative critics? Obama has killed "thousands" of innocents in sovereign countries with "drones"? Mind backing up that claim? And the rest of your claims, IRS scandals, NSA etc. etc. are exactly what Gerson is criticizing. Talk about making his point for him.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    June 14, 2013 7:51 a.m.

    Goldfish I tell ya, goldfish.

    It was BUSH that bailed out the banks, fired lawyers that weren't
    "good republicans",tried to put people in jail for opposing him politically with said, "good republican" prosecutors, spent trillions on nation building and allowed 9/11 and the economy to crash on his watch. And YOU defended him everyday!

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    June 14, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    @ Maverick. Your hero Obama spent nearly a trillion taxpayer dollars bailing out banks and unions, has killed thousands of innocent people in sovereign countries with drone attacks and loves unconstitutional programs like the patriot act, IRS abuses, NSA abuses, Benghazi, fast and furious scandals, AP debacles and more. Any you have the nerve to complain about Bush? Do you hear laughter?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    June 14, 2013 7:23 a.m.

    Trust and respect are earned. Why hasn't impeachment's began.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 14, 2013 7:18 a.m.

    Ill keep this article in mind next time I'm accused of being a traitor to this country when I don't support a repub president's unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country, or bank bailouts, or unconstitutional programs (like the patriot act).

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    June 14, 2013 7:18 a.m.

    Oh boy, here we go again. All who oppose what the government is doing are "unpatriotic." How long before we hear that we're un-American, then"if you're not for us you're against us"? Bush is back for a 4th term. Gerson is offering more Kool-Aid, but I'm not having it. I'm a recovering neocon and I'm not going back there.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    June 14, 2013 7:05 a.m.

    That's right, its all Obama's fault; lets simply forget that it was the prior president, a Republican, who started the spying and signed the Patriot Act. Anybody could have guessed that it would just get more intrusive as time went on, regardless who was president.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    June 14, 2013 6:59 a.m.

    "Because it distorts America into something unrecognizable in order to advance a partisan ideology. Because this is still the "last best hope of earth," not a police state. Because Americans have fought and died for this country, and to turn on her in this way is noxious. It is dishonest. And it is dishonorable."
    Well said Michael! But don't expect liberals to even have the slightest comprehension what you are saying, they are so blinded by their ideology and partisanship then can't even see the culture of corruption they are creating.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    June 14, 2013 12:37 a.m.

    It does more than poison patriotism, it poisons the entire country. But, this is standard practice with the Dear Leader. If you don't agree with his socialist agenda, you are an enemy of his state.