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Columns

September 10, 2013

Democrats OK with Obama spying?

Liberals are slurping at a new yet familiar theme trough: Republicans are hypocrites because they're against NSA surveillance now but were all for it during the Bush administration.

The real truth is more nuanced and reasonable. During the Bush administration, the program was publicly described as tracking foreigners associated in some way with terrorist organizations as well as domestic communications with such foreign threats. We were led to believe there was meaningful oversight of the program.

Now, Americans have learned that Obama's NSA is gathering all phone calls, emails, credit card usage, Skype and online video of every American without such oversight. Conservatives and liberals are outraged, as most of both groups would have been if such an event had occurred during the Bush Administration.

We have learned that the program has expanded exponentially under President Obama, using amazing algorithms that can track every American through social media usage, texting, phone calls and smartphone GPS. With a program called PRISM, some of the estimated 35,000 to 50,000 NSA employees can put together a report of everywhere you've been over the past few years and create a trend that predicts where you will be at certain times in the near future.

All of your associations and contacts, meaningful, casual or incidental, are logged.

President Obama lied when he told you that your phone calls are not being recorded. They are. The Washington Post reported on the secret documents that describe how Skype video sessions and phone calls are, indeed, recorded and while no one may be watching or listening to you right now, they can go back and access the recordings.

Pretty valuable information for well-connected political hit-men like the types who use the Department of Justice to tap phones of reporters and their parents, or the former campaign manager for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who was recently indicted on federal charges of hacking the campaign's email system and obtaining correspondence by the governor, her staff and supporters for political profit.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about food prices. Are you paying more than you were last year for certain food items? According to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, "the cost of 16 food items" increased by 3.5 over 2013, as reported by the Des Moines Register. So, the question of the week is, "Are you feeling the food price increase pinch?"

A. Yes, and it hurts.
B. No, I don't feel a thing.
C. Not sure.
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