Cartoon to the editor

Letters to the Editor: June 16

June 16, 2013 

Obama has lost credibility on the Constitution

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

A whistleblower named Edward Snowden has released documentation proving that private contractors and the government have been spying on millions of Americans in blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The Obama administration is speeding up the construction of a police state in America. We are now either there or almost there.

Snowden has been called a "traitor" by several politicians, but in my opinion he is a hero who has courageously and effectively defended the Constitution against those who would shred it.

President Barack Obama should immediately order the dismantling of all government programs that spy on Americans. If he stubbornly insists that the unconstitutional spying continue, he should be impeached and removed from power.

The excuse of "security" must not be used to eliminate our rights and freedom. If we allow our republic to be converted into a police state, then the terrorists will have won a permanent victory.

Geoffrey M. Young

Lexington


Petulant Paul

Sen. Rand Paul is talking about suing the government over wiretapping. I might be crazy, but isn't this the same as suing me since my taxes will be used to pay for it and the only people who will benefit are Paul and lawyers?

What he needs to work on is a bill to help working mothers get help paying babysitters so they don't have to quit their jobs. They are being penalized for working and trying to avoid welfare.

My mother always told me, "If you don't have anything to hide, you would not be complaining so much." The public doesn't care who you are sleeping with; we just want to know if you are talking to terrorists.

Paul sometimes says things that I like, but now he is acting like that old man who has done nothing for Kentucky except keep us updated on what the president is doing.

It's time for him to put on his big-boy pants and work for Kentuckians. We will be voting in 2016.

After all, this is not the first case of wiretapping. It has been happening since the 9/11 attacks. I don't want to be afraid to go anywhere. If wiretapping keeps me safe then I am for it.

Donna Wortham

Lexington


Sea of contradictions

I have a few simple questions concerning the eavesdropping by the U.S. government:

A June 9 article in the Herald-Leader reported that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said, "The government cannot target anyone under the program unless there is an 'appropriate, and documented, foreign intelligence purpose' for the acquisition. ... Only a small fraction of the records collected ever get examined because most are unrelated to any inquiries into terrorism activities."

If this is true, what is the "appropriate, and documented, foreign intelligence purpose" for the tens of millions of Verizon customers' records the National Security Agency is collecting?

A June 8 article reported that President Barack Obama said the collection of telephone numbers, "represented 'modest encroachments on privacy' that do not involve listening to people's calls and do not involve reading the emails of U.S. citizens and U.S. residents."

Yet, a June 9 article reported that another program, PRISM, "allowed the government to seize actual conversations: emails, video chats, instant messages and more."

A June 8 headline stated, "Tech companies deny giving government access to servers." A June 9 story quoted Clapper as saying the information gathering "... is conducted with the knowledge of the provider and service providers supply information when they are legally required to do so."

Now, just who is telling the truth? This is rather confusing. Maybe, this is what is intended. Get everyone pointing fingers at who is telling the truth and forget about the underlying issues. But I'm not about to forget.

J. D. Miniard

Nicholasville


The limits of privacy

Your editorial "Should security trump privacy?" was pleasantly surprising given your track record of supporting nearly every proposed expansion of government power.

You ask us to remember something we thought you had forgotten — that "constitutional guarantees against government monitoring of the private lives of law-abiding citizens" setsus apart from "totalitarian regimes."

Would that monitoring include maintaining an electronic version of a citizen's medical history, or keeping tabs on his political affiliations through the Internal Revenue Service, or is it just a "common sense" background check if he wants to defend himself? What about sticking a swab into someone's mouth to seize his DNA?

I am reminded of a story: A man and a horse met at the edge of a dark wood. Concerned about the dangers ahead, the man gently suggested that he ride — better to see the trail and to keep them both safe. Though he had never been ridden, and with little thought, the horse readily agreed. After a long journey, they finally reached safety. The exhausted horse turned to the man, thanked him, and asked him to dismount. The man, who was now wearing spurs, smiled at the horse and said: "giddyap."

Cameron S. Schaeffer

Lexington


Whimsical values

Tea Party followers should recognize the flapping sound you hear as Sen. Rand Paul's libertarian principles flying out the window when he voted for the tobacco insurance subsidies. That's something to keep in mind when they're complaining about government spending.

John Kowynia

Lexington


Transplanting hope

My heart goes out to the Philadelphia family who successfully fought to get their 10-year-old daughter a lung transplant.

Our son, Tim, received a kidney/pancreas transplant in 2001. Organ transplants are incredibly complicated. A strict schedule of medicines, tests, scans and interviews must be adhered to. Is the rest of the body able to sustain the precious new organ? What is it like having someone else's organs inside you? None of this can be taken lightly.

However, funny things happen. My son and I were sitting in his hospital room one day when a young doctor came in with the inevitable clipboard of notes and questions. He looked over the notes then asked Tim, "Are you a farmer?"

Tim and I looked at each other puzzled. Tim replied, "No I'm not a farmer, why do you ask?"

The doctor looked down at his notes and said, "Well, it says here that you have to stay away from cows." Tim and I were more puzzled.

Then Tim started to laugh and said, "There was a doctor from Russia here a few days ago. Her English was sketchy. She asked me what I had to be careful of. I told her 'I have to stay away from crowds.'"

Bottom line: Crowds or cows, stay away if you are blessed with an organ transplant.

Sharon Woodworth

Georgetown


Honestly fed up

In response to the nasty ads a political action committee supporting Sen. Mitch McConnell is putting on the air about Secretary of State Alison Grimes: He had better be ready for one heck of a campaign by her.

He should be ready for a campaign like he has never seen before — an honest one. That's something he knows nothing about.

Grimes will do her research on the issues if she chooses to run. So, if McConnell and his supporters can't tell the truth, they shouldn't say anything at all. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say it is time for McConnell to go home. He has done enough damage to Kentucky.

Mary A. Presley

Frankfort


Preemptive strikes

Could it be that our senior senator is so eager to jump into the political fray that he is firing opening volleys at any likely target?

Could it be that he is unaware of how everlastingly tired the public gets of the name-calling and the finger-pointing ? And that to subject us to a yearlong barrage of such could be considered inhumane punishment?

Could it be that the premature activity on the campaign trail is the senator's effort to stimulate the economy by spending from his storied war chest?

No matter, we'll be sure to let him know when we have chosen a candidate.

Marilynn Bell

Cynthiana


Where does buck stop?

I wonder if I'm the only American who is asking the question: Who is running our government?"

Attorney General Eric Holder had no knowledge of the Fast and Furious guns scandal which led to the death of a border patrol agent.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had no knowledge of the Benghazi attack which led to the death of four Americans.

The director of the Internal Revenue Service had no knowledge of the IRS targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny.

Holder again had no knowledge of his department wiretapping Associated Press reporters' phone calls and e-mail. And our great leader Barack Obama doesn't seem to have knowledge of any of this.

So I have to ask the question, who is running our government?" Nobody in our government appears to be responsible for anything. Have we forgotten President Harry Truman's aphorism,"the buck stops here?"

Richard E. Peters

Lexington


Unfairly snubbed

On Memorial Day, I was surprised to see the results of the NGA Golf Tournament held in Knoxville, Tenn. Why, you might ask? The previous week, the NGA was in Georgetown and the total coverage in the Herald-Leader was three sentences.

I could not understand why the paper chose to write three paragraphs on something that happened a state away but could not cover an event 15 miles away from Lexington.

Luther Conley, his staff and the volunteers did an outstanding job hosting the NGA at the Cherry Blossom course. The Herald-Leader was able to find space for the local Lexington golf results but not for the aspiring professionals visiting Georgetown.

Perhaps there was a little jealousy involved because the event is in lovely Georgetown and not in Lexington.

Evan Wisniewski

Georgetown


Steps toward sane gun-control laws

The June 7 tragedy in Santa Monica, Calif. — in which a 23-year-old killed five people, including his father and brother — did not have to happen.

Thoughtful action must be taken to prevent future tragedies. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul must end the polarization and take a stand by:

1. Supporting a 72-hour waiting period from the time of gun purchase to the time of possession.

2. Supporting a recognized mental health test such as the M.M.P.I prior to issuing of a gun permit.

3. Ban sales of all assault rifles and any weapon that could not be reasonably be considered as recreational.

4. Increase government funding for anger management prevention programs.

5. Initiate a registry similar to sex offender register where felons with gun-related violent crime history must register when they relocate.

I am not sure if gun violence has touched either of our senator's lives, but it has touched mine.

As a child, I often went to sleep not sure if I'd wake up due to a mentally ill parent's access to a gun at his bedside. In the commonwealth, many children grow up in terror just like I did and some repeat the pattern once adult.

Our Bill of Rights is precious and any change should be very carefully considered. However when senseless violence becomes the norm, it is time to make changes.

It is time to look at what Second Amendment rights really are and how they enslave us to violence.

Laura Rogers

Wilmore

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