Prioritizing Our Concerns

It seems to me that a lot of people are worrying about the wrong things these days. Instead of concentrating on an administration that aided and abetted in the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three of his colleagues in Libya; an IRS that gave up any semblance of political neutrality by targeting conservatives; and the singling out of news organizations and individuals for intimidation; they’re going nuts over a computer program aimed at tracking down communications between jihadists.

Now, I grant I am an atypical case. For one thing, I rarely use a telephone. I don’t like them. They’re too intrusive. Unlike email, they carry on like babies yowling to be picked up. They demand your attention here and now, totally unconcerned that you are otherwise occupied. The truth is that if it weren’t for receptionists reminding me that I have a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment the next day, and those damn telemarketers, my phone wouldn’t ring for months at a time.

For another thing, between my articles and my weekly webcast, I have no secrets when it comes to my political beliefs. What’s more, I don’t access porn, I don’t do drugs and I’m not cheating on my wife, so what is it I’m supposed to be worried about? More to the point, what is it that the rest of you are so terrified that someone will find out about you?

The federal government, according to the Constitution, has very few actual responsibilities. But the main one is to protect this nation and its people. And in an electronic age, depriving ourselves of a way to possibly track down jihadists plotting another 9/11 or even a Boston massacre strikes me as more than a little foolhardy.

Why wouldn’t we want to know if someone in Minneapolis or Fort Worth was making or receiving calls regularly from Yemen or Iran? Could there be an innocent reason for the calls? Sure. Some housewife could be calling her grandmother to get a family recipe for cookies. But I don’t think it infringes on anyone’s right to privacy to make sure that it’s just cookies she’s baking up.

The problem isn’t with the surveillance. The trouble is that Obama, for political reasons, informed us that the war on terrorism was winding down a week or two before we found out that he has actually expanded surveillance in some quarters.

It also doesn’t help that we have a president who lies like a rug and cares everything about image, nothing about substance . That was the reason why when Ambassador Stevens begged for additional security in Benghazi, Obama chose to reduce the little he had. How, after all, could Obama be seen acknowledging the danger from Al Qaeda at the same time he was running for re-election as the man who had singlehandedly killed Osama bin Laden and eliminated the jihadist threat?

It doesn’t help that Obama refuses to name our enemy. He even refuses to acknowledge that Major Nidal Hasan was committing an act of terrorism when he ran amok, shouting “Allah Akbar!” while shooting up Fort Hood. Instead, Obama labeled it workplace violence. The mystery is why he didn’t do the same in the aftermath of the Benghazi massacre. After all, it was the ambassador’s workplace.

A recent poll asked young people why they have such a high opinion of Obama even though his economic policies have kept the economy so weak that college grads often have the option of flipping burgers or staying home and walking the family pooch. Apparently, the young dullards give him high marks for trying. When I first heard that explanation, my head exploded. But upon further consideration, I realized it made perfect sense. This, after all, is a generation that grew up winning sports trophies and getting passing grades for merely showing up.

However, no sooner had my head recovered than I read that there are now 47,727,052 people collecting food stamps valued at $132.86 a month. That adds up to about $6.3 billion. Multiply that by 12 months and you wind up right around $75 billion a year. Does anyone seriously believe that because of age or infirmity, the only thing keeping one out of every six Americans from starving to death are those other five strangers being forced to ante up to feed him?

Most of us understand that, as with ObamaCare and free cell phones, food stamps are simply one more way to radically transform freedom-loving Americans into a nation of parasites, worms and leeches, entirely dependent on the federal government to survive.

One would think that 205 years after Goethe wrote “Faust,” people would finally wise up to the fact that when you bargain with Satan, you lose more than your dignity and self-respect. You lose your soul.

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write

Al Saxton of Hayfork, CA, is the lucky winner of the June drawing. A copy of “67 Conservatives You Should Meet Before You Die” is on its way.

Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
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  • JohnInMA

    My concern about the data collection is not the intent nor the methods. We should all worry about who has access – both legitimately/legally and illegitimately. After all, if certain government spies couldn’t determine what Snowden was up to when he was doing it, and still may not have identified all that he took, why should I trust an even larger amount of my digital information with other spies or non-spies? (If you believe the story line that they couldn’t be sure what he took.) And given that the IRS was essentially ALLOWED to act politically for more than a year, there is even more reason to suspect a future cover-up.

    Can anyone imagine an operative like David Axelrod, who miraculously and anonymously has been able to acquire things (like sealed court documents), with indirect access to the national digital database? Wow! Laws don’t seem to completely stop such activity, only keep honest people honest. And how many dishonest people would it take to really compromise a database? One more Snowden???

  • Todd Zaino

    Burt, we need more people like you in government.

  • Wheels55

    I think the NSA deal was so much a surprise that most people became alarmed. If the Feds had just said we are going to do this and we are doing this, we would easily think it isn’t a big deal. But with the IRS and AP/Rosen issues, the NSA issue just seems over the top. Personally, I never think I see the whole iceberg – so, what else will pop up?

  • GlenFS

    Sadly, Obama has just schooled us on why we can’t trust our own government to check under our skirts without peaking and groping. I feel less threatened by terrorists than I feel by Obama. Good article, Burt.

    • Wheels55

      Glen, didn’t you hear Obama tell us he is the most transparent President ever? You suggest that he hides stuff from us? Wow!

      • GlenFS

        I heard and didn’t buy in. Perhaps he would have some more credibility if he didn’t use the agencies of government like his own personal playthings. He respects no boundaries.

      • Darren Perkins

        I dunno, he certainly seems like the invisible man when it comes to leading the country. I guess he may be leading from behind the plausible deniability smoke screen.

  • Darren Perkins

    I personally have lost respect for all americans who have now, what at one time, was a decidedly unamerican opinion. Never in my life for any reason did I think I would hear so many people (esp conservatives) agreeing to lay down their rights so willingly in fear of the muslim radicals. I think it is disgraceful and stupid. If you think the IRS has power over people…just wait. They won’t need you to do anything wrong. Cant anyone see that the information being gathered can and will be misused. If you don’t then you are either naive, stupid, or being deliberately obtuse because you are scared of the muslims and figure the govt will never come after you. The latter is what I would call cowardice.

    • Wheels55

      If the Feds have information, someone will misuse it. Sadly, it is that simple. Not a question of if, a question of when.

  • cmacrider

    Burt: Thank you for a well reasoned and well articulated article

    • Porkbevr

      Ditto the above.