Istook's Insights: Meta-data for thee and me, the cost of welfare, Crony Capitalism and the Clintons
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Published: 09-May-2015

You can't do that! Said the judges to the spy agency.

The NSA — National Security Agency — has a tough job to detect terrorist communications. But their solution is to gather meta data from everybody's phone calls, billions of them every day, just to make sure data about terrorist phone calls is grabbed.

That's like arresting everybody in a town because some of them surely are crooks.

What the NSA needs is still buried. The terrorist calls are needles. The rest of our calls are the haystacks.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals says there is no law justifying this snooping. The court also ruled against the secret court proceedings that are routinely used to approve this enormous snatching of your phone records. And your family's. And neighbors'. And everybody else's.

When the NSA has a genuine lead on terrorist communications, they can legitimately subpoena records from the telephone carriers. That ought to be enough.

In other news, the government spends a fortune paying people not to work.

Much of the 1990s welfare reform has come undone. 

Major assistance programs like Food Stamps, housing benefits and free health care were never touched. 

The Earned Income Tax Credit, a giant cash giveaway, is Washington's most fraud-ridden program. 

Overall, over 70 federal programs give out public assistance.

It's not unusual for a household to collect $30,000 a year in tax-free payments and benefits.

Add the overhead to pay an army of government bureaucrats and the cost doubles. We spend $60,000 a year on each household collecting benefits.

States are starting to push back, since two-thirds of their leaders are Republicans. Ideas are cropping up, like no Obamacare benefits if you don't get a job.

The White House says no to requiring work. So the bureaucrats keep shoveling our money out the door.

Then, there's the Clintons, back in the news.

Cashing-in from politics is an age-old form of corruption.

Historically, politicians tried to conceal corruption, like former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, convicted of seeking to sell appointment to a vacant US Senate seat.

But now corruption occurs openly, because a corrupt news media have become part of the governing elite.

Crony capitalism grabs billions under the pretense of developing alternative energy or preventing global warming. 

President Obama's infamous stimulus program gave away over $5 billion in phony tax credit claims. 

Meantime, Obama and the First Lady take incredibly expensive vacations at taxpayer expense.


And Bill and Hillary Clinton live lavish lifestyles under the pretense of collecting money to fix the world's problems. Their personal wealth is now well over $100 Million, and their foundation adds another $500 million or so.

National reporters should be blowing whistles, but too often are too busy, also living the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

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