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Christmas carols made creepy

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FromEditorsDesk Tony CroppedBy Tony Farkas

“Oh, you better watch out, the feds have a spy, they’re gonna find out if you hate Joe Biden …”

“They watch you when you’re surfing, they know your bank accounts …”

“I’m listening to your cell phone, just like they do in the Kremlin …”

Just in time for the holidays, since apparently there was nothing else of importance on the menu, our illustrious leaders on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in Washington, D.C., approved the renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Dec. 7.

Called the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act, it was designed to “keep us safe and inform lawmakers …” because “any lapse could result in a catastrophic national security failure.”

It also addresses “unacceptable compliance failures within the FBI,” so the new measure hopes to ensure that the powers vested in the bill be “used as Congress intended.”

Some of you will remember that this FISA statute, which incidentally has been in place since 1978, was the basis of four warrants issued against President Trump prior to his election, approved based on the execrable information provided by the Hilary Clinton campaign. You know, Russia collusion and all.

In a nutshell, we’re going to be spied on, but “nudge nudge wink wink” it won’t be as bad as it was, since the FBI will probably be holding kittens and puppies when they listen to you call your mom.

In and of itself, FISA could — with seriously corroborated evidence — be a good idea, but the word Foreign in the title is where the efforts need to lie. Yet, as is the pattern with this and any other government, the tenets of the law are turned inward, because the freedom that we’re supposed to be enjoying in this country is suspect and needs to be monitored.

For instance, the government has been found to be monitoring social media for potential naughtiness, I guess to prepare coal for your stocking. However, instead of looking for threats against the nation, they were looking for people who spoke negatively about vaccinations or elections.

Extending that out, the TSA still exists, even after recent audits show the organization missed a staggering 95 percent of weapons and explosives. The TSA, created after the events of 9/11, is supposed to keep America and travelers safe, but instead puts Americans, including senior citizens and children, through the ringer to keep us safe from foreign terrorists.

Examples aside, the underlying issue here is that the government, under the guise of protection, actually is using the law as a way to monitor U.S. citizens — essentially a legal version of the Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover enemies’ lists, or Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee.

If you need a more recent example, there is of course the IRS under President Obama, which was investigating such subversive groups as the Tea Party or churches.

Just like Santa, the government is all-knowing and seeing, except its penalties involve prison time, fines and extensive surveillance.

The government does have the obligation to keep us safe, but not at the expense of our liberty, our comfort, our joy.

And since it’s becoming a rare thing out in the world, I’ll put it out there for everyone: Merry Christmas.

Tony Farkas is editor of the Trinity County News-Standard and the San Jacinto News-Times. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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