Thursday, June 13, 2013

Leonard Pitts: Conning Americans to give up privacy #OPINION

I recommend this read by Mr. Leonard Pitts Jr. featured in the Miami Times Herald, today. Just in case, I have also included a link to the article, below (1).


Entering the conversation (2)
Remember, this program started with the Bush Administration. I wonder why in this nation of so many brilliant people, can't the US government, solicit and or come up with a way to protect and service without disparaging our rights and personal freedoms.

Write your Congressional Rep and let them know where you stand!
I am just saying and keeping it real! Peace Diana

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Leonard Pitts: Conning Americans to give up privacy


LPITTS@MIAMIHERALD.COM


It will not be with guns.
If ever tyranny overtakes this land of the sometimes free and home of the intermittently brave, it probably won’t, contrary to the fever dreams of gun rights extremists, involve jack-booted government thugs rappelling down from black helicopters. Rather, it will involve changes to words on paper many have forgotten or never knew, changes that chip away until they strip away, precious American freedoms.
It will involve a trade of sorts, an inducement to give up the reality of freedom for the illusion of security. Indeed, the bargain has already been struck.
That is the take-away from the latest controversy to embroil the Obama administration. Yes, it is troubling to learn the National Security Agency has been running a secret program that reputedly gives it access to Americans’ web activity — emails, chats, pictures, video uploads — on such Internet behemoths as Google, Facebook and Apple. Yes, it is troubling to hear that “George W.” Obama has routinely renewed a Bush-era program allowing the feds to more easily graze the “metadata” of phone activity (time and date, numbers dialed, etc.) of millions of Verizon customers..
But what is most troubling is that Americans are not particularly troubled by any of it. According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post, most of us — 56 percent — are OK with the monitoring of metadata, a process then-Sen. Joe Biden called “very, very intrusive” back in 2006.
According to the same poll, nearly half — 45 percent — also approve allowing the government to track email content and other online activity. And 62 percent feel it is more important to investigate terrorist threats than to safeguard the right to privacy. That approval is consistent across party lines.
We are at war against terror, the thinking goes, so certain liberties must be sacrificed. It’s the same thing people said when similar issues arose under the Bush regime. It doesn’t seem to matter to them that the “war” is open-ended and mostly metaphorical, meaning that we can anticipate no formal surrender point at which our rights will be restored.
For what it’s worth, we’ve seen similar ambivalence toward the excess of another open ended metaphorical conflict, the War on Drugs. It has also played havoc with basic civil rights, the courts essentially giving police free rein to stop whomever whenever without needing a warrant or a reason.
And never mind that this violates those words on paper many of us have forgotten or never knew — the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Never mind that it was designed specifically to bar government from peeking through the blinds or snatching you up on a whim. Never mind that it’s a bulwark against the unfettered power of the state.
People think tyranny will be imposed at the point of a gun. Paranoids look up in search of black helicopters. Meanwhile, the architecture of totalitarianism is put into place all around them, surveillance apparatus so intrusive as to stagger the imagination of Orwell himself.
The point is not that one has nothing to hide. The point is that whatever you have is none of the government’s business absent probable cause and a warrant. The point is that one should never repose unfettered power with the state.
We should know this, yet we fall for the same seductive con every time: We are afraid, but the state says it can make us safe. And all it will take is the surrender of a few small freedoms.
It makes you want to holler in frustration, especially since the promise is so false. Yes, the state can interdict a given terrorist plot, but even if it took every last freedom we have, it could not guarantee complete security. That is a plain truth with which we must make peace.
We will never be “safe.” But we just might, if we have the courage, be free.

References:
1. Pitts, Lenard. " Conning Americans to give up privacyMiami Herald. miamiherald.com. Posted on Tuesday, 06.11.13Thursday, June 13, 2013http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/11/3445890/leonard-pitts-conning-americans.html

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/11/3445890/leonard-pitts-conning-americans.html#storylink=cpy

My Sunday Menu - Tilapia Tacos with Avocado Wedges

© copywrite by DMS Photography~all rights reserved (1)
I am not really into fish tacos but this recipe is highly recommended; I used Tilapia and marinated it in lime, cilantro, and spices—you'll never need to go to a Mexican restaurant to satisfy your fish taco craving again! I also cooked zucchini  Picadillo, Mexican Rice and black beans.

Ingredients for marinade:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon of lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets

Ingredients for slaw:
8 red or white radishes, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 head red cabbage, halved and thinly sliced crosswise (about 3 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Ingredients for sauce:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) nonfat plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro

Ingredients for tacos:
12 6-inch corn tortillas (fresh if possible)
2 avocados cut in wedges and bathed in lime juice (pick them firm)

5-6 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/4 cup of minced purple onion
1 jalapeno diced 

Directions:
1. To make pickled slaw, whisk the sugar and apple cider together. Add the radishes and cabbage cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and preferably overnight. 
2. To marinate fish, whisk lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, lemon pepper and salt together. Add fish fillets and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. 
3. For sauce, whisk yogurt, lime zest and juice, and cilantro together in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
4. Heat broiler and foil a pan and lightly grease with canola oil. Remove fish from marinade and broil without turning until firm and opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer fish to a plate and break it up into bite-sized pieces.
5. Stack tortillas and wrap in damp paper towels in the middle of two plates, one on top of another. Place plate stack in microwave for one minute.
6. To serve, divide fish among tortillas. Top with some pickled cabbage and radish slaw and serve with yogurt lime sauce and avocado wedges.


(c) Copywrite by Diana Mary Sharpton

References:
1. Photography. Tilapia Tacos with Avocado Wedges© copywrite by DMS Photography~all rights reserved (1)