Thomas Jefferson: When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated …. — Letter to C. Hammond, July 1821
The Health and Human Services Department earlier this year exposed just how vast the government’s data collection efforts will be on millions of Americans as a result of ObamaCare.
Big Brother will be watching you! And he will know everything…. (and the Supreme Court is the final arbiter -see later farther down)
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., asked HHS to provide “a complete list of agencies that will interact with the Federal Data Services Hub.” The Hub is a central feature of ObamaCare, since it will be used by the new insurance exchanges to determine eligibility for benefits, exemptions from the federal mandate, and how much to grant in federal insurance subsidies.
In response, the HHS said the ObamaCare data hub will “interact” with seven other federal agencies: Social Security Administration, the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Defense and — believe it or not — the Peace Corps. Plus the Hub will plug into state Medicaid databases.
And what sort of data will be “routed through” the Hub? Social Security numbers, income, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, and enrollment status in other health plans, according to the HHS.
“The federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic,” noted Stephen Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor.
Not to worry, says the Obama administration. “The hub will not store consumer information, but will securely transmit data between state and federal systems to verify consumer application information,” it claimed in an online fact sheet .
And no one will steal or hack anything. 🙂 No Wiki-Snowden… 🙂
But a regulatory notice filed by the administration in February tells a different story.
That filing describes a new “system of records” that will store names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, taxpayer status, gender, ethnicity, email addresses, telephone numbers on the millions of people expected to apply for coverage at the ObamaCare exchanges, as well as “tax return information from the IRS, income information from the Social Security Administration, and financial information from other third-party sources.”
They will also store data from businesses buying coverage through an exchange, including a “list of qualified employees and their tax ID numbers,” and keep it all on file for 10 years.
In addition, the filing says the federal government can disclose this information “without the consent of the individual” to a wide range of people, including “agency contractors, consultants, or grantees” who “need to have access to the records” to help run ObamaCare, as well as law enforcement officials to “investigate potential fraud.”
Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., complained that just months before ObamaCare officially starts, the Obama administration still hasn’t answered “even the most basic questions about the Data Hub,” such as who will have access to what information, or what training and clearances will be required.
Beyond these concerns is the government’s rather sorry record in protecting confidential information.
Late last year, for example, a hacker was able to gain access to a South Carolina database that contained Social Security numbers and bank account data on 3.6 million people.
A Government Accountability Office report found that weaknesses in IRS security systems “continue to jeopardize the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the financial and sensitive taxpayer information.”
A separate inspector general audit found that the IRS inadvertently disclosed information on thousands of taxpayers between 2009 and 2010. In 2011, the Social Security Administration accidentally released names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of Americans.
If these government agencies can’t protect data kept on their own servers, how much more vulnerable will these databases be when they’re constantly getting tapped by the ObamaCare Data Hub?
In any case, creating even richer and more comprehensive databases on Americans will create a powerful incentive to abuse them among those looking to score political points by revealing private information or criminals who want to steal identities.
A recent CNN poll found that 62% of Americans say “government is so large and powerful that it threatens the rights and freedoms of ordinary Americans.”
What will the public think once ObamaCare and its vast data machine is in full force? (IBD)
More likely, what will they be allowed to think?
The Imperial Judiciary
A House, Senate and president together defending traditional marriage is ruled unconstitutional. Can a Roe v. Wade-like “right” to same-sex marriage — pulverizing religious liberty — be far behind?
Under ObamaCare, the Obama administration is already trying to force religious institutions to violate their precepts and fund abortions, or be found in violation of law. There is little, if any, distance between that kind of disregard for religious freedom and forcing churches to marry same-sex couples — a new kind of “shotgun wedding” for the 21st century.
That is where the imperial judiciary quite clearly intends to take us, running over anything standing in the way. As Justice Scalia’s scathing dissent in Wednesday’s 5-to-4 U.S. v. Windsor ruling observes: “In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy — Ronald Reagan’s biggest, longest-lasting mistake — joined with the high court’s four liberals, charging in his decision that large majorities of both houses of Congress, not to mention President Bill Clinton, in 1996 chose “to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage” today.
The court declared Congress “cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.” It takes the judicial elite to construe the Bill of Rights’ safeguard against being “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” as a license to keep elected officials from acting to protect man’s oldest institution from being revolutionized.
As Scalia noted, the court was “eager — hungry — to tell everyone its view of the legal question at the heart of this case” — so much so that it, unprecedentedly, took on a case in which the five justices actually “agree that the court below got it right.”
The result is “a Supreme Court standing (or rather enthroned) at the apex of government, empowered to decide all constitutional questions, always and everywhere ‘primary’ in its role.”
“The most important moral, political, and cultural decisions affecting our lives are steadily being removed from democratic control” Judget Bork 1996 (!)
Thomas Jefferson: If [as the Federalists say] “the judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the government,” … , then indeed is our Constitution a complete felo de so. … The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they may please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law … — Letter to Judge Spencer Roane, Nov. 1819
Thomas Jefferson: You seem to consider the judges the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges … and their power [are] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and are not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves … . When the legislative or executive functionaries act unconstitutionally, they are responsible to the people in their elective capacity. The exemption of the judges from that is quite dangerous enough. I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. …. — Letter to Mr. Jarvis, Sept, 1820
“The Teahouse of the August Moon”. Glenn Ford plays an American officer attempting to explain democracy to the Japanese after World War II. He says, “democracy is where the people have the right to make the wrong decisions.” The statement is the essence of democracy. If elected officials make the wrong decision on behalf of the people voters can rectify the situation by electing replacement officials to make the right decisions. If non-elected officials make the wrong decisions the people have no recourse other than overthrowing the government.
People don’t become infallible just because they hold a high government office even if they are absolute monarchs who have supposedly been chosen by their deities to run the government. Those of us who are familiar with the history of the Supreme Court known that it is extremely fallible. The Supreme Court has made some extremely bad decisions, particularly.when it has gotten involved in social issues with decisions involving social theories rather than law.
The decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford is easily the worst decision in the history of the Supreme Court. The Court attempted to use the case to deal with the divisive social issue of slavery. Chief Justice Roger Taney’s ruling inflamed northern public opinion against slavery which many northerners regarded as immoral. The decision insured that slavery would be a major issue in the 1860 presidential election. The decision didn’t cause the Civil War, but provided the catalyst to turn the controversy over slavery and broader economic issues into a war.
The 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision is the Court’s second worst decision. The Court’s acceptance of the questionable social concept of “separate but equal” condemned generations of black southerners to mistreatment including rape and murder. The Court refused to admit that “separate but equal” was nonsense until the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.
“Separate but equal’ wasn’t the only nonsense theory the Court accepted in the late 19th Century. The Court prevented state government from protecting workers from exploitive employers by accepting a nonsense theory called “freedom of contract”. Under this theory, government protection of workers supposedly prevented their “free” ability to contract with employers. The Court ignored the fact that workers weren’t in a position to negotiate. They had to accept bad working conditions or risk possible starvation. (Free Republic)
So with the trend of making the Supreme Court the final arbiter of everything makes them supremely powerful and that is a very dangerous game.