Wilkes-Barre, a town in need of serious help.

I live in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. I have lived here the majority of my life. Growing up it was a decent community. The crime was never really out of control and people tended to look out for one another. Murders were relatively non-existent. It had your typical crimes like any other community. It was a nice place to live.

It has changed quite a bit over the years. Drug use and peddling has decimated this once pleasant community. Wilkes-Barre is located between New York and Philadelphia. It apparently looked like an easy target for the drug pushers. In 2013 we have had 13 murders, more per capita then parts of New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York City. All but 2 of these murders were connected with drugs, with the majority being committed by people from outside the area.

There are about 41,000 people living in the city. We have 81 police officers. We are supposed to have 91, but our mayor does not believe we need a full complement. 7 officers recently retired and there are at least 4 that were hurt while on duty. 2 of which most likely will not return. So that leaves us at 74 officers. Mayor Tom Leighton recently said the city was hiring 10 officers. He neglected to mention the retirees. He also said he doesn’t believe there is a crime problem in Wilkes-Barre. It seems as if his head is buried in the sand.

Facebook is used by 40% of the people in the U.S. daily. As much garbage that you find on there, you also find some very useful sites. I follow several Crime Watch pages, with Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch 2 being my preferred page. Before I go on I would like to say that I know the Police work hard. I know that it is a difficult job. I believe our area needs at least 100 if not 120 officers to stop the disintegration of our community. But daily we here about calls being put on hold. Officers having to wait to go on a call because they do not have an officer to assist them. There are 6 Cops on the streets during all three shifts. Does anyone believe this is enough?

Wilkes-Barre spent a large sum of money to put cameras up around the city. None of them seem to work. What is the use? The mayor has been called out for shady deals on local properties. He is very dismissive of citizens who question him at City Council meetings. He has called citizens names at these proceedings. The city pays for his alarm system at his home. During his tenure as mayor the city has progressively gone downhill. Taxes are raised, garbage bags cost more, permits cost more, recycling fee and all other city fees have gone up. Yet t hth e city no longer cleans the streets and cannot hire more officers. We also recive money from the Casino, the naming of a local ice rink and parking meters. Where is all of this money going?

If a city is having the amount of trouble Wilkes-Barre is, why are they nit asking for help? Why are the State Police not involved? Why are other local police forces only used on occasion? Why is the DEA or FBI not involved to help with the drug problem? Why are citizens calling about drug deals being made out of a house for 2 years and nothing has been done? Why are arrest records being fudged? Why are people that were busted for drugs on the street? Why are those said people on bail and being busted for murder? These are some of the issues facing Wilkes-Barre. Why are we not getting answers for our questions?

Growing up I could walk all over my neighborhood. Now I don’t let my daughters go anywhere. The tax base is shrinking in our area because people are leaving. Who wants to deal with this? I believe Wilkes-Barre has reached a breaking point. If something is not done soon, we will face a mass exodus. There is no reason this can’t be the city my parents knew. It is time to fix our broken city.

Snowden was wrong and deserves to be punished.

           Edward Snowden revealed the Top Secret NSA Surveillance program. The NSA is collecting phone records and they are also collecting Internet records under the PRISM program. Republican Senators chastised President Obama and said they knew nothing of the program, a blatant lie. There are records showing Congress having briefings about the programs, maybe they went home instead of going to the briefings.

Snowden dropped out of high school. Got a job as a janitor at the CIA and somehow worked himself into a low-level intellegence position. He apparently is a whiz with computers. As budgets for the NSA, CIA and FBI were slashed they began outsourcing a lot of the intellegence work. Snowden left the CIA and began working in those fields. He stole information he was not even supposed to have and fled the country. He worked with the Guardian newspaper to get it out.

There is no dilema here, ge broke the law and the contract hth e signed to be privy to Top Secret information. Giving Top Secret information to anyone not cleared to look at it can be considered treason. If someone dies because of the information he made public will he still be considered a hero? Releasing classified information like this hurts our National Security. We are a free state, not a police state, but we do have to take measures to protect our country.

I am a Democrat and a Liberal but I realize that National Security is of the utmost importance. Do you think it was blind luck we were only hit with one terrorist attack since 9/11. There is a reason for that. How many people were prosecuted because of these programs? These programs had to get renewed court orders every 3 months for 7 years and Senators claim they didn’t know. Republican outrage over this is a sham, they supported George W. Bush and his illegal wiretapping.

What Snowden did was wrong? If he sold these secrets to Russia he would be labeled a traitor. Instead he gave it to a newspaper who gave it to our enemies. He is a traitor, plain and simple. The Government looking at your Internet activity is wrong, but corporations doing it is ok. Snowden deserves to be punished. There is no way around that and any country that shelters him obviously has a vested interest in him.

With a chance to interview heads of departments in charge of NSA surveillance, 53 Senators jump on planes to go home.

                    A briefing by Senior Intelligence Officials on surveillance programs failed to attract the attention of even half of the Senators. Senators, despite all their bluster, don’t seem to care that much about classified security programs. Many Senators, 53 to be exact, chose to leave early rather than attending the briefing.

The Senate held its last vote of the week around noon Thursday. They somehow could not find the time to attend the 2:30 meeting with James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA and other Senior officials. Clapper, Alexander and other Senior officials told the lawmakers that showed up about the classified programs to monitor millions of phone calls and broad swaths of internet activity. As of now the names of the attendees and non-attendees has not been released.

The exodus of colleagues exasperated Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca), who spent all week answering a gauntlet of questions from colleagues and media about the programs. She said ” It’s hard to get this story out. Even now we have this big briefing- we’ve got Alexander, we’ve got the FBI, we’ve got the Justice Department, we have the FISA Court there, we have Clapper there and people are leaving.” I share her exasperation, these Senators attack President Obama and his staff, then don’t show up for the briefing. Maybe they ” don’t know about the programs” because they don’t show for briefings. This was important, yet these Senators couldn’t find time to do their job. Tsk, Tsk, shame on you Senators.

Lawmakers have been quick to call for Congressional oversight but are even quicker out the door. They cannot seem to make the scheduling sacrafices to learn more of the secret details of the programs. You would think that lawmakers would sttend briefings before making votes on the subject. Apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence in Congress. Lawmakers would be better equipped to scrutinize the claims of Senior Intellegence officials if they attended briefings more regularly. Please remember that being a Senator is not a vacation, it is an important job where you represent the people. It would make sense for you to remember that.

Lawmakers often vote to approve the Intelligence Programs with only a vague of what they are authorizing. Feinstein contends that her colleagues have known about the programs from previous debates and meetings. Many Lawmakers say they didn’t know about the programs, but the evidence suggests differently. There are records of hearings, briefings and the renewal process with the FISA Court every 3 months. Something doesn’t jive.

Republicans should hope they were not the ones leaving. If they were, this just proves they don’t care about the people or the country, only about smearing President Obama and stopping his agenda. They offer nothing but cuts to normal people, scream about the defecit, yet will not raise taxes on the wealthy. Not showing up illegitimizes the Republican party. Democrats not showing up is not quite as bad, because most support the President. Those who did not support the programs and didn’t show up deserve the same fate as Republicans. This is not a come and go as you please position, this is governing tye greatest country in the world. Maybe if these lousy politicians looked at it that way we wouldnt have any scandals.

Senators criticize President Obama’s transparency but leave town when a hearing about NSA is taking place.

                    All of these Senators that said they knew nothing of the NSA searching phone records now look really bad. Instead of attending scheduled hearing with the head of the NSA, FBI, the FISA Court and anyone else involved, 53 of those Senators went home. Do you think FOX News or Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or even the conservative hero Rush Limbaugh are going to report that. No they will spin it as President Obama’s fault that he can’t control Congress.

They were all over the news claiming no one ever told them anything. They were never informed about the program. President Obama is expanding on George W. Bush’s survellience plan. That there is to much secrecy in the White House. Now they have that hearing and less than half show up. I was unable to find a list of names, but I am sure it will pop up soon. That list will be plastered everywhere, calling out these hypocrite lawmakers.

If these Senators are Republicans it removes all credibility from their impeachment hunt. Republicans have been trying to find a reason to impeach President Obama since 7 weeks into his first term. If instead of taking the opportunity to find out how this surveillance went on ” under their nose” they went home. How many times before this have out elected leaders missed a vote in order to get home early. If a normal person leaves early when they are scheduled they recieve some sort of punishment. But not our do nothing Congress.

This is a perfect example of what is wrong with our government. The complain and beat the drum like they really mean it. When it actuality it is a show to placate the people. It will not work if they blow this opportunity. This one is going to blow up in their face. When it does Democrats need to pounce and bury these horrible people. This is our chance to get out from under the Republican agenda that helps the rich and buries the poor. Our elected leaders let us down again.

To be secure or not to be secure, make up your mind.

               After the Boston Marathon Bombing the media was complaining that we should have known something. How could the CIA have known anything if there were no phone taps? Obviously the government doesn’t listen to calls or this tragedy would have been prevented. Republicans are hypocrites who helped create the Patriot Act, but now they don’t like it. Rand Paul wants to file a civil suit, well I want to file one against him for every person that died of gun violence since he helped vote down the Manchin/Toomey Gun Bill.

I am sick of the hypocritical nature of our society and government. They want something done, find o ut something is being done and throw a hissy fit. Republicans stop creating scandals and create jobs. Help our economy instead of hindering it and the rich have gotten enough breaks, close the Tax Loopholes and get Tax Reform done. It will help with our National Debt you claim to be so concerned about.

Why are Republicans killing Immigration Reform? They want to deport kids who were brought here illegally by their parents. How is that their fault? What happened to Republicans engaging Latinos, trying to work with them to gain their votes. Just more Republican lies, if you aren’t giving them money you are not important. They are the party of NO, lies and manufacturing scandals. If they cannot win or buy victory they will try anything to get rid of you.

So the government is tracking our phone data, who cares. How is that violating Civil Rights? I have read the 4th Amendment and as long as a court says it is ok, it is legal. Democrats need to stick with President Obama, that is the only way the American people will see improvement. The polarization of this country is sick and most comes from the right. If you want to secede, do it, no federal money for you. Red states get a lot more government aid then Blue states. So buh-bye crazies.

Lets get real about the NSA collecting phone records.

              The Fourth Amendment;
        The right of the people to be secure ine their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.

             After 9/11 fear permeated American life. We were an unsure people who were perplexed by an unwarranted attack on innocent people. The rest of the world had been dealing with this for quite some time, as have we at out foreign interests. After 9/11 many were willing to sacrifice civil liberties to help ensure our safety. The Bush/Cheney regime skirted moral authority and we became a preemptive strike country. Attack and ask questions later. The Patriot Act was pushed through with tremendous support from both sides if the aisle.

In doing so we were opened to a moral dilemma. How far is to far? The FISA Court, which was created in 1978, was given a kind of moral authority. It was up to this court to determine when our government was overstepping its authority. They determined that the so called data mining was legal. By determining that they also established how far these “spying” operations could go.

If the government determined something was wrong and needed to go through the data, they would have to go to court to get clearance. It is not as if they can go right in there and take what they want. Of course people will jump to conclusions to establish President Obama as a bad guy. The truth of the matter is that none of this can happen without the approval of the FISA Court. Which covers the executive and judicial branches.

Now for the legislative branch. The Senators, Republican and Democrat alike were informed. Every 3 months they had to go before the FISA Court to get the order aporoved. They had hearings for all Republicans and Democrats to come in and ask questions. The Senators complain that they were not allowed to talk to anyone who did not have clearance. That is how s TOP SECRET clearance works. You are told TOP SECRET information and you are not allowed to tell anyone else. If it concerned them so much why didn’t they try to learn more about the subject or ask more questions. This is about Senators who knes about something and did nothing to stop it, although then knew the American people wouldn’t like it. Now they are covering their tails.

The fact of the matter is this. It is Constitutionally legal. All branches of government knew about it. Why are American people upset? If you are not doing anything criminal you have nothing to worry about. This is the tradeoff our government chose to make and we chose to live with. It has gone on for 7 years and now it gets leaked. It seems as if the Republican scandal machine is in hyperdrive trying to find anything that sticks.

Congress has know about NSA collecting phone records for 7 years.

                    I find it laughable that news outlets immediately went on the attack about the NSA collecting phone records. They immediately attacked the Obama administration for violating civil rights, before they had all the information. I find it odd that Republican lawmakers were informed about this, yet say they weren’t completely informed. Where they not reading their briefings? They also didn’t seem willing to mention it was part of the Patriot Act. Why now was this TOP SECRET document released? Isn’t it odd that it coincides with other “scandals”.

                 Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Chair women of the Senate Intellegence Committee says the top secret court order for telephone records is a 3 month renewal of a continuing program that has been in place since 2006. That’s a whole 3 years before President Obama took office. Senator Feinstein said that the surveillance is lawful and Congress has been fully briefed on the practice.

Her Republican counterpart, Saxby Chambliss agreed, ” This is nothing new. This has been going on for years and EVERY member of the U.S. Senate has been advised of this. To my knowledge there has not been any citizen who has registered a complaint. It has proved meritorious because we have collected significant information on bad guys, but only bad guys, over the years.” He said that every Senator was briefed on this, all of them, Republicans and Democrats. If this is violating civil rights and President Obama is wrong, Republicans are complicit and thereby just as wrong.

The statements of the Senators rule out that the surveillance was in response to the Boston Marathon Bombing. The order was effective April 19, shortly after the bombing, sparking speculation of a link. Despite revealing the duration of the surveillance, the Senators did not specify why the surveillance is in place. I guess that is why it is TOP SECRET, there are some things the public shouldn’t know, or it will get in the papers and possibly harm our anti-terrorist experts. The court order was authorized under a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that allows the government to collect business records in bulk if the request is approved by the court. What are Phone companies business records, call data, numbers, call origins and data used. Fits under the law, a law that Republicans helped put in place.

Much to the chagrin of Conservative media, the Patriot Act was George W. Bush’s baby. Republucan born and bipartisanly voted on. President Obama said ge would use this as long as he got a court order, he has one. Was it a violation of civil rights when a Republican President was doing it? I heard no complaints then. The Prophet Glenn Beck is painting himself into a corner. First he says President Obama is weak on terrorism, then when he uses Bush’s tactics he is violating civil rights. Which is it Glenn? Can’t have it both ways. Why don’t you tell your listeners at least a portion of the truth, instead of painting President Obama and Democrats as evil.