Happy Fourth of July to everyone on our blog and other blogs. The Turleys will hold our annual Fourth of July celebration with fireworks tonight with a cookout, pies, and of course fireworks. I love this holiday.

Obviously, this is a difficult year for those who value civil liberties in this country. We are celebrating our freedom in the midst of a scandal involving unprecedented warrantless surveillance and the rise of an imperial presidency. In addition, we have a Congress that appears to tolerate perjury from high-ranking officials and a government intent on changing our model of privacy into a new surveillance-friendly image. It has challenged our notion that this remains the “land of the free.” It is easy to simply retreat into one’s home and not celebrate this year. However, these politicians are not what we are celebrating nor are we celebrating the cult of personality that has replaced our principles. Indeed, they are the antithesis of what this holiday should be about: freedom.

I intend to celebrate this holiday with added vigor this year. The erosion of our civil liberties only makes me more appreciative of our Framers and more committed to regaining what they left us . . . and what we have lost. I remain an optimist about this country and a great believer in its principles. Our politicians, including our President, have betrayed those principles and triggered a torrent of criticism around the world. We are now viewed by many as a violator of the rule of law rather than its protector. Worse yet, we have a political system that appears entirely untethered to the American people and voters who are increasingly convinced that they have no voice in a system controlled by a monopoly of two parties. We seem to be living in an American Animal Farm of different rights for the governed and the governing elite.

Yet, this is a holiday that reminds us that we are better than the people who govern us and this country stands for something beyond the creature comforts of an affluent society. We are defined by our liberties and that is what I will celebrate today. We still represent something in this world and the world needs what we have promised even if we are not currently delivering on it. We represent the promise of free speech and free exercise and self-determination. We represent the value of privacy and self-autonomy. We represent one of the most pluralistic nations on Earth that has succeeded in coexisting and flourishing despite our religious, cultural, and political differences. That all means something even if our leaders treat them like cheap soundbites.

So there for a great Independence Day to everyone on the blog. I will hoist a burger and a beer in your honor today.


39 thoughts on “HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!”

  1. Clapper is a traitor. It is time to throw these people out of our government.

    The most senior US intelligence official told a Senate oversight panel that he “simply didn’t think” of the National Security Agency’s efforts to collect the phone records of millions of Americans when he testified in March that it did “not wittingly” snoop on their communications.
    James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, made the comments in a letter to the Senate intelligence committee, released in full for the first time on Tuesday.
    Portions of the letter, in which Clapper apologised for giving “clearly erroneous” testimony at a March hearing of the committee, were first reported by the Washington Post on Monday. Clapper had previously said that his answer to the committee was the “least untruthful” one he could publicly provide.
    In the full letter, Clapper attempted to explain the false testimony by saying that his recollection failed him. “I simply didn’t think of Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” he wrote to committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California) on 21 June, referring to the legal provision cited to justify the mass collection of Americans’ phone data, first disclosed by the Guardian.
    Clapper is under intense pressure from legislators displeased by his March testimony to the Senate intelligence committee’s Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon) that the NSA did “not wittingly” collect, as Wyden put it, “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”
    In his newly released letter, Clapper told Feinstein that his remarks were “clearly erroneous,” and he issued them because he was thinking instead of a different aspect of surveillance, the internet content collection of persons NSA believes to be foreigners outside of the United States.
    “I apologize,” Clapper wrote. “While my staff acknowledged the error to Senator Wyden’s staff soon after the hearing, I can now openly correct it because the existence of the metadata program has been declassified.”
    In statements for the past month, Wyden and his staff have said they told Clapper before the fateful hearing that he would face the question, and contacted his staff afterward to correct the record.
    “The ODNI [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] acknowledged that the statement was inaccurate but refused to correct the public record when given the opportunity. Senator Wyden’s staff informed the ODNI that this was a serious concern,” Wyden spokesman Tom Caiazza said on Monday.
    Clapper’s letter does not acknowledge that he had earlier told Andrea Mitchell of NBC News that he provided Wyden with the “least most untruthful” answer he could publicly offer, likening the question “in retrospect” to a “stop beating your wife kind of question.”
    A spokesman for Clapper declined to comment on the discrepancy.
    Clapper has said in the past that public testimony on intelligence matters places spymasters in difficult positions. “An open hearing on intelligence matters is something of a contradiction in terms,” Clapper told the Senate intelligence panel on March 12, while saying he believed it was “important to keep the American public informed.”
    Clapper is under fire from legislators critical of his truthfulness. On Friday, 26 senators – more than a quarter of the Senate – signed a letter to Clapper suggesting that the surveillance may go beyond phone records and online communications, extending under interpretations of the Patriot Act to “credit card purchases, pharmacy records, library records, firearms sales records” and more.
    But Clapper has his supporters as well. In addition to the White House, which is standing beside him, a former NSA lawyer and inspector general, Joel Brenner, wrote on Tuesday that Wyden engaged in a “vicious tactic” that “sandbagged” Clapper.
    Wyden “lacked the courage of his conviction,” Brenner wrote on the influential national-security blog Lawfare, and placed Clapper “in the impossible position of answering a question that he could not address truthfully and fully without breaking his oath not to divulge classified information.”
    It is unclear when Clapper will publicly testify next. He sat out the House intelligence committee’s June 19 hearing on the NSA surveillance. Aides to Feinstein said that no hearing with Clapper is currently scheduled, although Feinstein is open to one.
    The next opportunity for one might come as early as next week. Clapper told Mitchell on June 9 that Feinstein had asked him to look at “ways where we can refine these [surveillance] processes and limit the exposure to Americans’ private communications,” adding that “we owe her an answer in about a month.”
    A spokesman for Clapper had no comment on the director’s progress in examining restrictions to the surveillance efforts.

  3. “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” James Madison

    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” … Benjamin Franklin

    The augmentation of slaves weakens the states; and such a trade is diabolical in itself, and disgraceful to mankind.
    George Mason

    “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery” – Thomas Jefferson

    When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
    Thomas Jefferson

    “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”- Patrick Henry

    The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.
    James Madison

    I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.
    George Mason

    We came equals into this world, and equals shall we go out of it.
    George Mason

  4. I guess most of you have heard of the suspected murder of Aaron Swartz & of the reporters car blowing up a few weeks ago in LA in which the reporter died.

    Well the attacks against every single American continue. Many of us have known for some time they’ve been playing tricks like below of planting evidence on someone they wish to mess with.

    Anyway, with your safety in mind I’m passing this info along:

    ** Attempted Setup of Luke Rudkowski

    Prison Planet.com
    July 4, 2013

    A few hours before making this video, Luke Rudkowski of WeAreChange.org received an email from an anonymous sender claiming to be a Bilderberg whistleblower with attached photos from inside the 2013 Bilderberg meeting at the Grove Hotel in Watford, England.

    The email was sent to his personal email address that he has had since high school, not one of his work or WeAreChange email addresses. Luke opened the email from another computer and itl stated that he was a whistleblower and wanted Luke to break the story so he was sending him these photos exclusively and specifically stated that Luke needed to download the photos.

    Fortunately before downloading, Yahoo gives a preview of the photos and the photos were actually graphic child pornography. Luke has had his computer searched by forensics when going into Canada to cover the G20 when they searched him and interrogated him for hours, something like this could happen again when we come back to the U.S. from travelling Europe.

    Had this been the case, even with deleting, they would still find the images. There would be no understanding of the true story and he would be facing a felony charge. Besides that also completely jeopardizing his work, reputation and livelihood.

    We wanted to make this public for Luke’s safety and also for people to be aware that this kind of thing happens. We do not know who this was, all we know is that it is so important for anyone in this line of work to remain extremely vigilant.

    The email address was s27du23d@tormail.org. If anyone can help find out who this person is, it would be greatly appreciated.**

  5. In honor of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Baby Veronica case:

    Alex de Tocgueville: “The Spaniards pursued the Indians with bloodhounds, like wild beasts; they sacked the New World like a city taken by storm, with no discernment or compassion; but destruction must cease at last and frenzy has a limit: the remnant of the Indian population which had escaped the massacre mixed with its conquerors and adopted in the end their religion and their manners. The conduct of the Americans of the United States towards the aborigines is characterized, on the other hand, by a singular attachment to the formalities of law. Provided that the Indians retain their barbarous condition, the Americans take no part in their affairs; they treat them as independent nations and do not possess themselves of their hunting-grounds without a treaty of purchase; and if an Indian nation happens to be so encroached upon as to be unable to subsist upon their territory, they kindly take them by the hand and transport them to a grave far from the land of their fathers.

    “The Spaniards were unable to exterminate the Indian race by those unparalleled atrocities which brand them with indelible shame, nor did they succeed even in wholly depriving it of its rights; but the Americans of the United States have accomplished this twofold purpose with singular felicity, tranquilly, legally, philanthropically, without shedding blood, and without violating a single great principle of morality in the eyes of the world. It is impossible to destroy men with more respect for the laws of humanity.”


  6. In honor of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Shelby County:

    Frederick Douglas: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”


  7. Good 4th of July to the new Turley dog. Full Moon Luna Turley.

  8. JT wrote one of the best articles here — of all time. Many of the comments are superb. This dog has no bark to match that above. This is my favorite day of the year. I have not worried more about our future than this 4th. The revelations of the past few weeks have been horrendous. I hope some fireworks catch metadata station on fire and burn it to the ground.

  9. Bad news, Oky1.

    The Constitution Federalized the states in 1776 when it created a constitutional presidential democratic federal representative republic as our form of government.

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