Didn't Paul Revere Warn People About Scary Government Activity (And Not Found the NSA)?


Paul Revere
Public Domain/John Singleton Copley

Maybe I didn't pay enough attention in history class, but my memory of Paul Revere was that he, and the Sons of Liberty, were pretty active in warning Americans about the unsettling activities of the government officials of their day. Pretty Edward Snowden-ish, really. So President Obama's invocation of the names of people who were, in Revere's case, arrested for their actions (just like his administration wants to do to the modern thorn in the government's side) as a precursor to the National Security Agency and its snooping on the American people seems a bit…off.

Said President Obama in his seemingly endless speech at the Justice Department:

At the dawn of our Republic, a small, secret surveillance committee borne out of the "The Sons of Liberty" was established in Boston. The group's members included Paul Revere, and at night they would patrol the streets, reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America's early Patriots.

Throughout American history, intelligence has helped secure our country and our freedoms.

Yeah…I don't know that Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock, and company were really NSA sort of people.

To his credit, Obama conceded that "even the United States proved not to be immune to the abuse of surveillance." But on this, the 53rd anniversary of President Eisenhower's speech warning about the threat posed by a growing military-industrial complex, and cautioning that "only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry" can ensure "that security and liberty may prosper together," the current president sounded positively pissy about the fallout from Snowden's revelations about mass surveillance and the "readiness of some to assume the worst motives by our government."

Perhaps we assume the worst because we found out that the government was looking over all of our shoulders only from a guy who had to blow the whistle and then flee half-way around the world?

I'm pretty sure that the British government was annoyed by Paul Revere and the hornet's nest he helped stir up and wished it would all just go away, just as President Obama is flustered by the objections of so many Americans to the secretive surveillance state. Overall, he has a lot more in comon with General Gage than with the guy who worked out a system for warning people already concerned about government excess that the forces of the state were on the march.

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  1. Yes, even if I were all pro-illegal searches, I’d mock this comparison. Those guys were rebelling against their government. Full stop.

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  2. I’m starting to understand why his school transcripts are our nation’s most protected secrets.

  3. His whole shitty speech is an exercise in gall, but this

    Second, just as ardent civil libertarians recognize the need for robust intelligence capabilities

    is especially galling. Define “robust”, you fuck.

    1. They can be as robust and as hardcore as they like. . .provided that they are conducted within the limits of the Constitution, which includes a list of what government is permitted to do and a nonexhaustive list of specific liberties the government may not infringe.

      It’s all quite simple, really, and if changing times require any modification to the Constitution, we have a process for making those changes–amending the Constitution. It is neither legal nor safe for this increasingly less-free society to allow one branch or even the branches in collusion to violate the Constitution by simple declarations.

      1. If you live within 100 miles of the border, or the coast, the DHS has unilaterally decided you live in a constitution *suspended* zone.

        True story.

    2. Define “robust”, you fuck.

      It’s right there in the speech:
      “Needed to address compelling concerns.”

    3. “robust”: unconstitutional and thuggish.


  4. His whole shitty speech is an exercise in gall, but this

    Second, just as ardent civil libertarians recognize the need for robust intelligence capabilities

    is especially galling. Define “robust”, you fuck.

    1. Double-posting my stupid comments is the most galling thing of all. Fucking site.

      1. I just thought you were extra-perturbed.

  5. I’m beginning to think our president may not only be the first black president, but also the first retarded president. Has anyone ever checked his chromosome count? His entire staff should probably be checked too, because someone wrote this shit.

    In fact, they should appoint a special prosecutor to see who wears a hat, has a job, brings home the bacon, yet no one knows. At least they’re probably happier than you and me.

    1. Peek-a-boo!
      I can see you
      And i know what you do

      1. Ah, so you are positing that Obama is a real-world example of devolution?

        1. In the past this information has been suppressed, but now it can be told.

          1. Remember, Warty: nobody knows…so let’s find out.

  6. I don’t imagine Revere or his compatriots spent any time peering through their neighbors’ windows or rifling through their posts searching for evidence of collusion with the British, nor aggregating postal data of civilians in hopes of gleaning patterns of potentially disreputable behavior.

    And the British posed vastly more of a threat to the liberties of its subjects than Muslim terrorists do or can.

    1. But less than the present day U.S. government.

  7. For all these reasons, I maintained a healthy skepticism toward our surveillance programs after I became President.


    I ordered that our programs be reviewed by my national security team and our lawyers, and in some cases I ordered changes in how we did business.


    1. It’s increasingly hard to believe he’s not Andy Kaufman goofing on America.

      1. Andy would be funnier.

        1. No, see, that’s part of the goof. The no reveal/reveal will be when Jerry “The King” Lawler is apparently drone-murdered.

      2. He’s certainly having fun.

    2. What a fucking liar. He claimed to be unaware of many of the activities that have been revealed. Specifically, I remember the “I didn’t know!” excuse being deployed in the Merkel case.

    3. We were caught, but we admit it. And here’s what we’re going to do better. Trust us.

  8. IIRC, the revolution was fought so that Americans could replace one totalitarian government with another, but with a different flag.

  9. Third, there was a recognition by all who participated in these reviews that the challenges to our privacy do not come from government alone. Corporations of all shapes and sizes track what you buy, store and analyze our data, and use it for commercial purposes; that’s how those targeted ads pop up on your computer or smartphone. But all of us understand that the standards for government surveillance must be higher.

    “What are you worried about? You can trust us. It’s not like we’re Google.”

    1. He sort of left out that Goggle can’t toss your butt in jail, but who’s concerned about details?

      1. Not to mention that Google probably won’t disclose personal information of an actionable sort to third parties, out of concern for their own welfare, while the feds does it as a matter of course and without recourse.

        And the only body capable of coercing Google to disclose such information… are the feds.

        Yeah, total moral equivalence.

        1. Google won’t lock me up. Google won’t take my shit. Google won’t kill me.

          But there is an entity that will, if it feels like it.

            1. Oooh, no. I think ProL was referring to you. This is awkward.

              1. That’s a reasonable interpretation, but I was thinking of one of the few things bigger than Warty.

                1. Warty’s… appendages?

                  Can Warty engorge his prehensile terrorpernis so large even he can’t lift it?

                  1. Of course not. His great power is being able to lift anything.

          1. They might try to sell you something, so there’s that…

            1. Yes, there is their constant pressure to give me too many choices. Too many!

      2. He sort of left out that Goggle can’t toss your butt in jail, but who’s concerned about details?

        You forgot that those evil Corporations (at least the big ones) control the government, so it’s really the same thing.

    2. “Yeah, we spied on you…but look over there! CORPORATIONS! We won’t get into the fact that we ordered them to do so.”

      His moronic followers are so fucking stupid and easily distracted. No wonder he treats them like the doormats they are.

      1. We get the government they deserve.

    3. That there are people in the world who desire to sell me something and the greedy sons of bitches will go the extra mile to see that my wants are obtained if I exchange money for what they offer is intolerable, and by God, we need to put a stop to it!

    4. Oh yes, ad targeting, that terrifying mechanism by which…no one can kidnap or assault me…

      1. Yes, but you might end up buying something you really didn’t want. Then you’d have to go to the painful inconvenience of returning it.

      2. Military-grade high precision ad targeting. The stuff of nightmares.

  10. …”the current president sounded positively pissy about […] the “readiness of some to assume the worst motives by our government.””…

    Yeah, well, nothing he hasn’t earned.

    1. Wait, this was all perpetuated under the aegis of their BEST motives?

      I’m supposed to feel mollified?

      1. I find it difficult to differences between the “best” motives and the “worst” motives?

        They are both about controlling people.

    2. I’m more surprised by the readiness of some to not assume the worst motives by government.

  11. In a nutshell: “Individual freedom is the wellspring of human progress”, so trust the government.

  12. It may seem sometimes that America is being held to a different standard, and the readiness of some to assume the worst motives by our government can be frustrating.

    You’re frustrated? Oh, I’m sorry. Maybe you’d feel better if you went and fucked yourself.

    No one expects China to have an open debate about their surveillance programs, or Russia to take the privacy concerns of citizens into account. But let us remember that we are held to a different standard precisely because we have been at the forefront in defending personal privacy and human dignity.

    Of course you defend personal privacy and human dignity. That’s why you dismantled the NSA and pardoned every nonviolent drug prisoner.

    …What’s that? …He didn’t???

    1. It’s also why he’s resigned after his administration has repeatedly trampled on Americans. Probably literally–I bet they roll up citizens in rugs and ride horses over them.

      1. I bet they roll up citizens in rugs and ride horses over them.

        Unpossible. This practice was reserved for nobility because it was thought wrong for their blood to spill upon the ground. No way Obama treats his victims so well, or sees them as anything but serfs.

    2. Another aspect of this “different standard” business is his insistence that the US is the world’s only superpower and so has special responsibilities.

    3. Yeah, those dirty commies would probably issue a warrant for the arrest of anyone who revealed a massive, unconstitutional domestic spying program that was operating effectively without any oversight at all. Heck, anybody who blew the whistle would probably have to flee the country! And that’s why they hate us for our freedoms.

      1. Well, we respect the rule of law, which is why Mr. Snowden should come home, to face justice. And why Mr. Clapper, well, look over there, corporations!

    4. No one expects China to have an open debate about their surveillance programs, or Russia to take the privacy concerns of citizens into account.

      Which is why we are trying to be like those countries.

      1. And by “open debate”, we mean this here internal review of the NSA policies, by those who created them.

  13. But let us remember that we are held to a different standard precisely because we have been at the forefront in defending personal privacy and human dignity

    …while killing American citizens and others without trial using drone strikes. What a bastion of privacy and dignity!

    1. I realize his function is to be the spokesperson for dysfunction, so I can’t really hold against him the conscious pretense of unselfconsciousness, but I so loathe the self-satisfied backpatting he gives himself every time he appears on television.

      It’s almost as bad as the unending media fellatio.

      1. It was the race speech he gave after being questioned about his crazy ass preacher that tipped the balance for me, and I came to loathe him because he got away with it. The media narrative after that fiasco was he was the one person speaking like an adult and acting above the pettiness. That is not what happened. He got caught being a cynical politician using the dysfunctional grievance culture to his advantage, and he paid no consequence for it. Nothing but awards for this guy.

  14. James II and Mussolini got off easy because the standards they were held to were so lax compared to our own.

  15. I don’t get it. What does Jack Black have to do with this story?

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  17. If any of the Founders were alive today, they’d be really old.

  18. The Feds are in panic mode over the refusal to enforce the pit laws but go out of the way to ignore the illegal aliens that bring the pot. It is fascinating to watch the government in action . It’s hard to believe that so many idiotic people can be employed by the government. They ignore the will of the taxpayers every chance that they get. Always they do just the opposite of what is wanted

  19. Snowden is nothing like Paul Revere. Did Paul Revere run to authoritarian China or Russia? Snowden is only free because the dictator Putin wills it. What a fucking imbecile.

    1. From what I’ve gathered Snowden isn’t the typical Gadsden Flag flying dissident, but rather a disappointed Obama groupie who felt betrayed by his idol and so did the one thing he saw as a logical response; betray back. If it’s true, then it makes complete sense he’d run to places like Russia or China.

      Regardless of why he did it, I’m glad he did it.

    2. Of course Paul Revere didn’t flee to China or Russia. He turned himself in to the British like any patriotic American would have done, right?

      Clearly, we have been reading very different history books.

  20. The president makes Unconstitutional statements and our press ignores it! What’s wrong with you guys? He’s used Agencies to break the Constitution and Executive order to change existing law. But now he’s said it and you aren’t paying attention!!!
    President’s statement Quote: “If the Congress continues to stand for only dysfunction and delay then, I’m going to move ahead without them.” “I will do whatever I can without Congress.”
    That’s not constitutional guys to even say that! Get busy!

  21. Obama’s only concern is that the “robust intelligence capabilities” he’s used as a weapon against any who dare oppose his royal authority will one day be used against him.

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  23. Revere sure bore an eerie resemblance to Jack Black.

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