Friday, June 09, 2006

Secrets and Lies

TRD101: Secrets and Lies

by Michael Maynard

June 9, 2006

I love those conservatives who insist that the United States Constitution should be interpreted strictly with the intent of the Founding Fathers, or that each amendment should be interpreted exactly word by word. Usually these types insist that the Second Amendment means being able to carrying a gun. It does, but there is the first clause, which they conveniently overlook, about having a gun in order to keep a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state. Remember the time in which this was drafted, they had just won independence from the British, so the fear that the British or other countries might invade was very present in their minds. Reading the Federalist Papers is a wonderful experience because you get a real sense of how much Jefferson, Hamilton, and the others had thought about these issues, but also how they would work in a newly democratic society.

For you gun lovers out there, I’m sorry, you are not part of a well regulated militia, unless you consider yourself a one-man vigilante squad ( or an illegal vigilante squad operating on the Mexican border). Even if, I would concede to you that in certain circumstances, like living in an area of high crime, it is prudent to carry a gun in order to protect yourself, then please explain to me why you need to be able to carry a concealed weapon into a church, hospital or amusement park? I’d be concerned that post-traumatic syndrome of having a bad experience with a clown might trigger you to believe you need to defend yourself.

It was an agrarian economy then and the need for a rifle to scare away a wolf attacking the chickens or the cows is more like their intent. Like the Minutemen and the other colonial forces, they needed to assemble quickly to protect against the French invading from the north That’s not the same as needing to carry a snub-nose 38 in your belt in order to pray, unless you’re Muslim these days.

Then there is that darn pesky Fourth Amendment, the one that the “strict constructionists” use to state there is no guaranteed right to privacy.

You have the right to be secure in your person, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. This shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath of Affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I think it’s reasonable that the right to be secure in your person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures could be interpreted as a right to protect your private business and affairs, i.e., a right to privacy, from unwarranted government action. Of course, the founding fathers could not project 200-plus years out and foresee the telephone, the wireless telephone, and the Internet. But aren’t your phone calls like having a face to face conversation, so you’re guaranteed the right to be secure in your person? Isn’t an e-mail message an electronic piece of paper or personal effect? I could also start quoting from the 14th Amendment, but you get the point. It was clear that the Founding Fathers were concerned that an imperial government, like the one they just fought against so long and valiantly, would trample all over the rights of individuals for the sake of protecting the government’s own interests to rule as the government so pleased.

The Bush Administration, with its view of the “Unitary Esecutive Theory”, in essence, that the President of the United States, especially in a time of war, can choose to follow or not follow the laws set by the other two branches of government. This theory, originally develop by Samuel Alito in the Reagan Administration’s Department of Justice, is that the President is the CEO of all departments under the executive branch and can run them as he sees fit. The President can overrule laws developed by Congress and signed by previous Presidents and the rulings of the judicial branch, including the Supreme Court. Bush uses this power in combination with “signing statements” on legislation awaiting his signature. These signing statements, in effect, state “I don’t care what your legislation says and what I just signed,, this is how I interpret the law as it affects the Executive Branch and this is what I’m going to do, even if it’s the opposite of what you passed and I signed.”

The Vice President had his right-hand man, David Addington, go through every line of legislation for perceived intrusion or infringement on the Bush White House’s perception of the powers of the Executive Branch. There is a very interesting profile on Dick Cheney in the June 2006 edition of Vanity Fair. Cheney developed a hatred for Congress and belief that it was stepping on the powers of the President while he was still a Congressman. He is a member of the Federal Government who hates how the Federal Government, as designed in the Constitution, is supposed to operate. It is increasingly clear that the Bush Administration came into office with a hidden agenda which included invading Iraq, outsourcing many functions of the government to contractors, and expanding the powers of the Executive Branch. While this is horrible to state, the Bush Administration has skillfully used 9-11-2001 to implement this hidden agenda.

The Boston Globe reported on April 30, that Bush had claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws. Who does he think he is? CEO of Enron? There are none of those 750 laws he claims to be able to disobey more important than the claim his Administration can listen in on phone calls and read e-mails of private citizens, without a warrant or probable cause. Often, Congress didn’t know that Bush had changed the laws he had just signed until after Congress tried to have them enforced. The claim that all this information is needed to be able to “analyze patterns of potential terrorist cell activity” is a lie. This “intelligence gathering” already been used to listen in on the cell phone conversations of TV and newspaper reporters that the Bush Administration suspects (meaning nearly all White House reporters) is receiving leaked information from government whistle-blowers. The White House has refused to turn over information regarding the scope of this NSA domestic spying program stating that to do so would compromise national security. If you think that the NSA was not listening in to the phone calls or reading the e-mails of private citizens, especially those of perceived enemies of this Administration, you’re naive.

We are close, very close, to having a totalitarian Executive Branch, supported by a capitulating Surpeme Court and Congress. Congressional oversight committees request for information are ignored or denied on national security grounds. The Supreme Court just ruled that a federal employee who discloses information about government wrong doing, i.e. a whistle blower, can be fired with impunity. We’ve gone though this widespread Executive Branch paranoia before, just not as widespread and in some respect, not as serious. Even the Nixon Administration didn’t view itself as the sole power of government.

The Bush Administration has set itself up to be unaccountable for any secretive law breaking, or lies told us, Congress, and the rest of the world. Without congressional oversight or challenge by the Supreme Court, we don’t know what we don’t know until later when we find out after some wrongdoing or disaster has been done.

Secrets and lies. Secrets and lies. All of the deliberation, forethought and work of Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson and the other drafters of the Constitution are being undone by the work of men who hate the government offices they have been chosen to serve and protect. They believe because of their position, they are above the laws.This is a far cry from the gentlemen-politician that our Founding Fathers believed would best serve the interests of the citizens of this country.

TRD101 knows this: Lies and secrets, secrets and lies are the work of those with something to hide. Lies and secrets, secrets and lies, are the defense of those who cannot laws abide.

And that is The Real Deal 101 for today, like it or not.

Send your comments and questions or to be added to or removed from TRD101's distribution list to:

You can read TRD101's work and participate in a group discussion at: and enter TRD101, where it asks for which blog you want. Please feel free to forward this column to your friends, romans and countrymen, as appropriate, and have them contact me if they have comments or want to receive columns via e-mail in the future.

© Copyright Michael Maynard, TRD101, June 2006.

No comments: