Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

24 June 2013

Sorry, Andy McCarthy, There Is No 'Virtue' In A Government That Lies To Its Citizens

'As the crusader for liberty Edward Snowden chooses to flee to totalitarian Russia in anticipation of finding a final soft place to land in some  socialist dictatorship (probably Cuba or Venezuela), Senator Rand Paul continues to defend him as a “truthteller.” Obviously, Senator Paul is not indifferent to our national security and I’m sure he believes the United States must have national defense secrets and must gather intelligence about hostile foreign threats. That being the case, what is the point of praising Snowden as a truthteller when he is now a fugitive from justice whose attractiveness to regimes hostile to the United States is the truth he can tell them about our defense secrets?…

People are understandably upset over the NSA programs. The government has done a very poor job of explaining — if it can be explained — why it is necessary to warehouse the phone records of everyone in the country in order to surveil a few hundred terror suspects. It has done a very poor job of explaining the civil liberties safeguards that are in place so that data-collection does not become spying on Americans. The PATRIOT Act’s business records provision is due to sunset in two years; if it were two months, there’s a good chance Congress would let the statute lapse, and even if it survives in 2015 — assuming we do not suffer a major attack in the meantime — that could probably only happen with dramatic changes. I get all that. But if people no longer think national defense secrets are important, or that honoring oaths is less virtuous than indiscriminate “truthtelling,” it is going to be impossible to have security. Senator Paul makes “security” seem like a frivolous concern when he uses it in the context of Clapper’s false statement (and juxtaposed to Snowden’s devotion to “privacy”). But we can only afford to be cavalier about security because we have it.'

- Andrew C McCarthy, Not All Truth-Telling Is Virtuous, Senator Paul, 23 June 2013

Andy, you are really beginning to piss me off.

Telling the truth is ALWAYS virtuous, especially when it comes to the government and a free society. We value the truth and, in case you have forgotten, we have criminalised lying or made it a tort, in certain situations.

Was it 'virtuous' of this government to lie to the American people and claim that a little-seen YouTube video was responsible for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi?

Yes, Edward Snowden broke the law, but he also gave up a helluva lot: his family, his girlfriend, his friends, his home, his job in Hawai’i, his name, his future, his freedom (which will always be curtailed even if he is never apprehended by the US), and, perhaps, his life.


Whatever you think of him or what he did, ask yourself: How many people do you know that would be willing to make those sacrifices so that Americans could learn the truth about the Surveillance State?

Do you know who else broke the law?

1. President Obama (Libya, non-recess-recess appointments, etc)

2. Hillary Clinton (lied to Congress)

3. Kathleen Sebelius (violated the Hatch Act)

4. Charlie Rangel (failed to pay income taxes, used 3 rent-controlled apartments for offices, illegally parked his inoperable Mercedes in the Congressional carpark for years)

5. Timothy Geithner (failed to pay income taxes)

6. Jim Clapper (lied to Congress)

7. Keith Alexander (lied to Congress)

8. Lisa Jackson (violated the the Federal Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act)

9. Thomas Perez (violated the the Federal Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act)

10. Eric Holder (twice committed perjury and lied to Congress on, at least, 2 occasions, both are felonies)

And, those are just for starters. Is the entire state apparatus criss-crossing the globe looking for them? Have any of them been indicted? Have any of them served one second in jail?

You sniff at Russia and call it a ‘totalitarian’ state. You snoot at the socialist dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela. You’re right. Who would want to live in any of those countries? But, what you fail to acknowledge is that America is no longer the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the city on a shining hill.  Sure, we're not North Korea, but are these evidence of a country where freedom rings?

* A country that collects incredible amounts of personal data on its citizens; tracks them via licence plate scanners, drivers’ licences chips, millions of CCTV, EZ-Pass tags, etc;

* Would love to imbed RFID chips; tells them that they have to give up some of their civil liberties in exchange for ‘security,’ decrees that ‘the Constitution will have to change,’ and lectures them saying ‘people are just going to have to realise that they can’t just go wherever they want to like they used to;

* Mandates the purchase of goods and/or services; 

* Elevates special classes over ‘ordinary citizens (See: illegal aliens, racial, gender (I'm a woman and disapprove of affirmative action and set-asides for women), gender orientation, Muslims);’ 

* Has a dacha class; 

* Believes it should be able to control our children (Iris-scanning and Federal record-keeping on everything from birth to death?  Really???  Where does the Constitution give the Federal government that power or even responsibility?); 

* Subjects Americans to unreasonable searches and seizures while being willfully blind when it comes to our actual enemies;

* Supports our enemies like the Muslim Brotherhood); 

* Celebrates some law-breaking while persecuting others that have broken no laws (Compare and contrast the treatment of illegal aliens by various Federal agencies and the manner in which the government has dealt with the Tea Party, Patriot groups, supporters of Israel, gun rights groups, pro-life organisations, religious institutions, etc); 

* Refuses to enforce and defend its borders and the sovereignty of the country; 

* Governs without the consent of the governed (for example, Obamacare hasn't had a positive approval rating since May, 2009 - 10 months before it was even passed);

* Flips the bird at the middle class;

* Intentionally sets about to fundamentally change the ethos, laws, community, demographics, and philosophy of this country for power and profit;

* Is corrupt from the Oval Office on down;

* Debaunches the currency thereby destroying the wealth of the middle class and reducing the standard of living for everyone save a precious few;

* Arms rebels that are cannibals, which is something that even Putin won’t do;

* Intervenes in foreign conflicts involving NO national security issues;

* Takes the side of foreign governments - like Mexico - over states, like Arizona.

* Refuses to enforce laws on the books while demanding more laws be enacted (see gun laws, for example)

* Gives taxpayers' hard-earned money to cronies and campaign contributors;

* Refuses to enforce voting laws and ensure that the voting system is safe from corruption and fraud;

* Divides Americans into allies and enemies along racial, religious, ethnic, sexual, and other lines;

* Seeks to 'punish its enemies' - meaning Americans that disagree;

* Spies on every American;

* Declares war on the press;

* Prosecutes true whistleblowers under the Espionage Act of 1917;

* Actively works to silence and/or punish dissent;
* &c


I guess you would have prosecuted Daniel Elsberg and Senator Mike Gravel because they told the truth to the American people. Obviously, Americans would have been far better off never knowing what the Pentagon Papers proved: That the United States Federal government had been lying to the American people for years as their sons returned home in body bags, with missing limbs, or damaged psyches that never healed.

Do you think that Alexander Butterfield should have kept his mouth shut about Nixon’s secret taping?

Do you approve of President Kennedy's warrantless wiretapping of people like Martin Luther King, Jr, because he and/or some of his associates 'might be Communists'?

Would you have approved of the prosecution of Robert Goldstein, Andy?

Would you have approved of the persecution, prosecution and/or internment of suffragettes, homosexuals, antiwar activists, and German-Americans under Wilson during World War I?

Would you have approved of the internment of Japanese-Americans, Italian-Americans, and German-Americans under FDR during World War II?

What do you think about the American Protective League - a domestic army of 400,000 American civilians who spied on their spouses, children, friends, neighbours, co-workers, fellow churchgoers, etc?

The Committee for Public Information, the first propaganda ministry in the West, during World War I?

How about the 75,000-strong 'Four Minute Men,' who disseminated propaganda and flat-out lies to over 11,000,000 Americans in order to convince them to support President Woodrow Wilson's 180 degree reversal to enter World War I 4 months after being reelected on a slogan of 'He Kept Us Out Of The War'?

How about the chicanery of the War Industries Board during World War I?

How about the fascistic, thuggish, and corrupt the National Recovery Act Blue Eagle programme during the Great Depression, which was later declared unconstitutional?

How about a government that can indefinitely hold American citizens without charge, as signed into law in the NDAA?

Hey, maybe, all whistleblowers should be prosecuted…’cuz, like, um, telling the truth isn’t all it is cracked up to be.  Why not?

‘I cannot tell a lie’ became ‘I cannot tell the truth,’ which has become ‘I cannot tell the difference and, even if I can, I only have to tell the ‘least untruthful’ statement to maintain my virtue.’

Telling the truth to your wife, such as 'Yes, honey, your ass is a large as the size of the barn!', may not be the best thing to do for your marriage, but that’s up to you.  Lying about an affair is hurtful, too, but is it virtuous?    Look, your marriage isn't any of my business so your lying fails to affect me, but the same cannot be said of lies told to me by 'my' government.

This shouldn't be news to you, but elected office holders, appointed officials, and sundry bureaucrats do not take an oath to protect us.  They take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. How can you protect and defend the Constitution by lying to American citizens?
I don’t have to glorify Edward Snowden. In fact, I don’t even have to like him to be grateful for what he did.

'I’m thinking you haven’t read nearly enough of McCarthy’s writings.  I don’t push back on much with you, since you’re so often correct, but this one I will. To tar him as a statist is particularly idiotic.'

- GWB on June 24, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Er, I've been reading Andy McCarthy for years and my rebuttal to his previous argument was picked up by other sites that are far from 'libertarian.'  It was also agreed with by several at National Review.

I didn't 'tar' McCarthy as a 'statist' in my post, but when it comes to civil liberties and the 'GWOT,' maybe you put the correct word in my mouth.  Andy McCarthy believes that 'the world is the battlefield.'  If that is true, then there is no longer a Bill of Rights because military law applies.

If a President believes otherwise, then he should disband Congress and the courts and declare martial law.  Of course, the Supreme Court would almost certainly overturn such a decision unless the President could prove the existence of a nationwide insurrection or invasion.  And, even that wouldn't be a sure thing.

The Supreme Court struck down the argument made by President Abraham Lincoln (and Andrew Johnson, who was in the White House because Lincoln had been assassinated by then when the case came before the Court and he defended Lincoln's actions).  In Ex Parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2 (1866), the Court held: 'Trying citizens in military courts is unconstitutional when civilian courts are still operating. Trial by military tribunal is constitutional only when there is no power left but the military, and the military may validly try criminals only as long as is absolutely necessary.'  In other words, as long as we have a functioning civilian government, then the 'world is not the battlefield.'   That's right.  The Court held that trying (11,000) American civilians in military tribunals EVEN DURING THE CIVIL WAR WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL...and that was a time when the nation really was a battlefield.

Furthermore, the Constitution does not grant plenary and police powers to the President solely because he is Commander-in-Chief.  During the Korean War, an undeclared war and solely a United Nations' sanctioned police action, there was a national steelworkers strike.  Steel, of course, is a critical element of a nation's war materiel.   Obviously, a Commander-in-Chief could argue that the interruption of materiel production posed a national security risk, which is exactly what President Harry Truman argued when he seized private steel mills rather than ordering the steelworkers back to their jobs.  

In Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952), the Supreme Court ruled that, even in the case of a national emergency, the President of the United States cannot seize private property - even property critical to national security - in the absence of either specifically enumerated authority under Article Two of the Constitution or statutory authority conferred on him by Congress.  Further, the Court did NOT recognise a right of Congress to seize private property for whatever reason and at any time...although one wonders how the abomination known as Kelo v City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), would impact Congress' power now.

The biggest problem that I have with McCarthy on the issue of the Surveillance State is that his arguments and concerns aren't really based on the Constitution or the caselaw.  They emanate from subjective notions based upon personalities.  While he thinks these surveillance programmes are perfectly legal and constitutional, he is 'concerned' only about them being available to a President like Barack Obama.

Sorry, but I can't base my legal and personal analysis on a person or people.   It's not the POTUS that is the problem, per se.  It's the power.  Lord Acton was dead right: 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' That axiom applies REGARDLESS of who is POTUS.

As James Madison, the 'Father of the Constitution,' famously and most accurately said:

'If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.'

I want the government to have the least control of and personal information on me as is possible...regardless of who is running it.  This sentiment of mine is even stronger knowing that the Fourth Branch of government - the Administrative State - is essentially unaccountable and untouchable.  Presidents come and go, but the many, many, many people like Lois Lerner that infest the system remain.

Finally, if Snowden is to be prosecuted, so should all of those in the government that lied to Congress (whether they took an oath is irrelevant since lying to Congress is a separate felony from perjury) and, if I had my way, I would make it a felony for any elected, appointed, or other official of the government to lie to the American people in any situation.  The 'least untruthful' argument is total, complete, and utter bullshit and should never be accepted as a defence by freeborn citizens in a Republic.

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