You’re a householder. The downstairs servants are stealing the silverware. The upstairs servants refuse to tell you about it. But they do insist on their right to shuffle through the papers on your desk and read your diary.
You own a business. You’re forbidden from going through your employees’ expense accounts or checking the books. On the other hand, your employees snoop through your credit-card records and your bank account.
You’re a citizen. Your employees in the government insist on operating in secret, and they even criminalize the act of someone telling you what they are doing. But they feel entitled to know what websites you visit, whom you call and where you are when you call, and to even help themselves to your social media friends list.
Who is the master, and who the servant here? Whose business is it, and who is the employee? Who is the sovereign, and who is the subservient?
It’s as though we’ve stumbled into a bizarro world, like the one that confounds Superman, or in the Seinfeld episode when Elaine encounters people the exact opposite of her friends. Everything has gone topsy-turvy.
The government is supposed to operate in the open. Your affairs are supposed to be private. How that has been stood upside down!
The prohibitions against government in the Bill of Rights are essential to the privacy of Americans who wish to go about their business peacefully and unmolested. They are a linchpin of our prosperity. But witness what the politicians of both parties have done.
|Politicians of both parties are violating our right of privacy|
Thanks to Edward Snowden and others, we know that the National Security Agency eavesdrops on Americans without court warrants. We have discovered the government’s creation of databases of trillions of telephone calls without probable cause. How does any of this square with the Bill of Rights? (“Amendment 4 — Search and Seizure. The right of the people to be secure in 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 persons or things to be seized.”)
In the same spirit of renegade disregard of our privacy, the FBI under the Patriot Act has issued hundreds of thousands of “National Security Letters,” effectively subpoenas demanding information. That the branches of American government are divided as a check on power is meaningless when the executive is allowed to read the judicial branch out of the picture. The FBI, the CIA, and now even the Pentagon issue these demands on their own initiative without a demonstration of probable cause and without judicial oversight.
Worse still, these “subpoenas” are accompanied by a gag order forbidding the recipients from telling anyone about the government’s activity. This results in a truly surreal situation in which the FBI and other agencies threaten their victims with criminal charges to keep their extra-judicial activities secret, thus trampling on both the First and Fourth amendments at the same time.
More renegade disregard? All right, try this. Judge Andrew Napolitano describes the bizarro inversion of the Constitution in which a mere dozen members of Congress have been allowed to supplant the entire Congress:
“Since 9/11, the Bush and Obama administrations have succeeded in claiming they have congressional consent for the massive NSA spying by merely getting a consensus from the Gang of 12. There is, of course, no provision in the Constitution for the substitution of all 535 members of Congress with a select group of 12 of them, but Congress and Presidents Bush and Obama have gone along with this.”
“The kicker is that all members of the Gang of 12 have been sworn to secrecy and threatened with prosecution if they reveal to anyone, including other members of Congress, what the NSA and other intelligence agencies reveal to them.”
Of course, many of these outrages stem from the 9/11 attacks. But since the government operates in secrecy, Americans may never learn the sordid details of state sponsorship of the 9/11 attacks. Twenty-eight pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 report have been concealed from the American people by both the Bush and Obama administrations. But Congressmen Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) describe themselves as “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks that they have discovered in the report.
They are prohibited by federal law from revealing details they have learned.
We may not have star chambers yet, the abusive state security courts of kings that the founders tried to prevent, but we have had torture, so we can’t be sure. But we know that we have secret courts.
Up is down and down is up wherever you look. Even the smallest public companies are audited. The government insists on it. But we can’t even get close to an audit of the biggest, most powerful financial institution on the face of the earth, the Federal Reserve.
Its operations are secret.
The government has never enjoyed more secrecy. Your private affairs — financial, medical, social and family relationships, communications, and activities — have never been more open to state snooping.
No good can come of this.