Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halloween in DC: Part I

(Part I, because I anticipate many sequels…)

Now this is scary stuff:

1. Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post has found that Verizon and AT&T admit to voluntarily turning over telephone records in response to FBI requests for information “thousands of times” since 2005. The carriers insisted that it was not their responsibility to determine the legality of the requests, in the interest of “saving lives in criminal investigations.” The disclosures were made in a letter from Verizon to three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating the carriers' participation in government surveillance programs. So now we don’t have to worry about the Feds ignoring the Fourth Amendment. We have to worry about the Feds and the phone companies ignoring the Fourth Amendment.

2. Suzanne Goldenberg, writing for the Guardian, a British newspaper, reports that Hillary Clinton is staking a claim to be the most hawkish Democrat in the race for President. In an article for Foreign Affairs, Sen. Clinton argues that Iran poses a long-term strategic challenge to America and its allies, and that it must not be permitted to build or acquire nuclear weapons. So now we have to worry about more American troops sacrificed for purposes unrelated to national defense.

3. According to Web Wire (affiliated with WorldNet Daily), former Mexican President Vicente Fox admitted that he and President Bush have “agreed” to create a common currency, the “Amero”, and contended that a union between the United States, Canada, and Mexico is “inevitable.”
(My thanks to the League of the South’s Rebellion for bringing these items to my attention).

4. David Brooks, of the New York Times, reports that one reason Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-Columbus) decided not to seek re-election, is that she grew tired of the dirty politics used by partisan “handlers” to secure her re-election last year. “I was appalled by what I had to do,” she was quoted as saying. Mr. Brooks continues by noting that campaigning, at least at the Congressional level, is a soul-destroying exercise.

“They spend their days talking endlessly about Me. When they meet donors, they want to know if they are giving to Me or against Me. When they meet advisors and fellow pols, they want to know, do they support Me or Not Me. When they think about strategy, it’s about better ways to present Me. When they craft positions, they want to know, what does this say about Me? No normal person can withstand the onslaught of egotism and come out unscathed.”

Mr. Brooks then noted that while the homo politicus may be successful, the species becomes sad and lonely, frequently the victims of political scandals, like the recent one that beset Idaho Sen. Larry Craig. Congresswoman Pryce is to be commended for her unwillingness to sell her soul to the political game, but Ohio will be poorer for losing her.

All of these reports display symptoms of the arrogance of power which has smitten Washington for many years, and is the direct result of ignoring the Constitutional principles of government. As State Rep. Corry warned us in 1863:

“It is probable that our neglect of Constitutional learning in Ohio and the North-West alone made this war of sections possible; and the revival of that learning is the only way out of it … There are many of the most energetic, ambitious, selfish, and unscrupulous men both in civil and military life, who are bent on erecting a simple but plausible despotism upon the ruins of our … institutions.

“When States’ Rights now threatened are clean absorbed by centralization, and when the States themselves are blotted out, and [the States] descend to the corporate condition of counties only, and their people be no longer the defiant, independent sovereigns whose fathers conquered a realm from … wilderness; [they will become] the patient … workers for a master class, or the contemptible parasites of courts and camps.”

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