Members of Congress: Put It In Writing
Members of Congress: When you put your claims in writing, I might consider them. Until then, I refuse to believe anything you say about the "effectiveness" of your committee.
On the NSA domestic voice intercepts, Senator Roberts is stuck in an either-or dilemma. The States may issue proclamations calling for him to be expelled from the Senate.
Members of Congress have a credibility problem. You need to certify in writing, as CEOs do for SEC: You shall certify in writing that you
You can put this discussion on the file of, "Thing we need to consider to address the committee oversight problem in Congress." Putting aside the issue whether the Committee system works (something I doubt, but have not developed an alternative, so I remain quiet), let's consider some solutions.
Let's presume the problem, for lack of another explanation, is that Members of Congress, in general not mentioning any names, abuse the public trust, and believe nobody will find out that they are worthless.
Simplistically, we could compare the current defective accountability in terms of the failures before the Securities and Exchange Commission in that individuals say one thing, put something else in writing, but reality is quite different.
To make a long story short, the SEC in the wake of the 1990s accounting disasters and corporate securities fraud decided that one of the many remedies needed to be a CEO and CEO certification as to the statements they were filing. Namely, the CEO and CFO would individually include as an attachment a signed affidavit related to what they were really saying: What standards of reporting they are asserting the financials meet, and what confidence they have. This statement is above and beyond what the audit committees and the outside auditor provide.
Bluntly, the problem with the US financial reporting system was that it was no longer reporting, but using that public trust to betray. Namely, auditors were no longer simply auditing, but they were compromising their integrity in order to get consulting contracts. That's right -- the auditors were not longer independent; to carry favor and get profits, they would undersell their audit fees, get in good with the firm, and be in a position to market their consulting services.
The problem was that the auditor-consultants (a single firm) were on both sides of the integrity fence. No longer were they independent; and in order to retain the profits of consulting they might have to skip some of auditing problems. Going the other way, the consultants would often teach management how to circumvent the securities laws and still "technically" comply. Those "technical compliance plans" gave us Enron, off shore accounts, and worthless financial data.
The same problem exists with the Congressional Committee system. The Members of Congress are compromised, for whatever reason, and can no longer be trusted (as the CEOs and auditors could not be trusted) to do what they are being paid to do.
Normally, when you live in a world where someone has a certification, mandate, or other promise we take that for what it worth, and go forward. Today, the problem is despite that oath, the oath has turned into merely another worthless statement, as reliable as Enron's financial statements.
The issue is what is to be done. We've previously outlined plans for a New Constitution that would strip Congress of it's power; and turn over the Article I rule making-enforcement role to the States; at the same time we've explored more credible enforcement of 5 USC 3331, the oath of office; and fundamentally transforming the Congress into something that is more responsive to the People by stripping away their power, and mandating that all Member of Congress conduct move from self-regulation, to criminal conduct if not clearly satisfied, and stripping Members of Congress of their legislative immunity when it comes to matters of appropriations for war crimes, and other failures to ensure the statutes protect the Constitution.
Today, we take a different approach. Rather than focus on the credible solutions, we'll accept the premise that the Congress isn't going to change "for whatever reason," and we'll play the Congressional game: If they refuse to do their job (and certify in writing that they're doing their job), then we'll continue refuse to take them seriously.
By way of background, it would be useful to read Senator Robert's opening statement before the Senate Intelligence Nomination Hearing of General Hayden. This isn't to say that Senator Robert's comment deserve respect; rather, they are a warning.
Roberts is clearly communicating with Cheney on issues related to loss of confidence in government, not just Congress. Rather than let actions speak for themselves, Roberts has asserted (without credible proof, evidence) that the Senate Committee is "doing its job" and "serious."
That's laughable and Senator Roberts knows he has no credibility.
I respond simply, "If you want us to believe you're serous, put it in writing under penalty o perjury, and maybe I might think about considering your remarks as serious."
Obviously, the Members of Congress have some views on this, which I'm not very interested in hearing as it is merely an excuse and distraction from the real problem: Their failure to assert their oath, check power, and do their job.
Congress may develop another solution. Understandably, some in Congress may take great offense to this requirement. Good. The Members of Congress deserve to be offended, as they have abused the public trust, just as the CEOs have.
But let's use the Congressional "attitudes" as something they should apply to themselves. First, let's consider the Congressional attitude toward the Constitution: They say that warrants are not required, and that law enforcement can self issue warrants.
Putting aside the fact that this is unconstitutional and clearly gives an illegal green light to law enforcement to commit abuses (as was done under the British Monarchy), let's focus on one thing: What is the standard that Congress is saying is "good enough" for the country to put up with?
By all accounts, when Congress says that the country should "put up with" something, clearly, the country -- We the People -- should be able to do the same: Mandate a similar standard on them.
In this case, the principle is simple. With respect to warrants and unreasonable Searches, Congress things that "something other than what is law is OK." Fine, that standard should apply to Congress: Because you fail to assert the law, then your assertions require a higher burden to justify belief.
The problem Members of Congress have is that they want it both ways. They first want to enjoy secrecy -- as a means to avoid "oversight of their failed oversight" -- while at the same time asserting that "secrecy" is needed to prevent the public and others from finding things out.
Clearly, they've abused their trust, and betrayed the public. Consider what we know about the NSA and the domestic surveillance, and voice monitoring without a warrant. Members of Congress are in a trap. The RNC members want us to believe that they were "fully informed" and "fully know that it is OK"; fine, then the RNC has a problem -- they are also asserting that they were "fully informed" of the NSA's failure to secure warrants, and engage in domestic monitoring of voice without a warrant.
RNC Members of Congress can’t' credibly argue anything else. Again, they are caught in the either-or trap, as is the President. Either
Bluntly, with very few exceptions, members of Congress cannot be believed. They are standing on both sides of the line:
Let's consider what is going on. The Members of Congress -- as a group -- are failing to assert power, check power, and assert their oaths. Also, they have no solid position, nor any accountability. Finally, their story -- as does the President’s, Hayden's and Gonzalez -- does not add up.
At this juncture, it doesn’t really matter what Congress says or does. What's needed is something that is clearly going to communicate Congress is inter alia :
The public should be able to review what is going on. It is clear. The Members of Congress have chosen to use absurd arguments to explain away their shifting arguments. There can only be one reality:
One or the other. Not maybe. Not possibly. But they either were or were not able to do something, either by choice, or by statute, or by some other requirement.
At this point, when we discuss classified briefings, the nature of that briefing may be classified, but the fruit of that briefing is to be applied and used.
The information may be secret, but what is not secret is the law, or whether the briefing did or did not meet the law.
Here's what we know about the White House, DoD, NSA, and DoJ briefings to Congress:
Arguably, when someone is given information -- that they are told they cannot act on, but must agree with it -- that inability to act is not classified. Rather, the larger issue is what got in their heads?
Mull that over, but keep that in mind. Let's venture into another analogy. Let's consider, by way of analogy, the media.
How many times have we heard that the media's "concern" was that if they told the truth, they would get cut off from sources?
Arguably, the "threat to get cut off" should have been the story; moreover, if someone is going to violate the law, who needs to use them as a source? Arguably, they are a threat to the Constitution and should be outed; there's no "fair and balanced" when dealing with war criminals: You fairly, and with balance expose them as evil and do what you can to make sure the public has the information to protect themselves.
But this media chose to compromise. Now, the media is learning the hard way -- if you fail to speak out early, and "protect your sources," -- the government will then go after the media, as they are now. Gonzalez is threatening to throw reporters in jail for reporting criminal conduct.
The point if this is to say that the media is compromising on their core mandate, just as Members of Congress have. It really doesn't matter why. The issue is: What is most valuable to the Constitution?
We have to look at the way forward in terms of what is in the interest of not simply rights, power, and the Constitution -- but what is the Constitution.
That is it. Lately, there have been too many compromises. Now, in light of the "real" NSA programs (still unfolding), we find out that contrary to what Members of Congress told us at the Hayden Nomination hearing, that they were not being straight forward with us; nor were they doing their job.
Rather, the Members of Congress, like the media, were assenting to something less than what they should have. But then it got worse.
The way forward isn't to simply discuss what is wrong and what is a solution; but what is fundamentally needed to ensure that this doesn't happen again.
Clearly, the false statements by Senator Roberts need to be reviewed. More broadly, there needs to be a sanction on Members of Congress like Senator Roberts who recklessly assert one thing, but the truth is something else. Roberts can’t have it both ways: He can't credibly argue that he is or isn't doing something; while at the same time pleading ignorance about the violations of the law he supposedly didn't know about. Either:
IT doesn't matter what the real answer is. What matters is that Roberts be forced to assent to a written requirement that he put his asserting in writing, as a matter of normal business; otherwise, we have no way to know what his position really is.
The goal of this isn't to put Roberts in jail (although that might be the needed place for him). Rather, the goal of this is to get the Members of Congress to commit in writing to something that they have compelled others to commit to: Their position, their assertions, and what they are or are not saying.
Again, let's get back to the likely Member of Congress claim that this is an insult to their integrity. Indeed, as we've already stated it is a needed insult as they have defied their oath; and have absurdly argued several realities, despite only one reality being possible.
Bluntly, either Congress can freely do this on its own, or it will be stripped of the power to choose, and forced to do so. If the Members of Congress refuse to assent to this standard, then the Members of Congress should know each day that even the most foolish of bloggers has figured out: That they are not to be believed, and that the Members of Congress impose a standard of attestation on CEOs/CFOs, that they as Members of Congress are not willing to meet.
That is hypocrisy, absurd, and an outrageous abuse of public trust.
Recall, members of Congress under 5 USC 3331 are supposed to assert their position with respect to their oath in writing, and have that signed oath delivered.
yet, despite that "promise" to the Constitution, we have the result we have: The Constitution has been violated, and because of the unfavorable weather the Congress doesn't feel like investigating and asserting the rule of law.
Fine, then We the People should not feel like honoring the Constitution that grants them the powers they fail to assert. We can do that. We can change the Constitution outside article V; and redraw the lines where Congress seems more capable of operating.
As a demonstration and power of this singe blog, which some have scoffed at as being irrelevant, I shall simply remind you that three state legislatures in the matter of three months have already placed on their Congressional Calendar State Proclamations calling for impeachment.
Many people have read this blog. Many have taken the idea and run with it.
The problem the Members of Congress have is that they are falsely betting that nothing is going to happen. Perhaps they require more State legislature proclamations, more signs, and more personal visits to their offices.
It should by now be sinking into the Halls of Members of Congress that they have a real problem on their hands: This is before the election, and the public is openly discussing the failure of Congress, not simply as a failed institution, but as a disastrous contempt for the US Constitution.
You will either solve this voluntarily, or you will have it lawfully imposed on you. You have to put something behind what you are saying.
The public is well able to comprehend the differences between what the Congress does, and what it tells the CEOs to do. Clearly, Congress is capable of solving a problem if it chooses. Congress is also willing to not solve a problem when the situation is urgent, dire, and an emergency as is now.
If we don't see leaders embrace a solution to your well known credibility problem, we can find new leaders. That is not a threat. Nor is it a promise. It is reality.
The nation can easily see that alternatives are possible. All that's needed is one member of Congress to simply assert in writing, "This is my satisfaction with this classified briefing."
We have the inherent right to communicate our feelings. If a Member of Congress is deprived the right to say, "I am not satisfied" then that inability to say that must be the issue.
We don't need to know "what is or isn't being said." The issue is that we now know there is a gag order. And if you have a gag order to "not talk about the gag order" then say that. But there is something you can say, even if it is, "I am not allowed to say."
I'm going to jump around, but want you to keep one thing in mind: We still have a Constitution.
The point is that this Constitution was built on the idea that we could solve the problems that were exploited in the Magna Charta of 1215 AD; and the subsequent failures of the Articles of Confederation after the Revolutionary War.
Today, the way forward is to embrace the problems as real things -- and then solve them. We cannot credibly self-govern unless Members of Congress are allowed to speak, express their views, or comment on whether they are or are not satisfied.
Sometimes the solution to a problem isn't to talk about the problem, but to talk about the solution. But you can't credibly discuss a solution if you are gagged, nor permitted to speak or comment.
Members of Congress are our representatives; but that does not mean they are our leaders. They are to represent us. If they can't represent us, then they are being denied their job.
One way of representing us is to ensure the public is aware of what is going on; and then giving the public the chance to funnel comments through the Member of Congress into the Committee or Congressional Record; or to a letter to the President; or through a bill directed at a specific executive department.
The idea is that the Members of Congress to do their job have to have an open dialog with the people that they are representing to let them know what they are or are not satisfied with. Members of Congress, like a court, cannot be expected to know everything; they are often given ideas from those they represent.
But a "Constituent" doesn't mean that we are to be left in the shadows with the Members of Congress. If the Member of Congress isn't allowed to do something, it means that We the People are being denied something as well. We need to find out what that something is.
Once the public finds out that their representative has a gag order, We the People can explore that issue.
At this juncture it seems clear that there are many gag orders; and that the President and Executive Branch have mandated silence on something that is clearly at odds with our Constitution.
That does not inspire trust, confident, or legitimacy. Rather, it inspires a discussion to solve the issue, and find an alternative system and mechanism to do what should be done: Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.
Some (absurdly) suggest that to discuss a solution is to be seditious; or that to openly discuss a problem is treasonous; or that a desire to build something new is a threat to violently overthrow the government.
Strange, and this is merely a blog. May you find something more troubling to worry yourself with: Whether your State legislature may recommend you as a Member of Congress be removed from office for failing to assert your 5 USC 3331 duties. That can be arranged.
The public is well versed in the ways of the laws of war, and the rule of law. We also know well how this President and Congress choose to openly defy the law and ignore the Constitution.
Simply, where there is a law, it is ignored.
Under the laws of war, which this President and Congress openly assert exists, We the People may lawfully reciprocate. It is up to Congress and the President what they do or do not want to happen.
If you do not want to be lied to, stop lying to us.
If you do not wish to be harassed, stop harassing us.
If you do not wish to be rendered to the Hogue, stop rending us to Eastern Europe.
IF you do not wish your offices in Congress to be searched, do not search our homes without warrants.
Conversely, if you whine that you believe you should be respected, then respect us.
If you want to enjoy the right to be free from abuse, the stop abusing us.
If you want to have the world believe what you are saying, then put it in writing.
If you want the world to attest under an oath of something before you, then do the same for us.
If you refuse, then we may refuse.
If you choose to defy, we can defy.
If you choose to ignore what should be done, we shall do what should be done: Find new leaders, and make better rules, and lawfully strip you of power you abuse.
All options are on the table. Your problem is that you're stuck with the system that we know doesn't work; and we're going to make you flounder more, not because we want to improve the system; but because we want you to fully embrace the defective system that you have so well created.
That is what this is all about.
We can make new rules that further complicate your jobs; as when given the "power" to "make and enforce rules of conduct" that delegation of power is something that is being abused.
We can lawfully reciprocate and abuse the powers that we have not delegated.
For those of you who like to have a succinct statement of what is going on: Simply look at the Constitution. That is all you need to know.
Amendment X is our catchall. It means that anything that we have not delegated is a power and right that we retain.
We did not delegate them any power to violate the Constitution; nor have they been given the power to defy their oaths; nor have they been given the power or right to defy the law, or betray our trust.
Rather, it is we who have the power to betray them, defy our promise, and we retain the right to reciprocate.
Next time you are brought to Congress, ask the Members of Congress why they compel you to swear something under oath, but the Members of Congress refuse to do the same in writing.
We have to swear using our signature on documents that the information is true and that we stand by our statements; surely, a Member of Congress is the same and they might consider doing the same.
You are far more powerful than you know. You have the power to refuse. You have the power to mock them. You have the power to defy their absurdity by throwing it back on them. You also have the power to change this Constitution outside Article V.
Review the rights and powers that you have not delegated; then ask yourself: When are you and your friends going to organize to start reciprocating to those in Congress who have given you what you need not assent to.
Think about the national Security letters. There is nothing in the Constitution that says we have to be silent about violations of the Constitution; nor is there anything in the Constitution that permits the government to mandate silence about conduct that ignores a warrant requirement.
Rather, it appears as though the National Security Letter is merely a device to keep citizens in the dark about the abuse of power; and fact that the NSA is doing things that they should not be doing: listening to phone calls, then using that illegally obtained information to go on fishing trips.
So it is time to reciprocate. The US government is now a legitimate target for fishing trips. They have no secret, other than legitimate ones, that compel us to remain silent about. It is their job to protect the secret; it is not our job to keep silent about that abuse of power, or violation of our rights.
IF we find out the abuse of power that they want to keep secret, then we may freely discuss it. Moreover, if we suspect something we can openly discuss that and compare notes with those who are willing to ask questions.
They ask us questions without an attorney being present; they cannot claim that their response is conditional on what someone else in the legal office says. So ask them: "We are not allowed to have an attorney during this pre-textual stops; why do you get an attorney?"
But it back on them. Make them account. Then share your results. Make sure you do not threaten them. Simply ask them: Why the double standard. Rest assured, there is no good reason. Rather, force them to solve the issue: Make them justify where in the Constitution it says that the double standard is OK, and that We the People have to assent to a violation of our rights; but they get to enjoy a power without being forced to assent to similar probing and abuse.
Let's discuss hypothetically rendition and those Members of Congress that say it is OK. What is Rendition? It is the illegal transport of human beings across a geographic boundary without a lawful grant of power to do so.
Let's consider the principle of reciprocity, and challenge those who say Rendition is "OK" to practice.
We are self-governing. Nobody has "more rights" than others. So if there is a claim that Rendition, abuse, torture, or other violations of the law are "OK" in any signing statement, why is that similar standard not applicable in the form of reciprocity?
If we have an indictment from The Hague to try someone in the US government for war crimes, and the US government refuses to deliver that person for trial, is Rendition not an alternative?
Some may suggest that rendition is not to be discussed; if that is true, then how does the CIA discuss rendition in Italy using cell phones? Ah, the double standard: Some have more 'rights" to speak than others. Why is that? Why does the CIA have "the right" to talk about something that the rest of us are not allowed to talk about; is there anything in the Constitution that says we delegated to some the right to speak, but we deny ourselves the right to speak on what we've delegated?
That is absurd. We retain all powers. We have delegated some of them. When someone delegates power, they retain the ultimate source of that power, authority, and responsibility. So, again under the X Amendment, we delegated some powers and retained the rest.
It is time to lawfully assert all non-delegated powers, and remind this government that we retain all powers. We can revoke those powers they abuse; and we still have the right to reciprocate, especially when this Congress refuses to do what should be done.
Be creative. Share with your friends. Obey the law. Do not use violence. But know that there is a lawful way to remind Congress that we retain the right to reciprocate, especially when they deem fit to act stupid. They lecture us about how absurd our "claims of stupidity are." It is time to turn up the volume and start lecturing them about their absurdity, and call them what they are: War criminals, defiant of their 5 USC 3331 oath, and a domestic threat to our Constitution.
One blog, three state legislatures. Don't worry nobody will have any advance warning of what is happening. They'll always be surprised. Prepare yourself for more absurdity. Time to sand up, be courageous, face your fear, and then do it anyway; again, do not violate the law and do not use violence. Anything else is fair game.
If this government wants our support, then they need to start putting things in writing; until then, they aren't getting our support. We're working on a new set of rules. They have no input. They have no vote. They have no say.
They have no seat at the table. There's nothing they can do to get into this closed meeting. Their futures and fates will be decided behind closed doors, and it's not something they will ever find out about until it's too late. Don't worry, you're not being throated; rather, your destiny is being decided behind closed doors, and you will have no input.
If you want to have input, you need to do your job; and you need to assert your oath; and you need to put your statements in writing under penalty of perjury. Until then, we shall continue to exercise X Amendment rights and powers, and lawfully reciprocate.
It's our turn to turn the tables, turn things upside down, and make life less comfortable for those who refuse to do their jobs.
They wished this.
Let's review. One of the solutions to the defective American financial reporting system was to require CEOs and CFOs to assert in writing that they stand by their financial statements.
The CEOs and CFOs had a special position of trust. They were doing things behind closed doors; and they were acting on behalf of shareholders.
Today's Senate Intelligence Committee is no different. The Senators work behind closed doors, and like the US financial reporting system, what they tell us is worthless.
We have given them the power to do things in secret; if secrecy is required, then there needs to be something that binds them to the promise they make to act in secret.
What is disturbing is to find that despite the power they have been given, and the latitude o secrecy, they haven't been using that secrecy to better do their jobs; rather, they're using that secrecy to turn their attention away form the President and permitted the power to be illegally used against Americans.
Succinctly, they have defied the intent of secrecy, and like the CEOs and CFOs they've proven that they will take advantage of this secrecy. It is their job to now put pen to paper, and certify what they want us to believe:
The lesson is simple. Cheney as a CEO manipulated the Senate intelligence Committee as he has manipulated the CIA to assent to non-sense and lawlessness.
The "solution" the CIA has is to say, "It's time to move on from blaming the intelligence community." We have heard the same thing from Roberts: "It is time to move on from blaming the Congress."
You're right, we should stop blaming. We should politically shove the Constitution down the throats of the Members of Congress, and compel them to put in writing why they should be given more deference and respect than those who are paid far more than they are.
The Members of Congress use circular logic to justify higher salaries. They claim they are powerful, but where are they when it comes to asserting the rule of law? Not willing to put that in writing, merely asking the world have blind faith in illusions: They are not fit to be trusted.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has abused our trust. They failed to do what should have been done in secret. It is time to compel them to explain why they should be retained as a Committee, and why they should exist. There has been no oversight; and any claim that there has been is absurd.
Again, even the most naive, foolish bloggers can figure this one out.
Like the CEOs, auditors, and financial officers, Senator Roberts has abused our trust. He has let down the RNC and he has defined his oath. He is reckless. He hides things. He discusses things with an indicted felon: Mr. Libby.
There is no reason to believe he or his committee is serious about the Constitution. Rather, it is clear that Senator Roberts can't decide whether he did or didn't know everything about what the NSA is now known to still do: Engaging in illegal domestic intercepts of phone calls, in violation of FISA, and outside our 4th Amendment.
He is there to do his job. We are here to find a replacement.
Roberts promised under 5 USC 3331 to do his job. HE has failed. Yes, States may through a state proclamation submit to Congress a proclamation calling for another Senator form another state to be removed from office for crimes, and violations of their oath of office, 5 USC 3331.
It is time to indict Senator Roberts for 5 USC 3331 violations. His story does not add up. He claims one thing, but the facts are something else; he claims he's doing his job, but no job has been done. He's stood by while the NSA did things Senator Roberts supposedly well knew what was going on; now Senator Roberts is reversing himself, asking us to believe he didn't know.
Here's one thing Senator Roberts can know: One blog has spoken, and it remains to be seen how long this American Constitution remains at the other end of your political spectrum.
It is time to put in writing what you want us to believe; otherwise, We the People may make adverse inferences, and reasonably judge that you remain a domestic threat to the Constitution.
We have taken a solemn oath to defend this Constitution; some have sworn to be willing to sacrifice their lives in that defense.
Senator Roberts has to tell us in writing whether he's willing to do the same; or whether he would prefer to be indicted for violating 5 USC 3331.
You wished this.