How Can You Tell When a Politician Is Lying?

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Let
us dispense with the traditional short answer first: "check
to see if the lips are moving". While that is basically true,
it is far too short to have any chance of getting published, so
I would like to elaborate on the subject a bit more. In particular,
I would like to explore the many ways politicians lie and deceive
and look at what the actual truth might be, when they do.

Most
of you will not need any convincing that they do lie and will
wonder why the issue is worthy of any further discussion. While
that may be true for some of you, there must be many others that
are taken in by the scoundrel's deceptions – how else can
we account for the almost total obsession of many citizens and
nearly all of the press with every utterance of a politician or
government official? Why is there still an unwarranted trust by
much of the public in our two major parties when almost every
one of their pronouncements are baloney?

Apparently
many citizens still believe that persons in the government and/or
politics sometime lie but can still be believed most of the time.
That belief has absolutely no foundation which is what I hope
to show in this article. Others will say, "So what –
we know they don't always tell the truth, but it doesn't seriously
impact our lives." I hope to show here that their duplicity
does have serious consequences for all of us now and will even
more so in the future.

With
that inspiration, in this essay I will provide a summary of some
of the major ways politicians and government bureaucrats deceive
us. Since the scope of the types of deceit is very broad, I can
only hit the high spots. But in every case, I will provide references
to further material, online if I know about it. I will list some
of the more important interactions we have with the politicians
and show that there is a consistent pattern of duplicity in every
one of them.

This
essay is mostly about politicians in office, bureaucrats, and
other "public servants" (ha!). However, to get in office
requires a fair amount of lying, so I will briefly discuss the
campaign phase of political culture first.

Campaign
promises

There
has been an unusual amount of attention lately to Al Gore's propensity
for bending the truth. Many in the press and apparently around
50 percent of the public feel that it is just so much harmless
"exaggeration". I disagree: either a politician ought
not to lie or he/she should be clever enough not to get caught.

Even
politicians must be astounded at how easy it is to make promises,
get elected, break those promises, and come right back 2 or 4
years later, make the same promises, and get elected again! It
is incredible to watch the public during an election get taken
in by the same old garbage, time and time again. It would be easy
to overlook this example of political duplicity, but you should
not – the consequences are very serious. Let me explain.

Many
still believe that we have a functional representative republic,
pointing out that we still have elections and our voice is still
heard. Not if politicians lie to get elected.

First
off, we should remember that any representation we have is through
the politicians we elect and not through the laws themselves for
– with the exceptions of a few states – we are not given
the opportunity to directly vote on the laws. We can only vote
on the politician who will enact the laws – not the laws
themselves. The conclusion is that we can only impact the selection
of laws if the messengers we elect deliver the message they said
they would. There is ample evidence that they cannot be counted
on to do that. Then that nullifies the claim that the voting process
instantiates the process of representation.

That
leads us to the most serious issue of all with untruthful politicians,
the concept that the politicians are our representatives.

Representation

We
often hear the media and the politicians spouting off that our
form of government is a democracy. Of course, that is bogus –
it is not, never has been, and was specifically designed by the
founding fathers not to be. Democracy is a fancy name for mob-rule,
which the Founding Fathers knew to be unstable and vicious. They
tried to make sure we got a republican form of government instead.
Unfortunately, as brilliant as they were, their thinking was a
bit muddled when in came to making sure that the Republic would
in fact be a representative republic. Space does not permit going
into great detail on this issue, but to prove my point I will
just point out that the members of the "upper house",
the Senators, were not to be elected by the public at all but
were to be selected by the state leaders. Amazingly, they naively
believed that somehow, a responsible, intelligent, group of statesmen
could be installed that way.

Didn't
happen, of course. And in 1913, we gave up on the idea that an
"elite" core of individuals could somehow be selected
by a group of "non-elite" state legislatures (elected
by popular vote!), and so changed the Constitution (17th
Amendment) to require that Senators also be elected by popular
vote of the citizenry.

So,
then, we have a "representative republic", right? Hmm.
. . I just don't see a whole lot of representin' goin' on. If
you do, then why don't you try to arrange to personally talk to
your representative and then show me how. Good luck. The reality
is that they are motivated by lobbyists and other special interests
that are generous with the pocket book and not you and me, who
are not so generous. Some organizations have done the research
to verify what actually is going on with our representatives.
An excellent source is the opensecrets.org
site
, where you will find that there are now over 20,000 registered
lobbyists and that they spent over 1.4 billion dollars last year
(1999)!

Apparently,
that is a clue as to how representation really works.

When
you add to that situation the impact of the press, the impact
of campaign contributions – particularly the enormous spending
in the elections – it should be evident that you, the citizen,
have no practical input in determining how this country is run.
You have been deceived if you think so.

Let
us now turn to the legislative process itself where we will find
– you guessed it – further deception.

The Legislative
Process

There
is much deceit going on in the legislative process – far
more than we can go into here. A few examples will suffice.

Many
bills are modified at the last minute and not read by the legislators
in their final form. Not having the time to always read the bills,
legislators – like the rest of us – may rely on the
bill title and summary information. For this reason, and to deceive
the press, bills are often given names that don't quite match
the content.

Bills
with names that don't match the content: "Stealth Legislation"

Here
are a few examples of these deceitfully named bills:

S.
254 sponsored by Senator Hatch:

This
bill has many names, most sounding something like, "Children's
Protection Act of 1999" or "Safe Handgun Storage and
Child Handgun Safety Act of 1999". So, how would Senator
Hatch go about pulling off these laudable goals as suggested by
the titles?

Well,
let us take a look at the actual bill (no small task, I can assure
you – the bill is about 800 thousand characters long!).

What
does it actually claim to do for juvenile crime?

Here
is what I found in a quick review:

  • "Authorizes
    juveniles age 14 years or older to be tried as adults, with
    an exception involving Indian country (Native Americans juveniles
    must be 15 years or older to be tried as adults!), at the discretion
    of the U.S. Attorney,
    in Federal district court for violations of Federal law"
  • Generally
    tightens the screws on individuals less than 18, such as prohibiting
    certain lenient actions that might be taken by judges, setting
    sentencing requirements, etc. Congress further takes on the
    role of the judge.
  • "Authorizes
    the Attorney General to designate u2018high intensity interstate
    gang activity areas.' Authorizes appropriations."

Now
we are getting to the heart of this bill: spending money! This
section authorizes $100 million per year in grants to be dumped
into designated areas.

What
does it do to everyone?

  • "Amends
    the code to authorize the use of a clone pager (a numeric display
    device that receives communications intended for another numeric
    display paging device). . ." by the authorities.
  • "Directs
    the Administrator to make CRISIS (confidential reporting of
    individuals suspected of imminent school violence) grants to
    support the independent State development and operation of confidential,
    toll-free telephone hotlines for the reporting of specific threats
    and suspicious or criminal conduct by juveniles to appropriate
    State and local law enforcement entities for investigation,
    and for related purposes. "
  • ".
    . . establish a National Parenting Support and Education Commission
    to identify the best practices for parenting and to provide
    practical parenting advice for parents and care givers based
    on the best available research data". Yeah, we really need
    the government telling us how to raise our children!
  • Amends
    the Brady Act on Gun control.
  • "Requires
    each Internet service provider, at the time of entering an agreement
    with a residential customer for the provision of Internet access
    services, to provide to such customer (either at no fee or at
    a fee not to exceed the amount equal to the cost of the provider
    in providing the software or system to the subscriber, including
    the cost of the software or system and of any license required
    with respect to the software or system) computer software or
    other filtering or blocking system that allows the customer
    to prevent the access of minors to material on the Internet."

It
mostly spends and spends!

Establishes
many new agencies and positions

  • Authorizes
    grants of $100 million per year for designated interstate gang
    activity.
  • Sets
    up "Office of Juvenile Crime Control and Prevention"
    with authority and funds to "make grants to Indian tribes
    and national, statewide, or community-based, nonprofit organizations
    in crime prone areas".

Who
says crime doesn't pay! Many other similar programs with the strong
smell of pork are established in this bill.

The
"Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill" of 1998

Congress
got a lot of press in 1998 with regard to this bill because it
was supposedly created to give relief to the flood victims on
the upper Mississippi river. I decided to take a look to see what
was really in the bill. Here are some things I found (which I
reported on in as essay called Emergency
Pork
. The essay is also quoted in Harry Browne's new book,
The
Great Libertarian Offer
, Page 205-207):

  • The
    Bill does not directly provide funds to the Red River Flood
    victims!
  • Yep,
    the relief was already funded.
  • Provides
    "EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT
    OF DEFENSE", primarily for Bosnian operations.
  • $3,000,000
    for potential terrorism threats in Senator Hatch's Utah.
  • Help
    for marine mammals trapped in fishing gear.
  • Addresses
    the problem of, "permits for the importation of polar bear
    parts (other than internal organs)"
  • $16,000,000
    for an automatic targeting system in law enforcement.
  • Establishes
    the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education.
  • Prohibits
    the use of funds in the bill to be used for the study of the
    medicinal use of marijuana.
  • Etc.,
    etc.

The
Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 1999

According
to numerous press reports, this monstrosity – the largest
budget ever – was delivered to Congress where it was approved
without ever being read. Examination of this document reveals
that every major program that the Republicans promised to eliminate
or reduce (in order to get elected) has actually increased in
size! See the Cato
report
. More on this outrage and betrayal by the Republican
party is at Conservative
USA
.

For
more on this subject, see Claire Wolfe's popular essay, "Land
Mine Legislation
".

Loading
on the Pork

I
need not go into this in great detail as this is a well publicized
aspect of political chicanery. The main problem is not so much
the pork, but the way it is handled. Typically, politicians tag
their pork projects on to other essential bills, where passage
is assured. Very dishonest.

The
Citizens Against Government
Waste
group (CAGW) has an excellent web site in which they
document this aspect of political duplicity in considerable detail.
Be sure to check out the latest Congressional
Pig Book
. You will never enjoy a pork chop again!

Since
the politicians are so fond of creating laws, surely they would
want to set a good example by obeying them, right? Well no –
laws are for common citizens!

Avoiding
laws

Until
recently, the politicians in Washington and their staffs enjoyed
immunity from the very laws they imposed on the rest of the country
(See the essay, "Congress:
America's Criminal Class
" for some notorious examples).
Supposedly, the Republicans in the House of Representatives achieved
some success in reducing that privilege – but I suspect it
was only a token change.

But
much of what they do does not involve the direct breaking of a
law, but instead finding somewhat legitimate ways to get around
laws. Or making sure that laws that might impinge on their activities
don't get passed in the first place – like term-limits, limits
on "revolving-door" activities, and limits on how they
want to spend "their" money. An example of the last
is the business of bypassing the military and awarding contracts
to favored contractors for military systems whether the Pentagon
agrees or not.

Let
us look at just a couple of examples.

The
military is expressly prohibited from involvement in civilian
law enforcement in the US by both the Constitution and the Posse
Comitatus Act of 1978 (modified in 1981 to allow some "Drug
War" support). Strangely, in spite of this, it is well known
that they are in fact heavily involved in civilian law enforcement
activities. So, what gives? Simple, they have found loopholes.
The government is better at finding loopholes in laws – including
the Constitution – and avoiding the intent of the law, than
the highest paid tax lawyer you can find!

We
hear stories that our military is interdicting planes and ships
at sea (possibly even blowing them away) that may be drug runners.
How is the law prohibiting this avoided? I quote from Sam
Smith
: "the Navy is prohibited by the Posse Comitatus
Act from engaging in domestic law enforcement, so the Coast Guard
gets around this by hoisting a Coast Guard flag on any naval vessel
it wants to use. The ship thereupon becomes a Coast Guard vessel
– for the sole purpose of circumventing the law." (I
understand that the Navy ships also have at least one Coast Guard
officer aboard to actually make any arrests).

Possibly
the most incredible piece of government subterfuge is the "legal
fiction" they work under to confiscate private property.
In the 1970s and 80s, Congress passed a series of laws allowing
the easy confiscation of private property based on the concept
that an inanimate object could commit a crime and therefore be
arrested. By doing this, they were able to get around the Constitutional
prohibition of taking property and the guarantee of due process.
(Further reading on government confiscation can be found at my
Forfeiture
reform resource page
.)

A
related subterfuge is the way the government gets around the prohibition
of "double jeopardy". The Founding Fathers surely had
no idea how their simple, but maybe too general, words would someday
be twisted into this tortuous logic. Did you realize that if you
are tried for some heinous crime by a state and win your case,
you may then have to go through yet another trial for the same
alleged offense but it will not legally be "double jeopardy"?
Yep, if the federal government wishes to try you they may and
they do all the time. It is not double jeopardy if it is tried
by two different jurisdictions. A notorious example is Timothy
McVeigh who may be tried by both the federal and the state government
(Oklahoma). Too bad he only has one life to give.

It
gets worse. You can also be tried for the same alleged crime in
criminal court and in civil court – as OJ Simpson will quickly
tell you. Now that makes four possible trials for one infraction!
Not bad for a Constitutional republic that specifically outlaws
double jeopardy.

Lies
about budgets and spending

This
is one area in which it is essentially impossible to determine
anything close to the truth! The government financial structure
is so complex and intentionally obscure that no one knows for
sure what we are spending in any particular area.

A
good example, discussed elsewhere in this article, is how much
does the government spend for its employees? Since the shadow
labor force (contract employees) is nearly 10 times the actual
count of civil servants (see the excellent book by Paul C. Light,
The
True Size of Government
, Brookings Institution Press,
Washington, 1999) but are not clearly identified in the budget,
no one can precisely determine how much they cost or how many
there are. With that sleazy bit of chicanery, Al Gore, in his
campaign speeches, can happily go on taking credit for the reduction
in total count of federal employees while neglecting to mention
that the shadow labor force has actually increased substantially.

And
every government agency has a propensity to delve into fields
that properly belong to another government agency. For example,
the Army is funding Breast Cancer Research. In the budget, is
this classified as military or health?

The
Navy funds research in genetics. The ATF is fighting church fires.
And while the DEA would seem to be the honcho for the drug war,
the FBI, the ATF, the U.S. Marshals, the military, all have to
have a piece of the action.

Let
us look at some of the issues here.

How
can there be a surplus when the national debt hasn't declined?

How
can it be that there is supposedly a surplus – with Congress
and the President frantically trying to find a way to spend it
– and at the same time the national debt fails to decline?
Simple, you declare some things off budget and you claim to have
"trust funds" when there are none! Rather than go into
this here, I will just point you to a highly recommended information
source for this subject, Michael Hodges' "Government
Trust Fund and Deficit/surplus Report
". I quote from
the Washington Post essay, "Budget
Background: A Decade of Black Ink?
":

"Even
as deficits declined, the accumulated national debt continued
to grow. The
current total tops $3.7 trillion."

For
the current status of the national debt, go to the government
site, "The
Public Debt To the Penny
" where you will see the "huge
surpluses" that the news media and the politicians rave about
(and desperately try to find a way to spend) just isn't there.

Why
do we have to be lied to about the funding for the so-called Black
agencies?

Most
of the spending for the "Black" agencies (CIA, NSA,
DIA, and about 10 others – see this link)
has traditionally been (and still is) hidden from the public.
With the exception of a select few, even our congressmen do not
have access to this information. It is estimated that these agencies
spend around $30 billion per year, nearly all of which is hidden
from public view. Why? No good reason – and there are some
good reasons why it shouldn't be. The Federation of American Scientists
(FAS) has filed suit against CIA to force the public disclosure
of their budget. See this link.

The tax/grant
hustle

In
this small community that I live in we have an excellent water
system, first class police equipment and top notch medical emergency
equipment. Some time ago I inquired as to how all this was possible
in a community with such a small tax base. I was told, "Oh,
there's nothing to it. Nearly all this stuff was funded by grants
from the federal government. Didn't hardly cost us anything!"
Free stuff from the government? How can this be?

Simple,
you make the taxing and the funding very remote from each other.
That makes it quite easy to trick people into thinking that government
services are free.

For
a moment imagine that there was no federal involvement. In that
case, we in the community would have to take a hard look at our
budget to see if we really could afford putting all those computers
in the police cars and maybe just letting private enterprise take
care of the water. We might decide we just couldn't afford it.

Now
consider the modern way of doing it. Instead of paying taxes locally
for these things, we pay our taxes to a national fund. Then when
we need something we just get grants from the federal or state
government (which receives block grants from the feds). By doing
it this way, there is no discernible connection between the taxes
and the grants. That is, the grants really are, for all practical
purposes, free because whether we partake or not, we will still
pay the taxes. And along that line of thinking, we might as well
get all we can since it will not cost us any more!

A
brilliant piece of subterfuges by our politicians!

The true
size of government

Surely
you are aware that under the Clinton regime, the size of the Federal
government has been cut drastically. You've heard of Al Gore's
"Reinventing Government", right? Big government is over,
right? Would it surprise you to find out that the total number
of people working for the government has increased since 1992
when this regime took over? While it is true that the number of
civil servants has declined somewhat (about 10%), the true size
of government, which is about nine times the civil servant count
according to Paul Light (see link)
has increased somewhat. The true size of government includes civilian
contractors, state workers created by federal mandates, Postal
Service, military, and others.

And
one other thing: the reduction in the civil servants that Mr.
Gore takes credit for, came mostly in the lower GS levels according
to Light's book, The True Size of Government. It is what
one would expect. The lower working levels are easier to dislodge
from the government jobs. They were also easier to replace with
contract workers.

The Black
agencies

How
much do you know about what our "black" agencies –
CIA, NSA, and so on? Nothing, right? There are two main areas
that we know essentially nothing about: what they do, and how
much they spend. They tell us that for anyone outside their bailiwick
to know either of these would seriously hamper their performance
and, therefore, world peace. I doubt that that is true but giving
them the ability to work with out scrutiny and with an unlimited
budget is insanity.

As
P.J. O'Rourke said: "Giving money and power to government
is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

But,
what about the claim that we are "representative republic"?
How can I do my job as a good citizen if I don't know what they
do, how much money they spend, or how I can do anything about
it? Well, it's even worse. Most of your representatives know nothing
about them either! Only a few select congresscritters are supposedly
on the inside of what is going on. I wonder if even that is true.

I
have a friend who works for the CIA. Well, actually he works for
a contractor that is under contract to the CIA – now that
he has retired from working as a civil servant. I asked him how
we citizens could find out what they are doing. He said, "You
can't". I said, "How can we be assured that you are
doing the right thing?" He said, "You will just have
to trust us."

Hmm.
Do you know any normal, out in the open, government agencies that
you would dare to trust without any supervision (or with, for
that matter!)? Knowing what you do about government agencies that
operate in the clear, can you imagine the waste and corruption
going on in those that have no watch dogs? Scary.

Is
it really necessary in these times for these agencies that are
estimated to spend 30 billion or more per year, to operate without
normal controls?

The awful
Criminal Justice system

Since
most of us are law abiding citizens and have managed to avoid
a confrontation with the "justice system", we have no
idea how it works. Let us hope that you never do trip their wires
for if you do, you will find it is a chamber of horrors and the
word "justice" is just a joke. I will just hit the high
spots.

Cheating
the Constitution: Plea Bargaining, Paid Informants, and Presumption
of
Guilt

The
"Bill of Rights" of the Constitution guarantees us a
trial by jury, due process, a speedy trial, and the presumption
of innocence until proven guilty. We don't have any of that anymore
– way too expensive. Instead we have a procedure which allows
rapid and efficient justice. It typically goes something like
this:

The
prosecuting attorney offers you "2 to 5 years" depending
how the judge may feel on the day of the sentencing. If you insist
on going to trial, he says you will get 15 years. Evidence indicates
that he is most likely right (the prosecution wins 80% or more
of the cases). You say you are not guilty. This has hardly anything
to do with what sentence you will receive. The prosecutor says
he has a paid informant that has nailed you (or possibly the guy
next door, we can never be sure). No, you will not be allowed
to confront this accuser – you will not even be told who
he is.

The
choice is yours. As for as guilt is concerned, that was established
when you were arrested. The rest is just procedure.

Choosing
to have a trial has other costs. Due to the heavy backlog of consensual
crimes, that is drugs, prostitution, etc., it may be three years
before your trial comes to be. Unless you can make what may be
a substantial bail, you may be cooling your feelings about injustice
sitting in the local jail.

And
if you're broke, the Constitution guarantees counsel. But it didn't
say how much or of what quality. You may get 10 minutes in which
he or she will advise you to accept the plea bargain. Don't argue.
They don't have time for it. Hundreds more are waiting in line
for this "free" counsel.

For
further reading on this subject, I strongly recommend Law
and Disorder:
Criminal
Justice in America
,
by Bruce Jackson (University of Illinois Press, 1984).

Federal
Duplication of State functions

Article
10 of the Bill of Rights says:

The
powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people.

Then
why, when we recently had an old auto repair garage burn down
here in the small town I live in, were BATF agents all over the
place the next day? Why was there reportedly 54 different enforcement
agencies at the Atlanta bombing of a couple of years back? Why
didn't the local sheriff handle the problems at Waco and Ruby
Ridge?

Well,
it seems there is an interpretation of the Constitution –
the "Commerce Clause" – that says it is the Federal
government's business if the activity involved interstate commerce.
So what exactly is "interstate commerce"?

To
give you an idea of what the government means by it, I will quote
from the DOJ document, "Federal Money Laundering Cases",
January, 1999:

"Use
of a bank implicates interstate commerce.." ".. real
estate business implicates interstate commerce because of the
nature of real estate markets" "buying a house implicates
interstate commerce" "purchase a car from a dealer .
. ."

"payment
. . . with cash affects interstate commerce because the money
would be
expected to enter the flow of commerce after it was received"

Hopefully
this makes clear what the government considers to be interstate
commerce and why the 10th Amendment is no longer functional.

In
summary, the stuff you were taught in school about justice and
the guarantees of the Constitution should be put on the shelf
along with the Easter bunny and Santa Clause. You're too old for
such childish myths.

  • The
    various domestic "wars"
  • Domestic
    "wars" serve various purposes:
  • They
    establish greater control and authority over the citizens.
  • They
    provide opportunities for spending huge quantities of cash and
    employment for hundreds of thousands of government and sub-contractor
    personnel.
  • They
    take the attention of the citizens away from other issues.
  • Rarely
    do they accomplish their publicly stated goals.

Some
examples:

War
on Communists (a domestic adjunct to the Cold War)

Way
back in 1950, Senator McCarthy managed to get the country in a
dither about the evils of Communism and to look for them under
every rock. The public readily accepted that we would have to
give up a few of our Constitutionally promised liberties in order
to save our children from "Uncle Joe" Stalin.

Saving
us from a Nuclear Holocaust

Since
our government and the Soviets were rapidly building up stockpiles
of nuclear bombs enough to blow the world apart 17 times, someone
got the idea that a few humans could survive if we built fallout
shelters and school children held their heads between their legs.
After awhile, we got bored with this and it all went away –
except the nuclear threat which is worse today than ever since
the USSR broke up, a lot of stuff went missing, and third-world
countries now have their own arsenals.

War
on Organized Crime

Senator
Kefauver from Tennessee and his committee started investigating
organized crime in the early u201850s. From this effort would evolve
a raft of laws, most notorious being the RICO law, which further
suppressed the freedoms of the ordinary citizen while making no
significant dent in organized crime.

War
on Poverty

Desperately
looking for something to spend money on, President Johnson declares
the War on Poverty and Congress supports him by authorizing billions
to be thrown at the problem. But most of the money never got outside
the Beltway, so the poor remained poor while politicians and contractors
got fatter.

War
on energy waste

In
the late u201870s the government declared that the world's oil reserves
were nearly depleted with predictions saying that we would be
totally out by 1985 (see the Cato
report
). Based on this, the government and others started
to hoard oil and the government used the opportunity to fix prices,
and to stifle the free market process. As a result of this we
had a short panic, a depression and great inconveniences. But
when the panic was over, so was the oil shortage and we have had
plenty ever since.

Nevertheless,
the government used this opportunity to set a lot of rules on
automobiles and spent billions on a lot of goofy energy schemes.
As of this date, no new energy schemes has become noticeably successful,
and we hardly ever whine about the air pollution anymore.

War
on Drugs

With
the hot war in Vietnam coming to a close, Nixon frantically looked
for something to spend money on and comes up with the "War
on Drugs". In the subsequent 30 years we have poured billions
and billions of dollars down this rat hole with nothing to show
for it but a huge debt, the loss of respect for our justice system,
hatred from countries we have abused around the world, and the
largest
incarceration rate in the world
. Of course, it has made no
impact on the flow of drugs. But the real and important result
is that it has allowed the government to essentially destroy all
of the Bill of Rights, with nary a whimper from the public (in
fact, it is reported that over 50% of the public support the elimination
of some rights if it will help in fighting the drug war!).

War
on Terrorism

The
fact that there is always some revolutionary activity (which is
called terrorism if we don't approve, "freedom fighting"
if we do) going on in the world has given the government an excuse
to further restrict the freedom of law abiding citizens and to
monitor their every action, particularly their phones, computer
communications, and their bank accounts.

To
see just how far the government has moved in the public spying
area, read the report on the "Echelon" project at this
link,
wherein it explains how the government is now monitoring virtually
every phone call, fax transmission and email made anywhere in
the world! This was all made possible by the public's apathy and
and unconcern about the government spending billions of dollars
every year without any auditing.

War
on Money Laundering

The
hot government interest right now is "money laundering"
which allows them to arrest anyone at any time because nearly
every one has something to do with money (or its relatives such
as checks and wire transmissions). Almost any financial activity
can be alleged to be money laundering based on the alleged "intent"
of the accused. The government made sure that "intent"
was mentioned in the law, for intent is only in a person's mind
and it is difficult to prove that it was never there. The "money
laundering" laws and agencies that implement them, may be
the ultimate tool for controlling the citizens!

The
Military: Looking for work

We
all know that the military was drastically cut after the Cold
War was terminated, right?. You have been told, by mostly our
conservative politicians and media spokespersons, how our country
is in great danger now due to the emaciated military, what with
all the military might that our potential enemies have (no, I
can't name them, but I'm told they are out there somewhere). They
wouldn't lie to us would they? Well, maybe we better check.

One
of the difficulties of determining the truth about military spending
is that the accounting by our government is always extremely fuzzy.
For example, what exactly is "military spending"? Does
it include spending by NASA? (Why not, much of their research
is specifically done to benefit the military). Does it include
the billions in grants/studies to educational institutions and
think tanks?. Does it include the interest on the military part
of our debt? Does it include our foreign aid? Well, an attempt
has been made to determine a more accurate picture of the total
military spending, documented at the Center
for Defense Information
. They say the real costs are approximately
double what is actually reported. I suspect that they have underestimated
it!

How
does U.S. spending compare to the rest of the world? According
to the report, "Post-Cold
War US Military Expenditure in the Context of World Spending Trends
",
the U.S. spending as a percentage of total world spending has
increased from 28% in 1986 to 34% in 1994 while the spending of
the "Potential Threat States", has declined from 42%
in 1986 to 20% in 1994. Something funny is going on here! (Specific
spending for every country of the world is provided at the U.S.
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) site.)

Nevertheless,
you say, the trend is downward in U.S. spending and the charts
show that our spending has dropped a whopping 21% since 1986.
But we're comparing to the peak of the famous Reagan military
build up, the greatest peace time spending spree the country has
ever known! A more honest comparison would be to compare to the
years prior to Reagan.

Civil
Confrontations (Ruby Ridge, etc.)

Nothing
inspires the government to lie more than it does when it has a
major confrontation with its citizens. We would never know the
truth about these incidents were it not for the doggedness of
a few members of the press (sadly, most of the press just goes
along with the government's scams). Let us look at a couple of
the more famous incidents.

Waco,
Branch Davidians

Finally,
after six years, this horrible incident is getting some attention.
It is incredible that at the time of the destruction of the religious
compound and the killing of the Branch Dividian sect members,
there was hardly any interest by the press. The government successfully
kept the press at arms length throughout the siege (which should
have caused a huge outrage, but didn't) and then quickly destroyed
or hid most of the potential evidence – without a whimper
from the press. Current news of the investigation is online at
http://www.waco93.com/press.htm.

Ruby
Ridge

Much
the same happened with the Ruby
Ridge disaster
. We had hearings and the evidence was overwhelming
that the federal government had committed some horrible abuses.
The hearings were broadcast every day on television for all the
world to see. Nothing happened. Apparently congress felt it did
not have the authority to take any action.

Regulatory
Agencies

While
much of the public has the naive idea that Regulatory Agencies
exist to protect the public, those who have actually investigated
them, know better. History tells us that the agencies' interests
seem to be more in protecting certain key economic interests rather
than the public.

In Closing

What
I have tried to show in this essay is that in dealing with the
politicians and the government, you are advised to be skeptical
of anything they claim or say. While not covering nearly all the
aspects of duplicity dished out by them, I have covered a wide
range that is representative of the problem.

What
can be done about it? Well, the first thing is to be wary, as
I just suggested. As far as somehow bringing the politicians and
government employees to salvation and convincing them that they
really out to be honest with us – don't hold your breath.
They have time and money – far more than the rest of us –
and they will use those resources to fight every effort to make
them be honest. But it would be of tremendous help if the public
could somehow pull itself out of its apathy. Sigh. . .

But
the best advice for dealing with this problem is summed up in
the simple quote, author unknown:

"Politicians
are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the
same reason."

Leon
Felkins is a retired Engineer, Army officer and former teacher
of Computer Systems. He now maintains a web page on Political
Philosophy, "A
Rational Life
", and another on the history of politics,
"Political
Almanac
."

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