Friday, April 10, 2009

Common Sense About State Secrets

I suppose we could blame Abraham Lincoln for starting the state secrets doctrine.

Abe hired a spy to go into the south and report information to northern headquarters.

After the spy died his widow wanted more money from the government, which evidently had not paid all of its debt to the former spy.

Abe said the information was a military secret so the widow had no right to that information. The federal case is Totten v US, 92 US 105 (1876).

As long as we must have a military we are going to have legitimate military secrets. It goes with the territory, so to speak.

That is not the central problem. The central problem is the corruption that toxins within power bring to the table. You know, that old "power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely" doctrine.

That very corruption which distorts the minds of military men into wanting every wrong to be kept secret, like torture and the murder of civilians, for recent examples.

This is an ancient problem. Our founding people were well aware of it hundreds of years ago and they spoke of it:
Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.

War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.

The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manner and of morals, engendered in both.

No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive will, which is to direct it.

In war, the public treasuries are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them.

In war, the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed; and it is the executive brow they are to encircle.

The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.
(James Madison, from "Political Observations," April 20, 1795 in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, Volume IV, page 491). War is the province of the military, and therefore, what Madison said about war applies without restriction to the military.

It is no wonder that President General Dwight Eisenhower warned us with great concern about that very danger we always face.

General Eisenhower knew that an ongoing military presence within our borders; yes, our own military is a grave danger to our liberty for the reasons James Madison revealed.

The corruption spoken of above has spilled over into even keeping secret the amounts of money they spend on war ideology and weaponry.

Certain portions of the budget (how they spend your money) is "classified" and is a state secret. We have to really dig into the facts from many sources to get the actual quantities clearly in sight.

The corruption of the state secrets doctrine has now spread into every facet of government, and that corruption is used to cover up every imaginable crime of the government against its citizens and against other nations and peoples.

But the irony of it all is that this is no secret.


  1. What do you propose we do about the current administration who evidently know that they still possess many executive priviledges because of 2 ongoing wars?
    I think we should invoke the Declaration of Independence because it allows us to refrain and object to the tyranny that has taken the form of the u.s. government, which is the two party republic that we have now, it has been converted to a fascist state in the span of 4 decades.
    We all know power does corrupt, but there are people behind the goverments with the big money and big handed political agenda's that seek to gain more wealth and prosperity for their respective families. It does them no good to have intellectual minds working against their b.s., so what do they do? They take funding away from schools and promote more jiving and idiocy in the mediocrity that surrounds the young and old everyday.

    Sir, we are dealing with a powerful serpent with powers that are awesome and dangerous. We definitely need to do something...

  2. the "they" who spend our money are elected officials of the people. It is not us against them. It is us against us. I appreciate your efforts to educate us, but I think it is disengenous to think that all that govern are evil doers. We are evil doers...look around you. Government officials are not different than us.

  3. But when those secrets serve humanity, are they not good?

    The Internet created an avenue for spreading knowledge for making fertilizer bombs.... and since most state-sponsored public schools and libraries left that knowledge out of the mainstream, we did not see many big booms in public until the advent of ths net.

  4. Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded.

    Yes indeed. When war is actual war, that is one thing. But what if war is merely a way of thinking? Such as when FDR introduced the
    word WAR to describe a WAR ON IGNORANCE,
    (FDR's words, not mine)? What about a WAR ON POVERTY? Equally scary. By the time things got to the WAR ON CANCER history was repeating itself, this time as farce.

    Is it no wonder we still have ignorance,
    still have poverty, and still have cancer?

  5. So if war is not the answer, what is your answer to those who spend every second and every breath hating the United States of America and its citizens? 9/11 may not only be a memory, it could also be the future if the "drunk on change" folks do not wake up and realize that there are still jihadists out there, and their #1 goal is to kill Americans. I do not like war-husbands die, wive's die, children die, and people are forced to endure tragedies that no person should ever have to endure. However, hate is real and it exists throughout this world. So, no matter what we want, war is a reality--the problem is that no one is willing to fight a war the way it must be fought to win. America was established as an independent country. The American government should do what is necessary to protect Americans, not seduce Americans to be like everyone.

  6. Great post. More Americans should read Madison, Jefferson and Paine, in particular. Most have no idea just how foreward-thinking these men were and how applicable things like the Federalist Papers and "Common Sense" are to today

  7. Your argument is very valid and it has been proven far too many times.

    The question has become, "What is the Citizenry to do about this problem" Do we choose leader that we can trust in time of war to use their power with restraint? (Eisenhower engaged in War as a President knowing the dangers of his own actions).
    Or do we elect leaders that we are not certain how they would act under the circumstances of war. President Bush reacted to an attack on U.S. soil directly against the enemies that brought us 9/11 but then used his executive war powers to extend that war to Iraq probably for personal reasons.
    President Obama is using the powers of war directly against the citizentry. Taking over U.S Corporations and firing their C.E.O.'s under the vail of an economic meltdown that can be averted by taking our resources being spent in Iraq and Afganistan is the same as condoning the war.
    President Bush declared a war on terrorism. President Obama quickly change the name of this war, and declared a war on American Capitalism. By keeping the military engaged overseas, he makes sure the generals are not thinking of a coupe. South American presidents have done this for years. Chavez is the last one to use this tactics.
    Beware of the Communist society coming our way.

  8. One of Madison's worst.
    You'll notice the title "observations, "
    due to the fact that none of the assertions are substantiated with anything more than an appeal to his supposed authority or expertise.

    In 1795, the country was younger than the average video game enthusiast, and had no track record of warmongering or corruption.
    He was speaking about the history of Europe.
    Our government is supposed to have checks and balances to prevent a repeat of that history.

    But he did warn that debt and taxes are two of the three worst things we could experience. These are within the realm of the congress.

  9. Anonymous (7:45 PM),

    Administrations and Congress are subservient to the vast military in a very real sense.

    The article Economy of Destruction and others it links to show that most military money, which is power, comes from the treasury.

    Anonymous (7:48),

    You said "I think it is disengenous to think that all that govern are evil doers". I didn't say that so I agree with you.

    It is power that corrupts and I give a formula for that Toxins Within Power. Anyone will become corrupt when exposed unless they master it.

    Anonymous (8:21),

    You said "when those secrets serve humanity". That is in the eye of the beholder. The struggle is "who is to be the beholder". In our open society theory the people are the masters when it comes to deciding what they think is serving humanity.

    Anonymous (8:37),

    You said "When war is actual war, that is one thing" ... Madison explains that as does Eisenhower in the link to his speech. A permanent military that spends most of the money is the grave danger they warned about.

    Anonymous (9:48),

    You said "So if war is not the answer, what is your answer to those who spend every second and every breath hating the United States of America and its citizens?"

    It depends on their mental construct. If theirs is like yours it will be more difficult to settle differences without war.

    If they realize we are all doomed unless we find another planet to live on, and take care of this one in the interim, it may be resolved without war.

    I admit that since we spend more on military killing machines than all the rest of the nations of the world combined, it would take a mental revolution to accomplish the task.

    But if we are left to war to solve problems within our species then we are doomed for certain.

    Anonymous (11:13),

    You said "Great post. More Americans should read Madison, Jefferson and Paine, in particular."

    Thanks, and I agree we should read more of them.

    Chicken Little,

    Keep working on the problems and sharing your thoughts. Thanks.

    Anonymous (12:35),

    You said "One of Madison's worst". Go to the link in the article where General and President Eisenhower said what Madison said in even stronger words. That warning of Eisenhower's address is most remembered.

  10. I never thought of it like that, but it really is true.
    Term papers

  11. Found your blog from the link you left on HP. I will add it to at least one of my blogs, and to my reader on blogspot.

    I must say there are quite a few posting comments here, with the same name, Anonymous. :)

  12. Kathy,

    Yep, lots of Anons ... we should start a 12 step program perhaps ...