Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ethics, …where?

As of late, the “Townhall” meetings have been a sham, to say the least. Our elected officials have committed libel and slander towards the citizens. These citizens are the very constituents that have allowed for the position, in which the official was posted.

It goes beyond the derogative remarks made against opponents to the healthcare plans. The defamation of character, that which is more befitting of the ones making the remarks (Congressmen). It would seem that the ethics rules for the senate have been violated, or at least been illicit in manner. This is, of course, in reference to the Rep. Barney Frank (Dem-MA). Although it could be alluded towards the conduct of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Dem-CA), and other Senators and Representatives, not mentioned.

The reference towards Barney Frank’s remarks (purely derogatory and demeaning) towards an inquiring constituent of “…having a conversation with you, is like having a conversation with a table; I’m not having it…” & “…and from what planet are you…?”. Both questions, purely demeaning and obviously not showing of the very ethical means and standards set by the House itself. For, on page 1, the opening reading is this statement:   

Members, officers, and employees of the House should:
Conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House;
Abide by the spirit as well as the letter of the House rules;  and
Adhere to the broad ethical standards expressed in the Code of Ethics for Government Service.
They should not in any way use their office for private gain. Nor should they attempt to circumvent any House rule or standard of conduct.

As for the Senate Ethics Manual, is found this statement:

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the ‘‘right of the people . . . to petition the government for a redress of grievances.’’ Responding to inquiries of petitioners and assisting them before executive or independent government officials and agencies is an appropriate exercise of the representational function of each Member of Congress, as well as an important function of congressional oversight. In 1992, following the Committee’s investigation in the Keating matter, the Senate adopted S. Res. 273, which created Senate Rule 43. Rule 43 incorporates a standard that prohibits Members from basing the decision to assist a petitioner before Federal agencies and officials on whether the petitioner has contributed to the Member’s campaign or causes. The Rule also provides general guidance to Members and staff on permissible contacts  with government officials on behalf of petitioners. This chapter sets forth the language of Rule 43 and reprints the Committee’s report from the Keating matter on the issue of federal agency intervention.

On July 2, 1992, the Senate adopted S. Res. 273, which incorporates, as part of the Code of Official Conduct, Senate Rule 43, governing representative functions of Members of the Senate
with respect to communications from petitioners.
Senate Rule 43 states, in part, that: ‘‘in responding to petitions for assistance, a Member of the Senate, acting directly or through employees, has the right to assist petitioners before executive
and independent government officials and agencies.’’
Furthermore, Rule 43 provides that:
‘‘at the request of a petitioner, a Member of the Senate, or a Senate employee, may communicate with an executive or independent government official or agency on any matter to—
(a) request information or a status report;
(b) urge prompt consideration;
(c) arrange for interviews or appointments;
(d) express judgments;
(e) call for reconsideration of an administrative response which the Member believes is not reasonably supported by statutes, regulations or considerations of equity or public policy; or
(f) perform any other service of a similar nature consistent with the provisions of this rule’’.
Rule 43 also provides that:
‘‘The decision to provide assistance to petitioners may not be made on the basis of contributions or services, or promises of contributions or services, to the Member’s political campaigns or to other organizations in which the Member has a political, personal, or
financial interest.’’

‘‘A Member shall make a reasonable effort to assure that representations made in the Member’s name by any Senate employee are accurate and conform to the Member’s instructions and to this rule.’’
‘‘Nothing in this rule shall be construed to limit the authority of Members, and Senate employees, to perform legislative, including committee, responsibilities.’’

The above mentioned statements are readings direct from the ethics manuals from both houses. Both summarily, and easily understood. With these rules in place the houses could easily censure the derogative, and defamatory remarks and insults of these elected officials, towards those of constituents. It is highly doubted, that the committees of either house will convene hearings into the conduct of the aforementioned persons, and any others conducting themselves in an becoming manner befitting that of an elected official.

It is of quite a serious matter, that this reasoning is being made. For, as a constituent, and citizen, of this nation, I find myself directly insulted. To allow such unruly activity, by their own members is appalling, and will be regarded as a direct violation of our rights. In my reasoning the conduct shown from that of our elected representatives, is in effect, is a violation of the 1st, 4th, 9th, and possibly 10th Amendments.

I will try to explain my reasoning on the grounds of each Amendment, and from their, you can attain your own conclusion. First, let’s break the Amendments down by fact.

  • First Amendment:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • Fourth Amendment: 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. [Some rights to privacy have been inferred from this amendment and others by the Supreme Court.]
  • Ninth Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • Tenth Amendment: 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.

Now, let’s make sense of the matter, as I see it. Keep in mind that I am not an expert of constitutional law, and it is purely my thoughts on the matter. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Be assured, I may have to my opine if not shown proof otherwise.

The First Amendment shows the right to petition, and the right of free speech, and to that of peaceful assembly-“Our representatives are of the belief that it is their assembly, and not ours.” As related to the matter of Barney Frank, his manager openly stated that it was his meeting, during an altercation with a constituent. Being of our employment Frank should be noted as to that of his staff, that he works for us, the ‘citizen’.

The Fourth Amendment, is far-reaching in my belief, but is pertinent in the fact that Frank and Pelosi, both illicitly, and illegally, put forth accusatory charges, and thus committed libel and slander. Thus being the idea of falsely accusing, without that of probable cause. “Now, remember, I am throwing this amendment in for general clause, and legal standing.”

The Ninth Amendment has been generally regarded by the courts as negating any expansion of governmental power on account of the enumeration of rights in the Constitution.

The Tenth Amendment which makes explicit the idea that the federal government is limited only to the powers granted in the Constitution is generally recognized to be a truism. In United States v. Sprague (1931) the Supreme Court noted that the amendment "added nothing to the [Constitution] as originally ratified."

So, in closing I have, to my best ability, tried to show effect in the opinion mentioned. Again, I am just invoking my legal rights to express ‘freedom of speech’. You decide the matter. For I have rested my case, for the moment.


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