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Steve Lunetta: My truck is transparent

Posted: June 24, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 24, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Uncle Earl was over at our house the other day helping me replace the exhaust manifold in the old green ’99 Honda.

For those of you who care, Honda makes the catalytic converter integrated into the manifold, meaning you have to replace both at the same time. (Memo to self: slap the back of the head of the president of Honda next time I see him for that engineering debacle.)

As usually happens, our conversation started with cars but ended up going someplace unexpected.

Earl asked, "You see my truck over there, Steven?"

"Yes, sir, I sure do. A big, white Ford F-150 from 1982. Still runs like a top. Why do you ask, Unk?"

Although at the moment, it was sitting there leaking oil onto my driveway.

"My truck is transparent," he intoned.

"Say what? You need your eyes checked, Earl? That old monstrosity is sitting there plain as day in front of my garage. Leaking oil."

"Nope, my boy. It’s transparent. You can see right through it. It is clear and nearly invisible. Can’t block your view. Can’t hide anything behind it."

"Earl, have you had your monthly CAT scan yet? I’m going to have Trish call and make your appointment right away."

"According to President Obama, my truck is transparent. On 6/17, he gave an interview to Charlie Rose where he defended secret National Security Agency programs by saying, ‘It is transparent. That’s why we set up the FISA court.’ FISA is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."

He went on. "Remember, the FISA court is the tribunal that is totally secret, held at undisclosed locations with only government lawyers present, and creates orders that are all classified. In other words, secret."

"Well, that does not sound too transparent to me. If something is secret and we cannot hear about it or understand it, then it is hidden and not visible. This is the opposite of transparency," I noted.

"You are starting to get it, my boy! Unfortunately, this FISA court and other programs are being used on Americans and not just foreign nationals. Data is being secretly collected on all of us. The funny thing is, we just don’t know how far this goes."

Earl was on a roll. "As the AP reported the other day, a senior administration official said that the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asked Obama about what information could be shared publicly about the programs.

"So if the programs are ‘transparent,’ then why does Clapper need to ask the president what info can be shared?"

"I see your point, Earl. Can you hand me that wrench?"

"Another funny thing: AP said this official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was ‘not authorized to speak publicly.’ If this was truly ‘transparent,’ why are there multiple layers of security and secrecy? This thing is about as transparent as my truck."

As usual, Uncle Earl was making a lot of sense.

I interjected, "but how can this be? The president would not lie to us about the power of these programs."

OK, I can be a little naive.

"My boy, a lie is one thing. But redefining a word is simply laughable. These programs are secret, powerful, and hidden. Per the AP, Edward Snowden recently claimed that from his desk, he could wiretap any phone call or email.

"If so, this is a chilling revelation. There is no ‘transparency.’ There is a web of lies, deceit, and cover-up on a scale we can hardly imagine."

He continued, "Just saying something is a certain way does not make it true. We live in a free country where we are allowed to think for ourselves. My truck is no more transparent than these spying programs. Just saying it does not make it true. Shame on Mr. Obama."

As we finished up the car, I reflected on my uncle’s wisdom. It is comforting to know that the media is beginning to report on these issues because our press is still free. For now.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and does not have a transparent vehicle. Unless he borrows Wonder Woman’s jet. He can be reached at


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