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The White House issued a National Defense Authorization Act signing statement, which circumvents whistleblower protection provisions for 12 million government contractors--yet another blot on Obama's atrocious war on whistleblowers (you can read about the government's Espionage Act prosecution of my client, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, in yesterday's New York Times front-pager.)

To add insult to injury, the White House did not even have the courtesy to alert Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), the key backer of the whistleblower protections. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), another strong advocate of the protections, issued a statement describing Obama's signing statement as "deeply disturbing."

It shows Obama's priorities (or lack thereof) when he devotes an entire paragraph of a 2.5-page signing statement--on a 680-page law--to gutting whistleblower provisions.

What's wrong with protecting 12 million employees of federal contractors from exposing fraud, waste, abuse and illegality within the federal procurement system? According to Obama,

I will interpret [the whistleblower protection] sections consistent with my authority to direct the heads of executive departments to supervise, control, and correct employees' communications with the Congress in cases where such communications would be unlawful or would reveal information that is properly privileged or otherwise confidential.
(Emphasis mine.) The language is creepy, but telling. It's all about controlling information, something at the heart of the twisted prosecutions of whistleblowers for espionage. After all, whistleblowers like Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou blew the whistle on the highly-illegal domestic surveillance program and torture program, respectively, both of which the Bush and Obama administrations have claimed are classified, or even state secrets.

The whistleblower provisions would have protected contract employees precisely in the position of Tom Drake, who exposed the National Security Agency's (NSA) gross waste and mismanagement to the tune of billions of wasted dollars in the federal procurement system.

My learned colleague at the Government Accountability Project, Tom Devine, said the language of Obama's objections could have been much worse:

The president's expressions of concerns were a milquetoast version of traditional Pentagon fretting about whistleblowers . . . We all considered them so muted that it was almost like tacit support for making those rights, expanding those rights.
Huh?Tacit support for these provisions would have been to let them stand, rather than making them unenforceable.
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Comment Preferences

  •  This is very thin substance (18+ / 0-)

    to justify the title of the diary.  While you may have contextual reasons to read sinister connotations into the quote, it is entirely that - you reading into them.  In fact, the whole tone of this discussion is very strange, because you can't possibly deny the legal authority of the administration to prosecute releases of classified information - whistleblowing is a relatively new exception and one with not nearly as much jurisprudence behind it as the core authority that is being qualified.  

    So we want to see more restraint exercised on the part of these prosecutions, but you're acting like the very statement of the authority to prosecute is some kind of violation, and that's nonsense.  And if worst comes to worst, people wrongfully charged can have their day in court and make their case to 12 fellow citizens that they are a whistleblower protected by law.  The decisions in those cases will set precedents one way or another that will help clarify the law, and if the DOJ has been found to have overreached, they're not going to keep prosecuting people whom juries refuse to convict.  On some level this is how our system of government is designed to work.  

    That may be small comfort to those wrongfully prosecuted, if indeed that is happening, but none of these people are naive victims of circumstance - they are people inside sensitive government operations who made informed choices with their eyes wide open on the basis of their judgment about the national interest.  They took risks as adult citizens in rare positions of information, and anyone who did so in good faith and yet is prosecuted in retaliation will have a chance to argue their case to their fellow citizens.  If the people judge them to be whistleblowers and acquit, that will send a strong signal to the Executive branch.  If the people confirm the DOJ's contentions, then either the indictment is correct or the problem is far too deep to be corrected by any reasonableness on the part of a single President.    

    In Roviet Union, money spends YOU.

    by Troubadour on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:59:13 AM PST

    •  You seem to be arguing in favor of the status (9+ / 0-)

      quo of multiple redundant intelligence agencies operating without accountability to the people they are supposed to serve. The operations that we know of so far include kidnapping, detention without trial, torture, secret prisons and those are only the incidents we know about.

      I for one, value transparency much more than any weaponized, drone-happy intelligence agency's promise to keep me safe by negating my civil liberties.

      If there's a need to plan a secret D-day invasion every sixty years or so that's fine. Billions in unaccountable black programs, prosecution of whistle blowers, and stories like those of Maher Arar, Manadel al Jamadi, and Sean Baker (tortured, murdered, and massive head trauma respectively) are not okay with me.

      Neither are collateral murder or the treatment of Bradley Manning.

      Reaganomics noun pl: belief that unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources and we the people can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

      by FrY10cK on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:42:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your comment is from Non Sequiturs R Us. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cato
        You seem to be arguing in favor of the status quo of multiple redundant intelligence agencies operating without accountability to the people they are supposed to serve.
        You just pulled that out of thin air.  My comment has no bearing on the operation of intelligence agencies, nor does this diary - the Department of Justice has the authority to prosecute leaks of classified information.  The whistleblower exception is hardly crystal clear - are you claiming that anyone who claims conscientious reasons for leaking anything cannot be prosecuted, or just the ones you agree with? - and the laws involved in the exception haven't been tested much in practice.
        The operations that we know of so far include kidnapping, detention without trial, torture, secret prisons and those are only the incidents we know about.
        So pester the DOJ with why they're not prosecuting those blatant crimes rather than fixating on the matter of degree with which they're enforcing classification.
        I for one, value transparency much more than any weaponized, drone-happy intelligence agency's promise to keep me safe by negating my civil liberties.
        Good for you, you're an American Hero.  Now can we get back to the subject?
        If there's a need to plan a secret D-day invasion every sixty years or so that's fine. Billions in unaccountable black programs, prosecution of whistle blowers, and stories like those of Maher Arar, Manadel al Jamadi, and Sean Baker (tortured, murdered, and massive head trauma respectively) are not okay with me.
        Me either, but incoherent blanket whining about a very large and complex phenomenon isn't going to change anything, and neither is paranoid demonization of everyone who seems to have some institutional interplay with the problem - i.e., everyone in elected government.  You have to actually know what you're talking about and make intelligent distinctions before you can even properly define the problem let alone begin to architect solutions.  

        In Roviet Union, money spends YOU.

        by Troubadour on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:55:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (7+ / 0-)
          While you may have contextual reasons to read sinister connotations into the quote, it is entirely that - you reading into them.
          That is exactly what the diarist is doing. Reading sinister connotations into the "quote", meaning Obama's signing statement, based on context.

          That is what intelligent people do. And it is completely justified. If Obama did not have a track record of egregious and unjust attacks on whistleblowers, then we might, and I repeat, might be able to interpret this signing statement's intent more favorably.

          But in context, it takes on a whole new meaning. That's what context does. It adds relevant information from which we may ascertain a more accurate reading of otherwise, possibly ambiguous statements of clever politicians.

          I really can't believe I'm having to spell this out.

          •  That approach can easily lead to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Troubadour

            confirmation bias. It's important to look at what is actually written, otherwise you're just assigning meaning based on your previous opinion.

            "I have more than two prablems" - The Coach Z

            by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:40:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Intelligent people don't mistake (0+ / 0-)

            their interpretations of other people's motives as facts, especially when the interpretation is extracted from comments that are objectively innocuous.  The President notes that fact that the Executive branch has the authority to prosecute leaks of classified material.  They do.  There is no "dissing" of whistleblowers in such a comment, unless the absence of rhetoric supporting them amounts to rhetoric condemning them, which would be a claim of ideology rather than of rational judgment.

            If Obama did not have a track record of egregious and unjust attacks on whistleblowers, then we might, and I repeat, might be able to interpret this signing statement's intent more favorably.
            As far as I've seen of his "track record," it consists of failing to interfere in Justice Department prosecutions of some people claiming to be whistleblowers, and rhetorically positioning the White House as being highly critical of leaks in general.  Or is there some Executive Order I'm unaware of commanding the Attorney General to prosecute specific individuals?  Convicting people requires that 12 jurors unanimously concur that there is no reasonable justification for what a defendant is accused of doing.  Are you going to sit there and tell me the DOJ is pursuing indictments that would be laughed out of court by a jury, or is it maybe more complicated than that and you simply prefer not to test the slippery slope that might result?
            I really can't believe I'm having to spell this out.
            I can't believe you think you have.  Explain to me exactly the difference between a whistleblower and a criminal leaker.  Is a conservative who leaks classified information because they want to protest government support of abortions in some other country a whistleblower?  How about a conservative who just wants to embarrass Democrats by revealing internal deliberations that are unflattering?  Or is literally every leaker a whistleblower if they don't get money from the leak and aren't working for a foreign government?  Are you taking the legally preposterous position that classification as a whole has become null and void by virtue of the existence of any exception to the prosecutorial powers involved?

            Some of these prosecutions look excessive to me, but you're not going to effectively challenge them or the institutions responsible for pushing them by just wildly flailing around and pretending inconvenient laws and practicalities don't exist.  As long as you have this attitude, you're just going to be ignored by everyone who holds any kind of government office.  Which isn't to say you wouldn't be anyway, but you have to actually have something to say before you can credibly demand to be heard, and right now you don't.  You're appearing to take positions that have nothing to do with what is actually going on.

            In Roviet Union, money spends YOU.

            by Troubadour on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:51:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My critique of your comment (0+ / 0-)

              was directed at the dubious inference that context is somehow insufficient to draw conclusions about what a statement, while seemingly ambiguous by itself, actually means.

              You repeated this line of argument by describing this signing statement as "objectively innocuous", thereby implying that context has no relevance.

              My point, and what I can't believe I have to spell out, is that context is always relevant. That doesn't mean it's always evidentiarily conclusive. But your arguments seem to suggest that context should be discarded.

              I would also remind you that the issue at hand is the epistemological methods of determining Obama's intent with regards to this signing statement. And while it's not entirely separate, the justification or not of the policy of aggressive prosecution of specific whistleblowers was not an issue I addressed.

              Let me do so now. I am unfamiliar with all the cases. But I am quite familiar with the prosecution of Thomas Drake. And while I see no need to make this case here and now, especially since the diarist has done that job previously with great expertise, I will say that I find what happened to Mr Drake to be a shocking and egregious miscarriage of justice by the Obama DOJ.

              And in light of the context derived from the Drake case, I, along with the ACLU and many others, indeed find this signing statement to be a most disturbing and seemingly transparent attempt to undermine the spirit of the law.

              With genuine sincerity, I appreciate your demands for precision. But I'm also enough of a pragmatist to not wait for the house to burn down before I call the fire department. And there's another context that is also relevant. That is Obama's seemingly innocuous statements turning out to be very bad policy.

              •  I'm not saying political context is insufficient (0+ / 0-)

                just that it requires a lot more reflection and ability to distinguish complex relationships than seems to be going on here.  Here's the historical application of the reasoning being done here:

                1.  Jimmy Carter's administration trained the Iranian secret police Savak in torture and suppression.  Ergo, Jimmy Carter was opposed to freedom and human rights on the same moral level as, say, Ronald Reagan.

                2.  Bill Clinton bombed Serbia without a declaration of war.  Ergo, Bill Clinton was a murdering warmonger equivalent to Dick Cheney.

                3.  John F. Kennedy's administration plotted the Vietnam War and engaged in warrantless spying of Civil Rights leaders, so apparently JFK too was a genocidal monster running a police state.

                4.  Harry Truman, FDR...you get the point.

                The Presidency is not the monarchial position you think it is - which is fortunate, since we never would have escaped from the clutches of Dick Cheney if it were - and we should all hope it never becomes that.

                In Roviet Union, money spends YOU.

                by Troubadour on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:44:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  The POTUS has no authority to void any part of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      any law he doesn't like, unilaterally. He CAN veto it.  He can work within the rules we gave him and take it to the Supreme Court. Or he can ask Congress to pass legislation he likes.  In any case, he is still bound by the law just signed, period.

      As for your claim about Jury Nullification, it is a valid position but one that rarely, if ever get's utilized in our corrupt system of law.  Jurors aren't educated on these things and are manipulated into deciding what the prosecutors & judges tell them is "truth".   Did the defendant break the written law, ordinance or statute? Ignorance of the law is no excuse.  

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      Earlier this year, prosecutors charged Julian P. Heicklen, a retired chemistry professor, with jury tampering because he stood outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan providing information about jury nullification to passers-by.

      -cut-

      In some jurisdictions, like Washington, prosecutors have responded to jurors who are fed up with their draconian tactics by lobbying lawmakers to take away the right to a jury trial in drug cases.

      It seems, I could be arrested right now for talking about it.  

      The other point that you ignore here is how many of these cases could be heard before an actual jury? All the jurors would have to get security clearances to view much of the falsely classified information they've intentionally hidden from us. What happens when they don't get that "clearance"? Justice denied.

      The silent witness testimony in the Drake Case.

      The secret evidence in the Patriot Act? Did you forget about this?

      So, a fellow American can be charged and tried and convicted with secret evidence in secret courts based on secret legal interpretations.

      This is beyond absurd.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:21:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The jury tampering charge (0+ / 0-)

        is just one of those purely intimidation indictments that happen from time to time, here and there, and there is virtually zero possibility of the charges sticking even if they get to trial and somehow resulted in conviction - handing out pamphlets about the law is straightforward 1st Amendment stuff.  It's a joke.  The guy could probably sue for malicious prosecution and win.

        You are of course correct about Presidential powers as to legislation, but I'm not sure how you can say the signing statement is an attempt to void anything.  Exactly what external authority is supposed to be telling the administration who is and is not a whistleblower, and thus who should and should not be prosecuted?  Whistleblower protection laws create a few, weakly-defined safe havens, but mostly just muddy the waters and tell the Executive branch not to prosecute whistleblowers but to vehemently pursue malicious leakers - which is to say, "Only prosecute bad people, but leave good people alone!"  

        It's not very helpful either to a conscientious person in government deciding whom to prosecute or to people in the public trying to force an ethically challenged government to obey the law - especially when the crimes being exposed involve government-wide complicity.  And that's part of why such laws were able to pass in the first place - because they don't really restrain power.  And you're asking lawyers who immerse themselves in legal minutiae to just throw all that away and instead make prosecutorial decisions on the basis of personal moral judgments on whether their conscience agrees with the conscience of the leaker?  How does that work?  How does that not instantly nullify the entire system of classification by opening the floodgates to completely politically-motivated leaking?

        As to your Politico article, first of all...it's Politico.  But we'll ignore that giant red flag for the moment, and just put in a choice quote that you seem to have missed:

        The procedure involves keeping the courtroom open but referring to sensitive evidence in a code that only the judge, lawyers, defendant and jury can decipher.
        You did see the part where the jury is included?  The decision being contested was in regards to allowing the public to understand the information being presented.  There are constitutional ramifications since the Sixth Amendment guarantees public trials, but they are likely using the loophole that the trial is public even though the evidence presented is encoded.  However, the right to a jury trial has no obvious circumvention that would hold up to technical scrutiny, let alone spirit-of-the-law challenges.  I'd say your fears in this regarded are exaggerated.

        In Roviet Union, money spends YOU.

        by Troubadour on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:22:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  When the evidence is encoded so that the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack

          public cannot be made aware of the facts, defeats the whole point of whistleblowing, doesn't it?

          Trying to make public the crimes of our government is what ensures they can't do it again, right?

          This fact gets lost in all the games and the protection of the status quo and the very clear fact that the POTUS has done exactly what we bitched about when GW did it, that he can't, period.

          These "signing statements" aren't lawfully binding on anyone, anywhere, at least of all under our current constitution.  Intent of the law cannot be undermined, isn't that a criminal offense?

          And yes, it was politico, apologies, just pointing to the case as a reference point here, not who reported it.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:45:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Of course it defeats the purpose. (0+ / 0-)

            It's unconstitutional on a spirit-of-the-law basis.  But they have a technical argument, however moribund, that the law requires the proceedings to be public, not that it dictates any particular presentation of the evidence.  For instance - and obviously this is not a practical scenario, just a hypothetical one - if every jury member, the defendant, the judge, the attorneys, everyone operating in a functional capacity of the court were all fluent in Spanish, the argument would be that there's not any Constitutional requirement that the state provide an interpreter for public media.  

            I would also say that encoding evidence is a particularly futile tactic, since codebreaking happens constantly among the public on the part of hackers, and those are people reverse engineering ciphers created by Intel, Google, and Apple, not bureaucrats clumsily trying to hide from the press.  Anons would have a field day with encoded-evidence trials.

            This fact gets lost in all the games and the protection of the status quo and the very clear fact that the POTUS has done exactly what we bitched about when GW did it, that he can't, period.
            Except he isn't, by and large.  As I've discussed, a lot of what is being said here is just not in line with the complex realities of what is happening.  In fact, warrantless wiretapping is about the only thing he's pursuing from Bush, as profound and horrible as that is, and I can do some of my own motive-interpreting by saying that I've seen enough of this President to believe that he probably just doesn't think the practical power of his office (as opposed to its theoretical powers on paper) is enough to restrain the state in this respect.  We will have to deal with it in the courts, and doing that effectively will require more and better liberal judges, which will require continued control of the Senate and filibuster reform, so we know what's on our agenda.  Just continuing to obsess on what goes on in the President's mind when he issues a signing statement is not helpful.

            In Roviet Union, money spends YOU.

            by Troubadour on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:37:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  This is separation of powers stuff. (9+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't read it as hostility toward whistleblowers - although there may be that - but primarily as hostility toward Congressional control over internal executive branch policies.

    •  Look at the second half (0+ / 0-)

      of the quoted sentence from the signing statement, limiting the limitation to cases that would be hard to see as whistleblowing.  Well, there's some imprecision in "properly privileged or otherwise confidential," but I'm not sure the statement represents any change in the law for that.

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:48:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Executive privilege is now a continued (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jcrit, gerrilea, joe shikspack

    franchise. I don't think we can get rid of it until we have a blow out constitutional reform. But even before that we need a great voter educational system.

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:08:55 AM PST

  •  It's hard to see how a "milquetoast" signing (6+ / 0-)

    statement can trump the President's commitment to whistleblower protections.

    President Signs Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)

    by Hannah Johnson

    After 13 Year Campaign, Federal Workers Get Long-Overdue Upgrades

    (Washington, DC) – The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is praising President Obama's signing of S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), into law earlier today. The legislation provides millions of federal workers with the rights they need to report government corruption and wrongdoing safely. The bill reflects an unequivocal bipartisan consensus, having received the vote of every member in the 112th Congress, passing both the Senate and House of Representatives by unanimous consent over the past couple of months. The text of the bill can be read here.

    GAP Legal Director Tom Devine commented:

    "This reform took 13 years to pass because it can make so much difference against fraud, waste and abuse. Government managers at all levels made pleas and repeatedly blocked the bill through procedural sabotage. But once there were no more secret 'holds,' the WPEA passed unanimously, because no politician in a free society can openly oppose freedom of speech. Over the years, earlier versions of this law had been called the Taxpayer Protection Act. Nothing could set a better context for fiscal cliff negotiations than a unanimous, bipartisan consensus to protect those who risk their careers to protect the taxpayers. This victory reflects a consensus ranging from President Obama to Representative Darrell Issa. The mandate for this law is that the truth is the public's business."

    Among other key reforms, federal employees now are protected (in addition to already-existing scenarios) from reprisal if they: are not the first person to disclose misconduct; disclose misconduct to coworkers or supervisors; disclose the consequences of a policy decision; or blow the whistle while carrying out their job duties.

    <...>

    Devine continued, stating

    "The victory reflects strong bipartisan teamwork, as well as advocacy within the party, as Republicans often had to work harder at convincing wary colleagues. And it reflects relentless pressure from conservative stakeholders – like the National Taxpayers Union – throughout the last 13 years. Crucial support came from President Obama, who was committed from day one of his term to signing this bill into law. Most Presidents have offered lip service for whistleblower rights, but President Obama fought to give them more teeth."

    <...>

    http://www.whistleblower.org/...

  •  does this change the whistleblower protections (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quasimodal, gramofsam1

    that have been in place for government contractors for many years? There have always been certain limits on how information is communicated, but in any case that statement appears to refer to government employees, not contractors.

    "I have more than two prablems" - The Coach Z

    by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:20:05 AM PST

  •  Now that Obama doesn't have to worry about (7+ / 0-)

    re-election, he's free to be the president he's always wanted to be.

    Obama: self-described moderate Republican

    by The Dead Man on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:20:11 AM PST

  •  I don't know what it means, but (4+ / 0-)

    it sure is hard to trust this guy.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:27:23 AM PST

  •  Oh, the humanity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kitebro, Fabienne, Loge
    The president said his administration would interpret the whistleblower provisions in a way that still allowed him to direct heads of federal agencies "to supervise, control, and correct employees' communications with the Congress" if those communications would be unlawful or "reveal information that is properly privileged or otherwise confidential."
    Does that sound like the end of the world to you?

    And, does THIS sound like McCarskill is just so gosh darn upset about this.

    A spokesman for McCaskill's office told HuffPost that the administration had not raised issues about the whistleblower protections with her office before the signing statement was issued. "If they had, we would have been happy to have a conversation about any concerns the administration had about the provisions," said McCaskill spokesman Drew Pusateri. "Claire has been a longtime supporter of the provisions, believes in them, and looks forward to seeing them enforced."
    Maybe we should take the word of someone a bit more knowledgable about this than a DK contributor.
    But Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, said the language of Obama's objections could have been much worse.

    "The president's expressions of concerns were a milquetoast version of traditional Pentagon fretting about whistleblowers," Devine told HuffPost. "We all considered them so muted that it was almost like tacit support for making those rights, expanding those rights."

    Notification DID go out, by the way.
    In contrast to McCaskill's office, Devine said he was aware of the White House's issues with the whistleblower provisions before Obama issued the signing statement. A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment, while a spokeswoman for Levin said the senator had no statement on the matter.

    "What we've seen is President Obama prosecuting more aggressively than his predecessors on leaks," Devine said. "At the same time, though, he's provided unprecedented support for free speech rights overall within the executive branch."
    Article

    Oh, and here is the website for the Government Accountability Project
    •  to be fair, Jessalyn Radack is not (0+ / 0-)

      just a regular daily kos contributor.

      "I have more than two prablems" - The Coach Z

      by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:16:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are correct (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, ms in la

      this is NOT the end of the world. Thank god. And thank you for pointing it out. Although, I am quite certain that if Obama had ended the world, it would have been a brilliant calculation.

    •  I am a director at the Govt Accountability Proj, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, ms in la

      am one of the foremost whistleblowing experts in the country, and represent a number of whistleblowers who've been prosecuted under the Espionage Act.

      My colleague Tom and I disagree with respect to Obama's effects on whistleblowing.  Tom is in charge of lobbying for legislation to help whistleblowers and needs to stay on the good side of the Administration. I am in charge of the National Security and Human Rights and call the Administration's destructive campaign against whistleblowers and empty legislation as I see it.

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:34:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think Tom was saying that Obama has raised (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      similar objections before.

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:38:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I appreciate your involvement and expertise in (0+ / 0-)

        these matters. I do. It's gotten to where my reaction to people around here has become shaded by what is, to me, a concerted effort by many to smear our president with completely outrageous claims.
        He brings up chained cpi, in a single proposal that also had the requriement that it mean the debt ceiling would be part of the deal ... what I think was a reasonable offer considering the possibility of what we are going to face in the next two months ...
        chained cpi ... a small percentage of change ...

        .... and poster after poster claims he wants to destroy social security and medicare. And that he is nothing but a republican. Etc. Etc.

        And ... pointing out the "flaws" in their thinking makes me an obamabot. Look at the poster above. In a snarky tone he writes ....

        I am quite certain that if Obama had ended the world, it would have been a brilliant calculation
        Now, I admit it was over the top to use the "end of the world" comment. But ... just because I come to the defense of the president against what I thought was an unfounded claim, I think like that above comment suggests.
        Just tired of the bullshit around here. I really am.

        I promise, I'll spend a bit more time looking into this, and perhaps we can discuss it at another time.

        •  perspective (0+ / 0-)
          He brings up chained cpi, in a single proposal that also had the requriement that it mean the debt ceiling would be part of the deal ... what I think was a reasonable offer considering the possibility of what we are going to face in the next two months
          you think it is quite reasonable.  the person who is living on less than they need, making desperate choices now about which survival needs to put off in favor of others probably does not see the incremental pecking away at their earned benefits as reasonable.
          chained cpi ... a small percentage of change ...
          which over time (and god knows what inflationary forces will be in the future) can amount to a significant blow to people living on the margins...
          .... and poster after poster claims he wants to destroy social security and medicare. And that he is nothing but a republican. Etc. Etc.
          the democratic party has been in modern times the advocate of the common man, not the advocate of cutting the benefits of the common man.  that may be changing.  the democratic party has not always been the party of the common man and may not remain it.  perhaps you're part of that change.

          and, by the way, it was the president who defined himself as a "moderate republican."  

          i would take issue with that definition as somewhat short of what he is based on his record in office, but, if the president says he's a "moderate republican," who are you to bicker with him?

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:38:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The difference in the checks people (0+ / 0-)

            receive every month will be insignificant compared to difference in the "worth" of that money if our credit rating is downgraded yet again due to a default. He tied the end of that threat to his proposal.
            But what you are saying is non sequitur. I was not saying it's wrong to have a discussion of or difference of opinion on chained cpi.
            I'm just saying that the blooming idiots around here who are saying that Obama "wants to end medicare" ... because he made that proposal ... have turned this site into a clown show, in part.

            •  i hadn't seen any claims that... (0+ / 0-)

              obama "wants to end medicare."  i'm not saying that they haven't been made, but it seems a bit of an extreme claim even for daily kos.

              just a note, the previous downgrade was meaningless to the value of our money because it was not based upon the fundamentals of the marketplace.  the downgrade occurred and the cost of borrowing for the us did not rise.  that downgrade was really only representative of a bunch of grumpy 1%ers who wanted to extort more money out of the system at a faster pace.  

              i would bet that a similar downgrade right this minute would cause no rise in the cost of us borrowing, either.  so long as we are the world's reserve currency and the rest of the world is similarly embroiled in the current economic brewhaha there is no fundamental cause for a downgrade in ratings.

              i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

              by joe shikspack on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 12:31:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  there is this thing called the internet (0+ / 0-)

      on which one can look up Mrs. Radack's story, of how she was forced out of the Bush DOJ for exposing ethical irregularities the government committed, and later apparently tried to hide, while making a case against John Walker Lindh (the famous "American Taliban,"), and how the DOJ intervened to get her fired at her next job when she left government service.

      So yes, she knows what she's talking about--having lived it.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 11:01:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't Be a Signing Statement! (0+ / 0-)
    “Congress’ job is to pass legislation,” Obama explained. “The president can veto it or he can sign it. But what George Bush has been trying to do as part of his effort to accumulate more power in the presidency. … He’s been saying, well I can basically change what Congress passed by attaching a letter saying ‘I don’t agree with this part or I don’t agree with that part, I’m going to choose to interpret it this way or that way.’”

    “That’s not part of his power, but this is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he goes along,” he went on to say. “I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.”

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