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A House panel led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) voted yesterday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt after the Obama administration's first assertion of the rarely used Executive Privilege to withhold information from Congressional investigators about the botched Operation "Fast & Furious." (Full disclosure: My organization - the Government Accountability Project - represents some of the Fast & Furious whistleblowers).

I'm no fan of Rep. Issa, and suspect this contempt citation has more to do with politics than transparency, but the Obama administration is not doing itself any favors by picking this moment and this scandal as its first assertion of Executive Privilege. To the extent the Obama administration wants to combat the recent "leak" hysteria and accusations that the White House leaked highly-classified information about sources and methods for political gain, this is a horrible moment to assert executive privilege.

The president’s move to invoke executive privilege was the first time that he had asserted his secrecy powers in response to a Congressional inquiry. It elevated a fight over whether Mr. Holder must turn over additional documents about the gun case into a constitutional struggle over the separation of powers.
But, it is not the first time the Obama administration has sought to control the flow of information to the public. The Obama administration has continually asserted the state secrets privilege to shut down lawsuits seeking accountability for Bush-era torture, extraordinary rendition, and warrantless domestic surveillance. The Obama administration's record-breaking number of Espionage Act prosecutions brought against so-called "leakers," who are usually whistleblowers, sends a disastrously chilling message to all government employees: if you reveal government fraud, waste, abuse, illegality, or embarrassing information, you risk not only choosing your conscience over your career, but also over your freedom.    

Executive privilege is a rarely-used tool for Presidents to keep information from Congress and the public. Past presidents have generally used executive privilege sparingly: Reagan used it 3 times, H.W. Bush used it once, Clinton used it 14 times, G.W. Bush used it 6 times, and now Obama has asserted the privilege in connection with the tragically botched Operation "Fast & Furious." It is worth remembering just how badly the "Fast and Furious" went:  

From late 2009 to early 2011, A.T.F. agents allowed guns to “walk” — choosing not to interdict them swiftly in an effort to build a bigger case. But they lost track of about 2,000 guns that probably reached a Mexican drug cartel. Two of the weapons were found near a December 2010 shootout at which a Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, was killed. It has since come to light that the bureau had used similar tactics three times during the Bush administration, although it lost track of fewer weapons.
Attorney General Holder has been battling with Congressional investigators over what information he had and when he had it, while doing damage control on the scandal for the entire administration. Now, the dispute has been elevated to a separation of powers fight, with the Obama administration on the side of keeping information secret.

The Obama administration's assertion of executive privilege brings the administration's double-speak on transparency into sharper view. The Obama administration proclaimed itself the "most transparent in history." Yet it continually fights for secrecy when the information is embarrassing to the administration, while being "transparent" about information that makes the Obama administration look good. Real government transparency does not mean that the White House can share what it wants when it wants. Real transparency means releasing both positive and negative information through official government channels, not "leaking" details of positive government actions to certain reporters while subpoenaing unfavorable reporters, prosecuting whistleblowers, and asserting executive privilege.
 

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Comment Preferences

  •  In this case I completely agree with you! (20+ / 0-)

    The only reasons I can see for invoking executive privilege on this subject are fear of embarrassment and a desire to push back against Republican grandstanding.  Nobody seems able to suggest, even speculatively, what these materials could contain that would meet any non-self-interested standard of executive privilege. The irony, and it's a common one, is that the WH does itself more damage with this claim because reasonably people have to assume there's something hugely embarrassing in what's being withheld, and the very fact that (as Holder keeps saying) they've already released a ton of materials suggests that there's a self-interested logic to what they haven't released.

    Romney '12: Bully for America!

    by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:35:38 AM PDT

  •   I have no problem (43+ / 0-)

    with his assertion of this long recognized privilege in these cicumstances.  The Rs will find Holder in contempt for political reasons.  Courts can decide if the privilege is applicable  in these circumstances.  The privilege exists under long-standing judicial precedent.

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:37:49 AM PDT

  •  Isn't this a program from the (39+ / 0-)

    Bush era?  Hasn't it been stopped?  Aren't the people behind the Issa frenzy the NRA, afraid they'll lose a terrific amount of money if Holder stems the tide?

    IOW, haven't you lost track of the real enemies here?  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:39:46 AM PDT

    •  I specifically said that I am not an Issa fan (7+ / 0-)
      I'm no fan of Rep. Issa, and suspect this contempt citation has more to do with politics than transparency . . .

      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 Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:50:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, this diary is in the interest of the (16+ / 0-)

        Obama administration. It is plain as day.... I think the administration can do without your "beneficial" insights on this....

        •  I'm sure they could. (12+ / 0-)

          I would imagine they'd be very happy indeed to have everyone lay down and allow them to do whatever they want, whenever they want, in the name of the American people.

          Thankfully, people like the diarist are around to at least try to keep them honest.

          •  People like the diarist would, I am sure, make (0+ / 0-)

            your life so much more better, because, as she has promoted in her other diaries, Barack Obama is simply the wrong choice as President and she will do her very best to get that message across.

            So, if the entire nation would only listen to her cries and follow the argument to its logical conclusion and vote the dreaded Obama out of office, Romney would be able to come in and save you.... Somehow, though, and this might be wishful thinking on my part, but I don't believe most Americans share the opinion that you and the diarist hold....

            •  That... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gerrilea

              is a pretty bold assertion, considering that the diarist openly says she's voting for Obama.  I would ask you to back up your accusation that the diarist and I support Mitt Romney, but why bother.  You'd just drag up legitimate criticisms of the President and submit that as evidence, because after all, anyone who would criticize anything Obama does is obviously a supporter of his opponent.  Not worth arguing with ignorance and blind partisanship.

        •  "in the interest of the Obama Administration"? (9+ / 0-)

          i think you must be confused. this is not the OFA site. it is not an Obama Admin site. it is a blog, and one that does not demand fealty to any leader, including the president.

          A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

          by poligirl on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:40:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I had always heard that this was a site for (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OIL GUY, JoanMar

            electing Democrats and not a site where Republican criticisms are adopted to attack the current administration, which is being held by Democrats.... You may know something I don't know....

            But let me make one thing clear. I don't care if you and the diarist choose to pursue a crusade against the Obama administration, just don't attempt to do it under the guise that this is some constructive critism for the benefit of Barack Obama, which was the point of my comment. If you had followed the thread a little more carefully, you would have seen why it was made....

            Now, as to your offense to my using the phrase "in the interest of the Obama administration" there are many people who do not ally their interest with the interest of this administration, I understand, you happen to be one of them....

            But, here is the thing...instead of constantly harping on how horrible this President is...perhaps you might take a more positive stance and describe just how wonderful it would be under a Romney administration.... I think that would be so much more constructive.... I look forward to seeing that....

            •  oh i don't think it would be wonderful under a (8+ / 0-)

              Romney Admin, but you have fun putting words in my mouth there. you guys just really really seem to like that black and white choice thing. ya know, the George W 'with us or against us' mentality. (talk about your RW mentalities...) for many of us, we can see the shades of gray - nuance counts for those of us not blindly loyal.

              and electing Democrats does not mean you have to support ALL Democrats. matter of fact, better Democrats was added a few years ago, which tends to imply that you don't need to support ALL Democrats to be welcome here. that's just my interpretation though; perhaps you should ask kos.

              and GOP criticisms? ummm, most of us who are critics have been sounding the same criticisms regardless of who's been president. we are consistent in our principle. we don't base our criticisms on personalities or parties, we base them on our principles...

              and i used your 'in the interest of the Obama Administration" comment to highlight my pointing out that this is NOT the Obama campaign site or the White House site. those would be sites that would pretty much demand that folks on them have the 'interest of the Obama Administration" in mind when they speak. this however is Daily Kos, which does not demand that level of fealty. silly me, i figured my point was easily understandable. my bad. i guess i must've not been clear on that. sorry.

              A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

              by poligirl on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:51:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are repeating yourself. I addressed your issue (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JoanMar

                concerning the phrase. Beyond that, I don't understand your point. "Obama is bad", "Obama is horrible" so what? What are you doing about it?  Are you presenting a second candidate for the world to get behind? No, you're not...you're just saying "Obama is bad".....

                In the context of a two-man campaign, if you are constantly describing one candidate as abysmal, then, logically, the second candidate by default, becomes the choice...this is not putting words in your mouth...this is, simply, logic....

                Now as to your point that you might be against Obama, for example, but be supporting other Democrats.... Do you honestly believe that if Barack Obama goes down to defeat against Mitt Romney, voters would then decide to vote for other Democrats? Congress is now registering an approval rating in the low teens.... So, Obama is unacceptable and his defeat would allow for a Democratic Congress?

                Again, what is the point? I would still prefer to hear a direct argument for Romney, instead of a indirect argument which would be to his benefit.....

                •  some food for thought for you: (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  triv33, temptxan, SpecialKinFlag, gerrilea

                  faulty logic:

                  In the context of a two-man campaign, if you are constantly describing one candidate as abysmal, then, logically, the second candidate by default, becomes the choice...this is not putting words in your mouth...this is, simply, logic....
                  this diary is talking about a decision that Obama made, and that it is not in the diarist's opinion a good choice, but a bad one.

                  The only people who are talking about this diary in terms of making their electoral choice are the president's defenders, and you all are framing this diary and this diarist's motives as being electoral ones.

                  if you read the diary, you would know that it's criticizing a decision that Obama made, not talking about the horserace. Now, I know there are a lot of you who live and die by the horserace, but i assure you there is more to life, politics, and governing that the horserace - much more.

                  so let me posit this to you regarding your faulty logic above:

                  perhaps, just perhaps, if you are describing someone as abysmal, it does NOT mean that you're choosing the other candidate. Perhaps one thinks both candidates are abysmal in some or many ways.

                  PERHAPS, just perhaps, because this is a Democratic blog site, they are talking about Obama's bad decision here and not talking about how terrible Mitt is because it GOES WITHOUT SAYING - most people at this site don't need to hear it - they know it already. i believe it's called a "known known".

                  anyway, it's clear that you didn't understand my last reply, so i'm not holding out hope you will understand this one any more than that one, so i won't be wasting my time replying any more today. have a good day! :D

                  A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

                  by poligirl on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:07:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, I agree, we won't agree. And so in closing (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JoanMar

                    let me just say that there are lots of people who offer criticism of the President and that's fine.... I don't think criticism is wrong.... But this diarist and some of her supporters have authored diary after diary that do nothing more than declare how terrible this President is.... That is more than simple criticism.... Indeed...that's a campaign....

            •  Obama is wonderful! no criticism allowed (4+ / 0-)

              yep

              no place for citizen views here on DK

  •  Memo to Barack Obama: You are a (39+ / 0-)

    president in name only. Don't you ever, ever use any of the powers long associated with that office.
    You dictator! You who promised transparency in everything you will ever do.

    /Sigh/

    •  POTUSINO! n/t (13+ / 0-)

      Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

      by TooFolkGR on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:52:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  State secrets, secret signing statements, exec. pr (9+ / 0-)

      are not  "powers long associated with that office" or frequently used.

      They became popular under Bush and Obama has continued to use them, even though he said he wouldn't.

      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 Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:24:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually Jesselyn Presidents have been doing this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doroma, OIL GUY, JoanMar

        since at least the Truman years. Reference the Church committee hearings. Nixon wanted the Pentagon Papers out of circulation not because they made him look bad but because the seal of secrecy was opened. Kennedy oversaw the murder of Diem of south Vietnam as well as the murder of Patrice Lumumba with CIA involvement. The difference today is that the President now claims it is legal and within his rights and brags about it rather than hiding it. And this list is by no means comprehensive. It is wrong but it is not new.

        •  Or even earlier? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JoanMar
          In the context of privilege assertions by US Presidents, "In 1796, President George Washington refused to comply with a request by the House of Representatives for documents related to the negotiation of the then-recently adopted Jay Treaty with the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Senate alone plays a role in the ratification of treaties, Washington reasoned, and therefore the House had no legitimate claim to the material. Therefore, Washington provided the documents to the Senate but not the House."[3]

          President Thomas Jefferson continued the precedent for this in the trial of Aaron Burr for treason in 1807. Burr asked the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum to compel Jefferson to provide his private letters concerning Burr. Chief Justice John Marshall, a strong proponent of the powers of the federal government but also a political opponent of Jefferson, ruled that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for these sorts of court orders for criminal defendants, did not provide any exception for the president. As for Jefferson's claim that disclosure of the document would imperil public safety, Marshall held that the court, not the president would be the judge of that. Jefferson complied with Marshall's order

          .
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

          by Catte Nappe on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:55:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Let's Be Honest (28+ / 0-)

    You were going to use this headline the first time he used it no matter what the cirumstances were.  :Þ

    Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

    by TooFolkGR on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:49:07 AM PDT

  •  This is misleading (30+ / 0-)

    The documents being withheld under executive privilege are all from the period of time after the operation was boarded up and the practice of letting guns walk -- which the ATF had used since 2006 -- ceased. Whether or not the practice of interdicting the purchasers at the border had changed in theory between 2006 and 2009 is almost irrelevant considering the hundreds of guns that were lost before the ATF ever created F&F. That's why Holder halted not just F&F, but the entire strategy.

    It's clearly a case of the ATF acting recklessly, but to haul Holder into it at this point is kind of silly, especially since nothing links him to the planning of the operation. If the scope of the investigation was to identify Holder's level of involvement, then going after information that followed the operation's cessation and early congressional inquiries is not going to get you there. It's very clearly a fair application of executive privilege.

  •   First you talk about "Lead hysteria" (8+ / 0-)

    and then you quote someone who classifies turning over docuemnts to  congress with :information to the public".

    If revealing the names of undercover agents to congress is the same as giving them to the public, then the concern over leaks is hardly hysteria.

    Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

    by Inland on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:53:27 AM PDT

  •  I don't know all that I should know (8+ / 0-)

    about this in order to respond to your diary.

    In some ways I agree that there should not only transparency, but accountability.  In other ways I look upon this as more of the same, a republican campaign strategy.

    This committee is acting upon the advice of the NRA and a radio talk show host who are asserting that the Obama administration wants to take away gun owner rights if he wins a second term.  They don't care that the program went wrong or that it was Bush who initiated the program.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:55:20 AM PDT

  •  Yeah, I'm done with this horseshit (23+ / 0-)

    Issa is a crook, and his reason for doing this shit is entirely political, and here you are giving cover to him.  Fuck this diary.  Recommended to un-recommend.

  •  Valerie Plame. (17+ / 0-)

    Withholding documents that might 'out' undercover operatives is perfectly reasonable, even in the face of partisan witchhunts designed to push you into such actions.

  •  Issa: March 20, 2012 (16+ / 0-)
    "We very clearly want to respect the history of executive privilege."

    http://thinkprogress.org/...

  •  No love for Issa (14+ / 0-)

    and no love for the 23 Republicans who shoved this issue into the limelight (see Maddow's report). But dumping firearms into other countries is precisely one of those actions where U.S. citizens deserve not just to hear facile rationales from mouthpieces, but to have planners forced to justify their actions publicly. (cf. Iran-Contra).

    Obama's decision to blanket this with an Executive Privilege command is meaningless in the context of security. It's not a situation where additional information is going to compromise our "security"; any potential damage was done by the ATF program itself. As with the many other examples diarist has outlined (and readers here generally ignore), the president's poor choice reflects his true feelings about transparency.

  •  I am not a supporter of this site's (7+ / 0-)

    commitment to never allow any criticism of President Obama at all or ever under penalty of ad homs and evasions, but I think President Obama's evoking of executive privilege in the face of this witch hunt is justified. As usual, however, it is weak and way late after an extended period of concessions hoping to show who is the adult in the room and maybe Issa will be stung in his conscience and be morally persuaded to act with integrity, utterly futile as shown by his first three years of doing that.  

    President Obama's secrecy and punishment of the whistle-blowers rather than the criminals exposed is well-known, but Issa's committee is solely out to defeat President Obama in November, not get to transparency about anything.

  •  I propose a live feed from the Oval Office (20+ / 0-)

    so we can see everything he's doing, when he does it.

    •  Anything less (12+ / 0-)

      would be a betrayal.

      ....no longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

      by TFinSF on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:14:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He should be forced to wear "President Cam" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TFinSF

        24/7/365, a camera with audio that can never be turned off. Even while he's dropping a deuce.

        liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

        by RockyMtnLib on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:12:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Like that new ABC series! n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TooFolkGR, TFinSF

      Romney '12: Bully for America!

      by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:19:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seriously, I think this would be a good thing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poligirl, gerrilea

      We pay the President's salary, his phone bill, his transport bill etc. Likewise for every other politician. They are all our employees.

      I have long thought that a live feed of their offices, their phone calls etc should be available for their employers at all times.

      •  Would you be OK with that if it was your desk (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        goObama, OIL GUY, TFinSF

        being surveilled? How would they keep people outside the US from watching?

        I knew someone would say "oh hey that's a great idea."

        •  Sure (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gerrilea

          If the desk was given to me by employer. If the computer on the desk was my employers. If the net connection was paid for by my employers. If the phone bill of the phone was paid by my employers, I would be fine with them snooping - I am not supposed to do anything personal on those things.

          If I don't like it, I should find another job.

      •  He's not our employee. (0+ / 0-)

        People like to say that because they can't conceive of someone being of service without being an employee.  And because they like the idea of being the boss of people they ain't.

        Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

        by Inland on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:20:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Salary (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gerrilea

          So you saying politicians aren't anyone's employees? Someone pays them a salary, right? And someone pays for all their transportation, phone bills and everything else as perks, right? And we are that someone. Ipso facto, they are our employees.

          •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

            They are officeholders.  They have powers and obligations, none of which involve taking prefers from us.  If you disagree, feel free to send apink slip to anyone you want.

            Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

            by Inland on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:20:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Recall (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gerrilea
              If you disagree, feel free to send apink slip to anyone you want.
              Yup. It's called a recall - it checks if a majority of the employers want to give a pink slip.
              •  A recall isn't a pink slip. (0+ / 0-)

                Neither is the expiration of the term.  Let me try to put it this way: you can't controld him, in fact he has power over you, not the other way around.

                As long as he is in office, he's got power adn is beyond your direction.  Your only recourse is to for him to be removed or not reelected.  Because...wait for it...an officeholder is not an employee.

                It's not just a bad analogy.  It's just false.

                Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

                by Inland on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:23:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He has limited authority we granted him. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ffour

                  They are our servants, not our masters.

                  Check the Constitution out please, show me where it says they are above those that granted them power.

                  There is no "divine right of authority" here.  We can remove it from them at any time we so chose.

                  Maybe you didn't get the memo, but this is called "self-rule".

                  -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 Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 05:50:53 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  fWhich he exercises as he likes: (0+ / 0-)

                    if you can't take the authority away at will, you're not a master and he's not a servant.

                    If you can't modify the authoiryt at will, you're not a master and he's not a servant.

                    If you can't direct him how to use his authority, you're not a master and he's not a servant.

                    Fact is, itn's not "self rule", it's a reepresentative democracy where people are elected to fill offices and THEY rule.  Your power is limited to selecxting the person in the office.  Once in the office, you've got no control beyond putting another person in the office who will, in turn, be beyond your control.

                    I don't know if you've never been a boss, never been an emloyee, or never come in contact with our form of government.

                    Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

                    by Inland on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:34:51 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  ROFL, stop it...I'm drinking my coffee! (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ffour
                      Fact is, itn's not "self rule", it's a reepresentative democracy where people are elected to fill offices and THEY rule.
                      They are put into office to do our bidding, not theirs.
                      Once in the office, you've got no control beyond putting another person in the office who will, in turn, be beyond your control.
                      We have recalls and jury nullification.  
                      I don't know if you've never been a boss, never been an emloyee, or never come in contact with our form of government.
                      When they go beyond our representation, they are taking chances that their will be another revolution.  Being a boss in the private sector is immaterial...which btw, I have been for over 20 yrs.  Besides the analogy only works if all parties agree, that's called employment at will.

                      And these public servants are employed at our will. Again, there is no divine right of rule here.

                       

                      -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 Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 09:00:38 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Um. That's sorta my point, isn't it. (0+ / 0-)

                        You put them into office and then they have the power of the office.'

                        As long as they have the office, they don't take your orders; it's the other way around.  Theyu have power over you.

                         Unless you have a really elevated idea of what a "servant" is, or you've never been an employee or an employer, you should be able to tell the difference between someone who is able to tell you to GFY once they are in office....and who regularly do....and a "servant".

                        When they go beyond our representation, they are taking chances that their will be another revolution.
                        Yeah, that's really making them take your calls, isn't it?

                           

                        Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

                        by Inland on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 02:55:20 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Okay, I have to ask this: (0+ / 0-)

                          How old are you?  Are you not reading what I posted for a reason?

                          When they get into office, they have limited authority, that authority is to follow the rules we gave them while in that capacity...it's called the Constitution.

                          If they told me to GFY, they would be out of a job, period.

                          What's frightening here is that you really have the concepts of self-rule ass backwards.  They do not dictate anything to me without my permission.  The reality here is that we do not have a constitutional republic any longer.  We no longer have servants that listen to the people...see OWS for clarifications...see the nationwide protests against TARP...see the worldwide protests against the invasion of Iraq...

                          They have lost any credibility as our servants.

                          -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 Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:10:49 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Bhahahahahahaha. (0+ / 0-)
                            They have lost any credibility as our servants.
                            Because they never were your servants.   You keep pretending that either your personal opinion, or the collective opinon of the country, means they have to do that thing.   It's not true.  

                            And for an office holder, there are no legal or constitutional checks on the powers of the office:  while the president is checked by congress, nobody can tell him how to wield his office's power, like a veto.  It's all up to him.  

                            And while you talk about removing an offfical from office, that's just a tautology.   And it doesn't even apply to offices where there's no recall and no impeachment, like every member of the legislature I can think of.

                            I'm fifty two, old enough to stop being naive and thinking that a politician's assertion of being a pulbic servant is something more than buttering himself up with false modesty.

                            Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

                            by Inland on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 07:21:00 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  PLUEAASE!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

                            http://www.thefreedictionary.com/...

                            public servant
                            n.
                            A person who holds a government position by election or appointment.
                            http://definitions.uslegal.com/...
                            Public Servant Law & Legal Definition

                            A public servant is generally a person who is employed by the government, either through appointment or election. Examples include, among others, police officers, paid and volunteer firefighters, health officers, the public works director and designees, city clerk and designees, code enforcement personnel, and other city personnel authorized to enforce city ordinances, statutes, and codes.

                            The following is one state's definition of a public servant:

                            Everyone who is a chief executive of, or a statutory officer or employee in, a Department in the Public Service is a public servant. Contractors in a Department who are not employees are not public servants. For the purposes of the Electoral Act, "public servant" is defined more broadly, notably including a person employed in the Education Service as defined in the State Sector Act.

                            We have a problem here, don't we?

                            What you believe, what I believe and what actually is.

                            What you believe is incorrect but sadly, is what has evolved in this nation...they act as rulers...they never were granted such authority...even the POTUS. He can do whatever he likes, within the bounds of the rules we gave him...

                            None of them have actually abided by those rules and the American people have become chattel in the nation their forefathers created.   Or so those that carry themselves as our rulers believe, the American people woke up under the Bush Crime Syndicate and they will never go back to sleep.

                            There will be a day of accounting for their transgressions and crimes, I pray I'm not alive to witness it.

                            The other problem here is that yes, there are over 2 million public servants that I have no direct control over even through an election.  This is the final stages of a collapsing empire, read some history for further details.

                            -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 Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 01:56:03 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

    •  right, cuz there's no room in the middle. it's (3+ / 0-)

      either total transparency on everything or total blackout on everything. /snark

      A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

      by poligirl on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:47:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't agree with you (11+ / 0-)

    The items that were subpenaed were strictly to attempt to drag the President into the circus. Look at the items they were asking for and then I think you will come to the same conclusion.

  •  Sounds like quest for transparency is onlyplaying (8+ / 0-)

    into a Rethug political vendetta. The operation was a mistake and it was ended. At some point you stop throwing fuel on the fire. What purpose is served by keeping this going?

    The rethugs were quite abusive to AG Holder.

    This is just mischief IMO.

    Speaking of transparency, how about investigating bribery and corruption of Congressmen?

  •  Everybody's being punked. (9+ / 0-)

    The Democrats are defending criticism from the Republicans about a program that was started by the Republicans who are now pretending they had nothing to do with it. One big fucking joke, and they're doing it by defending the practice of executive privilege which they criticized the Republicans for using back when they were in power and using it.

    Confused?  You will be, on the next episode of...SOAP.

    Obama 2012: For More Wars!

    by chipmo on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:51:53 AM PDT

  •  Everyone's right. (7+ / 0-)

    This is a succinct a summation as I have seen about what the point of contention is:

    Committee poised for contempt vote against Holder

    Yes, this is a political fishing expedition and a witchhunt. But that in and of itself doesn't mean that there is no there there, if you are a Republican.

    By making one demonstrably false assertion, that gun walking did not occur, to Congress in 2011, Justice opened up this can of worms.

    Issa is basically looking for evidence that the Justice Department deliberately lied to Congress in an conscious attempt to cover up a very embarrassing and botched operation. That is why he is looking specifically for "internal deliberations" after February 2011 - he wants to see collusion and a  CYA strategy being developed so that he can level obstruction, or perjury or some other charges at people in Justice.

    My opinion is that Obama's claim of executive privilege will be upheld, but that it will come at a great political cost. The right will use this to bump up the foam factor until it resembles Lucy Ricardo putting bubblbath into the dishwasher by mistake.

    The only statement you will hear from now until the elections will be "What are they covering up?".

    There are 2 possibilities:

    1. Obama is claiming executive privilege "on principle" to protect the separation of powers and the privacy of deliberations in the executive branch, as was done successfully by Cheney in keeping his pre-Iraq "this is how we're gonna carve up Iraq"discussions with the oil industry private.

    2. There is something to cover-up.

    Obviously, the Obama administration will go for option 1. Unfortunately, much of the public will jump reflexively at option #2, especially as they are whipped into a frenzy by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh , Sean Hannity and company.

    The stuff about Fast and Furious being a front to take away guns is honestly too stupid to respond to - it's right up there with Birtherism and the same folks will believe both.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:00:29 AM PDT

  •  Privilege Protects the Culpable (9+ / 0-)

    Invoking executive privilege means the White House is directly involved in Fast and Furious. If not, it's abusive use of the privilege.

    And beyond all the political one-ups-manship and angling, I personally believe that the Administration has a lot of rotten egg on its face from Fast and Furious and does not want to share culpable documents with Congress.

    Also remember that reporting has indicated that there are also apparently unnamed DoJ whistleblowers in the loop with inside proof of the coverup.

    Just part of the pattern by this Administration in obfuscating,  using state secrets to hide wrongdoing, embarrassment and illegalities (while prosecuting whistleblowers who disclose the same), and massively increasing the amount of classified to control the rest.

    Hiding on the side of secrecy simply raises more questions than it answers and in this highly charged political environment the Administration opens itself up to inopportune obstruction of justice.

    Openness and transparency have become secrecy and withholding.

    "Truth is treason in the empire of lies." - George Orwell

    by Thomas Drake on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:04:22 AM PDT

    •  "I want my lawyer" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoGoGoEverton, doroma, OIL GUY

      "So you're guilty, then.  Because only the guilty need lawyers."

      Right?

      Occupy the voting Booth!

      by anonevent on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:50:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are wrong about the law. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doroma

      Executive Privilege initially applied only to communications between the Presidnet and his advisers. The courts have expanded that to include confidential communication between executive  branch officials.

      Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

      by OIL GUY on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:25:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny isn't it...we are told that driving is a (0+ / 0-)

        privilege and can be revoked at any time...Since this is a created authority is a privilege...it can be removed whenever Congress (or the people) deems it necessary, correct???

        Don't get me wrong here, I expect my created government to abide by the same rules I must.

        Could I refuse a subpoena from Congress claiming I have a right to privacy? Or because the revelation might disclose something I believe shouldn't be known by others, for good or bad???

        Here I thought we were the good guys...we didn't act above the law or subvert the law.

        -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 Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:03:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, it doesn't: it means the WH NOW has info about (0+ / 0-)

      the operation, as part of its own investigation into it.

      Nobody is even claiming that the WH knew of the operation of the time it occurred: instead, the committee is trying to find out everything else.

      Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

      by Inland on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:23:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The timing was excellent. He tried to (7+ / 0-)

    avoid it as long as possible but once it was certain that the Committee was moving forward with the vote, the President had no choice. This was his only option for dealing with a totally political attack that is the culmination of the Republican's three year war against Holder, and by extension, Obama.

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:11:38 AM PDT

  •  Seems like a dumb strategy to me (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest, semiot, PhilK, gerrilea

    Whatever embarrassments were coming to the administration prior to this were getting buried under the general noise of bureaucratic, partisan in-fighting at the agency-congressional level in Washington. A couple of rogue federal agents fucked up and now a bunch of DC bureaucrats and Hill staffers are fighting about who gets the blame. Big deal, ho-hum, how about those Yankees.

    Now, however, we have the invocation of executive privilege, which means the President of the United States was and is personally involved, and finds the situation disconcerting enough to invoke a power to conceal things from the public normally associated with matters of national security.  I would think that gets the attention of the average citizen in a way that a botched law enforcement program never would.

    The most despicable thing about the whole sordid affair, however, is the revelation that ATF officials intended to use tragedies perpetrated with the "walked" guns as "anecdotes" supporting stronger gun regulation.

  •  Trying to reconcile (4+ / 0-)

    this diary with this piece:

    Famous Leakers Say Obama White House Leaking Too Much

    Two former government whistleblowers who have been extremely critical of the Obama administration’s unprecedented leak prosecutions tell TPM they don’t believe the Justice Department’s investigation into recent disclosures of classified national security information can be credible.

     <...>

    Both Radack and Drake drew a distinction between whistleblowers disclosing information about government wrongdoing and the more commonplace disclosure of classified information that seems to be done for political gain.

    “Just because someone waved their magic wand and made it an authorized leak — which I consider an oxymoron — that doesn’t take away from the serious nature of leaking. Other than for political gain, I can’t see why this information would be leaking out,” Radack said. “Certainly cooperating with Hollywood to make a film about Osama bin Laden seems to be done for political gain. The administration seemed happy to be talking about it and bragging about it and cooperating with Hollywood about it. It’s hard to say that’s not for political gain.”

    Drake particularly said he was “astonished” by the amount of information that came out about the bin Laden raid and said he couldn’t condone that type of leaking.

    “They couldn’t help themselves, they were just chortling in public about all this. I mean, I’m very familiar with a lot of that shadow ops from my background, you don’t talk about that stuff. Those types of operations are really deep cover, there are a lot of them, many of them are covert. You just don’t start talking about that stuff,” Drake said. “Clearly, someone has decided, very high-level — officially or unofficially or wink-wink-nod-nod — we’re going to share this with the public.”

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

    Issa is on a witchhunt. The administration shut him down, which is a good thing.
  •  Obama may be punking the GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, Don midwest

    This is a contrived scandal; there's nothing in those documents.  So why not assert privilege and get Issa, Grassley and the whole clown posse really lathered-up?  Once the Republicans are far enough out on the limb, he can waive the privilege, release the documents and expose them (once again) for the asses that they are.

  •  I wish I had more hands... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, OrganizedCrime, OIL GUY

    .. "so I could give this diary 4 thumbs down" - Rick James

    cue Rachel doing what she does best:

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    You and me will all go down in history, With a sad Statue of Liberty, And a generation that didn't agree - SoaD

    by nsdq on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:37:04 AM PDT

    •  While I love Rachel, she's full of shit on the (0+ / 0-)

      connections to the ATF wanting to create new "policy" standards...clearly she didn't read the damn emails.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/...

      On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

      “Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.”

      Did she not read Senator Feinstein's speech to the Judiciary Committee?
      Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that lax gun control laws, not Obama administration malfeasance within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF), was the real problem uncovered by Operation Fast and Furious.

      “My concern, Mr. Chairman, is there’s been a lot said about Fast and Furious, and perhaps mistakes were made, but I think this hunt for blame doesn’t really speak about the problem,” Feinstein said during the Tuesday hearing. “And the problem is, anybody can walk in and buy anything, .50-caliber weapons, sniper weapons, buy them in large amounts, and send them down to Mexico. So, the question really becomes, what do we do about this?”

      “I’ve been here 18 years,” Feinstein continued. “I’ve watched the BATF get beaten up at every turn on the road. And, candidly, it’s just not right.”

      Sorry, but I'm not missing the bait and switch that is occurring here.  The problem is that our government told gun dealers to break the law and now it's being claimed there aren't enough laws...

      Insulting.

      -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 Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:33:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of the few times (4+ / 0-)

    That the Obama Admin has more or less told the Republicans to go and get bent without saying it.

    I'm a big fan of this move, and as far as the "politics" of it, if his options were to be passive and just let the R's do whatever they want and assert their own power for ridiculous reasons or to be assertive himself and tell them "No dice, tough shit", I think it's clear that his only real option was the latter.

    Republicans and the right are always worked up over whether he breathed the right way today or had a terrorist glint in his eye or some other stupid bullshit, so he might as well do what benefits his administration the most, because his detractors are going to call him a traitor/Nazi/etc no matter what he does.

  •  I don't think the President (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, azrefugee

    evoked Executive "what ever" to hide anything.

    Honestly folks, I'm sick of the disrespect from the Right at this point, views on his use executive privilege is just a nice shinny object that is taking us away from what is really going on, and that is the total and unprecedented disrespect of this president and his administration.

    We can try to politically analyze and re-analyze it, but what I see as a lay- person /non pundit with no great political bon-a-fides as some may have, on the outside of the politi-sphere and as someone with a gift of strong intuition,  I say this is BS plain and simple.

    As Iyala Vanzant recently put it. "Call a Thing, a Thing".

    Dum Spiro Spero - While I Breathe, I Hope

    by Dancing Angel on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:41:04 AM PDT

  •  NRA letter says Holder not Obama. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, OrganizedCrime

    Why would you give the NRA and the rest of muckrackers more material? So they can change the hysteria from Holder to President Obama?

    http://nraila.org/...

  •  It's not rare! But it is rare for president Obama. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma

    Bush 6 times for similar situations. President Clinton around 11 or 12 times. MSNBC just ran the same edited video of Obama talking about using executive privilege as Fox did. Problem, they left out the last part of that statement, that shows there was no contradiction in what he did in AG Holder's case. We need smarter reporters.

    If not now when the Republicans are trying to obtain information they have no right to, than when? I say it was perfectly timed. It exposed the Republicans true motives. They found him in contempt, even though now, turning over the documents is out of AG Holder's hand.

    Yes, use executive privilege when the rightwing is on a witch hunt.

  •  There are two issues here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OrganizedCrime, Catte Nappe, OIL GUY

    1.  The general idea of executive privilege.  The constitution separates the branches to prevent one branch, or a particular person in a branch, from having too much control over another branch.  That is why Congress does not have any enforcement authority.  It's also why the President cannot send the FBI to check up on Congresspeople.

    2.  Issa.  Issa couldn't give a shit that this is about guns, drugs, Mexico, whatever.  If Holder were to give him data showing exactly how the guns traveled through Mexico, it still wouldn't be enough.  Issa wants a stained dress.  It could be about how Obama had soup when he said he had a sandwich for lunch.  Issa is on a witch hunt.

    Occupy the voting Booth!

    by anonevent on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:46:51 AM PDT

  •  How about focusing on the fact the republicans are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, OIL GUY

    Following the orders of the NRA, based on a far out rightwing racist conspiracy theorist? I don't give a dawn how many times Obama use executive privilege. He is up against a Republican controlled congress that's as radical as the white citizen's council in the jim crow era. So bullshit! Timing be dawn.

  •  If Only "Heavenly Craze" Had Waited a Day. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus

    He could have posted all of his troll comments in this diary and would have been recced for them. Dude just didn't know how to game the system here.

    I miss Speaker Pelosi :^(

    by howarddream on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:54:36 AM PDT

  •  is there a conflict of interest here? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, semiot

    The Administration justified the use of Executive Privilege by saying that these documents involve an ongoing investigation and that making these documents available to Congress would leave the gov't open to accusations that Congress unduly influenced the investigations.

    Does said investigation involve the people that your organization is defending?

    If so, then your disclaimer should probably include the fact that the government's justification was that they needed to maintain the integrity of the case against the whistle-blowers your organization is representing.

    •  Protecting whistle blowers was my 1st thought (0+ / 0-)

      As this push for more and more documents reflecting internal discussions and investigation I'm thinking - I wonder if any whistle blowers would be outed, staff who may have 'fessed up about things they saw or heard or knew who thought they would be protected.  I should be surprised that Jessalyn, the defender of whistle blowers, is taking the other side. I am coming to recognize I shouldn't be. Perhaps her agenda isn't about whistle blowers so much as opposing Obama.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:42:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Feeding gun nuts and hurting people. (0+ / 0-)

    This shit just hurts people. This is just indirect support for gun violence, these stupid Stand Your Ground laws, all of it. Look at this damn letter! They want to find some gold to link President Obama to more hysteria.

    http://nraila.org/...

  •  I hope you know, you are unintentially aiding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OIL GUY

    Romney and these NRA radical racist lunatics, don't you? I have never seen the use of executive privilege, so well timed.

  •  Executive Branch is above Congress (0+ / 0-)

    And this will be settled as the WSJ editorial board argues today...

    Holder's Many Privileges

    Obama invokes the arguments of the Bush Justice Department.

    http://online.wsj.com/...

    These document fights are invariably settled politically, and we hope this one is too. A committee voted 23-17 Wednesday to hold Mr. Holder in contempt, and if the entire House follows, the matter will be referred to a U.S. Attorney who works for the AG, who will no doubt tell him not to prosecute. Meanwhile, the American people can reach their own conclusions about Mr. Holder's credibility. His serial privilege claims make him—and now the President who is coming to his rescue—very hard to believe.

    This is a political witch hunt, and the people will see it as such with the right 30-second spot, featuring how many times President Obama has invoked privilege vs. the number of times his predecessors have done so.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:54:46 AM PDT

  •  The documents are not gemane to the issue. (0+ / 0-)

    Perfectly correct in asserting privilege.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:02:45 AM PDT

  •  Disagree. This is Obama's first assertion of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, doroma

    executive privilege, and I think it is appropriate.

    Here's a good discussion by law professor Peter Shane:  http://www.cnn.com/...

    •  Thorough and comprehensive read (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus

      Caught part of the first hour of Diane Rehm this morning on the whole issue, and many of the same points were made by one of the guests. This one, I think

      Philip Heymann
      James Barr Ames Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, former Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration
       
      http://thedianerehmshow.org/...

      BTW - they are in the second hour now, on the filibuster. I look forward to listening to that one later tonight, or via transcript when available.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:35:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The heart of the matter goes back to the creation (0+ / 0-)

    of the program. In this diary, there's a discussion about the complete lack of oversight built into the program. Some oversight was at least attempted to be put in through bills. Obviously, those bills failed or weren't enough.

    If there were enough oversight given to Congress, regardless of the party, then this particular witch hunt wouldn't have been necessary.

    As far as the diarist's assertions about using executive privilege and timing, I remember an interview with 60 Minutes prior to the 2008 election in which Obama was asked whether he supported the extension of the Patriot Act (or other such power to spy on Americans in the name of protection of the country). He wanted to change the act but in the years following signed extensions to it with no changes. Does this make him a bad president? As the diarist has stated over and over again in the comments, no, although I think the issue with the particular executive privilege action is not to silence whistleblowers but to stop the orchestrated political theatre organized by Issa. Obama's choosing some of the same mechanisms that other presidents have used to either bypass congressional gridlock, avoid a political piefight, or effectively ignore congress' intent of a law.When a mechanism like privilege or signing statements is used for that third sense by ANY president, I've got issues with that.

    We have three equal branches of government for a reason, but we live in an era where all three are politicized battlefields.

    •  The issue is transparency. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheMomCat, allenjo, gerrilea

      Our government's goal should be to provide the public with information on its actions that is as transparent as possible.  Obama's use of executive privilege, his extension of the Patriot Act, and his prosecution of more people under the Espionage Act than all other presidents combined all work against this goal.  As I said:

      Real transparency means releasing both positive and negative information through official government channels, not "leaking" details of positive government actions to certain reporters while subpoenaing unfavorable reporters, prosecuting whistleblowers, and asserting executive privilege.

      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 Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:03:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it's unfortunate (0+ / 0-)

    that these things can't be debated on their merits. For issa and his ilk this is clearly hypocritical political posturing. Of course calls for the bushies to cooperate with congress were out of bounds or criminalizing politics

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:58:11 AM PDT

  •  yep... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kitebro

    Releasing the docs would stop it right away...

    I remember away back in Spring 2011...The birthers were full tilt.. Led by proctogeologist Donnie Trump..

    Hey..appease the crazies and re-release that official Birthy thing..

    and..as I remember it worked... Everyone stopped calling him our "illegal President". Not ONE elected official continued to spout the crazy.. Fox inc.. humiliated, never ..ever..addressed President Obama's birth again...

    Because it did work last time to appease a crazy conspiracy ... it will work again... yep!

    Every goddamn day I think about Bradley Manning!

  •  oh yeah.. (0+ / 0-)

    I am with Rachel with this

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

    Every goddamn day I think about Bradley Manning!

  •  Was for Executive Privilege Before Against It (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheMomCat, allenjo, 2020adam, gerrilea

    In an interview with Larry King back in 2007, then Senator Obama said the following regarding the Bush Administration exercising Executive Privilege (not enumerated in the Constitution, by the way) over the firing of US attorneys at the time.

    "There has been a tendency on the part of [the Bush] administration to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there’s something a little shaky taking place. The [Bush] administration would be best served by coming clean on this. There doesn’t seem to be any national security issues involved. . . ."

    The problem for President Obama is that Attorney General Eric Holder has said over and over again that Fast and Furious had no connection to the White House. If so, how can the President then claim Executive Privilege?

    Begs the question - who knew and when did they know it?

    Guess the Administration would rather play politics instead of coming clean.

    "Truth is treason in the empire of lies." - George Orwell

    by Thomas Drake on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 11:41:43 AM PDT

  •  Damnit Jesselyn, consistency is for racists! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea

    You can't keep talking about transparency like this, just because it's what you have advocated for and believed in for years. Any true patriot knows principles are only important when it's the wrong party is violating them.

    If President Obama thinks it's necessary to continue the Bush Administration's cover-up of a botched program that gave weapons to narco terrorists, I think we have to support him on that, because... um... Darrel Issa!!1!1

  •  Food fight! Food fight! (0+ / 0-)

    Instead of HRing each other (Courtesy Kos please take note), it would be more interesting to me to examine the legal theories advanced by Issa and Holder (and Obama).

    The Administration position is that Issa is asking for documents not related to how Fast and Furious operated (which have already been provided), but concerning communications among DoJ officials of a kind that the Supreme Court has ruled may be protected in some cases, whether you don't like it, or not.

    Issa has failed to advance a legal theory of any more weight than, "Obama! Holder! They're Black! and Democrat Commies who are going to gut the Second Amendment!" or "I want what I want when I want it, and no uppity Cabinet member can talk to me like that." That is of course not literally what he says, except for the Second Amendment part, but my views on Dog Whistle code in Republican politics are no secret here on dKos.

    This story is all over the Right wing blogs, in exactly the same words.

    Congressman Darrell Issa – Second Amendment Hero

    Last week, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a 44-page memorandum to members of his committee outlining the instances in which Attorney General Eric Holder perjured himself before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which Rep. Issa chairs...Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Janet Napolitano have historically shown themselves to be radically anti-gun. And the Fast and Furious debacle is just the latest instance of this.
    The Conspiracy Theory in question is that Holder et al. set up F&F to fail as the basis for new laws outlawing all gun ownership. The tiny kernel of truth at the heart of this Big Lie is that some Progressives have indeed called for background checks at the kind of currently-unregulated gun shows where F&F had their wares peddled. As we have been calling for such regulation for decades.

    Well, actually there are some Progressives who call for the repeal of the Second Amendment in its entirety, and one of them told Issa so to his face on TV, but we know that Obama is no Progressive. (I favor requiring gun owners to be militia members, and having the FBI hold ballistics samples for all guns.)

    Fortunately for the Republic, a Contempt of Congress citation has never been enforced with the legal penalties, a fine of up to $1,000, and up to 12 months in prison. Issa would have to get the House to go to court. Not impossible, but legally meaningless in the context of the November elections. An attempt to fine or arrest Holder would be met with an instant court challenge, and would have to go to the Supreme Court.

    Obama and Holder agree that F&F was a mess, and should have been shut down sooner, and in fact that the Bush Administration should never have done something so stupid in the first place. It was a bureaucratic boondoggle in which those concerned went to some trouble to cover their tracks, so that the higher-ups could not tell what was going on through channels, and we needed a whistleblower.

    Does anybody claim that Holder and Obama tried to keep the program going after the disaster was revealed? Other than increasingly Wingnuttier Republicans, that is.

    Busting the Dog Whistle code.

    by Mokurai on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 02:09:47 PM PDT

    •  Gotta get the facts straight (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea

      The facts of Fast and Furious are hard to accept on first read - as in what were they thinking??

      Admittedly the Repubs are making hay of it, but Admin not helping itself either.

       Executive privilege  isn’t even in the Constitution. 

      It has not been clearly defined by even the Supreme Court, although they left the door open for interpreting it as including senior officials.

      And using it has historically been a way for Administration to keep witnesses and/or documents away from the prying eyes of Congressional investigators.

      And remember that it was ATF whistleblowers who exposed the gun walking scandal.

      AG Holder did refuse to turn over certain documents.

      Executive Privilege keeps these docs withheld - for now.

      The question is why?

      It was back in 2009, that the government  instructed Arizona gun sellers to illegally sell arms to suspected criminals.

      In other words, they were directed to break the law!

      Then ATF agents were ordered NOT to stop the ILLEGAL gun sales and simply  allow the guns to “walk” across the border into the arms of Mexican drug-traffickers. 

      And Fast and Furious was born.

      Important to state that the Bush Administration had a similar program called Operation Wide Receiver.

      Difference?

      It used "controlled delivery,” or a form of a sting operation where they would allow an illegal gun sale to  take place, follow the movements of the arms, and then pounce on the criminals.

      However,  Fast and Furious employed "uncontrolled delivery,” where the criminals just dropped off the radar.

      In addition, Wide Receiver was done with the cooperation of the Mexican government, where Fast and Furious was not.

      So tracing the arms under Fast Furious  became hard until they started showing up at bloody crime scenes with MANY Mexicans having died after getting shot by ATF sanctioned guns.

      Scandal went public when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry  was killed by one of these 'walked' guns in a firefight. 

      Then ATF whistleblowers came forward implicating the Department of Justice with the  program that not just endangered the lives of US citizens but also aided and abetted a narco-civil war.

      Now executive privilege is usually associated with protecting information associated with the White House.

      Executive privilege has been invoked 24 times since Reagan and yet Holder’s invoking  executive privilege makes no reference to White House involvement in Fast and Furious.

      The coverup can be worse than the scandal!

      Remember Watergate?

      The guilt was in obstructing justice.

      With Holder invoking executive privilege it creates the sucking sound of a swamp that he won't drain.

      As  far as Fast and Furious?

      An authorized illegal program that became totally disconnected from reality.

      "Truth is treason in the empire of lies." - George Orwell

      by Thomas Drake on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:32:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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