Sunday, June 23, 2013

Scandals and Secrets

Well, to some skeptics, the Obama Administration is on the verge of going into a “tailspin.” Suddenly an administration that had ‘nary a scandal during the whole first term, is now mired in them. Of course it all depends on how you define “scandal”. Dictionary .com  defines scandal as a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance,  or an offense caused by a fault or misdeed. It does not define it as taking the blame for circumstances that already existed before you became President.
I am elder enough to remember President Nixon’s Watergate scandal. I was in high school, and did not understand the whole story, but I was told that the President “lied to the people.” A two-bit burglary mushroomed into a scandal that eventually made a President resign from office. I recall the arms for hostages incident back in the1980’s, and I remember seeing a lieutenant colonel take all the heat for the wrongdoings of the Reagan Administration. I always said that this scandal was much worse than Watergate ever was….but like Teflon it slid off of Mr. Reagan, and even to this day, it’s not mentioned very often.
The Clinton administration scandal involved sex, of course. I recall the grandfatherly CBS correspondent, Bob Schieffer reading the graphic sexual descriptions in front of the Supreme Court….even I was embarrassed for him. This lead to Mr. Clinton’s impeachment….but today he remains one of our most popular Presidents.
My take on the Obama scandals is that they are a distraction. The President was elected on a clear mandate from the people on last November. He was and is on a clear path to getting things done that he was blocked from during his first administration. Things like immigration reform, Obamacare (which the Republicans have tried to block at least 39 times), gun control, jobs, sequestration, etc., etc, etc. Now ALL of a sudden these, so-called scandals take precedence.
The Republicans are still talking about Benghazi. A very unfortunate and very tragic incident, where we had four diplomats, to include an ambassador, to get killed. It’s true that the administration may have awkwardly tried to explain what happened on the Sunday talk shows…..but I think that it hardly qualifies as a scandal. A U.S. Embassy was attacked. Even if security had been “beefed up”, as we are told was requested….the embassy would have still been attacked. Probably with the same consequences.
A Senate subcommittee spent three days investigating the IRS, and why they  had closely investigated tea party related groups who wanted 501c status.  Investigations by the Internal Revenue Service are nothing new. The IRS has investigated and audited groups and individuals since it came into existence. But these groups…some with undisguised intent to overthrow the government….feel that it’s unfair that they were singled out. What is not mentioned in the news is that none of these groups , as far as I know,were denied non-profit status. What is mentioned and shown by the the media is footage of these rhythmically challenged IRS employees trying to learn the “Cupid Shuffle”. (my wife and I laugh every time we see that video) My question is….where is the scandal?
The last one that I will mention is the fact that the National Security Agency (NSA), listens to our phone calls and monitors our emails. (although the President assures me that they don’t…..I may differ with him on that) My take on that is …..”DUH”….that’s why they are called the National Security Agency. I am certain that every time that I pass by NSA on my way to Fort Meade, that they know who I am. Again…this is nothing new. The Bush Administration signed The Patriot Act after the tragedies of 9-11, authorizing NSA to monitor phone traffic. No one seemed to have a problem with it then. I doubt seriously if the Obama administration is using NSA any more aggressively.  If he is, it has worked, because it has kept the terrorists at bay….and besides my phone calls are pretty boring.
The recent admission by a federal contractor named Edward Snowden that he is the person who leaked the details of the NSA workings has not helped matters any. As of this writing he is running around the world seeking asylum….from the USA. The question is, is this a black eye for the administration, or is this just some guy who has broken the law?
I’m sure this will play out like an episode of the old sitcom “Run Buddy Run” in the upcoming weeks. Is this Snowden guy a traitor or a whistleblower….who is seeking asylum? Time will tell.

In local good news:
My friend Tom Coale officially entered the race for Delegate for 9B. Gridlock between Bethesda and Columbia kept me away from his announcement, but we wish him luck.  I was able to attend Janet Siddiqui’s announcement that she will  seek to be the newest member of Team 13. She will be seeking the  delegate seat currently held by my buddy Guy Guzzone.  Guy announced at his annual pizza party that he will be seeking the state Senate seat, currently held by my friend Jim Robey, who has announced his retirement. 2014, is going to be a busy year!


  1. He is a whistleblower. If this has happened during the Bush Administration, the Democratic Party would have been outraged at this government over-reach, and we would be supporting Snowden. But now because Obama is President, we are giving him a pass on things like the Patriot Act. Obama is no different than Bush.

    1. But he's whistleblowing about something that has been ongoing since the Bush administration and probably beyond. As an NSA employee or contractor, I'm certain he had to take an oath, or somehow assure the agency that he could be trusted with secrets. At a minimum, he compromised that trust by exposing them. I'm not willing to fully label him as a traitor, maybe his intentions were noble. But he did break the law. I still think that Obama is much different than a longshot. But actually being the President does put him in situations that his supporters may not fully agree with. Thanks for reading my blog Corey!

    2. We, of course, knew of the Patriot Act, but PRISM was not known to the public until this month. In your blog post, you write that no one seemed to have a problem with the Patriot Act when it was passed. If you remember, there was actually quite a bit of outrage, most of which still exists today. Secondly, the Patriot Act was passed when our legislators and much of the general public were in panic after 9-11.

      Keep in mind that our Founders were breaking the law and were even labelled traitors when they declared their independence. Simply because it is the law does not make it right thing to do. The Patriot Act, PRISM, warrantless wire-tapping, etc. are unconstitutional breaches of privacy. It is not only right that he expose these programs, it is his duty as an American citizen.

  2. One of my main problems with Edward Snowden is that his actions seem to be motivated in large part with his "disappointment" in President Obama, and disagreement over his policies. There is no debate that the NSA actions are legal, probably constitutional, and began well before Obama took office. This program wasn't a secret, and was clearly helping the country safe from suspected terrorists. Who is America in 2013 thinks that who they call and to whom they send an email is secret and private. Even the terrorists know they can't send emails to each other over the internet. This is not similar to the Pentagon Papers revelations about the Vietnam War, or the whistle-blowing on some nefarious illegal wiretapping program of domestic dissidents or political opponents.