Friday, 22 May 2009

Obama Signing Statement Weakens “Whistle-Blower” Protections

When he signed into law a $410 billion omnibus spending bill on March 10, President Barack Obama included a "signing statement" weakening a rider in the bill that would have given protection to government officials who turn over information to Congress.

As a candidate for the presidency, Obama campaigned in favor of broad protection for federal whistle-blowers and against the sort of presidential signing statements that, under the Bush administration, had eviscerated the intent of congressional legislation.

The traditional purpose of signing statements was largely symbolic or pertained to the practical implementation of new laws by federal employees. President Bush used this mechanism more than 1,200 times—a record by far—to interpret and substantially alter the intent of laws, effectively usurping power from both the legislative branch of the government, which the Constitution tasks with creating laws, and from the judicial, which is invested with the power to interpret laws.

Prior to the Reagan administration, all previous presidents used the signing statement only 75 times combined—mostly for celebratory purposes.

It's not what Obama says, it's what he does. So far many of his actions mimic those of the previous Administration. Furthermore, it appears that the President is considering a preventive detention plan so that the US may hold suspected enemies in prison indefinitely.

Existing US Laws, before the Bush years, were more than adequate in dealing with criminal activity. These moves are an attempt at building up tyrannical, detention-without-trial powers that I fully expect will be used upon unruly US citizens in the near future. When times get really tough how many people, who disagree with US government policy, will end up in a FEMA camp at the King's/President's pleasure ?

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, May 22nd, 2009.]

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