Attorney General Calls FOIA Requests 'Harassment' During Long Rant About How Much It Sucks To Be Running The Nation

from the sit-your-whiny-ass-down dept

I've never seen a Presidential administration so thoroughly pissed off it's in power. Despite having his boy in the White House and a Senate majority, the DOJ's top man spent most of a memorial lecture complaining about how hard it is to be in charge.

Attorney General William Barr's main complaint -- which runs for a majority of his speech to the Federalist Society -- is that the Executive Branch just doesn't have enough power. Barr believes one part of the co-equal government should be more equal than the others.

The most telling moment is this: Barr believes things began to go downhill for the Executive Branch during an administration that made the best case for limiting Presidential power.

I am concerned that the deck has become stacked against the Executive. Since the mid-60s, there has been a steady grinding down of the Executive branch’s authority, that accelerated after Watergate. More and more, the President’s ability to act in areas in which he has discretion has become smothered by the encroachments of the other branches.

Using a president that resigned on the verge of impeachment as an example of the "weakening" of the Executive Branch may be timely, but it's also amazingly tone deaf. A person who provided a clear example of how dangerous an unchecked Executive could be really shouldn't be touted in mid-bemoanment of the current state of affairs… unless you're arguing for fewer checks and balances, which is what Barr is doing.

Barr also conveniently glosses over the expansion of the Executive Branch's powers following the 9/11 attacks. It also glosses over Barr's unilateral expansion of the DOJ's powers under his leadership back in 1992. His complaints aren't backed by facts. They're only backed by Barr's bitterness, which is aimed at Congressional leaders, who are investigating the President, and at the nation's courts, which have shot down a few of the president's immigration edicts.

But it goes further than an angry man shaking his fist at checks and balances. Barr also takes a shot at the Freedom of Information Act -- yet another way the Executive Branch is somehow being screwed. The most powerful executive branch in the world is being "harassed" by citizens.

The costs of this constant harassment are real. For example, we all understand that confidential communications and a private, internal deliberative process are essential for all of our branches of government to properly function. Congress and the Judiciary know this well, as both have taken great pains to shield their own internal communications from public inspection. There is no FOIA for Congress or the Courts. Yet Congress has happily created a regime that allows the public to seek whatever documents it wants from the Executive Branch at the same time that individual congressional committees spend their days trying to publicize the Executive’s internal decisional process. That process cannot function properly if it is public, nor is it productive to have our government devoting enormous resources to squabbling about what becomes public and when, rather than doing the work of the people.

All of this is true (minus the editorializing). The public can seek documents from Executive Branch agencies like the DOJ. However, they cannot seek documents directly from the President. Congress is exempt from most FOIA requests. So is the judicial branch, although the presumption of an open court does tend to make the concept of public records requests redundant. (Citizens can sue for the release of sealed documents though.)

This isn't harassment. Quite possibly the agencies Barr is speaking for -- 15 agencies, including the State Department, DHS, DOJ, and DoD -- view FOIA requests as "harassment." But it's not. It's something a 1967 law established to make the government more accountable and transparent. Barr feels this mandatory openness is bullshit. Worse, he claims this is somehow partisan bullshit that unfairly targets his president and his executive agencies, overlooking the fact that this same "harassment" has "targeted" other Executive Branches for more than 50 years.

Barr's speech is nothing more than a preacher whining to the converted that life is unfair. He seems to have bought into Trump's mistaken belief that being in charge should prevent criticism, accountability, or professional responsibility. Barr is about as unhinged as Trump, but he doesn't have the excuse that he's new to the job. Trump was elevated into the Oval Office after a lifetime of grandiose real estate failures and a stint as the host of a successful "reality" show. But Barr is a g-man with plenty of government experience. He knows how all of this really works. He's just angry it doesn't work the way he wants it to. He's a dangerous man in a position with a lot of power. He's abused the office before. His attitude toward the public suggests he's willing to abuse it again.

Filed Under: doj, executive branch, executive power, foia, william barr
Companies: federalist society


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:08am

    Don't think for a second that Barr is acting in good faith.

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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:08am

    "I am concerned that the deck has become stacked against the Executive. Since the mid-60s, there has been a steady grinding down of the Executive branch’s authority, that accelerated after Watergate. More and more, the President’s ability to act in areas in which he has discretion has become smothered by the encroachments of the other branches."

    Clearly Barr is from that multiverse in which POTUS powers is decreasing.
    When is he going move to this one?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      I'd be happy if he'd move to THAT one and leave us alone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      bt, 20 Nov 2019 @ 1:23pm

      Re:

      Barr displays what can only be described as a siege mentality. When you break it down, for Barr, it all starts in the terrible 1960’s. When the awful hippies ruined everything (nothing to do with diminishment of the executive I will point out).

      And now, 50 years later, despite winning lots of elections along the way, the sense that these people have is that they are losing their battle, year after year, gay wedding cake by gay wedding cake.

      What you see in a guy like Barr is a terrible and gnawing frustration. Like when Scalia complained in a dejected tone the other day that mainstream law firms won’t argue the legal points that Conservatives are trying to sell any more. They’re just really mad about all of this and anger leads people to do all sorts of things. If you think you are fighting for you life and that the Republic is in Danger, and I DO think that conservatives like Barr think this, nothing is off limits, and that’s why you see so much duplicity and bad faith and outright dishonesty in their actions.

      They'll prop up an unfit President, whatever, they can't be fussy, it's the Flight 93 Election. With a powerful executive they can make things happen without bothering with legislation, because deep down they believe they will not prevail in obtaining the legislation they want.

      When they whine about the barbarians who sill stop at nothing to advance their agenda it’s pure projection. It lets them justify their own lack of honesty and scruples to themselves and to the Tribe.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 1:34pm

      Re:

      Must be one of those alternative facts

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:09am

    Short term thinking begets short term solutions

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    It sure seems Barr wants Executive power to be not just absolute, but absolutely unassailable. The march toward an authoritarian regime staggers forward as power flows from the people to the government. What is poorly anticipated, but probably actually unstoppable is that the government derives its power from the people and they won't, in the end, relinquish it entirely. There may be many, maybe even a majority of apathetic constituents, but they will only remain so until the machinations of the government actually touches them.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:38am

      Re: Short term thinking begets short term solutions

      As a counter-point:

      China.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re: Short term thinking begets short term solutions

        China largely never had government deriving power from the people, rather moving from one noble class to the next. Hong Kong did experience government derived from the people and when the main government stopped the policy of seperate government 15+ years early, we see violent protests.

        I think AAC is optimistic in his assessment about the populace fighting facist takeover, but I think he misses the other short-sighted part of Barr, who rails against progressives and leftists. That in all likelihood a leftist will hold that power within 6 years, and he is going to HATE that.

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        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 4:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Short term thinking begets short term solutions

          Can someone please stick him in an old folks home where he can yell at clouds and watch Matlock?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 2:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Short term thinking begets short term solutions

          "Hong Kong did experience government derived from the people and when the main government stopped the policy of seperate government 15+ years early, we see violent protests."

          You could argue that the people of hong Kong had 20+ more years of pretend democracy than they could reasonably expect.

          "I think AAC is optimistic in his assessment about the populace fighting facist takeover..."

          Because the only times in history where that succeeds is when the fascists are unable to properly project force to where it's needed.
          India and the US managed to divorce themselves from the british empire only because in the end it's a ruinous and ineffective undertaking to try to ship enough armies across an ocean to consolidate and secure an entire continent.
          France and Russia only succeeded in their revolution because the centralized power was decadent to the point where it fell apart with a single push.

          Sadly, well-planned autocratic rule works quite well as long as the leadership and executive arm remains effective and subjects less than half of the population to inhumane oppression.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 4:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Short term thinking begets short term solutions

            France and Russia only succeeded in their revolution because the centralized power was decadent to the point where it fell apart with a single push.

            Hardly a single push, especially in the case of France, who had to go through Napoleon in power twice. The Revolutions podcast give the history of the twists and turns of various revolutions, which as often as not exchanged one tyrant for another.

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            • icon
              Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 8:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Short term thinking begets short term soluti

              That's why I'm not keen on revolutions. Those Americans who advocate for violent uprising have never been on the receiving end of a revolution that ended in a reign of terror that lasted for decades as the new ruling elite fought to consolidate their hold on power.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 9:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Short term thinking begets short term so

                We've been at war for nearly the entire existence of our country. We have seen that.

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                • icon
                  Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 4:20am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Short term thinking begets short ter

                  True, but in a society where it ain't a problem till it's my problem, expect no change.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 9:03am

      Re: Short term thinking begets short term solutions

      It sure seems Barr wants Executive power to be not just absolute, but absolutely unassailable.

      "President Trump’s private attorney said [on October 23rd] that the president could not be investigated or prosecuted as long as he is in the White House, even for shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue."

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/ny-based-appeals-court-to-decide-whe ther-manhattan-da-can-get-trumps-tax-returns/2019/10/22/8c491346-ef6e-11e9-8693-f487e46784aa_story.h tml?tid=lk_inline_manual_2

      And of course Trump also claims that Congress has no authority to impeach him either.

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      • icon
        Thad (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 7:27am

        Re: Re: Short term thinking begets short term solutions

        One of the things about Trump that amazes me (not in a good way) is that he'll ramble on and on about his powers under Article II and it doesn't even seem to occur to him that the existence of an Article II implies there must be an Article I.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 9:51am

      Re: Short term thinking begets short term solutions

      There may be many, maybe even a majority of apathetic constituents, but they will only remain so until the machinations of the government actually touches them.

      I seem to recall a few people saying something similar. Let me see... oh yeah, here it is:

      all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

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  • icon
    Thad (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:10am

    I've never seen a Presidential administration so thoroughly pissed off it's in power.

    I dunno, Bush spent a good portion of one of the 2004 debates whining about how hard it is to be president.

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  • identicon
    bt, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:15am

    The Worst Part is...

    That guys like Barr, spouting their doctrine of the Unitary Executive and unlimited Executive Powers, only seem to show up when there is a Republican President. John Yoo also comes to mind, he of the torture papers; there are many others.

    Who all seem to disappear into the woodwork as soon as the other Party is in The White House. Then's it's back to the separation of powers, checks and balances, constant hugging of the sacred Constitution, and constant criticism of executive overreach. Suddenly using Gmail or lying about a blowjob is totally disqualifying and certainly impeachable.

    Such complete and total intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy gives the game away completely. If they didn't have Fox News and all the rest of them salting the earth it wouldn't work at all.

    The shorter story: when a Republican President does it, it's always legal. This goes back to at least Nixon in Watergate. When a Democrat President does it, it's always Treason.

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    • identicon
      Agammamon, 20 Nov 2019 @ 10:20pm

      Re: The Worst Part is...

      That is . . . so incorrect.

      Let's not forget Obama's 'I have a pen and a phone' to start with. Then there's his drone matrix. And the 'no boots on the ground' war in Libya.

      Both sides of the aisle are very much about unitary, omnipotent, Executive power - when their guy is in office.

      When the other guy is in office he's just supposed to sit there and do nothing while they pelt him with rotten tomatos.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 6:47am

        Re: Re: The Worst Part is...

        Both sides bullshit does not cut the mustard.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re: The Worst Part is...

        Hey bro the museum has kindy asked you several times to put that whataboutobama back in the display case you found it in.

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        • identicon
          Agammamon, 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:49am

          Re: Re: Re: The Worst Part is...

          Hey bro, when someone comes out and says only one side is doing something, its appropriate to point out the other side does it too.

          That's not whataboutism

          Whataboutism is using someone else doing something shitty to justify doing the same shitty thing.

          Both Democrats and Republicans are equally shitty on pretty much every issue and both party's people will use any dirty trick to advance their own agendas and stymie that of the other side.

          Recognizing that its not just one party is a step in the direction of stopping it from happening.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 1:42pm

      Re: The Worst Part is...

      It's not just Republicans. The Democrats have their equivalent as well -- for example, Obama ran to undo the perceived abuses of power committed by his predecessor in the office. Obama not only didn't reverse those policies, once he had the power he found them to be pretty neat and used them as a starting point, not a limit to his own authority.

      Most of the people howling about how Bush was abusing power and should be impeached for it strangely had no problems with Obama doing worse things of the same nature. Some even went so far as to claim that Obama's skin color was the only possible reason for anyone to dislike his politics or abuses of power.

      Both sides will scream for impeachment for behavior that they condone when their side does it. And it's getting more vicious and vitriolic with every year.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:20am

    That's rather a rich complaint coming from the head of an agency that has repeatedly harassed private citizens for such offenses as possession of plants, downloading journal articles, and being poor. In the case of Aaron Swartz the DOJ overcharged him to obtain a plea deal, a standard practice that is used to deprive citizens of their due process rights, to the point that he committed suicide. Not to mention the countless patsies talked into drug or terrorism plots manufactured out of whole cloth by the FBI and their informants with imaginary amounts of drugs and use of weapons designed to maximize potential sentences. Maybe if the DOJ didn't resort to such deplorable tactics they wouldn't be in the position of being subject to "harassment" via FOIA request.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:35am

    You are dealing with a Trump crony. What else could possibly be expected?

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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:35am

    in related news...

    Cockroaches don't like the light.

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  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:45am

    It's almost as though people like Barr abuse every single scrap of power they're given and the only way to stop them, or even to make them think twice about doing so is to expose their activities to the harsh light of day. If he wanted the benefit of the doubt he wouldn't have consistently been a partisan hack hellbent on hiding and excusing criminal activity by the rich and powerful since the first Bush administration.

    People like Barr are why no-one in politics deserves to receive the benefit of the doubt just because they're in power, they've abused the public's trust for far too long.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 12:03pm

    No discovery in sector of public health either

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/300aa-12

    U.S. Code
    >Title 42. THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE
    >Chapter 6A. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE
    >Subchapter XIX. VACCINES
    >Part 2. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
    >Subpart a. program requirements
    >Section 300aa–12. Court jurisdiction

    (E) provide for limitations on discovery and allow the special masters to replace the usual rules of discovery in civil actions in the United States Court of Federal Claims...

    (v) may conduct such hearings as may be reasonable and necessary.

    There may be no discovery in a proceeding on a petition other than the discovery required by the special master.

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  • icon
    hij (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 12:14pm

    We used to argue that the DOJ was not independent enough

    In previous administrations politicians used to argue that the DOJ was not independent enough from the administration. Things like whether or not a candidate's spouse having even a brief meeting with the Attorney General was enough to send people in a tizzy.

    The current Attorney General has blown past that a long time ago. He has been openly carrying out the bidding of the administration and politicians. Now he is going so far as to make political appeals to advocate for and increase the powers the administration can use to achieve their goals and to decrease oversight of one of the three branches of government.

    Unfortunately, this is just one more outrageous example of a civil servant who chooses not to serve his constituents, and it will be ignored or soon forgotten. The visibility of all this has been reduced to zero due to so much crap being flung that there is simply not enough head space to see, think, or consider a fraction of the chaos going on around the US.

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  • identicon
    Valkor, 20 Nov 2019 @ 12:29pm

    Not "co-equal"

    For the record, the three branches of our government are not the Holy Trinity, coequal in power and glory. As written and as intended, the Congress is clearly the most powerful, and the executive is arguably the least powerful. The Congress has spent the last 210 years pushing as much responsibility off of themselves as possible, starting in 1810 with the cargo of the Brig Aurora...

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    • identicon
      bt, 20 Nov 2019 @ 2:18pm

      Re: Not "co-equal"

      This is so true and nowhere more so than in the War-Making.

      Congress has repeatedly punted on war issues ever since WWII. They leave it to the President and when it goes south, they piss on the President without ever bothering to take a vote on the war in question.


      A Quick Question for the legal people: If a Treaty is only binding after the Senate ratifies it, is the President allowed to abrogate a Treaty without the assent of Congress?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 2:54pm

        Re: Re: Not "co-equal"

        A Quick Question for the legal people: If a Treaty is only binding after the Senate ratifies it, is the President allowed to abrogate a Treaty without the assent of Congress?

        IANAL Recently the Supreme Court overturned its precedent that native American treaties were invalid if the state wants to abrogate terms. So states can't terminate treaties with internal laws.

        They have also ruled that Native Americans that were de-recognized as "federally recognized tribes" don't lose their rights under the treaty unless the congress specifically terminates the treaty. That means if you are a native American descended from a tribe you still have all the rights of your treaties even if the federal government doesn't recognize a tribal government.

        The other lawsuit on the issue was Congress members trying to get a ruling that the President couldn't terminate and de-recognize the Republic of China to establish relations with the People's Republic of China. The courts ruled that Congress had the option to impeach the President for unilaterally overturning a treaty but didn't have any recourse in the courts. Since the ROC didn't sue the issue of whether the treaty was actually overturned is unsettled.

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        • identicon
          Lone Watie, 21 Nov 2019 @ 6:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Not "co-equal"

          We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.

          I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender. They have him pulling a wagon up in Kansas, I bet.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 3:42pm

        Re: Re: Not "co-equal"

        Also that has technically been true since the quasi war in 1798.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 1:11pm

    OK Beria

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 4:22am

      Re:

      If Trump collapsed and was lying in a pool of his own pee, I can totally see Barr leaving him there to stew for hours before calling a doctor.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 1:40pm

    "individual congressional committees spend their days trying to publicize the Executive’s internal decisional process. That process cannot function properly if it is public"

    And here I thought congress was just doing their job.
    I think what he is saying is that government, in his eyes, can not function when everyone knows about all the crimes being committed.

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  • identicon
    Cyberkender, 20 Nov 2019 @ 2:19pm

    If it's really that bad, Mr. AG....

    ...you could always resign.
    I think it would be a dis-Barr-ment that America would benefit from.

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  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 2:55pm

    Oh, the poor widdle baby...

    Seriously, if obeying and enforcing the law is just too much work for you, WHY are you working in a law enforcement field?!?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 2:32am

      Re: Oh, the poor widdle baby...

      "Seriously, if obeying and enforcing the law is just too much work for you, WHY are you working in a law enforcement field?!?"

      I suppose he got into the job after watching a few Edgar J. Hoover documentaries and is now disillusioned that contemporary reality stays short of rendering him a plenipotentiary able to have every democrat on US soil incarcerated as a potential pinko commie traitor.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:21am

      Re: Oh, the poor widdle baby...

      "enforcing the law"
      in reference to the present AG .... lol

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 4:57pm

    Congress is open to any that go there///

    There is an area for the public, unless they are having a closed session..
    Cspan and even YT have Neat sections showing Those that come after hours to DEBATE with themselves...even ask for Votes, while few to none others are there..

    What (IMO) seems to come to a problem...
    The location of Wash DC was based on 200 years ago, and a (somewhat ) central, Cheap land Location..
    Love to move this Out into a field near the central USA NOW..
    The amount of room allocated for the public is based on 1790's buildings and what the USA was back them.. they couldnt handle 10th of 1% of the people of this nation showing up to watch..

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 6:15pm

    Time to break out the nano violin again...

    Oh the poor oppressed noble, what a terrible thing having to tell the public what you're doing instead of being able to hide it all(mind, I simply cannot imagine why he'd want something like that...).

    If he doesn't like the fact that working for the government can include having to show the public what you're doing then the solution is simple: Get out of government work.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 9:07pm

      Re: Time to break out the nano violin again...

      It's funny that the same people pissing and moaning about how hard it is to run the government will lose their shit when it's suggested that maybe someone else should take over.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 12:06pm

      Re: Time to break out the nano violin again...

      With a Nose in every ones business...why arent they Looking into some of the corps..
      How long did it take to Catch Enron?? 10-15 years??
      Becasue Someone got a hair up the wazoo and ASKED WTF is this bill for??

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  • identicon
    Agammamon, 20 Nov 2019 @ 10:14pm

    I'm not sure why government agents are so up in arms over FOIA. If you've done nothing wrong then you've nothing to worry about, right?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:30am

    Gosh, I liked his speech. I watched the whole thing. He was eloquent. I teared up.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 3:51am

    He's talking to the Federalist Society, but why is no one citing this:

    we all understand that confidential communications and a private, internal deliberative process are essential for all of our branches of government to properly function.

    I contend that this is crap. Why do your deliberations need to be hidden from the public? Sure, there may be some cases, but if it is more generally the case, then you are an autocracy, not a democracy !!

    And, while we're on the topic of Public Officials and Private Citizens, you claim your secretive Public Officials need 'confidential communications' and also claim that Private Citizens cant have confidential (encrypted) communications!

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    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      Indeed. One rule for the peasants, another for the masters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Agammamon, 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      The only reason is that sometimes (oftimes) someone, feeling comfortable in that privacy and among likeminded people, will suggest some fucking awful or horrifying solution to a 'problem', safe in the knowledge that, at worst, the idea will be shelved as impractical but he'll get a reputation as a ruthless dude. At best he'll get a promotion for ruthless managing an issue.

      While if he knows these deliberations will be public at some point, these people might start to think twice about things like 'hey, let's just classify all brown males between the ages of 15 and 55 as combatants and then we can tell the public that we're not droning civilians!'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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