My Turn: ‘Nothing to see here, move along now’

By From page A4 | July 10, 2013

A classic phrase of this administration (and most administrations) given to the people to conceal various mistakes and more recently some whopping incompetence is finally meeting resistance. Why has the left-leaning media decided to focus on these high-level intrigues? And let’s be fair, the media most certainly has scrutinized every Republican presidency far more than Obama’s administration. Is it a sudden epiphany, is it the growing list of scandals, or is it the new revelation of a huge phone-tapping, e-mail-grabbing dragnet designed to ensnare and prosecute Associated Press (AP) reporters? Most likely it’s for all the above reasons, and so much for the “free press” and the First Amendment.

Finally Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, are finding there is something to see here, and no they are not going to just “move along.” Thanks to a growing force of brave and courageous whistleblowers, the full spectrum of the media is energized and is not just going to dismiss monumental scandals as, “contrived by Republicans.” The incredulity of this administration’s department heads to obfuscate, conspire and persist in the dodge and denial tactics, to say, “I don’t know, never got the memo, and didn’t know about it till I saw it on the news” is unparalleled. It is the most shameful display of across the board cowardice in modern history.

OK, so who are the real role models for Americans? Examples of integrity, truth and backbone, hard work and accountability do exist still. But is it the cabal of Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, Janet Napolitano, Susan Rice, Ken Salazar, Steven Miller, Lois Lerner … et al?

Or might it be the group of Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty who were left adrift in a foreign land by this administration and died bravely in the face of militant Islam performing their duties? And Brian Terry, murdered while protecting our borders with one of thousands of assault weapons secretly supplied to Mexican drug cartels by Eric Holder’s office. What about those who not only showed bravery in the arena of terrorism, but now have come forth in the face of administrative reprisal and testified to the truth about Benghazi and much more? Americans such as Mark Thompson, Greg Hicks, Eric Nordstrom, Dr. Paul Houser and a country full of honorable men and women willing to shoulder responsibility and speak truthfully on a daily basis.

Remember Houser? Probably not because the media chose to not mention a recent scandal in the Department of the Interior, where Secretary Ken Salazar quietly stepped down, and Science Integrity Officer Dr. Paul Houser was fired for speaking the truth. Yes. Salazar’s office chose to ignore and suppress their own scientific studies indicating the removal of four Klamath River dams were not in the best interests of the nation.

Only the interests of Salazar, six Indian tribes and a handful of enviro groups were presented as justification to remove the dams until Houser spoke up and exposed the biased science. He saved the dams but lost his job, but he also presented evidence revealing the full spectrum of science and the mechanism to guarantee its integrity is corrupt all the way to the top:

• Evidence of intentional falsification: motivated by Secretary Salazar’s publicly stated intention to issue a Secretarial determination in favor of removing four dams on the Klamath River (due on March 31, 2012).
• Evidence of intentionally circumventing policy that ensures the integrity of science and scholarship, and actions that compromise scientific and scholarly integrity. Part 305 DM Chapter 3 establishes a scientific code of conduct (section 3.7).
• Evidence that codes and positions serve as shills only, codes written for their appearance of compliance to highest standards. Positions created only for their appearance of compliance to highest standards.
• Evidence of reprisal: That scientists hired to fill the position of “Scientific Integrity Officer,” were terminated for doing their defined job, and not “playing ball.”
• Evidence of deceptive practices: Management knowingly accepted and forwarded biased or false assessments, ignoring later opportunities to correct same for controversial projects like the Klamath Dams Restoration and Removal project.
• Evidence of creating undiscoverable records for the purpose of hiding facts from the public is a common practice. This practices effectively nullifies the Freedom of Information Act.

Houser deserves no less than full recognition for his honorable and commendable integrity in the face of such difficult circumstances, a gold medal achievement. He is part of that group of Americans, the real role models we must recognize and hold in highest esteem.

So, what don’t we know, what other significant scandals are just around the corner waiting for some brave whistleblower to step up to the plate? Perhaps it is you. “We the people” are unique in that liberty and justice are not just words, it is our heritage, our ethos and for any administration to usurp these principles is simply un-American and needs to be weeded out. With today’s disgraceful leadership, wouldn’t it be great to have a national Whistleblower Day … to honor a few real heroes. And to celebrate that day on President’s Day seems rather fitting, kind of a reminder for our future presidents and office holders.

Rod Kerr is retired with 30 years of service at the California Department of Food Agriculture and with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Rod Kerr

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