Another Obama Recess Appointment For Someone Not Named Johnsen

President Obama has announced yet another recess appointment; the courtesy and propriety that he would not give to Dawn Johnsen:

President Barack Obama, frustrated by Republican obstruction of key administration staffing appointments, will use his power to appoint his pick to run Medicare and Medicaid while the U.S. Congress is in recess, the White House said on Tuesday.

Obama will make the appointment on Wednesday of Dr. Donald Berwick, a healthcare expert he nominated in April to run the vast federal medical programs for poor and elderly Americans, according to White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.

Obama has found the inner spine to recess appoint NLRB member Craig Becker along with 14 other people to a variety of positions from the DOJ to Treasury Department, has stated he will do so for militarized spook James Clapper (who neither side seems to like), and now Donald Berwick.

Obama seems to consider Berwick critical:

Berwick’s appointment as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) place him at the heart of Obama’s historic healthcare reform, and the role was too vital to leave unfilled, Pfeiffer said.

“CMS has been without a permanent administrator since 2006, and even many Republicans have called on the Administration to move to quickly to name a permanent head,” he said.

Dan Pfeiffer and the White House are full of dung. If “many Republicans” were clamoring for his nominee, even a couple in the Senate, he would not need to recess appoint. What is truly stunning though is that Obama considers this position critical, but not the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, the body that is supposed to be the legal conscience of an administration. Equally galling is the fact the White House trots out the excuse that “CMS has been without a permanent administrator since 2006”. Four years is too long for CMS, but six years is no problem for the critical Office of Legal Counsel? Really?

As I have repeatedly explained and demonstrated with facts and evidence, Barack Obama had 60 votes for confirmation of Dawn Johnsen to head OLC for the entire second half of last year and sat on her nomination, refusing to even call a vote. The fact that Obama flat out refused to even consider a recess nomination for Dawn Johnsen to an office dying for real leadership, and that he will use the recess appointment power anywhere and everywhere else, ought to be proof to any doubters that the sole reason Dawn Johnsen is not leading the OLC is because Barack Obama did not want her there.

For a President intent on granting retroactive FISA immunity to criminally complicit telecoms, asserting endless claims of “state secrecy” to cover up crimes of the Bush/Cheney Administration, suppressing torture photos, tapes and evidence, ordering the indefinite detentions without trial or due process and ordering the extra-judicial assassination of remote targets (including American citizens), well I guess a person of Dawn Johnsen’s morals and ethics indeed might not be convenient. Even given that, why did the White House engage in such crass duplicity with the country and hang Dawn Johnsen out to dry for so long? Why won’t anybody ask that question of them and demand a legitimate answer?

  1. thatvisionthing says:

    why did the White House engage in such crass duplicity with the country and hang Dawn Johnsen out to dry for so long?

    Keeps her tied up and not working when/where he doesn’t want her to work? My obvious guess.

    My one hope out of this? I watched Amy Goodman’s special last night, an hour with Michael Moore, and he told this story:

    MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I started my first newspaper in fourth grade. And the nuns shut it down after a few issues. And so, I restarted it in sixth grade, and they shut it down then. And I restarted it in eighth grade, and then the priest, the bishop, they all got involved in it, to try and stop me from putting this little newspaper out. So—

    Starting there, he goes on to start a little newspaper in Flint, and he goes backstage at a concert to see Harry Chapin to see if he would give a benefit to help fund it.

    I told him what was going on in Flint. It was ignored, being ignored by the rest of the country. Thousands of people were losing their jobs. But nobody was really talking about—you know, other than the steel industry, everything, at least on the surface, seemed to be pretty hunky dory then in the, you know, late ’70s. So he came to Flint every year and did a huge benefit concert for us, and it funded the paper for us. And that’s how I was able to do that for ten years. And it was great.

    And we did a lot of things. And we were raided by the police, because of the story we were doing on the mayor. He sent the police literally to the printing press in Lapeer, Michigan, and went in, walked in with a warrant that they got from a judge, and seized the plates off the printing press as it was printing our paper, and literally took the plates and all the papers that had already been printed. And so, it caused a big ruckus, and it, you know, made the national news and all that. And then some congressman asked me to come and testify about passing a shield law, which was eventually passed. And it was pretty much based on the raid at our paper and this CBS affiliate—I think it was in Boise, Idaho—that also was raided by the police. And it was a law that—a federal law that was passed to prohibit police—they just simply cannot enter a newsroom unless they’re literally chasing a murder suspect that’s just happened to run into the newsroom. So, you know, it was a fairly strong law, and it was good. And so, those are kind of my early experiences with it.

    And I tell you, I appreciate the nuns for trying to put the clamp on it, because it really just made me want to do it more. And so, I’m grateful to them.

    Imagine what Dawn Johnsen might achieve now and eventually be grateful to Obama for, with this much incentive. The cat’s in the cradle.

    So I hope.

  2. Jeff Kaye says:

    While goin’ the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
    While goin’ the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
    While goin’ the road to sweet Athy
    A stick in me hand and a drop in me eye
    A doleful damsel I heard cry,
    Johnny I hardly knew ye.
    With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
    With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
    With your drums and guns and drums and guns
    The enemy nearly slew ye
    Oh my darling dear, Ye look so queer
    Johnny I hardly knew ye.


  3. person1597 says:

    Weak leadership, policy mistakes and a smoking ruin of trust in government has brought the bitterness of deflated expectations. Enraged at the missed opportunity, progressives grieve over justice denied.

    No pivot from tyranny means no calm to disquiet. The status-quo can only self destruct as rotted DC deadwood buckles in failure.

    When the midterms prick residual complacency, two petulant parties will intensify partisan rancor resulting in further systemic abuse. The failure mode is economic dissipation and the cause is plenary corrosion.

    Until smash and grab Republican looting is brought to heel (and the FDIC is the financial system) real change is delayed. As expectations deflate, so too will patience for the center-right world view.

    Meanwhile, progressives can reconstruct trust in governance and social infrastructure through reinvention. A full and transparent accounting of government policy abuse will take time but must be sustained until the toxin is purged. Our hearts and minds are chilled by institutionalized information asymmetry.

    This is the wall that must be torn down but its masters must first go broke. That will take several more years of economic drawdown but then change comes as a tidal wave as world polity rises from the ash heap of hubris. This is the inevitable future. To survive is to sustain.

    • timr says:

      OR, the sheeple simply continue to vote for the rethugs because they believe the propaganda put forth by the MSM and the nation continues its slide down into the garbage heap of history. Meanwhile the multicorps continue to steal the treasure of the US and the rethugs undo all the safty nets built by FDR so that SS and medicare simply disappear.

      The rethugs say what they want to do but the sheeple, being sheeple, vote to turn themselves into debt slaves anyway.

      Welcome to the 21st century.

      While the rest of the industrial world advances, the US goes backwards into the 19t century. Big business owns the US govt, writes the laws to give themselves more while ensuring that their workers have less.

      Used to be that you could buy a car in 36 months. That was before wage stagnation during price inflation. Back in the day I made about 12K a year. My wife did not work outside the home, yet I was able to buy not only 2 cars but also a house with 5acres. 2600sf, 4br 2bath, full basement. Built in 1870, remodeled in 1975, purchased by me in 1981 for 15K-sold in 2003 for 275K.

      Most car loans now run 60 months, some longer. My last car, bought in 2003 was priced at 45K, after dickering and various discounts, I paid $32K. A 60 month loan for an american mid sized car,a car that cost 2 times more than a house cost 30 years ago.

      Yet while prices increased over the past 30 years, wages did not-for most of us.

      One of my kids bought a 900sf house in LA for 230K and thought they got a great deal.

      And we wonder where we went wrong. We went wrong when wages failed to keep up with prices, turning us all into debt slaves. I was making good money from the FedGov when I retired and my retirement is sufficient. However, if I was working in the private sector I would have to work until age 67(I am not in the SS system)and would not be able to collect a defined retirement but would just have a 401K and Social Security.

      Where did we go off the rails? When did the rethug idea that unions were bad become the thinking of the vast majority of americans? How did the corporations manage to brainwash people into believing that we did not deserve good wages for good work?

      What happened? My father never earned more than $8K a year his entire life-a union seaman-and had a violent strike in the early 60s that almost doubled his yearly pay. Yet we had a large home-6br in town, a lakeside cottage, and a couple of cars. So, were the 50s/60s the best of times for the american worker?

      By 1966 still in HS, I had a 2 year old car and a new Honda motorcycle that I paid for by working-as a union member-at a A&P grocery store.

      Things have gone downhill for the american worker over the last 30 years yet we have become so docile that the corps feel no reason to keep wages near to prices. Unions have become, just like the word “liberals” something that is bad.

      The rethugs with their relentless propaganda succeeded in making “liberal” into a curse word. They are now doing the same for unions.

      I feel bad for my children and have succeeded so far in talking 1 of them into moving to another country and have still another sending off paperwork to emigrate.2 down and 2 to go.

      Because I do not think that the future of the US is going to be good. Far better to go to a country that will give the wages due a skilled worker

      The countries of the Pacific Rim are the places to go, unlike the US these countries are going up and rapidly moving into the 21st century unlike the US, stuck in a past that never existed except on TV.

      • person1597 says:

        Thanks for taking the time to respond to my thoughts.

        Your comprehensive overview of the situation rings my memory bells in a similar way. Heck — I still have my 1968 Honda 90! Plus, my first job paid about the same as yours. I quit when I couldn’t get the raise I wanted and went out on my own. I made more money as a consultant and was able to build towards a future retirement. That is, until the dot com bubble burst and had to live off savings with a family. I haven’t recovered the income and doubt I can as an aging worker. So I took up art.

        But the thing that gets my goat and makes me take the time to write comments is that the system is supposed to be “by the people, for the people”. That pretty much ended during the Bush administration and is now a festering boil on the body politic. I like Obama (compared to Bush), but I’m afraid his point of view has been co-opted by those powers that be who seek to maintain continuity at the expense of a nation in need.

        Progressives are willing to put their vision to work but gaining traction is not easy on this slippery slope to fascism. The failures of the last administration have yet to be rectified and this administration will face even stronger headwinds from a desperate but vicious right wing which only creates drag causing the spiral into oblivion.

        Both wings have to fly or else we augur in. When that happens, we have to build a better designed machine that actually goes up instead of just down.

  4. BayStateLibrul says:

    Indeed. Baffling question.

    But I find this more inconsistent, how come no “sound and fury” from Dawn.

    Isn’t she pissed seeing the red light on the end of Obama’s dock?

  5. harpie says:

    The nomination of Dawn Johnsen to head OLC was the only thing about Obamaco I allowed myself to feel some optimism about.

    I know better now.

    But, still,

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up.”-attributed to Lily Tomlin

  6. fatster says:

    Talk about cynical, harpie, can you believe that Eric and Tony may soon be neighbors?

    O/T : BP chief [Tony Hayward] visits home of top sovereign wealth fund


  7. allan says:

    O/T, but not too much: Search for new judge moving slowly

    In 2008 U.S. District Court Judge David G. Larimer announced his plans to assume “senior status” — a retirement of sorts for federal judges that allows them to still hear cases.

    That decision, Larimer assumed, would jumpstart a process to bring a new federal judge to Rochester [NY], an individual who could help with the caseload of nearly 1,000 cases now handled by the federal bench here.

    He’s still waiting.

    • Kassandra says:

      Berwick, by all reports, believes in healthcare rationing. i hope that answers your question.

      • Teddy Partridge says:

        No, Berwick admits America rations health care already.

        He only proposes we have an honest conversation about it, which starts with the admission that we currently do ration health care. We can’t really have a health care conversation without admitting that to ourselves.

        He never proposed rationing, only asked that America own up to the rationing we already do.

  8. bluewombat says:

    Obama represented the triumph of identity politics, not liberalism or Constitutional Democracy.

    It was important for him to nominate Dawn Johnsen as a wink and a nod to liberals and Constitutionalists that he feels our pain. It was important for her not to be confirmed, as she might actual do something about restoring Constitutional democracy.

    So Obama covered all his bases by nominating her and making sure she didn’t get confirmed. My, he’s a clever politician, isn’t he?

    • Ann in AZ says:

      My, he’s a clever politician, isn’t he?

      Well, except for the fact that he’s been so transparently disingenuous! I’m a liberal, and I don’t feel all his winking and nodding has any effect but to make the President look more and more like a sock puppet of the high and mighty corporations and whoever the powers that be actually are. It doesn’t look like it’s our elected officials have any powers that have not been up for sale to the highest bidder for decades, perhaps longer.

    • Teddy Partridge says:

      It was also important to silence her, which nominating her did. One of the most articulate and well-respected critics of Bush horrors was muted while Obama expanded the horrific abuses of the Bush era.

      Win-win, really, for our imperial overlords.

  9. puppethead says:

    Obama didn’t want Johnsen because she speaks out against torture. Not only would that “tie hands” in the administration to continue such things, but it might make the whole “don’t-look-back-at-criminals-unless-you’re-a-whistleblower” stance more difficult. And I’m sure she’d have made things uncomfortable for Obama the chickenhawk by finding drone attacks are war crimes.

  10. b2020 says:

    Oh weeee, the king has not graced our favorite. Is this going to come up with every single recess appointment?

    Johnsen could have cut him off at the knees after the first opportunity for a recess appointment expired. She could have given him all the grief he deserves after the first nomination expired. Yes, it was obviously not a priority for him to have her confirmed, but then, it was not that much of a priority for her either – or too much of a priority?

    Just how badly would any decent person want a job in the 2nd All-American Torture, Detention and Assassination Administration? Isn’t there a point where a nomination should be withdrawn on, say, May 21, 2009 – National Archive speech – instead of a year later?

    By their sponsors know them. Obama’s corruption was obvious from his being sponsored by Daschle and Lieberman. In turn, anybody he does exert himself to get to join his cabal is tainted by virtue of that selection and support alone.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Obama proclaims he has the right to assassinate anyone, and no one with any power calls him on it and says no you can’t. Yet he can’t get his own choice for his own lawyer into office? What’s up with that? Of course she might have been the one person who would have said something about his so-called right to assassinate. The fail is complete.

  11. seabos84 says:

    It is the problem of being part of appx. 4,700,000/238,000,000 for how many years?

    that 4.7 million are people in 2007 with money income OVER $150,000.
    BTW, there were about 187,000,000 with money income UNDER $50,000, AND,
    there were about 214,000,000 with money income UNDER $75,000.

    they are DIFFERENT than U$ in the bottom. they don’t live like U$, they don’t think like U$, and, in all truthiness, they don’t give a fuck about U$.


  12. fwdpost says:

    Obama sometimes acts like a person who has been obsessed with seeking approval from everyone all his life.

    • Hugh says:

      Obama sometimes acts like a person who has been obsessed with seeking approval from everyone all his life

      It’s pretty clear he doesn’t feel the need to seek the approval of progressives.

  13. jedimsnbcko19 says:

    Obama actions are important, his words are not important.

    Dawn Johnsen should have been appointed day 1.

    Obama finds the time to campaign for Blanche Lincoln.

    Obama find the time to bash labor unions

    Just like the teacher union woke up and realized this week that this is not the change they voted for in 2008

  14. victortruex says:

    Hugh — Thanks. You make so many cogent points that many times you save me from having to post.

  15. mattcarmody says:

    “By the people, for the people” did not end during Bush’s term. It might have been less hidden and was kind of in your face what with Halliburton and Cheney and Blackwater getting contracts even after killing innocent people, but this has been going on for decades.

    Barry Goldwater and his band of John Birchers hated unions and Goldwater helped to make Arizona the first state in the country with right to work laws on the books. Arizona was, and still is, the first state to push for America First legislation. What I’m saying is that the anti-union trend goes all the way back to the end of WWII, to 1946 when there were strikes all over the country after the veterans came home and manufacturers decided they couldn’t afford full employment.

    Our economic system was destroyed in 1971 when Nixon ended Bretton Woods with the help of Volcker, Pete Peterson, George Schultz, and Caspar Weinberger, among others.

    The Democratic Party helped to destroy unions in this country by allowing corporations to move away from their responsibilities to their workers, to walk away from their pension obligations to the workers, to go to places like South Carolina moving textile work from New England to right to work states in the south and midwest. That progressed to moving jobs overseas and then entire factories so that we have no effective manufacturing base.

    I got out of the Marine Corps in 1973 and went to work. I saw every day how the people representing me in the workplace were working hand in glove with my supervisors. Gave me all the education I needed in how the union movement had been perverted and was working against us. When I got involved in workplace democracy and working against the local hierarchy I really saw how the two units worked as one.

    This isn’t a recent phenomenon what’s happening in this country. It’s been going on since the beginning of the industrial revolution and we can get an idea for where we’re headed by reading Dickens, or Germinal by Zola, actually anything by Zola, or Balzac. It’s that kind of life that “they” have in mind for us.

    Just look around.