Annie took me to task for thanking Thomas Tamm and pointing up the need for whistleblowers. Cujo359 answered her quite well, but I’m going to expand on that a bit here.
First off, I have blown the whistle. I lost my job over it. So I guess that makes two of us.
Secondly, silence does fuck-all to help anyone. Noise gets attention. And attention sometimes leads to people who can help:
The bottom line is that Tom Tamm blowing the whistle is probably the linchpin behind us knowing what we do about the egregious unconstitutional and illegal actions of the Bushies. Tamm coming forward at this time may also prove to be critical in forming Judge Walker’s mind on his review of the immunity assertion.
A lot of readers have asked about how to donate to Tamm’s legal defense fund. In that regard, I contacted Mr. Tamm’s attorney, Paul Kemp and obtained the information; here is the response:
Hi [bmaz]. Thanks for your inquiry. The address of the defense fund
Thomas Tamm Legal Defense Fund
Bank of Georgetown
5236 44th Street
Washington, DC 20015.
Tom appreciates your support and that of your readers. [Some
unrelated chit chat on another matter redacted]
Paul F. Kemp
Irrespective of his precise personal motivations, Tom Tamm has done the Constitution, the Fourth Amendment, the rule of law and all of us a favor by exposing the rank lawlessness of the elected leaders of this country. If you see fit, send him a few bucks to lighten the load he has taken on.
Thirdly, even if not accompanied by fundraising, getting stories like Mr. Tamm’s out in the open accomplishes a great many things. It’s called consciousness-raising. Whistleblowers go through hell and back in part because people don’t know enough to care. They don’t realize what comes after that whistle’s blown. They don’t stop to think about the consequences of silence. Making some noise means that regular people become aware of both, and can take action. They’ll see the need to pressure lawmakers to pass legislation that will put heavy penalties in place for retaliation, for one thing. And who knows? Maybe the writer of the story can’t help directly, but maybe one of the readers is in a position to offer a job, or representation, or any one of a dozen necessary things.
Fourthly, what the fuck am I supposed to do? Ignore the sacrifice? Not even say “thank you”? Show no appreciation whatsoever for the person who brought abuses to light, thus making me aware and empowered? You may not feel the same way, Annie, but plenty of people find at least a bit of comfort in knowing that there are people who appreciate that sacrifice and are grateful for it. I know I did. And it felt good doing the right thing, even though I got shafted for it.
And finally, I’ll stand by my call for more people to come forward and reveal abuses. It’s up to the individual to decide if the risks are worth it, but I have no compunction about calling for people to bring light to dark caves. Even if all I have to offer in turn is gratitude, my sympathy for the hell they’ll go through, and my ability to kick up a fuss in the blogosphere on their behalf.
No one ever promised it would be easy. No one ever promised virtue would be rewarded, and evil punished. But I believe the greater evil is to let fear and risk silence us in the face of outrageous abuses.
I don’t imagine, after your experience, that any of that will hold any water with you, Annie. On this one thing, we may have to acknowledge an impasse and move on.