Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What happened to "transparency"? Obama's administration far more secretive than Bush's

From Neal Boortz:


I want you to take a moment to try and absorb this quote. Read it carefully.

"The way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable and the way to hold it accountable is to make it transparent so that the American people can know exactly what decisions are being made, how they are being made and whether their interests are being well-served. The directives I am giving my administration today on how to interpret the Freedom of Information Act will do just that. For a long time now, there has been too much secrecy in this city. The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over. Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known ... the mere fact that you have the legal power to keep something secret doesn't mean you should always use it."

You will not be shocked to learn that this quote is from the Community Organizer, Barack Obama from January of 2009. Why dig this up? Because of this ... a report from the AP found that Barack Obama's administration has failed to live up to this promise and is, in fact, far more secretive than the Bush administration. This is based on the government's track record under the Freedom of Information Act, which is considered the principle measurement of transparent decision-making. It found, "In fiscal year 2009, 17 major governmental agencies refused to release information, claiming legal exemptions, 466,872 times, an increase of nearly 50 percent from the previous year, according to a review of requests conducted by The Associated Press.... The AP examined the 2008 and 2009 budget year FOIA reports from the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Federal Reserve Board."

So much for that change you could believe in. Ok, consider this next quote. This is from the Community Organizer in November of 2008:

"It's no coincidence that one of the most secretive administrations in our history has favored special interests and pursued policies that could not stand up to the sunlight. As president I am going to change that."

Based on the AP report above, I wonder how Obama feels about "secretive" administrations now. And speaking of "secretive," how about Obama's behind-closed-doors deals with labor unions? Need a little refresher on how the labor unions got a special kickback in Obamacare legislation?

Okay ... so let's move on to another quote. (This is so much fun) This one is also from the Community Organizer in January of 2009:

"Let me say it as clear as I can: transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of my administration."

Could this current charade over healthcare make that statement any more of a joke? I mean, just last night we had Congressman David Dreier of the House Rules Committee ask that cameras be in place during healthcare meetings in the Rules Committee so that Americans could see these deals being made. Dreier says:

"We've been asking for months for cameras to be installed in the Rules Committee hearing room and now the American people understand why it's so necessary ... With proposals like the Slaughter Solution being embraced by Speaker Pelosi, the American people now understand, the Rules Committee is being used to manipulate the process to avoid accountability and transparency. If the Majority is going to insist on hiding votes on bills behind rules, the least they could do is let the American people watch the action."

Folks, if what the Democrats are doing is considered legal and ethical, then what do they have to hide? Why not let you be the judge? I'll tell you why - because they know that you will disapprove.

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