Skip to comments.President Obama should do what he says about secrecy (MSM awakening?)
Posted on 07/06/2009 7:15:19 AM PDT by IbJensen
OUR OPINION: President Obama promised transparency but often sides with secrecy
As a candidate for president, Sen. Barack Obama vowed to run an open government. He reiterated that pledge on Inauguration Day: ''Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,'' he said.
Nearly six months later, advocates of open government are still waiting for the president to fulfill this promise. Compared to the Bush presidency, this administration is doing better. But what President Obama has done, compared to what he said he would do, are two different things, thanks in part to the unequivocal language he used and the expections he raised.
Ended Ashcroft order
The president deserves credit for taking action on his first day in office to rescind a 2001 memo by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft giving agencies broad legal cover to reject public disclosure requests. He also revoked an executive order signed by former President George W. Bush in 2001 that limited release of former presidents' records, and replaced it with new language aimed at more transparency.
Ending unnecessary secrecy, however, has apparently proven tougher than the president expected. He has come down on the side of keeping the public uninformed in a variety of decisions that, as a candidate, he might well have scorned.
One of the most troubling instances occurred last month, involving White House refusal to turn over White House visitor logs by coal industry executives. An organization called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a lawsuit, saying the Obama White House is essentially embracing the Bush administration position on the secrecy of the comings and goings of visitors to the executive mansion.
This makes for a murky transparency policy.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said lawyers were reviewing the policy regarding the release of visitor logs. They should start by reading the well-publicized ''memorandum of transparency'' that President Obama signed on his first day in office.
The president said open government was a way to hold government accountable, ``so that the American people can know exactly what decisions are being made, how they're being made, and whether their interests are being well served.''
Nice words, but if the White House doesn't stop hiding the logs, no one else in government can be expected to take the disclosure policy seriously.
The president's record of open government has fallen short of fulfillment most often on issues involving national security.
The White House agreed to release memorandums detailing the alleged torture of detainees, sparking criticism from former Bush administration officials. But in other instances the president has either embraced Mr. Bush's positions or changed his mind about following through on promises of disclosure.
At first, the White House said it would support the release of photos of detainee abuse but later reversed course and decided to leave it up to the courts. Concerns about secrecy and repercussions are valid, but passing the buck to the courts on this issue does not add to the president's credibility regarding disclosure.
The White House has also continued the Bush administration's objections to the release of an interview that former Vice President Dick Cheney gave to the FBI during its investigation of the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. Again emulating the Bush administration, the current occupant of the White House has moved to dismiss lawsuits seeking White House e-mails from the past several years.
Using legal tactic
Mr. Obama's administration has not hesitated to fight disclosure in court, either. In May, it supported the ''state secrecy'' doctrine in a case involving a lawsuit against a government contractor by five victims of ``extraordinary rendition.''
This is the legal tactic that says the government can prevent the courts from hearing claims by those who say they were hurt by federal actions -- because the need for state secrecy requires it.
That is exactly the same position the Bush administration took, a policy that allows government to evade the accountability that Mr. Obama vowed to champion. In turning down the administration's appeal, a judge noted that the policy is often a convenient way for governments to hide politically embarrassing information.
The administration claims it has valid reasons in each of these instances to opt for secrecy, but the pattern is both disappointing and a far cry from what Mr. Obama led voters to believe during the campaign.
The government has a legitimate right to protect certain information. But the record indicates that given a choice between disclosure and secrecy, Mr. Obama is falling into the appalling habit of hiding the facts.
Yeah, how is that “open government” plan working for the state-run commedia? They know something is is not being explained, and they perhaps miss (or totally overlook) half of what is actually happening. Have you seen any reports of the various “tea parties” around the country? Is there an UNBIASED poll about ANYTHING that is being taken or reported?
Are you feeling good yet?
A perfect example of an assertion contrary to evidence.
Compared to the Bush presidency, this administration is doing better.
A perfect example of an assertion contrary to evidence.
An astounding misrepresentation on the part of our non-biased media. LIE, to us yokels!
“But ... he never does what he says. These people have to realize that you never pay attention to what he says. “
I was talking to a friend of mine over the weekend. Reasonably bright guy, in the trades, so he tends to side with Democrats. More often then not, he has reasons for his stands. He tends to be logical, even if at times his logic is flawed.
We started talking about Fox news. He told me how Fox was unreliable and totally hard right wing. I told him of things that were reported by Fox that never made the SRM. He grudgingly agreed, but still couldn’t come to admit that Fox is a legitimate news source. Then I pointed to Obama, his lies, and how Fox is seemingly the only news outlet keeping tabs on the lies and broken promises. Again, he grudingly agreed, but it had little impact. He still thinks Obama is ok, and might even be good. He sees nothing good in the GOP, (I’m not sure he’s too far off on that one), and still thinks Fox is the clown network.
This from a moderate Democrat. I know in the past he has voted Republican. He voted for GWB in his first term. He was going to vote McCain until McCain just didn’t carry himself well in the debates, at times looking very old and confused.
It’s going to be a tough battle if this guy is any indication.
Adversity builds character. Meaning, it's a good thing the battle is tough.
We knew where George Bush was born.
What a load of BS.
When do we get to see the Manchurian candidate's birth certificate? His college records?
Our friends in the media can't bring themselves to take a swipe at 0 without Bush's name thrown in for cover.
This is the sort of thing which really shows how effective the MSM really is. I know people who think that Fox is staffed by slobbering, rightwing extremists who make no attempt at reporting the news -- they just dream up lies. These people also tend to think that Sarah Palin is perhaps th dumbest woman on the planet.
Very, very hard to make headway in such a climate.
two things I think are at work here...
1)Certain more astute members of the MSM are foreseeing the coming Obama credibility crash, and are taking steps to get a foothold on the beachhead of deniability before it happens. (the vast majority though are still as clueless as cattle in the slaughterhouse chute)
2)The Euro press has not swallowed the Obama Kool-Aid to the extent that our domestic MSM has, and this disconnect places them under various forms of uncomfortable pressure as they so much desire to be part of the “world community”.
However, they'd better start attacking the secrecy that is going on in the White House. Obambi thinks he's a law unto himself.
Don’t count on an awakening. Note tagline.
The leftist worldview, however, includes the notion that the elite leadership has to be given arbitrary power and be excluded from the rules they impose on others,
because the end result is so desirable and can only be achieved through the direction of the elite.
Who’s President Obama?
Members of the corporate media live in their own world - actually, they think they rule the world, now. Things do not bode well for Obambi. Sure, it won’t be as bad as if he were a conservative, but I’m seeing signs that the honeymoon is definitely over.
He is the African-Kenyan who now leads the pack of pansies who rule and ruin your life and your nation's economy.
Or did you mean President Davis?
That would be ironic.
Wait ‘till people start disappearing off the streets. No opponents for the annointed one.
El Presidente Sore-Toe-o.