Transparent: For America’s Sake

Transparency. It’s the opposite of secrecy. It’s a principle that has long term effects on formulation of American law and way of life.  The lack of  transparency impacts what happens to you, your children and your grandchildren. This post aims to shed light on actions that run counter to words spoken by elected leaders who are in charge of our future for the next four years. It is meant as an alarm to urge you to keep a watchful eye on YOUR interests–those that have an affect beyond your daily life, those that may modify your life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on a grand scale.

My agenda is not to promote certain legislation. My agenda is to open your eyes to look at a bigger picture. Pull back the curtain in Oz and look at what is happening behind the scenes. Don’t choose ignorance.

Quotes:

Obama said the way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable. And the way to make government accountable is to make it transparent 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.

–Rediff India Abroad

 I’m not going to pretend that before this week that I know much  about Swartz — a computer prodigy who created a website that evolved into the  popular Reddit site at age 14, and then campaigned for freedom of information  over the Internet, fighting against the Internet-copyright bill known as SOPA  through a group called Demand Progress. He was well-known to the community of  activists seeking to reduce government restrictions on the flow of information,  if not to the broader public. But the broader battles that he devoted his  all-too-brief life to fighting — against a government that is way too invested  in conducting its business in secret and in limiting information to the select  few — are familiar to most of us.

–philly.com, January 15, 2013

In April 2010,  President Barack Obama’s then-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that “this is the most transparent administration in the history of our country.”

–reason.com

In his letter last week formally requesting that President Obama invoke executive privilege in the Fast and Furious scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder fretted that turning over documents sought by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee raised “substantial separation of powers concerns” and could “create an imbalance in the relationship between these two co-equal branches of government.”

Just last week, the National Security Agency refused to provide Congress with a rough estimate of how many Americans have had their communications monitored by the agency since 2008, on the grounds that revealing that information might violate Americans’ privacy. As a result, my colleague Jim Harper lamented, “Congress has no idea what the NSA is doing.”

As it happens, the Obama team’s executive privilege claim in Fast and Furious is exceptionally flimsy. The president claims “deliberative process privilege,” the weakest form of the privilege, about which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has held “where there is reason to believe the documents sought may shed light on government misconduct, ‘the privilege is routinely denied.’ “

–reason.com, June 26, 2012

Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House Web site for five days.

–from President Obama’s transition web site, change.gov

Northampton, Massachusetts became the first city in New England to pass a resolution rejecting the NDAA on February 16, 2012. William Newman, Director for the ACLU in Western Massachusetts, said, “We have a country based on laws and process and fairness. This law is an absolute affront to those principles that make America a free nation“.[31]

and

Nine states have introduced bills aiming to adjust or repeal the detainment provisions of the 2012 NDAA.[25] In June, Rhode Island passed a resolution calling on Congress to repeal Sections 1021 and 1022.[26] In mid June, Michigan began considering a block against any state cooperation with federal officials who wish to detain Americans under sections 1021 and 1022.[27] The bill passed unanimously on December 5, 2012.[28][29] In July, the Clark County Republican Party Central Committee of Nevada unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the 2012 NDAA, and requesting the Sheriff act against it immediately. The group called sections 1021 and 1022 “blatant attacks on the United States Constitution, specifically Amendments 4, 5, 6, and 8 of our Bill of Rights”.[

–Wikipedia, National Defense Authorization Act, 2012

Here’s what was said:

Here’s what is being done:

President Obama renewed his threat Monday to use executive orders to push  through controversial gun control measures with or without Congress’ blessing.

–FoxNews, January 14, 2013

The First Lady, on transparency (remember that actions speak louder than words to say what you really believe):

That careful answer reflects how much she works to guard her image as first lady. Since arriving in office, Obama has sought to chart a course that allows her to leave a legacy but also doesn’t clash with the “Mom-in-chief” position she said she wanted to maintain upon arriving at the White House.

It hasn’t been easy. Obama is currently on her third chief-of-staff since 2009, and her office has seen an unusually high amount of turnover compared to other first ladies. It’s all been credited to what many say is the grueling hours and expectations of an Ivy League-educated former hospital executive turned first lady who pays close attention to how she is regarded publicly and takes a hands on role in managing her team.

It’s a measure of discipline that has prompted some to be careful about what they say about Michelle Obama and her agenda. Her office declined to comment for this story—as did a half dozen former staffers and friends close to Obama.

–Yahoo News, by Holly Bailey, January 15, 2013

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