Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Education, Energy, Environment, Health Care, Progressivism | Tags: FOIA Requests, Government Watchdogs, Sunshine Week
This is Sunshine Week, And this is a post (revised) I published at this time last year. Has anything changed? “Open government is good government.” Celebrating Your Right to Know. Yoo Hoo, Hillary…
The government watchdog group Cause of Action released a Freedom of Information Act report card for 15 federal agencies that receive the bulk of all FOIA requests. Six of the 15 agencies received failing grades. Three agencies—the Departments of Education, Homeland Security and Treasury—earned “F” grades for failing to comply with the law’s annual reporting requirements. Whether their grades included agencies that are part of, for example, the IRS which is part of Treasury is not clear.
The Center for Effective Government also rated 15 government agencies, not quite the same list, but even worse grades.
“Transparency and the Rule of Law
will be the touchstone of this presidency.”
Barack Obama, January 31, 2009
statement spin, but Obama has been trying to figure out ways around it ever since, and Congress has been trying to figure out how to make it stick. I have 55 articles in my “transparency” file.
You may be unaware that President Obama rewrote the Freedom of Information Act, without telling the rest of America.
The rewrite came in a memo from then-White House Counsel Greg Craig on April 15, 2009, instructing the executive branch to let White House officials review any documents sought by FOIA requestors that involved “White House equities.” That word is not to be found in the law, but the Obama White House effectively amended the law to justify keeping public documents locked away from the public. Cause of Action, is a Washington-based nonprofit watchdog group that monitors government transparency and accountability.
The exception “applies to all documents and records, whether in oral, paper, or electronic form, that relate to communications to and from the White House, including preparations for such communications.”
Oh, ho, ho. Open government indeed. The FOIA requires federal agencies to respond within 20 days of receiving a request, but the White House equities exception can make it impossible for an agency to meet that deadline.
Cause of Action is still waiting for documents from 16 federal agencies, with the Department of Treasury having the longest pending request of 202 business days. (Would you care to wager that this has to do with the IRS?) The Department of Energy comes in second at 169 business days. 20 days indeed. Can’t have the great unwashed viewing politically sensitive documents.
That’s the promised “most transparent administration in history.” As usual, there is the big public announcement which the peasants might hear, followed by the actions that the administration prefers, which people probably won’t hear. Not transparent at all, except where it doesn’t make any difference.
—”Obama Just Officially Decided White House Emails Aren’t Subject to the Freedom of Information Act” Mother Jones 3/17/2015
—”Obama administration stonewalls FOIA request on IRS targeting scandal” Hot Air, 2/10/2015
—’Serious limitations‘: Gov’t watchdogs unite in letter slamming Obama administration transparency,”Fox News, 8/06/2014
—“Transparency Groups Seek White House Position on FOIS Reforms” Washington Free Beacon, 10/27/2014
—“FOIA request revealed Obama family vacation to Hawaii cost taxpayers over $3.6 million in flight costs alone”
Political Insider, 3/13/2015
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Engineering, Environment, Junk Science, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Science/Technology | Tags: Arctic Ocean Drilling, Puget Sound"s Elliott Bay, Royal Dutch Shell
Seattle is an interesting city, sinking slowly in the West¹. but still reliably, environmentally green. This is the city that insists that grocery store customers use cloth bags for their groceries, or pay for the other kind. That fines citizens $50 for putting any foodstuff in the garbage can instead in the yard waste can. Nearly 98 percent of its energy comes from renewable sources, thanks to Columbia River Dams, which the County Council wanted to tear down until they took a field trip and found out how big they were. Now, a national furor has erupted over Foss Shipyards’ lease of their docks to Royal Dutch Shell for the regular maintenance and repair of their Arctic drilling rigs. (Shown above a 2012 photo of Shell’s Kulik leaving Seattle)
In the first place the green loonies assumed that they were going to start drilling for oil in their beloved Puget Sound. Seattle always has indignant protesters willing to come out and demonstrate. But when it turned out that it was just for the repair of their Arctic Ocean drilling rigs, they switched their environmental angst to the Arctic Ocean. The City Council was up in arms, a court challenge was filed by environmental groups, and protesters have vowed to block the rigs arrival with a flotilla of kayaks in Elliott Bay.
“You have signed a lease that will amount to a crime against the planet,” said Zarna Joshi, 32, a Seattle resident who was first to speak at a raucous three-hour public meeting this week before the port’s commissioners. The meeting was packed mostly with opponents and punctuated by the occasional dissenter, pointing out the hypocrisy of protesters who had arrived to denounce Shell in vehicles running on gasoline.
Officials at the publicly owned Port of Seattle have strongly defended the lease, saying that the two year contract will bring in millions of dollars in revenue and create hundreds of good jobs on 50 acres that Shell would use just west of downtown. In any case, the decision to allow oil exploration in Arctic waters is federal policy, and not anything that the port or the city or the state can alter.
It’s all about climate change, of course, and politics, and the politics of climate change — science is not involved, only emotion and Democratic talking points.
“Hosting the Arctic drilling fleet in the city of Seattle is an activity that, if successful in drilling and extracting oil from the Arctic, will almost certainly mean that all of the industrial land in Seattle will be under water, and is completely inconsistent with the region’s and even the port’s goals,” said Mike O’Brien, a Seattle City Council member.
¹Seattle has long had an elevated roadway along the water front to let drivers bypass much of downtown Seattle if they choose, but it is old. Almost as long has been the fight over a replacement. Freeway, tunnel, street-level replacement. Property owners of lots facing the waterfront have always fought for a tunnel to remove the unsightly Alaskan Way Viaduct, and they eventually won the argument. Digging began, giant tunneling machine “Big Bertha’ went to work, drilled a few feet and ran plumb into a huge old drainage pipe that they didn’t know was there. They apparently cannot proceed, they cannot remove the pipe, and the people in those waterfront properties are finding that their buildings are sinking, slightly, but regularly. No answers.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Immigration, Latin America, Law, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: 26 States Have Sued, Misleading a Judge, Obama's Illegal Amnesty
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen who blocked President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty action on immigration, has ordered the Justice Department to respond to allegations that the government has misled him about part of the President’s plan.
The judge has ordered federal government lawyers to appear in his court on March 19 in Brownsville, Texas. The hearing is in response to a filing last week in which the government acknowledged some deportation reprieves were granted before Hanen’s February 16 injunction. Government attorneys has said that officials wouldn’t accept requests for reprieves for DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) illegals until February 18, and would start DAPA (deferred action for parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) in May of 2015.
On March 3, Obama’s lawyers admitted to the judge that officials had already given three-year DACA amnesty to 100,000 younger people. Only off by 100,000.
Out of an abundance of caution, however, Defendants wish to bring one issue to the Court’s attention,” said the administration’s document given to the judge. “Between November 24, 2014 and the issuance of the Court’s [Feb. 16] Order, USCIS granted three-year periods of deferred action to approximately 100,000 individuals who had requested deferred action under the original 2012 DACA guidelines.”
The government claimed that the 100,000 illegal immigrants who were granted three-year reprieves and work permits were already eligible under a previous immigration plan from 2012.
The 26 states suing over Obama’s amnesty plan requested more information.
It’s not nice to fool U.S. District Judges. They may be annoyed.
Estimates of the cost of Obama’s amnesty program run from half a billion to expand the workforce by more than 3,000, up to $2 trillion over the long term in benefits and increased government expenditures. That’s just for the federal government, there will be billion of dollars for costs for the states.
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, History, Law, Politics, The United States, Unemployment | Tags: Governor Scott Walker, President Barack Obama, Wisconsin Right-To-Work Law
President Obama, since the Republican ”wave election” has been irritable. Republicans clearly had no right to take over the Senate and increase their power in the House. He has things he wants to do, and he has no intention of allowing a bunch of uncooperative dummies in Congress to interfere with his executive right to finish fundamentally transforming the United States of America to his own particular tastes.
Naturally as President of the United States, he feels called upon to comment on anything within his purview, which is everything. In this case, he noticed that one of his states has signed a right-to-work bill into law, without his permission. He issued a written statement condemning the law:
“I’m deeply disappointed,” he said, “that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen, workers in the new economy.”
Obama then claimed that Walker’s action was part of an “inexcusable assault on unions, led by powerful interests and their allies in government.”
The bill that Governor Scott Walker signed was the result of twenty hours of debate in the Wisconsin legislature, a vote by the state’s duly elected representatives 62-35 to pass the bill. Democracy at work.
Governor Scott Walker promptly responded to Mr. Obama’s bad manners, and his need to recall basic civics.
On the heels of vetoing Keystone pipeline legislation, which would have paved the way to create thousands of quality, middle-class jobs, the president should be looking to states, like Wisconsin, as an example for how to grow our economy,” Walker told National Review Online.
Despite a stagnant national economy and a lack of leadership in Washington, since we took office, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is down to 5%, and more than 100,000 jobs and 30,000 businesses have been created.
Pow! Want to compare economies and just who is helping workers?
Walker said that the legislation, “along with our investments in worker training and our work to lower the tax burden, will lead to more freedom and prosperity for all of Wisconsin.”
Filed under: Art, Capitalism, Economy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, History, National Security, Politics, Regulation, Taxes, The United States, Unemployment | Tags: Investors Business Daily, Michael Ramirez, Political Cartoons
Especially in the hands of Michael Ramirez, political cartoonist extraordinaire, at Investors. Follow his work, he always has something important to say.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Foreign Policy, History, Law, Media Bias, Military, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Character, Hillary Clinton, Political Instinct
Hillary’s greatest problem is that though she has a profound interest in politics, she has really lousy political instincts. That is a sense of the right thing to do and a sense for how one’s actions will appear to others. The Clinton administration was full of controversy, the travel office scandal erupted early, as did Hillary’s expectation of being Bill’s co-president.
What she learned instead was a defensiveness and self-protective attitude that led to lies and concealment. Bill had pretty good political instincts, and a good-old-boy, aw-shucks grin that served him pretty well. You would think that observing Lois Lerner and her e-mail scandal would have alerted Hillary to potential troubles, but instead it led her to have her own private server installed in her home. Secretiveness replaced openness. When you try to pretend openness as a protective pose — nobody believes you anyway. It’s too late.
Good political instincts would have prevented the whole catastrophe of Benghazi. Deposing Muammar Gaddafi, refusing security to the ambassadorial mission, denial of the nature of the terrorist attackers, refusing help to the embattled American contractors, and then the absurd attempt to blame it all on a short, dumb video, and then Hillary met the plane with the bodies returning to the United States, and assured mourning parents that they would get the guy who made the video.
Any careful read of Hillary’s history should prevent her from ever being considered as “the first woman president” which seems to be her aim. I don’t accept the idea of first of this sex, first of this ethnicity, first of this color. That is not what is important about a person’s qualifications, but rather their accomplishments and their character. Can we trust them with high office? Do they have a good understanding of American history and character? Do they have a good mind? Do they have good political instincts? Trust it to the Left to always put the emphasis on the wrong things.