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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: ‘Dad’ Lied to Us | 03-22-2013
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You Know I'm Right | Commentary by Betty Arenson
| Friday, Mar 22, 2013

bettyarensonFoul-mouthed comedian Chris Rock appeared on Capitol Hill in February for a show-and-tell with like-minded Obama politicians to preach to the world that Barack Obama is “our boss – our dad” and we had better listen to him.

I’ll respond with a “No thank you.” Listening to dad sends us down an errant path.

Historically, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have repeatedly pulpiteered that Congress and government under their control will be the most transparent ever. We mere mortals of the citizenry are supposed to swallow that. Barack Obama continues with that message. Untrue, of course, but messaged still the same.

Reporter Paul Thacker wrote an article last week entitled, “Where the Sun Don’t Shine.” When Obama was sworn in as president the first time, Thacker was a congressional staffer. He said he laughed when he heard one of Obama’s early promises of “We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration.”

With a March 10 article written by Washington Examiner Executive Editor Mark Tapscott, there is an Associated Press photo of Barack Obama underscored with the caption, “President Obama signs executive orders Jan. 21, 2009, on government transparency and FOIA, saying, ‘For a long time now, there’s 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.'”

As late as March 21, the White House website with the heading of “Presidential Memoranda” says:

“Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

“Subject: Transparency and Open Government

“My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.

“Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing.  Information maintained by the federal government is a national asset. My administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.”

Reciting the list of all of the themes that prove that statement to be wholly false would yield a commentary far too long to read, so we’ll just stick with the overall.

A significant part of transparency on behalf of the government to the people is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It was signed into law in 1966 by then-president Lyndon B. Johnson. FOIA is reported as one of the most frequently used federal laws. For one, it would umbrella usage by families wanting access to military records of relatives, people wanting information of historical records as well as the government’s business like contract bids. There are nine exceptions to access that include “privacy, law enforcement and commercial trade secrets.”

In 2011, the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy reported the highest-ever number of FOIA requests at 644,000. Six percent were filed by editors and journalists. That group reports that their requests are often “met with curt responses or outright rejections.” Unresolved disputes usually end up in court. The analysis is that from George W. Bush’s last two years in office, the lawsuits emanating from FOIA actions were up 28 percent in Barack Obama’s first term.

The National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit think tank, concluded: “Journalists and activists are dedicated to continue fighting for more transparency in government, a cause that both parties support. Transparency serves to reduce waste, fraud and corruption and to encourage the government to act ethically. The Obama administration has created serious transparency concerns among transparency watchdogs on the right and left for stonewalling and withholding information about the staggering amounts of money being spent with little to no accountability.”

In the end, the government this is supposed to be – “of the people, by the people and for the people” – is more slippery and secretive than ever.

Thanks, Dad.

 

Betty Arenson has lived in the SCV since 1968 and describes herself as a conservative who’s concerned about progressives’ politics and their impacts on the country, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She says she is unashamed to own a gun or a Bible, couldn’t care less about the color of the president’s skin, and demands that he uphold his oath to protect and follow the Constitution of the United States in its entirety. Her commentary publishes Fridays.

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Jody says:

    WELL STATED, IF UNDER-STATED!

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