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Thread: Promises, Promises: Closed Meeting on Openness

  1. #1
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    Promises, Promises: Closed Meeting on Openness

    From the AP:

    PROMISES, PROMISES: A Closed Meeting On Openness - cbs4denver.com

    It's hardly the image of transparency the Obama administration wants to project: A workshop on government openness is closed to the public.

    The event Monday for federal employees is a fitting symbol of President Barack Obama's uneven record so far on the Freedom of Information Act, a big part of keeping his campaign promise to make his administration the most transparent ever. As Obama's first year in office ends, the government's actions when the public and press seek information are not yet matching up with the president's words.

    "The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails," Obama told government offices on his first full day as president. "The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears."

    Obama scored points on his pledge by requiring the release of detailed information about $787 billion in economic stimulus spending. It's now available on a Web site, Recovery.gov. Other notable disclosures include waivers that the White House has granted from Obama's conflict-of-interest rules and reports detailing Obama's and top appointees' personal finances.

    Yet on some important issues, his administration produced information only after government watchdogs and reporters spent weeks or months pressing, in some cases suing.

    Those include what cars people were buying using the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program (it turned out the most frequent trades involved pickups for pickups with only slightly better gas mileage); how many times airplanes have collided with birds (a lot); whether lobbyists and donors meet with the Obama White House (they do); rules about the interrogation of terror suspects (the FBI and CIA disagreed over what was permitted); and who was speaking in private with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (he has close relationships with a cadre of Wall Street executives whose multibillion-dollar companies survived the economic crisis with his help).

    The administration has refused to turn over important records. Obama signed a law that let the Pentagon refuse to release photographs showing U.S. troops abusing detainees, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates then did so. The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has refused to release details about the CIA's "black site" rendition program. The Federal Aviation Administration wouldn't turn over letters and e-mails among FAA officials about reporters' efforts to learn more about planes that crash into birds.

    People who routinely request government records said they don't see much progress on Obama's transparency pledge.

    "It's either smoke and mirrors or it was done for the media," said Jeff Stachewicz, founder of Washington-based FOIA Group Inc., which files hundreds of requests every month across the government on behalf of companies, law firms and news organizations. "This administration, when it wants something done, there are no excuses. You just don't see a big movement toward transparency."

    The FBI resisted turning over copies of reports to a White House intelligence oversight board about possible bureau legal violations. The FBI said it's so far behind reviewing other, unrelated requests that it can't turn over the reports until May 2014.

    Obama has approved startup money for a new office taking part in Monday's closed conference, the Office of Government Information Services. It was created to resolve disputes involving people who ask for records and government agencies. But as evidenced by the open-records event behind closed doors, there is a long way to go.

    "We'd like to know, when they're training agencies, are they telling them the same thing they're saying in public, that they're committed to making the Freedom of Information Act work well and make sure that agencies are releasing information whenever possible while protecting important issues like individual privacy and national security," said Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, of which The Associated Press is a member.

    The closed conference will provide tips for FOIA public liaisons on communicating and negotiating with people who make requests, and introduce the new Office of Government Information Services to them, said Melanie Ann Pustay, director of the Justice Department's Office of Information Policy, which takes the lead on government openness issues.

    Pustay said she planned to say the same things at the private workshop that she would say publicly. She offered these reasons to explain why it was closed: She wanted government employees to be able to speak candidly, and the conference would be in an auditorium at the Commerce Department, where she said a government ID was required to be admitted. The AP and other news organizations routinely enter government buildings to cover the government.

    The director of the new Office of Government Information Services, Miriam Nisbet, said the event was closed to make sure there would be room for all the government employees attending.

    "I can understand skepticism anytime a meeting for government people is not necessarily open to the public," Nisbet said. "However, everything that is discussed there is absolutely available for the public to know about."
    Some comments:

    1. Obama's big, dumbo ears are obviously all tin.

    2. The most incompetent politician at the national level America has ever produced.

    3. An OPENNESS WORKSHOP---

    4. CLOSED---

    5. TO THE PUBLIC.

    6. LOL!

    7. At issue, in a nutshell, is the the charlatan's precipitous proposal for a spanking new panel, an "Office of Government Information Services," empowered to process requests for information from the administration by "outsiders" via the FOIA, Freedom of Information Act.

    8. The conference was closed, explained the president's perplexed point person, Ms Pustay, because it took place inside a Commerce Dept auditorium which required ID's for entrance.

    9. LOL!

    10. Another apologist put forth---there's not enough room to accomodate all those bureaucratic invitees and the press.

    11. Let alone the public.

    12. Transparency---LOL!

    13. This is the AP spouting off, not The poetic Prof.

    14. More and more Americans are coming to characterize our klutz in chief as composed of some rather severe personal qualities---secretiveness, indecision, arrogance, naivety, inexperience, extremism, narcissism and an elitest, out-of-touch nature.

    15. AP, which expresses an almost personal peevishness at the president's opaque propensities, cites examples of his lack of transparency---Clunkers data, donors lists, interrogation techniques, rendition, and exactly which Wall Street bigwigs have been whispering in Tim Geithner's equally tone deaf ear.

    16. AP failed to include---the administration's refusal to cooperate with hearings into Fort Hood, its disallowing Social Secretary Desiree Rogers from testifying, its failure to put stimulus legislation online for 72 hours as promised, and countenancing Reid's and Pelosi's health care bills being cobbled together by an escoteric cabal in a locked closet.

    17. On the flip side, AP cites recovery.gov---site of phantom stimulus districts---as an example of presidential openness.

    18. LOL!

    19. The new director of OGIS offers reassuringly, everything discussed in Obama's closed-door Openness Summit will eventually be made available to the public.

    20. Fine, Ms Nesbit.

    21. But it doesn't LOOK good, this palaver on openness taking place in private.

    22. Politically speaking, that is.

    The Prof
    Last edited by The Prof; 12-07-09 at 03:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Promises, Promises: Closed Meeting on Openness

    bad form
    in this day, when cameras can easily transmit the event outside the immediate complex, there is no basis to exclude the media because there then might be insufficient room available for staff to attend

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    Re: Promises, Promises: Closed Meeting on Openness

    You mean Obama lied about a promise he made?

    Say it aint so!

    What's the catchphrase for this one?

    Obama lied, the tv commentators cried?
    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

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    Re: Promises, Promises: Closed Meeting on Openness

    Another case of double speak. They claim it's on openness when in fact it is they are most likely examining ways to to make statements in public that will lead people to believe they are being open and still maintain their record of keeping the public in the dark.

    Obama is a master of lies, double speak and the use of the Alenskey Rules for Radicals. This is all part of Obama's training as a con artist. You may know it by it's other name, community organizer.

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    Re: Promises, Promises: Closed Meeting on Openness

    Quote Originally Posted by Councilman View Post
    Another case of double speak. They claim it's on openness when in fact it is they are most likely examining ways to to make statements in public that will lead people to believe they are being open and still maintain their record of keeping the public in the dark.

    Obama is a master of lies, double speak and the use of the Alenskey Rules for Radicals. This is all part of Obama's training as a con artist. You may know it by it's other name, community organizer.
    Actually I knew it as Bill Clinton
    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

    John Adams

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    Re: Promises, Promises: Closed Meeting on Openness

    Jee wiz.

    "We are going to have this, um, meeting, to show that we are, um, open, and that, um, is why we are going to close it. So that we can, um, discuss just how open we want to be. What I want the American people to know is this, we are having this closed door meeting to show them, how open we really are. Thank you. Guards, please shut the doors."

    He is a walking, talking circus act that Barack Obama.

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