President Obama published a memo to the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on transparency in government. You can read the whole thing here. It says in part:
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.
“… consistent with law and policy …” Those should not be weasel words, but they are. What happens when it is the Administration’s policy to deceive the public?
The expectation that the government is lying happens. That expectation is becoming so pervasive that even the main steam media is having to take notice and challenge White House claims.
It really doesn’t matter whether the screwups are the result of incompetence as Chis Christie suggests (“they’ve never run anything before”) or corruption or some mix of them plus other factors. The result has been increased transparency. Folks are now looking for the gotcha, the weasel words, or the flat-out lie in whatever comes out of the White House, and, with that increased attention, are beginning to see right through the PR.
Commenters on the Left are now beginning to worry that the rollout of Obamacare has been and will continue to be so inept that too many of the suckers public will become convinced it is was a scam all along or that the wonks are technical dilettantes rather than competent innovators or something else “bad.” This, they say, will allow the Right to run successfully against Progressivism as personified in Obama for a generation.
They may have a point. When I was a kid back in the ’50s, I remember Democrats who were still going on about Hoover.
Obamacare is going to be an expensive educational experience.
… President Lincoln made some brief remarks at the dedication of a military cemetery in southern Pennsylvania.
On 19 November, there will be a ceremony to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. President Obama has blown off his invitation to participate.
I’m not sure what he has on his schedule for the 19th, but I’ll bet that the world will little note nor long remember what he does that day.
I am crossing the Rubicon. Brrr, the water’s chilly. Deep, too. I’m going for a walk along the riverbank to look for a bridge. And I will cross the Rubicon as soon as the weather warms up. The die has been cast. That is, the deck has been shuffled. Or the Wheel of Fortune has been spun. And I’ll buy a vowel.
Marc Thiessen has a piece over at WaPo about federal government spending. (H/T, VodkaPundit) For the first time in decades, certainly the first time in my memory, the federal government’s spending will decrease. In 2010, the feds spend $3.457 trillion. Spending for this fiscal year should come in at $3.455 trillion. A couple of billion out of 3+ trillion may not seem like much, but as Senator Dirksen once said, “A billion here and a billion there, and soon you’re talking real money.” Actually, when you figure in inflation, that’s about a 5 % decrease in spending.
However, don’t be too quick to credit the President. He’s fought for ever more spending. The House GOP probably should get most of the credit because of the Budget Control Act.
You know, we could have balanced the budget this year. The actual revenue to the government would have allowed us to pay the interest on the debt and fund every agency at about 94 % of FY 2003 levels accounting for inflation. Most of us could have gotten by on 94 % of our 2003 income. Why couldn’t the government? Sure, some adjustments would have to be made, but couldn’t you gotten by with only 6 % decrease in the government you had in 2003?
Back in 2008, the Obama Transition Team put up a website called Change.gov. Minitrue has now deleted the site and this campaign promise along with it:
Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.
In other news … The chocolate ration will be increased to 25 grams.
Peggy Noonan writes at WSJ about how the Obama Administration and the IRS in particular have undermined the public’s trust in government. Read the whole thing.
Of course, other agencies have joined in since 2009, the NSA being an recent example. Ms. Noonan’s line about the White House being in the business of campaigning rather than governing hits the bullseye.
In his statement about the George Zimmerman acquittal, President Obama said that all Americans should consider “how we can prevent future tragedies like this.” Most people see tragic events in the Martin/Zimmerman case, but there’s strong disagreement on what is tragic in the story.
Some see tragedy in the life Trayvon Martin was choosing to lead. Better parenting and more effective intervention in the young man’s life might have helped. A school police force willing to arrest a kid found with stolen goods instead of keeping its crime numbers bureaucratically low might have been useful.
Some see tragedy in the fact that a clear case of self-defense was politicized and that George Zimmerman had to endure a show trial. Making sure that those involved in a corrupt prosecution meet the same end as Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke Lacrosse Team case, may instill some discipline in prosecutors generally. However, something like a loser pays system for failed prosecutions might be more useful, especially if there were a fair way to cause the prosecuting attorneys to have some skin in the game and not just the taxpayers.
These may not have been the tragedies the President had in mind, but they’re worthy of our consideration.
This is a strange. The fireworks displays at military bases are paid for with what are called “non-appropriated funds.” Sequesters and budget cuts should have nothing to do with this.
Non-appropriated funds are generated by the military community through the sale of goods and services and the collection of fees and charges for participation in military community programs. They do not involve federal tax dollars. The largest sources of non-appropriated funds are the PX and BX systems. The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is an agency of the United States Department of Defense. One of it’s missions is to generate reasonable earnings of non-appropriated funds for the support of United States Army and Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs (MWR). The Navy operates the equivalent Navy Exchange, the Marine Corps operates the Marine Corps Exchange, and the United States Coast Guard operates the Coast Guard Exchange. The average soldier’s PX purchases generate a bit more than $200 of profits for MWR funding each year.
Well, at least the Commander-in-Chief made it back from Africa in time to watch the display on the National Mall. I hear the view from the White House is great.
P. J. O’Rourke has an insightful column up at the Weekly Standard in which he explains why he believes President Obama is, in fact, stupid.
And there it is: Dopey stimulus, obtuse bailout, noodle-headed Obamacare, half-wit Dodd-Frank, damfool IRS Tea Party crashers, AP and Fox News beset by oafish peeping Toms and the Benghazi tale told by an idiot. One could go on. Stupid is a great force in human affairs. And the great force has a commander in chief.
Brett Kimberlin’s “charity,” Justice Through Music Project has had a petition up for more than a month at Change dot org asking President Obama to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
He’s trying to get 100,000 signatures. As of 3 pm ET on 26 May, 2013, he has only 99,828 to go.
Given the current rate of progress, he should have his 100,000 signatures by the middle of 2061. Perhaps that explains why he didn’t post the petition at the White House site. According to the White House,
[t]o cross the first threshold and be searchable within WhiteHouse.gov, a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days.
To cross the second threshold and require a response, a petition must reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days.
(H/T, Instapundit) Well, yes, those of us who were working in the news business back in the early ’70s do see certain similarities to Nixon.
I have to tell you that is exactly the approach that the Nixon administration took. They said, “These are all second-rate things. We don’t have time for this. We have to devote our time to the people’s business.” You’re taking exactly the same line they did.
Yes, but what other line is left for them? The White House staff clearly isn’t able to tell the truth. Consider Preiffer’s rant to Chris Wallace about the irrelevance of facts.
What did the President know, and when did he know it? And where was he and what was he doing when he got told?
You know, I’m beginning to look forward to the day when this generation’s Fred Thompson asks the analogous question to “Mr. Butterfield, were you aware of the existence of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?”
UPDATE—Stacy McCain offers the Cliffs Notes version of the White House response: “Shut up, Republicans!”
I’m beginning to hear rumblings of “just like Watergate” in discussions of both the Benghazi and IRS v. Tea Party stories.
Really? Watergate, after all, was only a third-rate burglary according the administration in the White House at the time.
I suppose that having a body count has kept the White House from pooh-poohing the attack on the consulate as merely a “third-world mugging,” but the IRS story is already being pitched as overzealous low-level workers exceeding their authority.
Not long after the attack on the consulate, the President answered a Denver newsman’s question about Benghazi with these words:
I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and that we are doing whatever we need to. Number two, we are going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.
We know from Greg Hick’s testimony that special forces were ordered to stand down rather than provide assistance. Why wasn’t the President’s order (number one above) carried out? If it was, in fact, given?
Do you remember the commercial Hillary Clinton ran during the 2008 primaries about who should get that 3 am phone call? The implication was that Barack Obama wasn’t the right person, and that has turned out to be true all too often.
Reading this piece by Paul Mirengoff over at Powerline, it seems that Mrs. Clinton would have been (and still probably is) a poor choice too.
BTW, the first shots were fired in Benghazi around 4 pm Washington time when folks were supposed to be awake.