Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Obama and the FOIA: The Most Transparent Administration in History?

My has the gloss worn off!  Admittedly, we've come a long way since the soaring rhetoric of candidate Barack Obama for nearly two years as he promised to "clean out" the ethical swamp that is modern-day Washington and usher in a new era of openness and accountability to the American people which would result in "the most ethical administration in history," (and see President Obama's lofty proclamation upon taking office here).  Indeed, it's been quite some time since we were promised by Barack Obama's partner in crime former House Speaker Nancy Polosi― or was that Bill Clinton? I just can't seem to keep all the promises of the Dems apart any more, must be a sign of old age, no, not a growing distrust with everything I am told by the powers that be silly, but my memory! lol― that a Democratically-controlled house and, by implication, a shiny new Obama Administration, (to replace the worn and disfavored Bush 43 one), would result in the "most ethical and transparent" government in history.  So what have we gotten in return for such grandiose promises from the political left?  Unfortunately, if the Obama Administration's recently announced plan to lie, yes LIE to American citizens and investigative journalists simply seeking information about the government's activities under the Freedom of Information Act is any indication, not much, (see hereherehere or here).

  As if crony capitalism, (think Solyndra, Lightsquared), incompetence and/or politically motivated policies, (think Fast and Furious, Bank bailouts), and job-killing "regulation nation" weren't enough, (think the loss of tens of thousands of coil, oil, and logging jobs effected by this Administration's policies and/or misguided efforts to pay off union-boss buddies by suing to shut down Boeing Corp's attempt to open― and hire thousands of American workers accordingly― a new factory in South Carolina, or the Feds raid against Gibson Guitar Corporation of Tennessee for the terrible crime of, wait for it, employing Americans to make guitars from wood!  (Which every other manufacturer does as well and to stop would send these good manufacturing jobs overseas, Duhh!).   Seriously folks, you can't make this stuff up! (And if you don't believe me just click on the links or do your own googling!).

  In that light, the Obama Administration's plan to "modify" the federal regulations for the Freedom of Information Act is just the most recent incarnation of the Obama Administration's attempt to completely control Freedom of the Press and the people's ability to effect the levers of their government, (an indispensible part of any free democratic republic according to our Founders, see Federalist 84).

  Of course, for readers of this blog, or well-read citizens and lovers of freedom generally for that matter, the "writing on the wall" apparent from this Administration's attempts to regulate the internet, see HERE, re-introduce the "fairness doctrine" to silence their political enemies on talk radio, see HERE, as well as muzzle mainstream news reporters or even whole networks such as Foxnews, none of this comes as a big surprise.  Indeed, no administration since the Nixon Administration has attempted to control and manipulate Americans' simple access to information as ardently as the present one.

  But the utter brazenness and zeal with which this Administration seeks to shred sacrosanct Constitutional rights is alarming by any standard, to say the least.

  The good news is that such efforts have raised the hackles on the necks of such diverse groups as the American Civil Liberties Union and Judicial Watch, as well as veteran litigators American Center for Law and Justice and others alarmed at this power grab by the Obama Administration.

  Of course, for hard-core Obama supporters like 'Suavane' for whom Obama can do no wrong, (see comments on this site), all this is not in the least concerning.

   Indeed, as is the case with most hard-core leftists, nothing else matters as long as their guy Obama can stay in power to push his radical social engineering, anti-American and job-killing policies that are at the heart of the progressive movement in America.

  In fairness, as some astute observers point out, a similar rule was proposed by former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese back in the 80's.

  To us, however, this misses the forest for the trees and ignores a much more fundamental principle than mere politics that we here at the ACLP are dedicated to, which is simply this:  A bad idea, (or a good one), is good or bad not because it is suggested by someone with whose politics I happen to agree, (or disagree, as the case may be), but rather depending on the merits (or not!) of the ideas themselves.

  Rather, in order for America to work again, (as opposed to just politics as usual), and critically, if the idea of freedom is to persist in this greatest nation on earth, we must get away from the politics of personal destruction to the point that we can debate ideas without the threat of ad hominem attacks such as being accused of being a "Nazi" or "racist," (all too often the favorite tactics of the political left when they can't refute with logic those they disagree with).

   Or, to put it in language any second grader can understand in examining the 'Ed Meese did it too' argument, "two wrongs don't make a right."

   As a practical matter, if these new regulations are finally approved and put in place by the Obama Administration, we as a people will have ceded incredibly important rights to the federal government at the direct expense of our ability to monitor and effect the direction of our Republic.  Indeed, we will in fact have given the Feds the right to brazenly lie to 'We the people' at will, without any recourse to the courts or usual checks and balances of our constitutional system.  (As an aside, and as others have pointed out, one can't help but speculate that imposing such new "rules" regarding the FOIA will also prove immensely helpful to the Obama Administration's efforts to resist investigations into various on-going scandals, including the above-mentioned Solyndra bankruptcy and the Fast and Furious BATF operation which led to the death of Customs and Border patrol agents Brian Terry and                        , (see HERE).

  However, as above-alluded, as bad as that is, it is not near as ominous to our perspective as the potential damage to our very ability to hold our government accountable in a myriad of other ways.

  Indeed, in an open, democratic society which depends on the free access of information and ideas for its very life blood, it will have driven a stake into the heart of the First Amendment and ability of citizens to find out what the federal government is really up to at any given point in time or on any given issue, (which is something in our humble opinion that should alarm every American, regardless of his or her political persuasion).

  In short, this is one example we believe is beyond dispute that what you don't know can actually hurt you, (or at least harm our democratic form of government).

  And that, to us, is far more important than any one political party or personality.  jp

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