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Friday, January 27, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA: TRANSPARENCY VS. "STONEWALLING"

Barack and Michelle Obama Demonstrate Transparency
With A VERY Public Display Of Affection
Yesterday Was The First Couple's 19th Wedding Anniversary.
The First Marriage For Both,
And No Scandals Contained Therein.
Congratulations You Guys!
<3
Bob Marley's version of Jimmy Cliff's
I Can See Clearly Now!
What a relief to have the most transparent
Administration in American History!
I sure can see more clearly now than I could into the
Nixon, Reagan or Dubya
Administrations!
That's fer sure!

From Dictionary.com
stone·wall·ing  [stohn-waw-ling] Show IPA   - noun:  the act of stalling, evading, or filibustering, especially to avoid revealing politically embarrassing information.

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Example:  “Whatever his financial situation; I DON"T LIKE the "Stonewalling" - NOBODY in her campaign will answer questions, or return phone calls or messages.”

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Ahhhhh. Memories! Nostalgia! Who can forget the Nixon Administration, the Ervin Committee, Expletives Deleted, 18 Minute Gaps, and the American popularization of a term coined in Britain during a Parliamentary scandal in the late 1800s: STONEWALLING! What precious memories indeed! OMG. NOT! It was the hijacking of the US government by a criminal who only avoided prosecution because his handpicked successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned him BEFORE he was ever indicted after he quit office in disgrace.

National security, “Top Secret” Classification schemes and what-not have been endemic to the American Presidency forever, and IS one legitimate area where real-time confidences are legitimate under certain (as far as I’m concerned, very rare) circumstances in order to ensure the safety of those in harms’ way and the efficacy of military actions. Unfortunately this has been a major flaw in the Presidency, particularly under Republicans who habitually and predictably abuse National Security to get away with obscene acts.

The Ray-Gun Administration was also secretive in the extreme, but not even close to the Cheney-Bush Administration. Not too surprising since they were busy manufacturing lies to sell to the UN, their own Secretary of State, Colin Powell, Congress and the nation about mythical “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq, in order to create a war hysteria which enabled them to produce a reality show timed for a Prime Time network TV audience called “Shock and Awe” when they began the bombing of Baghdad and invaded that sovereign nation, beginning one of our nation’s longest wars, and resulting in the death of more Iraqis than Saddam ever dreamed of and creating a situation of violence and instability for that country to suffer for years to come, no doubt. In manufacturing this war hysteria, and the public paranoia they sought to accomplish with their “Global War On Terror” because 19 fools with plastic box-cutters took advantage of their own security lapse financed by one other fool, Osama Bin Laden, who had a bankroll of only $25 million and his rag-tag gang of a thousand or so poorly armed thugs a world away, secrecy and stonewalling was necessary. Especially since they took advantage of their manufactured hysteria (more nostalgia—who can forget the color coded “Terror Alert Levels”—a rainbow of fear topped by “red alert”) by wiretapping American citizens without the benefit of court orders required by law (impeachable offenses), torturing foreigners against all tenets of international law and treaties (impeachable AND criminal under federal and international law), arresting Americans without warrants overseas,  and holding foreign nationals without due process for indeterminate and lengths of time—also violations of US Treaties (impeachable offenses) and international and domestic law (prison time and a trial at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, which is what much of the world has clamored for in the case of Dubya, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al. for years)—such secrecy was obviously necessary in order to carry on such illegal, immoral and horrendous acts. At some point during the Cheney years, it was, I believe, that the term “transparency” came into vogue to mean something besides a description of Scotch brand tape.

Back to Dictionary.com:
trans·par·en·cy [trans-pair-uhn-see, -par-] Show IPA  noun, plural –cies:
1. Also, trans·par·ence. the quality or state of being transparent.

2. something transparent, especially a picture, design, or the like on glass or some translucent substance, made visible by light shining through from behind.

 trans·par·ent [trans-pair-uhnt, -par-] Show IPA  adjective:
1. having the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen.

2. so sheer as to permit light to pass through; diaphanous.

3. easily seen through, recognized, or detected: transparent excuses.

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Merriam Webster provides the following antonyms for transparent, which pretty much describe the Nixon, Ray-Gun and Dubya White Houses:

incomprehensible, indecipherable, unfathomable, unintelligible, unknowable; impalpable, imperceptible, inappreciable, indiscernible, insensible; cloudy, gauzy, gray (also grey), hazy, imprecise, indefinite, indeterminate, misty, murky, nebulous, noncommittal, sketchy, slippery, subtle, vague; illegible, undecipherable, unreadable, ambiguous, clouded, cryptic, dark, enigmatic (also enigmatical), equivocal, indistinct, mysterious, nonobvious, obfuscated, obscure, unapparent, unclarified, unclear.
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I’ve only been doing this political writing thing for just a little over a year now. Certain things have amazed me regarding access to certain people in and out of politics. As a fledgling online journalist for Examiner.com as their Hartford Government Examiner (linked: Examiner.com/government-in-hartford/steve-alexander) and somewhat disabled at the time, I found myself able to have unique access to two key campaign events in the race for Governor in Connecticut—one an appearance by President Barack Obama in which I had incredible access; and the other an appearance by former President Bill Clinton, again in which I had remarkable access to people I never thought I would. My candidate, Governor Dan MalloyBysiewicz, who is running for Senate to replace the retiring Joe Lieberman (thank God) and her cell phone number was made available to me by a former staffer, and I’ve had access to her for two formal interviews, routinely attend press conferences by phone or ask questions at public events and have direct access to her and her campaign in an unbelievably transparent manner. When I ask a question by email, I know I’ll get a position statement from her within hours!
The nightmare vision of the BP leak!

At the height of the BP Spill Crisis I had the opportunity to ask
Dr. Jane Lubchenco,
President Obama's NOAA Administrator
THREE Questions During A White House
Online Conference.

During the BP oils spill the White House made NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco available for questioning at a White House Facebook Q & A, and I was astounded to have the chance to have THREE of my questions answered by this key policymaker at a key time in the environmental history of the United States. At a similar White House event, the then Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee answered one of my questions on the status of the nation’s economy and White House policy. I had the opportunity to ask questions of then Presidential adviser David Axelrod in a similar manner on several occasions.
I also got to ask President Obama's
Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
Austan Goolsbee
a question at the White House.

I know of no President in my lifetime who has declared that formal press conferences with the permanent White House press corps are their favorite recreational activity. I also know of no significant or major contribution that these rituals accomplish. That press corps consistently gripes that whomever the incumbent is of either party is not genuflecting to them sufficiently with regular pressroom Q & A’s. The events consistently result in repetitive questioning, and often testy confrontational interactions which yield little in the way of information and usually wind up reflecting poorly on the incumbent chief executive AND the Fourth Estate altogether. The formal press briefing hasn’t been this President’s favorite venue for answering to the American people. He seems to prefer answering directly to the American people at town hall meetings, on Facebook and Twitter, and with journalists who are not necessarily tied into and beholden to the major mainstream outlets necessarily represented in the White House corps. Barack Obama is always answering questions and is more transparent than any president we’ve ever had. Period. I’ve even formally requested an interview with him through his campaign organization, and fully expect that I WILL speak with my President before his first term is over! Never before have I had reason to expect this to be the case.
So today I opened an email from the White House signed by the President, describing a new format for a YouTube question and answer session to occur this Monday at 5:30pm, which read, in part:
Chief Adviser to President Obama (now with the Obama campaign)
David Axelrod
was available to me and others once a week for questions.

“On Monday we're going to do something a little different. At 5:30 p.m. ET, I'll walk into the Roosevelt Room across the hall from the Oval Office, take a seat, and kick-off the first-ever completely virtual town hall from the White House.
All week, people have been voting on questions and submitting their own, and a few of them will join me for a live chat.
What do you want to ask me?”
Several Americans will even have the opportunity to be present video-conference style during the event, and people are voting on questions submitted by others for their favorites. I submitted the following questions today and the number in parentheses after my submitted question is the number of votes that question has received thus far by others:

Mr. President, Steve Jobs was a visionary, but one who found benefits in sending jobs to China where Apple workers are abused. Specifically what can be done to prevent losing more manufacturing jobs, and to bring some back from China specifically? (10)
Mr. President, This week Secretary of State Clinton said her inclination was that you name a replacement after you are reelected. Understandably fatigued given her accomplishments the past years, would you encourage her to stay on? Please do so. :)  (6)

Mr. President, Would you give us an update on the status of Strategic Arms discussions? Could you tell us about the prospects for shorter-range nuclear arms control limitation and/or reduction agreements world-wide? Is nuclear disarmament possible? (1)

Mr. President, I heard Elizabeth Warren give data on investment by other nations in infrastructure, and ours has been too low, though the TARP bill helped. Beyond roads, bridges, rails and public transit; what are your top infrastructure priorities?  (10)

Mr. President, I feel that reliance nationwide on local property taxes as the primary funding source for education is a major problem, causing inequity and financial distress for states and municipalities. What are your thoughts on funding sources? (2)

Mr. President, I'm angry that a former House Speaker would circumvent ethics law by going to work for an agency, answering directly to the chief lobbyist of the group, and yet not have "lobbyist" as his job title. Do you support ethics reform? (14)

Mr. President, A famous politician recently paid a lower tax rate than I did as a disabled person, working part-time and impoverished according to federal guidelines. Can you please ensure that impoverished and workers’ pay only their fair share? (7)

Mr. President, Dodd-Frank was a great step in the right direction. I'm pleased that the Justice Department will hone in on "Great Recession" profiteers. Can you support legislation criminalizing financial abuses which are currently not so penalized? (27)

How refreshing it is to have a leader for a President who takes the pulse of the people and then leads accordingly. If you enjoy this kind of transparency in your President, then click the link below and let's reelect this historic and awesome incumbent! Thank YOU Mr. President!

barackobama.com

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