Why Obama Scares Me (Video)

Why Obama Scares Me

At the dawn of his administration, President Obama opined: “A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency.” Magical rays of white-hot sunlight emanated from his media-manufactured halo. And then bureaucratically engineered darkness settled over the land.

For three years, White House officials have rolled out countless executive orders and initiatives touting open government. Just this week, they unveiled plans to move federal archival records from a paper-based to an electronic system. But behind the scenes, Obama’s lawyers systematically have stymied public information requests, carved out crater-sized disclosure loopholes, fought subpoenas on scandals from Fast and Furious to Solyndra, and made routine the holiday document dump.
The latest meeting of the Government Accountability and Transparency Board, attended by Vice President Joe Biden, was closed to the press two weeks ago.

In September, State Department officials refused to go on record during a briefing on its new global government transparency program. Earlier this spring, a ceremony to honor Obama’s commitment to openness was closed to the media — after which dutiful (sup)press secretary Jay Carney boasted that his boss “has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past.”

As evidence of this historic openness, Obama flacks point to farces like last week’s Thanksgiving-timed release of White House visitor logs — which even left-wing good government activists have criticized for their incompleteness. As the Center for Public Integrity reported earlier this year, the logs (which disclosure advocates forced into the public eye after suing) “routinely omit or cloud key details about the identity of visitors, whom they met with and the nature of their visits. The logs even include the names of people who never showed up. These are critical gaps that raise doubts about the records’ historical accuracy and utility in helping the public understand White House operations, from social events to meetings on key policy debates.”

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