Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, December 4, 2012


No Mary... no Christmas!

Ave...!

7 comments:

William R. Barker said...

* TWO-PARTER... (Part 1 of 2)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-open-and-shut-administration/2012/12/03/0fe12754-3d9f-11e2-ae43-cf491b837f7b_story.html?hpid=z7

* DANA MILBANK, FRIENDS... THIS IS DAVID FRIGGIN' MILBANK WRITING THIS...

“My administration,” President Obama wrote on his first day in office, “is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.”

Those were strong and hopeful words.

Four years later, it is becoming more and more clear that they were just words.

On Monday afternoon, open-government advocates assembled in a congressional hearing room to ponder what had become of the Obama administration’s lofty vows of transparency.

“It’s been a really tough slog,” said Anne Weismann of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “The lack of effective leadership in the White House, in the executive branch, has really made it difficult to have more significant progress.”

“They’ve been reluctant to take positions,” said Hudson Hollister of the Data Transparency Coalition, “and translate that to real action.”

“In the beginning of 2010, Obama said he made a significant mistake by abandoning some of his pledges related to transparency,” said Josh Gerstein of Politico, “and that going forward they would do things differently. Seems to me we are forward and it seems to me we’re not doing things any differently.”

It was a more-in-sadness-than-in-anger critique of Obama often heard from the political Left...

(*SMIRK*)

...and the moderator, the Sunlight Foundation’s Daniel Schuman, was apologetic.

(*ROLLING MY EYES*)

“We’re placing a lot of blame at the administration,” he observed. “Or blame isn’t the right word — maybe responsibility.”

(*SNORT*)

No, blame is just fine.

* AGAIN, FOLKS... MILBANK... DANA FRIGGIN' MILBANK...

* TO BE CONTINUED...

William R. Barker said...

* CONCLUDING... (Part 2 of 2)

The Obama administration’s high level of opacity, though typical of modern presidencies, is troubling precisely because the president was so clear about his determination to do things differently.

* EARTH TO DANA... HE LIED!

As recently as early last year, some open-government advocates were still hopeful, presenting Obama with an anti-secrecy award at the White House.

* CUTE...!!!

But even then, there were signs of trouble: The award presentation wasn’t on his schedule and was closed to reporters.

(*SNORT*)

* YEAH... I VAGUELY REMEMBER NEWSBITING ABOUT THIS AT THE TIME...

By certain measures, “overall secrecy has actually increased rather than declined,” said Steven Aftergood, who runs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. “Criminalization of unauthorized disclosures of information to the press has risen sharply, becoming a preferred tactic. Efforts to promote public accountability in controversial aspects of counter-terrorism policy such as targeted killing have been blocked by threadbare, hardly credible national security secrecy claims.”

* AH... BUT FEW AMERICANS CARE...

(*SIGH*) (*SHRUG*)

A Washington Post report from this past summer concluded that “by some measures the government is keeping more secrets than before.” Those making Freedom of Information Act requests in 2011 were less likely than in 2010 to get material from 10 of 15 Cabinet agencies, which were more likely to exploit the law’s exemptions. Also, the National Declassification Center, which Obama established in 2009, had by the summer of 2012 reviewed only 14 percent of the pages it was assigned to review and declassify by the end of 2013.

Now the administration is maintaining silence as lawmakers prepare to pass one of the gravest threats to government transparency in years. A bill passed by the Senate intelligence committee would ban anybody but the top officials and public-relations staff at intelligence agencies from speaking to the media. The proposal, intended to crack down on classified leaks, would significantly set back freedom of the press, thwart whistle-blowers and squelch the airing of dissenting views on intelligence issues. This is part of a broader effort to make it a crime for national security officials to talk to reporters.

The Obama administration has, to its credit, made progress in a few areas: releasing more of the White House visitor logs, disseminating more information about nuclear weapons, disclosing more about intelligence spending, and declassifying more historical records. But these don’t amount to the “unprecedented level of openness” Obama promised. The few advances that have been made are mostly administrative changes that will end with the Obama administration. “We haven’t seen that many, if any, legislative initiatives from the White House,” Weismann lamented at Monday’s gathering of the open-government advocates.

Consider the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, a bill with bipartisan support that would make it easier to track government spending by requiring agencies to report expenditures in a uniform way online. The legislation is so uncontroversial that it passed the House on a voice vote. But the Obama administration raised objections — and the transparency law has yet to see the light of day.

* HMM... YOU'D THINK THAT THIS WOULD MERIT A SEPARATE OP-ED INSTEAD OF A TAIL END PARAGRAPH 15 MENTION...

(*SHRUG*)

William R. Barker said...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/03/us-storm-sandy-nj-damages-idUSBRE8B21I420121203

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is asking the federal government to reimburse the state for 100 percent of emergency costs for at least 90 days after Superstorm Sandy swept ashore on October 29.

(*SNORT*)

(*POINTING "THE FINGER" TOWARDS NJ*)

Christie previously asked for 90% reimbursement.

(*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)

FEMA generally reimburses states for 75 percent of emergency clean-up and repair costs from natural disasters. The agency can cover more, but state officials must ask for the relief.

* NO... "FEMA" DOESN'T "COVER" ANYTHING - THEY DIBURSE FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY AN OUT OF CONTROL CONGRESS. THEY'RE SIMPLY THE MIDDLEMAN... THE VERY, VERY EXPENSIVE MIDDLEMAN. (REMEMBER WHEN THEY CLOSED THE POST-SANDY EMERGENCY RELIEF OFFICES ON ACCOUNT OF SNOW...?!?!)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asked for full reimbursement for qualifying expenses not long after the storm subsided.

* FUCK YOU TOO!

The state of Connecticut is also asking for $3.2 billion for mitigation efforts...

* FOLKS... BEFORE SANDY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WAS PLANNING ON YET ANOTHER TRILLION DOLLAR PLUS DEFICIT! JEEZUS... IF YOU DON'T THINK DEFICITS MATTER... IF YOU DON'T THINK GOVERNMENT SPENDING NEEDS TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP TO REVENUE... THEN WHY AREN'T EACH ONE OF US MILLIONAIRES RECEIVING A GOVERNMENT CHECK FOR $1,000,000.00 EACH AND EVERY YEAR...?

William R. Barker said...

http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/12/03/zimmermans-attorney-releases-photo/

* REMEMBER THE ORIGINAL (MIS)REPORTING CONCERNING ZIMMERMAN'S SUPPOSED "LACK" OF INJURIES?

* FOLKS... IT'S ALL IN THE ARCHIVES...

William R. Barker said...

http://rt.com/usa/news/surveillance-spying-e-mail-citizens-178/

The FBI has the e-mails of nearly all U.S. citizens, including congressional members, according to NSA whistleblower William Binney.

* LISTEN... FOLKS... THIS IS RUSSIA TODAY. READ THE INTERVIEW. DO SOME GOOGLING. MAKE UP YOUR OWN MINDS. I'M JUST RECOUNTING THE STORY - WHICH WAS HIGHLIGHTED BY DRUDGE TODAY.

William R. Barker said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9722125/Chinas-new-leaders-ban-red-carpets-pomp-and-empty-speeches.html

Party leaders will no longer be greeted wherever they go with cheering crowds, banners, red carpets and elaborate flower displays, said a statement on Chinese state media after a meeting of the new 25-man Politburo.

* GOOD FOR... er... THE CHINESE POLITBURO!

The updated rules also ban dull, long speeches and fawning write-ups in the state newspapers, as the party tries to reshape its image.

(*APPROVING NOD*)

In recent years, even the lowliest Communist party officials have enjoyed a fin-de-si├Ęcle lifestyle, being chauffeured around in luxury cars and greeted by crowds of well-marshalled schoolchildren. Officials have seemed to compete with each other for who could build the biggest local government offices, offer the grandest banquets – often with specially imported delicacies or food from exclusive farms – and accumulate the most wealth. Now, after growing criticism at the decadence and arrogance of the party, its new leaders appear determined to make a change.

* WOW... I GUESS OBAMA ISN'T A TRUE COMMUNIST AFTER ALL!

(*SMIRKING WHILE CHUCKLING*)

In the two weeks since he was anointed as China's next president, 52-year-old Xi Jinping has delivered two speeches on national television without notes.

Li Keqiang, who will become prime minister in March, and Wang Qishan, the new anti-corruption chief, have also held meetings in which they banned participants from making grandstanding speeches. In a seminar last Friday, Mr Wang interrupted professors to stop them addressing him as "respected secretary Wang".

The new rules also stipulate that leaders should no longer show up for ribbon-cutting ceremonies, groundbreakings or any other self-aggrandising events, exhibitions or forums. Government reports will also "thoroughly change", eliminating jargon and indeed jettisoning any "empty and unnecessary documents."

* WOW... (*SINCERE APPLAUSE*)

William R. Barker said...

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/dhs-confirms-deportation-obamas-uncle-hold-immigration-board-re-opens-case

The U.S Board of Immigration Appeals has agreed to reopen the immigration case of Onyango Obama, delaying the deportation of the 68-year old Kenyan who violated an order to leave the United States in 1992.

(*SNORT*)

In 1989, an immigration judge ordered Obama, who has been in the U.S. since 1963, to be deported. He appealed and the appeal was dismissed in 1992.

Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said any move to reconsider a case is unusual when there is already an order for removal. “It isn’t common for the Board to reopen a case when there is an outstanding order of removal, as there is here, particularly with a later DUI arrest. It happens, but not that often,” Williams said in a statement to CNSNews.com.

* AGAIN... FOLKS... WHEN I SAY THE UNITED STATES IS NO LONGER A NATION UNDER THE RULE OF LAW... (*PAUSE*)... NOTE I CITE BOTH BIG EXAMPLES AND SMALL.

(*SHRUG*)

CNSNews.com reported in July that an ICE internal e-mail obtained by the legal watchdog Judicial Watch had confirmed that ICE had granted Obama a stay of deportation “to seek reopening of his deportation proceedings.” The e-mail, sent by Hale to ICE Director John Morton on April 1, revealed that ICE had no immediate plans to deport Obama, in spite of a previous ICE order that granted Obama a stay of deportation [only] until June 5, 2012.

“Mr. Onyango is subject to a final order of deportation. ICE had granted him a stay of deportation effective until June 5, 2012,” the e-mail reads. “The stay was granted to allow him to attend pending criminal proceedings and to seek reopening of his deportation proceedings, which concluded before the Board of Immigration Appeals on January 29, 1992.”

* HIS OWN PENDING CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS...!!!

Obama was arrested in Framingham, Mass., for DUI in August 2011. In March of this year, his case was continued for one year and his driver’s license was suspended for 45 days.

* WHY DOES AN ILLEGAL ALIEN WITH A DEPORTATION ORDER POSSESS A DRIVERS LICENCE IN THE FIRST PLACE...???

(*HEADACHE*)

* FOLKS... ONE MORE TIME...

In 1989, an immigration judge ordered Obama, who has been in the U.S. since 1963, to be deported. He appealed and the appeal was dismissed in 1992.

According to the Boston Globe, Obama subsequently received a “hardship” license so he could continue working at his job as the manager of a liquor store.

* YOU... CAN'T... MAKE... THIS... STUFF... UP...!!!

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed to CNSNews.com on Tuesday that Obama, who is the president’s uncle, was granted a rehearing last week and his case is being re-opened.

“The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) remanded the case back to Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) for reconsideration. It is inappropriate for ICE to offer any further comment on this case,” Brian P. Hale, ICE assistant director for public affairs, said in a statement to CNSNews.com.

* YEAH... INAPPROPRIATE... UH-HUH...

The Cleveland, Ohio-based immigration law firm of Margaret Wong and Associates, which is handling Obama’s case, said the delay may allow the Kenyan national to apply to stay in the U.S. permanently. “We are delighted that the Board of Immigration Appeals has decided to reopen the deportation case of President Obama's uncle, Obama Onyango,” Wong said in a statement. “Mr. Onyango now has an opportunity to stay in the U.S. and apply for permanent residency,” the statement said.

(*CLAP...CLAP...CLAP*)