John Fanning: Transparency shrouded in secrecy
Candidate Obama promised an unprecedented degree of openness and transparency, in contrast to the notoriously secretive Bush White House. “We’ll have the negotiations televised on C-Span so the people can see who is making the argument on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or insurance companies.”
Candidate Obama promised that pending legislation would be put up on the Internet for no less than five days before bills were signed so the general public would at least have an opportunity to see it.
President Obama said: “My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration.”
The pork laden so-called “stimulus” bill, which has stimulated nothing except the printing presses printing the money, met none of this criteria and was signed within a day of being presented to him. This is $787 billion of our money. With interest, it amounts to over $1 trillion.
The 36 czars, many of them in policy making positions, are a complete mystery. Some of the positions include: The California Water Czar; The Auto Recovery Czar; The Great Lakes Czar; The Stimulus Czar; The Pay Czar, and The Climate Czar. The list goes on and on. Did President Bush have czars? Yes! He had about 20 of them during his eight years, but all were vetted vigorously by the media and some by Congress. Remember Obama’s pledge of openness and transparency? The media is missing in action. This is a sad commentary on the system of checks and balances.
Remember the deal quietly cut with Big Pharma not to allow Medicare to push drug companies for lower drug prices in exchange for a promise to voluntarily reduce prescription prices by some $80 billion over 10 years, a deal which it turns out now will most likely not be honored? It wasn’t on C-Span nor was the White House the first to tell us.
Obama and his minions are attempting to overhaul our entire health care system representing nearly 20 percent of our economy with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Rahm Emanuel from the White House behind closed doors putting together a health care system which will determine how, when, where, when, how much, and from who you and I will receive health care. Have any discussions been on C-Span? Have the bills been on the Internet for at least five days? Do you think they will be before the final vote is taken?
Recently, the Senate Finance Committee passed a bill. The Republicans and one Democrat attempted to pass a resolution stating it would be put on the Internet for three days before a vote was taken. Senator Kerry led the opposition to the bill and it was defeated. This is the same Senate Finance Committee who threatened Humana and other insurance companies when they attempted to advise their customers of the expected negative consequences for them if the current legislation was passed.
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, a prominent Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee called the Obama administration’s secrecy policy an inadequate step toward transparency. One observer noted, “Obama has closed the door on openness.” Another summed it up this way, “Obama lied and transparency died.”
John Fanning, Dillon
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