Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Bullitt list -- 05.05.10

Today's category:
Hope & Change update

I remarked once upon a time that the famous Hope and Change campaign that swept the current president into office on a tide of schmaltz and triteness wouldn't actually change anything. Well, I've been seeing some headlines lately that indicate that things actually have been changing...

..for the worse.
  • One of the things Comrade Obama promised to "change" was the general lack of transparency among government agencies. After all, we're supposed to have a government of the people, by the people, for the investment banks people. Hard to achieve that when the people aren't allowed to know what's going on with the government.

    Luckily, Obama put his best people on the task of increasing government transparency. That's why, after a year and a half, federal agencies are NOT more transparent.

    In fact, some agencies in the Obama Administration are using trumped up exceptions to Freedom of Information requests more than they did in the previous year.
    Major agencies cited the "deliberative process" exemption at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, up from 47,395 times during President George W. Bush's final full budget year... Obama was president for nine months in the 2009 period.
    I guess we'll just have to rely on the Ministry of Truth to tell us what we need to know.

  • But hey, at least we still have a free press in our country, right? In fact, we have the most open journalistic culture in the world. Our reporters have more access to more government officials than any other country in the world, free or otherwise, right?

    Well, not so fast my friend. According to the annual report from Freedom House, press freedom around the world declined for an 8th consecutive year, and the United States press now ranks 24th in press freedoms (PDF). And that's before factoring in recent events wherein CEOs of major U.S. corporations who lost their latest techie toy pull strings to have law enforcement authorities harass poor, hard-working journalists.

  • And speaking of law enforcement authorities, the Obama Administration has has the dubious distinction of overseeing a new record for people under wiretap surveillance. Wired recently reported a 26 percent jump in police wiretapping.
    Courts authorized 2,376 criminal wiretap orders in 2009, with 96 percent targeting mobile phones in drug cases, according to the report. ... Not one request for a wiretap was turned down.

    Each wiretap caught the communications of an average of 113 people, meaning that 268,488 people had text messages or phone calls monitored through the surveillance in 2009, a new record. Only 19 percent of the intercepted communications were incriminating...
    This sort of thing shouldn't be surprising given Obama's history of supporting domestic spying. Still, you might want to be careful who you criticize when you're on the phone with your crazy, conspiracy theory uncle.

  • Not that you're worried about the government spying on you. Why would they care who you are? As long as you mind your own business, go to your job every day, pay your mortgage, do what the authorities tell you, pay your taxes.... oops. You forgot to mail your tax return, didn't you. Well, I guess there's a satellite-based missile with your name on it...

  • Okay, maybe saying there's a satellite-based missile with your name on it is a bit of an exaggeration. Because despite the spying, censorship and opaque bureaucratic machinations, if there's one thing our government never does it's assassinate its citizens.

    Well, almost never. It turns out the Obama administration has ordered a hit on a U.S. citizen, effectively approving a death penalty sentence without a judge or jury or due process of law.
    The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them.
    Kind of surprising that there haven't been any protests or marches against the administration's abuse of a citizen's civil liberties. Maybe it's because al-Awlaki is a legal US citizen and not a illegal alien.

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  1. Nice transparency photo. I am mostly signing up for your resident obama-groupie rebuttal.what would he think of next.

  2. The cell phone/email cases currently percolating give me the willies. But hey, it's OK as long as the person doing it is not named "Bush."


  3. i've totally given up on our government. we're all screwed. democrat/ doesn't matter. the politicians are there for themselves and they do whatever the latest poll thinks they should do. we're hosed. hope and change this mr. president.

  4. "Hope and change this President" to who KJ? We've heard who you don't like, well..who do you want?

    In regards to the fact that "We're all screwed," I'd agree. The whole world is screwed. Which country's economy is tearing it up right now? Which country at present would you like to move to? Just curious.

    And to emawkc, perhaps you think I've drunk the Obama Kool-Aid, as you like to say Emawkc, but I can assure you you're incorrect. If I were a political person I could criticize quite a bit.

    But for all the doom and gloom nay-sayers out in the country's rust-bucket, nowhere cities and religious communities, all I can ask is "What are the (5) most important life goals you want to achieve and how is Obamaa keeping you from achieving them?" His policies are really holding your lifelong dreams back that much? Please, tell me these crucial things you want from life that Obama (strictly Obama) is keeping you from reaching. And where on this planet are people achieving them?

  5. Glad to see others have grown tired of the hope/change rhetoric. As I said the other day: the only "change" I see is what's left of my paycheck. I had hoped to put a little away for retirement but last week's market dive killed that idea. Wasn't there supposed to be some free gas and mortgage payment in exchange for all there?


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