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 bankspeople. 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.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.
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...
- 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.
tagged: Bullitt, hitman, Obama, freedom, hope, change, Anwar al-Awlaki, spying, wire tap