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View Full Version : Obama off to a good start with FOI and Presidential Records Act.



Magda Hassan
01-22-2009, 11:20 AM
Washington, D.C., January 21, 2009 - On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order and two presidential memoranda heralding what he called a "new era of openness." Announcing a Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act (http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/news/20090121/2009_FOIA_memo.pdf) to reestablish a presumption of disclosure for information requested under FOIA, President Obama said that "every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known."
The FOIA Memorandum (http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/news/20090121/2009_FOIA_memo.pdf) articulates a presumption of disclosure for government records and a hostility to the use of secrecy laws to cover up embarrassing information. It directs the Attorney General to issue new guidelines governing FOIA and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to improve information dissemination to the public.
President Obama also issued an executive order reversing changes made by President George W. Bush to the Presidential Records Act (PRA) (http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/news/20090121/2009_PRA_EO.pdf), stating he would hold himself and his own records "to a new standard of openness." The PRA order (http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/news/20090121/2009_PRA_EO.pdf) permits only the incumbent president (and not former presidents' heirs or designees or former vice presidents) to assert constitutional privileges to withhold information, and would provide for review by the Attorney General and the White House Counsel before a president could claim privilege over his or her records.
Finally, President Obama also today issued a Presidential Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government (http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/news/20090121/2009_transparency_memo.pdf) which recognizes that "[o]penness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government." It directs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Chief Technology Officer, and the Administrator of the General Services Administration to develop an Open Government Directive within 120 days to implement the memo.
"This is the earliest and most emphatic call for open government from any president in history," said Archive director Tom Blanton. "President Obama has reversed two of the most dramatic secrecy moves of the Bush initiatives, one that told agencies to withhold whatever they could under FOIA and the other that gave presidential heirs and vice presidents the power to withhold presidential records indefinitely."
In November 2008, the National Security Archive and a coalition of more than 60 organizations called on President Obama (http://www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/news/20081112/index.htm) to reverse the secrecy trend and issue new directives on openness on Day One of his presidency. Today, President Obama heeded that call and took decisive action to ensure that openness, transparency, and accountability would be the rules and not the exceptions for his administration.
"President Obama is doing what he said he would do from the campaign trail. He is trying to transform how the public will learn about government decisions and actions" said Meredith Fuchs, the Archive's General Counsel. "I hope his decisive leadership on these issues pushes the bureaucracy to make these principles a reality -- to give us an accountable, democratic, national government."


http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20090121/index.htm

David Guyatt
01-22-2009, 01:59 PM
Yes, a nice tone on which to begin.

If , as well, he sets out to tightly regulate crookery in financial institutions, and corral the intelligence community, and the Pentagon, and stamp down on government corruption and engages in genuine dialogue in international relations, then I'll start to become impressed.

If... :stoned:

Peter Lemkin
01-23-2009, 07:08 AM
IF [big IF] Obama continues on this trajectory [already haven given two slaps on the hands of the Deep Political structures intelligence arm with a pro-release stance and closing the secret detention, rendition and torture places] I'd posit he won't last in office long, sadly. They'll find a way of fighting back, pushing back.

Magda Hassan
01-23-2009, 08:31 AM
If he is going to close the prison in Cuba he should close the whole base as it has been an illegal facility since the US navy stopped using coke for their ship early last century. That is what the lease was for - a coke refueling station. Cuba has never accepted a cent of the rent since the revolution and want it gone and they have asked the US to go but they haven't. It has no legitimacy to be there under any law.

Peter Lemkin
01-23-2009, 09:13 AM
If he is going to close the prison in Cuba he should close the whole base as it has been an illegal facility since the US navy stopped using coke for their ship early last century. That is what the lease was for - a coke refueling station. Cuba has never accepted a cent of the rent since the revolution and want it gone and they have asked the US to go but they haven't. It has no legitimacy to be there under any law.

Dream on.....read the An Empire Of Bases chapter in Sorrows of Empire by Johnson. America collects them and increases the number of them the way others collect butterflies - America's 'collection' is for Empire - nothing less. I believe the number is now about 725 foreign ones in 39 countries - this might be the number before the current War.:help:

Back to Obama in the Black House:

Opinion polls in the United States have reported the overwhelmingly optimistic and positive feelings of the American people toward President Barack Obama. A new Financial Times/Harris Poll finds that he is even more popular in the five largest European countries than in the United States.


In the U.S., fully 68% of adults believe that the new president will have a “positive impact on the course of international events,” and only 16% believe he will have a negative impact. In Europe, the numbers who are optimistic are 92% in France, 90% in Italy, 85% in Spain, 82% in Germany, and 77% in Britain.

Further evidence of the extraordinary enthusiasm and optimism engendered by Obama’s election is that scarcely anyone in Europe expects him to have a negative impact on international events – 1% in France, 3% in Spain, 4% in Italy, 5% in Germany and 8% in Britain.

These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive among a total of 6,299 adults (1,000 or more in each country), aged 16-64, within France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, and the United States and adults (aged 18-64) in Italy between 8 and 15 January 2009.
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That 16% negative in America are to be worried about - and the Deep Political elements who know how to manipulate them. I heard one of them speaking on the BBC Worldservice this morning - saying that Obama's closing of secret CIA detention and torture centers was the 'biggest mistake an American President has ever made'...or some such. He was from one of the right-wing think tanks. The article by Russ Baker recently is very apt. Those behind Bush and the push [putsch] toward coporate fascism will continue their work unabated within, without and privatized, off-the-shelf. Now they will be less visable - but there in the same way as before, subrosa.:driver:

David Guyatt
01-23-2009, 03:23 PM
He is popular in Europe it seems. But based on that travesty of humanity that went before him, a elephant's fart would be popular.

Peter Lemkin
01-23-2009, 06:43 PM
He is popular in Europe it seems. But based on that travesty of humanity that went before him, a elephant's fart would be popular.

Ah, David me lad, 'ya made me laugh!!!! I think Bush might even be rejected as an organ donor at this point.....


But on his lack of popularity in Europe, I find it sad, but predictable, he is least unpopular in Britain - our 51st state with Blair-Borg!

Richard Welser
01-25-2009, 02:41 AM
He is popular in Europe it seems. But based on that travesty of humanity that went before him, a elephant's fart would be popular.

on edit: forgot to thank you for the laugh ... it's nice to laugh.

But regarding GITMO .... all floss I expect. I appears likely that the CIA will still be able to torture 'high value' prisoners and the 'secret' detention centers and rendition will still occur. Worse, without 'GITMO" the most visible evidence of America's ethical and human abyss will disappear. But all will go on..... Many know, of course, that Obama is merely the current sock puppet (by definition because the system is much more revealed and much better understood and acknowledged than in the past.) I typically assume that not a whole lot of anything can/will happen that is not beneficial or irrelevant to the elite's goals.... (and considering that coincidences 'sometimes' occur, and actions by the worldwide resistance may be honest (not manipulated to occur) and not expected by the elites.

David Guyatt
01-25-2009, 09:43 AM
WE are in perfect accord Richard. Talk-tak and symbolic acts are cheap and when said with a beaming smile captures hearts and then we all fall over waxing lyrical. Fundamental change is what is wanted and needed.

Will he, can he, deliver on that. I have doubted it for the past year. And still do.

Richard Welser
01-26-2009, 01:25 AM
I just can’t help posting this essay -- which I think speaks very pointedly to several of the real issues with Obama....



http://chmt.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/obamanation-a-lesson-in-black-power/

Obamanation: A Lesson In Black*Power
Being Black in the US means something. *It implies an understanding of power and oppression. *It implies an inclination and proclivity to side with those that resist oppression and exploitation, the Black nation having a history of acute experience with those forces.
That said, does it matter if we have sitting, the first Black chairman in the 221 years of the House’s existence, if he sits idly by and congratulates a president-elect that promises to embrace imperial foreign policy across Africa and the so-called Middle East?
Does it matter if that President-Elect’s skin happens to be Black if his office appoints an Attorney General that advocates more of a draconian domestic policy already *decimating Black communities?
Does it matter if we are greeted by the first ever Black Attorney General if he wants to make possession with (cop’s discretion) intent to distribut a 5 year felony?
Does it matter, in 2008, the color of the faces of a system that is grinding into dust, the bones of Black and Brown Americans and Iraqis alike?
Hell yes, it matters so much that he is Black. *But not as a justification for backslapping celebration. *Obama is a tool of the ruling class and when the power of Blackness is used by the ruling class it is Black power in reverse, turned around to use as a weapon against everyone except the ruling class.

The Obama administration, before it officially begins, is shaping up to be the nightmare so many abstainers and McKinney supporters predicted it would. *I told you so’s may make some folks feel better about having been right but that shit doesn’t really matter at all. *What seems important here is the opportunity, maybe an opportunity, to learn and to teach. *Black and Brown communities in the US have represented the tip of the spear of progressive struggle for centuries. *Over the past 35 or so the nature of that struggle has been severely compromised by the phenomenon of Black faces in high places. *My city, Atlanta, is as good an example of it as any Black or Brown city in the country. *Maynard Jackson, in 1974 became the first Black mayor of Atlanta. *Not incidentally, Coleman Young was simultaneously being sworn in as the first Black mayor of the Motor City. *To this day, Atlanta has seen nothing but Black mayors. *From Jackson to Andrew Young to Jackson again to Bill Campbell to Shirley Franklin. *In that time, Atlanta has served as something of the model of the evolution of white institutional power-Jim Crow style-into the new Black face of white power never before illustrated more powerfully than in the placement of Barack Obama in the office of the President of the United States.
On the morning November 5, 2008 I woke to a United States of America that was the same gulag of a country it was when I drifted off to sleep the night before amidst a popcorn symphony of fireworks and pistols celebrating the placement of Barack Obama as the next president of this hellhole. *Okay, okay. *Maybe it’s not a hellhole. *But ask an Iraqi. *Or a Lakota. *Or a Nicaraguan. *If you wanna be precise, there is a long list of people, within and without the US, and from dozens of other countries that will probably sign on to the hellhole moniker. * But that’s another post maybe. *Barack Obama’s melanin didn’t change what this country was or is. *And considering the good mayors like Jackson, Young, Campbell and Franklin have done a major city like Atlanta you must wonder what in the hell we thought Obama would even mean. *Considering what Clarence Thomas in the Judicial and Condoleeza Rice in the Executive have meant to Black people and oppressed people around the world, maybe we should have known better. *The proverbial water is still flowing under the bridge, with the bodies of New Orleans and Iraqis and Afghanis floating just beneath the shimmering, celebratory surface. *What is there to learn here?
The placement, not election, of Barack Obama on the one hand proves that a Black face in a high place is worthless while simultaneously proving that his face is worth it’s weight in gold. *The critical question is for whom. *For us, the people, Black administrators in a system controlled by white corporate power continues to be meaningless. *The system, not select positions within it, is the problem. *For them, the ruling class a Black face is almost priceless. *Black people within and without the United States, have lost faith in the United States. *The nightmare, always marketed as the ‘dream’, had become unbearably harsh for too many. *So harsh that there was a danger that, as with particularly bad dreams, people might be jolted out of sleep. *This is where Obama is needed.
Increasingly hip to the sick game of broken white promises, Enrons, grandmothers drowning in the ninth ward, computers and courts stealing elections, immigration raids sending abandoned kids to hide in the woods, the rich fucks have a crisis of confidence in the whole system on their hands. *And not just the confidence of the usual folks who get fucked but wider now. *White folks were losing faith fast too. *All this makes the placement of a handsome (read light-skinned), articulate (speak like a white newscaster) 2004 Illinois state senator to President of the United States in 2008. *Once the celebration ends maybe we’ll even ask where this guy even came from.
Obama won’t serve us. *He’ll serve those who coronated him. *And but of course. *Will Black and Brown folks take this moment to contemplate and learn or will we drunk on the narrative of those who would continue our enslavement, stand and salute our Blackness turned around to signal our own demise?

David Healy
01-26-2009, 05:02 AM
someone provide this essayist a dime, point him/her towards the Golden Gate Bridge... way too much pain... No wonder the world is ripe for another wannabe messiah

Peter Lemkin
01-26-2009, 05:36 AM
While it is good that Obama has shown [or seems to show] a kind of 'sunshine' policy with documents, but it is the agencies that have them [NSA, CIA, FBI etc. that 'decide' if they exist, what must be redacted or withheld for 'National Security', etc. In many of these agencies IMO important docs have been removed to privitized locals, shredded, hidden, faked and replaced, and who knows what other techniques they have. While Obama will appoint heads of those Agencies, there is a culture of 'darkness and opaqueness' in all of those agencies, who guard their secrets carefully and won't let a one [or less] term President get in their way - unless really pushed. I hope it is done - I'm still not holding my breath. I sure hope my cynicism is unwarrented! A complete release of documents on [just for starters] JFK, RFK, MLK, Iran-Contra, Watergate, Savings & Loan, Enron, NSA spying on ALL Americans, US participation in government overthrows, assassinations and wars, etc. would go a long way to creating 'Change'! Yes, they (in theory) can - No, I doubt (in fact) they will.:slug:

Magda Hassan
01-26-2009, 07:18 AM
Obamanation: A Lesson In Black*Power Being Black in the US means something. *It implies an understanding of power and oppression. *It implies an inclination and proclivity to side with those that resist oppression and exploitation, the Black nation having a history of acute experience with those forces. That said, does it matter if we have sitting, the first Black chairman in the 221 years of the House’s existence, if he sits idly by and congratulates a president-elect that promises to embrace imperial foreign policy across Africa and the so-called Middle East? Does it matter if that President-Elect’s skin happens to be Black if his office appoints an Attorney General that advocates more of a draconian domestic policy already *decimating Black communities? Does it matter if we are greeted by the first ever Black Attorney General if he wants to make possession with (cop’s discretion) intent to distribut a 5 year felony? Does it matter, in 2008, the color of the faces of a system that is grinding into dust, the bones of Black and Brown Americans and Iraqis alike? Hell yes, it matters so much that he is Black. *But not as a justification for backslapping celebration. *Obama is a tool of the ruling class and when the power of Blackness is used by the ruling class it is Black power in reverse, turned around to use as a weapon against everyone except the ruling class.

Obama will be for black liberation what Thatcher was for women's liberation.

David Guyatt
01-26-2009, 11:28 AM
someone provide this essayist a dime, point him/her towards the Golden Gate Bridge... way too much pain... No wonder the world is ripe for another wannabe messiah

I think you're right David and that the world is prepped for a new messiah.

There is a danger about messiahs, I think, because the Unconscious yearning for them arises at times of great stress and imminent change (whether this be for good or bad is impossible to predict).

One argument would be that the last Messiah brought peace as His message -- and thereafter war and pestilence was visited upon the Earth for two millennia.

On the other hand, the Archetype of a Messiah acts as a catalyst for unknown number of others to follow the new message promulgated and civilization is incrementally advanced as a result, which cannot be a bad thing.

http://www.dreamhawk.com/messianic.htm


The messiah is obviously a very powerful concept in some religions. If not expressed under the word messiah, it can be also seen in images such as that of a saviour, or an avatar. But the idea of a messiah has to do with a new revelation, or a new epoch, perhaps a way maker.

The concept, and the experience of the messiah archetype possibly arises from a deep stratum of the human psyche that holds racial memories of confrontation with times of crisis, times when human development had reached a point that needed a new impulse, a new way of responding to the world, to continue. In other words the way forward in human, social or individual development had reached a point of impasse. A new paradigm, a new example, a new birth of human potential was needed. My best guess is that within the human unconscious, a vision or sense of what was needed had formed and was felt. The ‘new being' that needed to emerge was intuited as a great leader, a great spiritual being who would incarnate and lead the race forward. Of course, the ‘new being’ was or is a potential within the person themselves. But individuals who expressed this new being would be looked upon as the very incarnation of the messiah, and act as a catalyst for others to allow the new qualities or social order to emerge from within themselves.

Part of the messiah archetype is to do with demonstrating the courage to face death lightly, or to be sacrificed. In its very primitive form, the messiah or saviour would have been killed by his own tribe or people, and torn apart and eaten. The flesh would have given the magic power of fearlessness to those who ate this sacred meal. Therefore the torn body would have been like seeds of the new life, the new consciousness.

This is probably not the thread to discuss these things...

David Guyatt
01-26-2009, 12:08 PM
Obama will be for black liberation what Thatcher was for women's liberation.

Eh?

http://www.tvfetish.net/TVGold/Comedy/Satire/Spitting/TVGC_SpittingImage06.jpg