Freedom of Information Act
"We have put in place the toughest ethics and transparency laws of any administration in history," President Obama proclaimed four short years ago... However, as AP Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee said recently, the fight for access to public information has never been harder, and in fact, the problem extends across the entire federal government and is now trickling down to state and local governments. Here is Buzbee’s list of eight ways Obama's "most transparent" administration is making it hard for journalists to find information and cover the news...
Movement to Declassify 9/11 Information Gathers Momentum ... 9/11 Commission Chairs and Congressmen Call for DeclassificationSubmitted by George Washington on 08/31/2014 02:30 -0400
The Founding Fathers Fought the Revolutionary War to Stop the Type of Militarized Police We Now Have In the U.S.Submitted by George Washington on 08/20/2014 01:29 -0400
Have you ever heard of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, otherwise known as OIRA? OIRA was created in 1980, and shortly thereafter the Reagan administration greatly expanded its powers by signing an executive order that gave the office the authority to review all federal rules. Ever since then, it has been used to rewrite or entirely block regulations from almost every regulatory body imaginable. Simply put, this powerful organization operating in the shadows of America’s faux democracy is used by lobbyists and large corporate interests to further entrench the established oligarchic power structure.
One thing that has become crystal clear since the Edward Snowden revelations, is that much of Congress has no problem at all with unconstitutional spying. Rather, they are primarily upset it was exposed and are dead set on making sure no other whistleblower can ever do the same. Enter CISA, or The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act.
Well, if you take the US Supreme Court and representatives of the Federal Reserve System at their own words, the case is pretty clear: the member banks of the Federal Reserve System are private corporations / banks.
From Ancient Egypt to Modern America …
“Pervasive, Pre-Criminal Surveillance Where the Government Wants To Watch What You’re Doing Just to See What You’re Up To ..."Submitted by George Washington on 05/30/2014 13:49 -0400
Mr. Bowden, who heads the SEC’s examinations unit, speaking at a private equity conference, explained that “more than 50 percent of private equity firms it has audited have engaged in serious infractions of securities laws.” What is so incredible about the talk, is that while Bowden goes into details of shady practice after shady practice, he ultimately admits that the SEC isn’t being particularly aggressive with the private equity industry because “we believe that most people in the industry are trying to do the right thing, to help their clients, to grow their business, and to provide for their owners and employees.” What the SEC is basically admitting, is that private equity firms are also “too big to regulate” and, of course, “too big to jail.”
As the nation shivered through February and March and saw it's gross domestic product collapse as humans hibernated, President Obama sought sunnier climes to ensure US supremacy on the world-leader's golf handicap rankings. As The Washington Times reports, however, Obama’s trips this year to the golfing playgrounds of Palm Springs and Key Largo cost taxpayers nearly $3 million for flight expenses alone on Air Force One.
It doesn’t get any more Orwellian than this: Wall Street mega banks crash the U.S. financial system in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of financial industry workers lose their jobs. Then, beginning late last year, a rash of suspicious deaths start to occur among current and former bank employees. Next we learn that four of the Wall Street mega banks likely hold over $680 billion face amount of life insurance on their workers, payable to the banks, not the families. We ask their Federal regulator for the details of this life insurance under a Freedom of Information Act request and we’re told the information constitutes “trade secrets.”
In yet another surprising 'loss' for the current administration, RT reports a three-judge 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a previous ruling that would have allowed the federal government to keep the rationale behind drone killings classified. The US Department of Justice must turn over important details from a key "White Paper" which the government has used to justify targeted killings across the Middle East. While the document was no secret (with parts leaked before Brennan's swearing in as CIA chief last year), the judges ruled that "whatever protection the legal analysis might once have had has been lost be virtue of public statements of public officials and official disclosure of the DOJ White Paper." As the ACLU stated, "This is a resounding rejection of the government’s effort to use secrecy, and selective disclosure, as a means of manipulating public opinion about the targeted killing program."
There is a disturbing push by the FBI to create an extensive facial recognition database. The information received by the EFF via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demonstrates that the feds may have a mugshot database with up to 52 million photos by 2015. The program is called Next Generation Identification (NGI), and the aspect of it that bothers the EFF most is the fact that non-criminal and criminal photos will be combined in the same database. So someone who has no criminal record can suddenly be flagged as a suspect just because an algorithm says so. What’s worst, research shows that the potential for false positive identification increases as the dataset increases.
One upon a time everyone got a hearty chuckle when Obama declared, on the very first day of his ascension to the throne, that his administration would be the "most transparent in history." And if they didn't then, they certainly will now following news that it none other than Obama's own administration - made infamous for spying on everyone who uses electronic communication courtesy of one whistleblower - that it has refused a record number of Freedom of Information (don't laugh) requests on the basis of, drumroll, national security. So between the NSA, whose job is to ensure national security, and all those pesky meddlesome investigators, whose only curiosity is to peek behind the secrecy of the Obama administration, there should be precisely zero acts of terrorism on US soil. Like last year's Boston bombing for example. Oh wait...