Note: This post is not part of the Finding Common ground Series
I use that google news gadget that inseminates my brain with news odds and ends all day. I'm not sure how it chooses what to show me, I mean I've told it 100 times to not "show me items like this" whenever some sports thing comes up. I also do that for that TMZ papparazzi crap. But again and again, it seems to think I need to be fed the latest sports and Brittney 'news'.
Anyway, somehow FoxNews has made it into Google's newsfeeder and it feeds me spoonful after spoonful of everlasting crap every day for the last few days. However today I got something I agree with.
Everyone wrote an open letter to Obama (except me, but I was tempted). I'm not sure what people are expecting there. Do you think Obama suffers from SIWOTI syndrome? Do you think that Rahm Emmanuel is going to say to Obama, "Hey, there's this obscure blog with 100 readers, you should read this!".
Anyway, it was an opinion piece, another Open Letter to Obama. I'm really doubting that Obama is taking much that Fox has to say to heart, but I gotta say, I think this guy has a lot right and it is non-partisan.
He discusses 7 points. Here they are:
- Increase government transparency.
- Open up the White House
- Swear off executive privilege
- Revamp the Transportation Security Administration
- Investigate the Bush administration
- Make fighting public corruption a top priority of your justice department
- Use the pardon
I was inspired to this attitude after reading Davin Brins "Transparent Society". It seems weird at first, but think about it. Look at the points he is making. Yes, I would feel safer walking down the street with cameras everywhere with live feeds to everyone in the world able to watch than I would walking down the street with feeds to a select few chosen by the local and federal government. Opening up government for civilian inspection is a great idea (and yeah, that is more than this guy was suggesting).
As for #2, well surely a review of the rules about access to the White House is in order. This doesn't personally affect me or most Americans, but it would be nice to know that I could take my daughter on the same tour of the white house that I got to take when I was a kid.
#3 is related to #1, if your don't do anything smarmy, you wont need executive privilege. Don't get a blow job in the oval office from an intern, don't go to war based on no evidence, and so forth and you won't need executive privilege. Why not portray it as a poor tool to use? Or shall we say a tool that is used by poor presidents.
There are of course a few items that I have a hard time justifying as highly important. Yeah it sucks to go through an airport. But is it really one of the top 7 things to get done? Economy is not on this list. Nuclear proliferation is not on this list. Propelling our education system back into the 21st century is not on this list. Gaining CO2 free energy Independence is not on this list. But Mr. Balko thinks that reducing the time he has to spend at an airport should be a high priority? Sorry my heart isn't really bleeding for you. I agree with his point that I truly don't think we have any evidence that we are any safer at an airport than we were pre-9/11, but still I don't this one really lighting a fire under anyone's ass.
I'm not a a member of "Washington's standard-bearers", but I don't see a good reason to spend copious amount of money (tens of millions of tax dollars) repeating the nonsense the republicans pulled on Clinton. So, no, this will just make Obama look bad. I don't see anything positive coming out of that activity. Americans fell for the Republican party line and got exactly what they promised, even after they were warned and warned some more.
Yes, the justice department should hold a flag for incorruptibility. I'm sure there is a lot of work being done there but it seems that they are simply being guided by things the media find out. Why did they take down Spitzer? something seems terribly wrong with some of the priorities and government corruption directly leads to the decay of democracy. What is one of the very first things we, as Americans, point out about getting aid into third world countries? Its difficult because of corruption. Corruption in our government is the fast road to democratic decay.
As for the pardon...I'm sure we'll see some. But really, with 202,000 federal inmates and 2.2 million in state penitentiaries, I don't really see a reason to devote significant resources to this activity regardless of how admirable the goal. Seems to me that this is not a presidential level activity, but something that could be taken up at the state level or within the justice department.
Anyway, as I said. These are all good things to go after, and I do agree with them with the exception of #5. But aside from #1, I don't really see any of them as so important that they must be addressed before the other burning issues.