Steve Benen at MaddowBog writes that Donald Trump loves transparency except when it come to himself. When sycophant representative Devin Nunes ran to the White House last year with a memo full of classified information he had penned to help Trump, Trump, ignoring the objections from his FBI Director Christopher Wray, okayed the release of …
Apr 23 2019
Dec 05 2010
Originally posted at Polizeros.com
Bloggers like Bob Morris of Polizeros have pointed out that even some who are typically rebellious in their rhetoric are condemning Julian Assange (while there are people like Jonah Goldberg and Chuck Schumer calling for his head), so I think it’s worth pointing out how historically important Assange (and Wikileaks, of course) could be. With the caveat that we have all yet to see the effects of what Wikileaks is doing, he has the potential to play two essential and complementary roles: radical anti-authoritarian and someone who makes it safe for others to voice similar opinions.
Jul 30 2010
Remember how we were all told that by installing new regulation oversight on the banks would fix what is wrong with the economy?
Remember how the same guys who broke the financial economy and stole trillions stood before the world and declared that they now know how to fix it?
Well … one thing is for sure … The Fix Is In!
Jul 03 2010
Perhaps you heard about the recent EPA Press Release, regarding latest Toxicity Testing results for Dispersants. Depending on which sound bite you heard, it almost sounded like Corexit got a clean bill of health.
Confused? I was too. And since I had previously written a well-received diary,
Corexit Toxicity Tests not so hot, When Mixed with Oil
by jamess — May 30, 2010
which dove into the Toxicity Data, that the EPA originally cited as credible only 2 months ago, I figured I should try to figure out what was up with the ‘New and Improved’ Dispersant Testing.
What follows is my assessment of what’s happening now, including some relevant links.
I’ll try to keep it brief. (I hate long diaries, lol)
Jun 05 2010
If BP, along with the ‘Best and the Brightest’ can’t manage to turn off the spigot … The Florida Coral Reefs may be Next
Group Records Florida Coastal Environment Before Oil Arrives
Creighton Team Helps Oil Spill Study
MSNBC June 3, 2010
A research team from Creighton University is gathering data along Florida’s Gulf Coast and trying to stay ahead of the oil spill.
The team’s leader, John Schalles, said recovery crews aren’t the only ones scrambling against the resulting environmental disaster.
Creighton Professor John Schalles on the Oil Spill
Jun 02 2010
Dispersants add to Gulf spill’s toxic threats
Susan Buchanan — June 1, 2010
The EPA on May 10 authorized BP to use two dispersants-COREXIT 9500 and COREXIT EC9527A, distributed by the Tennessee and Texas units of Nalco Co. in Illinois. BP had already applied those products at the spill site for nearly two weeks. As concerns about COREXIT grew, however, the EPA asked BP on May 19 to find a less-toxic dispersant within 24 hours, and to start using its replacement in 72 hours. BP answered that it wanted to stick with COREXIT.
Frustrated EPA and Coast Guard officials said the company’s response was inadequate, and told BP to start reducing its use of surface dispersants. But in a decision questioned by some scientists, officials said BP’s subsea or underwater dispersant use, authorized in mid-May, could continue.
Last week, the EPA and the Coast Guard said that they would start calling the shots about BP’s dispersant use and that COREXIT applications could be scaled back by as much as 50% to 80%.
COREXIT should be scaled back to 0% —
Especially since BETTER options are available NOW.
May 26 2010
Gulf oil plume darker; not good news, expert says
By SETH BORENSTEIN — May 25, 2010
The color of the oil gushing from the main pipe has changed in color from medium gray to black. Two scientists noticed the change, which oil company BP downplayed as a natural fluctuation that is not likely permanent.
But engineering professor Bob Bea at the University of California at Berkeley says the color change may indicate the BP leak has hit a reservoir of more oil and less gas. Gas is less polluting because it evaporates.
Bea has spent more than 55 years working and studying oil rigs.
Too bad we can’t get any submarines down there to start tracking all that Oil, which scientists previously reported, looked to be spreading far and wide, at the mid-levels of the Gulf waters.
Luckily, the Scientist behind the first effort to track the underwater oil plumes, is mounting a second effort, with some new sciencey gadgets …
May 19 2010
BP has claimed that the new 4 inch Pipe inserted into the 21 Riser pipe is siphoning off 20% of the leaking oil. And then they updated that figure to 40% the next day.
Sounds good on the Morning News, but how did they get those numbers?
And those calcs ended up: roughly 4.4% of the larger [inner] area would be covered by the smaller [outer] area — BUT all that was just a Red Herring — it turns out due to this BP picture (and its large rubber gaskets)
Looks good on Paper. Could the insert pipe with its many rubber stoppers actually be blocking up to 40% of the leaking oil from the larger pipe?
Yet one wonders, where did that 40% number come from, especially since BP is not all that keen on measuring and monitoring?
May 12 2010
Last week I livestreamed the first closed door meeting of the president’s fiscal commission. I did this out of frustration that we received no response to a letter that we sent from 81 organizations representing over 61 million Americans, asking that all the work of the commission be done in the open. Letters were also sent by Chairman John Conyers and Minority Leader Boehner asking for transparency.
Dan Froomkin sums up the problem with closed door meetings for the commission at the Huffington Post saying,
The move only heightens suspicion that rather than forging a national consensus on future spending priorities, the commission’s work will consist of backroom dealings in which members of the Washington aristocracy find high-minded excuses for cutting the social safety net.
You can watch the highlights of our previous livestream here
Mar 02 2010
This is pure political punditry, iow, I’m bullshitting.
But what a perfect topic to bullshit over. Not a completely unrewarded activity.
We’re somehow supposed to figure out how the folks in the Executive Branch are getting along, how many people working in the Executive Branch other than President Obama are acting in such a way, politically, that their action affects our lives insofar as the politics of legislation and governance.
Now if we had some transparency in government, I suppose we could just find that out and move on.
Alas, we don’t.
So we are reduced to speculating about our Executive Branch.
Are we witnessing a power struggle?
Probably every day, given the culture of D.C.
So in my opinion (as after all this is an opinion piece), until we have some real, honest transparency in our government, we as citizen bloggers will have to publicly bumble around until we get the answers ourselves. And we will, oh we will.
Oct 30 2009
Some time ago I did work for a man who was promoting a truly radical idea regarding the act of negotiation between two competing nations. Ostensibly it was an attempt to provide a kind of complete transparency that left the camera on every word, gesture, or strategic move made by both parties while each was seated around the bargaining table. Though the notion was certainly composed of the best of intentions, it was also highly unlikely to find adoption among almost every country that believes behind-the-scenes diplomacy is the surest way to achieve a country’s fullest desires. While I admit it would certainly be interesting to hear every word Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks while in the process of active deliberation with other countries, it’s much too soon for C-Span to worry about needing to considering adding another channel, one queued up specifically to cover diplomatic efforts in real time.
For those who push sunshine laws and greater transparency in government, the question before us is whether the government has an obligation to keep its internal matters protected from public view, even when they concern pending investigations into political corruption. I find it interesting how the existence of these laws adheres mainly to government agencies and are rarely, if ever expanded to include the private sector. The implication is that private business has some intrinsic right to lock out prying eyes (if not a sort of purity) that tax-payer funded endeavors do not. It has been my own experience that every corporation or government entity which I have worked for prefers to use internal means whenever possible to deal with public relations snafus. I am reminded of one of the arguments stated by those who advance vegetarianism, which states that if slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all forsake eating meat. In this context, if corporations, government entities, and even school districts had glass walls, we’d all certainly be nauseated at the spectacle.
The European perspective regarding is this matter is much different than our own. Though we gripe about the abuses and excesses of our elected representatives, we still assume that they should and will adhere to a code of ethical conduct that they are sworn to uphold. In great contrast, attitudes across the ocean assert that public officials, regardless of party are uniformly corrupt, and as a result, one should never expect, nor be surprised when they are revealed to be just so. This past Presidential election saw Candidate Obama saying all the right things regarding the influence of lobbyists and lucre on the political process and I, like the rest of you, stood and applauded with great vigor. Since then, I have not changed my stance, nor my belief in the President, but I recognize that the challenges before us are much more complex than I could have ever imagined. I’m not sure I could ever become as jaded or fatalistic as our European brothers and sisters, nor do I think we as a people could ever reach that state, either. Though we deny it, we are still a romantic, idealist people at heart. If that were not so, we’d keep the same party in control forevermore, and cast our ballots more in a spirit of harm-reduction than in hope. We are much more inclined to resort to a “throw the bums out” kind of logic and eagerly toss one party out to insert the other, expecting that change alone is the correct remedy.
Regarding businesses dealings, particularly with large corporations, we can always be reliably counted on to switch to a competitor if unsatisfied for whatever reason or another. Free-market advocates cite this as being proof that capitalism works by providing choice to the consumer. That might be true at face value, but underneath the facade of sweetheart deals and offers we can’t refuse are blatant monopolies, CEO pay raises in times of recession, and a litany of other objectionable practices that are quietly hushed up and “dealt with internally”. I have no doubt that if by some miracle each on-going citation of illegal, unethical, or immoral dealing were magically made common knowledge and leaked to the press, we’d all end up with a collective stomach ache of epic proportions. That it takes government stimulus money funded by taxpayer money to be the deciding factor which reveals the most significant of these offenses shows us just where our skewed priorities lay. Governments cannot be corrupt even a little, but corporations can be corrupt up to a point.
Public school systems, a subject of which I am fairly familiar, are masters in sweeping problematic matters under the rug. To cite an example directly pulled from today’s headlines, for every reported instance of teachers engaging in sexual relationship with their students, there are probably one hundred that never reach the attention of the media. Rules and regulations grant principals and administrators the ability to dismiss problematic employees without even needing to explain why, a practice that is designed primarily to save face for both the recently employed and those in charge of hiring said individual in the first place. It is also a long-employed means of damage control, since the very threat of a lawsuit by a disgruntled parent or group of parents is frequently substantial enough for school systems to settle out of court rather than go to trial, even if the complaint is patently bogus. That school systems cave too soon when corporations rarely have any problem proceeding directly to litigation also reveals much about what spheres of our lives we feel as though we have some degree of control and which ones we feel utterly powerless to influence one way or the other.
It is easy for us to wish for transparency when we are on the outside looking in, but those of us in authoritative roles in our own day jobs understand that every situation isn’t nearly as cut-and-dried as management versus employees. Nor as it as simple as consumer versus company, parent versus superintendent, or even government servant versus constituent. This is not to say that transparency shouldn’t be our ultimate goal, but if we seek it, it ought to be uniformly applied into every area of our daily lives, not merely set out in a very limited way that easily suits someone’s talking point. Candidates and whole political movements have lived and died by channeling populist anger at government waste and graft, but to apply this to only one highly limited segment of American society does us all a grave disservice. We may not say this directly, but when we silently condone the unacceptable practices of any major force in our daily lives, we are implying that such behavior is fine by us. We want public government to be lily white but we rarely speak out against private enterprise until it is consumed by the foulest, blackest cancer of greed and licentiousness. We need to understand that it is a rationalization to assume that corruption in business or in any endeavor is not nearly as awful if it uses someone else’s money supply up front and, above all, isn’t taken out of our latest paycheck. Eventually everyone hurts but unlike tax revenue, the results cannot be easily measured and inserted into an IRS income tax form. The impact is a far more insidious one and it impacts more than just dollars and cents.