The White House wants transparency?  How stupid does this administration and Congress think we are?  Probably as much as the last administration and Congress thought we were.  For those of you that think I am bashing Bambi and the Democrats; well yes I am – just as much as I am bashing both Bushs, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Carter and every president and congress in all their bi-partisanship all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt who really started us on this road by allowing the Federal Reserve, NY Bankers and “centers”, “think tanks” and “institutes” to shape American policy here and abroad.  If you don’t think Teddy was in the middle of this, then you better start doing your research.

Let’s start here…

Obama consulted widely on memos

White House senior adviser David Axelrod says President Barack Obama spent about a month pondering whether to release Bush-era memos about CIA interrogation techniques, and considered it “a weighty decision.”

“He thought very long and hard about it, consulted widely, because there were two principles at stake,” Axelrod said . “One is … the sanctity of covert operations … and keeping faith with the people who do them, and the impact on national security, on the one hand. And the other was the law and his belief in transparency.”

The president consulted officials from the Justice Department, the CIA, the director of National Intelligence and the Homeland Security Department, according to his adviser.

<snip>

A former top official in the administration of President George W. Bush called the publication of the memos “unbelievable.”

“It’s damaging because these are techniques that work, and by Obama’s action today, we are telling the terrorists what they are,” the official said. “We have laid it all out for our enemies. This is totally unnecessary. … Publicizing the techniques does grave damage to our national security by ensuring they can never be used again — even in a ticking-time- bomb scenario where thousands or even millions of American lives are at stake.”

This post is NOT about whether we should torture or not; that’s a whole ‘nother ball game.  This post is about transparency.  Let’s throw this issue out to the unwashed masses and keep them looking at Bambi and the administration and not at the Federal Reserve and US Treasury.

Stop stalling and show us the bailout books

Unwarranted secrecy regarding the largest disbursement of public funds in U.S. history continues in the executive branch. So Congress should finally exercise its oversight authority and find out where every last bailout dollar has been spent. Three major news organizations – Bloomberg News, Fox Business News, and The New York Times – had to file lawsuits against the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board after they were refused bailout documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). All three were stiffed by an administration that failed to deliver on a promise of more government transparency and accountability. In response to its lawsuit seeking compensation agreements between the government and two of the largest bailout recipients, Fox finally received 10,096 pages of heavily redacted documents from Treasury showing that “virtually all the details of the bailout were worked out among a handful of lawyers.” Good. Congress just needs a handful of subpoenas to get to the bottom of it.

All three news organizations still have FOIA lawsuits pending against the Fed. The Times suit, filed March 23, seeks documents concerning the Fed’s decision to invoke emergency powers under the Federal Reserve Act in relation to the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the $787 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The paper also wants copies of all contracts with institutions that qualified for mind-boggling amounts of federal dollars in order to determine whether taxpayers were adequately protected.
The Sunlight Foundation received four names in response to its FOIA request seeking the identity of senior Treasury officials who are also members of the TARP Investment Committee – a small group that makes big decisions about which banks get how much of our money. The Government Accountability Office has already criticized them for not being sufficiently transparent in disbursing almost half of the TARP funds. Which is why Secretary Timothy Geithner and the small group of Treasury officials involved should be summoned to Capitol Hill, put under oath, and forced to tell the American people the truth – including a clear explanation of why banks that didn’t want TARP funds were forced to accept them, and why some banks are not allowed to give TARP money back.

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