Friday, May 13, 2011

The Shorter Path to Transparency; Version 2–just in case version 1 shows up


BREAKING NEWS: Big Guy’s Net Neutrality goons are on to me!!!
They took down my Thursday post and since Raj’s firewall kept them out of my dashboard, they crashed all Thursday posts by EVERYONE on Blogger!  And then they blocked all subsequent Blogger posts all Friday morning.

Raj is doing his best to bring my blog and all the other Blogger blogs around the whole wide world back online. Butt he’s operating under the fog of drugs due to treatment for a severe flare up of an old cervical injury sustained while skiing in the Himalayas. We’re nursing him along, butt in the mean time, technical support has been severely impaired. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

Interestingly, yesterday’s topic was “transparency in government,” which I had to expand to include “Net Neutrality”  - one of those terms that means almost the complete opposite of its words.

Anyway, once Blogger was up and available again around 1:00 PM I tried to post my little update and guess what? ZAP! Like a mosquito! All my inside the beltway observations swallowed up by Adam Smith’s invisible hand. I’m sure that this recent interruption of service is related to Big Guy’s FCC plan to make things on the interwebz “more fairer” for the severely underrepresented Leftwing bloggers and news sites.

I just never dreamed that my little blog would be embroiled in Julius Genachowski’s illegal sweep and clear.**

“First, they came for the News.” Any of us could be next. I guess I’m lucky that I didn’t just get “removed” without comment like Ann Althouse’s blog did. I can’t locate her any where! If anyone has heard from her, please let me know so I can stop worrying.

Anyway, it doesn’t look like the innertubz maggots are going to give me my post from yesterday back, so I attempted to recreate it for today’s business. Keep your fingers crossed. Of course if you’re reading this, I guess it worked.

**BTW, file this one away under “camel’s nose in the tent.”


Today’s topic is transparency in government. Which is not to be confused with “truth in government.” I think we can all agree, “truth” is a relative term. Unlike transparency. Which means “maybe you can figure out what we’re doing behind the curtain, and maybe you can’t. We’ll let you know.”

For example, take Big Guy’s mission to take out Osama. It turns out that when Leon Panetta misinformed us about there being no video for 25 minutes of the SEAL raid on the OBL compound, he was transparently telling us it was none of our business. Technically it isn’t a lie if nobody believes it anyway. And as it turns out there are actually 25 tapes of the event:

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports the 40 minutes it took to kill bin Laden and scoop his archives into garbage bags were all recorded by tiny helmet cameras worn by each of the 25 SEALs.

So someday, if we are feeling transparently transparent, you might  be able to watch with your own eyes Big Guy actually plugging Osama between the eyes.

bo nsdoll

There’s also been a bit of blowback from Big Guy’s transparent claim earlier this week that the southern border problems have already been solved, and that the R-words are just whining. It seems that this was just a bit too transparent, and a lot of people saw it for what it actually was: pandering.

"We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement," Obama said Tuesday. "They said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Well, now they're going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol, or they'll want a higher fence. Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat. They'll never be satisfied."

Some people think this kind of transparency is lying, while others claim that it’s just one of Big Guy’s patented straw man arguments. Such arguments are often held forth by a “shorter,” defined by Professor William Jacobson as “someone who exaggerates someone else's opinion, or creates a false choice between two extremes.” In the interest of transparency, you understand, not to mislead or misinform.

Also in the interest of transparency, here’s a fact check on Big Guy’s claims. It turns out that some of them are true, butt irrelevant:

“The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents – more than twice as many as there were in 2004, a build up that began under President Bush and that we have continued,” the president said.

It’s an unusual metric for the president to compare the number of Border Patrol agents now to the number there were four years before his presidency began, but what the president says is accurate.

while others are…truly untrue.

Five years ago, legislation was passed to build a 700-mile double-layer border fence along the southwest border. This is a promise that has not been kept.

Today, according to staff at the Department of Homeland Security, just 5 percent of the double-layer fencing is complete, only 36.3 miles.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’s investigative arm, reported in early 2009 that only 32 miles of double-layer fencing had been built. That means under President Obama, only 4.3 miles of double layer fencing has been built. This is woefully inadequate. 

Obama-on-border-AP-photo-485x299Look at that border! I give myself an A-

Butt maybe you would like to hear one sheriff’s take - from one county in one state on the Mexican border - on the current status of our southern border security:

There is no river between Arizona and Mexico to create a natural obstacle to illegal immigration, drug trafficking and human smuggling, and our county is a major corridor for all these. At best, illegal aliens and smugglers trespass, damage ranchers’ land, steal water and food and start fires. At worst, people who have come here hoping for freedom and opportunity are raped or abandoned by smugglers and left to die in the desert.

mexcican gangsIt’s getting harder to tell the difference between undocumented workers and terrorists

Butt we do seem to have slowed or stopped the flow of illegal alfalfa seeds:

shoppingBig Guy examines confiscated food items at Bruno’s “one stop shop” on the border: “I’ll take these sweet potatoes for Michelle”

So I’m thinking maybe we should put the alligator speech down as one of Big Guy’s “shorter” transparencies.

And that brings me to this: while not technically a “lie,”  it is a bit of deceptive transparent artifice: there will no longer be any reenactments of speeches from the big White. You probably didn’t even know we did that: that’s how good we are at transparency around here.

AP_DCDA102_OBAMA_IR_137943cReenactment: not really speaking, catching flies

Apparently this tradition is to prevent Presidents from being distracted by cameras clicking and flashing in real time. This is particularly distracting to presidents who can’t really do two things at once well: like read and pose.

APTOPIX Obama 2008

Butt someone in Big Guy’s inner circle determined that this practice leaves us exposed to claims of deception and since it was easy, we  imperially banned it from our campaign administration. I believe the thinking was that if we give up this non-consequential  non-transparency,   the marks people will be looking the other way when we shuffle the pea around under the shells as we execute our real con agenda. (see here for a more complete explanation of how this works)

Butt the biggest news coming out of this announcement as far as I’m concerned is this:

There are conflicting accounts on whether technology exists to take photographs without distracting the president. One idea could be using mirrors so photographers could do their jobs out of the president's sight line…

This is pretty exciting! I might have a new official job! Maybe I can get a new outfit.

If I get the job, I can assure you that you’ll never see another picture like this:

100624_obamaflyIn this reenactment, not only can you see the fly on BO’s forehead, butt a noticeable indentation in his temple and a hand in front of the million dollar lips. Bad optics.

Control your optics, control your message.


After that, transparency is optional.

no fly zone

Now shut your pie hole and go home!