Opaque Is the New Transparency

When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar. Get it? When is transparency not transparency? When the Obama administration claims to be the most transparent administration in history. Get it? No? Well, that is okay. It is not really funny anyway. It’s more… creepy. Why would I say that? Well, read on, MacDuff, and I shall explain why.

For some time now, President Obama has been claiming his administration is “the most transparent administration in history.” He has also claimed he can prove it.

“I can document that this is the case,” he continued. “Every visitor that comes into the White House is now part of the public record. Every law we pass and every rule we implement we put online for everyone to see.” 

The Hill

But there is just one little problem with that. It is not transparency. That is the equivalent of the misdirection part of an illusionist’s trick. Look over there! See! Transparency! Um, no.

According to a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Obama administration actively discourages disclosures to the public, spies on officials to deter contact with journalists, and prosecutes leakers at an unprecedented level.

[…]

“This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered,” David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times, tells [Leonard] Downie [Jr., former executive editor of the Washington Post].

According to Downie, the administration is adept at getting its message out via social media and the Internet—basically, bypassing the media to put its spin on policies and events. But in terms of actual disclosure of information necessary for understanding and assessing government activities, the administration regularly controls or denies access, especially when dealing with hostile media.

Downie writes, “The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration.”

reason.com

So, the Obama administration is not the most transparent administration in history. Which basically means President Obama lied.

But why is that creepy? I am glad you asked.

Remember how in the book 1984 the Ministry of Truth advertised the three slogans of the Party?

WAR IS PEACE 

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY 

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Well these transparency claims by the Obama administration strike me as a bit like claiming that opacity is transparency. In point of fact, much that the Obama administration, including and especially President Obama, says often has a ring of Minitrue style obfuscation to it.

Recently President Obama said this:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m prepared to negotiate on anything. I think it’s important for us to talk about how we create a budget that is creating jobs, encouraging growth, dealing with our long-term debt issues. The deficits are coming down— at the fastest pace since World War II. They’ve been cut in half since I came into office. But we still have some challenges in terms of— our long-term health care spending on Medicare in particular.

So— whatever the leadership wants to talk about, we’ve got a budget and we think we’ve got some good answers. But we don’t expect 100 percent. But what I’ve also said is that it is not acceptable for one faction of one party in one chamber to say, “Either we get what we want, or we’ll shut down the government.” Or even worse— “We will not allow the U.S. Treasury to pay its bills and put the United States in default for the first time in history.” So— the message I have for the leaders is very simple. As soon as we get a clean— piece of legislation that reopens the government, and there is a majority for that right now in the House of Representatives—

HARWOOD: But no negotiation until after that?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Until we get that done, until we make sure that— Congress allows treasury to pay for things that Congress itself already authorized— we are not going to engage in a series of negotiations. And the reason, John, is very simple. If we get in the habit where a few folks, an extremist wing of one party, whether it’s Democrat or Republican— are allowed to extort concessions— based on a threat of undermining the full faith and credit of the United States, then any president who comes after me, not just me— will find themselves unable— to govern effectively.

CNBC

Basically, what Obama is saying here is that until Congress is willing to give him what he wants, he will not negotiate. Apparently when he said he was willing to negotiate on anything, what he meant was, he was willing to negotiate about anything else he can get his opposition to give him.

Also, President Obama, who has run up the national debt higher and faster than any POTUS before him, talking about paying bills and undermining the faith and credit of the United States is absurd. It is eminently laughable, and yet still people take this man seriously.

Anyway, the point is, the President Obama constantly and consistently uses this sort of doublespeak. And yes, that is creepy. Not creepy in an entertaining way, like Alfred Hitchock’s “Psycho” is. Obama’s doublespeak is creepy in a just-trust-me, road-to-fascism way.

No, I do not believe I am being paranoid. But if I was, would I see that was? I hope so.

And no, I do not hate the U.S. I still believe it is mostly free and mostly good. But that does not mean I do not see flaws in the U.S. government. I do not conflate the government with the nation. You should not either.

Enough politics for tonight. Or today. Or whatever time of day you are reading this.

Be good, boys and girls. Remember, don’t take any wooden nickles.

 

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