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How Is Obama Doing On Open Government? 285

Posted by timothy
from the answer-redacted-because-mmmppphfhf dept.
An anonymous reader writes "OMB Watch today published an in-depth analysis of the Obama administration's progress on a wide-ranging set of open government recommendations. Key findings of the report include strong and consistent leadership from the White House on government openness and meaningful utilization of e-government and Web 2.0 technologies. But there has been no high-level effort to improve electronic records management and preservation, and the implementation of improved Freedom of Information Act policies has lagged."
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How Is Obama Doing On Open Government?

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  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Friday March 18, 2011 @07:45PM (#35537964)

    "I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank. " - Barack Obama, October 27, 2007

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr9ywEFRQkQ [youtube.com]

    • by revscat (35618) on Friday March 18, 2011 @08:07PM (#35538126) Journal

      Reality: Recent history seems to show that there are two things no President has the power to affect: the Pentagon and Wall Street. Presidents can only begin new actions. They cannot end or meaningfully decrease existing ones where boots are on the ground.

      We'll see what happens with Libya. If it turns into a Serbian-style air campaign, then we will be in and out relatively quickly. But if the Marines or Army get involved, we will be there indefinitely.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        If it turns into a Serbian-style air campaign

        If it turns into a "Serbian-style" conflict, then we'll be helping the wrong side yet again.

        • by Alex Belits (437) *

          Muslim terrorists? You don't say...

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          How so?

        • by Radtoo (1646729)

          If it turns into a "Serbian-style" conflict, then we'll be helping the wrong side yet again.

          Assuming you're a citizen of a NATO member country, you were on the correct side. Both in the humanitarian sense (fighting the worst war criminals, even if combatants had a pretty shoddy record) and in the general sense (supporting a democracy or an authoritarian state - guess which is better)...

      • by erstazi (1304229)
        In and out with the Serbian-style air campaign? The U.S. still has troops on the ground in Kosovo and Bosnia. They have been there since that Serbian-style air campaign. And no, they are not wearing blue helmets.
    • by Culture20 (968837)
      " You can take that to the bank." ... But only one the government owns.
      • by revscat (35618)

        I think you have that backwards. The banks own the government.

        • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday March 18, 2011 @08:30PM (#35538312) Homepage Journal

          There seem to be people that think the government is taking over everything and there are those that think the corporations are taking over. Sorry, but people that see the government "taking over" are delusional. There is plenty of evidence, on the other hand, that the corporations are at best APPROVING everything that is the government is doing (especially in congress) and at worst DICTATING everything that is happening. I find the threat of a country run solely at the whims of what the corporate elite want MUCH more frighting than some non-existent fear the the government is going to take over everything. (Oddly, the same people complaining about government getting involved in everything are for restricting access to abortions. Try to figure that one out...)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ArcherB (796902)

            There seem to be people that think the government is taking over everything and there are those that think the corporations are taking over. Sorry, but people that see the government "taking over" are delusional. There is plenty of evidence, on the other hand, that the corporations are at best APPROVING everything that is the government is doing (especially in congress) and at worst DICTATING everything that is happening. I find the threat of a country run solely at the whims of what the corporate elite want MUCH more frighting than some non-existent fear the the government is going to take over everything. (Oddly, the same people complaining about government getting involved in everything are for restricting access to abortions. Try to figure that one out...)

            Sorry, but I don't believe that the majority of corporations like many things this government is doing. For example:
            Higher healthcare premiums.
            Higher minimum wage.
            Higher corporate taxes.
            Skewering companies that send employees and management to "seminars" at hot vacations spots (Vegas hates him)
            Backing unions over corporations 100% of the time.
            Backing laws like "employees must pay union dues, even if they don't belong to the union."
            Backing laws like "union votes will be open so that those hairy guys from Je

            • by hedwards (940851) on Friday March 18, 2011 @10:57PM (#35539280)

              Higher healthcare premiums? I'm going to have to call bullshit on that. You act as though they weren't rising out of control prior to healthcare reform. Everybody with half or more of a brain knew that in the short term premiums were going to go up. It's inevitable when you're requiring insurance companies to stop with the pre-existing condtions and booting people for getting sick. And this is the first year that they're required by law to spend at least 80% on actual healthcare for covering individuals or small businesses and 85% for those issuing large polices.

          • by khallow (566160)

            Oddly, the same people complaining about government getting involved in everything are for restricting access to abortions

            Not true here either. Should I find it "odd" that someone who thinks government taking over is a "delusion" also happens to be someone with a bee up their corset about bible thumping?

            I find the threat of a country run solely at the whims of what the corporate elite want MUCH more frighting than some non-existent fear the the government is going to take over everything.

            I wonder why you ignore history. There are a lot of examples of governments that took over everything, or controlled everything in the first place. The US is fairly unusual in being a long lived representative democracy. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but the entire US government is set up with distrust of government first and

      • by rhook (943951)

        The government does not own the Federal Reserve, it is a privately owned, for-profit, financial institution.

    • "You can take that to the bank. "

      ...and we see how well the banks are doing these days...

      • by micheas (231635)
        Most banks had near record profits in 2010.
        • Most banks had near record profits in 2010.

          I'm sure there are a *ton* of banks out there--but this [fdic.gov] list says more than a few didn't have record profits...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Wiarumas (919682)
      And then he got intel fit for a President and reversed his position. He must have good reason - ultimately I trust the man's judgment. I'm sure I would reverse my stance as well if I heard some compelling evidence to do so.
      • by atriusofbricia (686672) on Friday March 18, 2011 @09:23PM (#35538694) Journal

        And then he got intel fit for a President and reversed his position. He must have good reason - ultimately I trust the man's judgment. I'm sure I would reverse my stance as well if I heard some compelling evidence to do so.

        Or he's a stuffed shirt politician who could give any other politician a run for their money in the area of saying what is needed to get elected.

        Even if he did start his campaign for President virtually 10 minutes after becoming one, he was a Senator on the Foreign Relations committee. Do you suppose that might have included access to some of that special President intel? hmmm?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Wiarumas (919682)
          No, I do not believe that a Senator on the Foreign Relations committee has the same intelligence as the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces who has multiple meetings daily with Pentagon staff. Don't get me wrong, I believe all politicians lie to get elected, but in the case of war, there are many things that are not leaked to the general public. Can you honestly say that any individual would stay at war with no justifiable cause - as if he is doing a maniacal laugh in the Oval Office for the suckers
          • No, I do not believe that a Senator on the Foreign Relations committee has the same intelligence as the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces who has multiple meetings daily with Pentagon staff. Don't get me wrong, I believe all politicians lie to get elected, but in the case of war, there are many things that are not leaked to the general public. Can you honestly say that any individual would stay at war with no justifiable cause - as if he is doing a maniacal laugh in the Oval Office for the suckers who voted for him? Maybe I'm just optimistic, but I'd like to think that he doesn't want to be at war, but has rationalized it to the point of being more beneficial for the American voters who voted for him to stay at war.

            He may, or may not, have had access to a substantial amount of the intelligence that he does as President. Of course, neither of us really know. Much like I said to someone else in this thread, he couldn't just wave a magic wand and sprinkle some unicorn dust and make it happen. Sure, he probably would like to withdraw and for whatever reason hasn't been able to do so. The only point I was trying to make was that he most likely knew it wouldn't be that easy when he said it. I know, silly to actually hope fo

  • Okay... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrEricSir (398214)

    Then where's the openness when it comes to Bradley Manning?

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      Thats the DoD, the President isn't going to push on them over a Private.

      Manning is done, he was done the second he sent files to a third party.

      • Re:Okay... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Friday March 18, 2011 @08:01PM (#35538082) Homepage Journal

        You don't do this over a private.
        You do it over rule of law, rules of evidence, and principles that were established as the fundamental basis of legitimate government - in tradition and precedent that goes back to at least the thirteenth century.

        Again, you forgot to use the word "allegedly", to modify the second verb in your final sentence.

        If this criticism seems irrelevant or incomprehensible to you? Then it is no wonder you have a nation falle to such a sorry state.

      • There is no proof that he really did that until now! And, doesn't your constitution include something like "everyone is to be considered innocent until proven guilty"?

        I strongly suggest him for the next Nobel prize for freedom, if he really did what he's accused of.

      • by Zackbass (457384)

        You might not have noticed, but we've got this thing called the US Constitution. It says that the President is the Commander In Chief of the US Armed Forces. He answers to nobody on Manning's treatment. Say what you will about Manning's choice to cede his rights upon joining the armed forces, it's still terribly unbecoming for a nation that professes due process to allow this situation to happen. If it's all sensationalist lies about his treatment then it wouldn't do any harm to show that they're false eith

        • It would be a violation of Private Manning's rights for the military to reveal enough about the way it is treating him to disprove the allegations. This sort of thing happens frequently. Someone makes an allegation of mistreatment against an organization that is forbidden by statute from commenting on the situation, then people say, "Well, if the allegations are baseless, why don't they tell us what is really going on?". The answer to that question is that the law specifically forbids them from doing so.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ArcherB (796902)

          Manning is a fucking traitor, nothing less. What else do you call someone who steals secret documents and gives to someone who is not supposed to have them?

          And don't give me that bullshit about how he wanted to release data that shouldn't have been secret. Thousands of documents were released and I can promise you that Manning did not read them all.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by hedwards (940851)

            So, in other words you think we were wrong at Nuremberg when we prosecuted all those Nazis for following orders? You can't have it both ways, there were war crimes committed by American personnel and it went to the top, that's just with things we knew about previously, now we have a lot more evidence with which to open war crimes proceedings at the Hague for the other stuff that we didn't know about.

          • Re:Okay... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmail . c om> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @12:54AM (#35539824)
            Manning is a fucking traitor, nothing less. What else do you call someone who steals secret documents and gives to someone who is not supposed to have them?

            Manning is an alleged fucking traitor. Just because some dude pointed a finger at him, does not make him a convicted traitor. Once he is convicted (by the military court, I assume?), you may call him a traitor.

            If you read the parent post (re-read it), you would notice that he is not arguing that Manning is a good guy. He is saying that no matter what he is (even when he is most likely convicted), our constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment that is being inflicted on Manning (read the details in the news). Once he is convicted he should go to a regular jail, traitor or not. Unless he is given a death penalty, in which case he might be executed.
            But what is happening now to him is presumably unconstitutional as there is no option that allows his current treatment. Not even if Manning is convicted of every crime he is accused of and a few more will regular abuse be an acceptable punishment.

      • by Kosi (589267)

        It shouldn't matter what rank Manning has or had, and Obama is the fucking president, the DoD has to do what he says, period.

    • Re:Okay... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014) on Friday March 18, 2011 @09:53PM (#35538930) Homepage Journal

      Well -- I haven't seen a coherent argument that he should not be prosecuted, given what he's supposed to have done. I'm open to persuasion, but it seems to me that as long as he's given a fair chance to defend himself (including being detained under reasonable conditions), he *should* face trial.

      Right off the bat I'll grant you the "Collateral Murder" video. I don't think Wikileak's spin on those tapes is fair or accurate, but I'll grant that atrocities *do* happen and that a reasonable person looking at the video might conclude that's what it showed. It's at least defensible to go public with that tape, given the assumption that the Army has no safe and effective mechanism for dealing with these matters.

      The diplomatic cables and the Afghan war documents are a different matter. I don't think these turned out to be as damaging as Manning's more hysterical detractors claim, but I still think Manning did something wrong. He took a huge body of data, more than he could possibly have understood in detail himself, then he sent him to somebody he didn't actually know so that person could go on a fishing expedition. That was grossly irresponsible.

      If he had a piece of information in his hands that he was familiar with and he thought it was something that the public ought to know, then I'd call him a whistle-blower and I'd support him. But teams of expert reporters took months to comb through the mountains of random stuff he leaked, just to figure what was there. Manning could not possibly have known what he setting in motion, and he must have known that. Until I learn otherwise, I'd call him a chaos-monger, not a whistle-blower.

      The question isn't whether good things happened as the result of what Manning did, although I do think some good things have happened. And to my knowledge there's no documented evidence of any serious, irreparable harm resulting. But Manning's actions were unconscionably reckless, and a violation of a professional trust. I believe the Manning case shows we probably can afford to be a lot more open with information than we are, and that's a positive outcome. But a serious potential for harm to innocent third parties was there and Manning took no steps to prevent that. Even where some parties deserve exposure for being, as Assange calls them, "collaborators", the same principle of justice applies to them as to Manning. They deserve a fair chance to defend themselves before they are punished.

  • Is he open? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday March 18, 2011 @07:53PM (#35538028)

    I'm not sure. Let me ask him whether or not the NSA ran a warrantless-wiretapping operation at AT&T, and whether or not the CIA ferried people to other countries for torture. Someone dedicated to openness would undoubtedly answer that question clearly and unambiguously, right?

    • "Well you see, I believe that government should be open and visible to all, so that citizens know what their representatives are working on"
      (hint: I completely dodged your question, now you know what to look for next time you hear a politician talking)

    • by Alex Belits (437) *

      We already know the answer.

      What matters, is stopping those things, and never allowing them to happen again.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Friday March 18, 2011 @07:57PM (#35538066) Journal
    Big on words, implementation "lagging"
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Big on words, implementation "lagging"

      And that would be Obama in a nut shell. Makes excellent speeches (as long as he doesn't have to talk off the cuff), and does things that only some people want, totally fails on the ones everyone would like.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @07:58PM (#35538068)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/barely-half-of-agencies-meeting-obamas-foia-request-goals-study-says/2011/03/11/ABImgsT_story.html [washingtonpost.com]

    Though 49(of 90) agencies and departments complied with the study’s authors, 17 others — including the Transportation Department and U.S. Postal Service — provided no documents and two withheld information. Another 17 agencies — including the departments of Commerce, Energy, Justice and State — provided no final response, and four smaller agencies never acknowledged receipt of the FOIA request. The figures have improved significantly from last year, when just 13 of 90 agencies complied.

    “At this rate, it’ll be the end of his term before the agencies do what Obama asked them to do on the first day,” said Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive.

  • by benjamindees (441808) on Friday March 18, 2011 @08:03PM (#35538098) Homepage

    Gitmo is still open so that counts right?

  • by the-matt-mobile (621817) on Friday March 18, 2011 @08:04PM (#35538108)
    How Is Obama Doing On Open Government? - About like he's doing on all his other promises - bringing the troops home, closing Gitmo, etc. etc. Why we ever elected a hope-peddling amateur and expected any different I'll never know. Especially during such a precarious time in our nation's history. Maybe I'm wrong and Wall Street, Egypt, Japan and Lybia really do need their own 'community organizers' to solve their woes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      Because the only alternative was Grandpa Nutcase and his sidekick Princess Know Nothing.

      Had McCain run like he did in 2000 he would have won. Instead he sold out to the far right nutbags in his party and lost for it.

      • Um... that's what primaries are for. Both sides screwed up big time on that one.
      • Oh, really?? I thought there were a bunch of different options, except the brainwashed unwashed seem to be blind to them. Keep voting for the two main parties and the two main parties is what you get.
  • by Kosi (589267) on Friday March 18, 2011 @08:07PM (#35538138)

    Obama did not realize even one of his important promises - Guantanamo still exists, health service is not better, not even the tax gifts to the super-rich from Bush were taken back, next to all the other things. That man is just a living disappointment, despite being the lesser of the possible evils.

    • Obama did not realize even one of his important promises - Guantanamo still exists, health service is not better, not even the tax gifts to the super-rich from Bush were taken back, next to all the other things. That man is just a living disappointment, despite being the lesser of the possible evils.

      To play devil's advocate for a moment on the health thing, what did you expect was going to happen? He'd seize direct control over the health care industry, wave a magic wand, sprinkle a spot of unicorn dust and make it free? Don't worry, if you get what you seem to want we'll all be paying 50%+ income tax like in the utopia that is Europe. Oh, how are they doing financially these days anyway?

      Side note.. if you really think anyone making more than X where X isn't followed by at least six places is "super

      • by Kosi (589267)

        It's not about "raising" taxes for them, it's about making them pay their part of the share. People with a monthly income greater than other people's income in their whole life should pay at least the same percentage in taxes of that income that normal people do!

  • So, what are all those tsars doing anyway?

  • The only change I want has to do with him and the presidency
  • by mykos (1627575) on Friday March 18, 2011 @09:24PM (#35538700)

    implementation of improved Freedom of Information Act policies has lagged

    That's all we needed to know.

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