I’m too tired to comment, and really there’s not much more to say than what Ed Morrissey has written.
Barack Obama campaigned on changing the culture of Washington to bring more openness, transparency, and accountability to the Beltway. Yesterday, Congress discovered that change actually meant going in the other direction. The White House informed Congress that it would not make its policy czars available for testimony before Congress, setting up a potential showdown between the two branches of government:
The White House has told Congress it will reject calls for many of President Obama’s policy czars to testify before Congress – a decision senators said goes against the president’s promises of transparency and openness and treads on Congress’ constitutional mandate to investigate the administration’s actions.
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, said White House counsel Greg Craig told her in a meeting Wednesday that they will not make available any of the czars who work in the White House and don’t have to go through Senate confirmation. She said he was “murky” on whether other czars outside of the White House would be allowed to come before Congress.
Miss Collins said that doesn’t make sense when some of those czars are actually making policy or negotiating on behalf of Mr. Obama. …
The debate goes to the heart of weighty constitutional issues about separation of powers. The president argues that he should be allowed to have advisers who are free to give him confidential advice without having to fear being called to testify about it. Democrats and Republicans in Congress, though, argue that those in office who actually craft policy should be able to be summoned to testify because they do more than just give the president advice.
Let’s revisit the context of the issue with this handy chart from the Washington Post:
Bush created five new czar positions in five years. Obama created 17 new czar positions in 8 months, only one of which needed Senate confirmation and has Congressional oversight. These are essentially end runs around Congressional oversight. The Obama administration denied this earlier this year, but their response to both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill leaves little doubt on the matter. Obama wants to create and implement policy in secret, and doesn’t want his czars having to testify before Congress on what they do.
Is this “transparency”? No, but it is a transparent power grab, and Congress has only belatedly noticed it. In fact, as the Washington Times reports this morning, White House counsel Greg Craig denied this — but spent half of his time rebutting Glenn Beck rather than explaining why Congress should not have oversight over administration officials who set and implement policy.
That’s also pretty transparent. Obama wants to play the Fox card to get Congress to retreat on oversight. If Fox calls for Congress to perform its constitutional duties, apparently that makes it extreeeeeeeeeme. That’s an interesting take on transparency, and an interesting position on the Constitution from the nation’s most, er, celebrated constitutional scholar.
More on this subject later – I’ve been following it closely while my kids are sick and have a draft on the War on Fox in the hopper, but I just had to put this out there now because I’m so used to having my mind blown by bad news. Love or hate Fox, it is irrelevant. The WH’s attempts to silence dissent is frightening and should be to everyone regardless of your political inclinations. I’m relieved the “Obama Approved” media is standing with Fox.
The collected Washington bureau chiefs of the major broadcast networks rejected a White House attempt to keep Fox News from participating in pool reports. Rather than cut Fox out of the pool, the broadcast bureau chiefs unanimously told the Obama administration that none of them would accept any interviews from administration officials. That forced the White House into retreat:
The Obama administration on Thursday failed in its attempt to manipulate other news networks into isolating and excluding Fox News, as Republicans on Capitol Hill stepped up their criticism of the hardball tactics employed by the White House.
The Obama administration on Thursday tried to make “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg available for interviews to every member of the White House pool except Fox News. The pool is the five-network rotation that for decades has shared the costs and duties of daily coverage of the presidency.
But the Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks consulted and decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included.
The administration relented, making Feinberg available for all five pool members and Bloomberg TV.
We certainly give these broadcast networks plenty of criticism. Let’s take a moment to recognize their integrity. Jake Tapper stood up to Robert Gibbs earlier this week, and we wondered where the rest of the reporters at the White House were. They certainly showed up today.
Meanwhile, how bad is this for the White House? They now have all of the broadcast networks on record defending their competitor as a news organization. That reinforces reporting Fox News will do in the future, to the detriment of White House efforts to marginalize them. Plus, obviously, they look completely foolish in having to back down from their threat.
In an exclusive, Hot Air has a look at the press passes that the White House planned to issue if the other news broadcasters had caved:
Just kidding. Well, I hope so, anyway. (graphic courtesy HA reader Landshark)
Update: Perhaps this was a bad time for Media Matters to go all in against Fox, eh? Also, edited the headline for better accuracy.
Sorry kids, but we’ve got the swine flu here in the Philly Boss household. Right now, it’s just our oldest son, but I’m not optimistic that the other four of us will escape the pig unscathed. That said, I doubt I’ll be posting much over the next week. I have a few drafts of posts I didn’t finish that I may manage to get out there, but other than that, eh. I’ll leave you for now with this, quite possibly one of the sweetest reports I’ve seen. Maybe ever.
Have you seen this video of former Secretary of Labor and uber-liberal, Robert Reich? This smug presentation of half-truths, aka FULL LIES in my home, states that the public option is simply that, “an option.” Sure, Reich leaves out all the yucky consequences of the public option, but most of you are too dumb to care anyway, right? If you don’t know what all of those yucky consequences are then shame on you. In short, there will oodles of restrictions, punitive taxes on private insurance, ultimately leading to a single-payer system. Anyway, here’s Reich a month or so ago. No need to click if you’re not in the mood to hear a deliberately disingenuous, overly-simplistic cheerleader of the public option.
Well, lookie here!! Below we have the very same Robert Reich in 2007 being completely honest when it wasn’t politically incorrect/inconvenient to do so. In the video below, Reich touches on some of those yucky truths about government0run health care that he conveniently neglected from his video last month. I present to you the truths liberal Democrats wish they could say, but don’t because it would be political suicide, yet these inconvenient truths are part of the goal nonetheless.
I’ll actually give you a speech made up entirely, almost on the spur of the moment, of what a candidate for president would say if that candidate did not care about becoming president. In other words, this is what the truth is and a candidate will never say, but what a candidate should say if we were in the kind of democracy where citizens were honored in terms of their practice of citizenship and they were educated in terms of what the issues were and they could separate myth from reality in terms of what candidates would tell them:
“Thank you so much for coming this afternoon. I’m so glad to see you and I would like to be president. Let me tell you a few things on health care. Look, we have the only health care system in the world that is designed to avoid sick people. And that’s true and what I’m going to do is that I am going try to reorganize it to be more amenable to treating sick people but that means you, particularly you young people, particularly you young healthy people…you’re going to have to pay more.
“Thank you. And by the way, we’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.
Also I’m going to use the bargaining leverage of the federal government in terms of Medicare, Medicaid—we already have a lot of bargaining leverage—to force drug companies and insurance companies and medical suppliers to reduce their costs. What that means, less innovation and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market which means you are probably not going to live much longer than your parents. Thank you.”
This is great! Why people don’t see the problem with the public option as it’s currently written is beyond me. Any liberals want to explain? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
“Sorry…your employer chose the Government Care Public Option, and the private airlines are no longer allowed to issue individual tickets. Looks like the public option is now your only option.”
As my faithful readers know, I have been exceedingly grossed by Obama’s ass-backwards stance on the ousting of Honduras’ Chavez-wannabe, Manuel Zelaya. I’ve discussed it here, here, and here. Well, it seems that even the biggest joke in the world, The United Nations, has confirmed that despite Obama, Castro, Ortega, and Chavez’ wall of support for Zelaya (shameful), the removal of el presidente was lawful and necessary. Uh, DUH. Golly gee, for the life of me, I can’t imagine why this lovely brotherhood would oppose the ousting of a man who wanted to violate his country’s constitution by eliminating term limits. Can you?
The Obama administration has insisted that the removal of Manuel Zelaya from office violated Honduran and international law and amounts to a military coup. According to one report this morning, though, the United Nations has reached an entirely different conclusion. Hondudario, translated by Google, reports that the UN’s Department of Political Affairs concluded that the removal of Zelaya from office was legal and justified (via La Gringa’s Blogicito):
A study by the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations Organization (UNO) on the causes of the crisis in Honduras, concluded that the removal of President Manuel Zelaya, “was constitutional under the laws of the country,” confirmed officials of that agency.
This version was officially known today by senior UN officials, which also coincides with the study prepared by the Library of Congress, which looked at by his side, the situation that generated and maintained in a political crisis in Honduras.
The document of the study by the Department of Political Affairs of the UN, with other information base (another truth) received at the last visit to Honduras, where it converged with representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS) and took advantage to meet other scenarios that were unclear.
The information on this collegial resolution of these experts, was provided to hondudiario.com, official sources and pressures inferred strategies that promote the former foreign minister Patricia Rhodes and the permanent representative of Venezuela in the Permanent Council to seek more sanctions against Honduras and require the return of former President Zelaya, which warned of “an ultimatum” to this October 15.
Bear in mind that Hondudario ran this in an editorial, at least as far as I can tell. Nothing else has hit the wires about a UN determination in this crisis. The UN’s DPA has a website, but does not have anything at all on the Honduran stand-off.
If this turns out to be true, though, it would come as a shock and embarrassment to the White House. The Law Library of Congress has already reached the same conclusion, a development which the Obama administration has ignored, and which most of the media have studiously avoided mentioning. A UN report backing Roberto Micheletti, the Honduran parliament, and Supreme Court would expose Obama’s knee-jerk conclusion and siding with democracy advocates such as the Castro brothers and Hugo Chavez for the amateurish bungling that it was.