Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Tranparency is For Suckers

UPDATE:  "Increasingly, politicians are weaponizing public anger at the media to justify operating in the shadows. Democracy is dying in that darkness. We cannot and must not accept it becoming the new normal. . .

Even if yesterday’s briefing had been on camera, this is just the seventh press briefing in June. That’s a sharp drop not just in comparison with Trump’s early days but also from the frequency of press briefings under Barack Obama (there were 23 briefings in June 2016; Obama averaged more than 19 per month).

Trump himself is also avoiding on-camera press conferences. Obama held 65 solo press conferences, an average of more than eight per year. George H.W. Bush averaged 22 per year. After five months, Trump has held just one — and none since February. This is a deliberate and undemocratic attempt to shield the president from direct public scrutiny. . .

Last week, Republican leadership in the Senate attempted to outlaw the long-standing practice of journalists interviewing members of Congress in hallways (unless they had specific permission from the Senate Rules Committee). In Montana, Greg Gianforte’s decision to body-slam a journalist earned him a ticket not to jail but a chance to serve out his probation in the hallowed halls of Congress, welcomed by Republicans with open arms.

The White House has also ended the practice of releasing visitor logs, so we don’t know who is meeting with the president or his senior staff. . .

In the Senate health-care saga, reporters can’t even be barred from hearings because there are none. Instead, 13 white Republican men from 10  states, representing fewer than 1 in 4 Americans, are bypassing normal public hearings as they secretly craft a health-care bill that will affect every American and one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

These are all commonly used tactics in the shadows of authoritarian societies: If people don’t know what’s happening, it’s a lot harder to criticize it. After all, we all know that Vladimir Putin is corrupt, but we can’t prove it because the Russian government deliberately shrouds itself in darkness. We cannot allow such authoritarian practices to become part of our open, transparent and free society. Democracy rests on a simple foundation — the informed consent of the governed. That principle is now under attack.

Read the Washington Post, What is it that the Trump administration doesn’t want us to see?

"The Senate bill to scale back the health-care law known as Obamacare is being written in secret by a single senator, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and a clutch of his senior aides.

Officials at numerous agencies of the Trump administration have stonewalled friendly Republicans in Congress — not to mention Democrats — by declining to share internal documents on sensitive matters or refusing to answer questions.

President Trump, meanwhile, is still forbidding the release of his tax returns, his aides have stopped releasing logs of visitors to the White House and his media aides have started banning cameras at otherwise routine news briefings, as happened Monday.

Trump even refuses to acknowledge to the public that he plays golf during his frequent weekend visits to his private golf courses.

More and more in the Trump era, business in Washington is happening behind closed doors. The federal government’s leaders are hiding from public scrutiny — and their penchant for secrecy represents a stark departure from the campaign promises of Trump and his fellow Republicans to usher in newfound transparency."

Read the Washington Post, In Trump’s Washington, public business increasingly handled behind closed doors.

Read also Columbia Journalism Review, As president, Trump sings a different tune on ‘transparency’, which list numerous examples of Trump's hypocrisy on transparency.

Trump's Sycophant Gingrich's Big CON: a Republican President Can't Obstruct Justice to Hide a Relationship With a Foreign Country

But a Democratic President can, to hide a relationship with an intern.

Read CNN, Despite Clinton impeachment vote, Gingrich says President 'cannot obstruct justice'.

It takes a ginormous level of hypocrisy to b a Republi-CON.