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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Default Why do we need government transparency?

    Because the government will abuse its power if we're not watching. It's not a matter of "if". It's a matter of when and how.

    How Obama Officials Cried ‘Terrorism’ to Cover Up a Paperwork Error

    After seven years of litigation, two trips to a federal appeals court and $3.8 million worth of lawyer time, the public has finally learned why a wheelchair-bound Stanford University scholar was cuffed, detained and denied a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii: FBI human error.

    FBI agent Kevin Kelley was investigating Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 when he checked the wrong box on a terrorism form, erroneously placing Rahinah Ibrahim on the no-fly list.

    What happened next was the real shame. Instead of admitting to the error, high-ranking President Barack Obama administration officials spent years covering it up. Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and a litany of other government officials claimed repeatedly that disclosing the reason Ibrahim was detained, or even acknowledging that she’d been placed on a watch list, would cause serious damage to the U.S. national security. Again and again they asserted the so-called “state secrets privilege” to block the 48-year-old woman’s lawsuit, which sought only to clear her name.

    Holder went so far as to tell the judge presiding over the case that this assertion of the state secrets privilege was fully in keeping with Obama’s much-ballyhooed 2009 executive branch reforms of the privilege, which stated the administration would invoke state secrets sparingly.

    “Under this policy, the Department of Justice will defend an assertion of the state secrets privilege in litigation, and seek dismissal of a claim on that basis, only when necessary to protect against the risk of significant harm to national security,” reads an April signed declaration from the attorney general to U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who presided over the Ibrahim litigation in San Francisco.
    I'm sick of people giving the US government the benefit of the doubt when it comes to secrecy. Our government cannot be trusted, ever. While I don't know of any other cases as explicit as this, I am certain this is not the first time someone has been harmed in such a manner because some government officials wanted to avoid embarrassment. This woman has been through so much shit, and all because some powerful assholes did not want to admit they made a mistake. This is another example of why so many Americans have little or no respect for their government. They're liars.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  2. #2
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    My current broader political outlook is that I want democracy to survive, but for it to do so there need to be, I dare say, radical reforms particular towards placing the power of election exclusively within the hands of voters via the vote, and maximizing the extent to which voters are informed. The latter of the two is the one particularly relevant to this doubt. A democratic vote is theoretically a kind of popular consent, but in this situation as much as any other, we should ask what good uninformed consent is. How can people meaningful exercise theirs role as citizens in a democracy if they aren't even allowed to know what the government is doing? What is a democracy in which people vote blind? There's no reason for that situation to continue functioning as an actual democracy in any practical way.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  3. #3
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    Totally agree. Will be hard to do in practice though, I'm sure, and governments will NOT be happy.
    4w5 sp/sx EII

  4. #4
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    I have the utmost disdain for plebs. Simply revolting! Nah but really, can you blame the government for not respecting us? after all we let them get away with.

  5. #5
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    We get the government we deserve. We keep voting in the same corrupt and ignorant people to public office and don't bother to look up their voting records or to learn the issues. This is the most corrupt and dishonest administration in my lifetime and this is also the most ignorant electorate in my memory.
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    We get the government we deserve. We keep voting in the same corrupt and ignorant people to public office and don't bother to look up their voting records or to learn the issues. This is the most corrupt and dishonest administration in my lifetime and this is also the most ignorant electorate in my memory.
    Lots of well-meaning individuals enter government service, but they're corrupted by the system. We need publicly financed elections and significantly more transparency.

    What I don't understand is why so many Republicans (not just politicians, but voters) fall on the side of giving the government the benefit of the doubt when it comes to secrecy. I expect most Democrats to support government secrecy, but you would think most Republicans would oppose it, yet they don't. Just throw out the buzzword "national security" and Republicans all fall in line without question. The party of "small government" fails again on this issue.

    Obama should have called the ACA a "national security" bill, then Republicans would have accepted it.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #7
    Ginkgo
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    If we don't have government transparency, not only will it abuse it's power, but it would remain stagnant and unable to cater to those under it. It's in the government's best interest to be at least somewhat transparent - transparent enough to at least be mildly kept on its toes. I don't give the U.S. government the benefit of the doubt - they throw a lot of red herrings at us.

    I mean...


  8. #8
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    We don't just need some transparency. We need a lot of it. We need some sort of agency without a vested interest in keeping the information secret determining whether or not it should be kept secret (and that agency needs oversight by another disinterested party, as well). And with information that is kept secret, only the details should be kept secret. There should be a summary available to the public of even top secret documents.

    One of my philosophies is that one of the best forms of regulation is transparency. Let the public know what is going on and we'll decide whether or not it's right. The idea that the national security state should be able to decide what's good for us is no different than any other segment of government deciding what's good for us. They're all forms of nanny states. Every time a Republican refuses to acknowledge their hypocrisy on this, they should be punched in the face.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  9. #9
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    We don't just need some transparency. We need a lot of it. We need some sort of agency without a vested interest in keeping the information secret determining whether or not it should be kept secret (and that agency needs oversight by another disinterested party, as well). And with information that is kept secret, only the details should be kept secret. There should be a summary available to the public of even top secret documents.

    One of my philosophies is that one of the best forms of regulation is transparency. Let the public know what is going on and we'll decide whether or not it's right. The idea that the national security state should be able to decide what's good for us is no different than any other segment of government deciding what's good for us. They're all forms of nanny states. Every time a Republican refuses to acknowledge their hypocrisy on this, they should be punched in the face.
    Are you a libertarian or anarchist?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    I'm libertarian-ish, but there are some libertarian premises that I don't agree with, like the idea that humans are rational calculators, that the "free market" forms spontaneously in nature, and that money equals speech. I also believe the government's monopoly on violence has been a good thing, overall, even if there have been instances where it has led to bad results.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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