Government-transparency

As an effort to improve transparency, the government has encouraged workers to livestream their work day. Your stream has surprisingly become popular and you can’t understand why.

The TPP and the American Legislative Exchange Council are perfect example why we should demand transparency in government from politicians and our political leaders (regardless if it’s a Democrat or a Republican). How can we trust that the decisions being made behing closed doors is the correct decision for the rest of us? Who really benefits from those decisions being made being closed doors?

It just looks shady when there’s no transparency becuase decisions are being made behind closed doors.

It is Chaffetz’s job, more than it is anyone else’s, to hold Trump accountable, to demand that he govern in a transparent and ethical manner. And he has the power to do it. He can subpoena administration officials and Trump’s business associates. He can make sure the media and the public have much of the information Trump refuses to release, and he can make it costly for Trump to abandon longstanding norms around transparency, divestment, and governance. The American political system is prepared for the sort of challenge Trump represents, and there are corrective powers in place.

But the wielder of those corrective powers must want to use them. And Chaffetz doesn’t. His identity as a Republican supersedes his identity as chair of the House Oversight Committee, or even as congressman from Utah’s third district.

This, and not Trump, is what poses a threat to American democracy. Here, in miniature, you can see the problem we face: not a president who can’t be checked, but a president whose co-partisans don’t want to check him.

I’m seriously considering starting a YouTube channel where i address the issues on both sides of the political institution in America to explain to non-Americans what kind of corruption we’re dealing with here in “The Land of the Free”. And yes, i mean both sides - the government is not transparent here and it absolutely should be. I would use subtitles for those whose English is a second language.

I have gotten many messages from non-Americans asking about what it’s like here. I’ll tell you right now, the fear is real. There’s a divide and you can feel it. Apathy has been our downfall so far but we aim to change that now. This isn’t a party issue - this is bigger than parties. This is institutionalized corruption on all sides of the aisle and I, like many others, want that exposed and our politicians held accountable.

So if anyone reading this would watch that channel, where i explain just how deep this rabbit hole goes, please give this a reblog. We’re sitting at the edge of a revolution.
Information is the power to change.

Josh Hutcherson Joins Nonpartisan Anti-Corruption Movement

Represent.Us coalition, created by both conservatives and progressives, now enlists the help of Hollywood.

While Americans were casting ballots for President Tuesday night, South Dakota voters were also weighing in on a proposal designed to clean up government statewide. The measure passed, and now Represent.Us is hoping the victory will spur some momentum to do the same across the country.

On Thursday, the grassroots organization released a video in which Hutcherson, Martin Sheen, Laura Dern and other stars encourage the public to get similar measures put on their states’ ballots.

Represent.Us is ultimately hoping for nationwide passage of the American Anti-Corruption Act, penned by Federal Elections Commission chair Trevor Potter in 2012. The act calls for stricter guidelines on lobbying, tougher ethics laws, and increased government transparency.

The act would also reform elections funding. Hutcherson has repeatedly called for the overturning of the 2010 Citizens United decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled the First Amendment protects corporate campaign donations.

(Image credits: Represent.Us)

Hermes Cabin Headcanons as requested by percyjacksonisbetterthanlife

  • one of the walls is a giant world map with a little caduceus in every place where a kid of Hermes has pulled off a great heist or con. A hall of fame of sorts 
  • there’s a secret basement that is split down the middle between a gambling ring that the older kids run and a wall of computers for the hacking-inclined children of Herms who tend to be very passionate about government transparency 
  • a lot of the kids have parents who are UPS, FedEx, and USPS execs who are always getting their fellow campers discounts on their mailing and shipping needs 
  • there must always be a Hermes kid in the cabin who is a certified notary 
  • After the War, Hermes makes sure to send his kids a pair of shoes at some point in their life so they can say they have something from him and he can feel like he contributed to their lives in some way
  • they have a police scanner that is always playing and they all find it very soothing 
  •  there is a small altar dedicated to George and Martha– Martha cries when she finds out 
George Brandis…

1. Fights dirty to destroy independent watchdogs.

Example A: Gillian Triggs (Human Rights Commissioner) criticised the government’s refugee abuses so Brandis bullied her to quit - when his job as AG is to *defend* her from attacks to preserve her independence.

Example B: Parliament blocked his attempt to kill off the Freedom of Information Commissioner (who helps keep government transparent) so he defunded it, effectively killing it off in a betrayal of Parliament’s wishes. As former Liberal Attorney-General John Dowd told Brandis: “The rule of law is not a nebulous concept but does have some very specific components, one of which is the doctrine of the separation of powers … It is disappointing that we have to draw this simple principle to your attention.”

2. Hates the environment.

Example A: In 2003, he gave a 20 minute speech in Parliament linking environmentalism to Nazism. Google it.

Example B:  When a court found the Environment Minister broke the law in too hastily/sloppily approving a coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef, Brandis tried to change the law to stop green groups taking such government law breaking to the court.

Example C: Defunded and killed off Environmental Defenders’ Offices (they’re like environmental Legal Aid) two months after the mining industry asked him to.

Example D: Justified sacking CSIRO climate scientists because “if the science is settled, why do we need research scientists to continue inquiring into the settled science?” Not that he personally believes it’s settled.

3. Defunded Legal Aid.

Example A: Aboriginal Legal Services was defunded but he did fund $2.2m to those *challenging* native title claims.

Example B: Women’s community legal centres and other CLCs defunded when access to lawyers to escape domestic violence is life and death.

Example C: Only willing to give funds to community legal centres if lawyers there were forbidden from speaking up for law reform (to help the homeless, jobless, abused etc). These lawyers are on the frontline and are valuable in telling us where our law is failing our fellow Aussies.

4. Grab-bag of crapness.

Example A: He spent $28K of taxpayer money on a personal library.

Example B: He pushed for metadata laws but couldn’t explain metadata.

Example C: He wanted s18C scrapped because ‘people have the right to be bigots’.

Example D: He thinks climate change believers are stifling the ‘free speech’ of climate deniers.

TL/DR: George Brandis is Attorney General, the “first law officer of Australia”. His job is to protect the rule of law (but he attacks those who bring up when his government are *breaking* the law), protect free speech (but only when it serves his agenda, the free speech of green groups and community lawyers he goes out of his way to silence) and protect the fair running of the court (but how is that possible if you defund Legal Aid, the only way the poor and most in need can access the courts?).

His attitude to the Solicitor-General in the news today is not surprising.

HOW REPUBLICANS WIN ELECTIONS

STEP 1: GERRYMANDERING

In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts.

Gerrymandering is named after Massachusetts governor, Elbridge Gerry because an election district created by members of his party in 1812 looked  like a salamander.

As you can see, the popular vote and the congressional seats won are very different. Some of these states have a Democratic majority voters, but still more seats go to republicans.

Honestly, can we just have computers make the districts???

STEP 2: REMOVE ELECTION FINANCE LAWS

“There is not going to be any real enforcement.”

“The few rules that are left, people feel free to ignore.”

Those are recent statements by two members of the Federal Election Commission — the government agency that is supposed to enforce our country’s campaign finance rules. You know it from Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. FEC, the disastrous Supreme Court rulings that are allowing unlimited corporate spending to drown out the voices of everyday Americans in our political process. Corporations are now allowed to funnel unlimited money into SuperPACs that do not require to tell us who are funding their donations and advertisements.

Since Citizens United was decided in 2010, outside money in our elections grows while transparency shrinks. Outside spending on the 2014 elections alone was well over $500 MILLION. Backed by a geyser of money supplied by ultra-wealthy donors and corporations, radical right-wing extremists swept Senate and House races across the country. The Koch Brothers are doubling down and preparing to spend almost a billion dollars over the next two years. Not to mention Wall Street banks, Oil and Gas Industry, and every other corporation are looking to influence legislation.

What happens after these elections? Less than a quarter of all government contractors disclose their campaign donations. Corporations that receive government contracts shouldn’t be able to secretly spend big money electing and re-electing the same lawmakers who are handing out government contracts. With these Supreme Court rulings there is no government accountability and corporations are allowed to pay to play.

STEP 3: RESTRICT VOTING

Last year the Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Before this ruling, Section 5 mandated that states with a history of racial discrimination seek “preclearance" to make any changes to voting procedures. Section 5 was extremely effective at ensuring that discriminatory voting procedures weren’t implemented. Now, individuals in these states are susceptible to an increased chance of discrimination when trying to head to the polls.

Since 2010, 21 states have added new voting restrictions. Extensive studies have showed that there has been only 31 out of 1,000,000,000 cases of voter fraud in the last 14 years. These photo ID laws that are sold to prevent fraud are only made to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of student, minority, and elderly voters. Anybody whose name does not match when you first registered; if you are a woman and you registered to vote before getting married and your married name does not match or specifically transgender people. In Texas as one example, there are only 81 DMVs in its 254 counties. Furthermore, many of these IDs cost the individual, causing a election tax which is illegal. These states have also made attacks on early voting, and laws making it harder to register to vote. 

It is also illegal for developmentally and intellectually disabled people to vote in 39 states. At least 70% of polling sites nationwide are physically inaccessible and less than half of these sites offer curbside voting causing disabled people are about 20% less likely to vote than abled people.

The point is women, minority, lgbt and young voters tend to vote with the Democratic or third parties. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, but most Americans would be surprised to find out there is no affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution.

I am done kindly asking you to stop forgetting the other half of the population. I am done asking you to please be aware of a lack of development for girls in most countries around the world. I am done being told to be quiet because there is no market in women’s football. Of course there is not. FIFA has not invested in their game. You have to build the players to build the market.

You preach on your website, “As football’s world governing body, FIFA is firmly committed to the principles of good governance, transparency and zero tolerance towards any wrongdoing,” yet actions never match the rhetoric at FIFA. Dr. Carrard, if FIFA’s mission is about improving, growing and promoting the game, then how are the above numbers acceptable? Your next pillar of reform must recognize the girls and young women who simply want a chance to play. Live the mission FIFA intended, and make these member associations accountable. Make them transparent with their spending on women. Make them show you what programming they are offering their girls’ and women’s teams. Make them hire people within the federation who wake up every single day thinking about how they can advance the women’s game in their country. There are plenty of passionate and smart people eager to take on this very task. Bring them into the fold. Be the guardians of the game you profess to be.

Developing football everywhere. For all. Five words that should mean so much. Five words that seem so promising, yet promise so little.

The public deserves and needs to know that the money is going for [that] which it is intended. If it’s going for the purpose intended, there should not be a problem in demonstrating and documenting that.
— 

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), is introducing a bill that would force the American Red Cross to open its books and operations to independent review. 

Red Cross Effort To Shut Down Inquiry Fails; Report Calls For Outside Oversight

youtube

Bradley Manning for Nobel Peace Prize?

Faced with growing transparency scandals, White House exempts itself from FOIA regulations

Darn that pesky Freedom of Information Act that gives the American people access to the “most transparent administration in history”!  Obama has a solution: just delete all of the regulations that make the White House subject to FOIA requests.

from USA Today:

The White House is removing a federal regulation that subjects its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act, making official a policy under Presidents Bush and Obama to reject requests for records to that office.

The White House said the cleanup of FOIA regulations is consistent with court rulings that hold that the office is not subject to the transparency law. The office handles, among other things, White House record-keeping duties like the archiving of e-mails.

But the timing of the move raised eyebrows among transparency advocates, coming on National Freedom of Information Day and during a national debate over the preservation of Obama administration records. It’s also Sunshine Week, an effort by news organizations and watchdog groups to highlight issues of government transparency.

“The irony of this being Sunshine Week is not lost on me,” said Anne Weismann of the liberal Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW.

“It is completely out of step with the president’s supposed commitment to transparency,” she said. “That is a critical office, especially if you want to know, for example, how the White House is dealing with e-mail.”

Unlike other offices within the White House, which were always exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, the Office of Administration responded to FOIA requests for 30 years. Until the Obama administration, watchdog groups on the left and the right used records from the office to shed light on how the White House works.

“This is an office that operated under the FOIA for 30 years, and when it became politically inconvenient, they decided they weren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act any more,” said Tom Fitton of the conservative Judicial Watch.

read the rest

I know, I know…I can already hear our liberal readers mindlessly reciting that mantra: “It’s Bushs’s fault!”  But that’s only true for Bush himself.  You can’t blame Bush when Obama turns into him!  Actually, Obama has only turned into the worst parts of George W. Bush.