It's Your Money, So Shut Up and Go Away
Lambert is trying to embarrass me, by beating me to the scoop of the juiciest evoting story today. Bastard. So Iâ€™ll just have to settle for this story about Our Secret Government.
Let me say this for our more conservative minded readers: I donâ€™t mind the idea that for some very special positions, citizens donâ€™t need to know the full details about the conditions of employment. Secret agents, deep cover operatives, etc. probably deserve the degree of secrecy those positions afford. So itâ€™s not that I have a real problem with classifying details that help a limited number of government employees perform their jobs efficiently.
However, I seriously doubt the US has need for one million secret agents. Think about that for a second: one million. Iâ€™m pretty imaginative, and I have a hard time thinking of a million unique scenarios that require total secrecy from the taxpayers. Actually, when pressed to be an Honest Radical, Iâ€™d confess that in my perfect world, secrecy is extremely limited if not completely forbidden. Shadows and darkness are friends to corruption and deceit, as Bush as shown us all too well. So I really have to take issue with this little gem from Helen & Harry:
December 7, 2005
BY MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN
WASHINGTON -- Breaking a tradition of openness that began in 1816, the Bush administration has without explanation withheld the names and work locations of about 900,000 of its civilian workers, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
''Citizens have a right to know who is working for the government,'' said Adina Rosenbaum, attorney for the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research group at Syracuse University, who sued to get the data.
Since 1989, TRAC has been posting on the Internet a database with the name, work location, salary and job category of all 2.7 million federal civilian workers except those in some law enforcement agencies. The data, provided on compact discs, are often used by reporters and watchdog groups.
The New York Daily News used the data to find names of guards at a detention center where abuse was alleged. Another reporter used it to find names of Transportation Security Administration guards at LaGuardia Airport to pursue cargo theft allegations.
''Secret governors are incompatible with a free government,'' TRAC wrote the federal Office of Personnel Management last Feb. 2 when the agency withheld the data. ''Basic information about the employees who carry out the day-to-day actions of government is critical for meaningful public oversight.''
The Office of Personnel Management said it would not comment until the lawsuit is reviewed.
Am I surprised? Of course not, this is Bush weâ€™re talking about. They wanted a â€œshadow government,â€ they canâ€™t tell us about Cheneyâ€™s energy meetings, Robertâ€™s meetings, hell- itâ€™d take me all day to list all the things that Bush doesnâ€™t think of which taxpayers have any right to know.
â€˜Transparency in governmentâ€™ is a foreign concept to these people, for the obvious reasons. Corruption and cronyism donâ€™t like sunlight. But this is getting down right ridiculous. In fact, itâ€™s probably against both law and precedent to deny people the list in question. Not that law and precedent matter to Bush and the Assministration. Thatâ€™s only for Democrats and little people and the French.
Anyway, I suspect that there are not a few â€œjournalistsâ€ and â€œexpertsâ€ on this list, enjoying taxpayer dollars for duties that have little to do with their titles. Hell, perhaps Gigi is on this list- $300/hr for 171 nights adds up! But regardless of whoâ€™s been left off, the simple fact is that Bush has no right to do this.
Itâ€™s your money, and in a free society, youâ€™re told how itâ€™s being spent. If any of our winger readers disagree, they should send a check to the Corrente building post haste, with the promise that Iâ€™ll spend the money immediately and never tell them how I did so. Except to say that I look good in Italian purple leather thigh high boots, and could use another pair.