This is Sunshine Week, the week where we celebrate government transparency and our “right to know.” But over the last eight years the clouds have crept in, and they’re showing no sign of going anywhere.
Former President Barack Obama failed to deliver on his campaign promise of being the “most transparent administration” ever, and ran up a bill in doing so.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the Obama administration spent a record $36.2 million in its final year on legal costs related to refusals to turn over federal documents under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Not only is that fiscally absurd, it’s also a slap in the face to those who actually believed Obama would follow through on his transparency promises.
On top of running up the legal fees, the Obama administration also set a record for the number of denied FOIL requests. The administration also told journalists and citizens it couldn’t find the requested documents more times in 2016 than ever before.
C-SPAN recently released the 2017 Presidential Historian Survey, in which a group of presidential historians rank all previous presidents from best to worst. President Obama did extremely well, coming in as the 12th best president of all time. Obama was commended for his handling of the economy, public persuasion, and (the most unsettling reason) his moral authority. Survey respondents seemed to have overlooked a simple fact, though, which should shatter any image of moral authority from the Obama tenure in office: his destructive and inhumane foreign policy.
Obama’s record on warfare is, frankly, abysmal. It’s particularly galling considering that he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. In 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped over 26,000 bombs on seven different countries; that’s three bombs every hour. The campaign in Libya destabilized the country in a vein similar to the US invasion of Iraq. He killed a 16 year-old American citizen living in Yemen, and recently increased US involvement in the Yemeni civil war — a war that is starving the country’s citizens. And there is significant skepticism that his administration came even close to telling the truth about the amount of civilians killed in drone strikes over the last eight years.
This does not sound, at all, like a president that retained any semblance of moral authority. To the group’s credit, they gave him “below-average” marks in international relations. It seems like a generous standard, though, for an administration that had a secret “kill list” and caused foreign teenagers to dream about their own deaths by drone strikes.
Continue reading at The Libertarian Institute.
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump successfully tapped into voters’ frustration about the country’s broken immigration system. While it is still unclear how the president-elect will resolve the issue, immigration opponents are pressing him to consider repealing the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that enables many migrants to become productive economic players. Giving into these pleas to use executive fiat will further marginalize the important role of the legislative branch. Instead, Trump should utilize his deal-making skills to work with Congress on a more comprehensive immigration reform.
Enacted in 2012, DACA permits children of undocumented parents to work and study in the U.S. on a temporary basis. DACA also stayed the deportation of those who benefit from the DREAM Act, a law providing conditional residency for immigrants with no felony convictions or significant misdemeanors who are enrolled in school, graduated from high school, or are enlisted in the military.
With Trump’s election, DREAMers are afraid that the policy that offered them the opportunity to achieve their dreams in their new homeland could soon be overturned. Take the case of Diana Chacon, a DACA recipient originally from Lima, Peru, who is studying in college with hopes of attending law school. “DACA changed my life,” Chacon recalls. “It allowed me to be involved in school more, spend more time doing my class work assignments, spend more time applying for programs, and just get involved in my community in general.”
Continue reading at The Greenville News.