The Obama administration has hidden surprises in store for you.
"My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government," the newly inaugurated President Obama declared in a memo to department and agency heads in January 2009. "Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing."
How's that working in practice? The New York Times reports on how an Obama ally in Congress, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, responded after the administration made a regulatory decision he had urged:
After learning of the administration's decision, Mr. Blumenauer's office celebrated "a quiet victory," but urged supporters not to crow about it.
"While we are very happy with the result, we won't be shouting it from the rooftops because we aren't out of the woods yet," Mr. Blumenauer's office said in an e-mail in early November to people working with him on the issue. "This regulation could be modified or reversed, especially if Republican leaders try to use this small provision to perpetuate the 'death panel' myth."
Moreover, the e-mail said: "We would ask that you not broadcast this accomplishment out to any of your lists, even if they are 'supporters'--e-mails can too easily be forwarded."
The e-mail continued: "Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response. The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it."
Even though Blumenauer sent the warning not to send emails about the regulation by email, both the regulation and the effort to keep it a secret remained secret until yesterday when the Times reported them.
The regulation imposed a prospective ObamaCare provision that, amid public outcry, had been cut from the law Congress enacted. "Under the new policy," the Times explains, "the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment." Although this provision was part of the "death panel" controversy, even Wesley Smith of the Discovery Institute, a leading opponent of medical homicide, acknowledges that "the new regulation is not alarming in and of itself."
So why the coverup? It's partly a matter of form: It looks bad for the administration to impose by executive fiat a provision that the people's representatives had expressly rejected, though of course the inevitable discovery of the effort to keep the secret only compounds that problem.
But there is also a substantive reason why the administration and its allies wanted to keep this quiet: It reminds people that ObamaCare's promise to deliver "universal health care" while saving money can be kept if the government assumes the power to deny medical treatment in the name of controlling costs. Death panels are intrinsic to the ObamaCare scheme, as Shikha Dalmia of the Daily Beast explains:
The administration is defining Medicare fraud down to include "unnecessary" and "ineffective" care. And to root this out, it plans to make expanded use of private mercenaries--officially called Recovery Audit Contracts--who will be authorized to go to doctors' offices and rummage through patients' records, matching them with billing claims to uncover illicit charges. What's more, Obamacare increases the fine for billing errors from $11,000 per item to $50,000 without the government even having to prove intent to defraud.
It's reminiscent of the Climategate emails, which detailed an effort to deceive the public so as to justify expanded government control of the economy. And the Obama administration is acting in defiance of the citizenry on the global-warming front too, as the Associated Press reports:
Stymied in Congress, the Obama administration is moving unilaterally to clamp down on greenhouse emissions, announcing plans for new power plants and oil refinery emission standards over the next year. In an announcement posted on the agency's website late Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson said the aim was to better cope with pollution contributing to climate change.
They timed this to coincide with--forgive the expression--Christmas, when no one would be paying attention. The timing is embarrassing in another way, since yesterday saw a blizzard so severe that it led to the postponement of a professional football game.
The New York Times, however, was prepared lest the global-warmist faithful be tempted to stray. Theologian Judah Cohen appeared on the Times op-ed page Sunday to explain that "the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes":
As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. So the snow cover across Siberia in the fall has steadily increased. The sun's energy reflects off the bright white snow and escapes back out to space. As a result, the temperature cools.
But wait. Greenhouse gases are supposed to prevent the sun's energy from escaping back into space, aren't they? A careful reader noted with delight that Cohen has denied a central doctrine of global warmism. Even skeptics find an easter egg from time to time.
You won't hear about this stuff on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or CNBC - they are all in the tank for this deceptive administration.