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View Full Version : Obama's first day, pay freeze and a fu** you to the lobbyists




Hiki
01-22-2009, 07:29 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28767687/

Obama's first day: Pay freeze, lobbying rules

WASHINGTON - In a first-day flurry of activity, President Barack Obama on Wednesday set up shop in the Oval Office, summoned advisers to begin dealing with war and recession and ordered new lobbying rules for "a clean break from business as usual."

He also froze salaries for top White House staff members, placed phone calls to Mideast leaders and had aides circulate a draft executive order that would close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year.

Devoting swift attention to the Mideast turmoil, Obama prepared to give George Mitchell, the former Senate Democratic leader, a top diplomatic post for the region.

Unveiling ethics rules that he portrayed as the fulfillment of a major campaign promise, Obama said that "the way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable." The rules are needed, he added, "to help restore faith in government, without which we cannot deliver the changes that we were sent here to make."

The pay freeze affects the roughly 100 White House employees who make more than $100,000 a year. "Families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington," Obama said.

Obama's new lobbying rules will ban aides from trying to influence the administration when they leave his staff. Those already hired will be banned from working on matters they have previously lobbied on, or to approach agencies that they once targeted.

The rules also ban lobbyists from giving gifts of any size to any member of his administration. It wasn't immediately clear whether the ban would include the traditional "previous relationships" clause, allowing gifts from friends or associates with which an employee comes in with strong ties.

The new rules also stipulate that anyone who leaves his administration cannot try to influence former friends and colleagues for at least two years. Obama is requiring all staff to attend to an ethics briefing like one he said he attended last week.

Obama called the rules tighter "than under any other administration in history." They followed pledges during his campaign to be strict about the influence of lobbyists in his White House.

"The new rules on lobbying alone, no matter how tough, are not enough to fix a broken system in Washington," he said. "That's why I'm also setting rules that govern not just lobbyists but all those who have been selected to serve in my administration."

'Too much secrecy'
In an attempt to deliver on pledges of a transparent government, Obama said he would change the way the federal government interprets the Freedom of Information Act. He said he was directing agencies that vet requests for information to err on the side of making information public not to look for reasons to legally withhold it an alteration to the traditional standard of evaluation.

Just because a government agency has the legal power to keep information private does not mean that it should, Obama said. Reporters and public-interest groups often make use of the law to explore how and why government decisions were made; they are often stymied as agencies claim legal exemptions to the law.

"For a long time now, there's been too much secrecy in this city," Obama said.

He said the orders he was issuing Wednesday will not "make government as honest and transparent as it needs to be" nor go as far as he would like.

"But these historic measures do mark the beginning of a new era of openness in our country," Obama said. "And I will, I hope, do something to make government trustworthy in the eyes of the American people, in the days and weeks, months and years to come."

......

Wow, well he surprised me positively. Of course he's now going for the ~700 billion stimulus package but at least this stuff he made is far from being negative.
Your thoughts?

sluggo
01-22-2009, 08:00 AM
Just a show for the masses.
Obama will tax, inflate, and trample civil liberties with the best of them.

He's flip-flopped on marijuana legalization and FISA so far, I have no reason to believe that he is going to sincerely address the problem of government waste.

raystone
01-22-2009, 08:28 AM
Just a show for the masses.
Obama will tax, inflate, and trample civil liberties with the best of them.



Exactly. Just like the "transparency" rhetoric, no teeth to any of it.

When he starts championing actual legislation to reduce government or restore liberty for Americans, let me know.

SnappleLlama
01-22-2009, 08:31 AM
It's a show. It's only his first day in office. Wait for a few months to go by, after everyone has slipped back into their blissful ignorance...

The_Orlonater
01-22-2009, 08:32 AM
You're most likely right, but is it bad to remain somewhat optimistic?

raystone
01-22-2009, 08:41 AM
You're most likely right, but is it bad to remain somewhat optimistic?

Yes, it's bad. Any Obama optimism is the first symptom of lemmingitis. When you're listening to him, and start feeling the least bit of hope for change coming on, repeat these words, "It's empty political rhetoric".

libertarian4321
01-22-2009, 10:32 AM
You're most likely right, but is it bad to remain somewhat optimistic?

For some of the folks on these forums, anything short of rabid, foaming at the mouth opposition to anything Obama does is wrong. Rational analysis of what he does is not allowed.

It was a good start. The pay freeze was more symbolic than significant, but it sets the right tone.

The anti-lobbying move was a very good idea.

dantheman
01-22-2009, 02:01 PM
Today Robert Gibbs was asked during his first press conference today by April Ryan, of American Urban Radio, if Obama was going to "lead by example" on the issue of freezing salaries, by either returning money to the treasury or signing an executive order to freeze his own salary.

Gibbs replied: "Well i think his salary is determined by law. And i think augmentations to his salary and some salaries outside the executive office of the President, but still in the executive branch of government, would have to augmented by a change of law approved by congress."

He went on to say: "We will check on that. The charge that he set out yesterday and in signing that pay freeze as part of strong ethical guide lines was to insure that the American people will feel confident that some of the very same things they're having to do each day are also... you see the example of that right here in the White House."

It will be interesting to see what Obama does. There's this other congressman from Texas I know of that usually gives back a portion of his salary to the treasury...

anaconda
01-22-2009, 02:35 PM
Oh for gosh sakes, this is silly. What, was a pay raise imminent or something? Why didn't he get on board with Ron Paul and ask the Congress publicly to freeze their salaries for the next four years? This is the most pathetic form of grandstanding. Soetoro must think we are all really stupid.

libertarian4321
01-22-2009, 03:21 PM
Oh for gosh sakes, this is silly. What, was a pay raise imminent or something? Why didn't he get on board with Ron Paul and ask the Congress publicly to freeze their salaries for the next four years? This is the most pathetic form of grandstanding. Soetoro must think we are all really stupid.

Whether he did the right thing because he believes in it, or because he is "grandstanding", he did the right thing, so it makes us look a bit foolish to bitch about it.

Kludge
01-22-2009, 03:23 PM
Interesting move. Hopefully, he'll take more steps toward abolishing corrupt subgovernments.

libertarian4321
01-22-2009, 03:24 PM
Today Robert Gibbs was asked during his first press conference today by April Ryan, of American Urban Radio, if Obama was going to "lead by example" on the issue of freezing salaries, by either returning money to the treasury or signing an executive order to freeze his own salary.



The President's salary IS frozen. The last time it was raised was the first year Bush Jr. was in office (doubled from 200k to 400k). Prior to that, it had been fixed for decades.

anaconda
01-22-2009, 08:52 PM
Whether he did the right thing because he believes in it, or because he is "grandstanding", he did the right thing, so it makes us look a bit foolish to bitch about it.

I disagree. He did it to explicitly deflect attention away from far more important cost cutting measures. It is utterly deceitful and codescending.

A. Havnes
01-22-2009, 09:22 PM
I disagree. He did it to explicitly deflect attention away from far more important cost cutting measures. It is utterly deceitful and codescending.

Yes. I'm reading a lot from people who are of the belief that because he's done a few good things, he's going to make the world a better place. He's going to ultimately expand government, and I doubt the closure of Guantanamo and some overturned legislation will do much to deflate this guy's overseas spending!

Conza88
01-22-2009, 09:53 PM
Whether he did the right thing because he believes in it, or because he is "grandstanding", he did the right thing, so it makes us look a bit foolish to bitch about it.

'Which Obama did you vote for?' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_Z5KZ42GXw)

:rolleyes:

Conza88
01-22-2009, 09:54 PM
The President's salary IS frozen. The last time it was raised was the first year Bush Jr. was in office (doubled from 200k to 400k). Prior to that, it had been fixed for decades.

Spending roughly, $500,000,000.00 to get into a $400k job is the definition of corruption.

libertarian4321
01-23-2009, 10:56 PM
Spending roughly, $500,000,000.00 to get into a $400k job is the definition of corruption.

That's absurd.

If you think its "corrupt" for a politician's campaign committee to spend more to get the job than it pays, then essentially every politician, from city council to President is "corrupt."

By that standard, a congressman named Ron Paul is also corrupt...

HOLLYWOOD
01-23-2009, 11:19 PM
That's absurd.

If you think its "corrupt" for a politician's campaign committee to spend more to get the job than it pays, then essentially every politician, from city council to President is "corrupt."

By that standard, a congressman named Ron Paul is also corrupt...


$800,000,000.00

but hey, look at the Clintons... The Perv and SheMan didn't even own a house... now, they have $100's of millions puring into Bills library and activist moment (the Clinton Cronie Foundation) and the ODD COUPLE earned over a $100 MILLION the past 8 years!

Look at IT... longterrm = the AFTERLIFE! :cool:

Conza88
01-23-2009, 11:31 PM
That's absurd.

If you think its "corrupt" for a politician's campaign committee to spend more to get the job than it pays, then essentially every politician, from city council to President is "corrupt."

By that standard, a congressman named Ron Paul is also corrupt...

The system is corrupt. Which was my point. Spending, 800million it is now :eek: - on a 400k job. Yes, that is fcken absurd. Welcome to reality. :rolleyes: