Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Criticism Of Obama’s Czars - he has 18 of them!!!

image by rees

from Cheat-Seeking Missiles
by Laer
June 10, 2009

Sen. John Barrasso delivered a bit of a barn-burner at yesterday’s Committee on Oversight joint hearing on “Scientific Integrity and Transparency Reforms at the Environmental Protection Agency.” He’s been carrying this particular flag for a while, all but ignored by the Dem power structure. Following are excerpts from his statement:

I am concerned about the shadow cabinet position of Energy and Climate Czar. This vague position “coordinates” energy and climate change policy in the cabinet. This person is not confirmed by the Senate. How the EPA Administrator and the Czar work together remains highly ambiguous. The person appointed to this post is Carol Browner. Browner, coincidently, was the EPA Director under President Clinton. By appointing Browner, the Administration now has two EPA Directors, one confirmed by Congress, the other not. One accountable to Congress, the other not.
Obama has now appointed 18 czars - imagine what the Left would have said if “Bushitler” had done the same. They’re all problematic, but Browner is particulary so, especially given the economy-crushing global warming agenda Obama is pushing. Barrasso details some of the more nefarious acts Browner undertook while she was Clinton’s Congressionally overseen EPA chief:

She [a Washington Examiner reporter] stated that “Browner ordered Virginia to reduce the amount of ambient nitrogen oxide, not because levels were anywhere near dangerous, but because that was the only pollutant that had not declined in the past 25 years.” She stated that that Browner proposed banning chlorine, used as a disinfectant in 98 percent of municipal water treatment, “in the absence of any evidence that chlorine leads to cancer or birth defects.” Indeed, the author points out that Peru was suing the United States for classifying chlorine as a possible carcinogen “because then Peru removed chorine from its water supply, and the resulting cholera epidemic killed thousands.” She also cited Browner’s attempt to get the Food and Drug Administration to ban anti-asthma inhalers because the EPA "considered it more important to get rid of devices that release trace amounts of chlorofluorcarbons than to allow 30 million Americans to breathe easily.” She stated “public outcry, not science, caused the EPA to back off.” These are just a few examples in a larger column that cites many more.
Now this woman is operating in Jack Bauer-like fashion, with no hand, save Obama’s, constraining her. This is not exactly the model of that transparency thing Obama promised during the campaign.

The Czar positions that the Obama Administration has created seem to be designed to not be transparent. We won’t ever know whether or not politics is trumping science because we can’t get the Czar to come here and testify. Everything will be done in secret, behind closed doors, out of the view of the American people.We need not look much farther than Energy and Climate Czar Browner’s actions over the last few months.
Want an example of how untransparent the czar process is? Barrosso provided a gem:

The New York Times ran an article in May entitled “Vow of silence key to White House-California Fuel Economy Talks.” The article stated that there was a simple rule for negotiations between the White House and California on vehicle fuel economy – “Put nothing in writing.” Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, stated that Browner “quietly orchestrated private discussions from the White House with auto industry officials.” The paper said Nichols and Browner “decided to keep their discussions as quiet as possible, holding no group meetings and taking care to not leak updates to the press.” Nichols was quoted as saying “We put nothing in writing, ever.” This is unacceptable Madame Chairman.

How are we, the oversight committee, able to do our job with Administration officials putting nothing in writing, holding secret meetings in the dark of night without other officials present. All of this occurring outside the prying eyes of the people. This is not transparency. This is not good government. This threatens scientific integrity.
I wonder how that Times story would have run if it had occurred during the Bush admin and they caught an uncomfirmed Bush appointee saying “put nothing in writing.” We’ll never know.

The good senator concluded by repeating his longstanding request for committee hearings into Browner’s role as energy czar, a request committee chair Babs Boxer ignored. Fat chance any such hearings will happen any sooner than January 2013, when, hopefully, a new Republican majority will rule the Senate.

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