Signs and Wonders
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
Associated Press/Photo by Charles Dharapak
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

Signs and Wonders: Secret email accounts violate government transparency

Newsworthy

Obama official secret. The Competitive Enterprise Institute has been claiming that officials in the Obama administration have secret email accounts as a way to usurp transparency regulations and laws. Last Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted such accounts exist, but said they were merely to help administration officials manage their email loads, and that they were all available for FOIA searches. However, Carney’s claim is a bit disingenuous, because—as a practical matter—in order to search a private email account, you would likely have to know the name of it. Someone who wanted to hide a private email account would simply not have to disclose its existence. According to The Hill: “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson were among federal officials who were discovered to maintain secret email accounts. The EPA said Tuesday that the use of separate accounts dates back to the Bush administration and insisted it reveals all correspondence from the addresses in response to FOIA requests.” Again, though, we must rely on their word. The purpose of transparency in government is precisely so we can see for ourselves and not rely on the word of someone who may have conflicted interests and motives.

LGBT Power. President Barack Obama just named Samantha Power to be the next ambassador to the United Nations. The mainstream media are ecstatic. A typical headline, from The Atlantic Wire (the online presence of The Atlantic magazine):  “Samantha Power Has It All.” One thing she certainly does have is deep ties to the homosexual community. Of course, it’s no surprise that President Obama would nominate liberals to the post, but Power and Susan Rice, new national security advisor, have both gone out of their way to reach out to the LGBT lobby. Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, said: “We were pleased to honor Ambassador Rice with our Global Equality Award last year in recognition of her leadership and stalwart support for LGBT rights at the United Nations. And the announcement today was certainly a double hit, as Samantha Power, who was nominated to take her place and serve as our next U.N. ambassador, has been a great friend of LGBT rights—and of human rights for all—at the White House. We couldn’t think of two stronger LGBT allies in the foreign policy world.”

SBC meets. The Southern Baptist Convention has released annual statistics in advance of its annual meeting in Houston this week. The numbers show that SBC membership has fallen slightly, .66 percent. Most news reports cite a decrease in the number of baptisms, and there’s no doubt that more baptisms would cause more members, but it is also likely that member retention is more of an issue. The growth in the number of non-denominational churches in the U.S. has likely cannibalized SBC churches more than other churches.

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Incoherent policy. Last month, the Boy Scouts of America said it was OK for openly homosexual boys to participate in the program, while the Scouts continue to ban homosexual adult leaders. The policy change didn’t please either side, in part because it is logically, morally, and legally incoherent. We saw an example of that incoherence this weekend when a group of Boy Scouts, defying Scout leadership, wore their uniforms in a Salt Lake City “Gay Pride” parade. The scouts had been warned not to participate, but it now also appears that those who did will face no consequences, so expect more such defiance in the future, expect the Scouts ultimately not to be able to enforce its own policies, and expect the continued decline of this once great American institution.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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