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Trump Administration Kills Open.Gov, Will Not Release White House Visitor Logs (techdirt.com) 268

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Techdirt: It will never be said that the Trump presidency began with a presumption of openness. His pre-election refusal to release his tax returns set a bit of precedent in that regard. The immediate post-election muffling of government agency social media accounts made the administration's opacity goals um clearer. So, in an unsurprising move, the Trump administration will be doing the opposite of the Obama administration. The American public will no longer have the privilege of keeping tabs on White House visitors. TIME reports: "The Trump Administration will not disclose logs of those who visit the White House complex, breaking with his predecessor, the White House announced Friday. White House communications director Michael Dubke said the decision to reverse the Obama-era policy was due to 'the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.' Instead, the Trump Administration is relying on a federal court ruling that most of the logs are 'presidential records' and are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act." So, to further distance himself from the people he serves (and the people who elected him), Trump and his administration have shut down the transparency portal put in place by the previous Commander-in-Chief: "White House officials said the Administration is ending the contract for Open.gov, the Obama-era site that hosted the visitor records along with staff financial disclosures, salaries, and appointments. An official said it would save $70,000 through 2020 and that the removed disclosures, salaries and appointments would be integrated into WhiteHouse.gov in the coming months."
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Trump Administration Kills Open.Gov, Will Not Release White House Visitor Logs

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  • Open.gov (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 17, 2017 @04:31PM (#54251809)

    Did anyone feel it was ever "open" ?

    • Pretty much
      People focus on "OH LOL 70K saved its nothing" which is true.

      But the reality is why would you spent anyone's time on something that isn't actually useful other than to create a false illusion of openness? Might as well not...

      Now I'd rather it would actually be open, but if they're not able to do it genuinely I'm happy that they stop doing so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 17, 2017 @04:37PM (#54251877)

    I know Trump wants all the coal jobs back - but I'd think it would be hard to get back in the mines, with all these dead canaries piled up everywhere.

    I'd call these warning signs of horrors to come - but the man has always been the living symbol of arrogance and greed, and if anyone didn't expect exactly the raw ineptitude and pride in that ineptitude that we're getting, I'd be amazed.

    Republicans claim that Government can't solve any problems, and then make it their solemn job to prove that at every opportunity, and Trump is the latest in growing line of leaders exemplifying that determined inability to provide basic governance while wasting endless amounts of resources.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Plus, mining is gradually being automated. The conveyor carts and trucks will probably be the first to be automated, some already so.

      There's also progress in direct dirt-and-rock mining bots. Although they use some AI, they are also assisted remotely for the times the AI gets confused. One remote operator can assist several bots.

      Blaming lopsided trade deals with other countries for job loss has some merit, but is a fading threat compared to automation. T is fighting yesterday's battle.

      • Plus, mining is gradually being automated.

        That sounds like a LOT of jobs right there, perfect to transition a lot of miners into retirement.

        Looks like Trump was right again, mining jobs are coming back after all.

        Not to mention that now China is buying a lot more coal [washingtonexaminer.com] from the U.S. than they were prior to Trump.

        Trump Trump Trump!

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Coal mining automation has gone will past actual mining coal. The big push is to inject reactive fluids into the coal seams to generate gas, which is quite problematic as it tends to go all over the place, including setting rivers on fire but the labour force shrinks to practically nothing and they can hide the pollution generated behind lawyers and main stream media (unlike the visible mess a coal mine generations or the resultant ashes produced by burning coal, instead all the toxic side affects are burie

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      I know Trump wants all the coal jobs back

      He doesn't. He just wants us all to think he does. As always he just wants attention. Those jobs are gone just like the steelmaking jobs since there is no market for overpriced coal or overpriced steel. They cannot compete with new operations that do things effectively instead of the way things were done in the 1950s. Even Trump knows this, but he doesn't care - if he makes enough noise it makes him look like he's bringing the jobs back, and when it doesn't happ

    • Jokes and meme's aside, nobody cares. Trump may full well screw all those swing state voters over, but his opponent didn't make any promises whatsoever (well, there was that time she promised to cost them all their jobs). There's a group of Dems going around called "Justice Democrats" trying to separate themselves from "Corporate Democrats" and line up with Bernie Sanders. I wish them the best. Otherwise we're gonna have 8 years of Trump because like the man said: "What have you got to lose?". If you're a c
    • I know Trump wants all the coal jobs back - but I'd think it would be hard to get back in the mines, with all these dead canaries piled up everywhere.

      I'd call these warning signs of horrors to come - but the man has always been the living symbol of arrogance and greed, and if anyone didn't expect exactly the raw ineptitude and pride in that ineptitude that we're getting, I'd be amazed.

      Republicans claim that Government can't solve any problems, and then make it their solemn job to prove that at every opportunity, and Trump is the latest in growing line of leaders exemplifying that determined inability to provide basic governance while wasting endless amounts of resources.

      I wholeheartedly agree. The big question is how to get out of this quagmire? As far as I can see, the election of Trump is just the culmination of decades of deliberate mishandling of the one things that makes democracy work: education. The part of the population that needs better education and better chances in life, has been abandoned by the road side at least since Reagan, and instead been fed a diet of shallow soundbites about 'freedom' that wasn't really freedom at all. The ability to think critically

  • by iMadeGhostzilla ( 1851560 ) on Monday April 17, 2017 @04:38PM (#54251883)

    "Mr. Trump’s policy is a return to the one followed by presidents who preceded Mr. Obama." (NYT). No mention of that in the summary.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 )

      Obama was exceptional

      FTFY.

    • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Monday April 17, 2017 @05:19PM (#54252271)

      There were three past presidents that could reasonably be expected to have a transparency website. Clinton is arguably grandfathered in because he largely predated mainstream internet usage. Dubya is a war criminal, so that leaves Obama, who had a decent but very much inadequate start.

      We should be very insistent that transparency is a one-way ratchet, as sunlight is a very effective disinfectant.

    • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday April 17, 2017 @05:48PM (#54252451)

      ""Mr. Trumpâ(TM)s policy is a return to the one followed by presidents who preceded Mr. Obama." (NYT). No mention of that in the summary."

      vs

      " White House communications director Michael Dubke said the decision to reverse the Obama-era policy..."

      Hints: "the Obama-era policy" means a policy introduced in the Obama administration.

      And if Trump had created a completely new policy, it would not have been a 'reversal'. A reversal of direction implies going back where you came from.

      It should be fairly reasonable to anyone without a bag of hammers standing in for a brain that *reversing* a policy Obama instituted defaults to a return to the previous policy. aka ... the policy followed by presidents who preceded Obama.

      Yes, its not as explicit as coming out and saying it, but its a SUMMARY, if it included every explicit detail of the full article it would not be a summary. So the summary implied a detail that was made explicit in the full article... so what was your problem?

  • $70k? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enigma2175 ( 179646 ) on Monday April 17, 2017 @04:42PM (#54251917) Homepage Journal

    Wow, we're saving $70,000 over 4 years. Why would you even say something if it's such a low figure? Seriously, it's 0.000000018% of the budget. That's like a guy that makes $100k trumpeting the fact that he saved $0.0018. Less than 2/10s of a penny. I'm sure nobody expected anything different from this president, when your whole reason for getting elected is so your family and friends can loot the treasury "openness" isn't high on your agenda.

    • by sh00z ( 206503 )
      I laughed at it at the time (god, I loved Spy magazine), but Trump personally signed a check for 13 cents [motherjones.com] back in 1990.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ganjadude ( 952775 )
      he is going back to what every president before obama did.... obama was the one to break the norm here
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They were propaganda to begin with. Politically sensitive meetings simply occurred off site at nearby locations.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can someone please point me to the law or regulation requiring a sitting president or president-elect to release his or her tax returns?

    Can someone please point me to the law or regulation that requires our government or government officials to maintain social media accounts?

    Can someone please point me to the law or regulation that requires the executive branch to make White House visitor logs available for public review?

    If you are going to be upset that they are no longer willingly providing this informati

    • Can someone please point me to the law or regulation requiring a sitting president or president-elect to release his or her tax returns?

      Can we simply skip the legal != moral debate and jump right to Godwin?

  • Peanuts (Score:5, Funny)

    by EnsilZah ( 575600 ) <{EnsilZah} {at} {Gmail.com}> on Monday April 17, 2017 @05:40PM (#54252409)

    23K a year may sound like peanuts, but imagine, if it saves him but one trip to Mar A Lago to meet with undisclosed donors, we're starting to talk real money here.

  • The fool will try to hide all of his crimes any way he can. He is simply a Putin wannabe.
  • The whole point of laws like FOIA is that the law says that the information is public. If each White House decides what it lays open and what it does not, then it will only lay open the stuff that it does not care if people see. So you meet someone somewhere else if you don't want them showing up on the visitor log. That makes a log disclosure sooooo effective.

  • Wonder how this fits into that.

  • by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2017 @08:16AM (#54255433) Homepage

    Trump kills open.gov! He hates openness! He's a horrible person! I hate him and so should you!

    vs.

    To save a bit of money, the content on open.gov is moving to whitehouse.gov.

    I know that Trump isn't well liked (especially here), but come on, guys. You're acting like children.

    • To save a bit of money, the content on open.gov is moving to whitehouse.gov.

      Except, it won't be. It will be removed long enough for people to forget that it ever existed. Then there'll be no need to put it on whitehouse.gov. Problem solved.

      This isn't just knocking Trump and praising Obama. I thought Obama's initial announcement of the site was disingenuous and it would be "open" exactly as far as the White House wanted us to see in and no more.

      The galling part is that Trump's administration doesn't eve

  • Trump will release full visitor logs five years after the current term ends.

    Obama just decided to keep many records secret [nbcnews.com]

    Isn't Trump's mere delay instead of outright refusal much better?

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