Monday, November 2, 2009

Who's Coming To Hang Out With Obama In Our White House?

You may recall that when Bush was president, it was like pulling teeth trying to find out just who had visited the White House. Let's just say he dug in his heels a bit on releasing that information. Maybe it had something to do with Cheney's "secret" Energy Meeting, who knows, but it was a battle.

I am sure you will be SHOCKED to learn that Obama is acting in much the same way. I know, I know - what a surprise. Ahem. Well, it seems some one has been doing a little investigative journalism, something in VERY short supply of late. But get this - I tell you, you better be sitting down - in this case, it was - WAIT FOR IT - MSNBC. YES, the very network to which we routinely refer as "MSNBO"! Once I recovered from the shock of it all, I couldn't wait to see just how transparent President Obama was compared to Bush. (I wonder if there is a way for us to do a pool on these kinds of things, like for NCAA basketball or something?)

This is what MSNBC uncovered in this report:
Obama Names 110 White House Visitors

The White House on Friday released a small list of visitors to the White House since President Barack Obama took office in January, including lobbyists, business executives, activists and celebrities.

No previous administration has released such a list, though the information out so far is incomplete. Only about 110 names —and 481 visits —out of the hundreds of thousands who have visited the Obama White House were made public. Like the Bush administration before it, Obama is arguing that any release is voluntary, not required by law, despite two federal court rulings to the contrary.

The emphasis there is mine. This is a bit of a schizophrenic opening. On the one hand, they want to champion that Obama released 110 names - Woohoo!! On the other hand, they have to acknowledge that, once again, President Obama is using the SAME arguments as Bush. Moreover, this "Constitutional Scholar" is doing so in clear violation of not one, but TWO federal court rulings! Maybe the KoolAide was made improperly that day, I don't know, but the report continues:
Under the Obama White House's policy, most names of visitors from Inauguration Day in January through the end of September will never be released. The White House says it plans to release most of the names of visitors from October on, and that release is due near the end of the year. There are limitations there as well, including potential Supreme Court nominees, personal guests of the First Family, and certain security officials.

The names released Friday include business leaders and lobbyists with a lot to gain or lose from Obama policies. They include Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (whose foundation is pushing for changes in teacher pay), former AIG chairman Maurice Greenberg, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Chevron CEO David O'Reilly, Citigroup's Vikram Pandit, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, JP Morgan's James Dimon, Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis, John Stumpf of Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley's John Mack, State Street bank's Ron Logue, BNY Mellon's Robert Kelly, labor leader Andrew Stern of the Service Employees International Union (22 visits)*, American Bankers Association CEO Ed Yingling, community bankers president Camden Fine, and lobbyists Heather and Anthony Podesta, whose brother John Podesta led Obama's transition team.

Besides Gates, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt are also on the list. ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC. One of NBC's parents is GE.)

Advocates and nonprofit leaders include National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy, and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is interested in health policy.

So, this is how Obama is paying these people and organizations back, by having them in the White House? I bet Kim Gandy was just all aflutter after she threw ALL women under the bus to endorse Obama over a life-long women's advocate. There is more on her below.

I know many readers will be interested in this White House guest:
Democratic donor and businessman George Soros visited with White House aides twice.

Yes, indeedy, a major funder of has been to check up on his biggest investment - ahem - twice.

We're just getting started:
Political figures include former Sen. Thomas Daschle, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, former Gov. Howard Dean, Sen. Al Franken, former Vice President Al Gore, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, and Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf.

Celebrities at the White House include Oprah Winfrey, actors Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Denzel Washington, and tennis star Serena Williams. Journalists include Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winner in economics.

Conservative religious leader Gary Bauer visited, as did liberal civil rights leaders Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

Okay, the last two, along with Oprah, are NOT a surprise. Gary Bauer? Just a tad surprising.

For anyone who wants to see more: has put the full list in a handy PDF file, and also in an Excel file for those who like to sort.

One guest is mighty interesting:
Not that Bill Ayers

The White House warns that many names that may appear familiar — and controversial — do not in fact refer to the most famous people to carry those names. Jeremiah Wright is on the list, but it's not the president's former pastor. This Michael Jordan is not the basketball player. This Michael Moore is not a filmmaker. The William Ayers who took a group tour of the White House isn't the former radical from Chicago who figured so prominently in the 2008 campaign. And the Angela Davis on the list has a different middle initial than the activist and former fugitive.

The White House could have avoided some of that sort of confusion by providing more information on the visitors, such as an employer name and the city they hail from. For example, is the Shawn Carter who attended a poetry reading the same one who goes by Jay-Z and had campaigned for Obama?

"This unprecedented level of transparency can sometimes be confusing rather than providing clear information," a White House special counsel, Norm Eisen, wrote on the White House blog.

If you spot a name on the list that bears investigating, please drop us a note.

Of COURSE we will just trust Obama and his spokes-minions when they assure us that this Bill Ayers could not POSSIBLY be domestic terrorist - Capitol Building and Pentagon bomber - long time friend and mentor Bill Ayers! He is just some guy who wanted to visit the White House Gift Shop and pick up a couple of Marine One helicopter models for his boys. I am sure of it. Sheesh. Really? They expect us to believe this crap? Evidently - they got plenty of other people to believe that kind of crap and more, so why stop now?

Okay - if you are consuming any liquids right this minute, I suggest you put it down when you read this:
Limited release

Despite the accompanying White House claim of "transparency like you've never seen before," the Obama White House continues to take the same legal position as the Bush White House, arguing that the records are not public records subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Only limited "voluntary releases" are being made to settle a lawsuit filed by an advocacy group, though a federal judge has twice ruled that all the visitor logs are public. (Again, emphasis is mine.)

Yet there are severe limitations to the transparency:

Most of the visitors from Inauguration Day to September will never be released by the White House under this voluntary disclosure — unless the public can guess their names. The White House policy doesn't allow members of the public or press to ask for "everyone who visited health czar Nancy-Ann DeParle," or everyone who visited on May 4, or everyone from the American Medical Association. Only individual names can be checked.

I know, right? Didn't this sound just a little pissy?? From someone at MSNBC?? The bigger picture is that the Obama Administration is BREAKING THE LAW. Hell to the YES, that information falls under FOIA - this is OUR White House, not the Obamas. We most definitely DO get to know every single John Smith and Jane Doe who cross the threshold of the White House. You better believe we do.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but it is a start:
The list released at 4:30 p.m. Friday includes just about 110 names with 481 visits. Those names were among those requested by members of the public so far, for visits during the period from Inauguration Day through July. (That's why we know of visits by the wrong Bill Ayers, the wrong Angela Davis, etc., but we don't know of visits by countless unnamed lobbyists.) Members of the public who used the White House online form to check names did not receive a personal reply indicating whether or not the request was received, or whether the name appeared on the list, so the system provides no feedback. Does the absence of Bill Clinton's name on the list mean that he has not been to the White House, or that the request wasn't received by the White House online system?

A request for the complete records of all visitors from the first months of the administration, filed by, was rejected by the White House, and an appeal is pending. The news organization requested the names of all visitors to the Obama White House beginning with Inauguration Day. has filed an administrative appeal with the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service.

Say whaa?? The White House rejected a request from their lapdog "news" source?? Huh. There's a shocker. Welcome to the "Under The Bus" club, MSNBC!

The Wall Street Journal focused on the most frequent visitor to the White House. He was mentioned in the list above, but without the acknowledgment of the frequency:
SEIU’s Stern Tops White House Visitor List

Promising “transparency like you’ve never seen before,” The White House released its visitor log this evening under a new voluntary disclosure policy.

The log chronicles 481 visits to the White House from individuals ranging from Jay-Z to Bill Gates from January through July.

The list includes William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Michael Moore, Robert Kelly (R. Kelly), Malik Shabazz, and Michael Jordan.

But the White House said those aren’t the guys you’re thinking of. Nor is the log complete.

Ahahahahahahaha!!! I just cannot get enough of this one - sure, they aren't the same people. Yeah, okay, we believe you. NOT. And because it is just so much fun to see them squirm, I am keeping in the part that is repetitive of the article above, especially the quotes from Eisen. Oh, what a funny guy:
“A lot of people visit the White House, up to 100,000 each month, with many of those folks coming to tour the buildings. Given this large amount of data, the records we are publishing today include a few ‘false positives’ – names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else,” Norm Eisen, a special counsel to the president, writes on the White House blog. “The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House. Nevertheless, we were asked for those names and so we have included records for those individuals who were here and share the same names.”

Adds Eisen: “This unprecedented level of transparency can sometimes be confusing rather than providing clear information.”

Uh, ya know, I think we are all smart enough to not get all confused by this incredible level of "transparency." Beginning with, we actually know the definition of "transparency," something Eisen and Obama apparently do not.

And then there is this:
One thing is clear: *Service Employees International Union President Andrew Stern holds sway at the White House, where he’s listed for 22 visits—the top number on the logs. Visitors in the top 10 also include former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy, and NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan.

So THAT'S what Gandy and Keenan got for stabbing Hillary Clinton and, well, WOMEN, int he back - visits to the White House. I guess there is something gained by selling your soul, though, personally, I don't think it is worth it. But that's just me.

Anywho - yes, the President of the SEIU, again, the union co-founded by the founder of ACORN, Wade Rathke, is the TOP visitor at the White House. The SEIU has been in the news quite a bit, especially for holding California hostage - threatening that their good buddy, Obama, would not give the state any federal stimulus funds if it had the audacity to expect the union to cut wages like everyone else so the state wouldn't go bankrupt. NOW we know how the union was able to do that. All those visits to the White House apparently paid off - for the union, not California, the state with one of the largest budgets around (as in 5th in the world). What makes this more egregious is that California pays a lot into the federal tax system and receives little comparatively speaking. And this union is allowed - by the White House - to hold it over a barrel. Yep, all those meetings seemed to do the trick!

Aren't you just so heartened by all of this "transparency"? And by seeing who Obama is welcoming into our White House? Yeah, me, too. As long as the Obama Administration continues to thumb its nose at Federal Law, I reckon we should be "thankful" for this (no, not really - it's BS that they are still sitting on so much information).

Oh, but if you can just GUESS who might else have been there and submit that form asking them, maybe you can confirm some other folks who have been there, too. Lemme know what you find out, okay? I am sure we would all just love to know...


Logistics Monster said...

These are the people I follow for forced transparency: Judicial Watch:

Thanks for letting me drop the link.

How ya been? How's your sweetie? Remember - this ain't a sprint....

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, LM!

Yes, great link, thank you! I appreciated that post, too, as I do all of your hard, and GREAT, work!!

Oh, you aren't kidding, but it is good to get the reminder that this is a marathon...In the heat of it all, it is hard to see the forest for the trees, as they say...

She's good, but working way too much - 60 - 80 a week, and since she's salaried, it ain't like she's getting paid more (the economy has hit her business hard, too). But, as she says, at least she has a job...

And you?? How abt your job situation? I think of you, and hope things are working out. How's your partner, and your son? Good, I hope.

Thanks so much for dropping by, LM, I rally appreciate it.