Warning: Circular thinking zone!

June 24, 2007 by barbara

by barbara

Here's my summary of the latest on BushSpeak and CheneyWorld via today’s Los Angeles Times:

  1. Bush issued an executive order in March 2003, requiring all government agencies in the executive branch to submit to oversight.
  2. Cheney filed requisite oversight reports in 2001 and 2002; he stopped in 2003 and has steadfastly refused to comply since then.
  3. The Security Oversight Office of the National Archives and Records Administration has been rebuffed for four years in its attempt to inspect how Cheney’s office handles classified documents.
  4. On Friday, White House spokesman Tony Fratto declared that Bush never intended oversight to apply to his own office nor to Cheney’s.
  5. Why are we not surprised?
  6. (Quote from the Times): This executive order was issued by the president, and he knows what his intentions were,” Fratto said. “He is in compliance with his executive order.” Fratto conceded that the lengthy directive, technically an amendment to an existing executive order, did not specifically exempt the president’s or vice president’s offices. Instead, it refers to “agencies” as being subject to the requirements, which Fratto said did not include the two executive offices. “It does take a little bit of inference,” Fratto said.
  7. Inference? INFERENCE? Oh, lord help us.
  8. According to the Times, Chipper White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said that Cheney’s office is exempt from the requirements because the president intended him to be.

Click and read, and then let's talk.

Okay. Let me see if I’ve got this straight.

Bush issued an executive order in 2003 that requires all government agencies in the executive branch to submit to oversight. The order does not specify that the prez and veep are exempted from oversight, which, we are now told, was his intention when he signed the order. We just need to take his word for that.

Furthermore, Cheney isn’t really part of the executive branch (more than 200 years of adherence to that pesky old Constitution notwithstanding). Ergo, he isn’t responsible to Bush (executive branch). He isn’t responsible to the Senate (legislative branch). And we already know that he and Bush own Gonzales and the DOJ (judicial branch). Thus Cheney is a thing unto itself. A carbuncle on the numb butt of the body politic.

    “If the president and the vice president don’t take their own rules seriously, who else should?” said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a nongovernmental research institute at George Washington University in Washington that lobbies for open government.

    “If they get a blank check, it’s a recipe for disaster. I can’t think of a quicker way to break down the credibility of the entire security-classification system.”

    Blanton noted that the White House had acknowledged that a substantial number of in-house e-mails had disappeared in recent years, at a time when investigators wanted to review them for possible evidence of inappropriate leaks of classified information.
    “If there are all these great safeguards in place, then where are the e-mails?” Blanton asked.

And then this:

    Fratto said that the White House and Cheney’s office had a legal obligation to adhere to the executive order’s guidelines regarding the proper handling of classified documents, even if they didn’t have to submit to oversight by an outside agency.

Fabulous! Virtual self-oversight. What a stellar concept.

I’m gonna say it one more time. These people are messing with our Constitution, our human and civil rights, our individual and national safety and our minds.

See the empty table? Put impeachment back on it. Now!

(UPDATE Washington Post Chapter One of a four-part series on Cheney. Might there be life in the MSM after all?)

Posted in

Comments

Poet (not verified) | June 24, 2007 - 6:12pm

Besides reading like a story board for the next "This Modern World" comic by Tom Tomorrow, this whole story sounds like a chapter from "Alice in Wonderland". Cheney being like so much LSD and the rest of us suffering from a "bad trip"..

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MLS (not verified) | June 24, 2007 - 9:18pm

Pinch me. Again. Harder, harder...
OK, now I think I understand. According to the Bush Law, Vice President Cheney, is not part of any particular branch of the US Government and therefore does not have to be held accountable for anything because he is V.P. Therefore, whatever V.P. Cheney says or does means nothing because it is never recorded because he is V.P. and because President Bush said so. Furthermore, if V.P. Cheney fell or, heaven forbid, got shoved down the rabbit hole in Wonderland, We the People wouldn't have to account for him because he is the V.P. who is unaccountable.
And that's my trip for today.

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susan | June 25, 2007 - 12:02am

First, kudos to Barb, and our smart commenters, for all the good posts during the last week. I went to Seattle to visit two daughters, as well as one son-in-law, and two grandsons, 11 and 8. Just back last night, with one grandson in tow. Another one flew in from New Mexico this morning to join us for a week-long visit. I'd forgotten how distracting children can be -- in a good way of course.
While I was gone I wrote one post, only to be knocked off line and lose it, and then two comments, with similar results. So much for wi-fi in the fabled coffee houses of Seattle.
Now that I'm back, the jaw drops, and drops again, when reading of this latest Cheney slither from the truth. Think China Town, and the famous Faye Dunnaway scene, "she's my sister/my daughter/my sister . . ." Well, Faye was an incest victim, so there was validity to her confusion over her bifurcated role. Vice has no such excuse, far as I know.

Sometimes I get psychic whiplash remembering how Cheney found Cheney to be the best candiate for VP, and then helped orchestrate the election theft in Florida. And I recall the pundits in the 2000 campaign, after the VP debate between Cheney and Lieberman, crowing about what experienced wunnerful leaders these two guys were -- such a shame they weren't the presidential candidates. Yeah, we could have pulverized Iran by now. Puhleez, in my next life spare me the jabbering of puff-headed pundits.

Well, Mo Dowd did a bang up job on the Vice Carbuncle in today's NYTimes, and Frank Rich was splendid too on the whole Bush-Cheney-Iraq Migillah. If I live long enough to see the end of this war -- which I plan to do -- and long enough to see Rummy, Carbuncle and Shrub brought to justice as the criminals they are -- less likely -- I will teeter across the nation like Granny D. to pay homage to a bunch of MSM writers like Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Mark Morford, and the divine Ms. Molly, RIP -- as well as a slew of writers on the blogosphere who helped get us through this dark rabbit hole time.
I'm too tired to be coherent, so one last thought.
Today we took our grandsons to a small fundraiser for 1st district congressman, Tim Walz, who is the extreme opposite of Dick Cheney. No rabbit hole in sight. As my grandson William said, "He has a lot of good ideas going on in his head."
Later this week I'm taking them to see Barack Obama. Maybe this is a small thing we can all do -- take young people to see the people who can inspire them -- not athletes or rock stars (though my grandsons are also looking forward to a Twins game) -- but people like Tim Walz who believe that how we govern ourselves is important, and who have "a lot of good ideas going on in their heads." We need to actively train the next generation to pay attention, think for themselves, and get involved. Other than the "think for themselves" part, the religious right has been out pacing us badly on this one.
Now I'll put this addled brain to rest.

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paul miller (not verified) | June 25, 2007 - 12:24am

re: pyschic whiplash
Published in the May 27, 2002 issue of The Nation
Paul Wellstone, Fighter by John Nichols www.commondreams.org/views02/0510-04.htm

Paul Wellstone is a hunted man. Minnesota's senior senator is not just another Democrat on White House political czar Karl Rove's target list, in an election year when the Senate balance of power could be decided by the voters of a single state. Rather, getting rid of Wellstone is a passion for Rove, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the special-interest lobbies that fund the most sophisticated political operation ever assembled by a presidential administration. "There are people in the White House who wake up in the morning thinking about how they will defeat Paul Wellstone," a senior Republican aide confides. "This one is political and personal for them." ....
"This race is going to be a case study of whether you can maintain liberal, progressive positions and win in this country in 2002," says Wellstone

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | June 25, 2007 - 8:16am

Well, Paul, they succeeded in getting rid of Wellstone, didn't they? I'm purely amazed that Tim Johnson is still alive. Enough said.

Susan, SO glad you're back. We been missin' you, girl. I love the idea of educating our grands via taking them to meet the real deals. Problem for me is that my adult kids (flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone) are all conservatives, and they blanch at the very mention of Things Democratic. We are the poster family for assault on reason. My parents were the same way. Looks like the family curse skipped my generation.

MLS, I totally agree with the rabbit hole thing. Don't you feel sometimes as though we're in a tug of war with those down the hole, resisting being pulled in after them? I guess that's what the all-too-few bold journalists and national level bloggers are trying to do, i.e., help us find a way to stay safely on terra firma, where we can shine a spotlight on the bottom-dwellers.

All y'all, be sure to catch the WaPo series. I'll post a link above to the second installment.

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Anonymous (not verified) | June 25, 2007 - 8:41am

Looks like the family curse skipped my generation

But we know why.

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | June 25, 2007 - 9:35am

Had to work darn hard to untangle myself from my conservative roots. Born into a family with a long, deep history of them. To be fair, there was a time when that wasn't as great an indictment as it is now. And it puzzles me beyond the telling of it that there is still a 26% chunk o'folks who believe George and Dick's excellent adventure is The Right Thing To Do. Brrrr.

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perhansa (not verified) | June 25, 2007 - 9:44am

It skipped my generation (and Mrs. Perhansa's gen too). Our kids and families are all ultra-conservative/born agains. Maybe my ex was right (as she told our the kids after the divorce) their father is demon-possessed--bwahahaha. I spew green vomit, can spin my head 360 degrees, and poke pins in voodoo dolls too (better watch out if I get po'd).

We know why it skipped a generation don't we--the gods cursed us because we sold our souls to the devil and other invisible eveil spirits manipulating affairs on this oh-so-strategic tiny planet floating around an ordinary star in a galaxy of billions of stars in a universe of billions of galaxies and mostly empty space. And humans are made in the image of that god--think Paris Hilton and Jessica SImpson and Jerry Falwell and George Bush and Dick Cheney. And the battel going on here is a battle of heavenly proportions...ya right.

If that's not evidence of severe underachievment I don't know what is...

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