Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Oath

New Oath Source

I'm still recovering from a terrible cold I caught while up in Seattle last week but I wanted to catch you up on one of the many important (and outrageous) stories oozing out of Washington D.C. this past week:

Cheney and the Battle of Information
House Dems Threaten to Cut Funding as Cheney Continues to Insist His Office is Beyond the Rules of the Executive Branch
By Holly Lang
Posted: 06/26/2007

Vice President Dick Cheney claims his office is part of the legislative branch, not the executive branch, placing him beyond the reach of certain rules requiring him to hand over classified information or to have his office periodically inspected by the National Archives. He is currently in a bit of a stalemate with the National Archives as he has refused to cooperate with that office in connection to classified data. They claim he is in violation of the rules on safeguarding classified information for the executive branch set forth by Bush himself. Cheney claims he isn't violating anything, as he doesn't have to follow those rules.

Constitutionally, he might be right. The only specified role for the vice presidency is to act as president of the Senate. But the man attends White House meetings, has an office there, shares some executive level staff and has a role in White House affairs. But house dems and a whole bunch of other folks feel he is acting irresponsibly by avoiding his responsibilities. The debate is kicking strong and even constitutional experts are split. Representatives for Bush announced via email Sunday their support for Cheney, stating that the president's office agreed Cheney's was not bound to the National Archives' rules, ones that Cheney did once follow, having offered the requested information in both 2001 and 2002 and simply just stopping in 2003.

Recently on MSNBC's shot "Hardball," Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) claimed that if Vice President Cheney wanted to act unaccountable to anyone and that his office was not part of the executive branch, then certain funds allocated by the Senate to Cheney's office should be denied, as it is available only to the executive branch.

"I said if that's your logic, then we should not be funding you through the executive branch. And either Wednesday or Thursday, my amendment will be on the floor because the funding for the executive branch is on the floor. And I'll strike the money for the Vice President's office," Emanuel told "Hardball" host Chris Matthews.

House Democrats -- including Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- back Emanual, who has now drafted a bill to stop spending for Cheney's office. Many news outlets, both mainstream and not, also support the bill, including one political blogger who wrote, "Is this not one of those extraordinary moments when the people's representatives will actually vote on whether to fund the horrific farce that is this administration?"
More Background.

More Background

More, hilariously presented background

Dick Cheney Source
Jon Carroll - San Francisco Chronicle

The phrase that will always be associated with Vice President Dick Cheney is "undisclosed location." Whenever there is a crisis in government, that's where Cheney is. Whenever anyone in Congress needs Cheney to answer questions, he is out at Rancho Undisclosed. Apparently, the undisclosed location is often just his official residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory, but he reflexively does not want that fact revealed.

He doesn't want any facts revealed. He wants to avoid at all costs the notion that he is working for the American people and is thus accountable to them in any way. At a time when governmental transparency is all the rage, he seeks governmental opacity. He's trying for the perks of dictatorship without the requisite infrastructure -- and, most of the time, he's getting those perks. He rules with an iron fist in an iron glove.

His mania for secrecy is unsurpassed. In 2001, he headed a task force to develop energy policy for the then-new Bush administration. The Government Accountability Office sought to know the names of the members of the task force. The vice president said no. His office has refused to comply with ethics laws requiring disclosure of travel paid for by special interests. In 2004, he refused to provide Congress with the names of the people who worked for him. He refused to provide a list of visitors to his official residence.

And now, he has unilaterally exempted his office from rules regarding the safeguarding of classified documents. His justification is that the vice president's office is not an "entity within the executive branch." His reasoning: Because the vice president presides over the Senate when he wants to and breaks ties when he has to, he is really a member of legislative branch -- not that he follows the rules of that branch either. In essence, he is now the fourth branch of government.

Soon, civics classes will be taught a revised version of our precious system of checks and balances. There's the administrative, the legislative, the judicial and the cheney. The exact function and duties of the cheney are unknown. The cheney does not report to the president because that would be a violation of the separation of powers. The cheney just does what it does because it is what it is.

And you'd best not ask questions. When the Information Security Oversight Committee of the National Archives made the initial request for information, the cheney tried to have the committee abolished. The cheney sounds more like a department at Hogwarts than an agency of government. Inside the cheney, all is darkness.

In a related story:

Bush Won't Supply Subpoenaed Documents


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