On Friday, the White House (of course) defended Cheney who raised more than a few eyebrows earlier in the week when it came to light that he thought the watchdog office pushing for access to his office's documents should be abolished.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Cheney is not obligated to submit to oversight by an office that safeguards classified information, as other members and parts of the executive branch are. Cheney's office has contended that it does not have to comply because the vice president serves as president of the Senate, which means that his office is not an "entity within the executive branch."
"This is a little bit of a nonissue," Perino said at a briefing dominated by the issue. Cheney is not subject to the executive order, she said, "because the president gets to decide whether or not he should be treated separately, and he's decided that he should."
In response, (useless DLCer) Rahm Emmanuel has issued this threat:
The argument that Cheney's office is not part of the executive branch prompted ridicule by many administration critics. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that has been highly critical of the White House, suggested that Cheney is "attempting to create a fourth branch of the government." If he is not governed by executive branch security requirements, the group asked if he is covered by Senate rules.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said he plans to propose next week, as part of a spending bill for executive operations, a measure to place a hold on funds for Cheney's office and official home until he clarifies to which branch of the government he belongs. Emanuel acknowledged that the proposal is just a stunt, but he said that if Cheney is not part of the executive branch, he should not receive its funds. "As we say in Chicago, follow the money," he said.
I think it should be more than just a "stunt".
And as if that WH arrogance wasn't enough to make you bang your head against the wall, check this out:
WASHINGTON — The White House said Friday that, like Vice President Dick Cheney's office, President Bush's office is not allowing an independent federal watchdog to oversee its handling of classified national security information.
An executive order that Bush issued in March 2003 — amending an existing order — requires all government agencies that are part of the executive branch to submit to oversight. Although it doesn't specifically say so, Bush's order was not meant to apply to the vice president's office or the president's office, a White House spokesman said.
"Our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their government," the executive order said.
Yes, "government" - not the royals in the WH.
Spin, spin, spin...watch them spin.
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.
And this guy tries to dispute the WH's interpretation, but he's a scientist. Everybody knows the WH loathes science and prefers faith-based "reality":
Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' government secrecy project, disputed the White House explanation of the executive order.
He noted that the order defines "agency" as any executive agency, military department and "any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information" — which, he said, includes Bush's and Cheney's offices.
Oh stop being so bloody logical, will you?
Now I know that on some fronts I am simply suffering from outrage fatigue. Thus the maniacal laughter that emanated from my mouth when I read that Bush declared his office was exempt too. Every time you wonder "what's next?" with these guys, you're guaranteed to find yet another part of the constitution that they've taken their black marker to while adding their own penciled-in-blood revisions in the margin.
The unitary executive is no longer a "theory", it's reality. "This theory has no support in American history or the Constitution, and is a formula for autocracy," an editorial in the International Herald Tribune states. Anyone who still believes that the US is a democratically-functioning country is just fooling themselves. It stopped being that the moment Bush was selected by the Supremes.
Democracy in the US is just as "quaint" an idea as the Geneva Conventions, according to this administration. And, let's face it, since Nancy Pelosi took impeachment "off the table", all the Dems can do is write angry letters (that Bush and Cheney will continue to ignore) while pulling political "stunts", as Emmanuel plans to. Their country is going down the toilet at the hands of men who believe they are untouchable and the Democrats don't even have the will to fight to save it. Maybe outrage fatigue has gotten to them too - but - that's no excuse for enabling Bush and Cheney to get away with the worst administrative power grabs in American history, which the Dems were supposedly elected the last time around to end.
Congress sits at 14% approval while Bush (somehow) still hangs onto 26% (whoever those braindead people are). In almost any other country, that would be a recipe for a revolution. In America, it means "wait til '08, then we'll show 'em who's boss!". Yeah. How did that work out in 2006? And how much more damage will be done between now and then? I really don't think a lot of people care anymore. It's just "politics", after all. It's not like it all affects their lives or anything.
I think insanity is more than hereditary. It's contagious. And it's spreading outward quickly from its source: Washington, D.C.
At some point, we all become Alfred E Neuman. What else can we do?