Democrats & Liberals Archives

Darth Cheney to Archive agency: Get the #*&$# outta here!

Darth Cheney, the shotgun-tottin’, f-bomb throwin’, DWI offender said that those pesky people at the National Archives and Records office should stop bothering him for his classified records or else.

Cheney, since 2003, has refused to comply with an executive order governing the handling of classified information. (link)

Since 2003, the vice president's staff has not cooperated with an office at the National Archives and Records Administration responsible for making sure the executive branch protects classified information. Cheney aides have not filed reports on their possession of classified data and at one point blocked an inspection of their office.

Since the office didn't stop asking, Darth Cheney wanted to shut down the office.

Then he declared that he shouldn't be held to the executive order because his office was not actually an executive agency. i laughed out loud over that one. Evidently since he sometimes sits in as President of the Senate he feels that he's exempt.

There was also a physical confrontation when agency members, in an effort to watch Cheney's office handle classified documents, were physically confronted and refused entry.

It's a funny thing, when men with power go crazy. i'm reminded of many film characters that went crazy with power: General Emilio M. Vargas in Woody Allen's "Bananas" who, after overthrowing a small Latin American government decrees that the national language is now French and every citizen should wear their underwear over their pants. Or General Garcia in the movie the "In laws" that has an affinity for paying thousands of dollars for black-velvet paintings. And now we have our own certifiable nut.

Although Cheney is second fiddle in the Bush, hillbilly orchestra, his power is significant. In most ways, he's much more powerful than Bush, as he has no real ties to the voting public. He let's George do all that happy public relation stuff, while he does the dirty deeds behind the scenes.

But Darth Cheney lives on; living by his own laws, his own ethics and shooting anyone that gets in front of him.

Posted by john trevisani at June 22, 2007 4:50 PM
Comments
Comment #223795

I’m not defending Cheney’s position regarding archives (which I’m not up to speed on) but as a Consitutional question, I’m pretty sure that the Vice President is NOT part of the Executive branch.

As history buffs might know, through much of our history, the Vice President was the individual who got the second most votes in the presidential election and was often very much at odds with the President. If we still did things that way, Al Gore would be Bush’s VP instead of Cheney. I’d pay to see that!

Here are other reasons:

The Vice President and his staff get their salaries from the Senate, not the Executive Branch. The VP’s only official duty is to serve as President of the Senate, and until Mondale, VP’s never used to even have an office in the White House.

Unlike every Executive branch official, the VP CANNOT be fired by the President and is a nationally elected official in his own right. That is, unless a VP dies or leaves office, in which case the 25th Amendment calls for the President to appoint a replacement.

Also, the VP cannot claim Executive Privilege unless it’s in connection with carrying out duties given to him by the President (which in practice, since VPs and Presidents began working together, includes most of what he does).

Like I said, I’m not trying to defend Cheney personally here, but I do think the question of the VP’s status is an interesting one from a historical and constitutional point of view.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 22, 2007 6:21 PM
Comment #223796

LO:

From (http://www.usa.gov/)
Federal Executive Branch

Official information and services from the U.S. government.
Executive Office of the President
* The President
* The Vice President
* The White House Home Page
* Offices within the Executive Office of the President
* The President’s Cabinet

Executive Departments
* Department of Agriculture (USDA)
* Department of Commerce (DOC)
* Department of Defense (DOD)
* Department of Education (ED)
* Department of Energy (DOE)
* Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
* Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
* Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
* Department of Justice (DOJ)
* Department of Labor (DOL)
* Department of State (DOS)
* Department of the Interior (DOI)
* Department of the Treasury
* Department of Transportation (DOT)
* Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The VP is a member of the President’s cabinet as well.

Posted by: john trevisani at June 22, 2007 6:32 PM
Comment #223799

Yet executive privilege has been invoked to resist Congressional requests for information from Cheney. Talk about having your cake and eating it, too.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 22, 2007 6:44 PM
Comment #223801

The constitution lists the vice president as a part of the executive branch:

Article. II. - The Executive Branch Note

Section 1 - The President Note1 Note2

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 22, 2007 7:01 PM
Comment #223808

lol, this is a big reason why I voted Bush….Dick Cheney. He pisses off libs…enough said. What more do you want? A crotchety old repub. who loves his gay daughter is a perfect recipe for predictable liberal blind rage.

Posted by: andy at June 22, 2007 8:27 PM
Comment #223809

This is indeed quite a sad state of pathetic affairs John. However I did get a chuckle out of your presentation. This is all nothing new. That is nothing new with respect to the idea that these people have managed to bend and twist every law and rule possible to support their demented republican agenda. It is my opinion that Darth is and always has been the real power in this strange executive marriage. Bush was bought into power by the wealthy of this nation. They needed a puppet that they could easily manipulate to meet their needs. That would require someone not quite intelligent enough to think and plan on his own. Hence we have George. Cheney, unelectable as president, and a right wing extremist, is the brains placed in the office to insure that George does not get out of hand and meets the agenda of the controlling interests needs. That is to advance and continue the corruptive agenda of the lockstep republican party at all costs. The wealthy have made great gains under this administration and I can not imagine that they plan to give up any of those gains anytime soon.

Posted by: ILdem at June 22, 2007 8:49 PM
Comment #223811

Actually, john trevisani understates the crisis at hand.

America has a defacto Dictatorship government. Under the Attorney General’s and White House’s Unitary Executive interpretation of the powers of the President in a time of war, the White House can, and is, doing whatever they please declaring that neither the courts nor the Congress have any ability to constrain the President in a time of war.

This has incredible and immensely wide reaching implications like continued spying on Americans, continue suspension of habeas corpus for unindicted prisoners. But one of the most serious is the White House’s perceived authority to launch attacks against Iran without Congressional approval or, Court injunction which the Attorney General would disavow under the Unitary Executive Authority theory of the Constitution.

We are living under a de facto dictatorship, since no subpoena’s or court injunctions directed toward Pres. Bush or Dick Cheney are valid if Att. General Gonzalez says they aren’t, under the Unitary Executive interpretation. And Gonzalez has said repeatedly they are not valid.

Nothing can stop this President or V.P. from anything they choose to do short of a violent revolution by the American people. The White House has, in its own mind and in procedural terms, nullified the other 2 branches of government with regard to White House decisions and actions.

Our founding father’s worst fears have been realized.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 22, 2007 8:55 PM
Comment #223818

David

Our founding father’s worst fears have been realized.

I hope you are wrong David. But I fear you are not far off base at all. These people are either total idiots or they have a hidden agenda that is beyond normal comprehension. I think this must be what happens when the people are not paying attention to detail. Could it be that apathy and unquestioned trust have allowed a political monster to emerge?

Posted by: ILdem at June 22, 2007 9:29 PM
Comment #223819

John, a webpage is not the best or even a very good way of judging the question. Especially one that lists as part of the executive branch after the President and the Vice President the “White House Home Page” Huh? Who elected that home page, I wonder? Our founding father’s worst fears have been realized!

The Constitution of the United States is a far more important source, and I believe that the quote which womanmarine posted actually says the opposite of what she says it does.

“The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows…”

Reading comprehension time. That says that the executive power is vested in the President. One single person, nobody else. The President is elected at the SAME TIME as the Vice President and for the same lenth of time, but the Vice President does not actually share his power. In fact, the Constitution explicity separates the two roles with only one having executive power.

When you consider the long history of the Vice Presidency in which the president’s main opponent in the general election held the VP office, it’s obvious that they are not one and the same.

In fact, the idea of the VP working FOR the President instead of actively AGAINST him is a newer development, and not one defined in the Constitution.

More importantly, you can’t just brush under the rug the fact that unlike all the members of the administration, the VP cannot be fired by the President, is not legally answerable to the President under the Constitution, and recieves his salary from the US Senate.

Actually, I think it would be an excellent idea to go back to this earlier system where the person who comes in second in the presidential election becomes the Vice President. The VP would then be a kind of shsdow President waiting in the wings the way the UK has a shadow Prime Minister and an entire shadow cabinet. Perhaps our VP could do something like that and put together an entire shadow administration. If nothing else, it would give the opposition a high profile means of contrasting their positions with that of the administration.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 22, 2007 9:43 PM
Comment #223820

ILdem, voter apathy and trust played an important role. But, so did political natural selection and the evolution of power in our government. Since, the Jimmy Carter years, there have been the brightest minds money can buy put to the task of how to obtain and secure power by vested interests with that goal.

It was only a matter of time before they devised a workable plan that could and would achieve those goals, which began with the 1992 election and the Contract with America, where the rhetoric to get elected was just a ploy and tool to arrive at 2004 where total control by one party, and 2006 where total control by one President of that party, could be achieved.

The Unitary Executive interpretation was necessary to nullify the 2006 election which gave power of Congress over to the other side, preserving total control for the Republican White House. In a nutshell, this is how America came to being run by a dictatorship with an impotent Congress and Judiciary.

The lynch pin of course to this authoritarian power is the Attorney General as Presidential appointee loyal not to the Constitution or rule of law, but, the President himself.

Understanding this explains why the Congress is so intent on going after Alberto Gonzalez, by Republican and Democratic congress persons. Republican Congress persons realize now how they too have been nullified by the White House, which is why Arlen Spectre, and a growing number of others are joining Democrats in going after the Attorney General’s dismissal.

They are acutely aware of the consequences of a Republican President acting as authoritarian dictator in direct contradiction to the will of the people, the Congress, and the Judiciary. It is a reputation Republicans will wear for decades to come if they can’t stop this nullification before Bush does something catastrophic like bombing Iran.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 22, 2007 9:53 PM
Comment #223822

Loyal Opp, let reading comprehension continue by understanding the meaning of Executive, which is to execute the laws of Congress and the interpretations of the Supreme Court of the U.S. Constitution. To execute, not disregard, not rewrite with signing statements, not sidestep the subpeona power of the Congress. To Execute, hence the word Executive.

Get it?

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 22, 2007 9:57 PM
Comment #223828

David, you’re talking about whether or not (according to you) the powers of these offices are being misused. I’m talking about what those powers actually are, so you’re pretty much just galloping past the scene on a different hobby-horse.

But to engage what you’re saying anyway: I think you’re fundamentally misreading the roles of the three separate and coequal branches of government and the idea of checks and balances.

Checks and balances do not run in only one direction—against the Executive Branch. The Executive Branch is not supposed to submit to every single dictate, intrusion, or grab for power from the other branches. Or submit to ANY dictate, intrusion, or grab for power for that matter unless a process that is very clearly outlined in the Consitution is followed to the letter. This isn’t just true for Republican presidents. It’s true for all past and future Democratic or third-party ones as well.

Your position becomes even weaker when you look at how many of the things you attribute to the Bush “dictatorship” are measures which were passed by Congress and/or survived challenges in the Supreme Court.

Just as a test, I’d like to hear you name even a single policy or action taken by the Bush Administration—even one itty-bitty thing—that they persisted in doing after it was forbidden by both a law passed by Congress and a failed challenge to that law in the Supreme Court.

I’ll save you time. There are no such examples.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 22, 2007 10:29 PM
Comment #223831

What’s Cheney hiding that he is guarding so carefully? It’s probably another potential scandal if people ever found out.

Posted by: political forum at June 22, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #223834
A crotchety old repub. who loves his gay daughter is a perfect recipe for predictable liberal blind rage.

If he wants to get brownie points for loving his gay daughter he has to stand up to the bigots in his party. Otherwise he is just a latter-day Strom Thurmond (who had a black daughter).

As for the secrecy and contempt for the rule of law, I don’t “crotchety” is quite the word. How about “Nixonian”?

Posted by: Woody Mena at June 22, 2007 11:15 PM
Comment #223836

Woody, as a Republican on most but by no means all issues, I can admit with both sadness and shame that there are really are bigots in the Republican party.

But how the party of Lincoln has come to be known as the party of “bigotry” and how the party of George Wallace (far more recently a Democrat than Lincoln was a Republican) has come to be known as a party of “tolerance” is a mystery.

Quick. When it comes to gays, which segment of the American population is the most uniformly and vocally intolerant of homosexuals?

The answer: African-Americans.

Somehow, I just can’t recall how white liberal Democrats when they run for office and get invited to speak before African-American audiences “stand up to the bigots in their party.”

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 22, 2007 11:32 PM
Comment #223837

Am I the only one who learned in school that the Vice President is part of the Executive Branch? Do they still teach it that way?

And why did he follow the dictate for a while, then change his mind? Does anybody believe that this doesn’t indicate something to hide? Or at least the appearance of it?

And frankly, so what if he is President of the Senate? What does that have to do with anything except to be a tie-breaker on votes?

And I don’t believe the vice president is “a nationally elected official in his own right”, it is voted on as a package deal, chosen by the President. Just because we know who it is beforehand, it isn’t a separate vote.

The Senate is presided over by the vice president of the United States, who has no part in its deliberations and may vote only in case of a tie; in his absence his duties are assumed by a president pro tempore, elected by the Senate.

I would think then, that his major duties as Vice President are Executive, not congressional.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 23, 2007 12:01 AM
Comment #223842

Womanmarine, there are a lot of things they don’t teach us in school about the Vice Presidency. It seems to be pretty arcane knowledge.

This discussion has motivated me to research it a little, and another thing I had no idea about besides the fact that it is definitely not an official part of the Executive Branch, is that the Constitution forbids that the President and the Vice President come from the same state. Who knew? There goes the dream of Thomspon-Gore or Clinton-Guliani.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 23, 2007 12:38 AM
Comment #223843

Loyal Opposition,

You present an interesting argument for the idea that Darth is not in the Executive. But then you wrote:

Also, the VP cannot claim Executive Privilege unless it’s in connection with carrying out duties given to him by the President (which in practice, since VPs and Presidents began working together, includes most of what he does).
Since Darth clearly carries out duties assigned to him by “The Failure” he is part of the Executive. Further Darth has already claimed Executive privilege. He can’t have it both ways. Well, he shouldn’t be able to have it both ways, but he does.

But the bigger issues here are the ones that David raises. Darth and the Emperor are claiming dictatorial powers. Will they get away with it? The Republicans in Congress continue cover their back. They have packed the Supreme Court and corrupted the Dept. of Justice and thanks to the corporate media, the American people are passively accepting it.

Posted by: Ray Guest at June 23, 2007 12:46 AM
Comment #223844

Darth Cheney? Oh, come on John! You know he’s easily as warm and cuddly as Yoda!!!!!

JD

Posted by: JD at June 23, 2007 12:47 AM
Comment #223849
As history buffs might know, through much of our history, the Vice President was the individual who got the second most votes in the presidential election and was often very much at odds with the President.

Actually, history buffs know that this was changed in the Twelfth Amendment in 1804. So only 2 of the 54 Presidential elections in our nation’s history used that method.

Does this mean you don’t know the meaning of the word “much” or don’t know the meaning of the phrase “history buff?”

When you consider the long history of the Vice Presidency in which the president’s main opponent in the general election held the VP office

I guess “long history” is also foreign to you, too.

not one defined in the Constitution.

Yes, it is, because Amendments are by definition part of the constitution.

Just as a test, I’d like to hear you name even a single policy or action taken by the Bush Administration—even one itty-bitty thing—that they persisted in doing after it was forbidden by both a law passed by Congress and a failed challenge to that law in the Supreme Court.

Wow. So your standard for abiding the law is not that one has to follow a law on the books, but that one has to not have been found guilty by a ruling of the Supreme Court.

I guess I can steal your wallet, then, because that wouldn’t ever make it to SCOTUS. Wouldn’t it be easier just to expect the constitutional enforcers to follow the law as written?

the Constitution forbids that the President and the Vice President come from the same state. Who knew?

Well, I did. I’m sure a lot of people here did. Actually, your reading comprehension shows a weakness; the Constitution forbids an elector from casting ballots for both offices for candidates from the same state. That does not necessarily mean that the individuals elected would be from separate states. (In practice, of course, the effect is the same).

This requirement was the reason that Cheney officially changed his residency from Texas to Wyoming in the months right before the 2000 election. Nothing cynical about that move, right?

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 23, 2007 1:27 AM
Comment #223851

Ray, since Bush (and Cheney) have only very recently been pitted against a hostile Congressional majority with subpoena power, they’ve rarely asserted executive privilege at all. Definitely not in comparison, to say, the Clinton or Reagan administrations, which claimed executive privilege constantly in the face of attacks from their opponents.

I’ve researched it and the only instance I’ve been able to discover of Cheney invoking Executive Privilege related to the President’s Energy Task Force. In that case, various groups wanted records of Cheney’s meetings released. The case went to the Supreme Court, who sent it back to district court, and the case was eventually dismissed.

Interestingly enough, Cheney’s foes THEMSELVES claimed what Cheney is claiming now. That the Vice President isn’t strictly included as part of the executive branch according to the Constitution.

It turns out that an important precedent here is the attempt to delve into Hillary Clinton’s health care initiative in the early days of her husband’s administration. She was not elected to anything at all, but she claimed executive privilege because she was acting on behest of the president. The courts agreed with her.

As for Cheney claiming Executive Privilege while not being an official part of the administration, it’s not a matter of having it both ways—it’s a matter of adhering to the law. The courts established in Hillary’s case that you don’t have to be part of the executive branch in order to claim executive privilege, so long as you are working on behest of the President.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 23, 2007 1:29 AM
Comment #223852

Oops. I worked off faulty memory. Here’s the relevant phrase from the 12th Amendment:

“The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves”

It’s not that the President and Vice-President must be from different states (like you said) or that an arbitrary elector cannot vote for candidates from the same state (like I said). It’s that all electors have to vote for at least one of the two from a state other than his own.

If not for Cheney’s convenient move from Texas to Wyoming, then the Texas electors would have been forbidden from voting for the Republican ticket in 2000. Since the election was so close, that would have had the effect of costing Bush/Cheney the majority of the electoral votes.

However, this does mean that the two could be from the same state if enough other states voted for them to make up for the loss of the electors from their home state.

Constitutionally, the President and VP can be from the same state, but in practice no sane party would risk the loss of a state’s electors by nominating such a pair.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 23, 2007 1:35 AM
Comment #223857

Lawnboy, out of fairness I’ll just ignore your (false) belief that there were only two presidential elections before 1804—that’s because I probably shouldn’t have said “much of our history” to describe the time period in which this occurred. Like you, I was just working off of memory (or maybe not like you, since I wasn’t reading Wikepedia). None of this has anything to do, however, with the key question here of the Vice President’s status as a member of the Executive Branch, which he pretty clearly is NOT.

Wow. So your standard for abiding the law is not that one has to follow a law on the books, but that one has to not have been found guilty by a ruling of the Supreme Court.

That’s right. You’re catching on. When it comes to checks and balances between the branches of government, when the “the laws on the books” are challenged by the Executive Branch, they’re measures taken by only one branch of government until they are reviewed and confirmed by the Supreme Court. If Congress and the Supreme Court agree, then I agree that the Executive Branch must follow suit.

But like I said before, many of the “laws” that Bush is supposedly not following are merely political opinions by his detractors that have not only been contradicted in bills PASSED BY CONGRESS but CONFIRMED BY THE SUPREME COURT (such as virtually everything in the villified Patriot Act).

This works both ways. If Bush ordered tomorrow that Congress should be abolished and dissolved, his edict has exactly as much weight as any law passed by Congress that interferes with his executive authority. And then it would be the role of Supreme Court, the third branch of government, to step in an overrule him. But to be consistent, I guess you’d have to say that Congress continuing to meet after such a presidential edict would be like stealing my wallet. That is, if the view of only one branch of government is for you enough to be considered inviolable law.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 23, 2007 2:25 AM
Comment #223865

Dick Cheney is the very personification of evil. His actions are merely a reflection of his character. The same can be and has been said (by me anyway) for the entire Bush Administration—corrupt from the top down.

The only issue remaining regarding this administration is whether or not voting Americans have learned anything. Will the likes of a George W. Bush or Dick Cheney ever darken the halls of the White House again? Let’s pray not!

Posted by: Kim-Sue at June 23, 2007 4:09 AM
Comment #223869

LO:
Even Darth Cheney doesn’t agree with your interpretation of the VP’s role. Cheney and his legal team are arguing that BECAUSE the VP is a hybrid between the Executive and Legislative branch, he shouldn’t be subject to the Executive order.

Basically his defense is saying that since Cheney is ALSO the President of the Senate, he may be acting in that role at any time. And since he may be acting in legislative role, he would be exempt from the executive order relating to the executive branch.

Cheney doesn’t insist that, as the Vice President, who is also a member of the President’s cabinet (which is required by the executive order to adhere to the order)isn’t a part of the Executive Branch. Geeze…

Is that clear enough for you?

Posted by: john trevisani at June 23, 2007 6:54 AM
Comment #223870

LO:
Wasn’t it Darth Cheney himself who claimed Executive Privilege with regards to releasing the records of his “Energy Task Force”?

(link)

Cheney argues that the executive branch needs to defends its right to confidentiality against “continual encroachment by Congress.”

Posted by: john trevisani at June 23, 2007 7:03 AM
Comment #223873

He was encroaching on himself!

Is that the kind of thing that was legalized by Lawrence vs. Texas? :>

Posted by: Woody Mena at June 23, 2007 8:19 AM
Comment #223875
Lawnboy, out of fairness I’ll just ignore your (false) belief that there were only two presidential elections before 1804

Yep. Out of lateness of night, I miscounted 3 as 2.

In all other regards, your claims are bizarre, self-serving, and laughable.

If Congress and the Supreme Court agree, then I agree that the Executive Branch must follow suit.

Or, they could just follow the laws on the book in the first place, saving time, money, and the conception that the United States is a nation under the rule of law.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 23, 2007 8:42 AM
Comment #223881
Yep. Out of lateness of night, I miscounted 3 as 2.

This point has long grown tedious since it’s so irrelevent to the question, but I don’t know why you’re having such trouble counting to four. There were four Presidential elections before 1804. The winners were Washington-Washington-Adams-Jefferson. The fifth presidential election, won by Jefferson, took place in 1804.

As for the rest of it, I see no point in beating my head ahead against this brick wall any longer and trying to explain how the executive branch has a role in a system of checks and balances, that a congressional committee run by Henry Waxman does not issue “laws,” and that the Bush administration is not breaking “laws” when it conducts completely legal actions that are not to the taste, however, of hard left commentators.

I get very tired of hearing, for example, about all the laws that are “broken” by the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act, as Congress, the President and the Supreme Court all agree, IS the law. Or how laws were broken in firing attornerys (the president’s right) or that laws are broken by issuing signing statements (which presidents can also do). These are typical example of how Bush is said to be “breaking laws.” Actual instances of law breaking, though?

What’s really being said is that left-wing extremists think that their opionions are the law and everything else is “illegal.”

So I’m done with this debate—there’s no point. Now back to the regular left wing programming. Today’s question: Is Dick Cheney merely evil, or is he actually the devil? Discuss.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 23, 2007 10:42 AM
Comment #223882

Putting aside all lengthy discussions regarding whether the vice president is part of the executive branch or not and there are many good points here for both sides of the argument, to me the issue is if he doesn’t have anything to hide then why hide it and has he done anything in the past to assure me that he is a moral, upstanding, honest man-for me the answer is NO so therefore his game playing is an attempt to hide something. I could care less whether he is a part of the executive branch or not I just want to know what he is hiding and I feel the American people deserve to know.

Posted by: Carolina at June 23, 2007 10:50 AM
Comment #223883

Ok, LO, I completely messed up on the count of the early elections (I thought Washington’s first election was 1792, not 1788).

Oops.

Anyway, your attempt to defend the indefensible rhetoric of the Administration just got harder, and you can thank the White House.

Today the LA Times reveals that the President has also exempted himself:

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.

So, for all the hoops you’ve jumped through trying to claim that the VP isn’t part of the Executive branch, now you have to somehow claim that the President isn’t, either.

Let the contortions begin!

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 23, 2007 11:19 AM
Comment #223886

Loyal Opposition,

You wrote:

Today’s question: Is Dick Cheney merely evil, or is he actually the devil? Discuss.

Come on, you know that I am a Godless liberal. How could I believe in the Devil or evil? Didn’t you watch Star Wars? Darth is just a misguided sociopathic megalomaniac. Someday when the fagophobic Emperor tries to torture and kill his gay daughter he will return to the light side, kill the Emperor and save us all. He is our only hope.

Posted by: Ray Guest at June 23, 2007 11:47 AM
Comment #223897

Carolina, well said. You and me both.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 23, 2007 1:52 PM
Comment #223898

Loyal Opposition your comment’s ignorance of the facts in saying there are no examples of Bush continuing practices after rulings is so easily exposed. Here is a link, though I am sure you nothing would dissuade your adamant endorsement of all things Bush. But to alert others not to be intimidated by your oh so sincere misrepresentations, it was worth the 15 seconds on Google to the find a link.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 23, 2007 2:02 PM
Comment #223901

David, it is truly staggering how you do that in thread after thread and post after post. You make a point and then offer as evidence something that totally contradicts your argument.

The story you link to DOES not say that Bush “continued in any practice” at all. What is says is that after the Supreme Court shot down Bush’s military tribunal plan, Bush submitted a new measure to Congress.

Oh, the humanity! The President of the United States obeyed the Supreme Court and asked Congress to change the law!

1). These tribunals never happened—thus Bush didn’t “persist” in anything.

2). When the Supreme Court said these tribunals would be illegal under current law, Bush did not hold the tribunals anyway. He refrained from doing so in adherance to the Court’s findings while asking Congress to pass a new law.

Also, I don’t like Bush at all—especially not since the immigration bill. I’m simply not blinded by partisan hatred to such a degree that I warp and twist every fact in sight in service of an extremist political agenda.

Instead of googling for 15 seconds and linking to wacky left-wing propaganda sites, a few hours spent reading the US Constitution might be worthwhile and lead to a higher level of discourse and understanding.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 23, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #223909

LO:
Did Cheney claim executive privilege about his energy task force? Did he or didn’t he?

Posted by: john trevisani at June 23, 2007 3:47 PM
Comment #223910

John, yes he did, and I went over that in some detail in an earlier post(June 23, 2007 01:29 AM).

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 23, 2007 4:06 PM
Comment #223911

Along with the rest of the people who comprise the current Executive Branch, Dick Cheney is utterly dishonest, and lawless, and has proven himself to be completely unfit to hold onto his position. He should be Impeached, along with George W. Bush and Alberto Gonazales, but the Democrats are too afraid to take a firm stand on this, even though most of them seem to realize that these Impeachments are all definitely in order, and would be the only correct thing to do for our nation.

LO:
“I don’t know why you’re having such trouble counting to four. There were four Presidential elections before 1804”

No, not really. Lawnboy was basically right when he corrected himself and said there were only three, because there was only one candidate, and no political parties, and there was no nomination process in place for the first election in our nations history.
In fact, our first election wasn’t really an election at all. It was presumed that Washington was going to be the first President, because the framers of the Constitution had managed to convince him to rethink his retirement in order to accept the position. So, Washington had zero opposition in the first election, and the individual states (those who had ratified the Constitution and who had managed to choose their electors) all simply cast their already agreed upon vote for Washington when they met. The electors in that election used their second votes to choose the vice president. However, this too had already been agreed upon well in advance: John Adams was to be the first vice president. Some of these electors ended up voting for some other people besides Adams during the proceedings, not because they opposed Adams, but just to keep him from matching Washington’s total number. Predictably, as it was pre-arranged, Adams came in second and became the first Vice President.

A couple more facts that some of you might not know, but may find interesting: In the first U.S. “election” only ten out of the original thirteen states actually voted. Rhode Island and North Carolina couldn’t participate because their state legislatures hadn’t yet gotten around to ratifying the Constitution, and New York didn’t get to vote either, because their state legislature was all in an uproar fighting over who their eight electors were going to be.
In the second presidential election which followed, Washington ran without any opposition once again, but in that election, but by that point there were opposing parties who were competing for the office of the Vice Presidency: John Adams ran as a Federalist, and George Clinton ran as Democratic-Republican. Adams held onto the position. It wasn’t until 1796 that we had a real horse race, and was also the the first instance of a split-ticket win (which was in no way coincidental, as this always-to-be-expected split-ticket situation later lead to the 12th Amendment) — with Adams becoming the Federalist President, and Thomas Jefferson becoming the Democratic-Republican Vice President.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 23, 2007 4:12 PM
Comment #223914

Thanks, Adrienne, for the defense. While your statements are true, and pointing out that there were really only 2 contested elections is accurate, I said 2 of 54. There’s no way to construe that correctly.

I just messed up. Thanks for the help, though. And thanks for the lessons about the first few elections.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 23, 2007 4:39 PM
Comment #223921

LO, glad you feel better. Your arguments are so shot full of holes most of the time, it seemed only fair to let you have a taste of debate victory once in awhile just to keep you interested. You have become one of my favored nemeses here, and wouldn’t want you taking the easy pickings somewhere else.

I stand corrected! Thank you. Look forward to the next round. : -)

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 23, 2007 7:00 PM
Comment #223927

Carolina

Well said. I think we all have a right to know. I can not see Cheney giving in as he seems to be lacking a consience and could care less what we think about him. Lies and deceptions are likely the words that will most clearly define this administration in the history books. And Cheney has certainly done more than his fair share to advance that descriptive.

Posted by: ILdem at June 23, 2007 9:13 PM
Comment #223931

Lawnboy:
“Thanks, Adrienne, for the defense. While your statements are true, and pointing out that there were really only 2 contested elections is accurate, I said 2 of 54. There’s no way to construe that correctly.”

Well Lawnboy, perhaps you didn’t realize just how right you actually were, but there is no way that Loyal O knew the first thing about what he was saying. Look at what he wrote:

“as a Consitutional question, I’m pretty sure that the Vice President is NOT part of the Executive branch.”

He’s dead wrong. The vice president IS part of the Executive Branch. Or, as John Trevisani said: “the VP is a hybrid between the Executive and Legislative branch.” This is true, and it was such a colossal big deal, that they immediately set out to ratify the Constitution after the first REAL election took place 1796. When we are talking about the vice president, it depends on WHICH things we are talking about, as to whether what he does falls under the auspices of the Executive Branch or the Legislative Branch. In this instance, it is the EXECUTIVE BRANCH, and there is absolutely no excuse for what he’s trying to pull. NONE.
Evil, lawless, assh*le, DICK-tator Cheney.

“As history buffs might know, through much of our history, the Vice President was the individual who got the second most votes in the presidential election and was often very much at odds with the President.”

This is just a totally wrong thing to state, period. I immediately realized he didn’t know the first thing of what he was talking about. The Twelfth Amendment was proposed in 1796 directly because of the fact that Adams won the presidency and Jefferson won the vice presidency showing that people from two different parties could end up sharing the power of the executive branch — and even if LO isn’t willing to admit this is a fact, the President AND the vice president ARE INDEED both members of the Executive Branch, it’s just that the vice president additionally plays a role in the Legislative Branch.
The election of 1800 exposed another major problem with Article II, namely that if each electoral college voter followed their party ticket, there could still be a tie between two candidates from that same ticket. It also showed that there could be a tie in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately though, it takes a hell of a lot of time to ratify even the most common sense amendments according to our Constitution, (a major flaw, in my opinion) thus, the 12th amendment wasn’t ratified until June of 1804, the summer before the election in November.

So anyway, it wasn’t much of our history during which the vice president got the second highest number of votes, it was only eight years. And during that time, everyone was extremely well aware of the problem with having the President and Vice President from different parties trying to share EXECUTIVE Office.

Time and time again with these righties, it’s a case where either they don’t know what they’re talking about, or they’re being intentionally dishonest, or both. It sickens me.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 23, 2007 9:57 PM
Comment #223936

Yes, Adrienne, I agree that LO is showing here a deep lack of understanding of both the Constitution and American history. Unfortunately, I messed up myself while trying to point it out.

Just because I can prove my opponent to be wrong doesn’t mean that I am right.

However, in this case, LO has bent over backwards to parse the Constitution to say what it doesn’t and has misstated multiple times some pretty fundamental facts of American history. All of this in an effort to excuse the Administration when it tries to redefine the VP as not part of the executive branch when the law is inconvenient for them (after all, LO thinks the President only has to follow the laws that the Supreme Court has been called upon explicitly to order him to follow).

And then, when it comes out that the White House doesn’t even count the President’s office as an entity in the Executive Branch, he stops. I guess springing back from such logical contortions hurts when you realize that not even such ridiculous spin and dissembling can cover for the cynicism of this Administration.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 23, 2007 10:38 PM
Comment #223940

Lawnboy,
Indeed. And as you noted, accordingly, LO seems to have now deserted this thread! S’funny! :^)

Posted by: Adrienne at June 23, 2007 10:59 PM
Comment #223944

As I stated in my very first post about this topic, my intention is not to “defend Cheney” or take his side in this turf war between him and Henry Waxman. For some reason, I keep getting pegged as a Bush/Cheney fan (which I’m not).

My interest was mostly in the history of the Vice Presidency and the Consitutional role of the office and some of the interesting trivia that goes along with it (though, obviously, a lot of other issues have come as well).

In such a discussion, I don’t think it’s a big deal at all that Lawnboy mixed up a couple facts—so what? It happens to everybody, and those were not crucial facts anyway. I did practically the same in overstating the length of time (“much of our history”) between Washington’s first administration and passage of the Twelfth Amendment. Again, so what? You mispeak, correct yourself, and move on. Minor errors from either Lawnboy or myself don’t suddenly invalidate our entire points of view.

Adrienne, I don’t believe that there is any contradiction at all in saying that the Vice President carries out executive functions while not being a part of the executive branch. This is a subtle point but an important one.

Note that I’m not denying that in practice the Vice Presidency is a hybrid of the executive and legislative branches. It’s no different from saying that a mule is not a horse even though it’s a hybird of a horse and a donkey.

I was careful to qualify my remarks by saying that “Constitutionally” speaking the VP is not part of the Executive branch. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t in practice. I say this entirely based on having read the parts of the Constitution which describe that office. And as the courts determined in the case of Hillary Clinton, you can carry out executive functions (to the extent that you can even legally claim executive privilege) while not being officially part of the executive branch at all.

I’d be more than happy to change my mind if somebody pointed out something (anything) in the US Constitution which showed otherwise. In fact, I’d welcome it.

But ranting and raving about everything you hate about Dick Cheney is not an argument based on the US Constitution, and nobody’s partisan opinions about specific individuals are the law of the land.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 23, 2007 11:30 PM
Comment #223955

LO, none of your arguments in this thread have been in any way, shape, or form, persuasive. Furthermore, you are doing your best to run away from the major point, which I will now repeat from my earlier post:
When we are talking about the vice president, it depends on WHICH things we are talking about, as to whether what he does falls under the auspices of the Executive Branch or the Legislative Branch. In this instance, it is the EXECUTIVE BRANCH, and there is absolutely no excuse for what he’s trying to pull. NONE.

Do you want to take that on? Or not?
Maybe you just prefer to keep on claiming that people are ranting and raving, whilst arrogantly swaggering and sounding completely full of it when it comes to knowledge about American history and the Constitution? It’s your choice.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 24, 2007 12:37 AM
Comment #223959

Not persuasive, Adrienne? Sorry to disappoint you.

I’m a vocal anti-Bush Republican who frequently and willingly expresses admiration for many Democrats, and you’re someone who I doubt would be willing (based on every post I’ve ever seen written by you) to even discuss today’s weather or baseball scores without turning it into a shrill diatribe about the evils of the Bush administration.

This is an academic question for me, and I’m open to hearing citations and evidence from the text of the United States Consitution or subsequent legal findings. That would be substance, but “There is absolutely no excuse from what he’s trying to pull. NONE,” and yada, yada, yada is just easily ignorable partisan noise and more of the same. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t engage with it. But I’d be willing to try if you want to offer something more reasoned and specific.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 24, 2007 2:52 AM
Comment #223960

“I’d be willing to try if you want to offer something more reasoned and specific.”

No, we can all see that you haven’t really been willing to try. In this thread you’ve thrown out a lot of arrogant comments, and nit-picked at Lawnboy without knowing much of what you were talking about yourself, spun everything to suit your personal opinions, and just now took a number of pot shots at me.

What you haven’t done at all is address the topic of this article:
Dick Cheney refusing since 2003 to file reports or comply with an EXECUTIVE order governing the handling of classified information to the National Archives and Records Office that is supposed to provide oversight on how the EXECUTIVE BRANCH deals with information.

Dick Cheney instructing his aides to physically block an inspection of his EXECUTIVE BRANCH offices, and when they still didn’t stop trying to do their job and kept asking questions, tried to shut down the office itself and make it disappear.

And now, declaring that he can’t be held to any such executive order because he doesn’t want to consider his office is actually an executive agency — A PREPOSTEROUS AND UTTERLY RIDICULOUS CLAIM.
Is this intentional dishonesty? Or is it simply that Dick Cheney doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about? Or is it a bit of both?

Since I can’t count on you to see any of my reasoning (seeing as I’m such a shrill ranter and raver in your view), I’ll just have to wait and see whether any of the above comments will be deemed properly specific enough to rate something in the neighborhood of a straight answer.

Somehow, I doubt it.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 24, 2007 4:13 AM
Comment #223964

Alas, it appears that even the white house doesn’t believe its own BS.

(link)

There were also no answers about why Cheney followed the rules in 2001 and 2002 but began stonewalling on documents in 2003 as the CIA leak case was breaking and weapons of mass destruction were not to be found in Iraq.

“I will check into it,” White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said. “I don’t know when - I don’t know why the change, and I’ll see if there was any different interpretation.”


But the dictator in chief has Cheney’s support:

“The President gets to decide whether or not he [Cheney] should be treated separately, and he’s decided that he should,” Perino said.

Cheney has often cited executive privilege stemming from his office in the Bush administration to reject requests from Congress.

And then the funniest one yet: Bush isn’t following his own executive order.

The White House said Friday that, like Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, President Bush’s office is exempt from a presidential order requiring government agencies that handle classified national security information to submit to oversight by an independent federal watchdog.
The executive order that Bush issued in March 2003 covers all government agencies that are part of the executive branch and, although it doesn’t specifically say so, was not meant to apply to the vice president’s office or the president’s office, a White House spokesman said. -Washington Post

You must appreciate the dictator’s tenacity. For a couple of years, Bush and co. adhere to the exec order. They allow the oversight agency access to see how, why and what they are classifying. Then Darth Cheney changes his battery in his pacemaker in 2003 and decides that he no longer is:
1: part of the executive branch
2: no longer going to allow access to the agency that he already let in

Now Bush decides, like the old character on SNL, the liar, that the office of the VP and the Pres were never intended to be under such oversight. “Yeah… that’s the ticket.”

Someone should tell Bush that he sounding like someone suffering from dementia.

Posted by: john trevisani at June 24, 2007 6:51 AM
Comment #223966
This is an academic question for me

For treating this as an academic question, you’re being conspicuously silent on the issue of how the White House now tries to exempt itself from a requirement for Executive Branch entities.

If you really think that the VP’s claims were based on an a solid, principled, Constitutional basis, then what is the solid, principled, Constitutional basis for the President to claim that a law referring to the Executive branch doesn’t apply to him?

I think at this point that you have to come to the conclusion that the Administration’s decision to ignore a law it didn’t like wasn’t based on principled, but was instead based on a complete disregard for the law and the legal process. All the fuss and bother about the VP not being in the Executive Branch was just an excuse to try to mollify the crowds, but the White House’s refusal to follow a law that applies to Executive Branch shows that there is no principle here.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 24, 2007 9:07 AM
Comment #223985

Three links on this topic from Raw Story:

For Cheney, office’s relocation out of executive is nothing new

In other words, Dick has been considering himself extraordinarily “special” for a long time…

Democrats plan to cut Cheney out of executive funding bill

Great idea, and hilarious graphic on that one!

Fox pundit: Cheney in ‘secured undisclosed bunker of his mind’

I concur.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 24, 2007 5:20 PM
Comment #223988

Four-part article on Cheney from the Washington Post.

First part: ‘A Different Understanding With the President’

Thinkprogress commented on the piece: Washington Post Profile Reveals Stealthy Cheney Spies On White House Staffers

Posted by: Adrienne at June 24, 2007 5:40 PM
Comment #224121

LO,

BTW, Cheney himself has said that your argument is bunk:

Dana Milbank reports today in the Washington Post:

Cheney has refused to comply with an order governing the care of classified documents; his office concluded that the order does not apply because he is not “an entity within the executive branch.”

That’s quite opposite the argument Cheney made in 2001, when he said that a congressional probe into the workings of his energy task force “would unconstitutionally interfere with the functioning of the executive branch.” Cheney has, in effect, declared himself to be neither fish nor fowl but an exotic, extraconstitutional beast who answers to no one.

Milbank is referring to an instance in 2001 when GAO chief David Walker sent a “demand letter” for information and documents related to Cheney’s energy task force meetings. In response, Cheney wrote a letter to Congress informing lawmakers “of certain actions undertaken by an agent of the Congress, Comptroller General David M. Walker, which exceed his lawful authority and which, if given effect, would unconstitutionally interfere with the functioning of the executive branch.”

Appearing on ABC’s Nightline on July 25, 2001, Cheney said, “This request that in fact we’re supposed to provide [Congress] with this information with respect to…those meetings in the Executive Branch between the Vice President and other individuals strikes me as inappropriate.”

So, Cheney himself said that, as Vice President, he is part of the Executive Branch.

Of course, this all just an academic question of reading comprehension and the Constitution. It has nothing to do with abuse of power and blatant violation of the law by someone who has no respect for America or its laws. Of course.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 26, 2007 10:58 AM
Comment #224140

Lawnboy-

The “not a part of the Executive Branch” argument came later in 2003 as part of his dust up with the GAO (he won that one FWIW). He complied with National Archives oversight in 2001 and 2002.

If you read some of the history of the Vice President’s role it really is an interesting question. Even more interesting is the “Office of Vice President” as opposed to just the VP himself. I’m waiting on the U of Chicago Law Blog to tackle some of the questions from their perspective. To me it looks like one of those “living Constitution” issues where the office has evolved away from the original framework and nobody really cared or challenged it. Until now.

Posted by: George in SC at June 26, 2007 3:05 PM
Comment #224144

George,

It may be an interesting question, but Cheney is trying to have his cake and eat it, too. In one case, he claims that he isn’t beholden to the Legislative Branch because he’s part of the Executive Branch. In another case, he claims that he isn’t beholden to the Executive Branch because he’s part of the Legislative Branch.

That’s not logically or legally feasible.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 26, 2007 3:38 PM
Comment #224174

LawnBoy-

I’m just saying you’ve got to put the time line to it. Whoever invented this argument (Addington probably) didn’t recommend it to Cheney until late 2002. He’s been pretty consistent since then whereas before (your article was from 2001) he acted as if he was a part of the Executive.

I think that is referred to in one of the articles above and cites his complying with National Archives reports in 2001 and 2002 but not in 2003 and beyond.

Posted by: George in SC at June 26, 2007 9:25 PM
Comment #224195

Lawnboy/George:
i have my own theory about Cheney’s inconsistencies:

When Cheney was interviewed in 2001 and said that he DIDN’T have to give over the records of his meetings for the energy task force BECAUSE HE WAS in the executive branch and NOW says that he isn’t in the executive branch; i believe this is what Cheney thought:

Cheney thought, like most vampires and dark creatures of the netherworld, that his ‘image’ would never save to disc or film; like not being able to see his image in a mirror. So when he said those things (and the many, many other things that he’s been quoted on film saying), he figured that when someone went back to the tape to replay the original interview, his image would be wiped from existence.

You can view his image in the Daily Show clip (here)

Posted by: john trevisani at June 27, 2007 7:35 AM
Comment #224234

“It may be an interesting question, but Cheney is trying to have his cake and eat it, too. In one case, he claims that he isn’t beholden to the Legislative Branch because he’s part of the Executive Branch. In another case, he claims that he isn’t beholden to the Executive Branch because he’s part of the Legislative Branch.

That’s not logically or legally feasible.”
Lawnboy


I seem to remember another recent Vice President that claimed he was beholden to “No Legal Authority” at all on several issues including fund raising. How quickly we seem to forget.

JD

Posted by: JD at June 27, 2007 9:00 PM
Comment #224253

Um…. if i’m not mistaken the entire executive branch gets their salary from the senate. Isn’t that who’s designated to distribute those funds?

Posted by: jrjr at June 28, 2007 12:39 AM
Comment #224273

JD,

Thanks for bringing up the “Clinton did it, too” defense. No discussion of the depravity of the current administration would be complete without that diversionary and meaningless tactic.

I think we can close the thread now.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 28, 2007 9:22 AM
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