Friday, June 22, 2007

The King can do no wrong. UPDATED

If John Locke were alive and still writing he would probably have been compelled to write a third treatise of government just to address the actions and behaviour of US Vice President, Dick Cheney. Alas, the man who challenged the Divine Right of Kings and the concepts of Sovereign Immunity and Divine Infallibility has been gone these past three hundred and three years and it appears even Henry Waxman is hard pressed to stare down the most powerful and out of control VP in US history.
House Democrats on Thursday denounced Vice President Dick Cheney's idea of abolishing a government office charged with safeguarding national security information _ and criticized him for refusing to cooperate with the agency.

Cheney's office _ over the objections of the National Archives _ has exempted itself from a presidential executive order that seeks to protect national security information generated by the government, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Cheney didn't seek precedence or consent to do this, mind you. He just granted his own office an exemption. And all the while, the imbecile Cheney hired to occupy the the big chair in the eccentric shaped office jerks off to strains of Hail To The Chief while imagining himself the warrior prince.

Once a great country....

Cheney is using the argument that his office is not a part of the Executive Branch of government and therefore not required to comply with a presidential executive order requiring an audit of information classified and declassified by Executive Branch offices. The Information Security Oversight Office of the US National Archives disagrees and has asked, (choke), Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to intervene and rule on the dispute.

Expect to hear the words "quaint" and "arcane" accompanied by something like, "The situation is confusing." Because Cheney has laid out exactly where this is going.

Megan McGinn, a spokeswoman for the vice president, said Cheney's office was not breaking the law, but did not elaborate.

"We are confident that we are conducting the office properly under the law," she said.

Soak that up. Cheney is not concerned with the effects of his actions on the fabric of democracy. He's grabbing a maximum amount of power by meeting the minimum requirements of a democracy. Ignore any Jeffersonian concepts of equality and government of, by and for the people. Cheney is of a different school and occupies a platform apart. He could easily have replaced Augusto Pinochet.

Once a great country....

In ... parliamentary procedure in the past responsibility rested with the highest officials, who were responsible for carrying out the anonymous wishes of the majorities, and it was they who exercised the authority. In the Leadership Principle we sought to reverse the direction, that is, the authority existed at the top and passed downwards, while the responsibility began at the bottom and passed upwards.
Hermann Goring
March 18, 1946
Trial of Major War Criminals
Update: Via Greg Sargent, Illinois congressman Rahm Emanuel's office has sent out a chart depicting the branches of the US Government in the 21st Century. (Click to enlarge)

Emanuel issued this statement:
"Today, we discovered that everything we learned in U.S. government class was wrong. Evidently, the Vice President does not consider himself a part of the executive branch, and therefore believes he can obstruct meaningful oversight and avoid being held accountable. If the Vice President truly believes he is not a part of the executive branch, he should return the salary the American taxpayers have been paying him since January 2001, and move out of the home for which they are footing the bill."
Cheney has managed to manipulate the often overlooked office of Vice-President and turn it into the most powerful and least accountable seat in the US Government.

The US Government Policy and Supporting Positions publication, known as the Plum Book, is published after each US presidential election. It contains data on US Federal civil service leadership and support positions in the legislative and executive branches of the US Government that may be subject to non-competitive appointments, including salaries, some description of duties, etc. In all editions up to and including the year 2000, the Office of the Vice President has appeared under the heading Executive Branch, right after the White House Office.

Then came 2004, after Cheney had battled with the General Accounting Office over the workings of his Energy Group.

In the 2004 edition of the Plum Book, the Office of the Vice President no longer appears under the heading Executive Branch. Nor does it appear under the heading Legislative Branch.

Instead, you have to go all the way to the back of the book, page 226 to be exact, to a never before published appendix (appendix 5), which describes the office of the Vice President as follows: (Emphasis mine)
The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. The Vice Presidency performs functions in both the legislative branch (see article I, section 3 of the Constitution) and in the executive branch (see article II, and amendments XII and XXV, of the Constitution, and section 106 of title 3 of the United States Code).
This statement was produced by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Reform, when the Republican controlled Congress. The timing, coincidentally, would be after the US invaded Iraq and during the brewing controversy of the outing of covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame.

It suggests Cheney is neither fish nor fowl, and it is clearly an attempt to divorce himself from oversight - from any office anywhere at any time.

If there was ever any doubt as to who is really running the show in the Bush administration, this example of Cheney separating himself and his office from any accountable part of government should provide the necessary clarity.

Citizen Cheney has made his position omnipotent and untouchable. He believes himself above the law and beyond the reach of scrutiny. He, having achieved office through whatever democratic process, has segregated that office from the workings of a democracy.

What makes everyone think that he will allow elections in 2008? His moral example came to power and altered government in exactly the same way. And he did away with elections.

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