Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 28, 2007

CHENEY SEES THE LIGHT....We've all been thoroughly entertained by Dick Cheney's "unorthodox" argument that he is not part of the executive branch, a policy position the White House has refused to comment on.

Late Tuesday, the Office of the Vice President shifted its rhetoric a bit, arguing that Cheney ignored an executive order because the document exempted him from oversight. (Asked where the E.O. said this, Cheney's lawyers declined comment. Apparently, you need some kind of decoder ring to read text that doesn't exist.) Forget about that other argument, they said; it's no longer operative.

Yesterday, in what I believe was a first, the White House said Cheney never liked that fourth-branch argument anyway.

A White House official placed further distance from the dual role argument by adding that Mr. Cheney did not necessarily agree with it.

See? Dick Cheney's office started asserting a year ago that the Vice President isn't part of the executive branch, but the gang has just now come to the conclusion that Cheney isn't fond of his argument. What a relief.

If the White House doesn't like the tack, and the VP doesn't agree with it, and literate people everywhere recognize the argument as sheer nonsense, maybe now the White House can respond to questions about whether Cheney is part of the executive branch?

And if the argument has genuinely fallen out of favor at the White House, maybe someone can tell the Justice Department? Gonzales & Co. have apparently been struggling with the question for several months. Maybe Cheney can give them a hand.

Steve Benen 4:24 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (47)

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Comments

LOL.

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

You're really going to put Normie into a lather with all these posts in one day?

Posted by: optical weenie on June 28, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Normie into a lather

that's a visual I could have done without

Posted by: beavis on June 28, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Cheney did not necessarily agree with it.

And all this time, Cheney has this reputation for being a control freak, and yet his office is putting out arguments that he doesn't necessarily agree with.

I'm convinced. Put them pitchforks and torches back in the garden shed, honey!

Posted by: thersites on June 28, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

the exemption is in the "treat as if secret" retroactive VicePresidential signing statement for the E.O.

Posted by: DB on June 28, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with the theory of the indeterminate branch is not that it is clearly erroneous. The The Oxford Guide to the United States Government has maintained for years that:

"The Vice President is not a member of either the executive or the legislative branch. Constitutionally, the Vice President is not a subordinate of the President, who has no power to issue orders to the Vice President and who cannot remove him from office."

The problem with the theory for Cheney is its ramifications with regard to him ever claiming exectutive privilege again.

Posted by: cfoster on June 28, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Vice President needs some new lawyers. The links will take you to some interesting legal analysis by Marty Lederman at Balkanization.

Posted by: corpus juris on June 28, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

As with all Republican ideas of leadership, they're not actually responsible for anything.

Trigger Dick here is simply demonstrating the unique reach of his leadership abilities.

He's not even responsible for what his putative existent self might have said or did yesterday, should we be able to say yesterday in fact ever happened.

Posted by: cld on June 28, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

If you bothered to read the EO, you would see that the EO only refers to AGENCIES, and the VP clearly doesn't fall under that category.

No deconder ring necessary, unless maybe your a product of a public school system.

Posted by: egbert on June 28, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

cld: Yesterday did happen. I have a few more gray hairs to prove it.

Posted by: optical weenie on June 28, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

cfoster

When did "those years" start? Wasn't the first year that definition showed up time around 2004?

Posted by: corpus juris on June 28, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

egbert, the EO refers to "entities." Are you saying Dick Cheney is not an "entity?"

Posted by: corpus juris on June 28, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

here you go, eggie:

en·ti·ty [en-ti-tee] –noun, plural -ties.
1. something that has a real existence; thing: corporeal entities.
2. being or existence, esp. when considered as distinct, independent, or self-contained: He conceived of society as composed of particular entities requiring special treatment.
3. essential nature: The entity of justice is universality.

now you'll have a good head start when you begin school. how precocious you are!

Posted by: benjoya on June 28, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

"entity" is the least of it.

Posted by: cld on June 28, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Just as there are multiple dimensions invisible to the human eye but that can be perceived through study at my dojo, there are multiple branches of government unenumerated by the Constitution but that can be perceived by the pure at heart.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 28, 2007 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

The The Oxford Guide to the United States Government has maintained for years that:

Well, if you're willing to allow Brits define our gvmt for us....

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2007 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

If you bothered to read the EO, you would see that the EO only refers to AGENCIES, and the VP clearly doesn't fall under that category...No deconder ring necessary, unless maybe your a product of a public school system.

Egbert, you unmitigated dork. You are what my grandmother would refer to as "just too precious" (and then she would bless your heart). This was not intended as a compliment. It is how my gentle Nana called a dumbass a dumbass.

I did read the EO - and it refers to agencies and all other entities in the executive branch.

We will be nicer when you get smarter. You mock public school, and you are the poster child for compulsory schooling. Your mama didn't just fail you, she failed the Republic.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 28, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

When did "those years" start?

The current edition is from 2001. I have no idea whether prior editions contained the same claim.

Posted by: cfoster on June 28, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if you're willing to allow Brits define our gvmt for us....

We wouldn't want that. We fought for our freedom from the Brits, dammit, so that we wouldn't live under tyranny like those unfortunate Canadians do.

Posted by: thersites on June 28, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, Egbert is too stupid to realize that this is not Kevin posting here, but Steve Benen.

Posted by: DJ on June 28, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

If we can't get anyone to volunteer to give puddin' pop a blowjob (egbert! on your knees boy! your nation needs your *ahem* services!) can we get Betsy and Arlene to walk Barney?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 28, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, calm down. Egbert can't help it. He is just repeating what he has been told by Dick Cheney's lawyers. Seriously, he ought to follow the link I posted above and comeback after he has learned the facts. I mean after all John Kerry schooled David Addington on the legal issue. Dick Cheney needs some new lawyers.

Posted by: corpus juris on June 28, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think Dick Cheney might need Lee Blalack.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 28, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK
The problem with the theory of the indeterminate branch is not that it is clearly erroneous.

Yes, it is. (The argument that the Vice President is in the Legislative Branch but not the Executive Branch is, OTOH, much stronger than the "indeterminant branch", "neither fish nor fowl", etc., argument.)

The The Oxford Guide to the United States Government has maintained for years that:

"The Vice President is not a member of either the executive or the legislative branch.

The Oxford Guide to the United States Government is not exactly a compelling legal authority.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 28, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, isn't Blalack the guy all the pols hire if they are afraid they are going to spend time as a guest of the government in accommodation's a little less swanky than the naval observatory?

Posted by: corpus juris on June 28, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Correction: Gonzales has been ignoring the question for nearly 7 months. No "work product" has been discovered whatsoever on this 'issue' which Gonzales was supposedly beginning an inquiry on Jan. 9, 2007. So, the 3 Democratic Committee Chairs have requested that Fredo report to them just what exactly has been done. That's good. But, it isn't enough. If Fredo doesn't respond by the time Congress comes back from the July 4th recess, Fredo must be called to testify under oath. The administration is violating their oath of office, and violating the Constitution and violating the law. All impeachable offenses! To run from holding them accountable is what is hurting Democrats in the polls. Impeach Alberto Gonzales.

Posted by: Brighid on June 28, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

One and the same, CJ - it's who the Dukester hired and Domenici has him on retainer - has had him on retainer ever since David Iglesias revealed that phone call wherein good 'ole Pete tried to convince Iglesias to interfere in an election.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 28, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

The next time Fredo testifies before congress, would it be too much to have a couple of federal marshals standing by to haul his ass off to a cell at the first hint of perjury or contempt?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 28, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK
Ah, Kevin.

The different font and the "—Steve Benen" ought to be a clue that "Ah, Kevin" is out of place.

If you bothered to read the EO, you would see that the EO only refers to AGENCIES, and the VP clearly doesn't fall under that category.

If you bothered to read the EO, you would note the following:

PART 6--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 6.1. Definitions. For purposes of this order:

...

(b) "Agency" means any "Executive agency," as defined in 3 U.S.C. 105; any "Military department" as defined in 5 U.S.C. 102; and any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.

So, the question is, is the "Office of the Vice President" an "entity within the executive branch". Well, lets look at the law authorizing the funding of the Office of the Vice President (5 U.S.C. § 106(b)):

In order to carry out the executive duties and responsibilities referred to in subsection (a), there are authorized to be appropriated each fiscal year to the Vice President such sums as may be necessary for—

(1) the official expenses of the Office of the Vice President;

(2) the official entertainment expenses of the Vice President; and

(3) the subsistence expenses of persons in the Government service while traveling on official business in connection with the travel of the Vice President.

So, the "Office of the Vice President" is created and funded for the sole purpose of supporting the "executive duties and responsibilities" of the Vice President as assigned by the President (see also 3 U.S.C. § 106(a)).

So, whether or not the Vice President persoanlly is in the Executive Branch, the Office of the Vice President, an office created and funded by Congress for the express purpose of carrying out Executive functions and whose duties are assigned by the President from in his discharge of his executive duties, is pretty clearly an "entity in the Executive Branch".


Posted by: cmdicely on June 28, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

The next time Fredo testifies before congress, would it be too much to have a couple of federal marshals standing by to haul his ass off to a cell at the first hint of perjury or contempt?

I'd prefer having him hooked up to an electrode with Lahey handling the trigger.

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

hopeless pedant: Chris Matthews stated as a fact today the the evil one's name is actually pronounced CHEE - nee not CHAY - nee

Depends on what you mean by "is pronounced". Dick Cheney pronounces it CHEEney, and the rest of the world pronounces it CHAYney. There are several lines of reasoning saying it should be CHAYney:

1) Pronounciation follows usage. If 300 million people say to-MAY-to and one guy says to-MAH-to, then the one guy is wrong.

2) Dick Cheney hasn't been right about anything at least since 2001, so why should we take his word for how his name is pronounced.

3) Who the hell does Chris Matthews think he is? It's our damned language, and we'll pronounce words and names however the hell we want to. It doesn't seem to bother Dick Cheney much.

Posted by: anandine on June 28, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Chris Matthews stated as a fact today the the evil one's name is actually pronounced

CHEE - nee

and a tune jumped into my head...

The CHEE CHEE-nee lives in the back
The CHEE CHEE-nee loves torture racks
He's outrageous, he screams and he bawls
CHEE CHEE-nee let yourself go!
Sits like a man but he smiles like a reptile...

Poor little CHEE-nee, woh ho

(apologies to David Bowie)

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 28, 2007 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

egbert: "No deconder ring necessary, unless maybe your a product of a public school system."

Speaking as a proud graduate of a public high school -- STFU, egbert.

"Your" obviously a waste by-product of some experiment in right-wing educational policy gone horribly awry -- as all right-wing experiments inevitable do.

I mean, let's just take a good look at you here -- you're retarded socially, you can't spell, your grammar and punctuation is terrible, you're couldn't possibly be any more ignorant of the world around you than you already are, you're probably under-employed, and if I had to guess I'd say that you were one of those wimps in high school who always had a note from his doctor excusing him from P.E.

If that isn't the character profile of a loser, I don't know what is. So go "tremble for my country" someplace else, where dubious talent such as yours might actually be appreciated.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 28, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

anadine,

and

4) and either way, he's still a Dick.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 28, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Huzzah Donald! Just one quibble, and it is this bit: you're probably under-employed

If scrambled egbert is employed at all, as anything above septic system cleaner, he is over employed.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 28, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack:

I liked chay-nee better. As in
"turn and face the strange ch-ch-cheney"

Posted by: thersites on June 28, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

The number of otherwise brilliant posters who can't spot the broadest parody is getting to me, and really, why should I even care? It's nonna my bidness. I believe I need a little vacation from the internets. Get out in nature or something.

Posted by: shortstop on June 28, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Donald - check your email.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 28, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

LOL at snick and thersites.

Posted by: shortstop on June 28, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

High time for a good old fashioned smack down for Cheney. He needs to be cuffed and marched out of his office and straight to jail on general principle.

Posted by: bill on June 28, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
turn and face the strange ch-ch-cheney

:)

Ch-ch-ch-ch-cheney
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it...

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 28, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, egbert-for-brains, what about the name Steve makes you think it's the same as Kevin? Oh, right, I forgot: we're winning in Iraq.

Posted by: Kenji on June 28, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Weak. ---from the wapo article:

"In a letter to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Cheney Chief of Staff David S. Addington wrote that the order treats the vice president the same as the president and distinguishes them both from "agencies" subject to the oversight provisions of the executive order.

Addington did not cite specific language in the executive order supporting this view, and a Cheney spokeswoman could not point to such language last night. But spokeswoman Lee Anne McBride said the intent of the order, as expressed by White House officials in recent days, was "not for the VP to be separated from the president on this reporting requirement."

Addington did not repeat a separate argument that has been previously advanced by Cheney's office: that it is not strictly an executive branch agency but also shares legislative functions because the vice president presides over the Senate.
...
Addington's legal argument yesterday has previously been rejected by the director of the Archives' Information Security Oversight Office, J. William Leonard. In a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in January, Leonard noted that the 2003 executive order includes only one explicit reference to the Office of the Vice President.

"This sole explicit reference for the purpose of exempting the OVP from a provision of the Order supports an interpretation that the rest of the Order does apply," Leonard wrote. "Otherwise there would be no need for an exemption."


Posted by: consider wisely always on June 28, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney Moves His Office to Dubai
(by cognitorex)

Dick Cheney regularly forgoes niceties such as treaties, laws, our constitution and avoiding conflicts of interest with his oil brethren. This we know.

One example among oh so many is the multiple billion dollar no-bid contracts awarded to his last employer and present benefactor, Halliburton.
Recently, Halliburton, in what can only be described as a Cheney-esque maneuver, devoid of patriotism and morality, is moving its headquarters to foreign soil. That the chosen country Dubai, an Arab land of Sheiks and Sultans, is a physical presence in our 'oil' wars and the WWIII Islamo Fascist crusade against Islam that Cheney et al say we will be fighting for decades is a chilling example of how Cheney's non-legal non-moral mind can discard America's interests with cognitive impunity.
I would like to also point out that to some degree Halliburton knows the United States' Military's Order of Battle in the Middle East.
To supply services to our troops they have to know of and plan for the logistics of troop movements; short term and long term.
Halliburton is in essence a division of our armed forces, paid differently but no less integral than communications, the motor pool, medical services and our lives'-at-risk warriors. Halliburton was an American entity but will not be as they leave America to avoid legal scrutiny and presumably to avoid paying U.S. taxes on what you and I pay them in those contracts.
If Dick Cheney saw personal gain for himself and his 'oil' brethren he would move the Pentagon offshore. He peddles nationalism and the 'Red, White and Blue' to the well meaning but susceptible GOP faithful but when it comes to his own interests it is not Red, White and Blue, it's "screw you."
--craig johnson--

Posted by: Craig Johnson on June 29, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, lighten up on egbert. Parroting the Republican Talking Points (tm) is what he does.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 29, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Inconveniently for Cheney, but good for the rest of us, if he is not in the executive branch, it is impossible to invoke executive privilege.

Posted by: Tom on June 30, 2007 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

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