CHENEY QUIETLY MANEUVERS FOR INCREASED CONTROL OVER ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES
The White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is a "super-powerful office" that reviews all major federal regulations of "non-independent federal agencies" on a range of issues, from workplace safety to water quality.
OIRA and agency representatives regularly meet with "outside stakeholders" to solicit opinions on regulations. Vice
President Cheney's office has recently taken an interest in these meetings. In June, The Progress Report noted that lobbyists for major polluters visited the White House to lobby against tighter smog standards.
At that time, Clean Air Watch observed how unusual it was for a representative from Cheney's office to attend that meeting.
"Also sitting in on that meeting was a representative of Vice President Dick Cheney, long considered the go-to-guy for
big industries opposed to tougher environmental standards," wrote Clean Air Watch.
This incident was not isolated. As OMB Watch has noted, OIRA has "held more than 540 regulatory review meetings since February 2002." Prior to Feb.
2007, Cheney's office attended just three meetings; since that time, it has attended eight.
In the past, Cheney has taken "full advantage of the president’s cluelessness" to control the administration's environmental agenda and stop progress against global warming.
Cheney likely has a sympathizer in current OIRA head Susan Dudley. In her previous job at the industry-backed Mercatus Center, Dudley opposed tougher smog standards, air bags in cars, and regulations for arsenic in drinking water.
Peter Rothberg Fri
July 6, 2007
The Nation -- Dick Cheney has been a destructive force on the checks and balances of American government for more than six years. He has subverted long-standing
processes, procedures, protocols and laws to lead us into the tragedy in Iraq, and is now seeking to do the same with Iran.
(Both countries, mind you, that he did business with while CEO of Halliburton.)
As the Washington Post's recent four-part series on the most influential and powerful man ever to hold the office of vice president showed, Cheney has
usurped his Cabinet colleagues to make himself the dominant voice on tax and spending policy; secretly steered the Bush administration's
most important environmental decisions and purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive Congress by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq.
That's why there's a growing national movement to support H. Res 333, the articles of impeachment against Dick
Cheney. The bill is already endorsed by 14 members of Congress--Yvette Clarke, William Lacy, Keith Ellison, Bob Filner, Jesse
Jackson Jr., Hank Johnson, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Jim Moran, Jan Schakowsky, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey
and Albert Wynn.
In the blogosphere, as Ari Melber recently reported in The Notion, leading bloggers like those at Daily Kos have launched a targeted campaign to specifically lobby Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee
to put impeachment back on the table. And earlier this week, MoveOn.org launched an unprecedented petition calling on Congress to impeach Cheney if he defies congressional subpoenas
issued to investigate the Bush administration's purge of prosecutors at the Justice Department.
You can sign the petition
calling for the bill's passage here; watch a new video (below) by Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films for the case for why Cheney deserves immediate impeachment;
check out impeachcheney.org for info on the impeachment campaign and read John Nichols's book, The Rise and Rise of Richard
B. Cheney: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Most Powerful Vice President in American History (The New Press), for the back-story of a vindictive, inflexible ideologue who gained tremendous power
in the current administration.
Dick Cheney Becomes a National Monument
It's the vice president's latest attempt to dodge
By Andy Borowitz
In a bold new strategy aimed at avoiding a congressional subpoena, Vice President Dick Cheney today declared himself
a national monument.
Cheney took the unorthodox step only after failing in his attempt to invoke a little-known legal principle called the
separation of Cheney and state.
Aides to Cheney confirmed that being a national monument gives the vice president not only immunity from subpoenas, but
also a draft deferment in perpetuity.
President George W. Bush presided over a solemn White House ceremony this morning, in which a plaque documenting Cheney’s
status as a national monument was affixed to the vice president’s midsection.
Joining the ranks of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, Cheney is believed to be the only landmark in
the nation’s capital not made at least partially out of marble.
But even as his attempt to evade a subpoena appeared to have succeeded, the vice president’s new status as a national
monument created unexpected problems, as Independence Day tourists lined up around the block to get a glimpse of Washington’s
latest historic attraction.
Perhaps in an effort to control the crowds, Cheney announced today that the admission price for seeing him would be set
White House spokesman Tony Snow defended the $75,000 price tag, saying that it was an appropriate price to see a national
monument of Dick Cheney’s stature.
“Seventy-five thousand dollars is what it costs to see Dick Cheney,” Snow said. “Just ask any
Elsewhere, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that all Americans should go about their normal activities
this holiday weekend, “except you terrorists.”
Cheney: The Fourth Branch?
July 4, 2007
(CBS) Lots of people in this country have two jobs to help make ends meet. Last week, Dick Cheney
— maybe to demonstrate that he's just an "ordinary American" — claimed that he had two distinct jobs: One was
the Vice President of the United States and the other was the President of the Senate. Yeah, I know. It's not really the same
as a teacher who sells insurance on the side.
In the past, when he has been asked to comply with various congressional
requests and orders, Cheney has claimed executive privilege because he's the Vice President. But last week, he claimed he
wasn't a member the executive branch of the government, but was a member of the legislative branch. That was because he's
the president of the Senate, and therefore he felt he wasn't subject to the presidential order giving the National Archives'
Information Security Oversight Office the right to make sure that Cheney and his office have demonstrated proper security
safeguards. By the end of the week, he was back claiming that he was actually the vice president, and therefore could claim
executive privilege once again as he rejected demands from Congress about information regarding the firing of U.S. attorneys.
How does he keep track of which job he's going to claim he has each day? Does he put on a different tie?
to the millions of Americans who have more than one job, the vice president didn't do this so he could make an extra buck.
He went back and forth with these claims just so he could avoid complying with Congress and the law. That doesn't seem like
proper behavior no matter which job you want to consider him having, does it?
Maybe he thinks he's a Superhero with
two identities. He's Senate Boy and then he changes into Veep Man — both of whom have amazing powers not found in the
Constitution. It's as if he's trying to exist in a fourth branch of the government — Cheneyland.
a bit silly, as it's become more outrageous. With a straight face, White House press secretary Dana Perino came up with an
ingenious defense for Cheney claiming to be a member of the Legislative branch, not the Executive. She said his paycheck came
from the Senate. So what? Does anyone think that he lists his occupation on his income tax form as "President of the Senate"
rather than "Vice President of the United States?" When his aides make a reservation for him at a fancy restaurant, do you
think they make it for the "President of the Senate?" When he ran for office, was the campaign, "Vote for George Bush for
President and Dick Cheney for President of the Senate?"
Cheney's dance was an amazingly nimble one. But the fact that
he had the audacity to try this Wyoming two-step was not nearly as startling to me as the fact that he got away with it.
sure, his Democratic foes cried "foul." But the American people didn't rise up and say, "Enough already." And why didn't his
Republican colleagues say, "Come on, Dick, now you've gone too far?"
That's who really should be upset with this gambit
— the Republicans. The foolishness of acting this way and not cooperating with Congress and not making things public
makes people suspicious. If you refuse to be open about things over and over again, the public doesn't feel that you're doing
this because the office demands that kind of secrecy. After you act this way repeatedly, the public starts thinking that whatever
you don't want to tell us must be pretty bad. They suspect that you must have some horrible secrets that you don't want us
And this conclusion by the public might very well be wrong. Generally, cover-ups and refusals to be open
end up being much worse than the thing that is being kept secret. But by not being more open, he's just contributing to the
erosion of credibility of this administration. So, you'd think that some big Republicans — hey, maybe even the president
— would tell Dick Cheney to knock it off.
And I think he should, too. While I'm sure it was fun for him to pretend
he had two different jobs, it's time for him to accept that the one he's got is a pretty good one.
When the Vice President Does It, That Means It’s Not Illegal
By Frank Rich
New York Times
Sunday 01 July 2007
Who knew that mocking the Constitution could be nearly as funny as shooting a hunting buddy in the face? Among other comic dividends, Dick Cheney's legal theory that the vice president is not part of the executive branch yielded a priceless weeklong series on "The Daily Show" and an online "Doonesbury Poll," conducted at Slate, to name Mr. Cheney's indeterminate branch of government.
The ridicule was so widespread that finally even this White House had to blink. By midweek, it had abandoned that particularly
ludicrous argument, if not its spurious larger claim that Mr. Cheney gets a free pass to ignore rules regulating federal officials' handling
of government secrets.
That retreat might allow us to mark the end of this installment of the Bush-Cheney Follies but for one nagging problem:
Not for the first time in the history of this administration - or the hundredth - has the real story been lost amid the Washington
kerfuffle. Once the laughter subsides and you look deeper into the narrative leading up to the punch line, you can unearth
a buried White House plot that is more damning than the official scandal. This plot once again snakes back to the sinister
origins of the Iraq war, to the Valerie Wilson leak case and to the press failures that enabled the administration to abuse
truth and the law for too long.
One journalist who hasn't failed is Mark Silva of The Chicago Tribune. He first reported more than a year ago, in May 2006,
the essentials of the "news" at the heart of the recent Cheney ruckus. Mr. Silva found that the vice president was not filing
required reports on his office's use of classified documents because he asserted that his role in the legislative branch,
as president of the Senate, gave him an exemption.
This scoop went unnoticed by nearly everybody. It would still be forgotten today had not Henry Waxman, the dogged House
inquisitor, called out Mr. Cheney 10 days ago, detailing still more egregious examples of the vice president's flouting of the law, including his effort to
shut down an oversight agency in charge of policing him. The congressman's brief set off the firestorm that launched a thousand
That's all to the public good, but hiding in plain sight was the little-noted content of the Bush executive order that Mr. Cheney is accused of violating. On close examination, this obscure 2003 document, thrust into the light only because
the vice president so blatantly defied it, turns out to be yet another piece of self-incriminating evidence illuminating the
White House's guilt in ginning up its false case for war.
The tale of the document begins in August 2001, when the Bush administration initiated a review of the previous executive
order on classified materials signed by Bill Clinton in 1995. The Clinton order had been acclaimed in its day as a victory for transparency because it mandated the automatic
declassification of most government files after 25 years.
It was predictable that the obsessively secretive Bush team would undermine the Clinton order. What was once a measure
to make government more open would be redrawn to do the opposite. And sure enough, when the White House finally released its
revised version, the scant news coverage focused on how the new rules postponed the Clinton deadline for automatic declassification and tightened secrecy so much
that previously declassified documents could be reclassified.
But few noticed another change inserted five times in the revised text: every provision that gave powers to the president over classified documents was amended to give the identical powers to
the vice president. This unprecedented increase in vice-presidential clout, though spelled out in black and white, went virtually
unremarked in contemporary news accounts.
Given all the other unprecedented prerogatives that President Bush has handed his vice president, this one might seem to
be just more of the same. But both the timing of the executive order and the subsequent use Mr. Cheney would make of it reveal
its special importance in the games that the White House played with prewar intelligence.
The obvious juncture for Mr. Bush to bestow these new powers on his vice president, you might expect, would have been soon
after 9/11, especially since the review process on the Clinton order started a month earlier and could be expedited, as so
much other governmental machinery was, to meet the urgent national-security crisis. Yet the new executive order languished
for another 18 months, only to be published and signed with no fanfare on March 25, 2003, a week after the invasion of Iraq began.
Why then? It was throughout March, both on the eve of the war and right after "Shock and Awe," that the White House's most
urgent case for Iraq's imminent threat began to unravel. That case had been built around the scariest of Saddam's supposed
W.M.D., the nuclear weapons that could engulf America in mushroom clouds, and the White House had pushed it relentlessly,
despite a lack of evidence. On "Meet the Press" on March 16, Mr. Cheney pressed that doomsday button one more time: "We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." But
even as the vice president spoke, such claims were at last being strenuously challenged in public.
Nine days earlier Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency had announced that documents supposedly attesting
to Saddam's attempt to secure uranium in Niger were "not authentic." A then-obscure retired diplomat, Joseph Wilson, piped in on CNN, calling the case "outrageous."
Soon both Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Congressman Waxman wrote letters (to the F.B.I. and the president, respectively) questioning whether we were going to war because of what Mr. Waxman labeled "a hoax." And this wasn't the only administration use of intelligence that was under increasing scrutiny. The newly formed 9/11 commission set its first open hearings for March 31 and requested some half-million documents, including those pertaining to what the
White House knew about Al Qaeda's threat during the summer of 2001.
The new executive order that Mr. Bush signed on March 25 was ingenious. By giving Mr. Cheney the same classification powers
he had, Mr. Bush gave his vice president a free hand to wield a clandestine weapon: he could use leaks to punish administration
That weapon would be employed less than four months later. Under Mr. Bush's direction, Mr. Cheney deputized Scooter Libby
to leak highly selective and misleading portions of a 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq to pet reporters as he tried
to discredit Mr. Wilson. By then, Mr. Wilson had emerged as the most vocal former government official accusing the White House
of not telling the truth before the war.
Because of the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation, we would learn three years later about the offensive conducted by Mr.
Libby on behalf of Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush. That revelation prompted the vice president to acknowledge his enhanced powers
in an unguarded moment in a February 2006 interview with Brit Hume of Fox News. Asked by Mr. Hume with some incredulity if "a vice president has the authority to declassify information," Mr. Cheney replied,
"There is an executive order to that effect." He was referring to the order of March 2003.
Even now, few have made the connection between this month's Cheney flap and the larger scandal. That larger scandal is
to be found in what the vice president did legally under the executive order early on rather than in his more recent
rejection of its oversight rules.
Timing really is everything. By March 2003, this White House knew its hype of Saddam's nonexistent nuclear arsenal was
in grave danger of being exposed. The order allowed Mr. Bush to keep his own fingerprints off the nitty-gritty of any jihad
against whistle-blowers by giving Mr. Cheney the authority to pick his own shots and handle the specifics. The president could
have plausible deniability and was free to deliver non-denial denials like "If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is." Mr. Cheney in turn could delegate the actual dirty work to Mr. Libby, who obstructed justice to help throw a smoke screen over the vice president's own role in the effort to destroy Mr. Wilson.
Last week The Washington Post ran a first-rate investigative series on the entire Cheney vice presidency. Readers posting comments were largely enthusiastic, but a few griped. "Six and a half years too late," said one. "Four years late and billions of
dollars short," said another. Such complaints reflect the bitter legacy of much of the Washington press's failure to penetrate
the hyping of prewar intelligence and, later, the import of the Fitzgerald investigation.
We're still playing catch-up. In a week in which the C.I.A. belatedly released severely censored secrets about agency scandals dating back a half-century, you have to wonder what else was done behind the shield of an executive
order signed just after the Ides of March four years ago. Another half-century could pass before Americans learn the full
story of the secrets buried by Mr. Cheney and his boss to cover up their deceitful path to war.
Democrats To target Funding For Cheney
House Democrats, responding to Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that his office is exempt from certain national-security
disclosure requirements, said Tuesday they will try to cut off the $4.8 million needed annually to run Cheney's office and
Cheney set off protests from Democrats when he declared that because the vice president also serves as president of the
Senate, his office was exempt from a presidential order that executive-branch offices provide data on how much material they
classify and declassify.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., sponsor of the amendment, noted that five years ago Cheney claimed executive privilege in refusing
to release details about his meetings with oil industry executives to discuss energy policy. "Now when we want to know what
he's doing as it relates to America's national security in the lead-up to the war in Iraq and after the fact, the vice president
has declared he is a member of the legislative branch."
Therefore, Emanuel said, "we will no longer fund the executive branch of his office and he can live off the funding for
the Senate presidency."
Cheney spokeswoman Megan McGinn retorted, "I think it is sad that Congressman Emanuel would rather focus on partisan politics
than the serious issues facing our country."
Quotes By Dick "Dead Eye" Cheney
"Except for the occasional heart attack, I never felt better." –June 4, 2003
"I had other priorities in the sixties than military service." –on his five draft deferments, April 5, 1989
"There are a lot of lessons we want to learn out of this process in terms of what works. I think we are in fact
on our way to getting on top of the whole Katrina exercise." --Sept. 10, 2005
"Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy."
–April 30, 2001
"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." --March 16, 2003
"We know he's been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted
nuclear weapons." --March 16, 2003
"In Iraq, a ruthless dictator cultivated weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. He gave support to
terrorists, had an established relationship with al Qaeda, and his regime is no more." –Nov. 7, 2003
"I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." -- on the Iraq insurgency, June 20, 2005
"Oh, yeah. He is. Big time.'' --agreeing with then-candidate George W. Bush, who was overheard at a campaign rally saying,
"There's Adam Clymer, major league a**hole from The New York Times," Sept. 4, 2000
"Go f*ck yourself." --to Sen. Patrick Leahy, during an angry exchange on the Senate floor about profiteering by Halliburton,
June 25, 2004
FAQ: VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY SHOOTING A GUY IN THE FACE WITH A GUN.
By Will Durst
Frequently Asked Questions About Vice President Cheney Shooting A Guy In The Face With A Gun.
Q. Harry Whittingon, the man the vice president accidentally shot, suffered a minor heart attack.
What exactly is a minor heart attack?
A. Any one where the patient (who isn't you) doesn't die.
Q. Didn't the official statement explain the 17-hour delay before anybody told anybody anything
was because they wanted to make sure the statement released to the media was accurate?
A. He shot
the guy. In the face. With a gun. How many more facts were needed? The barometric pressure at the time wasn't all that necessary.
Q. Isn't this event illustrative of why they invented the word "accident"?
This and the Bush presidency, yes. Besides, who hasn't mistaken a six-foot lawyer wearing a blaze orange vest for a quail?
Q. How many pellets of bird shot did Mr. Whittington get hit with?
Doctors estimated between 5 and 200. Nice margin of error there. That's 102 plus or minus 97.
Q. Didn't Cheney call the day of the shooting "one of the worst days of my life"?
Yes, he did, although we're pretty sure it's not way up there on Whittington's list either.
Q. Let's straighten this out: Did Cheney drink a beer at lunch or didn't he drink a beer?
According to different reports: yes. And no.
Q. Didn't he also say "you never go hunting with someone who drinks"?
Apparently he's never been deer hunting in Northern Wisconsin.
Q. Isn't it true he retired to the Armstrong lodge and ate a "somber roast beef dinner"?
Still probably tastier than the hospital food Whittington got during an equally solemn pellet face picking.
Q. Why did the vice president pick Fox News to give his interview to?
A. A simple desire for the interview to be fair and balanced. And to pay off Britt Hume on a Super
Q. Who was to blame for the accident?
A. According to Mr. Cheney's
staff, Mr. Whittington foolishly planted his face between the gun and the bird.
Q. What are some of the more popular conspiracy theories attached to all this?
That Cheney was sending a message to the terrorists, and the message is: Look what we do to our FRIENDS."
Q. Anything else?
A. That these guys are really, really serious about
Q. If the lawyer happens to die because of the wounds inflicted by the VP, he could be charged
with involuntary manslaughter, right?
A. That's true, but because it is Texas, we're most likely
looking at a ten dollar fine for shooting a lawyer out of season.
Q. Where's the upside?
A. Our veterans win. The people who are most
thankful that Cheney did receive 5 deferments to Vietnam are our troops, especially considering his penchant for shooting
his own men.
Q. Any other ramifications?
A. Outside of George Bush noticeably wearing
more Kevlar, no.
Q. Don't you think it's time for the liberals to lay off this and move on to more important affairs
A. Point well taken. They should promise not to give Dick Cheney's lack of moral judgment
a single second more attention than was given to Bill Clinton's.