White House

Dick Cheney’s own branch of government

The White House has had to defend Vice President Cheney’s decision to opt out of a presidential order regulating the handling of secret information by the executive branch. Cheney’s reasoning: His office is not really part of the executive branch.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino insists that this is a “non-issue,” but the vice president’s effort to create a separate branch of government for himself has become one, and given congressional Democrats an opening to launch another investigation.

Cheney insisted on torture of prisoners

Dick Cheney is, without question, the most powerful American Vice President in history. His power within the Bush Administration is, for the most part, unchecked and his rule is absolute.

More than anyone else in the White House, Cheney has promoted the notion that the Administration is above the law and does not have to answer to the Constitution, Congress or the Supreme Court.

Nowhere is that abuse of power and law more evident than in Cheney’s belief that torture is an accepted form of interrogation of prisoners and the terms of the Geneva Convention can, and should, be ignored in Bush’s so-called “war on terror.”

A failure in beliefs

Bit by bit, without publicly admitting any mistakes, the Bush administration is changing policies on key issues that have defined the president’s tenure in office.

President Bush, known for his adamant beliefs but beleaguered by dismal polls, an unpopular war and positions on many fronts that have failed to work, is reluctantly nodding assent to change. In many of the policy changes, the neoconservative or aggressive nationalistic point of view that prevailed from the day Bush took office is being modified, massaged or outright reversed.

Is Dick Cheney above the law?

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.

Under the order, executive branch offices are required to give the Information Security Oversight Office at the archives data on how much material it has classified and declassified.

Gitmo meeting canceled…for now

The United States is helping build a prison in Afghanistan to take some prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay, but the White House said Friday it is not meant as an alternative to the detainee facility in Cuba.

The Bush administration wants to close Guantanamo Bay and move its terror suspects to prisons elsewhere and senior officials have told The Associated Press a consensus is building among the president’s top advisers on how to do it.

Bush’s bungled mideast policy

The Bush administration, generally impetuous in most of its undertakings, has been uncharacteristically glacial about brokering an Arab-Israeli settlement and ushering into existence an independent Palestinian state. It is coming up on five years since President Bush announced his support for a two-state solution and a road map for getting there.

But when the radical Hamas forcibly took control of Gaza, leaving President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party in charge of the West Bank, the larger of the two fragments of Palestinian territory, the White House acted rapidly.

Bush’s budget director quits

Another senior official in George W. Bush’s troubled White House is jumping ship. Budget director Rob Portman turned in his resignation Tuesday.

Bush immediately tapped former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle to replace Portman but the former chairman of the House Budget Committee may get a cool reception from Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Nussle ran for Iowa governor in 2006 but lost and has been working as an advisor to Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential campaign.

White House illegally destroyed emails

The Bush Administration knowingly and openly violated the law by deleting email records for 51 White officials who had email accounts with the Republican National Committee.

A report issued Monday by the House Oversight Committee says the White House eliminated the email records to thwart a Congressional investigation into overt political activity by the White House.

The House investigation also found the White House lied about the number of staff members with the illegal RNC email accounts and deliberately concealed details on usage of the accounts.

Veto? We don’t need no stinkin’ veto

When the Republicans were in charge of Congress, President Bush was the most spendthrift chief executive since LBJ and the Great Society. But now that Democrats are in charge the president has decided it’s time to hold the line on spending.

He has promised to veto any spending bill that exceeds the amounts he asked for in the budget he submitted in February.

So far he’s off to an uneven start.

Bush skirts law with ‘signing statements’

President George W. Bush breaks the law by failing to follow provisions of legislation passed by Congress and illegally modifies those bills through the use of “signing statements” that add his own interpretations or limitations.

That’s the conclusion of an investigation by the General Accounting Office, an independent investigatory arm of Congress.

Administration critics say the report is another indication of how the Bush Administration ignores the law of the land.