Saturday, June 23, 2007

*78 Americans killed in Iraq so far in June 2007 - updated a day later to 81 killed

Well, while I was gone to New York, we discovered that our vice-president truly is a law unto himself. He is neither quite part of the executive branch nor quite part of the legislative branch of government and, apparently, doesn't have to abide by the laws of either.
This all starts with an executive order issued by President Clinton in 1995, and revised by President Bush in 2003, establishing a uniform system of safeguarding classified information. As part of the order, each office in the executive branch is supposed to report on how it handles classified information to the National Archives and Record Administration's oversight office. Vice-President Cheney complied in 2001 and 2002, then simply began disregarding the directive. When the oversight office of the National Archives and Record Administration attempted to do an on-site inspection, Cheney got it stopped. This year, Cheney even made an effort to have the oversight office eliminated! (And can anyone doubt that if the Republicans were still in total control of Congress, they wouldn't have gone right along with rubber-stamping Cheney's egregious attempt at over-reach?)
In blowing off the regulations for the handling of classified material, Cheney's office has declared that because the vice-president is also the president of the Senate, his office is "not an entity within the executive branch". Of course, when Cheney is fighting any request by Congress to get information from the Veep's office, such as the names of the people who populated his Energy Task Force, Cheney based his refusal to comply on "executive privilege" so it seems he simply moves his office around wherever it needs to be in order to justify whatever it is he wants to do....or not to do.
Naturally, the White House agrees with the vice-president. Dana Perino, the president's spokeswoman, said, "This is a little bit of a non-issue because the president gets to decide whether or not he (Cheney) should be treated separately, and he's decided that he should."
Furthermore, the president has declared that he too is beyond the reach of his own executive order although the directive itself clearly includes both the president and the vice-president.
At various times in our nation's history we have debated the question: "is the president above the law?"
In this administration, it appears that both the president and the vice-president consider themselves above the law.

* Poor old Rudy Giuliani - his judgment about the people with whom he surrounds himself is beginning to look somewhat impaired. The most notorious case is, of course, Bernard Kerik. Beginning as the Mayor's driver, Kerik eventually became the New York Police Commissioner. Then, when Rudy left the Mayor's office, Kerik followed, going to work for Rudy's new business. Kerik was sent to Iraq to pull the Iraq police force together but left after two months, having accomplished absolutely nothing. Then Rudy pitched his name to the White House to be the first head of the new Homeland Security Department. The Bush administration bought it too and announced Kerik's name with great fanfare.....until his many ethical lapses started coming to light, whereupon, his name was withdrawn. (I still see him on television sometimes because it is a rule with the media that no matter how wrong you have ever been on every issue, once your name has been added to their rolodex as an "expert", you will remain there forever.)
After Kerik, came Thomas Ravenel. Ravenel was Giuliani's South Carolina campaign chairman. He was recently indicted for distributing cocaine.
Now there is the case of Monsignor Alan Placa, a consultant with Giuliani Partners. It seems that in a Suffolk County, New York grand jury report in 2003, Monsignor Placa was listed as "Priest F". In this guise, he was accused of sexually abusing minors as well as covering up for other priests as part of the team responsible for handling allegations of molestation within the diocese.
Giuliani says that the Monsignor was "unjustly" accused. Perhaps, but what amazes me is that as a former prosecutor himself, and one who was known for being a hard-ass in so far as defendants were concerned, when a grand jury actually finds evidence that his friends have committed crimes, such as in the case of Placa or Scooter Libby, he is ready to turn against the legal system he defended as a law officer.
Sorry, Rudy, but the rules should be the same for everyone. Either we believe in the rule of law and our jury system or we don't. You can't simply pick and choose based on whether the accused are your friends.

*Well, poor little Paris will be getting out of jail this week. Poor little Paris? Yes, the media has actually caused me to have some sympathy for this spoiled, self-centered, vapid-headed little rich girl. Because the media is responsible for Paris Hilton. If they had not covered her like a blanket, hanging on her every statement and movement, splashing her picture across every television screen and magazine cover, there would not have been a Paris Hilton phenomena. Even when there was serious news to cover, they chose to go with Paris. They made her their pet and, you know, she gloried in her fame. She pranced and preened and smiled, secure in their adoration.
Until, she fell... and then they went into a feeding frenzy of viciousness. They criticized her and made fun of her and embarrassed her and showed ugly pictures of her. Because it is what the media does. They worship at your alter when you are riding high and then fall on you like a pack of hyenas when you stumble, although you'd never have been riding so high in the first place if they hadn't boosted you up there.
Probably, Paris didn't understand this. She thought she would remain the media's fair-haired girl no matter what. But now she knows. The press is never your friend. They can make you but will happily break you without a morsel of conscience.
They do the same with presidents. I'm not a George Bush fan, as anyone who reads this blog knows, but George Bush was never as good as the media painted him when he was popular and neither is he quite as bad as they portray him now that he has an approval rate in the 20's.
George Bush and Paris Hilton are only two of the most recent media darlings to discover how quick they are to kick you when you're down.