Pubdate: Tue, 03 Jul 2007
Source: Daily Iowan, The (IA Edu)
Copyright: 2007 The Daily Iowan
Author: Beau Elliot
Bookmark: (Bong Hits 4 Jesus)
Bookmark: (Students - United States)


In this wonderfully wacky corner of the universe called America, the
hits just keep on coming, don't they.

No wonder (there's that word again) we're so black-and-blue.

Take the Supreme Court. The good justices (five of them, anyway - the
usual suspects) recently decided that the Constitution's freedom of
speech does not cover a high-school student unfurling a banner reading
"Bong Hits 4 Jesus" (on a public sidewalk, not on school grounds).

On the other hand, the same five usual-suspect justices ruled that the
campaign-finance law attempting to regulate corporate and labor-union
campaign donations (among others) infringes on their freedom of speech.

Now, like any good American, I'm in favor of freedom of speech. I
mean, of course I'm in favor of freedom of speech - I write for a
newspaper, and freedom of speech is what keeps us in business. Well,
that and the ad revenue.

So it would be hypocritical of me to suggest that corporations' and
labor unions' freedom of speech ought to be regulated, because once
you regulate freedom of speech, it's no longer freedom of speech.

That being said, it does seem a bit curious to me (if not wacky) that
those five justices would rush to protect freedom of speech for
corporations and labor unions but deny it for a high-school student.

Wonderfully wacky. Or wackily wonderful.

Of course, in the universe of wackiness, everyone runs a distant
second to the vice president.

Vice president in name only, apparently.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that it turns out that
the Stealth President Cheney is apparently not actually in the federal

Whew, what a relief. For six years, I thought he was the

Well, OK, what the Stealth President is actually contending is that
his office is not an entity of the executive branch.

Yeah, I know - those of us who took junior-high civics are looking to
the heavens (or the sheltering sky, if you're an atheist) with an
incredulous expression and going, What?

You know what? I don't think the Stealth President is even on this
planet. I think he's in a secure, undisclosed location in the Mars

Talk about getting beyond the long arm of subpoenas.

Maybe he'll find Saddam's long-elusive (how many places can they
possibly find to hide, anyway?) WMD up there.

The Stealth President's office is taking this bizarre position because
of a dispute with the National Archives agency over the keeping of
classified documents. Cheney is arguing that his office is not covered
by the rules of that agency, the Information Security Oversight
Office, because his office is not part of the executive branch. So,
under this thinking - if that's not a gross misuse of the word - his
office does not need to file the required security reports to the
oversight office.

Even the Supreme Court can't touch this wackiness (well, maybe in

I mean, Cheney seems to have had no problem invoking executive
privilege in keeping the names of the people on his energy panel secret.

What's more than a little bizarre is that the Stealth President's
office filed the required reports about classification and
declassification of secrets in 2001 and 2002 but stopped filing them
in 2003 and subsequently.

So it would appear that the Stealth President believed he was part of
the executive branch in the first two years of the administration, but
in 2003, he was suddenly reborn as a non-executive-brancher.


What happened in 2003 to cause such a sea change? you might well

Ah - in 2003, CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity was leaked. And that
leak seems, at least in part, to have come from the Stealth
President's office. Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis Libby, was
once famously facing a prison term for his role in the scandal, until
wackiness stepped in.

Now, far be it for me to suggest there's some connection between the
Stealth President trying to remove himself from oversight from the
secrets agency because of the Plame affair - it might just be
coincidence that both occurred in 2003 and both center on his office,
wherever that might be now.

But as my father, a man far wiser than me, once told me, When you see
a coincidence in politics, there's probably no coincidence.

It's a wacky, wacky world.

Even if so much of it is a secret.

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Beau Elliot doesn't really believe the Stealth President is on Mars. A
black hole is more his style. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake