Saturday, January 10, 2009

Presidential Records; Bush Wants Them Sealed Indefinitely

The Bush administration has been trying to seal presidential records since he first got into office. This must be stopped. It shows the nation the path to this economic disaster and the mistakes of three Republican administrations--St Ronnie, Pappa Bush, and Junior. This must be blocked and congress needs to act swiftly and decisively to keep Presidential Papers Public, for historians, for a guide for all to study as a way to prevent future economic disasters and horrible military blunders. We need to know what we've done and what the consequences were in order to set the record straight for historical reasons as well to put to bed the lie that unfettered corporate rule is the best way to grow and prosper. Perhaps it is if you're in the top 1% of the economy. For the rest of us, it's just corporate welfare at the expense of the taxpayer.

There are, of course, other reasons to have public access to these records and that's to know and understand how our civil rights have been stripped from us in the guise of keeping us safe.

Editorial posted below

Editorial
Who Owns White House History?


It’s time to remind President Bush as he leaves office that his White House records are not his personal property. They belong to the nation. The Presidential Records Act made that the law of the land after the Watergate scandal. Showing disturbing forethought, Mr. Bush signed an executive order in his first year, effectively decreeing that a sitting or former president can withhold his papers indefinitely

Congress is moving to strike down the Bush order. The House has overwhelmingly approved a corrective measure that has a good chance in the Senate. If there’s any delay, we urge President-elect Barack Obama to issue his own executive order restoring the Presidential Records Act as soon as he enters the White House.

When Mr. Bush signed his order, the speculation was that he was hoping to spare the disclosure of some inner-sanctum embarrassments committed by his father’s administration or perhaps Ronald Reagan’s. Now, with so much of the latest Bush history needing to be plumbed from Baghdad to Wall Street, a robust public records law is ever more crucial for robust democracy.

The law already provides former presidents reasonable protection, letting them withhold sensitive records, including advice from aides, for up to 12 years. While the the Bush White House claimed that the order merely put an organized process in place, the result was to gut the presumption of public access.

Under the current rules, requests for records require the concurrence of a concerned former president or his descendants plus the current president. They have unlimited time to judge the issue. Beyond that, historians must resort to litigation. This is a pathetic way to cheat history. As the poet Robert Lowell wrote, “All’s misalliance. Yet why not say what happened?”

20 comments:

themom said...

I fear that in the next nine days, Dubya will manage to fukk things up further (no doubt), considering the executive orders he has made to date. Of course he wants everything sealed, in order to cover his ass (probably at the urging of people shooting Cheney.) My nerves just may not last these next several days - my tolerance for scum is definitely at rock bottom. Hope you are feeling better. :)

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Criminals always try to cover their tracks.

Utah Savage said...

TheMom, I wish the same for you. It's slower going than I'd hoped, but yes, I'm mending. But the stress of these next two weeks are enough to keep me grinding my teeth and chain smoking. Lame Duck Watch is really important.

Dr Monkey von Monkerstein, yes, this is true, but it's our president, our government, public records that we have a legal right to access. The bastards must be stopped.

Stella said...

We'll take the records and seal the Bushes. Oh, good one, themom: "my tolerance for scum is definitely at rock bottom."

That's the best.

Do you think Bush saw Frost/Nixon and thought long and hard when Frost stated, "Why didn't you burn the tapes?" Public records belong to the Library of Congress. I think the 12-year prohibition is fair, but a public servant must follow the law.

Oh, wait, let me consider the subject matter.

Mauigirl said...

Definitely must prevent these records from being sealed. I hope the new administration makes sure that doesn't happen.

susan said...

He's also just announced he's going to spend the additional $350bn of the bailout money before he goes. Buying a safe haven, perhaps?

Utah Savage said...

Fucktard thy name is Bush.

SaoirseDaily2 said...

Of course he wants them sealed. He can't get hide them like he did in Texas when they allowed him a new drivers license to rid his history of his past crimes. I could not believe in the last 2 campaigns they never really brought up his past criminal record. I keep hoping for handcuffs and chains...so we can all fly the Mission Accomplished flag.

yellowdog granny said...

nothing that A-hole does surprises me..and he'll do everything he can to cover his ass.

Stella said...

I found something about the drunk driving arrest, SaoirseDaily2, but not much.

George Bush now admits that he was convicted of drunk driving. On September 4, 1976, a state trooper saw Bush's car swerve onto the shoulder, then back onto the road. [The Bush camp spin that he was driving too slowly is simply a lie.] Bush failed a road sobriety test and blew a .10 blood alcohol, plead guilty, and was fined and had his driver's license suspended.

I found this on a blog in the corner of the internet. But, you know, .10 isn't all that much: it used to be the legal limit in most states. Now when you consider whether Bush's brain could handle a .10 inebriation: well, that's another matter entirely...

Freida of the Bees said...

Having "laws" about this gives me no sense of reassurance. It's not like he's going to follow them.

That being said, one of Obama's first acts in office, requiring his staff to cease lobbying activities for a time, gave me confidence that understands accountability.

While I know some saw him as vague in his campaign, I have thought him very forthright about details when they're pertinent. What he refused to do was speculate and make promises, even when some were nearly demanding them.

I am seriously hoping he is laying low until Bush is out of office. I think it's a better strategic plan to wait until Bush can no longer pardon, at this point.

I hope Obama will be prosecuting the mo-fo's even though you know Cheney burned the tapes, no doubt.

MRMacrum said...

It is an unstated government function to keep it's population as much in the dark as possible. All governemnts do this. With varying degrees of succuess. We are blessed with one of the most transprent governments in the World, and yet, what is hidden from public consumption here would probably shock all of us. Bush is doing what govenrment flounders do. I would expect no less from him. Hopefully his attempts to seal his records will fail.

Comrade Kevin said...

I wonder if Obama can learn from the examples of FDR and manage to get a substantial amount of his agenda passed in a timely fashion---including reversing the offenses of the Bush administration.

That being said, it would probably take a SCOTUS case to bring to light even ten percent of the abuses of power W and his team have created---some need to be repealed, but I'd much rather focus subsequent energy on what Obama can do rather than punishing W for each and every one of his sins.

Vigilante said...

Excellent post, Utah. I missed the link to the editorial. Is it my careless reading? or....?

Liberality said...

Recently I heard that Cheney had two DUIs too. Is that true? Great post Utah and I hope you are on the mend.

Utah Savage said...

Thanks guys for reading and weighing in. Vig, It was carelessness on my part, but I pretty much clipped and quoted the entire editorial. Is this Plagerism? I am quoting, but saw no author's name--just NY Times editorial. And I do attribute it to the NY Times. I try to cover my old ass as much as possible.

Vigilante said...

ed to know how to id and link it if I used it, Utah!

Katie Schwartz said...

I am with you 300% on this. He has destroyed this country -- and others -- economically, politically, etc. etc. etc. the list is endless. Those records better NOT be sealed!

Kulkuri said...

Of course he wants everything sealed, all that he can't shred or make disappear like his Air National Guard records. When he was governor he had someone shred any bad parts of his Guard records, like how he didn't show up for meetings and then bailed early. Eventually the records that remain will be revealed, tho we may not live long enough to see them.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Excellent and timely post Utah! Those records belong to "posterity."

Let's not "misunderestimate" Bush, he's got a few more days and anything can happen in one week.