Tuesday, November 28, 2006

'My Pet Goat' & The Bush Presidential Library

But will the library include "My Pet Goat"?
It is deeply offensive that The Decider wants to raise $500 million to build a president library and think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Beyond the fact that George Bush is probably the least literate and most poorly read president since God knows when, his administration's penchant for secrecy extends to papers that routinely are made available to the public after a president leaves office.
So what the hell is he going to put in his library? How about "My Pet Goat," the book he was reading to a Florida kindergarten class when he bemusedly reacted to the news that a jetliner had crashed into the first World Trade Center tower.
One of The Decider's first acts after being inaugurated in 2001 was to issue a little-noticed executive order misleadingly entitled “Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act.”
This order effectively overturned an act of Congress and a Supreme Court decision guaranteeing public access to presidential papers and will make it far more difficult for Americans to learn of government abuses. Surprised?
In 1978, Congress passed the Presidential Records Act, declaring that the U.S. will retain ownership and control of presidential records. The act was a response to the clashes between Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Nixon administration over who owned Nixon’s records, including Watergate era tape recordings.

The act requires that the unclassified papers of a president be routinely released 12 years after the president’s term ends. There are provisions to justify non-disclosure of information that could threaten national security.

In restricting access, the White House misrepresented both the 1978 law and the new executive order.

Said Bush at the time:

We responded to a new law written by Congress that lays out a procedure that I think is fair for past presidents.
And White House flak Ari Fleisher (remember him?):
As a result of the new law that is now going into effect, and thanks to the executive order that the president will soon issue, more information will be forthcoming.

More here.

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