Frosty Nixon

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Bush’s Sense Of History: What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Me

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The Washington Post provides a delightful example of one of the myriad ways the Bush Administration will exit as it governed, with comically opaque statements, inept execution of its legal responsibilities, and the providential retirement for health reasons of an official who facilitated its crimes by his own idleness.

The jerry-rigged pile which is the Bush White House email system is supposed to disgorge its treasures onto the National Archives when the president leaves office in a month.

But there’s never a lack of drama with these guys.

The endless litigation trying to force Bush not to destroy presidential records through sloth, indifference and malice has taught us that some five million emails may be missing from the White House system, as well as tens of thousands written on Republican National Committee email accounts in order to evade records keeping law.

National Archives’ General Counsel Garry Stern is praying for a Christmas Miracle:

“we hope and expect they all will exist on the system or be recoverable…We can’t say for sure.”

But Santa may not exist, or have treats for all the good boys and girls:

  White House spokesman Scott M. Stanzel said last week that “we are making significant progress in accounting for the e-mail records stored on our computer network.” But he declined to say how many e-mails remain missing or to predict how long the recovery will take because the issue is the subject of ongoing litigation. “

“Stanzel said the White House is also still “working to acquire” e-mails involving official government business that were transmitted by presidential aides through accounts operated by the Republican National Committee, a problem also first publicized almost three years ago. “We continue to be in communication with RNC officials about recovering official records,” he said without offering details. Such records are subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires their transfer to the Archives at noon on Jan. 20. “

Outgoing Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein has long urged faith-based archiving.  Visiting the future

bush-weinstein-smu-speaking.jpg       George W. Bush Library home at SMU he painted the vision of a happy future , where the cares and controversies of the present fall away, and a disturbing category he invented called “Presidential Families” decide it’ll be good for grandpa’s image to let loose the papers.

The ongoing scandal that ex Presidents, and thanks to Bush, their heirs for untold generations, have any say in shaping the public record and image of past administrations went unmentioned.

But it’s not Weinstein’s problem anymore.

He’s resigning before the end of term smashup for health reasons, offering a glowing self-assessment has he scurries away from the looming train-wreck.

we at the National Archives have worked diligently and successfully on our primary mission of maximizing public access to the records of all three branches of government while protecting at all costs this agency’s rock-solid nonpartisan integrity

The Post’s story ends on a reassuring note.  There’s no word on Saddam’s pistol, but…

“The bullhorn used by Bush at the World Trade Center site in New York is among the objects set to go to Texas.

Bush: Pictured Perfect

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I guess the Portrait Gallery’s new Bush painting   bush-laura-portraits.jpg is more flattering than the Philadelphia freakazoidbush-philadelphia-head-on.jpg  but lordy can’t this guy pick better memorializers?

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Cheney Waits

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The Bush Administration may look sleepy, and the President himself may be trying for wistful, but someone’s minding the store.

Dick Cheney, everyone’s Uncle Shifty, continues his lunge for power and secrecy even as he goes out the door.

In a court filing over a challenge to his control of Vice Presidential papers, Cheney essentially says that regardless of what you may imagine about the claims of history, a public right to know, or what the law would appear to require,

The vice president alone may determine what constitutes vice presidential records or personal records, how his records will be created, maintained, managed and disposed, and are all actions that are committed to his discretion by law.

Cheney is under court order not to mess with his papers for now, but can the law’s imagination comprehend what  such a towering institutional ego might do as he exits?

Facts On The Ground: The Strange Courtship of Princess Diana & Bill Clinton

 clinton-stamp-dagestean.jpg        Together Forever!        diana-stamp-dagestan.jpg

Mr. President is doing his part to crash the Clinton Foundation web site, joining the aggrieved and the whimsiclay curious in pawing through these givers to the greater good of Bill Clinton.

As so many have cautioned, early trawling has been limited by the slowness of the site when it functions at all.

Amidst the proud donations of our Middle Eastern allies, some other curiosities appear.

Why does the public University of Florida appear among the $50-100,000 donors?

In the loftier one to five million donor band is a “Presidential Inaugural Committee” [left over 1997 money?] and the Princess Diana Memorial Fund.  The latter might be a pass through for some common project on AIDS, although there is no mention of one on the Fund’s site.

The two big haired Nineties personalities do share an interest in cluster bombs: he dropped them in and about Kosovo,  and her foundation attempts to clean them up.

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