The article was originally posted at Poligazette.

As Michael noted earlier today, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order on Wednesday the essentially revoked Executive Order 13233, written by former President George W. Bush in November 2001. 13233 is particularly notable as it essentially made the incumbent president the just about nearly the only decision maker on access to records of former presidents, whereas in the order it replaced, 12667, it was more of a team effort involving the Attorney General, as well as the Counsel to the President, and other agencies.  It also extended Executive privilege claims and review of former records by the incumbent president to former Vice Presidents.

One can see why this would be a problem, of course.  While there are legitimate reasons for Executive privledge (national security and the like, but perhaps others), giving near unlimited control of review to one person means that that one person can decide to keep away a record that may not affect national security, but may be simply embarassing.  Perhaps details of a scandal from a former administation that never gained public light.  Could be anything, really.

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The following is an entry I hadn’t yet cross-posted from Poligazette.  It was orginally posted January 16th.

So what would happen if I didn’t pay my Social Security and Medicare taxes for four years straight?  I’d probably see a lot of bars around me.  And not the type that serve alcohol.  If you’re Timothy Geithner, though, you get nominated by Barack Obama for Treasury Secretary.

The Obama team claims that all the non-payment of taxes was simply an “honest mistake,” but if that’s so, why was Geithner “repeatedly advised” by his former employer, the IMF, of his backtaxes owed?  Did they just want to bug him or something?

Is anyone actually buying this?  Maybe you are if you’re a Senate Democrat, but I don’t know if the majority of Americans will.

The following is an entry I hadn’t yet cross-posted from Poligazette.  It was originally posted January 11th.

Season seven of 24 begins tonight, so I thought it was an appropriate time to discuss it.

For years it has been slammed by anti-torture activists as a show that could only be produced during the Bush years, for its alleged promotion of torture.  There can be little doubt that the show does often portray tortures as a means to an end, and its morality is rarely questioned.  Jack Bauer is always right, after all, and few argue with his methods for long.

However, the portrayal of torture is just one element of the show.  Each season also typically has an underlying political struggle going on with those who are in power and those who want to be in power.  Now, with the torture element, surely this is a show that portrays Republicans as the heroes, strong and protecting the country first, and the Democrats as weak and betraying the country.

Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Two parties have really caught my attention this year.  The first, the Libertarian Party, with Bob Barr, I’ve written about to some extent.  The second is the New American Independent Party and its candidate Frank McEnulty.

Tomorrow’s entry will provide more information about why I like his positions, but for the time being, check out his website!

Like many people, I learned about Presidential succession in school, in the case that the President should die in office.  It goes VP first, then Speaker of the House, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, etc.

Patrick Edaburn over at The Moderate Voice brings up an interesting point regarding succession, particularly about the two current options for President Pro Tempore:

This post is currently held by 90 year old Robert Byrd of West Virginia. If the Republicans were in charge the post would be occupied by 84 year old Ted Stevens of Alaska.

I have nothing against the elderly and know many senior citizens who have done some truly great things. But if we are dealing with a major crisis that resulted in the death of the President, the Vice President and the Speaker of the House I am not sure we would want someone in their 80’s or 90’s to take over.

I think Edaburn has some good points.  Is a man or women that old fit to serve for the Presidency?  Several arguments can be made to that extent, though I think both Byrd and Stevens could do it.  Still, it does bring up questions.  Consider that a lot is being made out of John McCain’s age.  I could see some of the same questions being asked if Byrd or Stevens were to get closer to the Presidency.

Interestingly, the President Pro Tempore was the original position that was second in line to the Presidency in the 1792 act.  It was removed from consideration entirely in the 1886 law, then put into third place in the 1948 law.  From 1792-1886, the holders of the position were younger.  However, since people generally died younger as well, you have to wonder if a 66 year old in 1848 was the same as an 84 year old now.

While I’m not entirely convinced that an older person acting as President is inherently bad (I believe this of John McCain), I agree with Edaburn that it is something to look at.

Last Thursday, McCain campaign economic advisor Phil Gramm received a lot of flak for saying the following:

“We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline,” said the former Texas senator. “You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession.”

Later, Gramm clarified his comments by saying he was referring to the leaders, not the people.  Yet, I think his true meaning was that of the people.  Certainly, leaders can be whiners, but what about the people?

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Maybe, but maybe not.

The Journal Inquirer reported today the Chris Dodd was asked to supply some information to the Obama VP search committee:

The former White House hopeful and Connecticut lawmaker indicated that he has been approached by the campaign. “There’s been some inquiries, yeah,” Dodd said. “They ask for a lot of stuff. I’ll leave it there.”

Certainly Obama’s campaign has to search far and wide, or at least appearing to be doing so.  Dodd isn’t as well known publically, but he is a force to be reckoned with in political circles.  In some respects, he’d be similar to Dick Cheney whereas he’s not a public face, but might be effective behind the scenes, if Obama were to use him in the same way.  Dodd’s contacts in the Senate and House and elsewhere in Washington would be useful to Obama, who’s been criticized for lack of experience.  Dodd also has a long history on the Senate Foreign Relation Committee, and is the chair of the banking committee, so these things would be of use as well.

On the other hand, picking Dodd presents some risks.  If the mortgage deal Dodd got gets legs, he would become a liability.  I think Obama’s committee knows this, and will bide their time, whilst researching him otherwise.  However, if the allegations turn out to be a dud, Dodd could be back in the running.

Also, Dodd is very much a Washington insider.  He’s been in the Senate since 1981, and was in the House before that since 1975.  Picking Dodd could further damage Obama’s “change” message.  On the other hand, Obama can hardly afford to not pick somebody that has some knowledge of how Washington works.  As Cheney was George’s Bush’s Washington insider, Dodd would help on that with Obama.  Then again, so would many so many others on the speculated list of picks.

In the end, Obama has to look in every corner he can for possible vice presidents, so looking into Dodd is not so surprising.  So many other people have been looked into as well, so Dodd may not even end up on the short list.  Time will tell.

For those not in the know (like I was not too long ago), the United States is one of only 12 countries to restrict people who have HIV/AIDS from immigrating or visiting the U.S.  Those visiting or working have to get a waiver, and nobody with HIV can become a permanent resident.  For more information, blogger and columnist Andrew Sullivan has written an article for the Washington Post on the issue, including his own struggle with it.

Personally, I think discrimination of all types cannot be allowed to be legislated in the U.S., and no matter which way you cut it, this is discrimination.  So, what can be done?

Coming up soon in the Senate will be a vote on an amendment to repeal this ban.  The amendment thus far has bi-partisan support, but you can do your part to help.  Locate your state’s senators and email them urging them to support the amendment (and later the bill).

I’ve emailed Dodd and Lieberman in my state.

Apparently offended by John McCain having the moniker “George Bush’s third term” that some liberals give him, a website proposes actually giving the President a third term.

Yes, we can vote for George W. Bush in 2008. We have the right to write in the name of our chosen candidate, regardless of whether or not he is officially on the ballot.

We know that George Bush was God’s Candidate in 2000. We know that George Bush was God’s candidate again in 2004. And George Bush has been God’s president for the last 8 years.

Trust in God and vote your faith. Keep America safe. Write-in George W. Bush for President in 2008.

Good luck getting around the 22nd amendment!  They also propose its repeal.