Thursday, March 09, 2006

Faith-Based Offices To Be Part of Bush Private Government

Bush Punishes Revolters; With Signing Statement, Creates “Faith-Based Congress”

New Legislators Pledge Support To Bush Agenda; Sees Clear Sailing For Port Deal, Wiretaps, “Whatever He Wants”

After receiving a rebuke from House Republicans, promising to kill the Dubai Ports World's acquisition, President Bush stunned Capital Hill last night, making two bold moves, with a dose of criticism aimed at his detractors, that will further insulate him and clear the way to have unimpeded sailing in fulfilling his agenda.

After making a tour yesterday, of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and squarely blaming the Congress for the slow progress in funding the repairs and clean-up, the President ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create, within 45-days, a center for faith-based and community initiatives that will eliminate obstacles as to providing federal funds to religious groups to deliver social services.

The bombshell came shortly after signing the Executive Order for this new office, when Bush then added a “Signing Statement” to it, creating a “Faith Based Congress”, that “supersedes any other elective congressional body and will be the only legislative body recognize by the Office of the President.”

While not citing any specific law or precedent, President Bush, according the White House statement released this morning, indicated the White House believes they are on solid legal footing, via the Constitution dealing with Presidential Powers, as well as the Powers of War that Congress has already given to the President.

“We see no reason, legal or otherwise, that prevents the President for taking this action,” said White House Spokesman, Scott McClellan.

Congress Stunned, Angry and Given 30-Day Notice To Clear Premises

Both Senate and House leaders were shocked by the news, after receiving a copy of the Executive Order and Signing Statement, and with that, a 30-Day Notice to “clear the premises”.

“I’m reviewing the videotapes on this today,” said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), “and I can tell you right now, we may have to pull the Nuclear Option to save this august body. I would have never envisioned, much like the stocks I sold tanking, that we would have to use this harsh measure against the White House.”

“This is purely vindictive,” said Minority Leader, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). “This is an unauthorized, preemptive strike against the Congress, much like his War in Iraq. I don’t know all the details yet, but it sounds like he’s planning an illegal occupation of the Congress.”

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) was dismissive of the President, as well as the two, new faith-based offices.

"If you still have poor leadership and inadequate resources, you're going to have the same results," Collins said.

Challenge To Save Congress May Come From Signing Statement Challenge

While most member of Congress believe the Nuclear Option will be ineffective in challenging the President, a growing number of legislators are looking at the use of Bush’s Signing Statements, and using the courts to bat down the orders.

“He’s using these Signing Statements as, essentially, a Line-Item Veto,” said Representative and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “He’s been acting like a kid in a tree house, writing his own laws and rules.”

John Dean, lawyer and convicted felon of the former President Nixon Administration, writing for FindLaw.Com, believes the Bush Administration has been abusing and misusing the Signing Statement provision.

While saying that Signing Statements are “old news” and that previous Presidents’ use of them was, typically, commentary or criticism of laws passed by Congress, Dean offers that President Bush has employed them to, essentially, extend the powers of the Executive Office.

Dean cites the book, By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Executive Direct Action, by Phillip Cooper, a leading expert on signing statements.

Dean writes;

By Cooper's count, George W. Bush issued 23 signing statements in 2001; 34 statements in 2002, raising 168 constitutional objections; 27 statements in 2003, raising 142 constitutional challenges, and 23 statements in 2004, raising 175 constitutional criticisms. In total, during his first term Bush raised a remarkable 505 constitutional challenges to various provisions of legislation that became law.

That number may be approaching 600 challenges by now. Yet Bush has not vetoed a single bill, notwithstanding all these claims, in his own signing statements, that they are unconstitutional insofar as they relate to him.”

Faith-Based Offices To Be Part of Bush Private Government

It is expected, according to sources close to the White House, that the two new, Faith-Based departments will become part of the private government that President Bush owns, as reported by The Garlic last month.

Speaking to reporters at a Cabinet Meeting, addressing a question about the furor over the Administration's secret approval of a $6.8 billion sale that will allow a United Arab Emirates company to control six critical ports, the President said;

"The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by my government, the more they'll be comforted that our ports will be secure."

The White House stated that the President’s Cabinet would not change, but would not comment on, if the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Faith-Based Congress would be Cabinet-level status

Holy Rollers and Favorite Contractors Lining Up For Seats in Faith-Based Congress

The White House has not released yet just how large the Faith-Based Congress will be, or how many members it will have.

A list, with no notes or designations, was obtained by reporters, and it showed a wide-range of friends of the Administration, as well as Halliburton that may be the body of the Faith-Based Congress.

Halliburton, according to one source, is creating a “bevy of new subsidiaries” that would meet the parameters and qualifications for the two new Faith-Based Bush initiatives.

The list included Focus On Family and the Family Research Council, who sources said would likely oversee the Justice Sunday and other Sunday Rally programs, as well as Reverend Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing, the Catholic Charities, the United Methodist Committee on Relief and the Southern Baptists.

Unconfirmed reports have longtime Bush friend Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and Project for the New American Century (PNAC) being guaranteed seats in the new Faith-Based Congress.

“All we had to do,” said a source who claims to be a member of the Faith-Based Congress, “was to pledge our support of the President’s agenda. The War in Iraq, the Dubai Port Deal, the Illegal Wiretapping, it’s all good. As long as we get our funding, the President can do anything he wants.”

Bush Administration friends and favorites have been lining up to be part of the new "Faith-Based Congress" the President issued a Signing Statement on last evening

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