Sad State Of Affairs

Don’t you think that it is a sad state of affairs when the President of the United States can’t be trusted to make a controversial appointment to some public office without the advice and consent of the Senate? That’s what’s going on at the moment. The Senate has scheduled, while out on holiday recess, a series of pro forma sessions, in order to create the fiction that the Senate is still in session, thereby preventing Bush from making a recess appointment, something he’s allowed to do under the Constitution. You can read about it here.

The Senate had asked him to, essentially, promise not to do that, by offering to ratify certain proposed appointments of his, in return for holding off on one that they deemed controversial. He refused. So the Senators now have to go through the sham of taking turns showing up in the Chamber, gavel the Senate open, then gavel it closed again, all in the matter of a few short seconds, just to prevent the President from defeating the “Advice and Consent” provision of the Constitution, albeit if for only a year.

You would think that the Senate could trust him to hold off until proper consideration could be given to his appointment proposal, or that he would agree to allow the normal process of Senate hearings to review the appointment, but apparently past experience led them to the current state of distrust. They probably remember when he appointed John Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations, when he was unable to be formally confirmed after being officially proposed by Bush. Bush waited until the Senate was in summer recess, then appointed him for a year.

Anyone remember when Bush claimed he was “a uniter, not a divider”?

25 thoughts on “Sad State Of Affairs

  1. Bush clearly is a man who was born in the wrong century. He tries to rule like an absolute monarch in a democratic republic. His idea of uniting people is to say, “This is what we’re doing. Now line up behind me, do what I tell you to do and don’t question my decision.”

  2. When people disregard the spirit and intent of a clause or regulation in order to go with the strict wording in order to find loopholes to gain the goals they undermine the system. They also force people to play games such as the one the Senate leadership is playing. We all become the poorer for it.

    Bush and his advisors have demonstrated that they are legalists who freely use loopholes in the law for their own selfish purposes. They are out to win the game at any cost under the guise of doing it for the people. At the end of the day we the people suffer. Bush and his team have brought more ridicule upon the Church than any other President. I suspect that in twenty years the church historians will start to conclude that Bush damaged the Christian community more than any other President. The future scholars may well conclude that the Bush administration started to undermine the foundation of the Christian Right’s political power.

  3. Bush is now trying to claim that he’s applying a pocket veto to the defense bill – which, like recess appointments, is an option that only obtains when Congress is not in session.

    Since there’s not a thing stopping him from applying a normal signed veto, which would be incontrovertible, the only possible reason for him to do that is so that he can claim that Congress is not really in session when they do this kind of pro forma gatherings.

    Silly Legislature, legal loopholes are for the Executive!

  4. Far as I can tell, Bush didn’t invent the recess appointment. This Congress seems to have invented a counter-stratagem. Seems to me you’ve found culpability where you went looking for culpability. Bush done it ’cause he’s Bush.

    -Nobody expects the Christian right!

  5. -Nobody expects the Christian right!

    Unfortunately, this isn’t true. The Christian right is always expected to rear its ugly head whenever it thinks it can. It has become as ubiquitous as deer ticks in the fall, snow in Alaska, and a morning piss.

    As the bumper sticker says, though, the Christian right is neither.

  6. Give it a name. In fact, it will continue to play a role in the nation’s political life for the indefinite future. Those whom you identify as the Christian right have as much right to participate in the political process and to exercise the franchise as the next guy.

    And how’s it neither?

  7. Hi BG (Scandal17). Thanks for you comments. I like the theme of your blog 😉

    In fact, it will continue to play a role in the nation’s political life for the indefinite future.

    That’s what I meant by ‘ubiquitous”.

    And how’s it neither?

    There are many examples of the Christian right embracing ideas and actions one wouldn’t find in the bible, (killing abortion doctors, for instances) or on the other hand, ignoring those things in the bible that should be de rigeur for Christians (loving your fellow man doesn’t seem to include homosexuals).

    And not being right? Well, that’s an opinion, but it’s neither unsupported nor vacuous.

  8. Blog Justice:

    I agree that the Christian Right has a Constitutional right to participate in American politics. I don’t think anyone here is denying that. In fact, liberals organizations like the ACLU and AU frequently defend those rights in court.

    You asked, how is it (presumable the Christian right) neither?

    With regard to being Christian, their tactics are often underhanded, nasty, dishonest and unethical, hardly in keeping with the Sermon on the Mount and other teachings of Jesus. To be blunt, they appear to be very hypocritical as they seek to impose standards on the rest of society that they themselves fail to meet. In short, they don’t live up to their name.

    As for being right, that’s is a matter of political positions. Spanish apparently disagrees with a number of their positions and therefore claims that they are wrong, or in other words, not right. It’s a pun. As it happens, I agree with him on both counts. You, of course, are free to disagree.

  9. Inquisitor:

    Ubiquitous is the quality of being everywhere, not enduring through time.

    Christian love or charity (agape) is not without an element of moral guidance, after which follows penitence and forgiveness. The idea that homosexuals are beyond the compass of Christian love is a strawman.

    I’m still not sure how you mean the Christian right isn’t right, but I didn’t say your view is unsupported or vacuous because I don’t have a clue what you mean.

    -Blog Justice

  10. Chaplain:

    Most of us who aspire to the Christianity of the Beatitudes most realize we’re doomed to failure. As for the practice of politics, I’m afraid nobody involves himself in that area without sullying himself. It’s a dirty business, but we can’t all spend our lives in monasteries or live as hermits.

    So the idea of the Christian right not being right is simply that they’re wrong?

    OK, matter clarified. I didn’t pick up on the intended double-meaning.

    -Blog Justice

  11. Semantics is…well, semantics. I won’t argue with you over words. I was trying to get across that the Christian right seems to be here to stay, like it or not. So is gonorrhea.

    Yes, I meant they are not right in the sense of the pun the Chaplain pointed out.

  12. The argument against religion is not that it’s wrong in principle, but that it’s a form of cognition without foundation in either evidence or reasonable argument. That would be faith. Of course, there are other forms of cognition that don’t depend on evidence and reason, e.g., the perception of the sublime and the beautiful. Nevertheless, the counter-religious principle, atheism, depends as much on irrational cognition, i.e., faith, as religion itself. Atheism, or the denial of religion, seems to derive from a motive, which is a deep felt anger towards God for our predicament. Anger of that sort is always a temptation.

  13. Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before. Atheism is a religion, atheists are angry at an entity they deny exists, atheism is based on faith, just like religion.

    No. None of that is atheism, but if it makes you feel better, go ahead and believe it.

    And the perception of the sublime and the beautiful is a personal exprience that makes no claim about truth or reality.

  14. BJ ….. To say “Atheism, or the denial of religion, seems to derive from a motive, which is a deep felt anger towards God for our predicament” is a broad sermonic-like statement that may sound great simple statement from the pulpit. Test the thesis. I doubt that it is not sustainable when put under the examination of life. I agree there are some who have left the faith with a deep anger over the human predicament, but I would strongly agree that atheism is motivated or derived from a deep anger toward “God”. By enlarge atheists are not convinced that a divinity in any form exists, at least not as articulated by any religion. I would challenge you to test your statement. Meet at least an half-dozen atheists who have left the Church and truly listen to their hearts, issues and questions. Also listen similarly to three or four humanists and atheists who have never been associated with the formal religion. Then, see if the thesis statement holds up.

    You also mentioned “Christian love or charity (agape) is not without an element of moral guidance, after which follows penitence and forgiveness.” Paul used a Greek term and concept that had long predated the founding of the Church. The concept as such does not contain the elements of moral guidance, penitence and forgiveness. The concept in Greek, including how Paul uses it, is a relationship term that speaks of motivation and orientation one has towards another or an object.

  15. Spanish: Wrong. Aesthetic experience is not subjective. You need to acquire some knowledge of philosophy instead of shooting from the hip.

    What philosophy? You said

    Of course, there are other forms of cognition that don’t depend on evidence and reason, e.g., the perception of the sublime and the beautiful.

    I agree. But if I say a rose is beautiful, or the vista of the Grand Canyon is awe inspiring, I’m not making a truth claim. I am voicing my emotional, subjective response to my perception of both. But, if I say the rose was created by god, or the Grand Canyon by Noah’s flood and that is why they are both beautiful and sublime, then I AM making a truth claim. Big difference.

    If you want to extrapolate from my subjective response to a rose to conclude that atheism is also based on faith, well, you’re going to need a lot more than philosophy to do so.

    But we seem to have gone off track.

    We were originally talking about the Christian Right, which I compared, tongue in cheek, to gonorrhea, implying that we’re stuck with both. You countered that gonorrhea had a vaccine (Oh, to have a Christian Right vaccine!). I then agreed, (though, truth be told, I don’t know that we have a vaccine for gonorrhea) but indicated that despite the vaccine for religion (reason, logic, clear thinking), we still have religion. That then sparked your little riff on the cognitive basis for atheism, which, I indicated, is nonsense, but which most theists like to convince themselves is true, in order to justify their irrational dependence on their beliefs. (“See? Atheists are irrational, so it’s OK if I am too.”)

    What next?

  16. BJ …. forgive me for assuming you would use the hermeneutic principles pastors and teachers of the Bible encourage their congregants to use when reading the Bible. Take the statement in context and not to take the statement too broadly and thereby stretching it beyond covering more than the presenting question. The context was atheism…. Let me be explicit and clear so that the same mistake will not be made … test your thesis by interviewing individuals who have left the church, who once claimed to have a dynamic faith and who are now take an atheist stance. With sincerity, listen to their hearts and statements. Listen to them describe their walk, including the orthodoxy to which they use to testify, teach and live out with passion. Set aside any bias and assumptions that they were never truly Christians … accept their testimony.

    If you cannot set aside the assumption because you hold that once a person is saved that they are never lost, then I have two questions to ask. Why are you engaged is this dialogue? Why waste your time since those who are predestined due to divine fiat before the foundation the world will be saved regardless of such dialogue? Those who are atheists are predestined to be eternally condemned, and as Betza noted, the Church should celebrate that the heathen exist as they act as the means for the God to show his justice in action.

  17. Tommykey:
    The Deacon’s final paragraph is not a statement of his beliefs, it is a statement of the logical outcome of a strong Calvinist “once saved, always saved” and “double predestination” mindset. Let me assure you that the deacon never held that view himself, nor does he believe that atheists are doomed to hell.

  18. I would have responded to BJ but the Deacon has far exceeded anything I’d write so I’ll direct my comment where it belongs, to the original article: Bush may have said he’s a unifier, but he’s said repeatedly that he’s “the decider”. Decider trumps unifier, unless he decides to unify, but I doubt he’ll ever decide to do that. I believe his idea of “unify” means make everyone do what you decide.

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