Monday, July 30, 2007

Get ready for doomsday

Since I was already up early, and the morning web walking was going well, I thought this might be a perfect opportunity to take the air out of your balloon, and ruin your day.

This may be hard to believe, but President Bush has yet another plan to take more power for himself. In this circumstance, all he need do is declare a disaster. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the poop.

The plan, embodied in National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51), was issued without fanfare by Bush on May 9. It draws upon blueprints prepared by past administrations stretching back to the Truman administration.

The latest directive underscores long-standing presidential authority to declare a "catastrophic emergency" and coordinate "enduring constitutional government."

But it also awards the president broader authority to take over disaster recovery from state officials and calls on federal authorities to provide "appropriate support" to the vice president to orchestrate any post-attack recovery, if necessary.

More power for the Vice-President? What could possibly be wrong with that?

One congressman, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, complains that the White House has rejected his request to review secret parts of the Bush plan.

"Maybe people who think there's a conspiracy out there are right," DeFazio speculates. "I just can't believe they're going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack."

Then again, President Clinton and Vice-President Obama may need expanded executive powers to deal with such dire contingencies.

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