I was minding my own business, just driving to a meeting when I heard a brief headline on Democracy Now:
In news from Capitol Hill, Congress is coming under criticism for approving a little noticed provision last year that makes it easier for President Bush to declare martial law and to send US troops into American cities. At the administration’s request, Congress approved the changes to a law known as the Insurrection Act without ever holding a public hearing.
Under the new law, the president now has the authority to use both active-duty armed forces and the National Guard on American soil – not just during a rebellion – but also a natural disaster, terrorist attack, pandemic or other chaotic situation.
All 50 of the nation’s governors have opposed the rule changes. Earlier this month Senators Patrick Leahy, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Republican Christopher Bond introduced legislation to repeal the changes Congress approved last year.
WHAT??? Wait, how did I miss this?
Oh, yeah. This bill was signed into law on the same day as the infamous Military Commissions Act of 2006. I was so outraged that my Democratic Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow had voted “Yes” on that measure that I didn’t notice this other law. While I was writing Stabenow a heated letter telling her that she had lost my vote forever, the Bush regime was getting away with murder… again!!
The Macon Telegraph reports it like this:
Buried in Public Law 109-364, section 1076 gives the president the green light to take command of National Guard units to act to “restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any state (emphasis ours) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the state … are incapable of maintaining public order.”
Additionally, taking command of the National Guard is permissible any time the president determines a “state has refused to enforce applicable laws.”
The president now has damn near dictatorial powers – the power to torture, suspend habeas corpus, wage preemptive, illegal war and to order the armed forces of the nation into American cities for any reason he sees fit!
On February 7, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Christopher Bond (R-MO) introduced S 513, a bill which would restore the original Insurrection Act language. A similar bill, HR 869, was introduced in the House by Republican Tom Davis of Virginia, co-chair of the House National Guard committee.
The Army Times quotes Davis:
Ã¢Â€ÂœThis usurpation of power by the executive branch is unhealthy, unwise and unworkable,Ã¢Â€Â said Davis. Ã¢Â€ÂœGovernors know best when and where and how to deploy the Guard within their borders, and only in the most extreme cases should this power be abridged.Ã¢Â€Â
Davis warned about the potential for abuse of presidential authority, saying the Bush administration tried after Hurricane Katrina and after the 2001 terrorist attacks to put active-duty military commanders in charge over state and local officials. Ã¢Â€ÂœItÃ¢Â€Â™s been the National GuardÃ¢Â€Â™s job since the birth of the republic to be the governorsÃ¢Â€Â™ homeland response force.Ã¢Â€Â Davis said. Ã¢Â€ÂœThe system we had in place has worked well for this entire time. There was no reason to change it, and now, there is no reason not to change it back.Ã¢Â€Â
This is insanity. Congress MUST repeal these acts immediately!
If you are one of the few people who still believes that the Bush/Cheney regime isn’t the greatest threat to American security, then you need your head examined. This is clearly not a partisan issue. This is an Constitutional issue. This is an American freedom issue.
Forget all this nonsense about the election of 2008. We’ve got to concentrate on getting George Bush and Dick Cheney out of the White House immediately! The World Can’t Wait!