This story “Bush Moves Toward Martial Law” on Toward Freedom has been making some noise on the ‘Net. Our President has signed into law (in a private closed-door ceremony) Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007” (H.R.5122) (2). This act allows the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.”
The legislation is available online here, so I figured it was worth taking a look. There is so much rhetoric these days and the media is such a shill for the major political parties that I don’t believe anything until I see it for myself. So, I hop over to the page and search down for “SEC. 1076. USE OF THE ARMED FORCES IN MAJOR PUBLIC EMERGENCIES”.
Now, I’m no legal expert, but some of the subtle changes in language are kind of startling:
SEC. 1076. USE OF THE ARMED FORCES IN MAJOR PUBLIC EMER-
(a) USE OF THE ARMED FORCES AUTHORIZED.–
(1) IN GENERAL.–Section 333 of title 10, United States
Code, is amended to read as follows:
“ 333. Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law
“(a) USE OF ARMED FORCES IN MAJOR PUBLIC EMERGENCIES.–
(1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the
National Guard in Federal service, to–
“(A) 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 or possession of the
United States, the President determines that–
“(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent
that the constituted authorities of the State or possession
are incapable of maintaining public order; and
“(ii) such violence results in a condition described in
paragraph (2); or
“(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic
violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrec-
tion, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition
described in paragraph (2).
“(2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition
that– “(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or
possession, as applicable, and of the United States within that
State or possession, that any part or class of its people is
deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named
in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted
authorities of that State or possession are unable, fail, or refuse
to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that
H. R. 5122–323
“(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the
United States or impedes the course of justice under those
“(3) In any situation covered by paragraph (1)(B), the State
shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the
laws secured by the Constitution.
“(b) NOTICE TO CONGRESS.–The President shall notify Congress
of the determination to exercise the authority in subsection (a)(1)(A)
as soon as practicable after the determination and every 14 days
thereafter during the duration of the exercise of that authority.”.
(2) PROCLAMATION TO DISPERSE.–Section 334 of such title
is amended by inserting “or those obstructing the enforcement
of the laws” after “insurgents”.
(3) HEADING AMENDMENT.–The heading of chapter 15 of
such title is amended to read as follows:
“CHAPTER 15–ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAWS TO RESTORE PUBLIC ORDER”.
Now, the bits highlighted in bold are interesting. It more or less reads that things like demonstrations are now held in the same category as insurgents. And Bush can deploy troops anywhere in the US he wants and not inform congress until it is “practicable”.
Holy goose-step, Batman.
Now, the question here is “Why?” We haven’t had a serious attack here in years now. There are no huge protests. People are too busy trying to survive the Bush Economy and keep the oil and pharmaceutical companies profitable to do such things.
Well, there’s a few nice conspiracy theories to offer here. One is simply: Chaney. Another is that they know something the rest of us don’t and are preparing the necessary military muscle to implement it. Another is they know the upcoming election will be nasty – and even though Bush can’t run, he will be protested everyplace he goes to support the party.
But I think the simple answer is the right one: “Because They Can.” When one party controls the entire government – and the media. And when the representatives “of the people” in both parties are more concerned about re-election and getting rich, is it any wonder that such a government starts to serve itself?
The Two-Party System does not work when neither party actually works to make the lives of The People any better. You only end up trading one brand of treachery for another. This little bit of close-door policy-making clearly demonstrates the level of arrogance in the current administration. And the level of disdain it holds towards We The People.
And what is most sad of all is that we have troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan who are being told they are sacrificing their lives to “spread Democracy.” Meanwhile, it is being quietly and meticulously destroyed here at home.