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Vote Out Rubber-Stamping Congress; plus Bush and Martial Law

Oh sure, a few of the Republicans are now making noises about wanting change in how the Iraq war is being fought, but they are total Johnny-come-lately's.
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For those who think the country is going in the wrong direction and for those who think the Iraq war was a mistake that is compounded daily by staggering incompetence - the core thing to do is to VOTE THE RUBBER-STAMPING CONGRESS out of office.

Oh sure, a few of the Republicans are now making noises about wanting change in how the Iraq war is being fought, but they are total Johnny-come-lately's. It's too late for me - vote them out.

(Goodbye, Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania - until 10 minutes ago you were with the President on Iraq, now you're looking for other strategies, yet to be disclosed; and you're with the President on his pig-headed opposition to stem cell research - I want you and the others who have supported the President on these issues gone. I hope my neighbors in Pennsylvania vote you out.)

"Cut and run" vs. "stay and die." "Cut and run" vs. "Do the same thing over and over again."

"Fight to win" - how do you win in a country where there are centuries old hatreds fueling two different groups (the Sunnis and the Shiites), how do you make them into a democracy? Colin Powell's state department had studies and papers on this problem, but they were ignored by the truly stubborn and non-reality-based loonies we have running the country: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld.

Recently, television has been showing us the by now familiar clip of Cheney saying we'd be greeted as liberators. But tv also showed a less familar one: I had forgotten the press conference from Rumsfeld (that preceded the Iraq invasion) where he said the war would last a month or two, probably six months at the most. (That's why they didn't plan for after the invasion... they thought we'd be greeted as liberators, the Iraqis would all be happy, they'd hold elections, poof! It would be done.)


That's the end of message number one. It's nothing new I know, but please vote, and please vote them out.

Message number two is something I stumbled upon last night, and hadn't read anywhere, so wanted to draw it to people's attention.


On October 17, 2006, Bush signed into law the "Defense Authorization Act of 2007" - and apparently in conference a change was made in the act that makes it easier for Bush to declare martial law, and to call out the National Guard WITHOUT the approval of the state's governor.

You know, Bush needs more and more power - he's our Daddy, he loves us, he knows what's right, he's the decider, it's his birthday, why should governors have anything to say?

So that if our next election ends up feeling rigged - if the results don't match the exit polls the way they didn't in Ohio in 2004 - and if people gather and protest at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia... Rove could send in thugs to cause trouble so it seems like the crowd is violent, and then Bush could call in the National Guard without clearing it with Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, and we could have Kent State again. (For those too young to know, during Vietnam the National Guard was called in to control angry students at Kent State College, and shot several of them dead.)

Oh, Durang is paranoid. Oh, Democrats are crazy, don't they know Bush is only about protecting America?

Well he doesn't like disagreement much, does he? He seems to think he's above the law. Why does he need this new power?

I learned about this expanded martial law power for Bush in an email I received from something called I've never heard of them before, but I like peace and I'm open to teams and I like nets, as long as they're consensual.

The email said that on October 17, 2006, Bush signed the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" - the same day he signed the "I get to define torture, and I get to lock people up forever without access to lawyers or trial" act.

So it was a good day for Bush.

(The "I define torture/goodbye Habeas Corpus" law is otherwise known as the Military Commissons Act, the one that McCain, Warner and Graham initially objected to but caved in on in such a cowardly way, and then gave a lying press conference saying they had all reached a wonderful compromise on it. "We capitulated" would have been the better way to put it.)

I went to "the Google" to see if there were any articles on this, and I found one here, and I found a statement Senator Patrick Leahy made that was entered into the Congressional record on September 29th.

(Do you all recall it was Senator Leahy's office that got sent the anthrax after 9/11? And can you believe the government somehow can't find the person or persons who did this, even though it was very specialized anthrax you had to be an expert to know how to make?)

I quote from Leahy's statement:

It also should concern us all that the Conference agreement includes language that subverts solid, longstanding posse comitatus statutes that limit the military's involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it easier for the President to declare martial law.

He goes on to talk about the conference report removing from this bill the Empowerment Act which was meant to give the National Guard more "bureaucratic muscle" within the Pentagon (which was taken out due to the Department of Defense just "not liking" the National Guard, Leahy says), and he wraps up his thoughts this way:

Not only does this Conference Report unfortunately drop the Empowerment amendment entirely, it adopts some incredible changes to the Insurrection Act, which would give the President more authority to declare martial law. Let me repeat: The National Guard Empowerment Act, which is designed to make it more likely for the National Guard to remain in State control, is dropped from this conference report in favor of provisions making it easier to usurp the Governors control and making it more likely that the President will take control of the Guard and the active military operating in the States.

The changes to the Insurrection Act will allow the President to use the military, including the National Guard, to carry out law enforcement activities without the consent of a governor.... Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy, and it is for that reason that the Insurrection Act has only been invoked on three -- three -- in recent history. The implications of changing the Act are enormous, but this change was just slipped in the defense bill as a rider with little study. Other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals.

[Jumping to the end he says:]

Because of this rubberstamp Congress, these provisions of this conference report add up to the worst of all worlds. We fail the National Guard, which expects great things from us as much as we expect great things from them. And we fail our Constitution, neglecting the rights of the States, when we make it easier for the President to declare martial law and trample on local and state sovereignty.

So there we have it. Just something else for people who care about balance of powers to worry about. And something for Rush Limbaugh and Monica Crowley and Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham to be glad about. Daddy has a new weapon to use against any of his citizens who disagree with him. More power to Daddy. Daddy is great.

Lord, get rid of the rubber-stamping Congress, would you?

[Note: For a while the Leahy link didn't work. If that happens again, you can find his statement this way: Go to his site at Then click on Press Archives lower right. then go to "Remarks of Sen Patrick Leahy, National Defense Authorization," dated September 29, 2006.]

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