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The Nightmare Isn't Over

Like Cornered Rats, GOP Losers More Dangerous Than Ever
NEW YORK--"My fellow Americans," assured incoming president Gerald Ford hours after the Watergate scandals forced Richard Nixon to resign, "our long national nightmare is over."

I'm tempted, in the aftermath of the widest and most stunning electoral repudiation of Republicanism since Watergate, to mark the Democratic recapture of governorships, the House of Representatives (and probably the Senate) as the beginning of the end of Bush's fascism lite, and thus a long overdue vindication of what I've been saying about him since his December 2000 coup d'ιtat.

Back in 2001 and 2002, state-controlled media called me radical. Now, with most Americans seeing things my way, I'm mainstream. Yet I'm more scared now.
"Iraq," I wrote a week before the 2003 invasion, "will probably be Bush's Waterloo." And so it has been: Exit polls found voters more motivated by opposition to the war than any other issue. "There was general revulsion in the country, particularly among Democrats and independents, against the conduct of the war in Iraq," said pollster John Zogby. "This was, at the grass roots, a referendum against the war and the president. For Republicans, there was significant disappointment about opportunities lost through enormous budget deficits, threats to civil liberties, a failed social agenda, and the war." Although Democrats failed to nationalize the election, Iraq succeeded: a pitiful seven percent of respondents to the latest Gallup survey still want to "stay the course."

A White House controlled by an unpopular, highly partisan lame duck, a rival party majority without enough votes in Congress to override his veto, and the early start of a highly anticipated 2008 presidential campaign add up to one likely result: gridlock. Bush's legislative and military agendas are dead. But our long national nightmare has just begun.

A Frightening New Security State

We'll be cleaning up Bush's mess long after his scheduled abdication on January 20, 2009. But the trillions of dollars in national debt he has run up and his two losing wars will drain our economy for decades to come. We've provoked a new generation of terrorists. Yet even more damaging and nearly impossible to unravel will be the threats to Americans posed by the neofascist national security apparatus the Bushists will leave behind--unless they use it to remain in power.

Shortly after 9/11 Bush began the first of a long series of power grabs that have transformed him from the leader of a country beholden to its people to an authoritarian despot. He signed a secret executive order granting himself the right to declare anyone in the world, including a U.S. citizen, an "enemy combatant"--without proof--and order him assassinated. Violating federal law and privacy rights, Bush authorized the NSA to listen to our phone calls and read our e-mail. FBI, CIA and HomeSec goons "disappeared" thousands of people into a horrible new matrix of concentration camps and secret prisons.
On October 17, 2006 Bush signed the Military Commissions Act. The new law, scarcely mentioned in the media, is breathtaking for the breadth of its attack on basic rights. Under the MCA either the president or the secretary of defense may declare you an "enemy combatant"--as usual, without proof. Under that designation you may be jailed, without the right to an attorney, for the rest of your life. You can even be tortured. Your U.S. citizenship can't protect you. And it's all "legal."

Concentration Camps

In January 2006 HomeSec awarded a $385 million contract to Kellogg, Brown and Root, the subsidiary of Halliburton Co., to build "temporary detention and processing capabilities"--internment camps--"in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

The question, asks Progressive magazine editor Ruth Conniff, "is what is the government planning to do with mass roundups of people?" After all, Bush and other Republican leaders have spent five years calling Democrats and others who disagree with them traitors and terrorists. Following so much hateful rhetoric, you can't blame liberals for wondering whether they too are about to be declared "enemy combatants." They're not paranoid; they're just paying attention.

And Now, Martial Law

About a week ago some left-wing bloggers began circulating rumors that Bush had secretly signed something called the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" that "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.'" I couldn't find the text of the law at the time, formerly H.R. 5122, or a reliable media account, so I decided not to report on it.

I can now confirm the bloggers' account. Bush signed the JWDAA hours after the MCA, in a furtive closed-door White House ceremony. There is, buried deep down in Title V, Subtitle B, Part II, Section 525(a) of the JWDAA, a coup. The Bush Administration has quietly stolen the National Guard away from the states.
Here's the relevant section of Public Law 109-364:
"The [military] Secretary [of the Army, Navy or Air Force] concerned may order a member of a reserve component under the Secretary's jurisdiction to active duty...The training or duty ordered to be performed...may include...support of operations or missions undertaken by the member's unit at the request of the President or Secretary of Defense."

The National Guard, used to maintain order during natural disasters and civil disturbances and the sole vehicle available under U.S. law to enforce a declaration of martial law, has previously been controlled by state governors. They have now been stripped of that control. Thanks to the JWDAA, Bush or Rumsfeld can now deploy National Guardsmen in American cities without obtaining permission from state governors.

Section 526 of the Warner Act goes further still. It states that the "Governor of a State...with the consent of the [military] Secretary concerned, may order a member of the National Guard to perform Active Guard and Reserve duty..." The key word is "may." A governor can no longer deploy the Guard in his or her state without first getting Rumsfeld's permission.

Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sounded the alarm during senatorial debate, but U.S. state-controlled media ignored him. The Warner Act, he said, "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...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."

Only one governor, Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, made a fuss over the Warner Act. A spokesman for the National Governors Association requested a wimpy "clarification" concerning what circumstances might prompt Bush to impose martial law. As far as I can determine this column marks the first time the JWDAA has been mentioned in the mainstream media.

Now the dark men who engineered America's post-9/11 police state have watched the public reject their policies. The incoming Democratic majority Congress will be able to hold hearings and launch investigations that could lead to their indictments and removal from office. John Dingell, the liberal incoming chairman of the Commerce Committee did nothing to dissuade GOP fears of "a blizzard of subpoenas": "As the Lord High Executioner said in 'The Mikado,'" Dingell recently joked, "I have a little list."

A year of crisis commences.

As ugly secrets surface, Bushists will turn desperate. Democracy has failed their grand schemes; token resignations like Rumsfeld's come too little, too late. Only tyranny can save their skins. Will the beleaguered neocons led by Cheney and Bush, cornered like rats, unleash their brand-new police state on their political opponents? Or will they tough it out and suck up the fines and prison sentences to come? The next year or two could go either way.
The nightmare is not over.

(Copyright 2006 Ted Rall)
make a fuss 08.Nov.2006 15:09

jody

finally this warner act is getting some "legit" press... but not enough. below is the media contact list from fair's website:

Let your voice be heard! Talk back to the media.
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bi-partisanship 08.Nov.2006 15:14

old citizen

... the democrats are quite as adept at running the 'nightmare' as the republicans. there will be no retreat from the strategic aims of empire as foreign policy has been consistently bi-partisan throughout the 2 plus centuries of american history. the system won't be changed by putting different faces in the driver's seat, but ONLY by disintegrating the vehicle.

Agreed 08.Nov.2006 18:24

Den Mark, Vancouver

I was at a Vancouver lounge where people were watching returns last nite. I had to leave after less than an hour, because of pathetic excitement of otherwise good people, to rolling victories of democrats. I wanted to vomit my happy hour food, at this biennial replay of people betting their hope-chips on the republicratic corporate farce.

Senator Leahy's comments on National Defense Authorization Act 09.Nov.2006 13:31

local

U.S. SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY

CONTACT: Office of Senator Leahy, 202-224-4242


VERMONT

Remarks Of Sen. Patrick Leahy
National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2007
Conference Report
Congressional Record
September 29, 2006

Mr. President, I rise to express my grave reservations about certain provisions of the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill Conference Report. This legislation poorly handles key provisions related to the National Guard, which — as the events since September 11th have highlighted — is critical to our Nations' defense. The final conference report drops the reforms known as the National Guard Empowerment Act, a bill that would have given the National Guard more bureaucratic muscle inside the Pentagon. It would have cleared away some of these administrative cobwebs and given the Guard the seat at the decision-making table that it needs and deserves. 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. There is good reason for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations.

Combined, these moves amount to a double punch against the National Guard. The National Guard has done so much to protect the security and safety of our country. Yet the Authorization Bill sends the signal that we are not interested in truly supporting them. This conference report says we do not want to address glaring problems that have surfaced during their increasingly frequent deployments. And, incredibly enough, it says to the Guard that other military forces are better to carry out tasks here at home. In short, this bill goes in the wrong direction.

The Guard's Accomplishments

Let's review what the 500,000 men and women of the National Guard do for the country. The National Guard is essential to the military's missions at home and abroad. More than 10,000 members of the National Guard are currently called up for domestic operations, most along the border and involved in counter-drug operations. Almost 60,000 citizen-soldiers are deployed overseas, almost 40,000 involved in Iraq deployments. Over 6,000 members of the Air Guard are deployed. And let's remember, that at the high-water mark, the Guard made up almost 40 percent of the troops on the ground in Iraq.

It is also clear that we are going to need the Guard even more in the future. Consider the information reported in a New York Times article from last Friday. The active U.S. Army is being deployed at such a high rate that it appears increasingly likely that the National Guard is going to need to be tapped once again to make the troop levels.

Any way you cut it, the National Guard is absolutely essential to our Nation's defense. We cannot fight our wars abroad, we cannot secure the country at home, and we cannot response to large-scale emergencies without the Guard.

The Need for Empowerment

Given the fact that the National Guard is one of the country's most valuable and needed forces, one would think that our leaders in the Department of Defense would be spending significant time developing policies and budgets plans that truly support the Guard. For example, I would think it logical to make the replacement of the Guard's aging and worn equipment a priority. I would think it logical to give the National Guard a stronger voice in policymaking decisions and in setting budgetary priorities that affect the National Guard. I clearly see the benefits of deferring to the Adjutants General and the Nation's governors, those who control and oversee the Guard, when determining how best to utilize Guard at home during domestic emergencies.

Instead of these good policy goals and practices, we have only a long list of unfair and ill-conceived decisions from the Pentagon that do very little to support the Guard in reality. And these examples are only the tip of the iceberg.

Last December, the Army and the Air Force decided to try to make precipitous cuts to the National Guard. The Army sought to cut the Army Guard by almost 17,000 soldiers, while the Air Force drove for reductions of almost 14,000 airmen. These personnel cuts were made without consultation with the National Guard Bureau, the States Adjutants General, and the nation's governors. While Congress was successful in turning those recommendations back, the fact remains that the active force still desired to balance its budgets at the expense of the Guard.

In late Spring of last year, the Air Force forwarded a list of base closure recommendations the cut deeply into the Air National Guard. The closure list took away flying missions in States in which the Air National Guard is the only Air Force presence in the State. No consideration was made of this crucial link between local communities and the armed forces. Nor did the Air Force consider the Air National Guard's homeland security capabilities. Why were such ill-advised recommendations made? The reason is that the Air National Guard was not involved in the force structure review process.

Similarly, in 2002, there was no consultation with the Air National Guard when the Air Force decided to take away the Air National Guard's B-1 bomber units, which, as a GAO study underscored, were cheaper to operate, more efficient, and more effective than their active duty counterparts.

Further, since September 11th, a torturous debate has developed in the Pentagon whenever the National Guard is needed for a large-scale operation at home, such as during Hurricane Katrina. We have learned that the Guard works optimally at home when it serves under the command-and-control of the nation's governors, with federal reimbursement, under Title 32 of the federal code. This Title 32 status ensures that locally elected officials remain in control of military forces operating at home. Because the National Guard comes directly out of these local communities, posse comitatus statutes do not apply. This Title 32 arrangement has been used most recently to increase security at the border, but it has previously been used effectively to have the Guard provide added security at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the G-8 Summit, the nation's airports, and around the Capitol Building in Washington.

There seems to be some kind of reflexive reaction within the Department of Defense against having the Guard and the Governors remain in control of operations at home. In fact, a sizeable contingent exists within the Pentagon to have the active duty military control the National Guard and other military personnel and assets. So, every time there is a natural disaster or other emergency, the Pentagon engages in a lengthy debate back-and-forth about control of the Guard. To date, these debates have led to sensible outcomes. But it should not be so difficult and uncertain.

Finally, the National Guard has little influence at the senior ranks within the Army and the Air Force. The number of high-ranking officers is completely imbalanced between the Guard and the active forces. While the National Guard constitutes a high percentage of our total number of ground troops, it has just a sliver of the overall percentage of three- and four-star General officers. And, while the Air National Guard constitutes a high percentage of the Air Force's mobility assets and a similarly high percent of its strike assets, the Air Guard has a negligible share of the high-ranking positions, where important decisions are made.

Empowerment: A Sensible Move Ahead

The National Guard Empowerment Act seemed to be a logical response to these ill-advised policy positions and imbalanced bureaucratic structure. The entire thrust of the legislation rests in increasing the bureaucratic muscle of the National Guard. The idea behind it is to prevent some of these ill-advised policies from moving forward. More importantly, the legislation is designed to firmly identify the uses of the National Guard, ensure the force is ready and equipped for its critical homeland security missions by bringing its organizational ties in line with its real responsibilities and accomplishments.

Specifically, the legislation, as included in the Senate's version of the Defense Authorization Bill contained four major provisions. First, it would elevate the Chief of the National Guard Bureau from the rank of Lieutenant General to full General. Second, the Deputy Commander of United States Northern Command, the military headquarters designed to oversee military forces used in the United States operationally would be mandated to come out of the ranks of the National Guard. Third, the National Guard would be redefined as a joint bureau of the Department Defense, rather than a branch of Army and the Air Force, enabling the Guard to maintain its role as the primary military reserve, while allowing the National Guard to avoid bureaucracy within the Defense Department. Finally, the National Guard would have formally be tasked with working with the States to identify gaps in their resources to respond to emergencies at home.

This proposal is not only targeted, but also modest. Our original legislation, S. 2658, the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006, would have additionally placed the Guard Bureau chief on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and given the National Guard separate budget authority. Though we still believe these provisions are important to empowering the National Guard fully, we listened and understood the objections of other senators. We dropped those provisions in the amendment to the Defense Authorization bill to reach a consensus where even more members would agree to the amendment, beyond the already 40 senators who are co-sponsoring the baseline legislation.

The Defense Authorization Conference:
Outcome, Argument Against, And Explanation

We can all acknowledge that the National Guard is essential to our Nation's defense, that there has been some questionable policy-making affecting the Guard in recent years, and that the Empowerment Bill represents a positive step towards strengthening the Guard. Yet where does the final Conference Report on the Defense Authorization Bill end up on Guard Empowerment?

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. When the Insurrection Act is invoked posse comitatus does not apply. 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.

While the Conference made hasty changes to the Insurrection Act, the Guard Empowerment Bill was kicked over for study to the Commission on the National Guard and Reserve, which was established only a year ago and whose recommendations have no real force of law. I would have never supported the creation of this panel — and I suspect my colleagues would agree with me — if I thought we would have to wait for the panel to finish its work before we passed new laws on the Guard and Reserve. In fact, we would get nothing done in Congress if we were to wait for every commission, study group, and research panel to finish its work. I have been around here over 30 years, and almost every Senator here knows the National Guard as well as any commission member. We don't need to wait, and we don't need to study the question of enhancing the Guard further. This is a terrible blow against rational defense policy-making and against the fabric of our democracy.

Since hearing word a couple of weeks ago that this outcome was likely, I have wondered how Congress could have gotten to this point. I can only surmise that we arrived at this outcome because we are too unwilling to carry out our Article I, Section 8 responsibilities to raise and support an Army. We have it in our Constitutional power to organize the Department of Defense. The Goldwater-Nicholas Act that established a highly effective wartime command structure and the Nunn-Cohen legislation that established the now-critical Special Operations Command came out of Congress. If the then-stale leadership of the Pentagon had its way, these two critical bills would never have seen the light of day. Today, however, the Pentagon is just as opposed to the Empowerment legislation, and instead of asserting its power, the Congress is punting — just kicking it down the field and out of play.

Also, it seems the changes to the Insurrection Act have survived the Conference because the Pentagon and the White House want it. It is easy to see the attempts of the President and his advisors to avoid the debacle involving the National Guard after Hurricane Katrina, when Governor Blanco of Louisiana would not give control of the National Guard over to President and the federal chain of command. Governor Blanco rightfully insisted that she be closely consulted and remain largely in control of the military forces operating in the State during that emergency. This infuriated the White House, and now they are looking for some automatic triggers — natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or a disease epidemic — to avoid having to consult with the governors.

A Final Summary

And there you have it -- we are getting two horrible policy decisions out of this Conference because we are not willing to use our Constitutional powers to overcome leadership that ranges from the poor to the intemperate in the Pentagon and the White House. We cannot recognize the diverse ways that the Guard supports the Country, because the Department of Defense does not like it — simply does not like it.

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.

Changes to the Insurrection Act re martial law 09.Nov.2006 13:37

repost

from  link to groupthinktank.blogspot.com

I've always liked Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). I was reading remarks he made recently about the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act of 2007 (HR5122, you can find it on Thomas - choose the "enrolled" version agreed to by the House and Senate) and discovered that it does indeed, as Leahy says, modify the Insurrection Act of 1807 (10 USC 333, you can find it on Findlaw). I would include links but unfortunately both Thomas and Findlaw seem to "time out" their search links such that you can't go back to them later. Dammit. And govtrack.us seems to be down.

Leahy says the law "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," and "adopts some incredible changes to the Insurrection Act, which would give the President more authority to declare martial law ... making it easier to usurp the Governor's control."

The changes to the Insurrection Act, Leahy said, "will allow the President to use the military, including the National Guard, to carry out law enforcement activities without the consent of a governor. When the Insurrection Act is invoked posse comitatus does not apply. Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy." It includes "automatic triggers — natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or a disease epidemic — to avoid having to consult with the governors."

I compared the language amending 10 USC 333 in section 1076 of HR5122 ("Use of armed forces in major public emergencies") to the existing 10 USC 333 and found what Leahy is talking about. The Insurrection Act was designed to give the president the authority to use federal troops in the event of rebellion, insurgency or revolution. HR 5122 adds all kinds of other situations where the White House can send in federal troops including "a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident." It also changes "insurgents" to "insurgents or those obstructing the enforcement of the laws," giving it a much broader (and, I'm sure Leahy would agree, unintended) scope.

more analysis 09.Nov.2006 13:41

repostr

more legal analysis:

(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 insurrection, 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 protection; or

(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

These are the same conditions that must be met under the old wording of the statute; however, the surrounding language has been expanded to include application to any event that is still also determined to meet these conditions, such as major public emergencies, terrorist incidents, and so on, as opposed to only "insurrection" specifically. Congress must also be informed immediately and every 14 days thereafter during the exercise of such authority, which was not required under the old statute.

The changes to this law are likely the result of public outcry in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, particularly President Bush's refusal to activate National Guard elements by federal or presidential order given the previous restrictions to such an order. This expansion of the wording would have, for example, allowed Hurricane Katrina to fall under the guidelines as a "natural disaster", whereas previously "insurrection" was required.

Here is the old text:

-----
333. Interference with State and Federal law

The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it—

(1) so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, 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 are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or

(2) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws. In any situation covered by clause (1), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.
-----

And here is the new text:

-----
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 insurrection, 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 protection; or

(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

(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 the authority.
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As you can see, the wording REQUIRES that the identical conditions be met (included in paragraph 2), as well as both requirements under (a)(1)(A). The only real difference is allowing the conditions to be met during "a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition" as opposed to "insurrection" specifically. (Besides, can't it be argued that "insurrection" can be broadly defined, too, if the real interest is to declare martial law?)

I suppose this wouldn't be very interesting to blog about, though.

Regards,

Dave Schroeder
University of Wisconsin - Madison
 das@doit.wisc.edu
 http://das.doit.wisc.edu/

more laws that don't need changing. 09.Nov.2006 19:24

this thing here

>The changes to this law are likely the result of public outcry in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, particularly President Bush's refusal to activate National Guard elements by federal or presidential order given the previous restrictions to such an order.<

well, yes, but.

why not, first of all, be an actual leader. second, get on the damn phone and call the govenors of mississippi and louisiana, and tell them - if they haven't figured out already - that they have a major disaster headed their way - ETA NOW. thirdly, remind them - if they don't already know - that you as a president cannot deploy national guard troops in such a way blah blah blah, so you as govenors need to get your butts moving. wow, look. no need to rewrite laws.

if this is in fact their argument for altering these laws, i find it totally dubious and irrelevant. DO YOU WANT TO PREVENT A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER? THEN GODDAMMIT, WORK OUT A WAY TO DO SO. for f*cks sake.

all of their tinkering with these fundamental laws paints a very clear and ominous picture about the direction governmet power is headed in this country. this is just the latest example. they can try to trot out their weak ass arguments, but they're all so pathetically obvious.