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Bovard on enabling martial law

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In his latest contribution to the Future of Freedom Foundation, Jim Bovard lays down an evisceration of the “Defense Authorization Act of 2006” that can be described as, nothing less than, historically shuddering. With the precision that regular readers have come to know, Jim splays out the present-day federal governments unadulterated thirst for power.

Martial Law Act of 2006
by James Bovard

Martial law is perhaps the ultimate stomping of freedom. And yet, on September 30, 2006, Congress passed a provision in a 591-page bill that will make it easy for President Bush to impose martial law in response to a terrorist “incident.” It also empowers him to effectively declare martial law in response to what he or other federal officials label a shortfall of “public order” — whatever that means.

It took only a few paragraphs in a $500 billion, 591-page bill to raze one of the most important limits on federal power. Congress passed the Insurrection Act in 1807 to severely restrict the president’s ability to deploy the military within the United States. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 tightened those restrictions, imposing a two-year prison sentence on anyone who used the military within the United States without the express permission of Congress. (This act was passed after the depredations of the U.S. military throughout the Southern states during Reconstruction.)But there is a loophole: Posse Comitatus is waived if the president invokes the Insurrection Act. The Insurrection Act and Posse Comitatus Act aim to deter dictatorship while permitting a narrow window for the president to temporarily use the military at home. But the 2006 reforms basically threw any concern about dictatorial abuses out the window.

(Freedom Daily article @ FFF)

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Written by mudshark

April 9, 2008 at 6:56 pm

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