This is it. We are going to make Congress repeal Section 1076 of the National Defense Appropriations Act of 2007: the paragraphs that gut the Posse Comitatus Act and smooth the President's path towards declaring martial law. It begins here and now.
We're going to do this by making every incumbent and every challenger for federal offices and governorships take a stand on the repeal of Section 1076.
If you're wondering what all this is about, this is a good place to start.
I will be updating this diary continually over the day, and I intend to post new diaries with continual updates every day through the election. More below.
We're going to raise the profile of this obscene abuse of executive power by letting the people of this country know what has just been done to them under a cloak of secrecy and cloud of confusion. We're going to talk on the radio. We're going to write letters. We're going to send faxes and make calls.
I have started an organization with an unwieldy name but a good acronym: FINGER. The symbol for FINGER is one raised finger. No, not that one - the index finger. The ones that we've seen Iraqis raising when they vote. Because our struggle for our democracy is now no less critical or momentous than theirs.
But first, a personal aside
First, let's get one thing out of the way. I have been blogging during the campaign system under an additional account - Greg at Carter for Nevada - always avoiding any interaction between that account and this one. I had e-mailed Markos of my intention to do so, and by my reading of the rules it does not constitute sockpuppetry. I raise this up here because it is likely to come up in comments. As a courtesy, please direct all discussion of sockpuppetry to my "farewell" diary from yesterday. I'll respond if and when I have time.
Second, my diary yesterday was to announce that I had quit the Carter campaign - with Jack Carter's permission and good wishes - to devote my full time between now and the election to raising this issue. As I note in that farewell diary, most of my work for Jack was already complete and I have been more than replaced. If you want to discuss that, please direct it to the other diary as well.
The importance of that is that I am no longer affiliated with any campaign, and I will not coordinate my efforts with any campaign. Anyone who wants to send media my way can do so -- but I'm not going to be part of arranging or planning it. This is a non-partisan effort to wake up the American people as to what Section 1076 has done.
That approach is not only right, it is wise. Liberals do not have to be convinced of the danger posed by the concentration of power under this President. Conservatives and moderates and independents do. I want this effort to reach across party and ideological lines. I want the national consensus that this law must be repealed to be so strong that the issue goes away because no one dares disaagree - that even George W. Bush runs away from its implications. Only a nonpartisan effort can deliver that result.
What is FINGER?
FINGER stands for - sorry about this - "Federalists for Independence in National Guard Emergency Response." The good part about that unwieldy name is that once you finish explaining it to people, they will get the issue.
As described on our web page - which has been provided by a wonderful volunteer and is still under construction:
Federalist means one who favors "federalism": the principle that some government activities belong to the federal government, while others belong to the states. The classic example of an activity assigned to the states is "policing." We as a nation have always wanted our policing to be done at the state and local level. We have not wanted a national police force that ultimately was under the control of a single person. A national police force opens the door to tyranny.
Independence means that a state Governor, not the President, should have the final say in how and when to deploy a state's National Guard troops. This principle was already watered down in Perpich v. Department of Defense, a unanimous 1990 Supreme Court decision that said that a Governor cannot veto use of National Guard troops in an overseas commitment. Whatever you think about that, it's very different from the Governor not having the final say about the domestic deployment of troops for the purpose of law enforcement.
The National Guard is the military force of each state and territory -the "Governor's muscle." The Governor can call up the National Guard for purposes such as disaster relief or emergency law enforcement. The President can call up a state National Guard to supplement regular troops in a foreign war. The President's power to call up the National Guard for domestic use - to enforce federal law through what is called "martial law" - is restricted by the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. § 1385). The exceptions to this law -when the President can call up National Guard troops for domestic use, are found in the Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C. §§ 331 -335).
Emergency Response refers to the conditions under which the National Guard can be deployed. Congress has expanded the exceptions to the Posse Comitatus Act to where the President can deploy National Guard troops domestically, for federal law enforcement, for pretty much any emergency he thinks is appropriate. Now, because Congress passed Section 1076, "The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to ... (B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition [that] ... (2) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws." You could drive a tank through this new exception to the Posse Comitatus Act!
Put them together, and FINGER says to the President:
Keep your fingers off the Governor's control over the National Guard and restore the Posse Comitatus Act to its former state! Repeal Section 1076!
If you have improvements, let me know. I hope it's not bad for a late-night first draft.
Our first goal is to get the President to renounce this authority.
We want him to pledge that he will not use any of these new powers that have been granted to him. We also want him to pledge to sign a repeal of Section 1076.
There is some possibility that this won't happen, so we have a second goal as well.
We want every incumbent Governor and Member of Congress - and every candidate for Governor and Member of Congress - to take a public stance on the repeal of Section 1076. We will make that information available as it comes in.
(1) People - conservatives, populists, and libertarians as well as liberals - are needed to talk about this issue knowledgably on the radio (and television, if it comes to that), and to write editorials, web articles, and letters to the editor about it.
(2) Forums - smaller radio stations who need to scramble for talk show guests and smaller newspapers are probably the best bet - where our people can tell our story.
(1) We will be compiling a list of all incumbent Governors and Members of Congress and candidates for these offices, with their e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers. Many of you have suggested places where these are located - if you'd like to collect all of the information in one space, that would be great, because our Webperson is overburdened.
(2) I have drafted a letter - into which you will handwrite the address information - to be faxed. I'm just making this available; you're faxing this on your own dime, if you choose to do so.
(3) People will choose officials and candidates to whom to fax this material. They will follow up as needed with e-mail and phone calls.
(4) We will post information to the website - and here, if necessary - letting people know whether candidates and officials support or oppose the repeal of section 1076.
(5) And then we will see what happens.
A final note on working across ideological lines
If any of you have accounts on Redstate, LGF, etc., go ahead and post this there. The same, of course, with Booman, MLW, etc.
Honest conservatives - especially anyone who has ever said a kind word about the 10th Amendment and the dignity of the state - should be with us on this.
We're not opposing conservatism this time.
We're opposing authoritarianism.
And the people of this country will be with us.
It starts here and now.