Military

NYT editorial: Laws passed in dead of night strike at heart of democracy

By Rafael DeGennaro, February 19, 2007 – 2:47pm.

The New York Times has an excellent editorial Feb. 19. It criticizes Congress and the President for a provision inserted into the defense bill in 2006 that makes martial law easier. Drawing the larger lesson, the editorial says, “A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night.”

This is part of a pattern of the defense authorization bill receiving little scrutiny.

New York Times
Making Martial Law Easier (editorial)
Feb. 19, 2007

A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration’s behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.

[…]

Changes of this magnitude should be made only after a thorough public airing. But these new presidential powers were slipped into the law without hearings or public debate. The president made no mention of the changes when he signed the measure, and neither the White House nor Congress consulted in advance with the nation’s governors.

Speaker Pelosi’s office buries Iraq resolution text

By Rafael DeGennaro, February 12, 2007 – 11:59am.

C’mon, Speaker Pelosi’s office, you can do better than this. Mostly, just by letting the committees do their jobs. Devolution!

As of 11:00 am Monday, Feb. 12, 2007, the text of the Iraq resolution was not on the website of the House Rules Committee (confirmed with their staff by telephone). There was no mention of the text on the front page of the websites of the Democratic Leader or Whip, nor on the front page of the Speaker’s website. So, I phoned the Speaker’s office and asked if the text were available. Yes, the person said. Go to the Speaker’s website, then click on “Current Legislation”. Then click on “Iraq”. You’ll see the text of the resolution. There are three problems with this: