Thursday, May 21, 2009

HR 5122, the Insurrection Act, & other handy tidbits

Those striving for self-sufficiency generally grow food and then store it for winter use when there are limited growing opportunities (I sound like an Agriculture lecture, eek!). And Mormons have their year supply/food storage thing going on. Now, have you ever heard of "food hoarding?" "Martial Law?" "The Insurrection Act?"

Let's take it from the top. The Insurrection Act is a set of laws that serves just one purpose: preventing the President from using the military to control the people in our country as Monarchy and other such government systems do. It doesn't totally prevent him from using the military on American soil, but it is supposed to severely cripple him in that respect. On October 17, 2006, our now ex-President (is there another, official, term for that?) Bush signed into law a bill that seeks to overcome that limitation. HR 5122, Subtitle H, Section 1076 amends Section 333 of Title 10, United States Code. Section 333's original text can be found here, while a copy of the HR 5122 and, more specifically, the amendment to Section 333 can be found here (after clicking "continue on to the bill," you will be taken straight to the part you are looking for: section 1076; it's a long bill and so it might take a minute or two to load). I'll give you a few minutes to read and maybe drown a little in legal jargon.

Done? Great. Basically what the bill is doing is allowing the President to declare martial law on an area without the permission of the local authorities and to take any troops from any state to accomplish that. And there are no limits on what situations martial law is acceptable in:
"the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to 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 domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable ..."
And that could mean anything. This article discusses what exactly this bill is and why it's so "disturbing" (for lack of a more powerful word).

Okay, so now we know that the Prez can declare martial law on any one of us at any time for any reason. So what is martial law? (And how come if you switch the 'i' and 't' t becomes marital law?) Quite simply it's the set of laws that are put in place when the military is doing the police and court's job of enforcing the law. And instead of our judicial system, they have a military tribunal they call a "court martial." Most likely the writ of habeas corpus will be suspended. And there is generally a curfew. This "martial law" is normally only put in place during war when there isn't a government. See this page for more details.

In order to prevent the misuse of the power of military law, there is (or was) this thing, Posse Comitatus, which basically says "the military isn't allowed to be involved in enforcing domestic laws without going through lots of trouble with Congress." But then HR 5122 came along and so it isn't really in effect anymore.

So where does "food hoarding" come in? (you: food hoarding? what has that got to do with anything? you haven't said anything about it in this whole post or even... me: cool your jets, sweetie pie. I mentioned it at the beginning. you: the beginning? yeah right. you've been yammering so long I can't even remember that far. I probably wasn't even born then me: just sit down and listen. leave your complaints in the comments section okay, m'dear? you (sulkily): fine) Food hoarding is what most people call the behavior of those who store food (like homesteaders and Mormons). Most states have some kind of "anti-hoarding" law which usually says something like "you can store a week's worth of food, but if you have any more than that, then we can take it the extra and do what we please with it." This article discusses so-called food hoarding as well as Executive Orders. They say it better than I can, so please read it. Also, under martial law, they can seize your goods and belongings without permission. The ultimate edict amounts to bad BAD BAD.

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