Health care freedom amendment proposed for Florida

Floridians will have the opportunity to vote for “health care freedom” next year. The Florida Health Care Freedom Act, a constitutional amendment initiative, will appear on the 2012 Florida general election ballot. The amendment, “Proposes creation of s. 28, Art. I of State Constitution to prohibit laws or rules from compelling any person or employer…


Nullification: The Movie!

This yet to be released documentary from the Foundation for a Free Society and the Tenth Amendment Center features Thomas Woods, Michael Boldin, Debra Medina, Stewart Rhodes, Sheriff Richard Mack, Charles Goyette, Kevin Gutzman, Robert Scott Bell, Mike Adams, Jason Rink, John Bush, Bryce Shonka, Mike Maharrey, and others. Song “The Message of…


Second protest at Jefferson Memorial

WASHINGTON – (June 4, 2011) – Protesters kept their promise to silently dance at the Jefferson Memorial today.

Last week, Capitol Park Police arrested four men and a woman for illegally dancing inside the monument, charging them with demonstrating without a permit.

The dancers were protesting a recent court ruling upholding the 2008 arrest of Mary Oberwetter.

Oberwetter was part of a group of 18 people who went to the Jefferson Memorial in April of that year to celebrate the third president’s birthday. Just before midnight, the flash mob began dancing silently to honor “the individualist spirit for which Jefferson is known.”  U.S. Park Police warned the group to stop and ultimately arrested Oberwetter, charging her with demonstrating without a permit and interfering with an agency function.

Talley TV live-streamed Saturday’s protest, with Jason Talley operating the camera.


House Republicans Target Amtrak

House Transportation Committee chairman John Mica (R-FL) and Rail Subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) announced that they will draw up legislation that would kill Amtrak’s desire to develop and operate high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor:

We plan introduce legislation to separate the Northeast Corridor from Amtrak, transfer it to a separate entity, and begin a competitive bidding process that would allow for a public-private partnership to design, build, operate, maintain, and finance high-speed service. Our plan would do so in a dramatically shorter time, in closer to 10 rather than 30 years, and at a fraction of the $117 billion cost proposed by Amtrak, while creating new jobs.

Randal O’Toole says that “Rail fans feel threatened by the proposal because they know that, if the Northeast Corridor is ever spun off as a private operation, support for Amtrak subsidies in the rest of the nation will dwindle.” Not surprisingly, Amtrak booster Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) thinks that “privatizing” the Northeast Corridor is a bad idea:

Let’s not forget: Congress created Amtrak in 1970 because the private railroads could no longer sustain inter-city passenger service on their own,” he said. “When I was building my business, I learned firsthand — if you want to be successful tomorrow, you must begin laying the foundation today. The same principle applies here. If we want to leave our children and grandchildren a better country, we must make smart investments on their behalf — and that means investing in Amtrak.

Dumping more taxpayer dollars into Amtrak will “leave our children and grandchildren” with more debt — not a better country as Lautenberg absurdly claims. And as a Cato essay onAmtrak subsidies explains, it was decades of taxes and burdensome government regulations that sped the demise of private passenger rail:


Texans call TSA’s bluff on ‘no-fly zone’

AUSTIN, Texas — Did the federal government really just threaten a “no-fly zone” around Texas? Or is this a high-stakes game of Texas Hold ‘Em?

A group of local activists are calling the bluff of federal agents who threatened to shut-down airports within the Lone Star State if the Legislature takes action to rein-in the pat-down tactics used by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).

There was no turbulence as HB 1937, designed to criminalize the “groping” method being used by TSA agents in airports, sailed through the legislative process. The bill, authored by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) and co-sponsored by Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), passed the Texas House by a large margin, and federal critics were nowhere to be found.

But, at the very last minute, the Texas Senate folded, following pressure from the feds. Thirty supporters in the Senate dwindled down to just 10 the evening of May 25. This came after a letter (signed by a federal judge) was circulated by two TSA representatives lobbying in the back hallways of the Senate chamber — and at the last possible minute, too, as May 25 was the deadline for new bills.

Activists at the Texas Capitol that evening to support HB 1937 were shocked to hear that the national government not only warned of a conflict with federal law but threatened to shut down Texas airports if the bill were passed. Surely it was a last-minute scare tactic — but it was one that 20 state senators took seriously.

An energized crowd descended upon the Captiol the next day in hopes that something could be done during the last few days of the 82nd Legislature. Their hopes were boosted by two unexpected events: 1) a filibuster on school finance led to a special session beginning Tuesday, and 2) Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst requested that Gov. Rick Perry include HB 1937 into the special session agenda.


Nullification is Constitutional

by Tom Mullen

The near-showdown in Texas did not break any new ground in the nullification debate. The Texas House of Representatives passed a law that made the touching of genitals or breasts by TSA personnel illegal and punishable by fines and imprisonment. The federal government responded by citing the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, together with a threat to cancel all air travel to and from Texas if the law were passed by the Senate and signed by the governor. The Texas Senate backed down. The crisis was averted – for the moment.

For most, attention was probably focused on the threat to close down air travel. Indeed, this would have been a huge crisis, with economic ramifications far beyond Texas. However, the more important issue here is the constitutional one. The federal government states as if it were fact that under the Supremacy Clause “Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law.” Does the Supremacy Clause really say this? Let’s take a look. It says,

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

For those not familiar with the Constitution, that’s it. There are no further provisions explaining what is meant. There is no list of definitions of the various words, as one might expect to find in a contract today. Whatever “supremacy” the federal government claims to have must be found in this one sentence.

Perhaps a fast read might lead one to believe that the last section of this clause settles the question definitively. It says that the judges in every state shall be bound be federal laws “any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” End of debate, right? The Texas law conflicts with the federal law, so the federal law trumps it. This is what the federal government would like you to accept – without question.

There is only one problem for the Feds. Their interpretation of the “Supremacy Clause” is based completely on the last section of this one-sentence provision and entirely ignores the first. One would think that if they were going to cite this clause, then reading the entire sentence would be a reasonable expectation.

So what exactly is “the Supreme Law of the Land?” Any law passed by the federal government? That’s not what the Supremacy Clause says. It says that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof” shall be the supreme law of the land.