Tenth Amendment Committees: On the Ground Activism

NOTE: Francisco Rodriguez will be a featured speaker at Nullify Now! Jacksonville.  Get tickets here – http://www.nullifynow.com/jacksonville/ – or by calling 888-71-TICKETS

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What is a Tenth Amendment Committee (tac)?
A Tenth Amendment Committee is a groups formed within an organization (Political Party from local to national, Political Action Committee, Activist Groups, Social Justice Groups, etc.) whose exclusive purpose is to Educate and Activate on issues that surround the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution.

What would the Education entail within a 10th Amendment Committee?
Without effectively understanding the role of the federal government and the enumerated powers found in the US Constitution knowing the 10th Amendment gives you very little to work with regarding the role of the states and the people within the federated Republic of these United States.  Classes or events on the US Constitution and the nullification powers of the states and the people are necessary to become an effective Activist in LIMITING FEDERAL POWER to only the powers the Founders intended in the Constitution.  The Florida Tenth Amendment Center in collaboration with the National Tenth Amendment Center will be providing information and educational tools surrounding the US Constitution and the nullification powers of the states and the people for your Tenth Amendment Committee to use and distribute.

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The Constitutional Tender Movement in Georgia

cross-posted from the Sound Money Center

In early 2009, I was teaching a course on American Government at Gainesville State College here in Georgia. As I was going over with my students the powers prohibited of the States in Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, we hit upon this one: “No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts”.

A student in the back of the room raised his hand, and asked, “What does Georgia use for paying its debts – money owed to the State, and by the State?”

“Federal Reserve Notes,” I replied.

“Not gold or silver coins?” he asked.

“No, not gold or silver coins. And no, Federal Reserve Notes are not backed by gold or silver coins, either.”

He raised his hand again. “Which States DO use gold and silver coins for paying State debts?”

“None of them,” I answered. “They all use Federal Reserve Notes, which were declared to be ‘legal tender’ by the U.S. Congress.”

“When did we pass a Constitutional Amendment to change this requirement in Article I, Section 10?” He had a puzzled look on his face.

My answer seemed to puzzle him even more. “We didn’t.”

It was quiet in the classroom at that point. I waited. I didn’t have to wait for long.

“How have the States gotten away with that?”

I didn’t have an answer to that question. And it bothered me. So, I went and did some research on it – and what I found confirmed that student’s concern: the Constitution makes it clear that “No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts”. This means that no State can make something besides gold or silver a “tender in payment” (which means they cannot make something else an “offer as payment”) for any debts, which would include debts owed by and to the State. However, EVERY State in the United States of America HAS made some other “Thing” an offer as payment – they have by law declared that they will accept, and pay out, Federal Reserve Notes for any debts owed by or to them.

Therefore, every State is in violation of Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution.

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Will Liberty Survive Technology?

America has a love affair with technology. We “can’t live without it”. So we suppose. “[A] new poll by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government shows that people overwhelmingly think that computers and the Internet have made Americans’ lives better” (Survey Shows Widespread Enthusiasm for High Technology, found at http://www.npr.org/programs/specials/poll/technology/). However, according to this poll, Americans feel there are potential dangers.

But these Americans feel the dangers of technology do not include the lack of government authority or government abuse in using this technology. Just the opposite: they “would like the government to protect them from these dangers” (Ibid). The implication is clear: the people do not feel the government’s use of technology poses any dangers or risks against liberty.

With this kind of perspective, it appears technology and liberty may find themselves at war with each other—sooner rather than later. Ultimately, it will put people at war: those who want more technology to make their lives easier and those who want more liberty to live independently and freely.

The question is, “does technology—and its continual advancement—improve the natural and societal condition of mankind?” Well, perhaps the question cannot be stated so simply to obtain the true answer. Still, the subject is especially relevant because what the commercial world creates today, the government uses tomorrow and in mass. We are facing realities today that previous American generations could not have imagined.

Recall that Thomas Jefferson thought the West would not be developed for 1,000 years. No sooner had he spoken those words, the West was being developed rapidly because of the unforeseeable Industrial age. Of course, my parents’ generation could never have thought that they could transfer mega information from tiny handheld devices through satellite and laser technology. Now here we are today to prove their minds incapable of comprehending how fast technology was to advance. For certain, what future generations will have to deal with only intensifies the debate of technology verses liberty.

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Tea Party downgrade? Delusions from the Ruling Class

cross-posted from the Oregon Tenth Amendment Center

Did we just have a Tea Party downgrade?

Of course the Mainstream Media (who like to call upon the government in general, and the Federal govt specifically, to solve every issue in Society) will tell you that the Tea party, with their intransigence towards any sort of tax increase, have caused the debt of the United States to be downgraded. I would ask any person who buys that mantra over to my personal bridge in New York (I’ll make you a great deal, and you can charge tolls to people who cross to pay for it). Seriously though, I have one thing to say… 16.7 trillion. That number does not even include unfunded liabilities! Some countries have been called basket cases for much less in debt relative to revenue.

 

The thread of truth behind the ridiculous assertion…

S&P (the ratings agency that downgraded us) specifically mentioned the debt debate and the reluctance/refusal to entertain any tax increases as a part of the solution – with this quote:
“Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act. Key macroeconomic assumptions in the base case scenario include trend real GDP growth of 3% and consumer price inflation near 2% annually over the decade.”

Given the association of the Tea party with the Republican party ( clearly, with the recent deal in D.C. this is a false impression), some may say that this is a Tea party downgrade; but if you read the whole story it becomes clear that we have simply been so profligate as to make ourselves unable to merit an AAA rating.

The truth of why we are going to continue to get worse:

We have been living in a Keynesian fantasy world for the last 50-60 years. Anyone who looks at America’s spending vs. revenue for the last 100 years will see a change that has occurred. We spend until we reach the debt ceiling, then we raise the debt limit. Any serious look at our treatment of the debt ceiling harkens to the old Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs draws a line in the sand… it gets stepped over… and then another line… followed by walking past it. Our debt limit has been and still is today no limit at all. It is simply an exercise in parliamentary procedure, to give the impression that our political “servants” are really minding the store (while they clearly are not)!

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Rob Natelson gives a lesson on the General Welfare Clause

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Add to iTunes Rob Natelson, recognized national expert on the framing and adoption of the United States Constitution, offers a lesson on the general Welfare clause of the United States Constitution. He discusses the original meaning of the words themselves, the meaning of general welfare in the preamble,…

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Understanding Nullification

cross-posted from the Maine Tenth Amendment Center

When nullification is discussed, there is a misconception that never seems to go away: why the anarchy? Nullification and the Tenth Amendment is not a topic discussed often. States’ Rights has been discussed by Mitt Romney and his supporters when defending the Massachusetts healthcare law, a controversial program often compared to Democratic President Barack Obama’s law. Newt Gingrich has begun using the message, along with the libertarian topic “End The Fed” often associated with Congressman Ron Paul. Congressman Paul is one of only two candidates for the Republican Presidential Nomination (the other being former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson) who have actually voiced their support for nullification. That is it.

Conservatives and liberals have both often refuted the idea of nullification, claiming it would lead to lawlessness and anarchy. Some libertarians have even dismissed the idea as a fascinating political theory, but something with no actual grounding in reality.

Now odds are, if you’ve been following the Tenth Amendment Center or authors such as Thomas Woods or Kevin Gutzman, you’ve heard about the idea and know the history lesson associated with it. If you haven’t, then some links at the end of this article will provide you with some background on the topic. This will not be repeated; the aim of the article is to understand nullification, not justify it.

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Feds Conduct Gestapo-Style Raids on Tennessee Guitar Maker

On Wednesday, August 24, federal agents conducted a Gestapo-style raid, complete with automatic weapons and bulletproof vests, on Gibson Guitars manufacturing facilities in Nashville and Memphis. The reason for all the firepower and spent taxpayer money to fly in agents from New Orleans, Albuquerque, and Washington, DC to take part in the raid?  The federal government executed search warrants to seize wood – yes, wood – from Gibson that they allege was imported illegally.

What were the feds expecting Gibson employees to do that required SWAT gear, make the federal agents cringe by playing out of tune guitars at them?

According to statements by Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz at a press conference following the raids, Gibson was never informed by the federal government as to the charges leveled against the company.

“What is more troubling is that the Justice Department’s position is that any guitar that we ship out of this facility is potentially an obstruction of justice, and to be followed with criminal charges,” Juszkiewicz said.

In other words, to add insult to the injury inflicted when the federal government took Gibson’s property without informing them of the charges –  a violation of the Sixth Amendment right of the accused “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation,” they have also attempted to shut down Gibson’s business by preventing them from moving any guitars outside of the searched facilities.

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The Tenth Amendment and Sovereignty

by David Bernstein, Volokh.com

Doug Kendall of the Constitutional Accountability Center writes: “The Tenth Amendment, like all other Amendments, is a binding part of the Constitution that should be fully respected…. [But w]hen the states ratified the Constitution, they renounced their status as fully-independent sovereigns and endowed the federal government with enumerated but substantial powers.”

Kendall is correct. Anyone, tea partier or not, who claims that the states retain full “sovereignty” after 1789 doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Kendall’s next sentence, however, doesn’t follow at all: “The Tenth Amendment does not give tea partiers, or anyone else, a constitutional basis for rolling back critical laws that protect Americans’ health, safety, and retirement security.”

Through the New Deal period, it was accepted that the states did retain an important element of sovereign power inherited from the British Parliament, the “police power.” The scope of the police power was subject to much debate, but it was typically thought to at least conclude the power to protect and promote state citizen’s health, safety, and morals. Progressive types argued that promoting the public’s “welfare” was also part of the police power.

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Hurricane Irene, the Guard and the Constitution

The Burlington Free Press reports from Vermont,

Eight helicopters on loan from the Illinois National Guard were expected to arrive Tuesday night in Vermont to help the Vermont National Guard deliver food, medicine, water and other supplies to 13 Vermont towns cut off from the rest of the state in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.

The outside helicopter support is needed because all six of the Vermont Guard’s Black Hawk helicopters are still in Iraq, where they and 55 Vermont soldiers are wrapping up a yearlong hospital transport mission, said Lt. Lloyd Goodrow, spokesman for the Vermont Guard.

Hurricane Irene reminded the East Coast why Mother Nature can be one of the most dangerous forces on the planet, when she struck hard this past weekend. When all was said and done, dozens of lives were lost and many more left without a home, while billions of dollars in damage was caused. One of the States that felt the wrath of Irene was Vermont, which saw widespread flooding and a few deaths. First responders, volunteer organizations, and neighbors were all on hand to help with the rescue and rebuilding efforts as the hurricane exited the State. Outside help had to be requested however, as all six of the Vermont National Guard’s Black Hawk helicopters were serving in Iraq. Luckily, New Hampshire and Illinois’ National Guards came to the rescue, but this still serves as a reminder of the effect that misuse of the militia has on our country.

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