State sovereignty: a final solution

Political activists Ron and Donnie Kennedy have proposed an amendment that would formalize the principles of state nullification and reaffirm the sovereignty of the 50 American states.

These United States of America are a Republic of Republics deriving its authority from the consent of the governed residing within their Sovereign State. Each Sovereign State is the agent of the people thereof. The federal government formed by the compact of the United States Constitution is the agent of the Sovereign States. Federal authority shall be supreme in all areas specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. All acts or legislation enacted pursuant to the Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land. The Sovereign State reserves an equal right to judge for itself as to the constitutionality of any act of the federal government.

Ron Holland wrote about the proposed amendment in a Nov. 24 article published in the Daily Bell. The Kennedys call the amendment, “the final solution to federal abuse.”

“I sadly agree with them,” Holland writes.

Holland lays out a convincing argument as to why politics as usual will never turn the tide of federal overreach and then offers the solution.

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For the Feds, Speech is Speech. Unless you’re advocating Jury Nullification

Retired chemistry professor Julian Heicklen is facing imprisonment for advocating jury nullification to passersby, following an indictment by federal prosecutors last year, according to the New York Times.  He stood on a plaza outside the United States Courthouse in Manhattan and handed out brochures on the subject.

According to prosecutors, Heicklen’s “advocacy of jury nullification, directed as it is to jurors, would be both criminal and without Constitutional protections no matter where it occurred…. His speech is not protected by the First Amendment…. No legal system could long survive if it gave every individual the option of disregarding with impunity any law which by his personal standard was judged morally untenable.”

Meanwhile, a representative of the New York Civil Liberties Union has shot back: “The government is dangerously wrong in claiming it can criminalize sidewalk advocacy supporting jury nullification. Other than the extremely limited situations in which someone seeks to influence a known juror in a case, jury nullification advocacy is squarely protected by the First Amendment.”

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Tea Party: Cut Insane Deficits. Bring Back Crazy Deficits!

Herman Cain won a straw poll of Missouri Tea Party members last week. Ron Paul came in second, and Newt Gingrich third, with no other candidate even close.

If you read this blog regularly, nothing here will come as a surprise to you. But I am still trying to understand what principles the Tea Party espouses. Constitutionalism? Newt Gingrich is a constitutionalist? Herman Cain is a constitutionalist? What is the evidence for these claims? Both figures hold extremely conventional views on a wide array of issues. Neither one is any kind of maverick, except according to the media’s definition of the term.

Here’s what I wrote in Rollback about Newt the constitutionalist:

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Phil Hart: Declaring a State of Emergency

Idaho State Representative Phil Hart became concerned about the federal government’s illegal introduction of Canadian gray wolves in Idaho because they pose a public danger.  The federal government and Idaho agreed to allow a population of 100 wolves into the state, but the Canadian wolf population far exceeds that number now, and is estimated to be 1000 to 2000 wolves that can weigh as much as 140 to 180 pounds.  The federal government mismanaged the wolf program under the Endangered Species Act.

The wolves are now a very serious threat to humans and livestock because they carry disease and tapeworms.  Tapeworms from wolf feces can be fatal to humans; it is especially alarming that tapeworms can remain dormant for 20 years.

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Conceived in Liberty

There’s never been a better time to remember the revolutionary and even libertarian roots of the American founding, and there’s no better guide to what this means in the narrative of the Colonial period than Murray Rothbard.

For anyone who thinks of Murray Rothbard as only an economic theorist or political thinker, this giant book is something of a surprise. It is probably his least known treatise. It offers a complete history of the Colonial period of American history, a period lost to students today, who are led to believe American history begins with the US Constitution.

Rothbard’s ambition was to shed new light on Colonial history and show that the struggle for human liberty was the heart and soul of this land from its discovery through the culminating event of the American Revolution. These volumes are a tour de force, enough to establish Rothbard as one of the great American historians.

It is a detailed narrative history of the struggle between liberty and power, as we might expect, but it is more. Rothbard offers a third alternative to the conventional interpretive devices. Against those on the right who see the American Revolution as a “conservative” event, and those on the left who want to invoke it as some sort of proto-socialist uprising, Rothbard views this period as a time of accelerating libertarian radicalism. Through this prism, Rothbard illuminates events as never before.

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Lies The Government Told You

by Andrew Napolitano

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is the introduction to Judge Andrew Napolitano’s book, Lies The Government Told You

During the 1980 presidential campaign, a joke made the rounds in the Reagan camp. George Washington, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter die and go to Heaven. In a chance meeting about how they got there, Washington boasts, “I never told a lie.” Not to be outdone, Nixon proclaims, “I never told the truth.” A determined Carter can’t resist: “I never knew the difference!”

What is a lie? What is the truth? What is the difference? One could not begin to count all the words, ink, and paper spent addressing those three questions, even though the answers are implicated in almost every thought and every word and every act that everyone perceives, utters, and engages upon every day of our adult lives.

Truth is identity between intellect and reality. A lie is a knowing and intentional violation of the truth. The difference between the two often depends on whether one is in the governing class or the governed class.

We have all come to expect some lying in our lives and have engaged in lying to some extent; perhaps to avoid or postpone a crisis, or to serve a higher good, or because telling a lie was easier under the circumstances than telling the truth, and the consequences of the lie were harmless. This is all normal human behavior, and it can range from being critical to existence to being innocuous.

If a ship captain is secretly ferrying innocents from slavery to freedom, and his ship is stopped on the high seas by agents of the government that enslaved his passengers, should he lie about their true identities? When a coworker asks how you are during a miserable day, should you lie to avoid a painful but harmless and useless conversation? Can silence be a lie when one has a lawful or moral duty to tell the truth? These are issues with which we wrestle almost every day.

In a free society, we expect the government to wrestle with them as well, but it does not; it is not concerned with truth. The government lies to us regularly, consistently, systematically, and daily on matters great and small, but it prosecutes and jails those who lie to it. For example, a male drug dealer with a heavy foreign accent and minimal understanding of English stupidly tells an FBI agent that his name is Nancy Reagan, and he is arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for lying to the government. Another FBI agent tells the cultural guru Martha Stewart, in an informal conversation in the presence of others, that she is not the target of a federal criminal probe, and she replies that she did not sell a certain stock on a certain day. They both lied, but she went to jail and the FBI agent kept his job.

What is it about the government and its agents and employees that they can lie to us with impunity, but we risk being sent to jail if we lie to them?

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