The State of Holland?

cross-posted from the Texas Tenth Amendment Center

In 1648, the Dutch earned their freedom from Spain. The amazing thing is that later this tiny country evolved into a major commercial empire. One reason, the Netherlands had for its time a lot of economic freedoms.

One example, the Dutch respected Freedom of Speech and allowed foreigners to come into their country to print books which were banned across Europe in order to keep them in circulation.

Much of that same spirit survives today with their lax rules on issues like drugs and prostitution. However, their membership with the European Union is restricting their freedoms. The EU and other nations are pressuring the Netherlands not to provide these goods and services to foreign guests visiting their country

We are often told while visiting a foreign nation, we should respect their laws and customs. I will never suggest to an individual while traveling to the Netherlands that they should do drugs or pay a prostitute for his/her services.

However, I do wonder where the United States has the authority to tell me that I can’t partake into these activities while legal there. Does a country have the authority to force their own laws on its citizens when they are not within their borders? The last time I checked, I don’t have a “Made In the USA” tattoo on my body

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GOP Fingerprints on the ‘Christmas Tree Tax’

The Drudge Report’s headlining of a Heritage Foundation story titled “Obama Couldn’t Wait: His New Christmas Tree Tax” has created quite a stir. In fact, it is being reported that the administration is now going to delay its implementation due to the outcry. Conservatives and Republicans are particularly incensed. However, it appears that they might want to rethink their…

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Nullification? It’s a Gamble!

cross-posted from the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center

This election year was one of mixed results for the Nullification and Tenth Amendment movement. In some states, initiatives were on the ballots that, in one way or another, sought to remove the federal government from the decision making process on an assortment of issues. Some met with success, while others failed.

Ohioans voted overwhelmingly in favor of Issue 3, which nullifies ObamaCare’s health insurance mandate. While this is only a small part of the health care reform bill, it is a beginning. Hopefully, state legislatures, local governments and the people of their respective states will begin dissecting and nullifying the rest of the 2,000 page monstrosity.

Mississippi’s Personhood initiative (26) failed by a roughly 14 point margin. Had it passed, it would have recognized the unborn as persons from the moment of conception in their state. There was disappointment among Pro-Lifers, particularly Pro-Life Tenthers, that the measure did not pass. I would remind them that the firstTenth Amendment Resolution introduced in New Hampshire in 2009 failed in a vote that was expected to pass, given New Hampshire’s reputation for being very much its own state.

The people of the State of New Jersey re-elected incumbents in almost all the state legislative races. However, perhaps unaware they were nullifying, they voted yes on a non-binding initiative stating New Jersey should pass a law allowing sports betting in Atlantic City. While some would claim the feds have the final say, the first question asked in response should be, “Why?”

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Finally, a Conservative Who Isn’t Naive on Foreign Policy

Andrew Bacevich, in his new book Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, takes apart the saccharine platitudes of the bipartisan foreign-policy consensus, ideas one is considered “crazy” or a “kook” for challenging, and finds that it is these platitudes themselves that are crazy, ahistorical, without foundation, etc.  Bacevich, a contributing editor of The American Conservative, considers why these ideas persist, and why they are foisted on the American public with such vigor.  Why should the U.S. still have troops in countries all over the world, where the conflict that brought them there no longer even exists?  He asks simple and obvious questions like that, the kind of questions that get conventional thinkers — i.e., the vast bulk of the political and media classes, not to mention a good chunk of the government-school-educated public — reaching for the matches to burn the heretic.

From the book:

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Florida legislature to consider intrastate commerce act

The Florida legislature will consider an intrastate commerce bill in its 2012 session.

Last week, Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-Fort Meyers) introduced HB 554, and Sen. Greg Evers (R-Pensacola) submitted a companion bill in the Senate (SB 814).

The legislation, “Provides that certain goods grown, manufactured, or made in this state and services performed in this state are not subject to authority of U.S. Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce; prohibits any official, agent, or employee of Federal Government or of state from attempting to enforce federal laws, rules, or regulations in violation of act; provides for application.”

Caldwell said Tenth Amendment Center model legislation inspired the bill. A similar proposal was introduced as a memorial in the last legislative session, but with a Senate sponsor signing on, the bill will move forward as statutory legislation in 2012. If passed, the law will have “teeth” making it possible to charge any agent attempting to enforce federal laws on intrastate activity with a third degree felony.

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Special Republican Debate Coverage, Health Freedom in Ohio!

Please join us for special edition of TRX: Tenther Radio TONIGHT, November 9, 2011 right here – listen live by clicking the play button at that time on the right. Join the conversation with your comments and questions by calling 213.785.7848.

Hosts Michael Boldin and Nick Hankoff will be in-studio in Los Angeles to give LIVE post-debate coverage from the Republican Debates.

NOTE: This show will start broadcasting AFTER the GOP Debate, starting approximately 6:30PM Pacific Time and running for 90 minutes

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Uh-Oh: Bipartisan Housing Commission Announced

The words “bipartisan” and “commission” usually send a chill down my spine. I felt such a chill when I learned that the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) had formed a Housing Commission to “address the long-term challenges facing a struggling housing sector.” My initial reaction was confirmed when I read that it would be chaired by former government officials and politicians of the establishment type:

  • Christopher “Kit” Bond – former U.S. senator (R-MO)
  • Henry Cisneros – Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary under President Bill Clinton
  • Mel Martinez – former U.S. senator (R-FL) and HUD secretary under President George W. Bush
  • George Mitchell – former Senate majority leader (D-ME) and BPC co-founder

The most disturbing name is Henry Cisneros. Policies implemented by Cisneros’s HUD helped lead to the housing bubble and bust (see this section on Cisneros from a Cato essay on HUD Scandals). What’s next, Dick Cheney on a hunting safety commission?

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American Elections: The Paragon of Democracy?

Democracy is on the march. Afghans and Iraqis have proudly raised their purple fingers. Elections are scheduled for Egypt. Recall elections are afoot in Wisconsin. The will of the people will not be ignored.

Yet, between the ideal of democracy and its realization falls the shadow — democracy is thwarted when elections are stolen.

But how can an election be stolen? After all, elections involve the simplest math: the adding of ones over and over again until one has gone through all the ballots. Assuming that these ones are added to their correct, intended targets (and that election officials are honest), the theft of elections happens when illegal ballots are cast. Such ballots are cast by ineligible voters and/or by repeat voters.

The way to detect illegal voters is by identifying legal voters using their unique data. Courts already use the unique data of DNA to establish guilt and innocence. But voters aren’t going to relish having their mouths swabbed for DNA just so they can proceed to the voting booth; elections would be too much like flying commercial.

OK, then what about using fingerprints or iris scans to establish identity?

The reason fingerprints and iris scans are a quick way to verify for admittance into secure areas is because there are so few people allowed into such areas, and therefore only a few scans are on-file to match against. But if there were hundreds of millions to match against, such as in the American electorate, fingerprints and iris scans would be less feasible methods for quick verifications.

Not only that, voters would need to have their unique data on-file residing in some database before an election so that computers could make matches — if you’re not on-file, you don’t get to vote. Which means everyone would need to have his iris scanned and/or fingerprints taken beforehand.

Using the unique biometric data above seems like a lot of trouble, and some folks would object to it as a violation of privacy. But there is one unique datum that every citizen can have that is practical, and that is a number.

For instance, banks don’t use unique biometric data to keep their customers’ accounts separate; they use unique numbers. If a bank customer wants to do something with his account, he uses his account number to gain direct access to his account, there’s no need for a computer to analyze complex data, like iris patterns or fingerprint swirls. 

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