Biennial Budgeting: Baloney Budget Reform

I don’t recall ever agreeing with the left-liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), but their new paperon the drawbacks of the federal government switching to biennial budgeting is a good read. Congressional Republicans, including House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-AL), are the chief proponents of switching to a biennial budget cycle. By providing (qualified) support to the CBPP paper, I’m hoping to demonstrate to would-be GOP naysayers that criticism of biennial budgeting isn’t confined to one area of the ideological spectrum.

I don’t agree with everything in the paper and I don’t share some of the authors’ concerns, but here are three solid points that the paper makes:


Agenda 21 – Another Enemy of the Constitution

Most of the Tenth Amendment Center‘s efforts since its founding have been focused on opposing the federal government’s usurpation of state, local and individual powers. There are certainly plenty of actions on the part of the federal government in the past century that could fall under that category, with both major parties sharing culpability. Unconstitutional wars, the war on drugs, massive government expansion into health care, education, agriculture…the list could go on and on. However, another threat to local, state and even national sovereignty comes from the international community, specifically the United Nations.

Coming out of the 1992 Rio Summit, Agenda 21 seeks to increase the UN’s power over areas of life ranging from farming practices to housing, all under the guise of environmentally sustainable development. What Agenda 21 really amounts to is a threat to private property rights, free markets and local self-government. Ironically, many towns have been gradually implementing Agenda 21 at the local level through ICLEI, which is an organization of local governments for sustainability. Like many power grabs, it is presented as being for the good of the people, but if one looks at the results of centralization of power at the national level, much less the international level, it is difficult to believe their rhetoric about saving the earth will yield any environmental benefit.


Two states seek to protect local food commerce from federal regulation

New Hampshire and Utah lawmakers have introduced legislation that would protect local food commerce from unconstitutional federal regulation in their states. HB1650 and SB34, respectively, would protect agricultural products that never cross state lines, not legally subject to federal regulations.

New Hampshire HB1650, sponsored by Rep. Davenport, Rep. Manuse, Rep. Mauro, Rep. Terrio, Rep. Bowers, and Sen. Forsythe, would “allow for locally produced food products to be sold and consumed within New Hampshire and to encourage the expansion and accessibility of farmers’ markets, roadside stands, farm and home based sales, and producer to end consumer agricultural sale.” The New Hampshire Food Freedom Act would protect products labeled “Made In New Hampshire.” It would also make it a class B misdemeanor for State officials, and class A misdemeanor for Federal officials, to attempt to enforce a federal act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation upon labeled products.

Utah SB34, sponsored by Sen. Casey Anderson (R- Cedar City) would also allow for locally produced food products to be sold and consumed within Utah, while providing legal protections for consumers and producers and imposing penalties for officials who attempt to interfere. It would also make it a class A misdemeanor for anyone attempting to enforce a federal regulation upon agricultural products indicating that they are “Made in Utah,” “Grown in Utah,” or “Produced in Utah.”


Idaho bill would decriminalize medicinal marijuana

On Jan. 17, Republican Tom Trail introduced HB 370 in the Idaho House of Representatives. This marks Trail’s second attempt to address the needs of medical marijuana patients in as many years.

“Representative Trail is a conservative who gets it. He sees that it’s all about compassion. In essence the heart of this bill is true conservatism.” Robert Capecchi of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington D.C. said.

HB370 would provide for alternative treatment centers where very ill patients could obtain cannabis medication to ease their suffering. It is not a legalization bill, but it does contain some interesting statements regarding the relationship between the States and their central government:

“According to the U.S. sentencing commission and the federal bureau of investigation, 99 out of every 100 marijuana arrests in the country are made under state law, rather than under federal law. Consequently, changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marijuana.”


Nullify the NDAA: Virginia House Bill 1160

UPDATE AND SPECIAL ACTION ALERT FOR 02-03-12 BELOW Introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates is House Bill 1160 (HB1160) which “Prevents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United…


State Dependency on the Federal Government

The president’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal is scheduled to be released on February 13th. State officials are predictably sounding the alarm on the coming “deep cuts” to federal subsidies now that stimulus funds are running out and Washington is being forced to confront its mounting red ink. State officials have become addicted to federal subsidies…


Thank you Tim Thomas

Today I count it an honor and a privilege to heap a little praise on one of my fellow goalies.

Those of us who guard the net in ice hockey belong to a rather small and tight knit fraternity. It takes a person with a special (some say crazy) makeup to handle the rigors of playing goalie.  We all tend to stick together and share a certain camaraderie. Why? Because playing in goal taxes not only the body, but the mind. It ain’t for the faint of heart! Hall of famer Jacques Plante summed it up.

“Stressful? Do you know a lot of jobs where every time you make a mistake, a red light goes off over your head and 15,000 people start booing?”

I don’t know Tim Thomas. He plays at a far higher level than I ever reached. But his willingness to take a stand, knowing that criticism would certainly come, doesn’t surprise me and it sure makes me proud.

The Boston Bruin netminder proved himself on the ice last year, backstopping the Bruins to a Stanley Cup at the age of 37, winning the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP in the process. And I have to mention his stinking Bruins knocked my beloved Lightning out of the playoffs along the way. But his actions this week carry far more significance than hockey, and his statement carries much more weight than any of his accomplishments on the ice.

Tim Thomas took a stand for liberty.


Nullify the NDAA!

cross-posted from the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center

The National Defense Authorization Act is one of the greatest abominations of our time.  It is time to call our state government to action to defend the liberties of Tennesseans and nullify this unconstitutional monstrosity.  The Tenth Amendment Center has a draft of model legislation to nullify the NDAA coming out in a few days.  We need to begin petitioning our legislature and governor for action immediately.

Please begin contacting your state legislators and the governor NOW, either by using the letter below or by drafting your own.  For contact information for your state legislator, visit and enter your address.  Governor Haslam’s contact information is:

Governor Bill Haslam
1st Floor, State Capitol
Nashville,  TN   37243
(615) 741-2001


Dear __________:

The NDAA is the single biggest evisceration of our Bill of Rights in our lifetime.  Never before have the definitions of terrorist and terrorist supporter been defined so broadly and vague; never before have we codified into law a president’s nonexistent authority to arrest and detain American citizens on American soil.  The arrest and detention provisions of NDAA have been condemned as the most egregious assault on our fundamental legal rights of protection under the Bill of Rights in history.


Wisconsin legislature to consider law making medical use of marijuana a defense against prosecution

Wisconsin legislators have introduced Senate Bill 371, allowing for the possession and use of medical marijuana.

The Bill was introduced on Jan. 9, 2012, by Senators Erpenbach and Taylor, cosponsored by Representatives Pocan, Berceau, Bewley, E. Coggs, Danou, Grigsby, Kessler, Pasch, Pope-Roberts, Roys, C. Taylor, Toles and Zepnick.

This bill would establish a Medical Necessity Defense to marijuana, related prosecutions and forfeiture actions.  Persons with debilitating medical conditions, or undergoing treatment that is also deemed by their primary care physician as debilitating, would be able to invoke this Medical Necessity Defense if this Bill were to be passed into law.

The defense provided under the bill, and the prohibition on arrest and prosecution contained in the bill,  would also apply to a primary caregiver, if the primary caregiver acquires, possesses, cultivates, transfers or transports marijuana to facilitate the patients use.

There are no protections for use of marijuana deemed to be recreational.  Certain provisions are laid out in the language of the Bill to prevent the defense from being invoked when people are in a corrections facility, sitting on a park bench, schools, public transportation and in the person’s place of work.  There are also strong prohibitions against the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.


18th Century Meanings of Happiness and Liberty

Cross Posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.

In this Glenn Beck interview,

Rick Santorum tells us that the 18th century definition of happiness is, “to do the morally right thing”.  When I heard this, I was surprised and fascinated, but also suspicious, so I decided to see if I could confirm that.  First, I checked the Dictionary of the English language by Samuel Johnson (1768, 3rd edition), where I found this…