James Madison: putting principle over pragmatism

The campaign season is on!

That means over the next few weeks, candidates for federal office will spend millions of dollars trying to convince you that their particular slate of programs will “turn the country around.” They’ll propose job creation programs, health care programs and programs to help balding men grow hair.

And boy, will we argue. We’ll argue about the cost of the proposed programs. We’ll argue about the feasibility of the proposed programs. We’ll argue about the fairness of the proposed programs.

But seldom will you ever hear anybody stop and ask, “Hey, does the federal government actually have the constitutional authority to implement this?”

Believe it or not, that used to matter.

In fact, it used to stand as the most important question. Because no matter how good the idea is, and no matter how great the program might turn out to be, if the federal government lacks the power to implement it, it should never see the light of day.

In his last act as president, James Madison vetoed a bill that funded programs he favored. In fact, they were programs he lobbied for. The legislation was a public works bill that would have provided money for federal road and canal construction. Even though Madison believed strongly that the federal government should involve itself in improving the transportation system, he vetoed the bill, arguing that the people must first amend the Constitution to grant the federal government the power to implement such programs.


Obama More Big Brother Than Bush

During a scene in the 2006 Oscar-winning movie “The Departed,” Martin Sheen’s cop character points at government agents who are working with police during a sting operation and remarks: “All cell phone signals are under surveillance, due to the courtesy of our federal friends over there.” Alec Baldwin’s cop character then slaps the back of a fellow officer in glee, exclaiming: “Patriot Act, Patriot Act! I love it, I love it, I love it!”

I considered this scene to be a Hollywood liberal dig at then-President Bush, whose Patriot Act legislation was considered an assault on civil liberties by the left. At the time, liberals’ greatest beef with Bush was unquestionably on the issues of foreign policy and civil liberties — with the warrantless wiretapping and government eavesdropping permitted by the Patriot Act at the top of the list.

But that was then.


Latest NDAA Indefinite Detention Nullification news

Here’s the latest news on our drive to Nullify the 2012 NDAA indefinite detention provisions in Michigan:

1. Led by Ray Kirkus, our intrepid Berrien County brethern visited their county commissioners yesterday. While the reception they received was less than ideal, Bill Sage (Allegan County Commissioner) was given several minutes to make a partial presentation to the board. Naturally, he made the most of the time given to him. Ray is organizing and mobilizing his fellow Berrien County residents to keep up the pressure through emails and phone calls urging their commissioners to fulfill their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution and pass the Liberty Preservation Resolution opposing the 2012 NDAA indefinite detention provisions.

2. Monday, October 8, 2012 @ 9:30AM, our Oakland County group and friends from nearby areas will go to the General Government Committee at the Oakland County Government Center (1200 N. Telegraph Road, Pontiac, Mi). Commissioner Jim Runestad is unavoidably out of town Monday, but Committee Vice Chair Jeff Matis will be the Liberty Preservation Resolution’s champion at the meeting. David Lonier, one of Liberty’s most persistent and consistent advocates, composed a petition for attendees to sign and deliver at the meeting. An updated version of the petition is attached. Bill Sage may make the trip just to lend his tangible support to our local efforts. He is always articulate and passionate, as well as quite knowlegable about the 2012 NDAA. We’ll mostly say brief statements of support for the resolution, though Bill will probably speak more substantively as an out of towner and peer of the commissioners.


The Growing Surveillance State

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Welcome to another exciting episode of Tenther Radio!  Episode #67 comes firing out of the gate like a Nolan Ryan fastball.  Skipper Michael Boldin is joined by All-Star MVP Lesley Swann.

Over on First Base, Michael and Lesley discuss the latest news while Michael was throwing weed (seeds?) around the baseball diamond.   New items discussed were: Polls showing Colorado public is supporting Marijuana Legalization, Michigan standing up against the NDAA, Raw Milk Farmer acquitted through jury nullification.

Lesley finished the segment by saying, “This is a huge country.  One of the reasons why America worked for a long time because it was so decentralized…Large geographically countries that have central planning government don’t work because it is physically impossible.”

Stand by over on second base, Joe Wolverton was the show’s guest.  He shared with us his latest insights of two recent articles he wrote.  Michael  asked Joe to explain what Tapwire is, and he answered, “…this company created a software called Trapwire.  This software enables the end user whoever that happens to be to obtain from traffic cameras and stop light cameras and persons using those video feeds to monitor.”

When asked about how far the government has gone to be able to track us, Joe responded, “I literally could spend every day chronicling the ways that the federal government now has under surveillance.  Trapwire, DHS, TSA all having the capability to remotely activate apps on your smart phone that will turn your smart phone into a roving microphone.  The invisible laser that can make a genetic map of your code.”


“Handlin” the Health Care Debate from Home

Most politicians, and consequently many voters who bet all their chips on the federal government’s actions, think of Congress and the President and maybe the Supreme Court when it comes to health care issues.

It matters little to none whether the politician is a Democrat pushing for that next step toward a public option or even single payer system, or a Republican mistakenly pushing tort reform from DC while preaching the merits of limited government.  It was not until ObamaCare that Governors (including one Democrat) and legislators across these 50 States mentioned not implementing the federally mandated health insurance exchanges.

Although we as a state have a long way to go toward beginning to act like a state again, there are small sparks of hope that need some fuel poured on them.  Governor Christie vetoed the bill that would have implemented the health insurance exchanges, and we are hoping he will do so again.


Supreme Court has chance to end state university ethnic discrimination

By granting certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court has a chance to correct one of the most obnoxious aspects of modern jurisprudence. By that I mean permission given to state universities—in Grutter v. Bollinger(2003)—to use public resources to play racial and ethnic politics.

I worked full time in public higher education for 23 years and part-time for eight years before that. The experience made it clear that (whatever some well-meaning people might believe) university “diversity” policies are not mostly about education, but about indulging ideology and playing ethnic politics.

University “diversity” policies vary in their details. But in their now-prevalent form, they are carefully gerrymandered to skew benefits toward particular groups with left-of-center voting patterns and away from groups without such patterns. For example, the three groups benefited in the Grutter case were African-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics—which all just happen to be (surprise!) core constituencies of the National Democratic Party.

Several factors led me to conclude that the correlation between benefits and voting patterns was not merely accidental. They are:

* Those who promote these policies generally have a group-politics-based ideological bent. As a rule, you don’t see the most serious scholars or most rigorous teachers eager to serve on the “diversity” committees.

* There is no effort to address the inconvenient fact some studies show that greater ethnic “diversity” impedes, rather than assists, student achievement (because a class of students with common background has a common vocabulary and cultural platform).

* Groups with histories of discrimination but without the “correct” voting patterns are excluded from benefits. Asian Americans and eastern Europeans are examples.

* The purported benefits of “diversity” don’t induce universities to assure ideological diversity.


Make it stop!

My foray into the presidential debate Wednesday night lasted exactly nine minutes.

My finger hoovered over the TV power button during President Obama’s opening remarks, when he started talking about all of the money the U.S. would save by “winding down the wars” and how he would have that money to “invest” (aka spend) on his agenda at home. Never mind that the money doesn’t exist in the first place. You can’t “save” borrowed money. But winding down the wars? Really? The U.S. remains heavily involved in Iraq with recent troop deployments. U.S. soldiers continue to die weekly in Afghanistan. A friend of mine just deployed with a Kentucky National Guard combat unit to the Horn of Africa. And after his rip-roaring success in Libya, the peace president still has plenty of places left where he can flex U.S. military muscle: Syria, Iran, Yemen…the list is endless!

No – there is no “winding down the wars.”

But it was the constant appeal to federal power that ultimately sent me scurrying for the peaceful solace of the “off” button. Romney and Obama apparently think the right federal program can solve just about anything. Both promised to “fix” the education system, create jobs, achieve energy independence and make every American skinny. OK – I made that last one up. But I probably shouldn’t give them any ideas.


NDAA Nullification News

Good afternoon, Friends of Liberty!! America has a proud and noble tradition of state and local resistance to tyranny. This resistance was manifested before and after The American Revolution (actually, secession from the British Empire). The framers and ratifiers knew how important this was, so they made sure to this keep flame of defiance alive through the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights.

These concepts are so valuable and timeless that Patriots turn to these Amendments today. Here’s the latest on our very important campaign employing Thomas Jefferson’s “rightful remedy” of state nullification (Tenth Amendment) against general – or Federal – government kidnapping of the people, as codified in Sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA:

1. Today, October 4, 2012, Ray Kirkus is leading a group of Patriots to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting to promote The Liberty Preservation Resolution and support Tom McMillin’s HB5768 (the non-compliance w/NDAA bill). Commissioner Bill Sage of Allegan County is joining them in order to offer his knowledge and determination.

2. Monday, October 8, 2012, (9:30AM) we will be gathering at the General Government Committee Meeting of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. The meeting location will be:

1200 North Telegraph Road
County Service Center – Committee Room A
Pontiac, Michigan, USA, 48341-0421

Phone: 248-858-0100
Fax: 248-858-1572

Commissioner Jeff Matis, the Vice Chair of the Committee


Appeals Court Indefinitely Detains NDAA Ruling

by Dan Johnson, PANDA

On December 31st, 2011, in the dead of night, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. On that day, the Bill of Rights was shattered in the interest of the “War on Terror.” He also wrote a signing statement saying that “my administration will not detain American citizens” and was very hesitant to sign the bill into law.

Then, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals placed Section 1021 of the NDAA back into effect.

The NDAA is typically a mundane bill that appropriates funding for the military for the current year. However, c allows anyone including American citizens to be detained indefinitely by the military…no trial, no charges, no day in court.

When the NDAA was signed into law I, along with many others, took notice and took action. Tangerine Bolen, founder of Revolution Truth, journalist Chris Hedges, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Professor Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Kai Wargalla and Alexa O’Brien filed a lawsuit against the NDAA within 30 days of its signing. They would become known as the “Freedom 7,” and were immediately launched into the spotlight.

In May, Federal Judge Katherine Forrest, in the strongest ruling for civil liberties since 9/11, agreed with the plaintiffs and declared the NDAA unconstitutional, placing an temporary injunction on the law. In her ruling, she specifically stated, “This measure has a chilling impact on First Amendment rights.” In that same ruling, she specifically stated that her ruling applied to and protected the general public: