Why we must chain down governmental power

Over the weekend, I had an interesting Facebook discussion with a friend on the need for constitutional restraint on federal power.

He doesn’t see the point.

An article I wrote pointing out that James Madison vetoed a public works bill he actually favored, because he understood the federal government lacked the authority to implement the program sparked the debate.

“You’d still have us traveling on two lane local roads. Cut off and behind economically and culturally from the rest of the world and not ever having visited the moon. Glad I don’t live in that country.”

Actually, the point was that IF we agree the federal government should take action in a certain area, we should first amend the constitution to delegate the power. Not simply allow the feds to do whatever they want to do.

My friend disagreed.

He argued that the federal government should go ahead and do “good things,” even lacking constitutional authority. He accused me of living in the past and idolizing the founders when I insisted that we should remain true to our constitutional roots.


Nullification: Obamacare in New Jersey, NDAA in Michigan, Drug War in Colorado. Tenther News 10-08-12

This episode is made possible in part by the new Nullification Movie. Now available for order at tenthamendmentcenter.com/movie


From New Jersey, Benjamin Mankowski, Sr reports that the state are some small sparks of hope when it comes to nullification of Obamacare. Governor Christie vetoed the bill that would have implemented the health insurance exchanges, and there is hope that he will do so again.

Assemblywoman Alison Littel-McHose introduced legislation to nullify the Affordable Care Act, and the bill will be up for consideration in the 2013 legislative session. In other states, grassroots groups are forming to pressure state legislators to introduce the same. Activists are building networks in Texas, Ohio, Idaho and elsewhere, and we’ll be reporting on their progress as news comes in.

In the Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman wrote an article that seems to not only get, but support, the basic principles of nullification. He writes, On Nov. 6, residents of Colorado, Oregon and Washington will vote on ballot measures to allow the regulated production, sale, and use of pot.

In Colorado, which already has a large network of medical marijuana dispensaries, familiarity has bred acceptance. One of the most noteworthy headlines of 2011 came on a news release from Public Policy Polling: “Colorado favors gay marriage, marijuana use, loves Tebow.” Affection for the Denver quarterback may have ebbed since he went to the New York Jets, but the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 is leading in the polls.

Weed would remain illegal under federal law, but good luck to the feds trying to enforce that ban if a state abandons it. As the Drug Policy Alliance notes, medical marijuana has gotten established over the objections of Washington.


Obama the Nullifier? Again?

Hollywood would never dream of a plot line in which the power hungry tyrants in their country’s capital actively encourage anyone to disregard the rules that are spewed from the same capital.  Yet, in DC, the hardened statist’s paradise, the Obama Administration has actively encouraged military contractors to ignore the WARN Act, according to Timothy…


TrapWire Training Courses Reveal Possible Purpose for its Creation

originally posted at The New American Magazine

Although certain people reportedly playing key roles in the web-like leadership structure of TrapWire deny their involvement with the massive surveillance system, there is evidence that the engine driving this global company runs on the ambition of a common core of officers and directors.

Given the potential flood of legal challenges to its constitutionality, the corporation believed to be behind TrapWire is heading for higher ground, denying any association with the surveillance technology.

In a statement published on its website on August 13, Cubic Corporation attempted to sever the ties binding it to TrapWire. “Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB) acquired Abraxas Corporation on December 20, 2010. Abraxas Corporation then and now has no affiliation with Abraxas Applications now known as Trapwire, Inc. Erroneous reports have linked the company with Trapwire, Inc.,” the company insisted.

Despite such denials, many are rightly worried about any corporate connection — no matter how tenuous — between Cubic and TrapWire given the former’s access to the personal data of Americans through its other corporate interests. The synergy of such access with a massive surveillance apparatus could threaten the privacy of millions, as well as the freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures protected by the Fourth Amendment.

As for the scope and significance of TrapWire, the size of it cannot be exaggerated.


Washington Nullification Measure Has Wide Support

Seventeen states already have medical marijuana laws on the books, but now Colorado, Oregon and Washington want to expand that to recreational use. Initiative 502, the Washington marijuana measure, is ahead 57-33 percent with 10 percent undecided. Its backers include Seattle’s former top FBI agent. In defiance of federal law, Initiative 502 would allow people…


Will Oakland County, Michigan Nullify the NDAA?

Yesterday, the General Government Committee of the Oakland County (Michigan) Board of Commissioners unanimously (with two absences) passed the revised Liberty Preservation Resolution (#12208) which had been introduced by Commissioner Jim Runestad of White Lake.

Numerous Michigan Patriots (and a distinguished visitor from Ohio, Dan Johnson founder of People Against the NDAA) spoke in favor of the resolution and in opposition to the indefinite detention sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA. No one took the opposite position.

The speakers included David Lonier, Pauline and John Holten, Burke Cueny, Dan Johnson, Dennis Marburger, Commissioner Bill Sage of Allegan County, Ninth District Congressional Nominee Don Volaric, Darrell Johnson and Michigan Tenth Amendment Center Coordinator Shane Trejo.


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.