Action Alert: Nullify NDAA Indefinite Detention in Texas

Texas House Bill 149 (HB149), The Texas Liberty Preservation Act (Larson; HD-122), was placed into the Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee on 6 Feb 2013.

The objective of HB 149 is to stop indefinite detention by nullifying Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA.  The bill includes criminal penalties for federal agents who attempt to carry out such “indefinite detentions” within the state of Texas – 1 year in prison and up to $10,000 fine.  (more information on the bill here)

Tenth Amendment Center-Texas requests your immediate help by contacting Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility committee members to express your support for HB 149.  We urge you to CALL and EMAIL.  Strongly, but respectfully, inform the committee members that you will accept nothing less than a YES vote, which will allow the full state house to debate and vote on the bill.

Committee members include:

Chair—Rep. Brandon Creighton (R) (  (512) 463-0726);NDAA

Rep. Cindy Burkett (R) ( (512) 463-0464);

Rep. Eddie Lucio (D) ( (512) 463-0606);

Rep. Scott Turner (R) ( (512) 463-0484), and;

Rep. Armando Walle (R) (  (512) 463-0924).


President Barack Obama signed


Defense Spending Has Not Been Cut by $600 Billion

Beltway politicians like to pretend that smaller spending increases amount to spending “cuts.” As Dan Mitchell has pointed out numerous times (see here for one example), that’s baseline budgeting baloney. Now that the 2011 Budget Control Act’s spending caps are in place, politicians are making an even more ridiculous claim: the so-called “cuts” have alreadyoccurred.

The caps apply to spending over ten fiscal years – the last year being 2021. We are obviously not in the year 2021, so it’s impossible for the so-called “cuts” to have already been implemented. Yet here are two examples from a recent Politico article where politicians suggest that to be the case:

“There are people that think we need to cut more,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) acknowledged in an interview. McKeon said he’s been pushing back against budget hawks in the GOP conference by pointing to the nearly $600 billion in spending cuts that the Pentagon has already absorbed in recent years — and that’s before sequestration would even begin.

“I think there’s spending that can be taken out of all departments,” said freshman Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.). “And I’ve talked to people from the Pentagon. There’s just areas that, yeah, we can pull back a little more, even though they did their $470 billion already. They said it hurt, but we possibly could.”

I’ll cut Rep. Yoho a little slack because the article indicates that he’s open to cutting defense. Rep. McKeon, on the other hand, deserves no such leniency. (Why McKeon said $600 billion and Yoho $470 billion I have no idea.)

The following chart illustrates why it is ridiculous to act as if smaller future increases in projected spending amount to realized spending cuts. The chart shows the Congressional Budget Office’s August 2001 baseline estimate of defense spending from 2002 to 2011 versus the actual outlays:


The Second Amendment Was Not Ratified to Preserve Slavery

originally published at The Beacon

An article at Truth Out by Thom Hartmann argues that the Second Amendment was ratified to preserve slavery, particularly to empower the state militia that used arms to enforce the institution through slave patrols. I wrote to Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, a historian who has written at some length about the history of American militia and whose working paper Deadweight Loss and the American Civil War: The Political Economy of Slavery, Secession, and Emancipation extensively discusses slave patrols as a key method by which slaveowners socialized the costs of slavery’s enforcement.

Hummel’s response to the Second Amendment slavery theory? Don’t buy it. Hartmann’s argument is overstated “to put it mildly.” In particular, the argument suffers from “presentism, back-dated from the Civil War, where everything that happened prior in U.S. history was driven by slavery.”

Hummel takes issue with some of the basic historical background in the Hartman piece, particularly “with the claim about ‘hundreds of substantial slave uprisings’ prior to the Constitution’s adoption. This would astonish most serious colonial historians.” Hummel explains the confusion:

Hartmann lifts this claim from the Carl T. Bogus article he cites, which in turn relies on Herbert Aptheker’s 1949 book, generally considered exaggerated even at the time it was published, before much additional research on slave revolts had made historians curious about their relative infrequency when compared with other slave societies in the New World. Nor were the few serious slave revolts during the colonial period confined to the South, with two in New York City (1712 and 1741).

Indeed, contrary to the reductionists, maintaining slavery was not the primary motivation lurking behind everyone’s actions at the Constitutional Convention.

The fact of the matter is that the Slave Power had not fully coalesced into a cohesive, dominant special interest by the time of the Constitution’s adoption. Opponents of the Constitution did of course sometimes use proslavery arguments, but this was hardly their primary concern, whether with respect to the Constitution generally or its militia clause specifically. And the change of the proposed Second Amendment’s wording from “free country” to “free State” is making a mountain of molehill. Hartmann doesn’t even get the story right, because as Bogus correctly reports, the change was made by the House committee, not by Madison.

(The House committee reviewing Madison’s proposed Bill of Rights had 11 members, one from each state. Madison was the representative from Virginia. There is no record of the committee’s deliberations. But since Madison had opposed creating the committee in the first place, preferring that the House consider the amendments directly, and since many of the members of the committee were initially opposed to a Bill of Rights, it is highly doubtful that Madison was responsible for the changed wording in ANY of the amendments as they were reported by the committee.)

The “more fundamental issue” here is the debate over the right to bear arms as an individual right, or a collective right. Hummel continues:


Down with Drones in Tennessee?

Another state legislature has the chance to come to its senses regarding the unwarranted use of surveillance drones on Americans. Tennessee Senator Mae Beavers (district 17) has joined Rep James Van Huss in the House (district 6 – H.B. 0591) with companion language that amends the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39, Chapter 13, Part 6. Known as the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act”. (S.B. 0796), section (c) states “Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, no law enforcement agency shall use a drone to gather evidence or other information.” Both bills were introduced February 4, 2013 and as of today, the House Bill passed second consideration, was referred to the Civil Justice Committee and in turn assigned to the Civil Justice Subcommittee.

Section (d) of the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” provides that use of a drone shall not be prohibited:

(1) To counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States secretary of homeland d security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk;

(2) If the law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone; or

(3) If the law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life.


Kansas Senate Bill would Nullify Federal “Laws” on Marijuana

Introduction of a bill by Senator David Haley in the Kansas State Senate would legalize cannabis for specific medical purposes. Passage would reverse state law and stop state prosecutions for possession by those with a medical prescription.

SB 9 would amend Kansas Codes concerning cannabis. The text of the bill simply states that it is:

“AN ACT enacting the cannabis compassion and care act; providing for the legal use of cannabis for certain debilitating medical conditions; providing for the registration and functions of compassion centers; authorizing the issuance of identification cards; establishing the compassion board; providing for administration of the act by the department of health and environment; amending K.S.A. 79-5210 and repealing the existing section.”

Haley has stated it’s an issue of basic compassion. “This becomes a pretty common-sense approach to that, especially when the alternative is to crowd our jails and prisons with people who only wanted to alleviate personal pain,” he says. The bill would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for conditions including glaucoma, hepatitis C, and pain and nausea associated with cancer treatment.

Since the federal government relies heavily on the sates to enforce their laws and regulations this bill through non-compliance would effectively nullify federal marijuana laws.
In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled against medical marijuana in the states in the case Gonzalez vs Raich. The attorneys general of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, three strongly anti-drug states from the usually conservative South, filed a brief supporting Raich on the grounds of states’ rights. Already, 18 states have marijuana laws on the books – 2 of which are full legalization and not just for medical purposes – leading to an effective nullification of unconstitutional federal laws and regulations on that plant.