Congress Spends Your Tax Dollars on a National ID

by Jim Harper, for the CATO Institute

It’s appropriations season! – that wonderful time of year when the House and Senate pass competing versions of legislation to fund government agencies, bureaus, and…whatever pork and pet projects they can squeeze in.

Congress has made most of its spending decisions over the past few years through last-minute continuing resolutions or consolidated appropriations bills. That makes it harder to follow the money (which may be part of the reason they’ve been doing it that way), but it’s important to watch the dollars because some of that money is going toward national ID systems and biometrics.

Last week the House passed their FY 2014 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill. As in years past, the legislation contains funding for three of everyone’s favorite identification programs: REAL ID, E-Verify, and US-VISIT/the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), a DHS office covering biometrics for travelers at airports, ports, and other points of entry.

For the coming fiscal year, the House appropriated $114 million for E-Verify, $232 million for OBIM, and $1.2 billion for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP), from which grants for REAL ID implementation get doled out to states.

Details

Pennsylvania Bill Would Nullify NDAA “Indefinite Detention”

In another David flings a rock in Goliath’s eye moment, Pennsylvania state Senator Mike Folmer introduced the Liberty Preservation Act (SB999) last week.

The bill would prohibit state employees from cooperating with federal enforcement of sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) that purport to allow arrest and detention without charge or trial on U.S. soil.

No employee shall provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, as amended, (Public Law 112-81, 125 Stat. 1298) within the boundaries of this Commonwealth.

SB999 sets criminal penalties for state employees – including law enforcement personnel – who aid or abet federal agents or agencies attempting to arrest or detain citizens pursuant to the NDAA within the Commonwealth.  Pennsylvania now joins 18 other states with pending or enacted legislation that interposes sovereign state authority between their citizens and the growing authoritarianism of central government.

“I believe the indefinite detention of American citizens without providing them due process of law is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA. This is why I introduced legislation to prohibit state, county, and local agencies from complying with NDAA:  to protect Pennsylvanians’ due process rights,” Folmer said, affirming his duty to uphold the Constitution against its unchecked transgression by the federal government.

Think it can’t happen here?  It already has.

Details

Non-compliance Works: Statistics are Proving Our Point

We can neuter the feds simply by refusing to join them on the playground.

There is a lot of talk these days about how liberty yields to “security” and how government has grown in size and power with the “War on Terror.” But in reality, this national security state has existed as a permanent installation since the Cold War. And its not just foreign wars driving the militarized state. The decades long War on Drugs has contributed as much, if not more.

But here is some good news: recently released data on the “Drug War” indicates  so-called security may, in fact, be yielding to liberty!

“Decreased availability of local law enforcement personnel to assist in eradication efforts” is one of the primary concerns for the unconstitutional Drug Enforcement Administration. Federal statistics showed a drop of 60 percent  in the amount of marijuana destroyed. In 2009, over 10 million plants were seized, but in 2012 that number fell below four million.

Buried in this statistic, we see the power and potential of state nullification. With 19 states authorizing medical marijuana, and Washington and Colorado legalizing weed for recreational use, we see the carpet slipping out from under the feds. Each time a state takes control of its own marijuana policy, it has less incentive to cooperate with the feds in eradicating weed. That leaves the DEA to operate on its own. And it simply can’t do it. The feds lack the funding and manpower to control marijuana in all 50 states against the will of the people.

And the will of the people has turned against the war on marijuana. A Pew Research poll shows 59 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans think the feds should back off enforcing federal drug laws in states with legalized marijuana. The lack of public will translates to a lack of political will. With states facing tight budgets, officials simply won’t waste resources helping the feds enforce unconstitutional and unpopular acts. In California and other states, the funds simply aren’t there to lend support to the feds. Even if people don’t embrace, or even understand, the principles of nullification, the effect is the same: the federal “laws” become unenforceable.

Details

New Hampshire Legislature Nullifies Federal “Laws” on Marijuana

CONCORD, N.H.  – New Hampshire moved a step forward toward legalizing marijuana for medical use, joining the swelling ranks of states nullifying the unconstitutional federal ban on weed.  The Legislature voted 284-66 Wednesday in favor of HB 573 and the bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for a signature.

The bill allows patients diagnosed with cancer, Crohn’s disease and approximately twenty initially approved conditions to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana obtained from one of four dispensaries authorized by the state.

‘‘All of us recognize it has been proven to provide relief from pain and suffering,’’ Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) said.

Even so, the feds define alleviating suffering as a criminal activity. Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. But the opinions of black-robed judicial oracles don’t magically transform the meaning of the Constitution. It delegates no power to regulate plants grown and used within the borders of a state. And the so-called war on drugs rests on the same legal authority as all of the other modern-day undeclared wars.

None.

Doubt this? Then ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to legalize federal alcohol prohibition?

Details