Whose Rights are They Anyway?

At a gathering of TEA Party and Liberty groups leaders this past weekend I repeatedly heard them refer to our constitutional rights in questions put forth to a candidate running for political office. At any other setting, I would have corrected them, but I felt it was not my place to correct them since it wasn’t my event and I was a guest.Bill of Rights Redacted

I was wrong; I should have.

We DO NOT have constitutional rights; we don’t even have constitutionally protected rights.

We have inalienable rights, or if you prefer – unchallengeable, absolute, immutable, unassailable, incontrovertible, undisputable, indisputable, undeniable, natural or as prefer to call them God given rights.

These rights existed before the Constitution and they existed even before government.

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Oscoda County Leads Michigan Effort To Nullify Federal Gun Control

Three townships in Michigan have joined the wave of resistance to federal violations of the Second Amendment, as Comins, Greenwood and Big Creek passed resolutions proclaiming the unconditional right of their residents to keep and bear arms.

The Big Creek resolution passed unanimously, while the Comins resolution passed 4 to 1. The Greenwood resolution was extended to protect the entire Bill of Rights and passed unanimously. The resolution was also introduced in Clinton Township, where it was tabled and will be discussed at a later meeting.

Activists in Oscoda County say they hope to get similar resolutions passed in all of the townships within county limits, sending a message to state legislators that they must act to protect Second Amendment rights from federal intrusion.

“I plan to get all our townships on board, then start on other counties around us, and hope it snowballs into a statewide process.”

Joseph Stone introduced the resolution in Big Creek Township.

“I am a strong Second Amendment and open carry advocate and we need to continue to fight for our rights,” he said.

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IRS: Corrupt to the Core

In 1913, the 16th Amendment became part of the Constitution for these United States, allowing the federal government to tax “income.”

Since then, this seemingly harmless change in funding methodology has ballooned into something the drafters of the amendment couldn’t have imagined. Surely they didn’t expect the agency charged with collections to adopt rules and regulations effectively repealing the Fifth Amendment when dealing with it? Certainly they did not plan to create thousands of pages of regulations that no average citizen could be expected to understand, costing tens of billions of dollars in compliance costs every year. They couldn’t have anticipated that the total spending of the U.S. Government would balloon to the point that it now consumes between four and eight times what it did pre-income tax (relative to GDP). Surely they did not expect these things, or maybe they did, but by-God, we got them.

One thing is clear to me after observing federal politics over these last couple of decades…the resignation of a few key officials will not fix what ails the IRS.

Just like Obama is not the only problem in D.C., these IRS officials aren’t the problem with the IRS. The truth be told Obama is ‘only’ expanding on what Bush, Clinton, Bush, and even Reagan did before him. The problem is systemic…just like the IRS problem.

The IRS is merely being the IRS. Even if every tin-pot, dictator-wannabe in the agency gets fired, and an entire new regime is installed tomorrow, the IRS will still be bound by the corrupt rules ignoring and violating the Constitution each and every day.

The rules that the IRS drafts are viewed as ‘constitutional’ because  the agency was actually created pursuant to an act of Congress to raise revenue for the treasury during the Civil War, long before the 16th Amendment was even passed. The rules it operates under were simply adopted by the IRS itself, and deemed to be constitutional because the the agency itself is a creation of the Treasury Department! Nonetheless, they pass regulations that contradict the Constitution all the time. Not to mention, anybody who does a little research knows that following the “constitutional path” to pass a law does automatically magically endow an act constitutional.

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Ohio Bill Would Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying

Ohio has joined the growing number of states considering restrictions on drone use. Legislation limiting the use of drones by law enforcement agencies was introduced on 6/12/2013 by Ohio State Representative Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont).

House Bill 207 was introduced in response to law enforcement agencies seeking to purchase and use unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones.

“As this technology continues to become more prevalent, the state of Ohio must be vigilant in seeing that drones are used only in circumstances that specifically protect public safety,” Damschroder stated. “HB 207 ensures that law enforcement agencies are only using drone technology for appropriate reasons. We have all watched over the past few weeks how technology could potentially be used by government agencies to violate our privacy and conduct unwarranted surveillance. We need to do everything possible to prevent a Big Brother society where government exerts too much control of our lives or has too much access to our private information.”

The bill states that no law enforcement agency shall operate a drone unless the agency has obtained a search warrant, or if a law enforcement agency has reasonable suspicion that swift action is needed to prevent imminent harm to life, serious damage to property, or to prevent the escape of a suspect or destruction of evidence. HB 207 further ensures that no information or evidence collected while operating a drone shall be used in a court proceeding if it was obtained in violation of the exceptions provided in the bill.

“We all have a right to personal privacy and HB 207 advances that cause,” Damschroder continued. “The bill is a preemptive strike against the abuse of our 4th amendment rights and makes it clear that drones cannot be used simply to spy on individuals and survey our property.”

ACTION ITEMS FOR HB 207

1. Contact your state representative. Strongly encourage her/him to support HB 207.

http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/member-directory

2.  Encourage your local community to take action as well. Using model legislation

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Maine House Passes Bill to Nullify Unconstitutional Federal Ban on Hemp Farming and Production

Last Wednesday, the Maine House of Representatives passed LD525 (Industrial Hemp) which allows hemp cultivation in the state of Maine, effectively nullifying unconstitutional federal acts which ban the same.  The bill is a simple amendment to previous hemp farming laws removing a requirement that federal permission must first be acquired before production is authorized.  The final vote on LD525 was 24-10 (roll call here).

The amendment simply states:

3. Application. A person desiring to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes shall apply to the commissioner for a license on a form prescribed by the commissioner. The application must include the name and address of the applicant, the legal description of the land area to be used for the production of industrial hemp and a map, an aerial photograph or global positioning coordinates sufficient for locating the production fields.

4. License issued.   Upon review and approval of an application, the commissioner shall notify the applicant and request that the application fee determined under subsection 7 be submitted. Upon receipt of the appropriate fee, the commissioner shall issue a license, which is valid for a period of one year and only for the site or sites specified in the license.

The bill now has moved to the Maine State Senate where Senator Emily Cain made a motion to have the bill placed on the Special Appropriations Table. In Maine, the Special Appropriations Table is where funding of the bill is determined. If the bill is properly funded, it moves forward. However, this is also the one of those legislative road blocks that is often used to kill bills. If the Senate fails to fund a bill, it will die here. So putting pressure on Maine State Senators is crucial for the advancement of this bill.  If passed, Maine would become the 2nd state in the country to nullify the unconstitutional federal ban on hemp farming and production.  Just this month, Colorado’s Governor Hickenloooper signed a bill making his state the first.

ACTION ITEMS  

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Oregon Senate Passes Bill to Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying

SALEM, Ore – Last Monday, the Oregon Senate passed an amended version of a bill that would nullify drone use without a warrant in all but a few cases.

HB2710 “Provides that drones may be used by law enforcement agency for purpose of surveillance of persons only pursuant to a warrant or in emergency circumstances. Provides that law enforcement agencies may use drones to intercept communications only as provided under laws relating to wiretaps other interceptions of communications. Requires destruction of images and other information acquired by use of drone within 30 days.”

The bill also outlaws weaponized drones.

The House passed its version of the bill 52-7 on April 15. The Senate passed the amended version 23-5.

The amendments broaden the scope of the bill by requiring any public body operating a drone to register with the Oregon Dept. of Aviation, and by criminalizing the use of a drone to interfere with another aircraft and hacking into a drone. The amended bill would also  allow property owners to seek damages from anyone operating a drone less than 400 feet above their property.

Senate amendment also make exceptions more explicit, allowing police to use drones if they have “probable cause to believe that a crime committed at the time the drone is used and exigent circumstances exist that make reasonable for the law enforcement agency to obtain a warrant authorizing use, or if the law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that the targeted intends to commit a crime and circumstances exist that prevent the law enforcement acquiring a warrant, authorizing use of a drone, before the time at which enforcement agency believes the crime will be committed.” Police could also use drones to track an individual fleeing the scene of a crime.

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State Legislatures Strengthen the Constitution Via Nullification

On May 4, politicususa.com published “Republicans Shred the Constitution By Passing Unconstitutional Nullification Laws” by Rmuse.

This article is nothing more than worship at the altar of the All-Powerful National Regime. The author’s supposition is that Republicans despise the Constitution because many states have passed bills that nullify federal government laws and reject federal court opinions. It is my contention that citizens of the several states do not need to stand by and accept unconstitutional overreach of federal statutes and poorly reasoned federal / Supreme court decisions. As James Madison put it:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. . . . The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. (THE FEDERALIST NO. 45, at 292-293 (James Madison)(Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961))

Rmuse’s primary contention is that any and all decisions by the federal government must be constitutional because they say so. Nothing could be further from the truth. All three branches, executive, legislative and judicial, are three limbs of the same power hungry tree.

In the second paragraph of the article, he makes some strange reference to secession petitions submitted after the 2012 election. These petitions, submitted through the White House web site, have nothing to do with nullification. Nullification acts are passed by state legislatures, petitions are submitted by individual citizens. He also said nullification started immediately after the 2012 election when, in fact, efforts began during in 1798 with the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions. Other nullification efforts began as early as 1832 during the Jackson administration. And if we are talking about the modern nullification movement, we can look back to the mid-1990s when California began nullifying federal prohibition of weed.

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California Action Alert: Pass AB351, Help Stop “Indefinite Detention”

Tim Donnelly’s AB351, a bill which starts the process of stopping “Indefinite Detention” under the NDAA and other so-called federal “laws,” has passed the State Assembly and is up for an important State Senate committee hearing and vote on June 25th. Your action is needed right now to help this bill move forward!

ACTION STEPS for California Residents:

1. Contact ALL the members of the Senate Public Safety Committee. Let each of them know – strongly, but respectfully – that you want to see a YES vote on AB351.

Senator Loni Hancock (Chair) (916) 651-4009
Senator Joel Anderson (Vice Chair) (916) 651-4036
Senator Marty Block (916) 651-4039
Senator Kevin de León (916) 651-4022
Senator Steve Knight (916) 651-4021
Senator Carol Liu (916) 651-4025
Senator Darrell Steinberg (916) 651-4006

2. Contact your state senator.  California residents are strongly encouraged to contact their state senators immediately to request support for AB351.  (contact info here)

3.  Share this information widely.  Please pass this along to your friends and family.  Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state.  Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.

4. Join the NDAA activist group on Facebook. Connect with others, plan strategy, build a coalition, and help get AB351 passed!
http://www.facebook.com/groups/nullifyndaacalifornia/

BILL INFORMATION

If passed into law, AB351 would make it state policy to reject “indefinite detention” powers from the federal government.   It reads, in part:

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Separation of Constitution and State?

It seems we have reached a new point of inversion.

Are we at a point where references to the Constitution are now censored by the public education system? The curriculum has long been compromised with Constitutional half-truths, but are we now censoring student’s speeches that reflect on the Constitution? Is it too controversial, or just too obviously true, to allow a valedictorian to point out that the federal government is trampling rights?

According to reports, a North Texas valedictorian’s microphone was recently shut off mid-speech when his speech varied from the submitted script. The speech varied and “…he was talking about getting constitutional rights getting taken away from him.” the microphone was cut off. In fairness to the school, there was a policy in place that microphones would be shut off if the speech went off-script.

However, this trend to micromanage the speech of those that have earned the highest academic position available is problematic. What prompts the school to implement such authoritarian measures of censorship of a valedictorian’s speech? Who’s speech is it anyway?  Why did this valedictorian feel the need to remove references to the Constitution in the draft submitted to the school censors?

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Striking at the Root

Here in the northwest, there proliferates a climbing plant known to many people far and wide as Morning Glory.  Though there are different kinds of Morning Glory, they have in common creeping vines, and flowers that bloom at night, or through the early morning.The flowers can be quite lovely, and because they climb so nicely, are often used to cover patio trellises and fencing. The same vines that creep up, also creep out in a vast ground cover.

Unfortunately, all that flowers does not a happy gardener make. Morning Glory is highly invasive with a complicated root system that makes it very difficult to get rid of. “Very,” as in, I am pretty sure the cockroaches will be vacationing in it post nuclear fallout.

Every broken piece of Morning Glory will root and form it’s own plant. It can’t be composted, but rather must be thrown away or burned. The rototiller and the hoe are only helping it to achieve world domination. Weedkiller will take care of it temporarily, but do you want to spray weedkiller in your vegetable garden? The only real way to take it on is to dig up the root system everywhere you can, cover up your garden with black plastic all year (instead of growing anything) in order to burn it out with the sun, and/or just be prepared to be pulling it up constantly… for the rest of your life.

Sitting in my garden, pulling up Morning Glory, I was pondering the recent revelations in regard to the ever growing surveillance state. A local news station posed the question over Facebook of whether or not members of our community felt that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, deserved to be tried for treason. Some of the answers disturbed me, and the split was much more even than I would have hoped.

You see, quite many people still see the intelligence community as more interested in our freedom and protection than anything else. It hasn’t occurred to them that it’s power could be (and is being) abused. If it has occurred to them, they have quickly discarded it and gone back to life as usual. I think there are many reasons for this, and I am even willing to say that some of those reasons stem from a habit of looking on the bright side. Obviously there are many more negative reasons as well, but for the moment I am giving people the benefit of the doubt. They want to believe that our government has our best interests at heart. They are good people, their friends and family are good people, certainly the men and women working in our government are at heart, good people. But is this outlook naive? At best.

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