Founders Turning in Their Graves

“A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

So said the ever-quotable Benjamin Franklin upon emerging from the Constitutional Convention debates in 1787.  Franklin’s now-famous statement to an inquisitive Philadelphian causes us today to pause and reflect.  Have we kept the republic that Franklin and his contemporaries bequeathed us?

A recent poll answers this query with an emphatic “No!”.  According to a Gallup survey, 71% of Americans believe that the Founders would be disappointed in the United States today.  This comes on the heels of another Gallup survey showing that Congress’s approval rating has hit its lowest mark ever at 10%.  President Obama doesn’t fare much better, garnering only 36% approval.

Are Americans beginning to realize that the government they have bears no resemblance to the one designed by the framers of the Constitution?  If the 71% are correct in saying that the Founders would be embarrassed by America today, the next logical question we should ask is “Why?”.

Could it be because we’ve completely abandoned the structure of government that they fought the British for and then jealously guarded while debating the Constitution?  Maybe we can find the answer in what some founders said about how American liberty would be preserved.

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The Line in the Sand

Congress, the president and the courts will never fix America’s problems – the problems they have created.

To think they will is a waste of time.

So what can be done if the government violates the very Constitution that defines it? What protections are available for the people?

The people of the states, the creators of the federal government,who agreed to its existence through the Constitution, are fully empowered to decide not to comply with any act outside the scope of federal authority.

Thomas Jefferson rejected judicial review as the final authority because he never trusted the courts. He never saw the wisdom of placing so much power in the hands of a few judges. Instead, he articulated the most effective option – nullification, “the Rightful Remedy.” Jefferson believed it was up to the people of the states, the parties who ratified the Constitution, to stand up to the government when it exceeds its constitutional bounds.

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Action Alert: Maryland, Time to Nullify Indefinite Detention Locally

Earlier this year, Maryland took the first step toward fighting federal kidnapping when Delegate Don H. Dwyer, Jr. introduced a Liberty Preservation Act in the state House. While HB558 didn’t gain traction in the legislature, it did set stage for further action.

And there’s Good news! You can still battle the feds at the local level. You don’t have to sit around and wait for the state to take action. Local governments can help stop indefinite detention, while simultaneously putting pressure on state politicians to do the right thing.

While the Maryland legislature failed to interpose this time around, government bodies at the local level can step into the fray. Counties and cities can refuse to assist any federal attempts at indefinite detention in their jurisdictions. These measures will not only provide  practical protections for their citizens, they will send a strong message to state capitals and put the pressure on to nullify federal kidnapping at the state level in the next legislative session.

It’s going to take work to ensure that this is how things play out.  Here’s what you can start doing right now. 

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New Hampshire Nullifies Federal “Laws” on Marijuana

CONCORD, N.H.  – Yesterday, with the stroke of Governor Maggie Hassan’s pen, New Hampshire became the 20th state to legalize marijuana for medical use. It now joins the swelling ranks of states nullifying the unconstitutional federal ban on weed.  The state House voted 284-66 in favor of HB 573 and the senate voted 18-6.

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?

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Montana Anti-Spying Law Good, More Needed

On May 6, Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed  an Anti-Location Electronic Spying Bill (HB 603) into law.

The new law provides strong privacy protections for Montana citizens, requiring state and local government agencies to obtain a warrant before spying on electronic devices or communication services.

Except as provided in subsection (2), a government entity may not obtain the location information of an electronic device without a search warrant issued by a duly authorized court.

The law covers services that “provide to users of the service the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications,” and any device “that enables access to or use of an electronic communication service, remote computing service, or location information service.”

Even with some exceptions such as law enforcement access when a device is reported stolen or for “life threatening situations,” the new law provides extensive privacy protections that did not exist before.

The law represents a solid win for privacy in Montana, although confusion surrounding the new law does exist. Some media outlets have reported the legislation prohibits NSA spying. But the law does not apply to federal agencies, as section three of the definitions makes clear.

(3) “Government entity” means a state or local agency, including but no limited to a law enforcement entity or any other investigative entity, agency, department, division, bureau, board or commission or an individual acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of a state or local agency.

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Is Finishing Your Vegetables Still Okay?

As a consumer, when you walk into most retail stores, you will notice that nearly every product sold has some form of labeling or information on it. Maybe it says where it was made, or what it was designed for. Maybe the product claims how it will make your life better or easier. Maybe it’s labeled with hazard signs or a Surgeon General warning. When it comes to food, most people would agree that they like to know what they’re going to put into their body before they consume it. And for the most part, food products are already mandated by the federal government (FDA) to show its contents. From how much sugar and fat it contains per serving, to if it contains high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. So why would labeling products that contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) be any different? Why does the FDA refuse to label genetically modified food?
Let’s first discuss what GMO means.

GMOs are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

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Look locally to battle government intervention

The following was published as a letter to the editor in The Times-News of Burlington, NC The definition of nullify is: “any act, or set of actions that result in a particular law being rendered null, void or just simply unenforceable.” This does not mean erasing it from statute. The federal government is dependent on…

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Don’t Comply, Nullify!

In 1798 with the ink on the Constitution barely dry, the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed which featured provisions that made speaking ill of the government a crime.

And what was the answer to this unconstitutional “law”?

Kentucky, led by Thomas Jefferson, and Virginia, led by James Madison, helped pass nullification resolutions in opposition of the unconstitutional legislation. Fast forward five decades and multiple northern states took a stand to nullify the pro-slavery fugitive slave laws, federal legislation that required the return of runaway slaves. More recently state legislatures led a nullification movement against the REAL ID act that now includes over half of the states in the Union.

There are numerous other examples in our history, but let’s move little closer to the present.

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