Setting the Record Straight on The Daily Show’s Nullification Bashing

On July 31, the Daily Show did a little piece ridiculing nullification. The sketch centered around a Second Amendment Preservation Act passed by the Kentucky Senate during the last legislative session. (The bill died in the House.) After they make the bill’s sponsor look foolish, they bring in a nullification opponent  to make the principle itself look foolish. LaRue County Judge/Executive Tommy Turner serves that role. I should note that in Kentucky, a judge/executive serves as the chief executive of a county – essentially the mayor of the county. They are not judges, and the job requires no legal training.

The following is a letter I sent to Judge/Executive Turner

Dear Judge Executive Turner,

I saw your little spot on the Daily Show.

I admit it was mildly amusing. A total distortion of nullification, but amusing nonetheless.

I know it’s supposed to be comedy, but the piece was clearly intended to make a political point. Little does the Daily crew realize – the joke is on them.

Did you know that the “nullification” bill passed by the Kentucky Senate was absolutely constitutional  – even according to Supreme Court opinion? The bill was a simple noncompliance bill that would have prohibited state cooperation with any federal attempts to enforce acts violating the Second Amendment. It made no provision for state interference with federal actions.

There is absolutely ZERO serious dispute about the fact that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states (or their political subdivisions, local governments) to carry out its laws. None. Even the Supreme Court has affirmed this multiple times.


21 and Counting: Illinois Nullifies Federal “Laws” on Marijuana

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – And now there are 21.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana on Thursday, making it the 21st state to nullify the federal prohibition on weed.

The bill allows doctors to prescribe up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks to patients suffering from 21 illnesses, including cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis. Patients will be able to buy medical marijuana from one of 60 licensed dispensing centers. The new law does not allow patients to grow their own. The state will register 22 cultivation centers.

The Illinois House passed the bill 61-57. The Senate approved the measure 35-21.

A military veteran joined Quinn at the signing ceremony at the University of Chicago. Jim Champion suffers from multiple sclerosis and shared how marijuana helps reduce his pain. His wife indicated it allows her husband to cut his prescribed medication in half. He said he was glad he would no longer have to break the law to get relief.

“Now, we’re going to be offered a safer and more effective alternative to pain and spasm relief than the pharmaceuticals that we’ve been given by the bucket loads in the past,” he said. “I’ve always been ashamed that I was criminalized by the actions that I was forced to take for my pain relief.”

Quinn said the law represents an act of compassion.

“I feel that this is something, whatever faith we practice, we all believe that helping those who are sick, helping them recover and also helping them deal with pain. That’s a tenet in every faith and every religion,” he said. “So we’re really, I think, doing the right thing in Illinois.”

The feds disagree. In fact, they still brand Champion, and thousands like him, criminals.


Lie of the Century: NSA Director Claims to “Stand for Freedom”

We stand for freedom.

Those words were spoken by National Security Agency Director, Keith Alexander at a speech given during the annual Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, Nevada this week.

A little while later, he also responded to a heckler in the audience who told him to “read the Constitution,” with; “I have, and so should you.”

If that doesn’t qualify as the lie of the century, I don’t know what does.

I guess his version of the 4th amendment says this:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated unless the government feels it’s necessary, and no Warrants shall issue, because the government doesn’t need them.”

In an effort to show complete truthfulness, Alexander claimed that he would “answer every question to the fullest extent possible.” This because he welcomed dialog on this issue, and wanted to “put the facts on the table.”  He then assured another questioner in the audience that he had not lied to congress. Although, whether he was speaking only for himself or the entire NSA, is anyone’s guess.  He reaffirmed his stance that the NSA isn’t really doing any information collecting that we should worry about, because they are only collecting metadata.

Interestingly, the ACLU posted a great article yesterday on the truth regarding the intimacy of metadata. MIT media lab has developed a great tool called Immersion which “analyzes the metadata–From, To, Cc and Timestamp fields– from a volunteer’s Gmail account and visualizes it.” It illustrates what a huge repository of information exists as “metadata,” and why we have great reason to be concerned.


Nullification is like a BBQ

The current Federal government has been consistently growing Larger, more corrupt, and more importantly interconnected with corporate sponsors, and union lawyers over the last century – and as a result, it is very resistant to change. It is layered with career public servants who work tirelessly to justify their rent-seeking  jobs, and to ensure they will be able to retire after a long career. There are career politicians who no longer live in their districts in any meaningful way as Congress is virtually constantly in session. There are armies of lobbyists whose job it is to bribe the legislature into spending constituent money on non-governmental (let alone enumerated) functions. There is a judiciary (appointed for life) who rubber-stamp? any actions of their bosses and hiring managers as “Constitutional,” to put any action of the Federal government above suspicion. There is a military police apparatus fighting for more laws to enforce, and are demanding a more obedient subservient populace. There is a military-military contractor complex that fights to ensure we maintain a military infrastructure around the world, so that we can respond to any action overseas even before the local military (to the extent that the local government even has a military in place) can respond.

With all these layers, and the structural problems of the disenfranchised state legislatures, and the Federal reserve (monopoly money) funding system, and the first cut at tax revenues that the Feds get, (as well as the perception in the states that somehow “federal tax money” is free money to be spent as desired as long as it’s offered as “matching funds” or if it is spent instead of the states very own money (as if it comes from a different place)… The structure of the Federal government is complex. Any attempts to change it over the last several decades have been simple and quick.