School’s Back in Session

September is here, and you know what that means.  We are, once again, just under two months away from the most crucial presidential election in our history…you know, just like we were four years ago.  And we buy what they sell us every time.  Republicans and Democrats alike are telling us how disastrous things will be if the other guy wins in November and occupies/continues to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC come January 20, 2013.  To quote Yoda, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”

We in the Tenther movement, and in the liberty movement in New Jersey in general, have a lot to learn.  The core representatives in the New Jersey TAC are no exception.  We have admitted it among ourselves, and we admit it to our members and other groups in general.  We’re a smart crew (at least Brenda and Peter are), but we have a lot to learn about organizing.

In many ways this learning process must involve reaching out to other groups that know more than we do, especially if they are on the same page or at least the same chapter of the book as we are concerning liberty.  One group very familiar with that book is Ron Paul supporters.  While Dr. Paul ran for federal office, and while he didn’t win, his supporters at the state and local levels showed they learned a lot since 2008.  From navigating the local machines to fundraising, we need people like that to help the Tenther movement grow.


Senator Lautenberg – Trigger Happy Gun Controller

There are times it is particularly difficult to find a starting point as far as discussing the Constitution is concerned in New Jersey.  There is, despite an occasional minor victory, a lack of desire in both the Democratic State Legislature and the Republican Governor’s administration, to address issues blatantly spelled out in the Constitution, it is impossible to fathom how anyone can see things any other way sometimes.  “…the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” is one of those.  Those of us who believe strongly in the Tenth Amendment generally take the Second pretty seriously too, even people like me who do not own a gun (as opposed to citizens who do).

Just a short two days after the Aurora, Colorado shooting that left twelve dead and nearly five times that many wounded, New Jersey Honorable Senator Frank Lautenberg rushed to his desk with a speed of a man one quarter his age and blew the dust off his old bill from last year to ban so-called “assault weapons” at the federal level.  Our Junior Senator, Bob Menendez, was all to eager to echo the call to ignore the Second Amendment.  Guys, I know tyranny gets impatient at times, but couldn’t you have at least waited until the bodies were laid to rest first?

According to the Star-Ledger, James Holmes used a handgun, shotgun and an assault weapon with a high capacity magazine.  The article, which originally failed to differentiate whether the “assault weapon” was a fully automatic, which is already illegal except for almost exclusively military and law enforcement use, or a semiautomatic lookalike.  To their credit, they appear to have edited the article and specified the rifle was a semiautomatic military style weapon.  For those who don’t know exactly what I mean and why there is a HUGE difference, please observe the following demonstration.

One area where the emotion gets in the way of the facts is the idea that banning certain guns will somehow result in safer streets and prevent incidents like this from happening, as if psychopaths, terrorists, gangsters or government ag…ahem…other violent types will somehow respect gun control laws.  Even if gun control laws somehow kept Mr. Holmes from sneaking guns into the gun-free movie theater, he was likely smart enough, and somehow well equipped enough, to figure out several other ways to kill people, based on reports describing his apartment.


A Losing Battle Beats a Cowardly Surrender

The worst thing in the fight for liberty is not an enemy.  An enemy, whether the party stereotypes of a warmongering Republican or welfare state Democrat, or the more realistic combination of both, gives us a clear view of what we are fighting in this Cold Civil War.  We can point to the likes of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi and ask, “Do you still trust DC to fix DC?” They can energize free minds to keep pushing our state and local leaders and remind us there is still a lot of work to do.

But what can really sap the energy from liberty minded people is when people act like they are different from the establishment, but then tell us that fighting for the Constitution is a losing battle.  It can be discouraging if one speaks too long with them.  They are and forever will be watching to see which way the wind is blowing, and when we gain momentum they will be on our sides with such enthusiasm you would think they gave Michael Boldin the idea to start the Tenth Amendment Center in the first place.

Such was the experience conservative activists had when listening to Congressman Paul Gosar (R – AZ1).  Be careful, Congressman?  Don’t fight for “just the Constitution.” Well if not enforcing the Supreme Law of the Land, then what do you suggest we fight for, Congressman?  Thank God activists like KrisAnne Hall and Stephanie Scruggs were there to fire back with a reminder of the oath of office this guy took.  You are an elected official, Congressman, and you took that oath, whether you think you can win with it or not!


Obama the Nullifier?

President Barack Obama?  No, but just as shockingly, First Lady Michelle Obama has encouraged defiance of the federal government (h/t Godfather Politics).

The First Lady may not be familiar with the intricacies of getting state legislatures to pass bills or even non-binding resolutions, mobilizing sheriffs or persuading juries, but remember the generally accepted definition of nullification among the Tenther movement is any action or group of actions that has the effect of rendering a federal law null, void and unenforceable.  And it need not be one of the methods usually promoted by the Tenth Amendment Center.

Current IRS regulations on non-profit organizations such as religious denominations forbid houses of worship from being used to endorse or campaign for a particular candidate.  Many also suggest it is against the tax code for houses of worship to be too active in the debate on specific issues.  For example, the Catholic Church and many Evangelical groups in particular have been accused of violating tax codes by being vocally in support of California’s 2008 Proposition 8 or opposed to forcing Catholic employers to include abortion and contraception coverage in their health insurance plans.

Thankfully, our First Lady believes very strongly that religious groups should openly defy that government agency that Maine Governor Paul LePage has recently called “the new Gestapo” and say what they want when they want. If you don’t believe it, let’s take a look at Mrs. Obama’s own words to the African Methodist Episcopal Church Conference:


Getting the Message Out There

Through the social media such as Facebook and Twitter, one can gain a little insight into the mindset of elected officials at all levels of government.  As a New Jerseyan, I follow Governor Chris Christie through his Twitter feed, and frequently share my feelings about his actions, agree or disagree.  Another one who interests me, or did once upon a time, is Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, whom I follow via her Facebook page.

The first thing that got me interested was Governor Brewer’s rhetoric regarding the federal government’s handling of illegal immigration.  My interested doubled when SB1070 was signed into law.  The federal government was (and still is) doing little to nothing about our porous borders, and the costs were (and still are) passed down to state and local governments.  Arizona, being a border state, is one of those especially affected.  Echoes of the grievance in the Declaration of Independence, “He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection,” seem to rise throughout Phoenix, Tucson and other cities throughout the state.

The federal government’s response was to sue the state of Arizona, essentially saying, “You can’t enforce the laws we have on the books!”  Why isn’t that applied to the NDAA or drug laws?  The Obama Administration and the State Department even reported Arizona to the United Nations!  While appalling, this should not be surprising from a President who seeks UN and NATO approval for military action, but not from Congress.


Is This What Separates Church and State?

The blogosphere has been been active the past couple days over the TSA’s hiring of a former Catholic priest, Thomas Harkins, who was removed from ministry due to sex abuse allegations.  Harkins now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport, according to a recent report from CBS Philly.

Harkins was a Catholic priest until 2002 in the Diocese of Camden, where he was eventually defrocked due to two findings of child molestation.  A third woman has since begun another lawsuit.  One has to wonder if this would have received more media coverage nationally if it had been boys Harkins had molested.  The media narrative a decade ago made it seem like a Roman collar was the equivalent of a NAMBLA membership card.

While it should be noted Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager – Baggage,” meaning he deals mainly with luggage instead of passengers, having someone with his baggage in a position of authority should be one of concern.  As Karen Polesir of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) pointed out, “Sure, that’s his title.  That doesn’t mean that’s where he stays, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fill other roles when necessary.”


Bipartisan Change You Can Bet On

A recent AP article featured in the Las Vegas Review Journal has said Governor Chris Christie plans to defy the federal government regarding sports betting.  According to the article, Christie said his administration will make no attempts to overturn a 1992 law that limits sports betting to four states.  But he doesn’t sound like he intends to follow it either.

“We intend to go forward,” the Republican governor said. “If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us. We want to work with the casinos and horse racing industry to get it implemented.  Am I expecting there may be legal action taken against us to try to prevent it? Yes,” the governor said. “But I have every confidence we’re going to be successful.”

Way to go, Governor Christie!  I’m going to start calling you “Tenth Amendment Guy” if you keep it up.

Unlike his recent veto of the Legislature’s bill that would have implemented the health care exchanges under ObamaCare in New Jersey, the governor appears to have support from some big names across the aisle.  Senator Raymond Lesniak, who attempted a lawsuit to overturn the federal ban, had this to say, “To those with a vested interest in the status quo – the professional sports organizations who take a hypocritical stance that wagering will ‘ruin the purity of the game,’ and the Nevada-based gaming conglomerates that have enjoyed that state’s stranglehold on sports wagering for the last 20 years – I respectfully say, ‘Bring it on.’  The sooner you make an issue of New Jersey’s noncompliance with an unconstitutional federal ban, the sooner we can defeat that ban in the courts, and put New Jersey on the same competitive footing as the rest of the nation when it comes to sports wagering.”


DC Dependency – The Real Danger

Congressman Rush Holt earlier this month proposed an amendment that would prevent federal dollars from funding police departments that resort to profiling Muslim citizens without probable cause as a tool in combating terrorism. The amendment was defeated largely along party lines.

Once again, the federal government has managed to force us to fight the wrong battle on yet another issue, terrorism. The NYPD’s methods of investigation, whether wrong or right, have been subject not to the will of the people of New York City, but conflicting forms of statism in DC.  The recent appearance on Fox News by NY Post columnist Michael Goodwin and subsequent article by Noah Rothman on Mediaite give evidence of this.


Governor Christie Vetoes Health Care Exchange…for Now

On Thursday, May 12, Governor Christie vetoed A2171/S1393, the New Jersey Health Benefit Exchange Act. The governor waited until the last day to exercise his veto power, and up until that time, individuals and organizations in support and opposition to the bill were unsure what his decision would be.

There has been a great deal of commentary on Governor Christie’s veto of A2171, but the Governor provided an explanation of his actions on his page. I give credit to the governor for his diplomacy when he refers to the “significant public debate and discourse” that occurred during the federal government’s passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. Congress went out of their way to suppress debate on the bill and rush it through, complete with hastily scribbled hand corrections. As Nancy Pelosi put it, we had to pass it before we found out what was in it…but I digress.