The world we live in is changed since the War on Terror began.  That is a fact that cannot be denied.  The truth is, anyone attempting to board an airplane is a potential terrorist.  It is possible some of us could be without even knowing it.

To save us from ourselves, we have the Department of Homeland Security bravely labeling Christians, returning war veterans, pro-lifers, and many other groups unrelated to 9/11 as terror threats, just to be safe.  And at our airports, we have the Transportation Security Administration engaging in enhanced patdowns and revealing scans of children, grandmothers and nuns.  These are the people most effective at preventing shoe bombers and underwear bombers and assorted other wardrobe bombers from getting on the planes.

I for one feel safe knowing we have these aggressive measures in place to prevent another terror attack.  But what happens if the wrong people get hired for the job?  What happens if the terrorists infiltrate the TSA?

Enter brave citizen Carol Jean Price.  A woman of 59 years, she was boarding a flight to Ohio when she was chosen for a patdown.  After the procedure was completed, she asked to speak with a supervisor.  According to other TSA Agents, she reached down and grabbed the leg and crotch of the TSA Agent to demonstrate what happened to her.  A police report, according to the story on Wink News, was filed, along with charges of assault and resisting an officer.  Similar incidents have occurred elsewhere, one in Miami, another in Phoenix.


Religious Nullification – Part I – HHS Mandate

For the better part of a year, I have personally wanted to start a series on the religious history of Nullification, both in America and worldwide, even before the beginning of America and in some cases before the existence of Christianity. The recent showdown over the US Bishops and the Obama administration over the HHS mandate regarding abortion and contraceptive funding in health insurance plans has opened up that door with a modern day example.

While the Catholic Church has been the most visible player on this issue, Orthodox Christian, Protestant and Jewish leaders have voiced their solidarity with the Catholic Bishops in their opposition to the HHS mandate.  There were also examples in my research of Muslim leaders joining in interfaith protests against the mandate, and brief mentions in the media of Muslim organizations joining in, but I personally found little on Muslims generally supporting or opposing the mandate.

While perhaps not every Tenther is opposed to abortion and contraception, to force religious employers, or even non-religious employers whose personal convictions forbid one from paying for things that conflict with their conscience, is a clear violation of the First Amendment, and unjust in general.

One’s religion is much more than what one does for an hour or two on Sunday, Saturday or any other day of the week. Most religions have rules governing not just how their adherents worship, but also how they carry themselves in day to day life. And in some cases, the violation of some of those rules results in de facto and/or public excommunication from that religion.


Talking the Tenth with Governor Christie

April 12, I had the opportunity to meet New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at a town hall meeting right in my hometown of South Plainfield. I also got to confront my dread fear of public speaking for the first time since Nullify Now Philly, when I got to ask NJ Assemblywoman McHose a question, and join members of the NJ and PA TAC chapters for some Q&A. My wife Judy, being off this week, was able to watch the little ones while I went. It was a great opportunity, not only to discuss nullification with the Governor, but to share the idea with a capacity crowd at the South Plainfield PAL, the majority of whom had probably never heard nullification discussed.

Based on 5-10 second news station clips of altercations at other town halls, I expected a Governor who would be belligerent in his response, and was prepared to respond, “Save some of that for DC!” if it came to that. It turned out I didn’t have to. He was very considerate about listening to questions and tried to be as thorough in his responses as time allowed. To paraphrase the Governor, he definitely let the people know where he stood, and they could decide from there if they agreed or disagreed with him. I humbly admit, I prejudged based on a few incidents the media emphasized, where interestingly enough, the comments made to Governor Christie never seemed to make it on television. Only the responses were televised.


The First State Needs to Act Like a State

Amid the chatter among fellow Tenth Amendment Center contributors, it came up in conversation that Delaware currently lacks a Tenth Amendment Center state chapter.  This was while discussing an article in the Examiner about a bill in the Delaware House that would essentially do the opposite of the Sheriffs First model legislation advocated on the Tenth Amendment Center website.

Delaware, as far as the Tenth Amendment Center’s legislative tracking goes, shows only two pieces of legislation on record, with very different results for the two bills.  HB353, the Health Care Freedom Act, was introduced March 30, 2010, and didn’t get any further than that.  The bill has not been reintroduced in any subsequent legislative session.  The other, SB17, legalized marijuana for medicinal use; it passed both the House and Senate by considerable majorities and was signed into law May 13, 2011.  Delaware, like New Jersey, apparently can pass Tenth Amendment related legislation when their officials feel the situation calls for it.  Unfortunately, that situation doesn’t seem to come along very often.


Agenda 21 – Another Enemy of the Constitution

Most of the Tenth Amendment Center‘s efforts since its founding have been focused on opposing the federal government’s usurpation of state, local and individual powers. There are certainly plenty of actions on the part of the federal government in the past century that could fall under that category, with both major parties sharing culpability. Unconstitutional wars, the war on drugs, massive government expansion into health care, education, agriculture…the list could go on and on. However, another threat to local, state and even national sovereignty comes from the international community, specifically the United Nations.

Coming out of the 1992 Rio Summit, Agenda 21 seeks to increase the UN’s power over areas of life ranging from farming practices to housing, all under the guise of environmentally sustainable development. What Agenda 21 really amounts to is a threat to private property rights, free markets and local self-government. Ironically, many towns have been gradually implementing Agenda 21 at the local level through ICLEI, which is an organization of local governments for sustainability. Like many power grabs, it is presented as being for the good of the people, but if one looks at the results of centralization of power at the national level, much less the international level, it is difficult to believe their rhetoric about saving the earth will yield any environmental benefit.


New Jersey Senate vs the TSA

Two pieces of legislation have been reintroduced in the 2012 legislative session of the New Jersey State Senate, both dealing with the Transportation Security Administration’s intrusive procedures adopted at airports in the past year.

The first, SR12 (SR91 in the previous session), is a non-binding resolution urging the TSA to terminate its recent changes to its pat-down procedures and enjoys bipartisan support. The Primary Sponsor is Michael J. Doherty (R-Washington). Diane B. Allen (R – Burlington), Richard J. Codey (D – Livingston), Steven V. Oroho (R-Sparta) and Jeff Van Drew (D – Cape May) have signed on as cosponsors.

The previous legislative session featured a similar resolution in the General Assembly (AR127), but so far,  no record of a companion bill exists in the lower chamber.

The resolution alludes to the invasiveness of TSA pat-down procedures.

“Reports have indicated that in some instances overzealous TSA employees have carried out these new procedures in a manner sufficiently aggressive to rise to the level of an inappropriate invasion of personal privacy, from which an individual would ordinarily be protected under the laws of this State.”

The second bill, S277 (S2509 in the previous session), specifies that certain images generated by body scans violate State statutes prohibiting invasion of privacy, pornography and endangerment of child welfare under certain circumstances. A federal, state or local agent found in violation of this bill, if it becomes a law, would not be considered immune from civil or criminal liability resulting from the creation of such an image.


New Jersey Assembly Democrats – Tenthers on Education?

Recently, I came across an article on my Facebook page that dealt with local choice in education on the issue of charter schools. The author, Marilyn Joyce Lehren brings up some very good points about the people of the town being able to decide whether or not they want charter schools in their community, as well as what standards should be applied. The interesting part of how I got to the article was the group that had shared it on their wall, none other than the New Jersey Assembly Democrats.

Now the New Jersey Democrats as a whole have very often been unfriendly to the Tenther agenda in general. While I’m on the topic, many New Jersey Republicans haven’t exactly been noble defenders of state, local, family and individual sovereignty. Trenton, in this very blue state, has generally been very…let’s just say “involved” in the daily lives of New Jerseyans, and has been very helpful to DC in staying “involved” as well.

No doubt the legislators in our state are not truly interested in local control. Rather, they use the argument to stifle the charter school movement and preserve the teachers’ unions’ power and one size fits all education. Still, there are some compelling arguments in the article and from Democrat lawmakers themselves if severed from their known loyalties.


Before We Can Stand Up Against the Federal Bureaucracies…

cross-posted from the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center

We the People of New Jersey have to get over our addictions to our own at the state level. While the Constitution does not forbid the several States (or the People) from setting up massive regulatory structures that exhaust the People physically, emotionally and financially in trying to comply, that does not mean it is necessarily a good idea. For example, Romneycare, despite Michele Bachmann’s accusation of being “unconstitutional,” is not. However, it added considerably to the bureaucratic structure in Massachusetts, which qualifies it as a bad idea in my opinion.

We in New Jersey are facing a similar struggle with something that, while not necessarily unconstitutional according to the United States Constitution, is a bad idea for our struggling educational system. A bill introduced by Valerie Huttle in the General Assembly, A4372, and its identical bill in the Senate courtesy of Loretta Weinberg, S3105, would increase state government involvement in the lives of 42,000 home-schooled children and their families. The synopsis of the bill, “Requires medical examination and submission of student work portfolios for home-schooled children; provides that children under supervision of the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) may not be home-schooled.”

The question we should be asking in our heads as we pick up the phone to call our state officials to oppose this is, “Why?”