California State Senate Committee Set to Vote on NDAA Nullification Bill

On August 12 at 1:30 p.m., the California State Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider and vote on a bill to make it more difficult for residents of the Golden State to be indefinitely detained under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, AB 351, is known as the California Liberty Preservation Act.

On June 25, the California State Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously approved AB 351 by a vote of 7-0.

The bill’s primary sponsor is current gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-33rd District).Donnelly’s bill specifically guarantees the right of citizens of California to be free from any federal law, including the NDAA, that would authorize their indefinite detention in violation of habeas corpus.

Known as the California Liberty Preservation Act, AB 351 is backed by a politically diverse coalition, including Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Tenth Amendment Center, the California American Civil Liberties Union, San Francisco Board of Supervisors president David Chiu, the Libertarian Party of California, and the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors.

Specifically, if enacted, the bill would shield from federal assault several fundamental constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties, “including the right of habeas corpus, the right to due process, the right to a speedy and public trial, and the right to be informed of criminal charges brought against him or her.”

Relying on the 10th Amendment’s reservation to the states and the people all powers not specifically delegated to the federal government in the Constitution, the bill is a constitutionally sound expression of state sovereignty.

Details

Vote on Amash Amendment Reveals Ruse of Two-Party System

For all those who still believe that Republican=Constitutionalist and Democrat=Liberty-hating liberal, something happened on Capitol Hill that might change your mind.

As was reported by The New American, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment to the defense appropriations sponsored by Republican Congressman Justin Amash (shown) of Michigan and Democratic Congressman John Conyers, also of Michigan.

The Amash Amendment would have revoked authority “for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. It would also bar the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215” of the Patriot Act.

Despite the threat to the Establishment (or perhaps because of it), Amash’s measure failed by a vote of 205-217.

It’s the identity of the “ayes” and “nays” that tells the rest of the story.

An analysis of the roll call reveals that a majority of Democrats voted in favor of restricting the Obama administration’s wholesale surveillance of Americans, while a majority of the GOP voted to uphold the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance of all electronic communications.

Details

FISA Court Colludes with NSA to Allow Unconstitutional Surveillance

Documents obtained by The Guardian (U.K.) reveal that the court that was ostensibly created to keep the federal domestic spy apparatus from invading the rights of Americans is actually routinely giving the National Security Agency (NSA) and others the go-ahead to use data “inadvertently” collected during unwarranted surveillance of American citizens.

The newspaper that broke the story of the NSA’s activities as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden published on June 20 “two full documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.” Both documents were signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and were issued in July 2009.

According to the article written by Glenn Greenwald and James Ball, the documents “detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target “non-US persons” under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.”

Not surprisingly, neither the Fourth Amendment nor the freedoms against tyranny that it protects are honored by Holder or the other architects and construction crews erecting the surveillance state.

As Greenwald and Ball report, the leaked documents demonstrate that when the NSA is conducting surveillance under the pretense of monitoring foreign targets, any U.S. communication caught in the dragnet is “collected, retained and used.”

Using Section 215 of the Patriot Act as justification, the NSA is now known to monitor and seize the phone records of millions of Americans who are not now or ever have been suspected of any crime that would justify the issuing of a search warrant. This wholesale watching of the telephone activities of citizens was revealed by The Guardian a few weeks ago as part of Snowden’s release of information on his former employer.

Details

Constitutional Sheriffs Convention a Successful Promotion of Liberty

originally published at The New American

The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) held a successful convention last Friday and Saturday at the Ameristar Hotel in St. Charles, Missouri, a large suburb west of St. Louis. (See video below.)

Featuring a variety of nationally recognized speakers delivering dozens of liberty-promoting messages, the hundreds of lawmen and lawmakers in attendance were reminded of the vital role played by state and local law enforcement and elected officials in repelling the federal government’s assault on freedom.

A central aspect of the state and local counter-offensive is the nullification of any and all unconstitutional acts of the federal government.

Presentations on the first day of the convention were divided into four sections: The Constitution and the Oath of Office; The Right to Keep and Bear Arms; State Sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment; and American Liberty: Whose Job is it?

Representing the John Birch Society, this reporter spoke during the fourth segment, describing threats to liberty posed by the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the effectiveness of state measures refusing to enforce those provisions inside state borders.

Other keynote speakers included Sheriff Richard Mack, founder of the CSPOA, who recounted his experience fighting the Brady Bill and winning his case at the Supreme Court.

Details

Constitutional Sheriffs Convention Focus: States’ Rights, 2nd Amendment

For two days beginning on Friday, May 31, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) is holding a convention at the Ameristar Casino Resort and Spa in St. Charles, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis).

As explained on the group’s website, the purpose of the convention is “to equip sheriffs, peace officers and public officials with the necessary information and public support to carry out their duties in accordance with their Oaths of Office.”

The CSPOA’s two-fold mission is to save America and to get enough people involved in that fight to make the dream a reality. The organization’s website describes precisely how they propose to achieve this lofty and laudable goal:

The answers lie within our grasp and come from the foundation of our country. The principles are embodied within the Declaration of Independence and outlined in the Constitution.

Yes, America is in deep, deep trouble. The good news is that there is hope and my [CSPOA founder, former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack's] victory at the US Supreme Court proves that it only takes a few to stand to make monumental changes. We do not have to stand by and watch while America is destroyed from within. If our counties, cities, and states and all local officers keep their oaths to protect us from tyranny, we can win this battle to take our country back.

This is our plan, our goal and our quest. We are forming the Constitutional Peace Officers Association which will unite all public servants and sheriffs, to keep their word to uphold, defend, protect, preserve, and obey the Constitutions of the United States of America. We already have hundreds of police, sheriffs, and other officials who have expressed a desire to be a part of this Holy Cause of Liberty.

We are going to train and vet them all, state by state, to understand and enforce the constitutionally protected Rights of the people they serve, with an emphasis on State Sovereignty and local autonomy. Then these local governments will issue our new Declaration to the Federal Government regarding the abuses that we will no longer tolerate or accept. Said declaration will be enforced by our Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers. In short, the CSPOA will be the army to set our nation free. This will guarantee this movement remains both peaceful and effective.

To help in the arming of these sheriffs and peace officers with the information they need to stand as the last and best line of defense against the federal government’s near-constant assault on liberty and local law enforcement, the convention will feature speeches from an impressive variety of lawmen, lawmakers, lawyers, and constitutional scholars.

Details

Mo. Gov. May Allow Gun Control Nullification to Pass Without His Signature

In less than two weeks, Missouri could join Kansas in enacting a state law refusing to enforce federal gun control measures.

On May 22, the Second Amendment Preservation Act (HB 436) was sent to Governor Jay Nixon. As of this writing, Nixon, a Democrat, has not indicated whether he plans to veto or sign the bill.

Earlier this month, both houses of the Republican-controlled state legislature passed the bill by an overwhelming majority.

When asked about Governor Nixon’s intention, a source inside his office told The New American that in an effort to avoid multiplying the several scandals already plaguing his administration, Nixon would likely let the bill sit on his desk without signing or vetoing it, thus allowing the measure to become law without his participation.

According to Article III, Section 31 of the Missouri state constitution:

Every bill which shall have passed the house of representatives and the senate shall be presented to and considered by the governor, and, within fifteen days after presentment, he shall return such bill to the house in which it originated endorsed with his approval or accompanied by his objections. If the bill be approved by the governor it shall become a law. When the general assembly adjourns, or recesses for a period of thirty days or more, the governor shall return within forty-five days any bill to the office of the secretary of state with his approval or reasons for disapproval. If any bill shall not be returned by the governor within the time limits prescribed by this section it shall become law in like manner as if the governor had signed it.

Therefore, the Missouri gun control nullification bill could become law on July 6 (45 days from its May 22 transmittal date) without the governor’s signature.

Should he decide to sign the bill, however, Governor Nixon would join Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas, who recently enacted a similar measure passed with overwhelming support by the Kansas state legislature.

While there are similarities between the Kansas and Missouri measures, the text of the Missouri bill goes much farther in its bold opposition to attempts by the federal government to infringe on the right of Missourians to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

Details

Book Review: Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry

“There is a hidden country within the United States. It was formed from the astonishing number of secrets held by the government and the growing ranks of secret-keepers given charge over them.” So begins a synopsis of Deep State, a new book by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady.

While the book certainly delivers on dishing some of the stories surrounding past and present activities carried on in secret by the federal government, it does so in the form of a book that reads like an encomium rather than an indictment.

The accommodating and aggrandizing tone of the book is off-putting, especially in light of the publisher’s claim that “Deep State … disassembles the secrecy apparatus of the United States and examines real-world trends that ought to trouble everyone from the most aggressive hawk to the fiercest civil libertarian.”

From the first page, the authors seem smitten with the notion of painting with broad strokes the picture that there are “certain secrets necessary to defend the republic.”

Some of the hidden history laid out in Deep State includes the story of the surveillance program established by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the days after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Ambinder and Grady describe this warrantless wiretapping as “controversial” rather than with the word it deserves: unconstitutional.

The Fourth Amendment protects “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Any attempt by the NSA to monitor the electronic communication of an American without probable cause and without a warrant is a direct violation of that constitutional protection for a fundamental right.

Although this program is practically praised by the authors of Deep StateThe New American interviewed Thomas Drake, an eyewitness to the NSA’s assault on the Constitution.

Drake was a senior executive at the NSA who made the “mistake” of revealing to the Baltimore Sun that the NSA’s Trailblazer Project — intended to analyze data carried on in the United States and elsewhere through the Internet, cellphones, and e-mails — not only violated the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against unwarranted searches and seizures, but it was a “billion-dollar computer boondoggle.”

Other similar revelations found in Deep State include “how the increased exposure of secrets affects everything from Congressional budgets to Area 51, from Seal Team Six and Delta Force to the FBI, CIA, and NSA.”

Details

Obama Administration Responding to State Nullification: Intends to Press On with Obamacare

originally published at The New American Magazine

President Obama will not wait on states to enforce ObamaCare. The Obama administration has announced its intent to disregard state laws and state constitutional amendments prohibiting the enforcement of ObamaCare. Federal agents from the Department of Health and Human Services will assume absolute control over states’ health insurance industry and regulation in states that refuse to comply with the federal healthcare mandates.

In an exclusive telephone interview with The New American, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak reported that the his office has received a letter from Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) Deputy Administrator and Director Gary Cohen informing him that the federal government will impose ObamaCare regulations on insurance companies in Oklahoma. The CCIIO is part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

According to a story in Politico, Doak’s colleagues in Missouri, Wyoming, and Texas have received these notifications, as well.

In a press release issue by his office after receiving Cohen’s letter, Doak writes that the “Oklahoma Insurance Department will not be participating in a collaborative effort with the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) to enforce the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”

Doak’s statement continues:

The Oklahoma Insurance Department regulates the health insurance policies sold in the state and responds to consumer questions and complaints. Our consumer assistance team receives over 30,000 phone calls and our website receives over 1,000,000 visits each year. We will continue to serve these consumers by adhering to our duties under the State Constitution and Statutes. The consumers are the ones who are going to bear the costs of these unnecessary federal regulatory burdens.

In addition to adding new fees to health insurance products that will increase prices both inside and outside the exchange, the ACA requires plans to add expensive and often unnecessary coverage benefits. These costs will impact young adults most severely due to the law’s requirement that older Americans pay no more than three times the premium of young adults. A survey of insurers by the American Action Forum found that average premiums for young, healthy adults may triple going into 2014.

“This is yet another example of continued overreach of the federal government on states’ rights,” Doak told The New American, when asked about the conflict. “This is the first shot over the bow of states” which have chosen not to enforce ObamaCare’s myriad mandates, he added.

Details

FAA Releases Expanded Drone License List

On February 19, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a fact sheet reporting that it has granted 1,428 drone licenses to entities in the United States. Of those, 327 are designated active.

There is no legal restriction on who can request a license to fly a drone and the FAA statement claims that typical purposes for the unmanned vehicles include “law enforcement, firefighting, border patrol, disaster relief, search and rescue, military training, and other government operational missions.”

The FAA is hurrying to get all the licenses processed in order to meet the September 2015 deadline set by Congress for releasing the drones over the United States.

While there is no consensus on the number of drones that soon will begin buzzing over cities and towns in the United States, estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000 of the powerful surveillance craft may begin their patrol in the domestic skies.

Of all the licenses approved by the FAA, the majority have been granted to local and state law enforcement.

Details

Compact for America Convention Bill Defeated in Arizona

The Compact for America’s drive to call a new constitutional convention was dealt a crushing blow in Arizona Monday.

By a vote of 3-6, Arizona HB 2328 was defeated by the House Rules Committee Monday.

This defeat must be particularly painful for the Compact for America considering it happened in the backyard of the Goldwater Institute — one of the compact’s chief supporters.

Standing before the committee for about 30 minutes, the committee’s legislative counsel, Tim Fleming, presented the outline of the con-con plan as set out in the Compact for America.

Numerous times, Fleming explained to members of the committee that the compact was unclear and led states into “unchartered territory” without the benefit of any “solid case law.”

Several of these shortcomings were additionally highlighted in questions put to Fleming by representatives on the committee.

For example, Representative Bruce Wheeler (D-District 10), asked Fleming whether delegates to the con-con created by the Compact for America would be allowed to propose amendments other than the balanced budget amendment that the Compact for America insists would be the only amendment allowed to be deliberated by the convention.

“I don’t know the answer to this,” Fleming responded, once again admitting the weaknesses of the Compact for America.

Details