New York Senate Bill Would Nullify Federal Laws on Marijuana

New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery has introduced a bill (S01682) legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

The bill has been co-sponsored by Senators Liz Krueger and John L. Sampson and it states:

The legislature finds that thousands of New Yorkers have serious medical conditions that can be improved by medically-approved use of  marihuana.  The law should not stand between them  and  life  and health-sustaining treatment under a practitioner’s supervision.  Many controlled substances that  are  legal for  medical  use (such as morphine and steroids) are otherwise illegal. This legislation follows  the  well-established  public  policy  that  a controlled substance can have a legitimate medical use.

The bill has been assigned to committee.

If passed, New York will join 18 other states who have nullified unconstitutional federal laws on marijuana. 

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Governor Brownback: No Exchange From Kansas!

Last Thursday, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback refused to have his state to implement a health care exchange as part of  the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  His office released the following statement:

Kansans feel Obamacare is an overreach by Washington and have rejected the state’s participation in this federal program. My administration will not partner with the federal government to create a state-federal partnership insurance exchange because we will not benefit from it and implementing it could costs Kansas taxpayers millions of dollars.

States have until Nov. 16 to inform the Federal Government of their intent of creating an exchange or leaving the creations and maintaining the exchanges by the federal government.  Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia have stated they will create exchanges.

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Lies of Omission

After the first debate between the Undynamic Duo, many conservatives are basking on what appears as the total domination of President Obama by Mitt Romney.   Initially, many liberals hanged their head in shame as their messiah was totally humiliated by his opponent.  This isn’t just my opinion, Chris Mathews said the same on MSNBC after the debate.  I seriously thought about buying poor Chris a box of Chamomile Tea and mailing it to him.

However, liberals recovered and started providing liberal biased sources proving that Romney lied on many occasions during the debate.   I have two responses of these statements:

One, again many of their sources (including many fact checking sites) have a liberal bias.  Facts are facts, but often it depends on the CONTEXT of how the facts are being expressed.  Often times, the distinction is subjective to the individual observer.

Two,  liberal claims of Romney is lying.  Of course he is lying!  He’s a politician!

I suspect you thinking, “John, what are you saying?  Your first point, you’re stating that Romney might have not been lying based on the perspective of the observer, and then you come right out and call Romney a liar anyway?”    EXACTLY!

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Do You Support State Sanctioned Marriage?

Do you support gay marriage?  Or do you support state sanctioned marriage?

The second question is really the heart of the debate bleeding out of the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day that occurred this week.  However, I really believe that many people really don’t know exactly what they are debating.

Chick-fil-A’s President, Dan Cathy stated in an interview that he doesn’t support gay marriage.  This statement, and his donations to organizations that share this view, has generated much outrage from those who support gay marriage.

Many gay marriage advocates suggested a boycott of Chick-fil-A restaurants.  Shortly later, mayors of Chicago, Boston and San Francisco  suggested denying or delaying permits to Chick-fil-A.

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Will Texas Nullify Obamacare?

Last Monday, Texas Governor Rick Perry sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius stating that Texas will not participate with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, also referred to as Obamacare).  He states that Texas will not implement the health benefit exchange or expand Medicaid

In his letter, he made the following statement:

Neither a “state” exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under the Orwellian-named PPACA would result in a better “patient protection” or in more “affordable care.”  What they would do is make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to healthcare.

During an interview with Fox News, Perry also stated the following:

I can assure you that Texas and other states would find more effective, efficient ways to deliver healthcare to their citizens and do it in a way that preserves those individual freedoms.

During the same interview, when asked about the high number of Texas Residents without insurance even with a strong economy in Texas, Perry responded:

The idea that this federal government, which doesn’t like Texas to begin with – to pick and choose and come up with some data that says somehow Texas has the worst healthcare system in the world is just fake and false on its face,” he said. “Every Texan has healthcare in this state, from the standpoint of being able to have access to healthcare – every Texan has that. How we pay for it, and how we deliver it, should be our decision – not some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. that may have never been to Texas a day in their life.

Perry joins a list of eighteen other governors vowing stopping the implementation of the PPACA.  Among this list are Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Gov. Rick Scot and Democrat Governor from New Hampshire, John Lynch.

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To insult, or not to insult? Is that the question?

Recently,  Politico ran an article Obama interrupted by heckling reporter by Byron Tau and Donovan Slack, discussing The Daily Caller reporter, Neil Munro, who interrupted President Obama’s speech by asking a critical question.  This event stirred some controversy in the comments section following the article.

The article stated:

In a surprising breach of etiquette, President Barack Obama’s Rose Garden remarks on Friday were interrupted by heckling from reporter Neil Munro of the website Daily Caller, whose editor-in-chief is conservative commentator Tucker Carlson.

Following the article, many internet commentators suggested that this reporter wasn’t showing the President the proper respect he deserves.  I totally disagree with this point of view.

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States’ Rights for Progressives?

Professor Heather Gerken of  Yale Law School wrote an interesting article called, A New Progressive Federalism for a journal called Democracy: A Journal of Ideas ,which was picked up by the Huffington Post.  The article makes a progressive argument for federalism.

The article makes several excellent points about the importance of state and local control, breaking away from the more nationalistic view which is held by many progressives.

One argument she made: dissenters can force an issue they feel passionately about on the local and state level, which in return forces it to become a national issue.  She used examples of Arizona passing their controversial immigration bill and San Francisco issuing gay marriage licenses.  She pointed out that in both cases, locals were frustrated by lack of action by the federal government on these issues, and by taking actions in their hands have made immigration and gay marriage national issues.

Gerken also addresses the problems in the past, where state rights was used as a means promoting racial inequality.  However, she points out how states rights can also be used in promoting racial equality.  As minorities gain control on the local and state level, they can help promote racial equality being in these positions.

On this point, she wrote:

Critical distinctions get lost when we treat these issues as debates about segregation versus integration. The most obvious is that these institutions may be different from the racial enclaves of Jim Crow. The less obvious is that, viewed through the lens of federalism, we might imagine these sites as opportunities for empowering racial minorities rather than oppressing them.

Gerken also addresses problems of both local and national rule:

It would be silly to argue that minority rule is without costs. But the model currently favored by progressives—a strong nationalist system—has costs as well, as the discussion above makes clear. (examples she cited in her article) Eliminating opportunities for local governance to protect racial minorities and dissenters also means eliminating the very sites where they are empowered to rule.

Pushing the point even more, she wrote:

It would be foolish to insist that every state and local policy must be progressive for progressives to favor federalism. Decentralization will produce policies that progressives adore, and it will produce policies that they loathe. The same, of course, is true of a national system.

This article is interesting read, I do agree with many of the points she made.  Since this published in a progressive journal and later picked up by The Huffington Post, I do hope more progressives will read it and consider her arguments.

However, there are some problems as well.  Gerken does a great job making the case that local rule must be considered, but I do sense an implication that she still favors a stronger federal government more so than most Tenthers could support.

Her suggestion that San Francisco’s  and Arizona’s efforts on their issues has made gay marriage and immigration national issues for which the Feds will need to act.  Tenthers here could ask, “Why?”

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Moffat County, CO Passes an Anti-NDAA Resolution

Resolution to Preserve Habeas Corpus and Civil Liberties passed in Moffat County, Colorado

The resolution reasserts that the county officials have sworn an oath to the Constitution of the United States and it is their responsibility to maintain their oath which they will oppose any rules, laws, regulations, bill language, executive orders from an overreaching Federal Government which would effectively take our civil liberties.

Also, the resolution specifically cites sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act as mandates the county will not comply with the Federal Government. A key section of the resolution follows:

BE IT RESOLVED, the board of County Commissioners of Moffat County, Colorado, is in opposition to sections 1021 and 1021 of the United States National Defense Authorization Act, and does hereby support the Colorado Constitution and the Constitution of the United States of America and all the freedoms and guarantees as guaranteed by our Founding Fathers and as provided by the brave members of the armed forces.

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Is This About Principle or Power?

cross-posted from the Texas Tenth Amendment Center

When George W. Bush was still president, I attended anti-war/anti-Bush rallies in protest of him and his polices.  A few years later, I did attend Tea Party rallies in protest of President Obama and much of his agenda.

For my efforts, Neo-Cons accused me of unpatriotic while Progressives have called me a racist.  Over the years, I have been called many things.  (And arguably, some of which may even be true!) However, I can assure you that I’m not an unpatriotic racist.

The problem is that the partisanship has expanded to extremes.  This isn’t just a phenomenon in Washington DC, but in the whole country:  Left vs. Right, Democrats vs. Republicans, Blue State vs. Red State, Tea Party vs. Occupy.

The media and many people have commented about how the right has moved away from the center.  In many ways, I agree with this assessment.  However one problem, those making this observation fail to see that left has moved from the center as well.

If I were to travel in a time machine and bring back a Republican and Democrat from the late 50s or early 60s, they would be very different from their modern counterparts. Both parties have complained about the party in power as the said party has expanded the role of the Federal Government while pushing their agendas.

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Feds in on ‘Occupy’ evictions?

Recently, cities including New York, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City and Oakland cleared out their Occupy Wall Street protests from their encampments.  Beforehand, many cities participated in several conference calls with representatives from the Federal Government about ways to break up these protests

The Feds’ role during these discussions hasn’t been fully ascertained.  From their statements, they implied they were just giving advice and that it was a local matter.   These cities were advised by the Feds to seek out legal reasons to justify clearing out these protesters, such as  focusing on ordinances like curfew and zoning.

We don’t know who initiated the conference calls. We also don’t know what agencies participated in these calls or what was discussed.

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