Potholes On The Road To Liberty

We at the Tenth Amendment Center are well aware that it has taken a long time for us to lose our liberty, and reclaiming it will be no easy task. Recently, we have suffered some set-backs at the state level. Unfortunately, many of our so-called public servants do not take their oath to the Constitution seriously and show nothing but contempt for the people who they are supposed to be representing.

The first disappointment came at the local level. We have covered the heroic patriots in Oscoda County extensively in their fight to preserve the 2nd Amendment on here and our national blog. They went from township to township attempting to get the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act passed with several successes. They tried to build upon those successes and replicate it at the county level. Unfortunately, they were not very well received by the County Commissioners.

After a contentious hearing on Aug. 13, the resolution was rejected. One Commissioner, Larry Wilson made the motion to adopt and support the resolution, but there was no second and the rest of the commissioners were against it. The rationale they used to reject it was redundancy. They alleged that since they already took their oath, they didn’t feel it was necessary to send a strong message to the federal gun grabbers. The majority felt it wasn’t in the jurisdiction of the county commission to stand up for the Bill of Rights. These are rather pathetic and craven excuses considering our freedoms are in such jeopardy. It is worth noting that everyone on this board was a Republican. I will address the problem with these wolves in sheep’s clothing later on.

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Four Reasons the Missouri 2nd Amendment Preservation Act Failed, and What’s Next

ROUND 2 STARTS TODAY

The Missouri 2nd Amendment Preservation Act sailed through the legislature this year, but was vetoed by Jay Nixon. The House override vote squeezed through, and the senate override failed by one vote.

Why did it fail? Some of it was technical, some political and some strategic.

1. The Bill Itself
FACT: The more a bill tries to accomplish, the less of a chance it has at becoming law.

HB436 tried to accomplish far too much and became susceptible to weakness. Conceal-carry, free speech issues, and the like should not be in a bill with a goal of nullifying FEDERAL violations of the 2nd Amendment. Why? Because it won’t become law.

STRATEGY: Keep it short and simple. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Mom was right.

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To Intervene or Not to Intervene?

Well, here we go again.

Our Peace President is ready to bomb Syria in submission. They have crossed a “red line” that he told them not to, but recanted and said that the world drew the red line. So, he wants to send a couple hundred Tomahawk TLAMs in there at $1.5 million each to do – just what? We don’t know. Even as he makes his case to Congress, he does not know. To punish Assad for using chemical weapons on his people, I guess. He must be punished.

Or is it a shot across the bow?

Think back to Libya. The unconstitutional intervention at that time was to take out their air force, artillery and provide air support for the civilian rebels that were getting slaughtered. It was definitely not for regime change. But then we bombed every palace, house, tent and tree that we thought Ghaddafi was possibly hiding under. We all remember the gripping scene as they dragged him from that culvert, beating and kicking him before blowing his head off. Humanitarian missions don’t all end good you know.

Well, lets get back to the red line. Two days before this chemical attack, UN Weapons Inspectors arrived in Syria. They were there to investigate a previous chemical attack in March. The Russians and the UN say that the evidence points to the rebels being behind that attack.

Hold the phone! I thought John Kerry said that there were no questions. This is certainly enough for me to hold off a missile attack on a sovereign nation. Russia has provided the United States with other intelligence that points to the rebels. In the spirit of the reset, we have discarded that intelligence at the same time, refusing to share any of our intelligence with the Russian government. That’s right, as the Russians and Chinese send warships of their own to the area, we refuse to share intelligence that could erase the red line.

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The Campaign to Nullify Federal Gun Control Ramps up. Now.

I’m excited to announce last night’s launch of the first phase of the first phase of the new Tenther Action Center. This will develop into a comprehensive tool to track the status of all major nullification efforts around the country, and more importantly, have easy-to-use tools to get involved in supporting specific issues in your area.

Last night, we made public our new 2nd Amendment Preservation Act Tracking and Action Center here:
http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2ndamendmentpreservation/

This important campaign is focused solely on one important effort – nullify federal gun laws, rules, orders, regulations, and the like. They’re unconstitutional, no matter what other so-called “libertarians” may think.

For those who believe in the right to keep and bear arms, I can assure you that your right will never be safe as long as you wait on assurances from politicians or federal courts. You might get a narrow short-term victory from time to time, but in the long run, they’ll always end up using it all against you – and your liberty.

The effort to protect these rights needs to happen at a state and local (and especially an individual) level. Our new campaign includes loads of great information and tools to make this more effective – and increase the chance of more states and local communities doing their duty.

Here’s some of the new tools to help you nullify federal gun control in your area.

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Why Nullification?

The TRUTH about nullification is that it is legitimate, and it is the only way to effect a meaningful check on the federal government when the executive, legislative, and judicial branches unite on an incorrect interpretation of the Constitution, and threaten the independence of the states and the reserved rights of the People.

The federal government CANNOT be permitted to hold a monopoly on constitutional interpretation. If the federal government has the exclusive right to judge the extent of its own powers, as Madison and Jefferson warned in 1798-99, it will continue to grow – regardless of elections, the separation of powers, and other limits on government power. Nullification has always been available to push the government back within the boundaries of the Constitution, but for too long, those hostile to the Constitution have insinuated – FALSELY – that the doctrine was the reason for the Civil War and for segregation, thereby trying to use shame to invalidate it.

We should take a cue from Patrick Henry. While others were celebrating the Constitution and rejoicing that a more effective compact was created, Henry urged them to cool their heads and take a step back  – to look carefully at the document they were asked to ratify.  It was his opinion that the government created by the Constitution would tend to concentrate power, strip power from the states, and become no better than England’s monarchy (“it squints toward monarchy”).  He urged Virginia to reject the Constitution. He reminded the delegates that trade, power, and security should not be the first concerns on their mind.  He said the proper inquiry should be “how your liberties can be better secured, for liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.”

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Liberty Amendments: A Silver Bullet or a Blank?

Conservative commentator Mark Levin has created quite a buzz with his latest book, The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic.

Levin argues for an Article V constitutional convention with the purpose of passing 11 amendments. Some of the proposals include term limiting judges and members of Congress, repealing the 17th Amendment, amendments to limit federal spending and taxation, and an amendment to limit federal bureaucracy.

The Framers provided two methods for amending the Constitution. The second was intended for our current circumstances—empowering the states to bypass Congress and call a convention for the purpose of amending the Constitution. Levin argues that we, the people, can avoid a perilous outcome by seeking recourse, using the method called for in the Constitution itself.

Readers will find plenty to debate in Levin’s book. Will these proposals actually work to limit federal power? Are these the absolute best amendments to consider? Will the American people rally to the cause with enough vigor to push the amendments to ratification? Some will even question to wisdom of calling an Article V convention in the first place, arguing that the risk of a runaway process further empowering the federal government outweighs any potential benefits.

While I find any legitimate proposal that could lead to limiting federal power worth debating, I question those who view amendments as a silver bullet, especially those who reject nullification as a viable path toward stopping DC’s relentless usurpation. The federal government absolutely refuses to acknowledge any limits on its power and follow the Constitution as written. What makes anybody think the feds will suddenly give up power because we slap down some new rules? Do people really believe the federal government will suddenly become constrained and release its grip on power just because we pass some new amendments, essentially saying, “We know you’ve ignored every constraint on your power and authority for the last 100 years, but dammit, we really mean it this time!”

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Time to Shift Gears

As the state legislative session in Salem, Orgeon comes to an end, it’s time to wrap up a few things – time to shift our focus to the very local -?- (Sheriffs, County Councils, City Councils), as opposed to the somewhat remote (Salem).  This means that for the next several months, the focus of activism in Oregon needs to be on the local.  This is not to say that we’re giving up on Salem, on the contrary, any local successes we have will feed into the momentum towards nullifications at the state level!

As kind of an end-of-session wrap up, I’d like to just recap what has been accomplished here in Oregon:

The Good

The Drone bill

HB2710 and SB71 both passed their respective houses of the legislature – unfortunately, they were not signed into law, but at the next full session, they will be more likely to pass.  These are bills that would extend the normal requirements for a mandatory warrant for the Federal Gov’s surveillance performed with a drone, as well as place controls upon federal drones in the state of Oregon.  Hopefully, in 2015, it will get further, but just having it passed in both houses shows that there is enough courage to defy the feds, as well as respect for privacy rights here in Oregon.

The Pot bill

HB3371 was introduced in the House, and even got through committee.  It was referred to revenue, and there it died.  However, I think the bill will be back and will have more success in 2015; this is, after all, Oregon- and if there is one thing ‘we’ don’t like being last in line for, it’s pot.  Washington has legalized it, and so has Colorado.  Please understand, I am not condoning pot use, I am simply backing this measure because it is not a federal issue.  Although I do not believe in prohibition, or government in control of consumption in any way (and of course I counsel my children against it), If there is to be prohibition laws, the legal way to accommodate these is at the state level (or through a constitutional amendment).  This bill would have legalized pot use, and treated it as it does alcohol (although it added an awful lot of layers of regulation).  I am still hoping for a pot bill that will not erect enormous amounts of government, but maybe we are not to that stage yet.

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Preserving Liberty: What Actually Can be Done

On Friday, August 9th, I was a guest on the Pennsylvania Republican Liberty Caucus’s Speak Out program hosted by Lois Kaneshiki to chat about the Tenth Amendment Center, state nullification and Pennsylvania’s anti-NDAA bill (SB 999). We discussed the historical precedents for nullification, the Tenth Amendment Center’s legislative agenda, the constitutional problems with Sections 1021…

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Don’t Run for Federal Office, Tenthers. It’s a Trap!

We might be losing another good man to the federal beast.

South Carolina state Senator Lee Bright has decided to primary Lindsey Graham next year in an attempt to throw the notorious liberty hater out of government once and for all.

Certainly, Bright would be an improvement over his predecessor, assuming he can unseat the incumbent. Sen. Lindsey Graham is perhaps the biggest enemy of the Bill of Rights in the Senate. Even in the Congressional cesspool, he stands out as especially verminous. Bright would represent the people of South Carolina better than Graham ever could, and he’s off to a good start calling Graham a ‘community organizer for the Muslim brotherhood’ in one of his first interviews as a candidate. Superficially, there is a lot here for a liberty activist to like.

But upon closer review, Bright is making a mistake. Liberty is not going to be reclaimed by winning a federal election. If he pulls off the upset and wins, Bright will join a small handful of senators who talk tough against big government. Like Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, he can raise a big stink and draw attention to the corruption going on within the federal government, but he will likely be very ineffectual in restoring our constitutional rights. Conversely, staying  put as a state senator, he could actually be effective in reclaiming liberty for South Carolinians by nullifying federal laws.

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