Dreaming of Shutdown

Recently, I saw an article written by a former White House drone Robert Reich. His points were the usual dribble. But I thought it might be fun to reply.

In his opening shot, he says “conservative Republicans” have shut down Congress.

Really? Is Congress shut down? It seems to be meeting and continuing its attempts to garner more power for itself. Obamacare, disarming the people, groping the people, spying on the people, taxing the people into poverty, using the IRS as a control mechanism to keep the people in line – the list goes on.

Do you see a shut down? I sure don’t. Frankly, a shutdown would be a nice change. Imagine that: no government regulations handed down from on high. The idea of a shutdown might cause some Americans to cringe in horror, but not so for some of us. The tide would still come in, the earth would still spin, and without Congress pulling, the clouds would still roll by. We would keep right on breathing  –  maybe more easily!

But I must get back on topic here and address more silliness I see in the scribbling before me.

In his article, he laments that states are passing more and more legislation locally. That is by design. The states are sovereign, and should indeed be producing laws and regulations according to their own citizens’ needs and desires. If the citizens of Vermont want local school boards to decide on curriculum for their children, that is their business. If the citizens of Utah elect representatives to delete any need for conceal carry permits, that is their business. If the citizens of Arizona want to defend the international border they have by rounding up law-breaking aliens and sending them back to the country they came from, it isn’t the business of the busybodies in DC.

Mr. “big government is good” seems to have a problem with the idea that the states created the federal government. They are OUR servant. The states agreed to give only very limited powers to the federal government, and to abide by a broad set of principles. They did not agree to acquiesce to the demands of a far distant and greedy central government.

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Delaying the Employer Mandate Requires Delaying All of Obamacare

by Michael Cannon, CATO Institute

The IRS has announced it will postpone the start date of Obamacare’s “employer mandate” from 2014 to 2015. Most of the reaction has focused on how this move is an implicit acknowledgement that Obamacare is harmful, cannot work, and will prove a liability for Democrats going into the November 2014 elections. The Washington Post called the decision a “fresh setback” and a “significant interruption” to the law’s implementation. John McDonough, a prominent supporter of the law, observes, “You’ve given the employer community a sense of confidence that maybe they can kill this. If I were an employer, I would smell blood in the water.” When a die-hard Obamacare supporter like Ezra Klein says the employer mandate should be repealed, clearly things are not going well.

While all of this is true, it misses the two most significant implications of this momentous development:

First, the IRS’s unilateral decision to delay the employer mandate is the latest indication that we do not live under a Rule of Law, but under a Rule of Rulers who write and rewrite laws at whim, without legitimate authority, and otherwise compel behavior to suit their ends. Congress gave neither the IRS nor the president any authority to delay the imposition of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate. In the section of the law creating that mandate, Congress included several provisions indicating the mandate will take effect in 2014. In case those provisions were not clear enough, Section 4980H further clarifies:

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US Conference of Mayors to Feds: Stop Interfering with State Marijuana Laws

The U.S. Conference of Mayors resolved last week to support “states setting their own marijuana policies without federal interference” and specifically called on President Obama to stand down on the crackdowns.

“The United States Conference of Mayors urges the President of the United States to reexamine the priorities of federal agencies to prevent the expenditure of resources on actions that undermine the duly enacted marijuana laws of states.”

The entire resolution is available HERE.

The resolution featured 18 cosponsors, including Seattle, Wash., Mayor Mike McGinn; Las Vegas, Nev., Mayor Carolyn Goodman; Oakland, Calif., Mayor Jean Quan and Alexandria, Va., Mayor William Euille.  Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker even supported the resolution. That’s worth noting, considering Utah isn’t exactly a haven for pot enthusiasts. Sales of any amount calls for five years incarceration plus a $5,000 fine under state law.

“The bipartisan resolution we passed today simply asks the federal government to give us time to implement these new policies properly and without interference. Cities and states across the country are enacting forward-thinking reforms to failed marijuana prohibition policies, and for the federal government to stand in the way is wasteful and contrary to the wishes of the American people,” Aurora, Colo., Mayor Steve Hogan said in a press release.

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Who Needs Due-Process Anyway?

The Japanese Internment Camps of World War II display the lengths to which American’s are willing to go in order to sacrifice liberty for safety.[1] Even though “two-thirds” of these Americans were native-born, the vast majority of the public saw no problem with locking them up (keeping in mind two-thirds of the Japanese’ in the camps were citizens) without just cause, without warrant, without any evidence of guilt, and with extreme prejudice. Fast forward sixty years and 9/11 happens and for the sake of a false sense of security, most Americans support the Patriot Act which like most legislation had to be passed in order to “find out what’s in it.”

Much to the chagrin of most American’s, there was a provision for indefinite detention of citizens in much the same circumstances as those faced by the Japanese-American’s during WWII. Most people reticently accepted the infringement of their civil liberties so that they would be “safer.” However, as time as passed there is a growing movement that realizes that this infringement is wrong and the threat of its use to be horrifying as they could be one of the one’s deemed an “enemy combatant”, moved to detention and left there to rot for the foreseeable future if not on a permanent basis.

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What Does Peggy Hill Have to Fear from the NSA?

I work nights.

On my “days” off, I used to switch to a daytime wake/sleep schedule in order to spend quality time with my family, but I no longer do.  In my old(er) age, I have discovered that the amount of time I render myself useless due to lack of sleep, plus the amount of time it takes me to get back into night-mode after a 3-day weekend is just too much to be worthwhile for anyone anymore.  Consequently, I spend a lot of time watching King of the Hill in the early morning hours while waiting until it is time to wake my daughter for school.

During a particularly funny re-run, I saw something that just happened to illustrate the problem with the NSA’s, and many American’s, reasoning, “if you’re not doing anything wrong, what’s your problem with us monitoring you?”

This episode of KOTH starts with Bobby (son) going camping with Hank (dad) and the guys for the weekend.  Peggy (mom) assures Hank that she will be fine alone – getting some housework done, and maybe working a crossword puzzles over the weekend.  But while the guys were out getting scouting badges, something happens that Peggy hopes Hank and Bobby never find out.

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Federalism is for Liberals

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Emily Bazelon makes the claim that “states’ rights are for liberals”, citing the examples of state support for marriage equality and the legalization of marijuana as examples.  Well, guess what, Emily.  You’re right!  States’ rights, or federalism, definitely is for liberals.

Of course, federalism is also for conservatives.  And libertarians.  And socialists. Federalism is really for anyone who doesn’t think that a group of central rulers are best-equipped to make decisions that affect the lives of 300 million people spread out over thousands of miles with differing priorities and values.

That the American left is realizing the value of federalism is a welcome change from the long-held misconception that a belief in decentralization was the exclusive calling card of conservatives (and for recognizing this we will even forgive Bazelon for continuing the left’s fascination with trying to link the principle of federalism with racial bigotry, which has been repeatedly refuted).

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Clash of Intrastate and Interstate Commerce in Los Angeles

Once again, the nine robed federal employees filling seats at the Supreme Court failed to check constantly expanding federal power.

The feds have tried to unconstitutionally regulate intrastate commerce in many ways through agencies under the purview of the executive branch. Using a several different alphabet agencies, they have maintained  bans on hemp and marijuana, and even regulated food, environmental conditions and  firearms within the borders of individual states.

While the Constitution delegates power to the federal government for regulation of interstate commerce – trade crossing state lines – the federal government was never intended to interfere with economic activity confined within the borders of the state.

On June 13, the Supreme Court rubber stamped this unconstitutional exercise of federal power, concluding federal acts override state and local laws.

In 1997, the Port of Los Angeles (“the Port”) introduced a plan to expand its cargo terminals to better accommodate its high shipping volume. Following public concern that the plan could significantly increase air pollution, the Board of Harbor Commissioners adopted a Clean Air Action Plan (“CAAP”). The CAAP aimed to reduce emissions and specifically targeted the Port’s drayage truck business. Roughly 16,000 drayage trucks regularly serve the Port, transporting goods between customers and the cargo terminals. Beginning in 2008, the CAAP banned drayage trucks from the Port, unless the carriers entered into a series of concession agreements. These agreements imposed a progressive ban on older trucks and provided incentives for drayage truck operators to convert their aging fleets to cleaner trucks.

American Trucking Associations (“ATA”), a national association of motor carriers, challenged several provisions within the concession agreements and brought suit against the City of Los Angeles and its Harbor Department. ATA argued that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“FAAA”) preempted the agreements. The FAAA Act prohibits a state from enacting any regulation related to the “price, route, or service of any motor carrier.” ATA claimed that the concession agreements amounted to such a regulation. ATA further argued that the State could not limit a federally licensed motor carrier’s access to a port.”

The FAAA legitimately preempts state and local laws when regulating commerce in such places as ports, where interstate and foreign commerce takes place. However, off-site parking falls under to state and local authority and not federal regulation. But the Supremes opined that since neither California nor the city of Los Angeles ever had a problem with FAAA regulating things just outside the port before, well, then it’s just fine and dandy for the feds to regulate it under the FAAA now. Therefore, the strict regulations imposed by the state of California and the city of Los Angeles are now null and void under this ruling. Not only that, the FAAA can stop a city or state from preventing trucks access to a port based on consignments of statute all across the U.S.

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Federal Court Decides: Federal Rangers Supreme

In a move that would make Joseph Story and John Marshall rise from their graves and offer him high-fives, 10th Circuit Judge David Nuffer made himself the sole arbiter of federal and state powers, ruling last Friday that federal park rangers’ authority supersedes that of the State of Utah in matters concerning local law.nuffer

Gov. Gary Herbert signed  HB155, on April 3. The new law prohibits federal Land Management officers from acting as agents of state and local law by “limiting the authority of specified federal employees to exercise law enforcement authority within Utah.” The bill came in response to officers of the Forestry Service taking it upon themselves to administer local traffic laws, making such unauthorized actions class-B misdemeanors; punishable by a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

We don’t want Utah citizens going before a federal magistrate for a speeding ticket,” said Utah AG Swallow, in the AG’s press release on May 13. “Federal officers should be enforcing federal laws and state and local officers should be enforcing state and local laws. We are concerned about the federal government once again encroaching on states rights and we will vigorously defend the constitutionality of HB 155.[Emphasis added.]

Federal attorneys promptly sued, and on May 13th, Nuffer granted a temporary injunction, stopping the law from taking effect. Last Friday’s ruling extends the injunction until the issue is settled at trial.

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If You Like The Surveillance State, You’ll Love E-Verify

by Ron Paul

From massive NSA spying, to IRS targeting of the administration’s political opponents, to collection and sharing of our health care information as part of Obamacare, it seems every day we learn of another assault on our privacy. Sadly, this week the Senate took another significant, if little-noticed, step toward creating an authoritarian surveillance state. Buried in the immigration bill is a national identification system called mandatory E-Verify.

The Senate did not spend much time discussing E-Verify, and what little discussion took place was mostly bipartisan praise for its effectiveness as a tool for preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining employment. It is a tragedy that mandatory E-Verify is not receiving more attention, as it will impact nearly every American’s privacy and liberty.

The mandatory E-Verify system requires Americans to carry a “tamper-proof” social security card. Before they can legally begin a job, American citizens will have to show the card to their prospective employer, who will then have to verify their identity and eligibility to hold a job in the US by running the information through the newly-created federal E-Verify database. The database will contain photographs taken from passport files and state driver’s licenses. The law gives federal bureaucrats broad discretion in adding other “biometric” identifiers to the database. It also gives the bureaucracy broad authority to determine what features the “tamper proof” card should contain.

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The true meaning of the 4th of July

This coming Thursday, many of us will have a day off from work and be home to have a barbecue, watch the fireworks and proudly fly our American flag.

This uniquely American holiday is a time to reflect on the greatness of our Nation and its people.

However, it is not really a time to celebrate as “Americans”. It is a time to celebrate as sovereign people of the States. The Fourth of July was the day (it was actually a few days earlier) the people of the thirteen colonies through their representatives in the Congress, declared to the world that they were now independent and free States. Free from the King and Parliament and a centralized government. However, it would take a long and bloody war to actually permit these newly independent Sates to remain free.

The Declaration of Independence was signed by men who knew they were risking their “Lives, fortunes and sacred honor”. According to the King, they were all traitors who warranted death.

When the war finally came to a successful end the King and Parliament had no choice but to declare that the thirteen States were now free. The first Article of the Treaty of Paris that ended the war stated:

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