Welcoming You with Open Arms

 We had a really terrific weekend at the Tenth Amendment Center, and it just felt wrong for me to channel negative energy, despite concerns I had that I wanted to address. So instead, I decided to take some of those frustrations and use them to write something I considered more positive – a letter to a friend. Though I do have someone in mind, I also realized that there are other people out there in similar situations, and that you might have a friend you would write a similar letter to. If that is the case, please feel free to pass it along.

Dear Liberty Friend,

I want to say thank you.

Thank you for your hard work. For your family values. For working on behalf of people who don’t know and/or possibly don’t care that their liberty is slipping away day by day. Thank you for being a cheerleader to others of us who sometimes feel like we are just trudging through the muck. It’s nice to know someone’s got your back. Thank you for your friendship – and great conversation over cold beer.

I also want to say I am sorry.

I’m sorry for the jerks you’ve had to deal with, and that they didn’t recognize your value.

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Nullification for Dummies

Reading Steve Benen’s article Nullification must never be on the table, I was left trying to decide: is Steve an idiot or a liar?

What?

Too harsh?

I’ll let you decide.

“Not to put too fine a point on this, but there’s nothing to discuss — state lawmakers can’t pick and choose which federal laws they’ll honor,”  or so says Steve.

Well I guess it’s settled then. “There’s nothing to discuss.” Nullification is a no no!

What — you don’t buy his argument?

Well, neither do I.

When I saw his article, I was drawn to the picture of Abraham Lincoln standing in front of a Union Army tent with the caption “The last time we had a debate over nullification.”

Intrigued I read on. “For context, it’s worth remembering that there was a rather spirited debate in the mid-19th century over whether states could choose to ignore federal laws. The debate was resolved by a little something called the U.S. Civil War — those who argued in support of nullification lost.”

At that point, I alternated between laughter and complete disbelief. How could anyone make such a ridiculous statement? Steve should know those who argued in support of nullification WON!

A history lesson for Steve from the “South Carolina’s Declaration of Causes” — “The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them.”

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Solution: Label GMO Food Locally

Ever since food became easier and more profitable to create by machinery the government has tried to regulate it in some sort of fashion. The first English regulation of such was the Assize of Bread and Ale around the year 1266. In America the first endeavour into regulating food came in 1862 when President Lincoln launched the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Chemistry. These two organizations operated in what today we call the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Agriculture Department. Later on in 1906 the Pure Food and Drugs Act was passed and what we now call the Food and Drug Administration was formed. Through these early regulatory adoptions it was aimed to raise the standards in food and their truthfulness in packaging. The nutrition labels that we all now know were mandated in 1990 through the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) and amended by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004.

But how far do we go in demanding how manufacturers produce and label their food? Specifically speaking, how far can we go on a federal level? On a state level? Already, we have numerous states with specific laws for food that is imported or exported from that state  above and beyond the federal requirements.

This raises a question: should we rely on one-size-fits-all mandates from D.C.? Or would we be better served allowing states to determines the extent of their food labeling?

Considering the way big agribusiness manipulates the federal system, we might want to consider a more decentralized approach.

On March 26th President Obama signed HR 933 – called the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 – into law to stop the shutdown of the American government. Buried in this bill, we find the Farmer Assurance Provision – aka the “Monsanto Protection Act.” Lawmakers sneaked in Section 735 giving special privileges to companies that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMO), even allowing them to continue producing crops even if a court finds them harmful – which very well may not entirely be the case. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that he will introduce legislation in the Farm Bill of 2013 to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act.

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Why Your Representatives are Not Representing You

In the time I have spent in the field of public policy, I’ve noticed people  like to post on social media platforms, talk about, or blog about how their representatives do not represent them, or do not wish to hear their concerns and suggestions. It also seems many people generally treat public policy with great distaste. They make it their objective to deter people from voting, from “working within the system”, and from attempting to “change things from within.”

These folks are understandably angry because of a perceived lack of representation and diminishing faith in the constitutional system.

They may have a point. But how many times do you think those individuals have actually gone out of their way to communicate with their local or state representatives? How many people actually spend time working to direct change? How many people, out of the millions in our republic, actually spend time talking about solutions with their representatives?

Maybe part of the problem is that we aren’t proactive enough.

Our elected officials pack their days with committee hearings, floor sessions, speaking engagements, radio/television interviews, and press conferences. It’s reasonable to assume that their time is at a premium. So, if you want good representation, you need take the time to schedule a meeting. Then show up prepared with an objective, a solution, and a positive attitude. This will go a long way toward developing a strong two-way relationship with your representative. They aren’t used to this kind of effort, and it WILL have an impact.

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Understanding The 10th Amendment

The “winners” write the history, and always in favor of their side of the “argument”.

Government’s job is to “control” the people. Control takes power and power comes at a price: the people’s liberty. In a nutshell, government power  stands as the enemy of liberty. And when it comes to the war between power and liberty, power generally triumphs.

Government wins.

And government writes our history.

Most people allow the government to educate their children and that means they learn the approved government version of history. Sadly, it is totally corrupt. Few Americans realize it and can’t, or wont, correct the mistake.

I will try to help correct a piece of the disinformation surrounding the 10th Amendment and put it all into the correct perspective for you.

We’ve  watched government trample on the  Constitution throughout most of our recent history. We do not have to look very far to see examples. President Bush’s Administration created the The Patriot Act, anything but patriotic. Throughout his terms in office, Bush completely disregarded what the Constitution said and wielded the arms of war with wanton disregard.

President Obama continues in the same vein with more anti-constitutional measures. When Congress does not do what Obama wants he creates Executive Orders with the force of law. Effectively legislating from the White House and overstepping his constitutional boundaries without any regard to the laws our country.

Our Constitution is a document designed to LIMIT the power of the federal government. It enumerates the exact duties, responsibilities and powers of each branch of the federal government. In other words, the federal government ONLY has the powers over things that are specifically spelled out in the Constitution. ALL OTHER POWERS are reserved for the states and people. This is succinctly spelled out in the 10th Amendment.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

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Surprise: Law Professor Misinterprets Supremacy Clause

Have you ever read an article that you were not sure what stance the author takes on the subject but presents both sides of the argument at once? I had the distinguished experience recently when I was reading the article titled “Sheriffs, State Lawmakers Push Back on Gun Control” on the Newsmax website (see: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Gun-Control-Pushback/2013/01/17/id/471825). It was a little confusing until I got about half way through it and read a quote by Sam Kamin.

Sam is a constitutional law professor at the University of Denver. One would think that if someone was a law professor that they would actually know and understand the law. Or in this case, a constitutional law professor – who should then know and understand the constitution. It is highly unfortunate when people like Sam misspeak about a subject. Their title gives them some credibility so people think what they say is true because they are supposedly an “expert”. But, when they make a mistake it is still a mistake.

The Supremacy Clause of Article VI, Clause 2 reads:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Sam makes the comment that state legislatures can pass any laws they want but that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution makes such actions unconstitutional. He further states that when there is a conflict between state and federal law, the federal government is supreme. Nothing could be farther from the truth. His blanket statement implies that the state laws are not necessary and state governments are not necessary because the federal government and its laws are supreme.

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Nullifying ObamaCare: An Alternative To The Supreme Court Ruling

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare was constitutional.

The Administration takes this as a green light to implement ObamaCare to its fullest extent possible. Because the election went in President Obama’s favor, the Senate and House have lost any desire to overturn the law. Without the overturn, it looks like the law making Obamacare a reality is going to stand forever.

Or is it?

In order to make Obamacare work properly, as it currently stands, there are two mainstays of Obamacare that must be carried out on the state level. Each state must implement an insurance exchange and they must drastically expand Medicare according to the law. These two items of ObamaCare will cost the states untold millions of dollars to implement.

When federal law goes bad, it is up to the states to protect their citizens. The legal theory is called nullification. Nullification is the idea that any given state has the right to invalidate federal laws that they consider unconstitutional. Somewhere along the line the Supreme Court got it wrong in their reasoning. Accordingly, it is like saying that since the government has a stake in GM it can create a law that says we can only buy GM cars. If we buy any other type of car we have to pay an extra tax on it.

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Do the Secessionists Have As Much Courage As the Nullifiers?

By now, anybody who even casually follows the Tenther movement and the liberty movement in general has likely heard about the secession petitions circulating.  Yesterday, I had personally gone from only hearing about Louisiana, to hearing my State of New Jersey had one too, to hearing the count was up to twenty States.  That could be an old number by the time this makes it into the Tenth Amendment Center blog.

The language of these petitions is interesting, as they “ask” the federal government to let said States peaceably withdraw from the United States.  Although I confess to having signed, originally for Louisiana upon first finding out, and then for New Jersey, it was more out of curiosity than anything else.

Apparently, any State circulating these petitions requires a minimum of 25,000 signatures within thirty days in order to receive a White House response.  Texas has nearly double the required signatures, and Louisiana is likely a day away from hitting the threshold.  Several states are beyond halfway there.  Check to see if your State is on the list.  While you’re at it, go ahead and sign, so you can get your response.  The most likely response from the White House is a familiar word to anybody in the nullification movement, “No.”

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Hungry for Freedom

It is probably fair to say no President, First Lady, or candidate for said office has ever left a campaign event, state dinner or probably any meal in general saying, “Gee, I wish I’d had more to eat.”  Yet none before the Obamas entered 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have claimed the authority to tell us what they want us to eat, while they eat what they want.  Plenty of kids across these 50 States have probably said that with increasing frequency in response to new federal mandates regarding school lunches.

While our First Lady is able to enjoy her favorite pizza, children in a Kansas school have made a video in protest.  Other students have said the portrayal is accurate, with students claiming they are still hungry throughout the rest of the school day.  There is so much wrong with this situation, it almost encompasses all the problems facing the Tenther movement today.

First, the school administrator interviewed said the solution in the past has been to make adjustments to the school lunches when there were complaints, but the new federal “laws” left him with his hands tied.  A word to that administrator personally, RESIGN!   Your primary responsibility is the well being of the students in your school.  You ought to know better than the people in Congress, the White House and the untold numbers of executive agencies trying to appear significant by churning out new rules.  You should even know better than the nine self-proclaimed demigods on the Supreme Court.  Show some spine and make the adjustments without their permission.  You want input on improving school food?  Go to your community first.

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EPA to World’s Hungry: “Let Them Eat Cake”

Ethanol corn mandates are not just useless.  When people are starving, these policies make the problem worse.  Much worse.

What’s the number one reason we riot?  The plausible, justifiable motivations of trampled-upon humanfolk to fight back are many—poverty, oppression, disenfranchisement, etc—but the big one is more primal than any of the above.  It’s hunger, plain and simple.  If there’s a single factor that reliably sparks social unrest, it’s food becoming too scarce or too expensive.  So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense.

But how accurate is the model?  An anecdote the researchers outline in the report offers us an idea.  They write that “on December 13, 2010, we submitted a government report analyzing the repercussions of the global financial crises, and directly identifying the risk of social unrest and political instability due to food prices.”  Four days later, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire as an act of protest in Tunisia.  And we all know what happened after that.

“Recent droughts in the mid-western United States threaten to cause global catastrophe,” Yaneer Bar-Yam, one of the authors of the report, recently told Al Jazeera.  “When people are unable to feed themselves and their families, widespread social disruption occurs.  We are on the verge of another crisis, the third in five years, and likely to be the worst yet, capable of causing new food riots and turmoil on a par with the Arab Spring.”

Did you catch that?  “Recent droughts in the mid-western United States threaten to cause global catastrophy,” Why are recent droughts such a threat?  Because,

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