U.S. Senate short-circuits the Constitution on taxes, again

The Constitution is exceptionally clear on the origin of all taxes. “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” not the Senate (Article I, Sec. 7). When is the House going to protect its powers from the Senate’s intrusive attempts to steal its power? Recently the Senate passed the “Marketplace Fairness Act” by a vote of 69-27, an Internet sales tax, giving states the authority to require on-line retailers, with no physical presence in those states, to collect sales taxes. Americans will pay more taxes with this bill than without. It is a bill for raising revenue and it did not originate in the House as mandated by the Constitution.

To put the Senate in its constitutional place the House should never take this bill up. Instead, if they feel such legislation is needful, they should originate their own bill after which invite the Senate to take a new bill through the committee process and to the floor once again. I might also suggest not doing so for a year or two just to make the message stronger. “You are infringing on our constitutional jurisdiction.” If the Senate will not do so, the House should consider the bill non-existent. Under no circumstances should they accept this bill as appropriate action on the part of their sister law-making body. Retailers, on the other hand, should refuse to pay this tax and challenge it in the courts on the constitutional grounds cited above.

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The IRS Has Already Abused Its Powers under ObamaCare

by Michael Cannon, CATO Institute Over at Bloomberg, National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru writes about the Obama administration’s disregard for the rule of law, including the IRS’s $800 billion power grab: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the sweeping health-care law that Obama signed in 2010, asks state governments to set up health exchanges, and authorizes the federal government to…

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Common Core Nationalizes and Dumbs Down Public School Curriculum

by Ron Paul

In addition to shredding civil liberties, launching a utopian global war for democracy, and going on a spending spree that would make LBJ blush, the so-called “conservative” Bush administration dramatically increased federal control over education via the “No Child Left Behind” act. During my time in Congress I heard nothing but complaints about this law from teachers, administrators, and, most importantly, students and parents. Most of the complaints concerned No Child Left Behind’s testing requirements, which encouraged educators to “teach to the test.”

Sadly, but not surprisingly, instead of improving education by repealing No Child Left Behind’s testing and other mandates, the Obama administration is increasing national control over schools via the “Common Core” initiative. Common Core is a new curriculum developed by a panel of so-called education experts. The administration is trying to turn Common Core into a national curriculum by offering states increased federal education funding if they impose Common Core’s curriculum on their public schools. This is yet another example of the government using money stolen from the people to bribe states into obeying federal dictates.

Critics of Common Core say it “dumbs down” education by replacing traditional English literature with “informational texts”. So students will read such inspiring materials as studies by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the EPA’s “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” and “Invasive Plant Inventory” by California’s Invasive Plant Council. It is doubtful that reading federal reports will teach students the habits of critical thinking and skepticism of government that the Founders considered essential to maintaining a free republic.

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Action Alert: Help Nullify Warrantless Drones Spying in Illinois

Illinois SB1587, the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act, was referred to the Rules Committee last month, but still has not been brought up for a vote. This bill would prohibit warrantless drone surveillance under most circumstances. Passage would end the possibility of most drone use in Illinois. This is a BIG step forward for the privacy.

SB1587 has been stalled for about a month. With the end of the session fast approaching, the bill may die without your vigilance.

ACTION ITEMS

1. Contact the House Chair on Rules.  Politely ask her to schedule a hearing and vote YES on SB1587

Barbara Currie (217) 782-8121

2. Contact all the other members of the Rules Committee. Strongly, but respectfully, urge each of them to vote YES on SB1587.

Timothy Schmitz (217) 782-5457
Lou Lang (217) 782-1252
David Leitch (217) 782-8108
Frank Mautino (217) 782-0140

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Missouri Action Alert: Help Push the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act Over the Finish Line

On May 8, the Missouri legislature approved arguably the strongest defense of the Second Amendment in American history.

If signed into law, HB436 will nullify virtually every federal gun control measure on the books – or planned for the future.

All federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.

But work remains to make Second Amendment preservation a reality in Missouri. The legislature transmitted the bill to Gov. Jay Nixon on May 22. That gives him until July 6 (45 days) to make a decision on the bill.  Should he veto the measure, the legislature will reconvene in September and consider an override.

Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center indicate Nixon does not want nullification to become a reality in Missouri. But he has political considerations to take into account. Missourians overwhelmingly support the right to keep and bear arms, and if he actively blocks a measure protecting those most basic rights,  it would tarnish his credentials as a relatively Second Amendment-friendly politician, and possibly torpedo future political aspirations.

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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.”

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State Non-Compliance is Its Own Penalty

Imagine for a moment that you are a basketball player.  The opposing team has the ball and you’re playing defense.  What would happen if you turned around to find that the court had doubled in size and the other team suddenly had 10 players?  With more court to cover and more players to defend, you would be playing a losing game.

That’s what happens to the federal government when states refuse to comply with their crummy unconstitutional “laws.”

Even so, there is sometimes disagreement among supporters of nullification as to whether or not nullification bills need to have specific penalties prescribed for anyone who violates the nullifying legislation.  For many, putting this kind of language into legislation is a sign that the bill has “teeth” and that the state is not willing to have its sovereignty trampled on.  In some states, the lack of penalties has been contentious to the point that even nullification advocates won’t support nullification or non-compliance bills.

This is an issue that Ohioans must address regarding Ohio Senate Bill 36, which would nullify federal firearms legislation and make it a first degree felony to attempt enforcement of any such federal laws.  Scott Landreth, Coordinator of the Ohio Tenth Amendment Center, reported today that SB 36 would die in committee “if the 1st degree felony charge for violators is not reduced or removed.”

The inevitable question was then posed:  “Is passing SB 36 a step in the right direction, even if there are no penalties for those who violate the new law?”

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Willful Blindness

The Hill

“White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough and other senior officials knew of the general nature of the report but decided to keep the president in the dark about the report’s finding that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny. Carney said it was the White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler’s judgment that the matter should not be told to the president, and that she conveyed this sentiment to senior staff.”

Congressman Pat Meehan’s facebook status:

“Is there no accountability in government anymore?  In all of these scandals — the IRS, Benghazi, the AP wiretapping, Fast and Furious — we hear the same thing from the government officials involved:  It’s not my fault…  I wasn’t in the room…  I have no recollection…  I missed the meeting…  Not my responsibility…  I wasn’t aware…  I recused myself…  I only learned about it when you did.

What happened to accountability?  Is anyone in this administration responsible for their actions?”

How about two other people who “didn’t know” when systematic abuses took place on their watch?

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Fighting For Liberty at the Local Level

During the 2013 legislative session, we saw an explosion of state nullification bills dealing with issues ranging from heath care, to the Second Amendment, to NDAA detention.

Out of this renewed interest in nullification, a grassroots movement continues to grow and flex its muscles. Realizing they need to bring more pressure to bear on reticent state lawmakers, nullification advocates have taken the movement down to the local level.

Over the last several months, led by grassroots activists across America, city councils and county commissions have passed resolutions and ordinances in support of the Second Amendment and blocking NDAA detention provisions. Some bodies have passed legally binding legislation prohibiting local cooperation with unconstitutional acts. Others have approved non-binding resolutions supporting state efforts. Both strategies send strong messages to state lawmakers and will increase pressure to pass state-level nullification bills in the next legislative session.

Activists in Colorado serve as a powerful example of what local grassroots activism can accomplish.

At least six local governments in the Rocky Mountain State have passed resolutions supporting the right to keep and bear arms. These include the Weld County Commission, El Paso Board of County Commissioners, the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners, the Mesa County Commission, the Montrose County Board of County Commissioners and the Archuleta Board of County Commissioners.

Jeff Maehr hopes to harness the momentum created by these grassroots efforts and coordinate county level efforts across the state to nullify unconstitutional acts.

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