Never Mind the IRS, You’d Better Be Nice to Kathleen Sebelius

by Michael Cannon, CATO Institute

ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board is everything its critics say and worse. It is a democracy-skirting, Congress-blocking, powers-unseparating, law-entrenching, tax-hiking, fund-appropriating, price-controlling, health-care-rationing, death-panelingtechnocrat-thrilling, authoritarian, anti-constitutional super-legislature. Its very existence is testament to government incompetence. It stands as a milestone on the road to serfdom.

The Congressional Research Service has now confirmed what HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pretends not to know but what Diane Cohen and I explained here:

[I]f President Obama fails to appoint any IPAB members, all these powers fall to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

That’s an awful lot of power to give any one person, particularly someone who has shown as much willingness to abuse her power as Sebelius has.

I would also like the Congressional Research Service to address a feature of IPAB that Cohen and I first exposed. According to the statute, we write: 

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Executive Orders: The Constitution Doesn’t Authorize Legislation by Executive

When the most current occupant of the White House was thwarted by Congress (as well as preempted by many states, aka Nullified before the fact) in his attempt to further remove the natural right of bearing arms, he decided he would write Executive Orders.

So what are Executive Orders?  The Constitution does not clearly give the President an authority called “Executive Orders”.  However, in Article II, Section 1 and in Section 3 we do see phrases such as “[the President] take care that the laws be faithfully executed”.   The purpose is generally thought to mean these orders would be the means by which the President would direct the heads of departments in carrying out the laws or regulations enacted by Congress.

President Washington, issued 8 of what are now called executive orders; President Lincoln issued 48; President T Roosevelt; issued 1,081;  Franklin Roosevelt produced 3,522 and Mr. Clinton created 364.

Have some Presidents used the “Executive Orders” to end run around Congressional checks and make law by fiat?  We all know of the infamous Order number 9066 wherein Franklin Roosevelt delegated military authority to “remove any or all people (used to target specifically Japanese Americans and German Americans) in a military zone”. The authority delegated to General John DeWitt paved the way for all Japanese-Americans on the West Coast to be sent to internment camps for the duration of World War II.

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Former Senate Candidate/Cancer Patient, Hardy Macia Pleads MMJ Case to New Hampshire’s Governor

In a short You-tube video, former senate candidate for the 2nd Congressional Seat of New Hampshire, and current cancer patient Hardy Macia, pleading his death bed case for the ability to cultivate and use Medical Marijuana to New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan. New Hampshire passed House Bill-573, March 20, 2013, when the house voted in favor, 286-64, allowing individuals the ability to use, and cultivate marijuana for medical use. Provisions of HB-573, allow patients to access marijuana from one of five state regulated health centers and/or cultivate up to three cannabis plants. According to the bill, the state regulated dispensing centers will not begin serving patients for two years, which makes the cultivation aspect of the bill very important for today’s patients in need of this very useful medication.

This is where Hardy Macia’s video comes into the story. Apparently, under the duress of the state law enforcement community and it’s unions, Governor Maggie Hassan has decided the only way she will sign HB-573 is if the cultivation provision is removed from the bill. This obviously puts Mr. Macia and other patients in a legal conundrum.

The video begins with an emaciated, and obviously very ill Hardy Macia whispering his introduction to Governor Hassan. Mr. Macia offers he has been an advocate for the use of medical marijuana for over ten years, due to a cousin’s car accident which left them a quadriplegic. “

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Is Kathleen Sebelius Barack Obama’s Oliver North?

by Michael Cannon, CATO Institute

I blogged earlier about how HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is unethically, and possibly illegally, shaking down industries she regulates to get them to fund ObamaCare’s implementation.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the ranking member of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, says this is “arguably an even bigger issue [than] Iran-Contra,” and ably defends his position against the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff.

Excerpts from Alexander’s comments:

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It’s Time to Set Aside Our Differences and Focus On Our Similarities

This topic isn’t a new one here at the Tenth Amendment Center. We often discuss the left/right paradigm, and the sentiment of John Adams that; “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

Who could have known those words would ring so true today.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with our friends at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee this weekend, along with a few coalition partners. I arrived at our Friday night reception to meet a bunch of really open, and friendly activists. As we headed into our weekend, several of those in attendance identified themselves to me as progressives. Early on, someone labeled me as the capitalist, libertarian contingent in the room. It turned out that for a few, capitalism and libertarians weren’t necessarily the most popular things going around. Fortunately, we were all there to learn and those things didn’t detract. I was able to share a little bit about coalition building, and the need for us to work together, regardless of where we have politically identified up until now.

Within personal bubble, I tend to be in contact with a lot more people who consider themselves to be politically on the right. I am very used to the bad arguments and misconceptions coming from that side. It was incredibly interesting for me to be with a group who almost wholly identifying with the political left. Turns out, they have some of the same misconceptions about the other side, as the other side has about them! Of course I already knew that to be true, but somehow, within the group, it seemed more profound.

As the realization of this sank in, I just felt sad. Because here was a room full of really fantastic people, doing good work. People with amazing perspective, great ideas, and intelligent things to say… and a whole group of people across the aisle were missing out on them. I personally benefited incredibly from the wealth of experience and thoughtfulness that was in that room. I considered a couple of people at home who could have used the experience even more than I. It was challenging for me, at times, because I had one or two preconceived notions of my own that I wasn’t completely aware of. More than challenging though, it was just really inspiring. I was impressed by the level of respectfulness that everyone showed to one another.

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MSNBC’s Kornacki Attacks Nullification, Makes a Fool of Himself

It’s no secret that MSNBC has no love for nullification.

Back in 2011, Rachel Maddow attempted to link the growing nullification movement to racism. Jason Rink used parts her television segment and refuted many of her statements in his documentary, Nullification: A Rightful Remedy.

The folks over at MSNBC haven’t changed their tune. Recently, The Rachel Maddow Show producer Steven Benen wrote a commentary on the show’s blog page called, Pointless Nullfication in Kansas  critical of the recently passed Firearms Freedom Act. Tenth Amendment Center’s Executive Director Michael Boldin responded to Benen’s article with an audio segment, MSNBC: Where it’s Always Opposite Day.

And the assault continues.

Recently, Up with Steve Kornacki broadcasted a show segment, again discussing the Kansas Firearms Freedom Act.

The anti-nullification slant was apparent just from the selection panel members: Democrat State Senator David Haley, Harper’s Magazine Columnist Thomas Frank who is also author of What’s the Matter with Kansas, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner from MomsRising.org and the ”token” Republican Sheila Frahm, also from Kansas.

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Arizona Voters Get Opportunity To Consider State Sovereignty Amendment In November 2014

PHOENIX, Ariz. ( May 15, 2013) – The people of Arizona haven’t had much to cheer about when it comes to assertion of state sovereignty to block unconstitutional federal acts. Several measures passed through the state legislature over the last two years, but none escaped the ink flowing from Gov. Jan “Finger-wagging” Brewer’s veto pen.

Last year, the Arizona governor vetoed a bill nullifying indefinite detention provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Act and a sheriff’s first initiative that would have required federal agents to notify the county sheriff before operating in their jurisdiction. During the latest legislative session, Brewer rejected a bill that would have allowed the use of gold and silver as legal tender in the Grand Canyon State.

But Brewer won’t have the opportunity to put the kibosh on a powerful state sovereignty bill  garnering final approval in the legislature Tuesday.

The people of Arizona will get the final say.

HCR1016 places a constitutional amendment on the November 2014 general election ballot. If approved by the voters, a direct mechanism will be created to help ensure that the use of state personnel and financial resources will only be authorized for activities consistent with the Constitution. That would functionally prohibit state cooperation with  federal enforcement of  gun “laws” violating the Second Amendment, or attempts to indefinitely detain people in Arizona under the NDAA. The provision would essentially end all state cooperation with  any unconstitutional acts across the board.

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Texas 2nd Amendment Preservation Act up for a Final Senate Vote

AUSTIN, Texas (May 15, 2013) – On Monday, the Texas State Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security approved a bill that would render almost all federal gun control measures toothless within the state.  House Bill 928 (HB928), by Representative Matthew Krause, was passed by a 102-31 vote in the State House last week, and was approved in Senate committee by a 3-1 vote on Monday.

If passed into law, HB928 would require that the state refuse to enforce almost all federal gun control measures enacted at anytime – past, present or future.    It reads, in part:

An agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state, and a law enforcement officer or other person employed by an agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state, may not contract with or in any other manner provide assistance to a federal agency or official with respect to the enforcement of a federal statute, order, rule, or regulation purporting to regulate a firearm, a firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition if the statute, order, rule, or regulation imposes a prohibition, restriction, or other regulation, such as a capacity or size limitation or a registration requirement, that does not exist under the laws of this state.

This would make a HUGE dent in any new federal effort to further restrict the right to keep and bear arms in Texas. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here). Quite simply, the federal government absolutely cannot enforce gun control in Texas without the help of Texas.

After passing the committee, the bill will now go to the State Senate to pass the bill.  Senate rules require that bills and resolutions be listed on the regular order of business and be considered on second reading in the order in which committee reports get to the Senate.  In other words, it’s essential that committee chair Senator Craig Estes get that report to the full Senate quickly. (UPDATE 05-15: Sen. Estes has finalized the committee report and the bill is going to the full Senate)  

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