Action Alert: Maine Legislation Would Nullify Unconstitutional Federal Hemp Ban

Maine LD 525 is an Act to Promote Industrial Hemp. It would nullify the unconstitutional federal ban on this important agricultural crop. It recently passed out the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry by a vote of 12-1 and will soon be heard on the full house for a debate and vote.

Under current Maine law, hemp is legal for certain purposes, though the law mandates that an individual can’t receive a license to grow until federal law changes – this measure would remove that requirement, and would allow farmers in the state to begin cultivating hemp this year – with or without federal “permission”

Representative Harvelll has indicated that there is support in both the House and the Senate. However, he still hasn’t received word on the Governor’s position. To move LD525 forward, call not only your representative, but call the Governor.

Your help is needed right now to move this legislation forward!

1. Contact your state representative.  Just because it has been indicated that there is support, tell representatives that you want LD525 passed. Strongly, but respectfully, let them know that you want a YES vote on LD525.  This bill is important for Maine farmers, it’s important for jobs, and it’s important for the economy.

Contact info here:

2. Also contact the Governor. Ask him to support LD525.


Sebelius Shakes Down Companies She Regulates for Cash to Implement ObamaCare

by Michael Cannon, CATO Institute

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’ latest abuse of power has strengthened the case for her removal from office. Before discussing her latest misconduct, let’s review some of Sebelius’ past abuses of power.

  • In 2010, Sebelius described anonymous political speech as “dangerous.” Ironically, Sebelius’ lashing out at her political opponents’ free-speech rights is dangerous because it is the sort of rhetoric that might encourage agencies like the IRS to target groups that “criticize how the country is being run.” That’s exactly what the IRS has admitted doing – which in turn is a good argument for protecting anonymous political speech.
  • So too is Sebelius’ 2010 threat to put health insurance companies out of business. Shortly after ObamaCare became law, insurers began telling their customers how much it was going to increase their premiums. In a September 2010 letter to insurers, Sebelius shot back that premiums would rise no more than 2 percent, even as her department predicted increases as high as 7 percent. Insurers that didn’t toe the party line “may be excluded from health insurance Exchanges in 2014.” That was no idle threat, I wrote at the time. Since “Medicare’s chief actuary predicts that in the future, ‘essentially all‘ Americans will get their health insurance through those exchanges,” Sebelius was essentially threatening to put insurers out of business if they disagreed with her.
  • In 2011, Sebelius approved her department issuing hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to private health insurance companies under the rubric of ObamaCare that the statute expressly forbids HHS to issue.
  • In 2012, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded that Sebelius violated the Hatch Act by campaigning for President Obama and other political candidates while traveling on official business, an offense for which other federal workers are fired.
  • In a July 2012 letter to the nation’s governors, Sebelius arbitrarily rewrote and narrowedthe Supreme Court’s ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius to allow HHS to continue coercing states into implementing parts of ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion.
  • When it became apparent that two-thirds of states would not implement one of ObamaCare’s health insurance “exchanges,” Sebelius dismissed the idea that a lack of congressionally authorized funding for federal Exchanges would stop her department from implementing them. “We are going to get it done,” she said. Now we learn she substituted her own judgment for Congress’ by raiding ObamaCare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund to the tune of $454 million to fund federal Exchanges. But even that wasn’t enough.

Now we learn, from the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff, “Sebelius has, over the past three months, made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and directly asked that they contribute to non-profits that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law.”


McLeod County, Minnesota Passes 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution

By a close 3-2 vote last week, the County Commissioners in McLeod County, Minnesota approved a resolution in support of the 2nd Amendment.

The resolution calls for all local agencies to stand down and refuse to enforce federal gun control measures, and for the state to pass legislation which would nullify the same.

It reads, in part:

All federal acts, laws, orders, rules or regulations regarding firearms are a violation of the 2nd Amendment

SECTION 2: PROHIBITION ON FEDERAL INFRINGEMENT OF THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS A. The McLeod County Board of Commissioners resolves that all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, regulations – past, present or future – in violation of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States are not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violate its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers; and are hereby declared to be invalid in this county, shall not be recognized by this county, are specifically rejected by this county, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this county.

B. The McLeod County Board of Commissioners calls upon the Governor and Legislators of the State of Minnesota to immediately pass an act to nullify the implementation within the State of Minnesota of any Federal law, executive order or regulations restricting the right to keep and bear arms

Local support will play a vital role in the success of those who want to protect the right to keep and bear arms. The resolution is a great first step, as it gets the commissioners on record in support of the 2nd Amendment. But, since it’s non-binding, it will require another step to have concrete effect. Cities within the county – and the county board itself – should follow up this resolution with ordinances prohibiting any cooperation with federal agents attempting to enforce acts violating the Second Amendment. Such an ordinance will give these statements teeth.


Top Denver Post Columnist Exposes Weakness of Anti-TABOR Theory

Veteran Denver Post (and former Rocky Mountain News) columnist Vincent Carroll writes here about the overweaning ambition of those who support the anti-TABOR lawsuit. That lawsuit claims that because Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) imposes fiscal limits on the power of the state legislature—that is, restricts lawmakers’ power to tax, spend, and borrow— it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee to each state of a “republican form of government.”

Mr. Carroll thereby indirectly supports a point made earlier in this blog, and supported by an II study: Because almost every state restricts the legislature’s financial powers in some way, the theory of the anti-TABOR lawsuit would threaten clauses in the constitutions of almost every state.


Texas Action Alert: Help Nullify Federal Gun Control

Representative Matt Krause’s bill, House Bill 928 is Texas’s Second Amendment Preservation Act.  Last week, it passed the full House with an amazing vote of 102-31.   It now moves to the state Senate, where it will have its first committee hearing today, 05-13-13.

HB928 is currently in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security, where committee chair, Senator Estes, is the Senate bill sponsor for the legislation.

A public hearing is scheduled for May 13th at 1:30pm in hearing room E1.012  This bill is in the final stages for passage. The Tenth Amendment Center needs your help to keep moving HB928 forward.

ACTION ITEMS for Texas HB928

1.  Contact the Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security.  Senator Estes has agreed to be the sponsor in the Senate. Call him and thank him for sponsoring.  Politely ask him to move the bill forward quickly so it can get to the Governor’s desk.

Senator Estes  (512) 463-0130

2.  Contact all the rest of the members of the Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security.  Respectfully urge each of them to vote YES on HB928 to move this bill forward in the Senate.


California: Do-or-Die to Stop NDAA “Indefinite Detention”

On April 9th, the California Assembly Public Safety Committee voted unanimously in favor of Assembly Bill 351 (AB351), the California Liberty Preservation Act.    The bill has now been assigned to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations with a hearing and vote scheduled for May 15, 2013.

Introduced by Republican Assemblymember Tim Donnelly, AB351 is a strong stand against “indefinite detention” as supposedly authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012.  It declares such federal power to be unconstitutional and also requires the entire state to refuse to enforce or assist its implementation.  A broad coalition officially supported the legislation and moved the normally partisan, and strongly democratic, committee to support the republican-introduced legislation.

The appropriations committee is going to be an even tougher path, but an endless stream of strong, but respectful phone calls to committee members in favors is likely to give the bill a chance as passing.

ACTION ITEMS for California

1.  CALL the chair of the Appropriations Committee.  Thank him for scheduling a hearing on AB351, and politely encourage him to vote YES on AB351.

Mike Gatto (916) 319-2043

2.  CALL all the other members of the Appropriations Committee.  Strongly, but respectfully, urge each of them to vote YES on AB351.  Let them know you want a vote on PRINCIPLE and not party.

Diane Harkey – (916) 319-2073
Franklin Bigelow – (916) 319-2005
Raul Bocanegra – (916) 319-2039
Steven Bradford – (916) 319-2062
Ian Calderon – (916) 319-2057
Nora Campos – (916) 319-2027


IRS Chief, Who Defended Illegal ‘ObamaCare’ Taxes, also Denied Targeting of Tea-Party Groups

by Michael Cannon, CATO Institute

In 2011, members of Congress began criticizing a proposed IRS rule implementing ObamaCare’s health insurance tax credits. They claimed that the proposed rule violated the clear language of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as congressional intent, by issuing those tax credits in states that declined to establish a health insurance “exchange.” In effect, they claimed the proposed rule would result in the federal government taxing, borrowing, and spending hundreds of billions of dollars without congressional authorization.

At the time, then–IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman leapt to his agency’s defense. He wrote that various provisions of the statute “support” the rule. He wrote that the “relevant” legislative history doesn’t show that Congress didn’t want the IRS to tax, borrow, and spend those hundreds of billions of dollars. He wrote that the proposed rule is “consistent with the language, purpose, and structure” of the law. The only thing he didn’t do was cite a provision of the law authorizing the rule, or even creating any ambiguity about the rule’s illegality.

The IRS finalized that illegal rule in May 2012. You can read all about it in my article with Jonathan Adler, “Taxation Without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule to Expand Tax Credits Under the PPACA.”


Guantanamo and the Bill of Rights

by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

When one considers the Bill of Rights, an obvious question arises: Why did our American ancestors demand the enactment of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments?

The answer is simple: Our ancestors believed that in the absence of those amendments, U.S. officials would end up subjecting people to the types of things that those amendments restricted. That is, if there was no Bill of Rights, U.S. officials would be jailing people indefinitely, torturing them, killing them, and mistreating them, all without such procedural guarantees as trial by jury, protection against forced confessions, the right to have a defense attorney, the right to a speedy trial, the right to cross examine witnesses and to summon witnesses, the right to be formally notified of criminal charges, the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishments, the right to be free of unreasonable searches, and the right to due process of law.

Of course, there are those today who would argue that our American ancestors were being paranoid. Federal officials would never do such things, they would suggest, especially to the American people. After all, they would point out, federal officials are Americans too. Moreover, they swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments are antiquated and superfluous, they would say, because U.S. officials would follow the principles enunciated in those amendments without being required to do so by the Bill of Rights.

Unfortunately, however, those who say such things are woefully misguided. The fact is that our ancestors were brilliant in foreseeing that those amendments were absolutely necessary. In the absence of those amendments, there is no doubt that federal officials would be doing the things that those amendments meant to restrict.

How do we know this? We know it because of what federal officials have done in Cuba, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Consider the Pentagon’s and CIA’s prison and judicial system at Guantanamo Bay. In the beginning, the Pentagon and the CIA took the position that Gitmo would be entirely independent of the Constitution and the federal judiciary. It claimed the authority to establish its version of an ideal prison camp and judicial system without any outside interference.

What type of system did the Pentagon and the CIA establish when they were setting up what they considered to be a model prison and judicial system? Wouldn’t you think that the system would be one that would be modeled after the one that our American ancestors chose?


The Pentagon as a Jobs Program, Cont…

Last week I discussed the tendency for policymakers to treat the Pentagon like a giant jobs program. It was prompted by an article from the Associated Press on members of Congress shoving unwanted upgraded Abrams tanks down taxpayers’ throats because retooling tanks sustains jobs back in the district. As it turns out, former Reagan budget director David Stockman touches on the Abrams tank situation in his new book, The Great Deformation.

In Chapter 5 – “Triumph of the Warfare State” – Stockman gives an account of the behind-the-scenes dealings that resulted in the massive military buildup during the Reagan administration. Stockman says political calculations – and not “one scintilla of bottoms-up program detail or even a single hour of professional analysis” – drove the new Reagan administration to champion 7 percent (real) growth in defense spending every year for five years (1982-1986), and from a already elevated level. According to Stockman, the “7 percent real growth top line” was a “blank check” for the Pentagon to go on a spending binge – much to the pleasure of the military-industrial complex.

From p. 74:

No fresh start or strategically coherent defense plan was ever developed by the Reagan administration. This immense, content-free “top line” was simply backfilled by the greatest stampede of Pentagon log-rolling and budget aggrandizement by the military-industrial complex ever recorded.

In a process that went on week after week for the better part of a year, the huge swaths of empty budget space under the new defense “top line” were converted into more and more of virtually everything that inhabited the Pentagon’s vasty deep. Much of it, which had languished for years and decades on the wish lists of the brass and military contractors, now got funded without much ado.

With defense funds being virtually slopped onto the waiting plates of the four military services, it is not surprising that much of it went to the conventional forces. Notwithstanding all the scary stories about the nascent Soviet nuclear first-strike capabilities, there really weren’t many concrete programs to counter it except for a new strategic bomber and an MX missile upgrade.

At the heart of the Reagan defense buildup, therefore, was a great double shuffle. The war drums were sounding a strategic nuclear threat that virtually imperiled American civilization. Yet the money was actually being allocated to tanks, amphibious landing craft, close air support helicopters, and a vast conventional armada of ships and planes.

These weapons were of little use in the existing nuclear standoff, but were well suited to imperialistic missions of invasion and occupation. Ironically, therefore, the Reagan defense buildup was justified by an Evil Empire that was rapidly fading but was eventually used to launce elective wars against an Axis of Evil which didn’t even exist.

That leads to the Abrams tank. 


Common Core: An Attack on Freedom and What to Do About it

So what is happening in our education system? We reviewed a discussion of this topic with a representative of the American Principals Project.  And here are just some of the anti-constitutional and Orwellian goings on.

What is this Common Core about?

It is about the ideal of collective thought, your children will be “educated” not to their full free potential, but to become servants of the state.  They will be tested over and over again. The results of those tests will filed away and determine what their life will be.

How’d this happen?

Common Core (aka Race to the Top) presented the curriculum standards to the states while the legislatures were in recess and the fed “required” an answer in 2 months.  This did not allow the legislators to review, comment or even be consulted before the states had to answer.   And of course the Fed dangled a lot of money promises too.

States are Constitutionally granted right to Educate their citizens are denied.  Tenth Amendment is ignored.

The state must adopt ALL of the curriculum. Once adopted, no more than 15% in each area may be modified.  Teachers, Principals, nor Parents will have any say in the curriculum.  NONE.