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Author Topic: Tenth/10th Amendment: States Rights  (Read 56735 times)
Power User
Posts: 42556

« on: February 10, 2009, 12:12:22 AM »

Although the term has negative connotations for many of us due to its historical interactions with slavery and segregation, States Rights are a essential feature of the American Creed.  With the massive expansion of the federal government being assayed by our President and Congress, it seems the matter of the States' rights under the Constitution is going to be a very hot area.  This thread is for discussion of such matters.

I kick things off with an article by a group about which I know nothing yet.

State Sovereignty is Starting to Steamroll
From The Constitution Party

States Tell Feds: “Back Off!”

Legislatures Cite 10th Amendment In Strong Reminder To D.C.

Lancaster, PA (February 7, 2009) A growing number of state legislatures across the country have put the federal government on notice that the United States Constitution gives states the authority to say: “Thus far and no farther!”

Bills introduced in states, including Washington, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Arizona, defend state sovereignty as guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution which states: .... 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.
The Constitution Party supports and encourages the effort of individual states to re-affirm that the U.S. Constitution explicitly guarantees certain rights cannot be usurped by the federal government. “The state sovereignty movement is picking up steam,” noted Constitution Party National Committee Chairman Jim Clymer. “The duopoly that controls our federal government has gotten out of hand. Republicans and Democrats alike have been guilty of trampling states’ rights for generations. Finally, elected officials in state legislatures across the country are pushing back,” Clymer added.

D.C.’s blatant disregard for the Constitution has raised the hackles of responsible elected state officials. The effort to restore State Sovereignty is gaining momentum.

Several states have tied their State Sovereignty bills to other constitutionally-protected rights including 2nd Amendment gun owners’ rights and the 14th Amendment right to Life. The Montana State Sovereignty bill , authored by Republican State Representative Joel Boniek, sets the stage for a showdown with the federal government over gun owners’ rights.

It invokes the 9th Amendment as well: .... The regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the 9th and 10th amendments to the United States constitution, particularly if not expressly preempted by federal law. Congress has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce pertaining to the manufacture on an intrastate basis of firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition.

The bill adds a stronger caveat: .... A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Montana and that remains within the borders of Montana is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce.

In Oklahoma, Republican State Representative Charles Key authored his second state sovereignty bill, HJR 1089 (reintroduced as HJR 1003) using words like “cease and desist.” Key has been a vocal opponent of such overreaching federal dictates as the No Child Left Behind and Real ID Acts for being unconstitutional, state sovereignty-stealing mandates from D.C.. The bill has been referred to the Oklahoma House Rules Committee.

In Missouri, Republican State Representative Cynthia Davis brought the issue of abortion into the State Sovereignty issue with HR 294. The bill (formerly HR 212), states: Missouri's sovereignty (exists) under the Tenth Amendment and (the state) urges the United States Congress to reject the passage of the federal Freedom of Choice Act which prohibits regulations on abortion.
Michigan Republican State Representative Paul Opsommer authored State Sovereignty bill HCR 4 which aims to: … (A)ffirm Michigan’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and to urge the federal government to halt its practice of imposing mandates upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the Constitution of the United States.

The State Sovereignty statement in Arizona’s HCR 2034 bares its teeth calling for dissolution of the federal government in the event: …(The) President of the United States, the Congress of the United States or any other federal agent or agency declares the Constitution of the United States to be suspended or abolished, if the President or any other federal entity attempts to institute martial law or its equivalent without an official declaration in one or more of the states without the consent of that state or if any federal order attempts to make it unlawful for individual Americans to own firearms or to confiscate firearms, the State of Arizona, when joined by thirty-four of the other fifty states, declares as follows: that the states resume all state powers delegated by the Constitution of the United States and assume total sovereignty; that the states re-ratify and re-establish the present Constitution of the United States as the charter for the formation of a new federal government, to be followed by the election of a new Congress and President Washington, and New Hampshire similarly put the feds on notice that the United States Constitution and all its amendments are there for a reason - to keep a centralized government from overstepping its bounds and to protect the rights of American citizens.

The Constitution Party encourages Americans across the political spectrum to contact their state representatives and tell them to uphold the Constitution with a 10th Amendment bill for their state!
Copyright © 2009 Constitution Party,
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 01:58:38 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2009, 07:31:39 AM »

I've read some Constitution Party stuff that was too strident for my tastes, but Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is a hard core second amendment defender with the historical chops to make their case.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 07:10:38 AM by Body-by-Guinness » Logged
Power User
Posts: 42556

« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2009, 08:05:18 PM »

WND is not my idea of a relible site, so caveat lector, but FWIW:

 8 States Introduced Resolutions Declaring State Sovereignty


8 States Introduced Resolutions Declaring State Sovereignty, 20 more States may do the same

Posted: February 06, 2009
11:50 pm Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

NEW YORK – As the Obama administration attempts to push through Congress a nearly $1 trillion deficit spending plan that is weighted heavily toward advancing typically Democratic-supported social welfare programs, a rebellion against the growing dominance of federal control is beginning to spread at the state level.

So far, eight states have introduced resolutions declaring state sovereignty under the Ninth and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, including Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.

Analysts expect that in addition, another 20 states may see similar measures introduced this year, including Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, Maine and Pennsylvania.

"What we are trying to do is to get the U.S. Congress out of the state's business," Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Randy Brogdon told WND.  "Congress is completely out of line spending trillions of dollars over the last 10 years putting the nation into a debt crisis like we've never seen before," Brogdon said, arguing that the Obama stimulus plan is the last straw taxing state patience in the brewing sov ereignty dispute "This particular 111th Congress is the biggest bunch of over-reachers and underachievers we've ever had in Congress. A sixth-grader should realize you can't borrow money to pay off your debt, and that is the Obama administration's answer for a stimulus package," he added.

The Ninth Amendment reads, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The Tenth Amendment specifically provides, "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."

Brogdon, the lead sponsor of the Oklahoma state senate version of the sovereignty bill, has been a strong opponent of extending the plan to build a four-football-fields-wide Trans-Texas Corridor parallel to Interstate-35 to Oklahoma, as WND reported.

Rollback federal authority

The various sovereignty measures moving through state legislatures are designed to reassert state authority through a rollback of federal authority under the powers enumerated in the Constitution, with the states assuming the governance of the non-enumerated powers, as required by the Tenth Amendment.

The state sovereignty measures, aimed largely at the perceived fiscal irresponsibility of Congress in the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have gained momentum with the $1 trillion deficit-spending economic stimulus package the Obama administration is currently pushing through Congress.

Particularly disturbing to many state legislators are the increasing number of "unfunded mandates" that have proliferated in social welfare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, in which bills passed by Congress dictate policy to the states without providing funding.

In addition, the various state resolutions include discussion of a wide range of policy areas, including the regulation of firearms sales (Montana) and the demand to issue drivers licenses with technology to embed personal information under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and the Real ID Act (Michigan).

Hawaii's measure calls for a new state constitutional convention to return self-governance, a complaint that traces back to the days it was a U.S. territory, prior to achieving statehood in 1959.

"We are trying to send a message to the federal government that the states are trying to reclaim their sovereignty," Republican Rep. Matt Shea, the lead sponsor of Washington's sovereignty resolution told WND.

"State sovereignty has been eroded in so many areas, it's hard to know where to start," he said. "There are a ton of federal mandates imposed on states, for instance, on education spending and welfare spending."

Shea said the Obama administration's economic stimulus package moving through Congress is a "perfect example."

"In the state of Washington, we have increased state spending 33 percent in the last three years and hired 6,000 new state employees, often using federal mandates as an excuse to grow state government," he said. "We need to return government back down to the people, to keep government as close to the local people as possible."

Shea is a private attorney who serves with the Alliance Defense Fund, a nationwide network of about 1,000 attorneys who work pro-bono. As a counter to the ACLU, the alliance seeks to protect and defend religious liberty, the sanctity of life and traditional family values.

Republican state Rep. Judy Burges, the primary sponsor of the sovereignty resolution in the Arizona House, told WND the federal government "has been trouncing on our constitutional rights. The real turning point for me was the Real ID act, which involved both a violation of the Fourth Amendments rights against the illegal searches and seizures and the Tenth Amendment," she said.

Burges told WND she is concerned that the overreaching of federal powers could lead to new legislation aimed at confiscating weapons from citizens or encoding ammunition.

"The Real ID Act was so broadly written that we are afraid that it involves the potential for "mission-creep," that could easily involve confiscation of firearms and violations of the Second Amendment," she said.

Burges said she has been surprised at the number of e-mails she has received in support of the sovereignty measure.

"We are a sovereign state in Arizona, not a branch of the federal government, and we need to be treated as such, she insisted.

« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 01:15:35 PM »

Parting Company

Texas Gov. Rick Perry rattled cages when he suggested that Texans might at some point become so disgusted with Washington's gross violation of the U.S. Constitution that they would want to secede from the union. Political hustlers, their media allies and others, who have little understanding, are calling his remarks treasonous. Let's look at it.

When New York delegates met on July 26, 1788, their ratification document read, "That the Powers of Government may be resumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness; that every Power, Jurisdiction and right which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the government thereof, remains to the People of the several States, or to their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same."

On May 29, 1790, the Rhode Island delegates made a similar claim in their ratification document. "That the powers of government may be resumed by the people, whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness: That the rights of the States respectively to nominate and appoint all State Officers, and every other power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States or to the departments of government thereof, remain to the people of the several states, or their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same."

On June 26, 1788, Virginia's elected delegates met to ratify the Constitution. In their ratification document, they said, "The People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will."

As demonstrated by the ratification documents of New York, Rhode Island and Virginia, they made it explicit that if the federal government perverted the delegated rights, they had the right to resume those rights.

 In fact, when the Union was being formed, where the states created the federal government, every state thought they had a right to secede otherwise there would not have been a Union.

Perry is right when he says that there is no reason for Texas to secede. There are indeed intermediate actions short of secession that states can take. Thomas Jefferson said, "Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force." That suggests that one response to federal encroachment is for state governments to declare federal laws that have no constitutional authority null and void and refuse to enforce them.

While the U.S. Constitution does not provide a specific provision for nullification, the case for nullification is found in the nature of compacts and agreements. Our Constitution represents a compact between the states and the federal government. As with any compact, one party does not have a monopoly over its interpretation, nor can one party change it without the consent of the other. Additionally, no one has a moral obligation to obey unconstitutional laws. That's not to say there is not a compelling case for obedience of unconstitutional laws. That compelling case is the brute force of the federal government to coerce obedience, possibly going as far as using its military might to lay waste to a disobedient state and its peoples.

Finally, here's my secession question for you. Some Americans accept and have respect for the Tenth Amendment, which reads, "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." Other Americans, the majority I fear, say to hell with the Tenth Amendment limits on the federal government. Which is a more peaceful solution: one group of Americans seeking to impose their vision on others or simply parting company?

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
Power User
Posts: 513

« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2009, 05:39:37 PM »
Posted on 27 August 2009

by Dr. Donald W. Livingston,

For the first time in 144 years State interposition (Madison) and State nullification and secession (Jefferson) have entered public discourse as remedies to usurpations by the central government of rights reserved to the sovereign people of the States by the Constitution. Since Americans are not in the habit of exercising these policy options, it is worthwhile to ask just what State legislators and governors can do to protect their citizens from usurpations by the central government.

First, they can begin by passing resolutions (as a number have done), declaring in no uncertain terms that all powers not delegated to the central government nor prohibited to the States by the Constitution are reserved by them; and that the States themselves have the authority to judge what is reserved and what is delegated–Supreme Court case law notwithstanding.

To deny this is to say that the central government can define the limits of its own power which flatly contradicts the Constitution’s language of State delegated and reserved powers.

Second, the States can insist that an office be set up in Congress to receive and respond to these resolutions. Resolutions are words. They cost little to produce, but words have power. As the Scottish philosopher David Hume observed, political authority is based primarily on opinion not force. It is not merely iron bars that confine you to prison, it is also the guard’s opinion not to let you out. If you could change his mind, the bars could not restrain you.

A continuous flood of resolutions from the States about the constitutionality of this or that issue (and widely publicized), would serve to educate the public (and their rulers) about constitutional limits and alter the mind-set of politics in a decentralist direction.

Further, State legislators and governors should revive, where appropriate, the Jeffersonian discourse of State interposition, nullification, and secession as policy options. To deny this is to say that an American State is not a genuine political society at all, but a mere aggregate of individuals under control of a central government that alone can define the limits of its powers.

To hear such discourse in public speech can strengthen civic virtue and revive the long slumbering disposition of self-government that has been suppressed by a century of runaway centralization.

Lincoln understood the power of words, and advanced the cause of centralization by refusing to describe the States as sovereign political societies. He described them as mere counties authorized by central authority. He asked incredulously: “What is this particular sacredness of a State? If a State, in one instance, and a county in another should be equal in extent of territory, and equal in number of people, wherein is that State any better than a county?”

Lincoln was not describing the federative America that Jefferson and Madison founded, but an imagined and wished for centralized, unitary American state. It is time that the Lincolnian inversion of political discourse be inverted.

Third, In addition to changing the terms of discourse, State legislators and governors should engage in 10th amendment acts of recovering usurped authority. The least controversial of these acts would be simply to not accept federal money for projects that are judged unconstitutional, such as federal involvement in education. Refuse the money, and begin restoring state and local control over education or whatever the issue might be.

Fourth, in order to restore usurped constitutional authority, a State must be prepared, at some point, to resist federal intrusion. There is a long history of States doing just that. Georgia nullified the Supreme Court’s ruling in Chisholm vs. Georgia (1793); New England States nullified fugitive slave laws; and earlier New England townships nullified Jefferson’s embargo and the war of 1812 declared under Madison’s administration. Jefferson said “he felt the foundations of the government shaken under my feet by the New England townships.” Wisconsin was nullifying what it declared to be usurpations by the Supreme Court into the 1850s. There was a time when the States kept the central government under control.

Can this be done today? Before it is attempted a clarification is necessary. We must understand that any such constitutional challenge is a political one based on the States’ sovereign authority and not a matter justiciable by the courts. Genuine federalism in America can be recovered only by political action in the name of the State’s own authority and not by Supreme Court legalism.

Indeed, legalism only affirms that the Court has the final say over what powers the States have. When States interposed to block the Supreme Court’s orders to desegregate public schools in the South on the ground that such orders were unconstitutional, the move failed but only because racial segregation was not a popular issue.

Many scholars then and now thought that Brown v. Board of Education was bad constitutional law, i.e., that the court had abandoned its proper role of policing the Constitution in favor of social engineering. Most, however, approved of the engineering, and paid little regard to the constitutional cost.

But the process can be reversed. States can recover usurped authority by carefully choosing the right issue, at the right time, in the right circumstances, and for the right reasons. Such an act, of course, would require considerable political prudence and skill, and should not be attempted without a reasonable chance of support from public opinion. In such an act of lawful and constitutional resistance, the State would be answerable only to her other sister states. The action might spark a constitutional amendment as happened when Georgia nullified the Supreme Court’s ruling in Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) that an individual could sue a state in federal court without the State’s permission.

The States agreed with Georgia’s nullification and promptly passed the 11th amendment that prohibited such suits. That is how American federalism was supposed to work. The three branches of the central government would check each other, but it would be up to the sovereign States to keep the central government itself in check. The Constitution was to be enforced through political action of the States not by the legalism of nine unelected Supreme Court justices.

Another outcome might be a political settlement that would allow a State, or a number of States, to opt out of a class of federal acts judged to be unconstitutional or fundamentally repugnant. Other federal systems allow this possibility. For instance, the Canadian Constitution has institutionalized federal nullification. Any Province can nullify acts of the central government in the area of civil rights within its own borders, even though other Provinces may enforce the act in theirs.

The States can also try to restrict unconstitutional acts of the central government through amending the Constitution, but that is virtually impossible. Two thirds of both Houses of Congress are required to pass an amendment which must then be ratified by three quarters of the States.

Since 1790, over 10,000 amendments have been proposed to Congress. Only 30 have passed the Congressional gate-keepers, and 27 have been ratified. The other path is that two thirds of the States can compel Congress to call a constitutional convention–a very high bar to meet. It is, therefore, virtually impossible to limit the central government’s power by constitutional amendment. It is worth noting that the framers of the Confederate Constitution sought to overcome this barrier to self-government in Article 1, Section 1 which enacted that if only three States concurred on a constitutional amendment, Congress would have to call a constitutional convention. And only two thirds of the States would be needed to ratify the amendment.

To all of this it is often said that State interposition, nullification, and secession were eliminated as policy options by the Civil War. Brute force, however, cannot settle moral and constitutional questions. Lincoln’s claim that the Union is older than the States; that it created the States; that a State is merely an administrative unit (like a county in a unitary state), are historical and moral claims that must stand on their own. They cannot be settled by superior firepower but only by reasons that persuade.

The problems of limiting central power in a federal system of State delegated and reserved powers, which brought forth the doctrines of State interposition, nullification, and secession as remedies, are as topical today as they were when first broached in the 1790s.

Or it will be said that, even so, too much water has gone over the dam. Institutions of the central government are so entrenched, so entangled with powerful interests, and this system has gone on for so long that people have lost any sense of civic virtue on the State and local level.

It is certainly true that the central government has intruded into nearly every aspect of life, and disentanglement will not occur overnight. But centralization in America is not as intense and debilitating as it was in the former Soviet Union, from which, nevertheless, 15 States recovered civic virtue and seceded. Moreover, the current State sovereignty movement suggests that State and local civic virtue are not dead in America. But as mentioned above, a shift in the decentralist direction will require a long course of political re-education.

And the sort of education required is not academic but practical–one exemplified in the conduct and civic virtue of State legislators and governors who take to heart Madison’s admonition in the Virginia Resolutions (1798) that State governments not only have the constitutional right of “interposition” to protect their citizens against usurpations by the central government but the “duty” to do so.

Finally, there is the objection that the primacy of State political action over Supreme Court legalism could work when there were fewer States, but now that there are 50 States interposition and nullification have become impractical. But If true that means the Union has simply grown too large for the purposes of self-government; in which case the obvious response is that it should be divided through secession into smaller political units that make self-government viable.

Consider how dull our notion of self-government has become. Congress has capped the number of representatives in the House at 435, a majority of which is only 218 representatives. A majority in the Senate is 51. A majority of both Houses is a mere 269 people. This small number, with concurrence of the President, rules over 300 million people. But worse. Congress has long ago alienated much of its legislative responsibility to the Executive and Judicial branch. Its main interest is in distributing its vast revenue (which now is nearly 3 trillion dollars) to its clients.

The President and the Supreme Court are the dominant rulers. The Executive office makes war, and its bureaucracy makes laws. The Supreme Court, with only 9 unelected judges, has become the most important social policy making body in the Union, and makes claim to be the final authority on interpreting the Constitution. Never in history have so many been ruled by so few.

As the American empire grows in population and as the ratchet of centralization tightens with each turn, talk of self-government becomes increasingly meaningless. The ratio of representatives to population in the House of Representatives today is one representative for every 690,000 people–a vacuous ratio for representation. When the population reaches 435 million, there will be one “representative” for every million persons.

What to do? Expand the size of the House? No; it is about the right size for a legislative body. The only remedy is territorial division of the Union through secession into a number of different and independent political units.

Such a division can spring only from political action by the States, each acting in its sovereign capacity. And what form the new order might take (whether a number of federal unions, a number of independent states, whether these will be large or small states like Singapore, etc.) can only be determined by political action of the States themselves.

The central government of the United States (that is, 9 unelected judges, a congressional majority of only 269, and 1 CEO) cannot manage the bloated and unwieldy empire that a century of ritualistic centralization has produced; nor will it ever relinquish power.

George Kennan thought that a discourse on how to divide the Union was bound to develop out of pressure generated by the sheer oversized character of the regime. It is too early to say that the current State sovereignty movement is the beginning of that discourse, but it might well be the beginning of the beginning.

Dr. Donald Livingston, professor at Emory University in Atlanta, has been called the preeminent political philosopher of our day in Georgia.
Power User
Posts: 42556

« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2009, 07:05:29 PM »

Although I agree with the general sentiments of this piece, the following deserves comment:

"Many scholars then and now thought that Brown v. Board of Education was bad constitutional law, i.e., that the court had abandoned its proper role of policing the Constitution in favor of social engineering. Most, however, approved of the engineering, and paid little regard to the constitutional cost."

I am a strong advocate for States Rights but not only is this statement quite wrong, but it is also precisely the sort of thing that will sink a movement for recognizing States Rights. 

Segregation (a.k.a. Separate but Equal) was a profound violation of equal treatment under the law as required by the Constitution.  Period.

Power User
Posts: 513

« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2009, 07:41:17 AM »

Crossing the Chasm to Freedom
By Brian Roberts

Article 1 in Series, Restoring Freedom: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective

Imagine this… You and I are the founders of a start-up company. Our product is compelling. Our market is broad. We are underfunded, unorganized and unfocused. The press clearly doesn’t care about our efforts. Yet, we think we are going to take on the world. We are going to take on the largest, most powerful and monopolistic competitor possible. But we are not intimidated because the personal rewards of success are unimaginable and unlike our competitor’s offering our product will change the world for the better.

So we are driven, like an innovative capitalist… to sell individual freedom to a world that thinks it prefers servitude.

At this time in history, freedom is once again a revolutionary product. And if we are going to take on our massive federal government and replace the socialism it is offering with true individual freedom, then we had better have a strategic plan that is designed to leverage our strengths to the maximum. We cannot afford to waste any resource and our execution must be almost flawless. Sounds impossible? The odds are truly stacked against us, yes, but the good news in our analogy is that start-up companies take on large companies all the time… and more often than you would expect, they win.

For any revolutionary product (remember freedom is our product), market acceptance goes through a dynamic that involves different types of people, each with different objectives. Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm defined a key strategy for taking a technology product to market with limited resources. Like technology, political messages have an adoption lifecycle. And like technology, political messages experience a chasm where after quick and encouraging gains the movement seems to falter. This is a common dynamic of markets and has a solution, but the solution is not intuitive. In order to understand the solution and how the tenth amendment offers the key to success, we need to have a clear understanding of a major barrier, known as the chasm.

The following graph shows the adoption lifecycle, the dangerous chasm and where it falls. Many movements die at the chasm.  Why? The simple answer is that the early message that worked so well to quickly gain support from one segment of the population, offered very little to gain support from other segments, but there is much more to it than that.

In our case, think of the curve as a representation of the American population since that is our target market. We need to consider the desires and needs of the various segments with regards to freedom.

The innovators appreciate things for their own sake; many support the founding fathers and their ideas regarding America and freedom because believe they are right and they respect the ideals. They represent a small but very dedicated segment of our market.

The next group is the early adopters; these are visionary individuals who have the unique ability to match a solution, such as tenth amendment protections, to an opportunity such as regaining freedom. This represents a larger segment of the population, but not nearly enough to make significant political gain. Many of you reading this article are either innovators or early adopters.

This brings us to the early majority. This is the group that we must focus on and any strategy for re-gaining freedom must ultimately be something compelling to this group. You will not find the early majority at tea parties, commenting on blogs or generally debating politics, but many are paying attention.  For the most part they currently believe that our country’s current situation is just politics as usual and that it will all get worked out in the end. “America has seen worse” is a common phrase. They are often party-line voters. In general, this group is risk averse and do not share the visionary’s excitement for revolutionary change.  But true individual freedom at this point in American history is truly revolutionary change, so if we are going to cross the chasm to freedom then we must commit our resources to reaching the early majority. If we fail in this monumental task then our movement will fall short.

We can ignore the late majority and the laggards. This part of the curve represents a population that simply does not understand individual freedom.

This is where it becomes less intuitive. How can we effectively reach the early majority with our limited resources? You might think that the “Big Tent” strategy would develop the biggest following. It seems logical, if we can just sell our wonderful product of freedom to the most people then we will surely generate a massive unstoppable movement.  But hold on… the “big tent” strategy always results in failure. It fails for start-up companies because the massive resources are not available. Even large companies with unlimited resources will fail when the target is not defined, the product is not focused and the message is confused.  As proven by recent history, this is actually a fatal strategic mistake for political movements as well. In politics, the result is ceaseless internal debates that miss the big picture (think controversial social issues), a message defined by the press (think tea parties), and virtually zero political excitement (think McCain). It is clear that the current limitation of  today’s freedom movement is this lack of strategic focus.

To cross the chasm, we need to implement a focused strategy and we need to do this now. We already have the best product ever known to mankind, individual freedom. But the best product is never a guarantee of success. As discussed, the strategy must be able to present a compelling message that will resonate with the early majority. But equally important is the strategy’s ability to build a powerful political base to work from. So what serves as the best political springboard? State Governments? The Republican Party? The growing Tea Party Movement? A third party? All of the above?

A movement with a foundation based on the tenth amendment  has the best chance of returning the power consolidated in Washington to “We the People”. This strategy might seem to fall right into the hands of  current state governments but is it really that simple? I don’t think so. In the next articles of this series we will discuss why the tenth amendment is the perfect foundation, who the allies might be, how we can attract the early majority and what tools we will need to make a real difference.

Brian Roberts is the President and a founder of an innovative software company in Texas. He has joined the tenth amendment movement as the meetup organizer of Texas Tenth Amendment Center. Follow Brian on Twitter, bcroberts_99.
Power User
Posts: 513

« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2009, 07:42:50 AM »

By Brian Roberts

Article 2 in Series, Restoring Freedom: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective – click here for part 1

Washington is selling servitude.

We watched as they destroyed the financial sector by forcing banks to give loans to people that could not afford them… then they stepped in to “save the day” by gaining direct control of our financial sector.

We watched as they destroyed a once powerful automotive industry through excessive regulation and labor union control… then they stepped in to “save the day” by gaining direct control of our automotive industry.

We listened as they verbally assaulted capitalism when government regulations were to blame.
We watched as they asked the American people to fund a $1 trillion dollar stimulus bill, they yelled emergency as they slipped cash from our children’s pockets to their political allies.

We watched, as they worked to destroy the rule of law by arbitrarily dictating revised terms to legal contracts and installing a Supreme Court justice that promotes social justice over rule-of-law.

We know, they intend to control our children, it’s written in the GIVE Act.

We know, they intend to control our resources, it’s written in the Cap and Trade Bill.

We know, they intend control of our very lives, it’s written in the Health Care Bill.

We know, they intend to control our votes, the 2010 census is now controlled by the white house and the ones registering voters are corrupt
We watch and wait as they install unaccountable czars for dictating  not representing

We watch and wait as they increase “organizer” funding from millions to billions of our tax dollars. And we wonder how these groups will be used to steal our life, liberty and property from us.

The fifth sentence of the Declaration of Independence states, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Our product of freedom is competing with an illegal product. The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to sell servitude. It’s that simple. The 10th amendment positions our competitor as an outlaw and recent actions in Washington reaffirm this claim. This brings us to our first point of strategic significance:

A movement based on the 10th amendment is undeniably lawful and moral.

Washington is selling servitude. On fundamental issues, we the people are no longer represented by our national politicians. Our political leaders do not respect the people. They do not bother to read bills that steal away our money and freedom, but then they support these bills aggressively. They set up final votes at midnight in hopes that we do not notice the theft. They pit us against one another by highlighting trivial, but polarizing issues. When the people scream for a solution that doesn’t fit their personal quest for power they shelve the debate instead of making changes that would benefit the people. Despite this disrespect, many national leaders stay in office forever and when real opportunities arise to fill seats with true freedom oriented candidates, the establishment candidates step up, promote and install new big government-types that are mirror images of themselves. It is about personal power not representation. Washington is selling servitude.

Now, thinking like an entrepreneur, Washington used to be a strong ally in our quest to sell individual freedom. Together, we sold freedom to the world and earned the honorable title of “The shining city on the hill”. However, they have now decided to sell servitude. Washington has become a lost distribution channel for our product. Yes, they still want to offer our product, but only so they can do a bait and switch routine and create more customers for servitude. If we continue with these dynamics then the market share for servitude will quickly dominate the market share for freedom. And further compounding our problem, the federal government is a strong distribution channel and finding other channels that can compete is a challenge. To solve this problem, we need a game-changer, something that will expand our more loyal distribution channels while limiting theirs.

The 10th amendment states, “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.” This one sentence if effectively used to counter federal power can quickly shift power back to a more local level.

A movement based on the 10th amendment fundamentally changes the political landscape in favor of individual freedom.

Washington is selling servitude. Democrats are selling it outright as if servitude itself was a great product. Most Republicans are packaging it with just a dose of freedom so it goes down a little smoother. But when it comes to the fundamentals like smaller government and individual freedom neither party in Washington is representing us consistently. Both parties are using a horizontal marketing approach and this leaves “we the people” out. Let me explain.

In product marketing, you can position products for sale through a horizontal channel or a vertical channel. The national parties have broad horizontal platforms that work great when selling servitude because it allows them to pick and choose which “selling point” to highlight, which “product deficiencies” to hide and which controversial product features they can use to distract from the outright bugs in their product offering.

If you seek to bring a revolutionary product, such as freedom, to market then vertical marketing is key because it has the ability to capture a significant market share quickly and with minimal budget. The key to success is based on focus.

By focusing on a singular message our demands for more localized control of government will quickly be adopted in positions held by local politicians, followed by state politicians who are emboldened by a loud voice beating the same drum. Whether state politicians are driven to our message by greed or ideals the result is the same, a new ally with a legal precedent to counter federal abuse of power. This can happen in a dramatic way in the next election cycle.

A movement based on the 10th encourages a state government, accountable to the people locally, to challenge the federal government directly.

So how does this all tie together? Dual-power is the sharing of power between the federal government and the state government. This was a fundamental check on power that was envisioned by our founders and written into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Over the last 100 years, through judicial decisions, constitutional amendment and by simply ignoring it, the 10th amendment has been watered down significantly. Much of this can be changed if the people demand these changes with clarity. If the message is not clear, the the federal government will appease the population with trinkets of freedom but maintain the power to sell more and more servitude.

The 10th goes right for the jugular of federal power, it changes the overall dynamics and it does this through a legal means. A movement based on the 10th clearly has large strategic value in and of itself. The 10th also delivers strong tactical value on how to bring freedom to market. Next…

Take Action Today – Find a 10th Amendment Group in Your Area
Which Side are you on: Jeffersonian or Hamiltonian, by Murray Rothbard
Destroying the Constitution by Claiming Everything is Commerce
Brian Roberts is the President and a founder of an innovative software company in Texas. He has joined the tenth amendment movement as the meetup organizer of Texas Tenth Amendment Center. Follow Brian on Twitter, bcroberts_99.

Additional Reading:

Crossing the Chasm to Freedom
The Mighty 10th: Our Beachhead
The Pincer Movement
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2009, 02:08:25 PM »

The Marbury v. Madison Mantra
Posted on 10 September 2009

by Timothy Baldwin, Esq.
From Chuck Baldwin: Note: My son, Tim, writes today’s column. He is an attorney who received his Juris Doctor degree from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a former prosecutor for the Florida State Attorney’s Office and now owns his own private law practice. He is author of a new book, published soon by Agrapha Publishing, entitled FREEDOM FOR A CHANGE
The arguments against the power of the states to arrest federal tyranny are as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning, and they are as philosophical in nature as the Declaration of Independence. One of the most commonly used arguments against such a State power is the United States Supreme Court (US S CT) dicta opinion in Marbury v. Madison in 1803, written by Chief Justice John Marshall. Before getting into the misunderstandings and misapplications of that infamous decision, we must first recognize the source and character of Marshall’s opinion. As Marshall himself admitted that the US is to be a country of “laws, not men,” we must establish that Marshall’s opinion does not equate to the “supreme law of the land” which the states and individuals are bound to obey. If our submission only requires that the US S CT speak, then we do not live as freemen, but as slaves.
Marshall was an ardent member of the Federalist Party (a pro-centralist party) and served as the Secretary of State in the pro-centralist administration of President John Adams, who appointed Marshall to the US S CT in 1801 at the “midnight” hour before Thomas Jefferson was sworn into office as President of the US. Marshall’s nationalist opinions were no secret either. Marshall believed that the US Constitution and Union were formed by the aggregate whole of the American people, and not by a compact of the states; that the Union formed “one nation, indivisible” and not a confederation of states; that State sovereignty as expressed in the Tenth Amendment equated more to a general idea than to any real applicable and relevant State power over the federal government; that the Constitution must be liberally interpreted for the sake of expanding federal powers at the expense of State sovereignty; and that the idea of State sovereignty was literally ridiculous. By the way, even most self-called conservatives today probably subscribe to these political beliefs, not even knowing the real historical facts behind such fallacious ideology.
Concerning Marshall’s philosophical belief relative to the formation of the USA, this historical fact must be admitted. It is crucially important for our discussion today in America. Historian and politically-motivated author, Edward Samuel Corwin, said of Marshall in his book, “John Marshall and the Constitution” (New Haven, CT, Yale Univ. Press, 1920), p. 34: “[Marshall's] attitude [to strengthen the national power and to curtail State legislative power] was determined not only by his sympathy for the sufferings of his former comrades in arms and by his veneration for his father and for Washington . . . but also by his military experience, which had RENDERED THE PRETENSIONS OF STATE SOVEREIGNTY RIDICULOUS IN HIS EYES.” (Emphasis added.) There is no question that Marshall had a pre-destined belief against State sovereignty in favor of national power. Corwin describes Marshall’s political belief regarding the US as a “nationalistic creed.”
So, is the nationalistic political persuasion of one man (appointed by a nationalistic President) and one court to form the basis of the true understanding of the nature and character of the USA? After all, Marshall admitted that the US is established by the rule of law, and not the rule of men. So, by Marshall’s own definition in Marbury v. Madison, a US S CT opinion does not establish law, but rather should reflect what the paramount law already is: “The constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it.” So, as the age-old question has gone: who determines whether or not the federal government has usurped power from the people of the states and from the State governments? The Marbury v. Madison believers are likely jumping up and down right now, raising their hands, saying, “Oh! Pick me! Pick me! I know! I know!” I can just see smirks on the faces of most ABA-law school graduates as they condemn anyone who would advocate another position to be true which is contrary to what Marshall presupposed to be true. Of course, their rationale goes as deep as a kiddy-pool and their thought process as far as an inner-city driveway.
Since 1803, the nationalists have pointed to Marshall’s declaration to conclusively say the states have no power over the opinion of the US S CT, for as Marshall states: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” From this, most American lawyers and law students come to the conclusion that there is no authority above and beyond the US S CT’s interpretation of the US Constitution. Whatever the US S CT rules becomes “settled law” and the states are completely bound–of course, unless the US S CT says something different later. I was taught this in law school and every other ABA-accredited law school in America teaches this. But a true legal study of Marbury v. Madison reveals that Marshall’s opinion (which was actually dicta) never addressed the issue of State sovereignty whatsoever. American historian, Forrest McDonald, reveals this fact in his book, “State’s Rights and the Union: Imperium in Imperio, 1776-1876.” McDonald states, “Marshall was careful not to claim that the Supreme Court was the SOLE or FINAL ARBITER of acts of Congress.” (Emphasis added.) Ibid., (Lawrence, KS, Univ. Press of Kansas, 2000), p. 56. This is, in fact, the case.
Perhaps most telling about Marshall’s silence on the issue of being the sole or final arbiter is the fact that just a few years prior to his decision, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, through the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, had advocated the State’s ability to actively nullify and resist unconstitutional actions from the federal government. Since Marshall’s opinion was mostly dicta anyway–meaning it had no relevance to the issue at hand–why not go ahead and state that the US S CT is the ONLY final arbiter of the US Constitution? But Marshall never did, and neither has any US S CT decision since Marbury v. Madison.
Thus, when someone suggests that the states possess the sovereign power to arrest federal encroachments outside of constitutionally enumerated powers, the nationalists emphatically argue their unsupported conclusion that the USA is one nation, indivisible, where the US S CT possesses the sole authority as the final arbiter on all matters politically relative to the US Constitution, and to suggest otherwise is treason!–even when the most authoritative sources have been so pointedly laid out to the contrary. Marshall’s opinions have not settled this matter, and the USA must come to grips with who we are, what we are and how we are.
What’s more, Marshall’s opinions of national expansion were conclusively derived from one main principle: that the USA is a nation formed by the whole people and not by individual states through a compact. This fact was admitted by Marshall-lover, Corwin, in 1920. Corwin clearly expresses this point as follows:
“The great principles which Marshall developed in his interpretation of the Constitution from the side of national power . . . were the following: ‘(1) THE CONSTITUTION IS AN ORDINANCE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND NOT A COMPACT OF THE STATES. (2) Consequently it is to be interpreted with a view to securing a beneficial use of the powers which it creates, not with the purpose of safeguarding the prerogatives of state sovereignty. (3) The Constitution was further designed . . . to be kept a commodious vehicle of the nation life . . . . (4) [The national government] is a sovereign government, both in its choice of the means by which to exercise its power and in its supremacy over all colliding or antagonistic powers. (5) The powers of Congress to regulate commerce is an exclusive power, so that the States may not intrude upon this field even though Congress has not acted. (6) The National Government and its instrumentalities are present within the States, not by the tolerance of the States, but by the supreme authority of the people of the United States.’ Of these several principles, THE FIRST IS OBVIOUSLY THE MOST IMPORTANT AND TO A GREAT EXTENT THE SOURCE OF THE OTHERS.” “John Marshall and the Constitution,” pp. 144-145. (Emphasis added.)
Corwin admits that all of Marshall’s opinions were based upon the presumption that the USA is a nation formed by the whole people as one body politic, and not by the individual, sovereign states via a compact. From this premise comes the vast expansion of federal power under the guise of constitutionality. Thus, if it were to be contrarily presumed that the USA is in fact a compact acceded to by the states, then the rules of interpretation that Marshall and subsequent US S CT justices used were wrong and require a different outcome. This fact cannot be overstated and is the source of all of the federal tyranny that many of you reading this article complain about. Thus, it behooves Americans to truly know WHAT IS THE TRUE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF OUR UNION: is it a National government formed by the whole people, or is it a compact among the states and acceded to by the states (otherwise known as a Confederacy)?
This article does not allow me to expound upon this subject in great depth, but it should be sufficient at this point at least to call into question Marshall’s presupposition regarding the nature and character of the USA by referring to some of the most authoritative sources on the subject during the formation of the US Constitution. Let us start with James Madison, who was one of the Federalist Paper authors and considered to be the Father of the US Constitution. In Federalist Paper 39, Madison examines the nature and character of the formation of the Union under the US Constitution. He admits that the US was formed by a federative (league of states) and NOT a national act. Madison proclaims:
“[T]he Constitution is to be founded on the assent and ratification of the people of America, given by deputies elected for the special purpose; but . . . this assent and ratification is to be given by the people, NOT AS INDIVIDUALS COMPOSING ONE ENTIRE NATION, BUT AS COMPOSING THE DISTINCT AND INDEPENDENT STATES TO WHICH THEY RESPECTIVELY BELONG. It is to be the ASSENT AND RATIFICATION of the SEVERAL STATES . . . The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, will NOT BE A NATIONAL, but a FEDERAL act.
“That it will be a federal and NOT A NATIONAL ACT . . . THE ACT OF THE PEOPLE, AS FORMING SO MANY INDEPENDENT STATES, NOT AS FORMING ONE AGGREGATE NATION, IS OBVIOUS from this single consideration, that it is to result neither from the decision of a MAJORITY of the people of the Union, nor from that of a MAJORITY of the States. It must result from the UNANIMOUS ASSENT OF THE SEVERAL STATES that are parties to it . . . [T]he new Constitution will . . . be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution.” (Emphasis added.)
Madison pens in the clearest of terms that the US Constitution is a compact assented to by the State sovereigns in their legal capacities as individual bodies politic, and NOT as one mass of people, forming one body politic. If this were not enough to at least raise a serious question as to what has been shoved down our throats for 150 years, consider that even Alexander Hamilton confirms that the US Constitution is a compact between the states, and NOT a national act of the whole people. He says in Federalist Paper 85:
“To its complete establishment throughout the Union, [the US Constitution] will therefore REQUIRE THE CONCURRENCE OF THIRTEEN STATES . . . [T]he necessity of moulding and arranging all the particulars which are to compose the whole, in such a manner as to satisfy all the parties to the COMPACT . . . WE MAY SAFELY RELY ON THE DISPOSITION OF THE STATE LEGISLATURES TO ERECT BARRIERS AGAINST THE ENCROACHMENTS OF THE NATIONAL AUTHORITY.” (Emphasis added.)
Just in these two short excerpts from Founding Fathers, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, we see that Marshall’s premise that the USA is a nation formed by the whole of the people and not by the compact of the states is seriously called into question, which, of course, calls into question all of the principles of constitutional interpretation and resulting conclusions which derive from that false premise.
An honest look at the presumption that only the US S CT has the power to interpret federal encroachments on State sovereignty will reveal that the states have more power than what has been admitted ever since Marshall took the position of chief justice of the US S CT. For as Marshall admits in Marbury v. Madison, “questions [that are] in their nature political . . . CAN NEVER BE MADE IN THIS COURT.” (Emphasis added.) By definition, issues of State sovereignty are in their nature political, just as a treaty between the USA and foreign countries regards the matter of political sovereignty. Therefore, when our states begin to assert their natural and sovereign right of self-defense against federal tyranny, each State will answer to their sovereign–the people–and NOT to the United States Supreme Court.
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2009, 03:57:55 PM »

The Confederate Leviathan

Ronald Bailey | September 18, 2009, 1:45pm

Last night I was dining with an acquaintance who hails from the North and who is an amateur historian specializing in the Grand Army of the Republic. My acquaintance is often asked to lecture on the GAR at Civil War meetings and reenactments. He claimed that most Civil War buffs are chiefly focused on Confederate armies and interest in Union armies is minimal.

We got to talking about the Confederate battle flag and what is symbolizes today. Some people wave it around as a symbol of states rights, which I take to refer to the rights and political powers that individual states possess in relation to the federal government. Supporters of the states rights doctrine aim to restrict the growing powers of the federal government and the often unstated implication is that states are better guarantors of individual rights than is the federal government.

As our discussion continued, my dinner companion asked, "Did you know that the Confedaracy introduced conscription well before the Union did?" I admitted that I did not know that. We kept talking about various violations of liberty--other than the horrific atrocity of slavery-- pioneered by the Confederacy. For a quick summary, my companion directed my attention to the blog Civil War Memory run by local historian Kevin Levin. In a recent post, Levin asks,

... is the record of the Confederacy one of limited government and respect for individual rights?

The answer is, no. As evidence, Levin lists the following Confederate violations of liberty:

Conscription (before the United States)
Tariff (higher than the 10 to 15 percent rate proposed by Hamilton in his Report on Manufacturers (1791)
Confederate National Investment in Railroads (amounting to 2.5 million in loans, $150,000 advanced, and 1.12 million appropriated)
Confederate Quartermasters leveled price controls on private mills and were later authorized to impress whatever supplies they needed.
Government ownership of key industries
Government regulation of commerce
Suspension of habeas corpus (According to historian, Mark Neely, 4,108 civilians were held by military authorities)

So, to repeat Levin's question to would-be defenders of states rights: Are you sure that you're waving the right flag?

Addendum: Take a look at the 2004 Reason column "Wrong Song of the South: The dangerous fallacies of Confederate multiculturalism" by David Beito and Charles Nuckolls. They correctly conclude:

If the Confederate multiculturalists believe in liberty, as many of them assert, they will stop waving the Confederate Battle Flag, abandon the cause of a nation state that championed an unforgivable violation of inalienable rights, and embrace the rich American heritage of individualism.

Disclosure: I was born in Texas and grew up in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia.
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2009, 09:58:28 AM »

I'd hope that the buying and selling of human beings pretty much invalidates any claim of states' rights.
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2009, 10:16:04 AM »

Amen to that.

That said, the fact that States Rights have been used in the name of that profound wrong, does not mean that States Rights are not part of our Consitutional framework.
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2009, 11:01:24 AM »

I'm a fan of state's rights myself, but was surprised that the CSA wasn't the mythic champion thereof as has been long represented. What can I say, I like to post pieces that take issue with conventional wisdom.
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2009, 07:39:17 PM »

Just from the hip....there was a war on and if I am not mistaken even under the U.S. Constitution martial law allows for the same behavior.

As I said this is from the hip I have not taken the time to look into this deeply but maybe there is a context not considered in the above article on the CSA.

My interest in state rights lay with the check on the central goverment envisioned by our founders.  We need to get a handle on the out of control Fedral Goverment and the 9th, 10th amendments, and nulifcation seem the best way to go about it.

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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2009, 09:23:35 PM »


Exactly so.  We search for Truth around here.
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2009, 10:17:49 PM »

Freki: "we need to get a handle on the out of control Federal Government... and nullification seem the best way to go about it."

I agree.  Wikipedia: "Nullification is a legal theory that a U.S. State has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional."

Corollary to Crafty's point, just because the confederacy used it for bad purposes does not mean it could not apply here to the feds obviously legislating beyond their enumerated constitutional authority.

Is it reasonable to believe that the levy of a $3800 per year federal fine for NOT purchasing a federal government mandated health insurance policy falls within the enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce?  If I don't buy a policy or cross state lines to contract for health care services, what the hell am I interstate commercing?

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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2009, 03:51:53 PM »

Federalist #14: Strictly Limited Government

It’s commonplace these days for the government and its courts to consider the 10th Amendment to be nothing more than a “relic” - basically, not having any effect, or limiting the power of the federal government in any way.
These politicians and bureaucrats ignore the plain words of the 10th in an effort to grant themselves more and more power - at the expense of our incomes and our liberty.
A simple reading of Federalist #14 shows that the founders (even those accused of wanting too much federal power) understood that a Constitution was written as a strict limit on the power of government - and not as a grant of unlimited powers.
Here’s an excerpt:

t is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is to be limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any. The subordinate governments [i.e. the states -- that's right, South Carolina, you're being called subordinate] which can extend their care to all those other objects, which can be separately provided for, will retain their due authority and activity.”

Lily, at her blaseblah blog, makes some excellent points on the concept of limited government and the 10th amendment:

This is especially fascinating in light of the fact that it was written pre-Bill of Rights. Isn’t this the Tenth Amendment** in embryo?!
It also demonstrates the fact that the Federalists were not fans of the Bill of Rights — that bill was, in fact forced through by the anti-Federalists. The Federalists did not think the Constitution need to provide, for example, that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” If the body of the Constitution doesn’t give Congress the explicit right TO make such a law, then it is presumed that Congress CAN’T. To these Federalists, Congress’s early stapling of a giant addendum to the original Constitution must have felt at best foolish, and at worst extremely dangerous. The Federalists’ project was not to think of every possible bad thing that the federal government could do and forbid it ahead of time. Instead they simply hoped to make a list of every good thing that they WANTED the government to do, and leave it implied that the government can’t do any extra stuff beyond this list. If we start adding “can’t do’s” to the “can do” list (they thought), aren’t we opening wide the door to other future “can’t do’s” that no one can think of right now?

These days, the politicians look at it backwards - instead of seeing the Constitution as a strict limit on what they can do, they claim that if a power is not expressly prohibited, they can wield it.
There’s no better path for tyranny than a government that operates in such a manner.
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« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2009, 03:25:09 PM »

 Pennsylvania to Consider Nullifying Some Federal Gun Laws

by Michael Boldin
Pennsylvania State Representative Sam Rohrer has introduced the “Firearms Freedom Act” (HB1988) for consideration in the state legislature. The bill is “An Act prohibiting certain firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition from being subject to Federal law or Federal regulation.”

HB1988 currently has 48 additional co-sponsors, and according to, is similar to bills recently enacted into law in both Montana and Tennessee.
While the bill seems to focus solely on federal gun regulations, it has far more to do with the 10th Amendment’s limit on the power of the federal government. It specifically states:
The regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, particularly if not expressly preempted by federal law. Congress has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce pertaining to the manufacture on an intrastate basis of firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition.
Rohrer, in a recent letter to Pennsylvania House Members, addressed the issue of the commerce clause:

Under the current, expansive interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, it is permissible for the federal government to regulate the sale of goods that are manufactured and sold exclusively within a state’s borders. Effectively, the federal courts hold that if a product might possibly find its way into streams of interstate commerce, federal laws to regulate that product are appropriate. The product need not actually be sold between states.
In 1942, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a farmer who was fined by the federal government for growing too much wheat. Effectively, the argument in Wickard v. Filburn was that the wheat he grew and consumed himself would lead to decreased wheat sales in other states, so it fell under federal jurisdiction because of the interstate commerce clause.
As recently as 2005 (Gonzales v. Raich), the U.S. Supreme Court cited Wickard as standing for the proposition that “Congress can regulate purely intrastate activity that is not itself “commercial,” in that it is not produced for interstate sale, if it concludes that failure to regulate that class of activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate market in that commodity.”
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, wheat (in Wickard) and medical marijuana (in Raich) are completely indistinguishable from such products made and sold in interstate commerce, so federal regulation is appropriate.
Under my bill, the policy of this Commonwealth would be that firearms and firearm accessories manufactured and exclusively sold in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, carrying the brand “Made in Pennsylvania” (all clear indicators of intrastate commerce), would be subject only to state law.

The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned.
All across the country, activists and state-legislators are pressing for similar legislation to nullify specific federal laws within their states.
A proposed State Constitutional Amendment to effectively ban national health care will go to a vote in Arizona in 2010, and up to 10 states may consider similar Amendment proposals next session. And, thirteen states now have some form of medical marijuana laws in direct contravention to federal laws which state that the plant is illegal in all circumstances.
While some advocates and legal theorists concede that a 10th Amendment federal court battle has a slim chance of success, they point to the successful nullification of the Real ID Act as a blueprint to resist various federal laws that they see as outside the scope of the Constitution.
In the past 2 years, nearly two dozen state legislatures passed resolutions and laws refusing to implement the 2005 Real ID Act. Because of this, and without congressional repeal, The Bush-era law is effectively null and void.
Some advocates of these efforts say it doesn’t matter whether or not the federal government agrees, or even if it threatens states over funding, as they did recently with Oklahoma. Gary Marbut, author of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, took this position in a recent interview with the Tenth Amendment Center:
“We’re not depending on permission from federal judges to be able to effectuate our state-made guns bills. And, we’re working on other strategies to wrest essential and effective power from the federal government and put it where it belongs.“
Whether or not state legislators have the backbone to resist if federal officials strongly disagree remains to be seen. But either way, as nullification efforts spread, it points to a growing state-level rebellion to the federal government.

Copyright © 2009 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2009, 09:34:01 PM »

by Rob Natelson

How can Congress get around the Tenth Amendment and regulate almost every aspect of American life?

One way is by claiming that the Tenth Amendment doesn’t apply because Congress is merely acting within the scope of its enumerated powers.  But to make this claim, one must assume that some of the enumerated powers are much broader than they really are.

One of the enumerated powers cited by advocates of the modern monster-state is the Commerce Power.  This derives primarily from two sources:

(1) the Constitution’s grant to Congress of authority to “regulate Commerce . . . among the several States” and

(2) the Constitution’s grant to Congress of authority to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing powers. . .”

According to promoters of the monster-state, those constitutional phrases go further than allowing Congress to regulate trade among the states.  They also allow Congress to control manufacturing, wages, agriculture, crime, mining, land use, firearm possession, and a range of other activities.

How can they justify this?  Basically, they make two arguments.  The first argument was spun during the New Deal by a University of Chicago law professor.  (Too many law professors spend entirely too much time fabricating constitutional theories to promote big government.)

This professor argued that during the Founding Era the word “commerce” meant more than trade.  Instead, he contended, “commerce” included all gainful economic activities.  Hence Congress has a license to regulate the entire economy.

An even broader version of this theory was published more recently by a Yale law professor.  He maintains that “commerce” means any human interaction – so the federal government can regulate almost anything, so long as it doesn’t trample one of the specific guarantees in the Constitution, such as Free Speech.

On investigation, however, the claim that “commerce” meant “all gainful activities” or “all interactions” turns out to be completely untrue.  It flies in the face of much of what we know about the Founding Era, including specific representations by leading Founders that most regulation would be reserved to the states.

But because it is sometimes necessary to prove the obvious, several other academics (such as Georgetown University’s Randy Barnett and I) have examined literally thousands of appearances of the word “commerce” in the historical records from the Founding Era.  And those records show clearly that “Commerce” in the Constitution means trade and associated activities, but no more (e.g.,

The second argument for an almost unlimited Commerce Power currently prevails on the U.S. Supreme Court.  (Don’t let anyone tell you the present court is “conservative” on such matters.)   This argument acknowledges that when the Founders wrote “Commerce,” they meant only trade and a few allied activities, such as navigation.

But it goes on to say that modern economic life, unlike life during the Founding Era, is highly interdependent, so it is now “necessary and proper” for Congress to regulate everything that substantially affects commerce.

But this argument also ignores history.  Economic interdependence is nothing new: the promoters of the Constitution themselves emphasized it.  But they also assured the public that, interdependent or not, most activities could be regulated only by the states.

They added that the Necessary and Proper Clause added nothing to federal authority, but merely clarified that the legal “doctrine of incidental powers” applied to the Constitution.  And no power could be “incidental” if its scope swamped the principal power.  In other words, Congress couldn’t take over a big field like manufacturing or agriculture on the pretense of regulating commerce.

If the Supreme Court were doing its job in this area, it would restrict Congress to the authority granted by the people through the Constitution.  Because the Court is not doing what it should, it is up to the people to recall the federal government to its constitutional limits.

Rob Natelson is Professor of Law at The University of Montana, and a leading constitutional scholar.  (See His opinions are his own, and should not be attributed to any other person or institution.

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« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2009, 08:42:35 PM »

More than Just Words

by Delegate Christopher Peace (VA-97th)
The following is excerpted from a speech given at a recent event sponsored by the King William Republican Committee

While I am an elected Republican, I want to try to address tonight’s subject from a bi-partisan position: as an American and a Virginian. I am also a constitutionalist and I believe in this great Union. My goal tonight is to help the residents of King William and surrounding counties, as an accountable elected official, educate and inform this community about those American doctrines of liberty and freedom rooted in Federalism and the nationwide efforts working to send a message to those who wish to retreat from America’s first and founding principles.

We are all familiar with the famous yellow Gasden Flag with the words DON’T TREAD ON ME. This flag in many generations has represented a patriotic anxiety about the direction of government. We are seeing more pop up every day. But we may not all know that The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. In 1775, the flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden.

Similarly, many Americans are uninformed of other noteworthy or seminal events which fashioned together our great nation from several and similarly great states.

An understanding, much less a working knowledge of the principle of Federalism, also interpreted as State Sovereignty under the 10th Amendment, eludes our general population as well as those who are elected to seats of government and political authority. Over the past 8 months and some could argue over the past year or even twenty years, the American people witnessed and unfortunately condoned an enormous consolidation of power and authority in the federal government.

This amassing of power was done in the name of national defense or economic security. Remember that Ben Franklin said “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.”

But I believe that there is a movement which will save us from a 21st tyranny. Let me briefly review just the recent actions of the current Administration:

President and Congress passed $787 billion stimulus plan.
An Air Force One New York City Flyover Photo Op Cost Over $328,000.
The Obama Administration is accruing recording breaking debt. May raised its deficit estimate for the year to $1.84 trillion
The Budget Will Spend $3.4 Trillion Next Year.
Estimates Place Cost Of President’s Health Care Plan At Over $1 Trillion Over The Next Decade with further deficit spending.
A White House Official Said Congress’s Energy Tax Could Raise Two Or Three Times More Than The Original $646 Billion; Cap And Trade Could wind up being a $1.3 To $1.9 Trillion Energy Tax.

This amassing of debt will be visited on all of us and lead to even greater dependence on - and control in Washington without regard to how states wish to manage themselves. The “Stringy legs” concept employed frequently by Congress shows a disdain for how states and their people hope to self-determine in a free market.

But in many ways we get what we have asked for or at least let happen. A people’s apathy and the government’s self-indulgence have combined to eat away at the concepts expressed in the Tenth Amendment laid out by the Founders. Economist Walter Williams wrote that

The Founders petitioned and pleaded with King George to get his boot off their throats. He ignored their petition and rightfully they declared a unilateral declaration of independence and went to war.

Today it’s the same story but it’s Congressional usurpations against the rights of the people and the states that make King George’s actions look like child’s play. Our constitutional ignorance, coupled with the fact that we’ve become a nation of wimps, sissies and supplicants, has made us easy prey for Washington’s tyrannical forces. But that might be changing. There is a long overdue re-emergence of American’s characteristic spirit of rebellion.

This type of patriotic spirit begins with a desire to learn more about the origins of our republic. People are beginning to understand that much like the Second Amendment is designed to protect the citizen from the encroachments of the federal government, the Tenth Amendment stands in the gap for states (and their citizens) by saying 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.

Joseph Story, a Supreme Court Justice and a son of a member of the Sons of Liberty, in his Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833, said “… the state governments are, by the very theory of the constitution, essential constituent parts of the general government. They can exist without the latter, but the latter cannot exist without them.”

In Virginia’s American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840, the author‘s primary purpose traces Federalism from the mid-1760s inception of disputation between Virginia and the Mother Country down through the death of the last Virginia Founding Fathers in the late 1830s. He asserts that Virginia ratified the US Constitution under the express understanding that the powers of Congress would extend only to those that were, as Governor Edmund Randolph explained in the 1788 Richmond Ratification Convention, “expressly delegated.”

This idea of Virginia as primary and the central government (first the British, then the Continental Congress, then the Confederation, and finally the Federal Government) as secondary underlay the Revolution in Virginia and are reflected in the Federalist Farmer essays of the Anti Federalist papers attributed to Richard Henry Lee. Echoes of our current trend to serfdom - Federal Farmer, Antifederalist Letter, October 10, 1787

Besides, to lay and collect internal taxes in this extensive country must require a great number of congressional ordinances, immediately operation upon the body of the people; these must continually interfere with the state laws and thereby produce disorder and general dissatisfaction till the one system of laws or the other, operating upon the same subjects, shall be abolished.

Even the most ardent proponents of a federal government at that time, those who penned The Federalist Papers, advocated for the preservation of state sovereignty as necessary to the success of the nation.

“But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States.”
–Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 32

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”
–James Madison, Federalist No. 45

Case law later expounded upon this fundamental principle of Federalism with respect to state sovereignty. Printz v. United States held that the federal system limits the ability of the federal government to use state governments as an instrument of the national government. But this traditional notion of federalism has devolved into “cooperative federalism,” where Congress creates new state programs by affixing certain conditions to the receipt of funding.

These acts may become so intolerable that long-term structural sustainability is in real question, and the ultimate danger is the erosion of the principles of federalism whereby Virginia and her sister states become, effectively, wards of the federal super state.

Based on this growing concern that Virginia may lose its priority role in the structures of our American republic, I introduced House Resolution 61 in the 2009 session. Resolutions honoring the 10th amendment stand in the tradition of Richard Bland, Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Randolph, Patrick Henry, Henry Lee, James Madison, and indeed virtually every other significant Virginia Revolutionary and/or Founding Father.

Its precepts may even be far older even than the Tenth Amendment, which according to scholars only made explicit that principle where Virginians were told what was already implicit in the US Constitution when they agreed to ratify it 221 years ago.

Over the past year, states around the country passed resolutions claiming sovereignty under the 10th Amendment and resolving to serve notice and to demand that the federal government cease and desist mandates that are beyond the scope of its constitutionally delegated powers. This movement in over 35 states demonstrates an imbalance and growing concern that the federal government is increasing its dominance over state policy affairs. Visit: to read HR 61 which after several “whereas” clauses reads:

RESOLVES by the House of Delegates, That the Congress of the United States be urged to honor state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The Commonwealth of Virginia hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. The Commonwealth by this resolution serves notice to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers. Further, the Commonwealth urges that all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding shall be prohibited or repealed.

Some may discount this act as merely political or posturing — that a resolution is just words. Just words… Well to quote our President during last year’s elections he said “Don’t tell me words don’t matter. I have a dream’ — just words… ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ - just words. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Just words. Just speeches.” I would add just these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

Our community and communities like ours around the state and nation must inspire others and it is our hope that with HR 61 these words will have a profound impact. In the words found on our Liberty Bell we must “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

I encourage you to visit my website at and stay in touch with me and this committee to help me and my colleagues show support for the legislation in committee. May god bless you and the USA

Delegate Christopher K. Peace represents the Virginia House of Delegates’ 97th District and serves on the prominent Courts of Justice, Health Welfare and Institutions, Science and Technology, and Finance Committees. The district spans parts of Hanover, Caroline, King William, King and Queen, Henrico, Spotsylvania Counties and all of New Kent County
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 08:47:43 PM by Freki » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2009, 10:41:38 PM »

by Luigi Marco Bassani,

It is astonishing that Jeffersonian scholars have paid so little attention to the states’-rights aspect of Jefferson’s thought. If one reads the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Jefferson appears to be the father of the Confederate States of America much more that of the United States. Here, Jefferson sought to provide a constitutional interpretation that would at least in principle prevent the union from “consolidating.” He wanted to keep a system of loose federalism very similar to the one embodied in the Articles of Confederation.

Jefferson took advantage of the first opportunity in which the federalists openly disregarded the Constitution to address problems concerning the relationship between the federal government and the states, and his interpretation placed further limitations to federal power on the grounds that the U.S. were established as a republic based on states’ as well as individual rights.

The occasion was the approval of two acts that posed a serious threat to the system of American liberties. The Alien and Sedition Laws were approved in 1798 (under this law, you could be sent to prison for criticizing the president). The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, drawn respectively by Madison and Jefferson, were the opposition answer to those laws.

For the first time in American history, Jefferson outlined the political and juridical doctrine of the “State rights school” that became the standard way of viewing relations between States and Nation in the Southern states during the 19th century, up to the end of the War for Southern Independence.

Revived and perfected by John C. Calhoun, this doctrine became the heart of the controversy between the two sections of the country. Jefferson asserted that the States had created a federal government as a simple agent, subordinate to them, for limited and well-defined functions, and that the federal government did not have any right to expand its own authority.

Each individual State, as far as the controversies regarding the Constitution were concerned, had the right to determine when the compact had been breached, and what measures were most appropriate to restore the violated order and redress the wrong. Thus, it was a right (explicitly called by Jefferson “natural,” therefore sacred) of each State to pronounce the illegitimacy of an act of Congress contrary to the constitutional compact.

Jefferson’s account of the nature of the Union–a voluntary contract among free and independent States in order to establish a common caretaker for few and enumerated things–contains a great deal of common sense. In a nutshell, the idea behind the Resolutions is as follows: the States are the ultimate judges of the constitutionality of federal legislation. This requires a rigorously voluntary framework.

But the Supreme Court, a branch of the federal government, at the time was already becoming what it is now, that is to say the arbiter of conflicts between the States and the federal government. In this case, the constitutional framework is threatened, since the federal government, not the Constitution, becomes the judge of its own expansion. More generally, if the States are expected to obey any federal law, regardless of whether the act had been issued according to the Constitution, only lip service is paid to the system of guarantees known as “federalism.”

Despite the ratification of the federal Constitution, Jefferson believed that vis-à-vis each other, the States remained like individuals in the “state of nature.” To characterize the true nature of the American union, for Jefferson, it was sufficient to transpose the Lockean natural rights model from individuals to the States. He never appealed to the theory of sovereignty (a term that does not even appear in his original draft of the Resolutions) to claim that the States are “free and independent”: their liberty and independence lie in the nature of the bond in which they find themselves, and not in the somewhat metaphysical property of being “original political communities.”

Despite the Constitution, the States retain all of their natural rights with respect to one another–exactly like individuals in a “state of nature.” Jefferson’s appeal to nullification was a peculiar application of the theory of natural rights: a “state’s natural right,” the right of nullification, was entirely within the realm of the federal compact, and was by no means an extra-constitutional remedy. In Jefferson’s opinion, such a right derived entirely from the nature of the American union, as it had been historically constructed.

Jefferson understood better than anybody else in his generation that Congress was the real heir to the king and that the concentration of powers in the federal center would have brought about “a government of discretion.” To this ultimate evil he preferred secession, as he wrote again and again. So, yes, Jefferson’s goal was the preservation of men’s natural rights, but he believed that the best way to reach that was through a strict territorial division of power.

Of course there were many inconsistencies in Jefferson’s writings, and his behavior in politics often contradicted his stated political philosophy. That said, it remains indisputably true that Jefferson was a Lockean who believed in the natural right of property and in the rights of the states as independent political entities to determine their own destinies. That so many scholars are unwilling to face these truths reflects, not contrary evidence in Jefferson’s writing, but rather the bias and wishful thinking of the academic class.

Originally published on May 23, 2002 at

Marco Bassani, scholar in residence at the Mises Institute and author of the introduction to the Italian edition of Rothbard’s Ethics of Liberty, teaches political thought at the University of Milan.
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« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2009, 07:41:21 AM »

 Andrew Napolitano
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« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2009, 10:03:26 PM »

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo,

The American Revolution was waged against a highly centralized, nationalistic governmental tyranny run by a king, namely, the British Empire. The king enriched himself and his regime through the economic institution of mercantilism, defined by Murray Rothbard as “a system of statism which employed economic fallacy to build up a structure of imperial state power, as well as special subsidy and monopolistic privilege to individuals or groups favored by the state.” This system impoverished the average Englishman but was a perpetual source of power and riches for the king and his political allies. That is why the system lasted so long (at least two centuries) despite the fact that it was so harmful to the average citizen.

After the Seven Years War with France the king of England needed to pay off his war debts, so he stepped up the application of the corrupt mercantilist system to the American colonists. He did so with numerous taxes and interferences with international trade that benefited British businesses and the British state while treating the colonists like tax serfs. The “train of abuses” delineated in the Declaration of Independence were mostly abuses of the colonists for the purpose of plundering them with the British mercantilist system.

There was always a group of men in American politics who were not opposed to the evil mercantilist system in principle. They recognized it as a wonderful system for accumulating power and wealth as long as they could be in charge of it. Being victimized by it was another matter. These men, led by Alexander Hamilton and his fellow Federalists, strived to implement an American version of British mercantilism as soon as the Revolution was over. In doing so they were traitors to the American Revolution and the worst kind of corrupt, power-seeking political scoundrels.

America’s would-be economic dictators strived mightily to “justify” their corrupt scheme by rewriting the history of the American founding. They made the bizarre argument that, having just fought a revolution against a highly centralized tyranny, the founders at the constitutional convention supposedly embraced the same kind of tyranny in the form of a highly centralized or national government.

The Virginia statesman John Taylor of Caroline smoked out these political scoundrels in an 1823 book entitled New Views of the Constitution of the United States (reprinted in 2005 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd, of Union, New Jersey). Making extensive use of the recently published Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention by Robert Yates, who attended the constitutional convention, Taylor shredded the false notions of “nationalists” like Hamilton (and later, Clay and Lincoln).

Focusing on Hamilton as the chief culprit, Taylor explained how the “nationalists” did try at the constitutional convention to create a completely centralized government, but failed. For example, he quotes Hamilton himself at the convention as proposing a form of government such that “All laws of the particular states, contrary to the constitution or laws of the United States [government], to be utterly void. And the better to prevent such laws being passed, the governor . . . of each state shall be appointed by the general government, and shall have a negative upon the laws about to be passed in the state of which he is governor.”

Hamilton’s scheme was rejected, of course, and Taylor correctly commented that “this project comprised a national government, nearly conforming to that of England . . .” (p. 27). “By Colonel Hamilton’s project, the states were fairly and openly to be restored to the rank of provinces, and to be made as dependent upon a supreme national government, as they had been upon a supreme British government” (p. 28). Moreover, under Hamilton’s scheme “A power in the supreme federal court to declare all state laws and judgments void” would be “a supremacy exactly the same with that exercised by the British king and his council over the same provincial departments” (p. 28). Thankfully, Hamilton’s plan was rejected.

Quoting Yates’s journal, Taylor also noted that on June 25, 1787 “it was proposed and seconded to erase the word national, and substitute the words United States [in the plural] in the fourth resolution, which passed in the affirmative” (p. 29). “Thus,” Taylor wrote, “we see an opinion expressed at the convention, that the phrase “United States” did not mean ‘a consolidated American people or nation,’ and all the inferences in favour of a national government . . . are overthrown” (p. 29).

Taylor understood that the reason why Hamilton and other Federalists wanted a centralized or consolidated government was that states’ rights would forever stand in the way of their accumulation of power and wealth through the mercantilist system that they hoped to impose on America. Therefore, states’ rights must be crushed, in the eyes of Hamilton and his followers (despite occasional lip service paid to the notion of states’ rights).

Relying again on Yates’s notes, Taylor wrote of how the Hamiltonians proposed to empower the Congress to engage in a variety of economic interventions, including “the promotion of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures” (p. 29). A “monopoly in currency” by the central government was another of Hamilton’s schemes that alarmed the senator from Virginia. This was their plan for bringing British mercantilism to America: First, consolidate political power in the central government and destroy any semblance of divided sovereignty; then, use that power to replicate the mercantilist British monarchy hidden behind the rhetorical fog of American “democracy.” As Taylor described it, it was “Monarchy, its hand-maiden consolidation, and its other hand-maid, ambition, all dressed in popular disguises . . .” (p. 45). And, “National splendor, national strength, and a national government, were the arguments they [the Hamiltonians] used; but personal considerations, suggested by the prominence of their stations, or the hopes suggested by their talents, really forged their opinions” (p. 46). The “pretended national prosperity, was only a pretext of ambition and monopoly . . . intended to feed avarice, gratify ambition, and make one portion of the nation tributary to another” (p. 46).

But the nationalists failed in their endeavor; the Constitution created a confederacy of states that delegated only a few enumerated powers to the central government, which was to act as their agent, and for their benefit. All other powers were reserved to the people or the states. It was a federal, not a “national” government. Subsequently, “Colonel Hamilton . . . seems to have quitted the convention in despair, soon after the failure of his project” (p. 32).

Yates’s notes on the convention prove definitively that “the whole people” never had anything whatsoever to do with the ratification of the Constitution, which was done by state conventions. There was never any national election that created a national government. As his journal states, quoted by Taylor (p. 32): “that the constitution was transmitted to Congress, and by it to the state legislatures; that these legislatures, by separate laws, appointed state conventions for the consideration of the constitution; and that it was ratified by the delegates of the people of each state.”

Thus, “every step in its progress,” writes Taylor, “from beginning to end, defines [the Constitution] to be a federal and not a national act. . . . It was ratified by each state, because each state was sovereign and independent” (p. 32, emphasis added). Furthermore, “no negative upon state laws was delegated to the federal government, or any department thereof, and the absence of such a power had been enforced by its rejection.”

What motivated Taylor to write New Views of the Constitution of the United States was the alarming fact that, by the 1820s, the men in American politics who still dreamed of reigning over a mercantilist empire began mis-educating the public about the true history of the founding. They did so by repeating Hamilton’s arguments, which were so thoroughly rejected by the convention. As Taylor described it, the public was being told that “the devil, thus repeatedly exorcized, still remains in the church” (p. 36). The “devil,” of course, was the notion that the states were not sovereign over the central government that they had created as their agent. The truth, as Taylor explained, was that “by the constitution, the states may take away all the powers of the federal government, whilst that government is prohibited from taking away a single power reserved to the states” (p. 36).

It was assumed that state sovereignty included a right of secession from the constitutional compact. “In the creation of the federal government, the states exercised the highest act of sovereignty, and they may, if they please, repeat the proof of their sovereignty, by its annihilation” (p. 37). The states “could never have conceived that they had, by their union, relinquished their sovereignties; created a supreme negative power over their laws; or established a national government . . .” (p. 37). In fact, according to Yates’s journal, the states were described at the convention as essentially being independent nations. So much so that the journal stated: “It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the state governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the publick liberty by the national authority” (Taylor, p. 70, emphasis added).

Yates’s journal further states: “Each state, in ratifying the constitution, is considered to be a sovereign body independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new constitution will be a federal and not a national constitution” (Taylor, p. 83). This means that any one state would have the right to secede from the constitutional compact. It would have been considered an absurdity to argue that the right of secession only existed by the permission of other states (which was Lincoln’s argument).

But why all the secrecy? Why did the framers of the constitution take an oath not to reveal to the public what they were up to until after they were all dead? (Madison’s notes were not published until after his death). In a recent LRC article entitled “The Most Successful Fraud in American History” Gary North suggested that “the perpetrators [of any fraud] must be bound by an oath of non-disclosure, which all of them keep until they die, yet which leaves no trail of paper for historians to discuss.” John Taylor would agree. It was all kept secret so that “the vindicators of a federal construction of the constitution are deprived of a great mass of light, and the consolidating school have gotten rid of a great mass of detection” (p. 41). Thus, “it was necessary to keep the people in the dark” so that “the people should be worked as puppets” (p. 41).

Taylor also dissects and ridicules the “paradoxical arguments” of the Hamiltonians of his day (who would soon form the Whig Party of Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln). The advocates of “consolidated sovereignties,” Taylor noted, contend that

The greater the [government] revenue the richer are the people; that frugality in the government is an evil; in the people a good; that local partialities are blessings; that monopolies and exclusive privileges are general welfare; that a division of sovereignty will raise up a class of wicked, intriguing, self-interested politicians in the states; and that human nature will be cleansed of these propensities by a sovereignty consolidated in one government.
Taylor was being excessively polite when he labeled these absurdities as merely “paradoxical.”

Taylor also provides a clear explanation of the so-called “supremacy clause” of the Constitution, which many contemporary commentators (especially Lincoln worshipping neocons) insist gives the federal government the power to do whatever it wants to the citizens of the states. The truth is that the language in the Constitution about it being “the supreme law of the land” only applies to the seventeen specific powers enumerated to the central government in Article I, Section 8. Nothing more. The states remain the ultimate sovereigns by the Constitution. “The constitutional laws of the states are equally supreme with those of the federal government” (p. 78).

John Taylor issued his warning that “the devil is in the church” in 1823. In the coming years the new generation of “consolidationists,” led by the likes of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, were hard at work repeating Hamilton’s “paradoxical” arguments in the apparent belief that a gullible public would come to believe such arguments if they are repeated enough. They never achieved much success, however, thanks to the strength of the Jeffersonian, states’ rights tradition in America, which was the nation’s true political tradition.

The Constitution was essentially a failed attempt to overthrow the decentralized, federalist system that was created by America’s first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation. The delegates to the constitutional convention were only instructed to revise the Articles, not replace them. The first thing they did was to ignore the instructions they were given and write an entirely new constitution. But as Yates’s journal and Taylor’s book reveal, they failed. They only managed to get the citizens of the states to delegate a few enumerated powers to the central government, not to create a national government. They succeeded in replacing the Articles, but not with their ideal, monopolistic system.

It would require a brutal, uncompromising dictator to overthrow the federal system and adopt a British-style consolidated, mercantilist empire. As Taylor wrote (p. 237): “It seems to be nature’s law, that every species of concentrated sovereignty over extensive territories, whether monarchical, aristocratical, democratical, or mixed, must be despotick. In no case has a concentrated power over great territories been sustained, except by mercenary armies; and whenever power is thus sustained, despotism is the consequence.” Furthermore, “the ignorance and partiality of a concentrated form of government, can only be enforced by armies; and the peculiar ability of the states to resist, promises that resistance would be violent; so that a national government must be either precarious or despotick” (p. 238).

Yates’s notes quote James Madison as warning at the constitutional convention that “the great danger to our federal government, is the great northern and southern interests of the continent being opposed to each other” (Taylor, p. 248). Taylor quotes Madison to predict the War for Southern Independence, which would occur almost four decades later. If northern, southern, or western interests are in sharp conflict, he wrote, and “if either can acquire local advantages from a national supremacy, it will aggravate the geographical danger apprehended by a Mr. Madison, a perpetual warfare of intrigues will ensue, and a dissolution of the union will result” (p. 249).

This is where the role of the brutal, uncompromising dictator enters into American political history. The crusade for a consolidated, monopolistic government began as soon as the Revolution ended. Some seventy-five years later Taylor’s worst fear was realized: a consolidated, mercantilist empire was finally cemented into place, and it did require “a mercenary army” to succeed. Lincoln’s army included literally hundreds of thousands of conscripts and European mercenaries who finally snuffed out the Jeffersonian, federalist system of states’ rights with the bloodiest war in human history up to that point.

The New England Yankees and their Midwestern brethren continued to rewrite history in the ensuing decades so that books like Robert Yates’s journal of the constitutional convention and John Taylor’s book on the Constitution are virtually unheard of in America. The whitewash of American history has been very thorough indeed.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe andHow Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.
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« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2009, 10:49:07 PM »

"The war of southern independence" ? Are you f'ing kidding me? The reasons for the civil war were complex, but the forcible end of slavery was the compelling moral cause. Is this something that really needs debate?
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« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2009, 08:03:12 AM »

I will not get into a debate defending slavery for there is no defence!  I post these articles not because I feel we need to debate slavery but to point out the issues of today and the thoughts of the past. 

I will state the civil war as not necessary to end slavery.  It was already on the way out.  All the western nations of the world had ended it and  the tide of world opinion was clearly against it.  It was illegal to import slaves at the time war broke out.  Slavery was waining. Slavery was used by the north as a check to keep England and France from coming to the aid of the South.  If you read many quotes from Lincoln you will find how he really felt about blacks and slavery. 

The war was started over the same issue we face today.  Where does the power lie in this country.  A large central government or with the people and the states?.  If you look at the time the people quoted in the article said what they said it was before the civil war.  If you take slavery out of the equation what is wrong with Southern Independence?  If the people of a state vote to leave the Union then so be it.  The people of the other states have no business dictating to others.
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« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2009, 09:49:37 AM »

What was the timeline for the end of slavery were it not for the civil war? What confederate state had begun changing it's laws? What slaves had been freed because it wasn't economically viable?

I'll note that slavery exists today in various parts of the world. Appearantely the disapproval and non-economic viability memo hasn't made to them yet?

The people in other states do have a valid complaint when it comes to slavery.
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« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2009, 10:22:52 AM »

"If the people of a state vote to leave the Union then so be it."

(Skipping past slavery, I think GM makes good points there, and just looking at the question for today or tomorrow.)

I don't know exactly what I think about the right to secede but what a great question it opens.  I remember that slam against Alaska politicians.  Anyone conservative in Alaska wasn't more than 1 person removed from someone who had contemplated secession.   Except for national defense, could Alaskans stand on their own?  They could adopt the same constitution - and then UPHOLD it.  Maybe they would even be rich enough to purchase adequate defense.  Texans have a movement.  I see both as mainly talk, and a reminder to federal powers in Washington that there are limits to how far people will be pushed.  Except for occasional wacko groups, we don't really see serious separatist militias forming.

Today we stomp on the constitution and founding principles, still I believe we can swing the pendulum back in the other direction with articulation, persuasion and voting.  With every day and every new entitlement and dependent American created, that becomes less and less possible.  What if we can't ever return to limited government and founding principles?.  Do we have to live in their tyranny forever or can free people 'opt out'?
A microcosm of it in a local issue, we have the same problem with our county.  Minnesota is an average sized state with 87 counties, but one county is nearly one half the state population and economy.  Our county in those terms is larger than 8 states.  Remove the City of Minneapolis from our county and it is still bigger than several states.  It is run from the central city where the richer outer suburbs pay for the problems of the otherwise bankrupt inner city - everything from free everything for illegals to a new baseball stadiums for the business class.  Under this rule, they don't need state votes for controversial issues.  For illustration, my property taxes are 20 times higher here than for my house in Colorado, equal setting and condition, same square footage.  In order to opt out, the payers would need the support of the people assessing and receiving the money which can never happen.  I have brought this up to county commissioners even in the most conservative areas and only been laughed at.  Why can't our city or region secede from our county?  Besides the problem of the feds taking all powers not theirs, I have no right to local government.
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« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2009, 01:11:10 PM »

I found the above article fascinating.  It points to the movers and shakers who laid the foundation upon which the progressive movement of today rest.  He even alludes to a motivation.  I would very much perfer to take the country back to founding principles.  We would be so much better off.  I think any state would face hardships leaving the benefits we all get by being a Union, but that has limits.  If moving back to principles proves impossible then I will look to the remedies our founders worked into the system, nullification and finally secession.  I have posted several articles in the states rights topic pointing to the historical evidence that our founders thought along these lines.
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« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2009, 06:37:02 PM »

An Alaska without the protection of the US military had better brush up on Russian.

I think that the federal government has spiraled out of control and the balance between the federal and states needs to be restored. However, it's not viable to have a fracturing nation.
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« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2009, 10:17:24 PM »

Judge Andrew Napolitano on the Joe Pags show.  Pags has filled in for Glen Beck on his show.  The group that posted it on youtube is a Texas nationalist group.  I am not ready to go that far yet.  I look to the 2010/2012 elections and nullification.  This is a very interesting conversation.

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« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2009, 08:51:23 AM »

From the Tenth Amendment center
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« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2009, 09:04:14 AM »

 2nd post
Kentucky Joins Movement to Resist Abuses of Commerce Clause, 2nd Amendment
by Michael Boldin
In states around the country, there’s a growing movement to address and resist two of the most abused parts of the Constitution – the Commerce Clause and the 2nd Amendment.  Already being considered in a number of state legislatures, and passed as law in Montana and Tennessee this year, the Firearms Freedom Act (FFA) is a state law that seeks to do just that.
The latest to join the FFA movement?  Kentucky.  Pre-filed for the 2010 legislative session, HB87 seeks to “Create new sections of KRS Chapter 237, relating to firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition that are made in Kentucky, marked made in Kentucky, and used in Kentucky, to specify that these items are exempt from federal law”
While the FFA’s title focuses on federal gun regulations, it has far more to do with the 10th Amendment’s limit on the power of the federal government.  The bills in state houses contain language such as the following:
“federal laws and regulations do not apply to personal firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition that is manufactured in [this state] and remains in [state]. The limitation on federal law and regulation stated in this bill applies to a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured using basic materials and that can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported into this state.”
Some supporters of the legislation say that a successful application of such a state-law would set a strong precedent and open the door for states to take their own positions on a wide range of activities that they see as not being authorized to the Federal Government by the Constitution.
The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned.
All across the country, activists and state-legislators are pressing for similar legislation, to nullify specific federal laws within their states.
A proposed Constitutional Amendment to effectively ban national health care will go to a vote in Arizona in 2010.  Fourteen states now have some form of medical marijuana laws - in direct contravention to federal laws which state that the plant is illegal in all circumstances.  And, massive state nullification of the 2005 Real ID Act has rendered the law nearly void.
Supporters say the growth of such a movement is long overdue.
“For far too long elected officials and unelected bureaucrats at the federal level have passively forgotten or actively neglected the Tenth Amendment that guarantees rights not enumerated in the Constitution be left to the individual states,” said Minnesota State Rep. Tom Emmer, who introduced an FFA in his state. “The willful disregard of the Tenth Amendment in relation to a citizen’s right to bear arms isn’t the only constitutional infringement that we should be worried about, but it is one that has been singled out by the new administration.”
“Enough is enough,” urged Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers. “Our founders fought too hard to ensure states’ sovereignty and I am sick and tired of activist federal officials and judges sticking their noses where they don’t belong.”
In October, the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed a lawsuit in federal court in Missoula, MT to validate the principles and terms of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA).
“We feel very strongly that the federal government has gone way too far in attempting to regulate a lot of activity that occurs only in-state,” explained MSSA President Gary Marbut. “The Montana Legislature and governor agreed with us by enacting the MFFA.  It’s time for Montana and her sister states to take a stand against the bullying federal government, which the Legislature and Governor have done and we are doing with this lawsuit. We welcome the support of many other states that are stepping up to the plate with their own firearms freedom acts.”
Even the most ardent supporters suggest that the real test will come if the federal courts rule against the FFA.  Will they give up at that point, or will they follow in the footsteps of medical marijuana activists around the country?
The latter faced down nearly the entire federal apparatus – federal agencies who didn’t recognize state law, countless federal raids and arrests, and a Supreme Court that ruled against their cause in 2005.  Even with such stacked odds, they persisted in their state-level efforts, and today, enough states have medical marijuana laws that the federal government is unable (or unwilling) to oppose them.
Only time will tell if gun rights activists have the same courage.
Copyright © 2009 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2009, 08:15:22 AM »

Tyranny’s Trap: The “Living Constitution” Fraud

I find it very interesting and disturbing to see how a constitution can be used to trap and enslave the people of the states into a statically fixed and inflexible union, along with an alleged supremacy of federal laws over state sovereignty, when the meaning of that same document can allegedly change over time under the so-called “living constitution” theory. Let us apply first principles to find the truth of the matter. If a constitution’s meaning can change and thus its application and implementation, based upon current variable and assorted conditions, then the union itself must likewise be capable of change, based upon those same considerations.

Have you not noticed, when someone suggests that the sovereigns of a state have the natural and compactual right to peacefully withdraw themselves from the union (which was formed by the states’ ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787), there are those self-proclaimed constitution-loving scholars and politicians who proudly protest, “No! You cannot do that! It is not allowed by our constitution! Once you voluntarily entered the union, you have waived your right to leave the union!” In the same breath, those same persons will gladly propose that the meaning and application of our constitution can change over time under a “living constitution” so that our laws may reflect the current conditions of society (of course, determined by those other than the affected sovereigns themselves). They admit too much, for this statement is based upon a principle that necessarily destroys the position that the states have no right to dissolve their compact, or alternatively, destroys the living constitution theory.

If a constitution’s meaning and application can change over time based upon current conditions, then that necessarily means the union itself is subject to the same fluctuations as determined by the sovereigns that unilaterally became a part of that union. If the goal of a constitution’s force is supposedly to secure freedom, and in the name of that goal, those living-constitutionalists propose that a constitution changes over time, then it necessarily follows by principle of constitutional construction that those states who originally bound themselves to its force can relieve themselves of that force where the circumstances justify its dissolution. Put differently, where the circumstances of their ratification have changed to the point that freedom is best protected by their removal from the union, then removal it is as they choose. But I guess living-constitutionalists would deny the states this right because it would deny ultimate power to the almighty union/federal government–their political god.

See, you cannot have it both ways: that is, the character and nature of the constitution changes over time, but the force holding those who voluntary entered the union never changes. The constitution provides both the meaning of government limitations and the terms of union. If the meaning can change, then so can the union. If you argue otherwise, please explain how a party to a compact (i.e. constitution) who entered the union upon certain guarantees, promises, protections and limitations is forever bound to that union (by force) when those guarantees, promises, protections and limitations are removed and replaced with meanings and applications contrary and different from those originally promised to be true. This is called “bait and switch” which is considered criminal and illegal in any contract scenario throughout the states in America. Do you think this principle applies less to the most fundamental law in society: that is, in constitutions? George Washington did not think so:

    “The Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all.” George Washington and William T. Peck, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address and Webster’s Bunker Hill Orations, (New York: Macmillan Co., original from Harvard University, 1919), 12.

Of course, tyranny’s way is to not to change a constitution by the explicit and authentic acts of the people who created the constitution (which of course requires debate, consent and ratification), but by oligarchic methods of court decisions, government precedent and fraud.

As I have noted before, the “living constitution” idea was the catalyst to America’s War for Independence. It is in fact the trap that would-be tyrants who creep up in republics use to trap and enslave unsuspecting (and of course, ignorant) people in what would otherwise be a free country based upon free principles in a constitution. It is in fact the snare that has been used against the states of America for generations and it is still used today as an extremely useful method for entrapment of sovereign states. The end result: governing the un-consented: tyranny.

Today marks a distinct point in America’s history where the sovereign states of America have to make a decision about what principles they will submit to: the principles of freedom or the principles of slavery. Decisions are being made in this arena today, and will continue to be made as tyranny’s grip squeezes tighter and firmer around our necks. Some will choose freedom. Some will choose slavery. Some may be scared about what this may mean (not giving credibility to such feelings, but only observing them). It may mean economic struggles and political battles. It may mean inconvenience and more responsibility. It may mean political involvement and actually choosing a side. It may mean pains and labors and re-education. But I must ask: is the price of freedom too high? For our founders, they proved what Patrick Henry eloquently stated:

    “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

Indeed, America’s founders did not believe the price of freedom was too high–at least with the assumption that their posterity would contribute their minds, hearts and bodies to maintaining that freedom. After having experienced all the hardships of securing freedom for these states in America, John Adams says to his posterity:

    “Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it.” John Adams, Abigail Adams, and Charles Francis Adams, Familiar Letters of John Adams and His Wife Abigail Adams, During the Revolution: With a Memoir of Mrs. Adams, (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1876), 265.

Perhaps John Adams has already repented.

Ultimately, matters of political and societal freedom are determined by those sovereign body-politics that have the power to make and un-make constitutions. The ultimate matter of which states will live in freedom is determined by the body-politic of that state: the people, who comprise the sovereign element of the state. Where lines are crossed, the sovereigns must decide for itself the recourse it will take to redress the usurpation. This is no new concept. James Madison notes the dangers in political battles whereby the federal government usurps power from the states as perpetrated by Congress and the President and confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court decisions. He says in Federalist Paper 39:

    “[The United States Supreme Court decisions are] to be impartially made, according to the rules of the Constitution[, which] is clearly essential to prevent an appeal to the sword and a dissolution of the compact.”

Madison recognized that when the federal government usurps its powers IN THE NAME OF the constitution, this puts the states in a natural position to defend their freedom and their powers. It forces the states to revert back to pre-U.S. Constitution status and to recall those powers once given. As a parenthetical note, Madison also recognized that an appeal to the sword is not necessarily the same thing as dissolution of the compact. It is only when union is forced by tyrants that an appeal to the sword is necessary in self-defense. Otherwise, dissolution of compacts should be peaceful.

Freedom for a Change
We have been told for years that the meanings and applications of the constitution supposedly have changed over time and that this is in fact constitutionally correct. Well then, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. That is, principles of construction require this conclusion: the sovereigns of the states then most assuredly have the innate right and power to decide whether or not those changes shall apply to their body-politic, in the interest of preserving freedom. Otherwise, if states are not allowed to choose their own political and societal fate after they entered into the union, then the federal government most certainly should not be given power which changes over time. One is static and the other is fluid. Yet both are governed by the same document. Moreover, do we see the chains of the constitution binding the federal government (as intended) to the same constraints that they insistently impose upon the people of the states?! Ha! It makes me laugh even to suggest it.

People of the states, it is time to wake up to our political realities. It is time to that we know the traps that have been laid before us. We must be astute statesmen and stateswomen, who know the principles of freedom, who know the nature and character of our union, who know when we are being taken for the gullible servants we have become. It is time that we not fall victim to tyranny’s trap. The States of America must once again look to the principles of freedom and into our own borders and sovereignty for political and societal freedom!

Tim Baldwin is an attorney who received his Juris Doctor degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a former felony prosecutor for the Florida State Attorney’s Office and now owns his own private law practice. He is author of a soon-to-be-published new book, entitled FREEDOM FOR A CHANGE. Tim is also one of America’s foremost defenders of State sovereignty. See his website.

Copyright (c) Timothy Baldwin, 2009.
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« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2009, 09:23:21 PM »

For nearly a hundred years, federal power has expanded at the expense of the states—to a point where the even the wages and hours of state employees are subject to federal control. Basic health and safety regulations that were long exercised by states under their "police power" are now dominated by Washington.

The courts have similarly distorted the Constitution by inventing new constitutional rights and failing to limit governmental power as provided for in the document. The aggrandizement of judicial power has been a particularly vexing challenge, since it is inherently incapable of correction through the normal political channels.

There is a way to deter further constitutional mischief from Congress and the federal courts, and restore some semblance of the proper federal-state balance. That is to give to states—and through them the people—a greater role in the constitutional amendment process.

The idea is simple, and is already being mooted in conservative legal circles. Today, only Congress can propose constitutional amendments—and Congress of course has little interest in proposing limits on its own power. Since the mid-19th century, no amendment has actually limited federal authority.

But what if a number of states, acting together, also could propose amendments? That has the potential to reinvigorate the states as a check on federal power. It could also return states to a more central policy-making role.

OpinionJournal Related Stories:
Randy Barnett: The Case for a Federalism Amendment
Clarence Thomas: How to Read the Constitution
.The Framers would have approved the idea of giving states a more direct role in the amendment process. They fully expected that the possibility of amendments originating with the states would deter federal aggrandizement, and provided in Article V that Congress must call a convention to consider amendments anytime two-thirds of the state legislatures demand it. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers of this process: "[W]e may safely rely on the disposition of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority."

What the Framers did not anticipate, however, was the profound reaction to their own "runaway" convention in 1787. By junking the Articles of Confederation in favor of a new Constitution, they gave us strong and stable government. They also showed exactly what constitutional conventions can do. As a result, no similar body has ever been assembled, and even suggesting a new convention can freeze the marrow in constitutional lawyers.

The answer is to amend the Constitution to permit two-thirds of the states to propose amendments directly. To do so, of course, means that the states would have to first call for a constitutional convention—at which they could propose such a change.

What about the risk of a runaway convention? We think that risk is very small. In the first place, the Constitution is not the Articles of Confederation, which were ratified only six years before they were replaced.

By contrast, the American people are profoundly attached to the Constitution. It cannot and will not be replaced by an amending convention. In any event, nothing proposed at such a convention—including a change to the current amendment process—could be adopted without three-fourths of the state legislatures agreeing.

Even to propose such a course might seem imprudent—but then again, the Framers of the U.S. Constitution never thought the balance of powers between states and the federal government would ever get so profoundly distorted. James Madison dismissed claims that the new federal government could displace the states as "chimerical fears," assuring his readers in The Federalist Papers that "[t]he powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite." Indeed, the Framers considered a "vertical" separation of powers—between federal and state authority—just as important as guaranteeing the success of liberty as the "horizontal" separation of powers between the president, Congress and the courts.

True enough, re-establishing a proper balance—where, as Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers, Washington is responsible "principally [for] external objects" and the states for "all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people"—will not be easy.

The gain will be substantial. Although it seems that permitting the states to propose amendments is a small thing, especially because ratification would still require three-fourths of the states to agree, it would shift the power calculus—and create a potential for action that the president, Congress and courts could never ignore as they consider the proper boundaries of their own authority.

Moreover, the effort to enable the states to check Washington's power would provide a constructive outlet for much of the growing anger—specially evident in phenomena such as the "tea party" movement—toward the political elites of both parties. It is not a partisan proposal and is difficult to oppose. The purpose is to move significant authority closer to the electorate, but in a measured, "conservative" manner that is in no sense "populist."

Opponents would have no fig leaf. They would have to openly argue that any effort to limit Washington's reach is a bad thing. And that is an argument they are likely to lose.

Messrs. Rivkin and Casey, Washington, D.C.-based attorneys, served in the Department of Justice during the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.
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« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2009, 07:43:43 AM »

At first look it sounds good.  We have to come up with something the status quo can not stand.

Thanks Crafty
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« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2009, 10:31:57 AM »

My thoughts exactly.  My initial impression is that this seems like a genuine and soundly thought out idea with understanding of the underlying gestalt of our Constitution.
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« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2009, 12:08:31 PM »

Sounds good to me.
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« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2009, 01:35:34 PM »

"Reid was buying the votes of senators whose understanding of the duties of representation does not rise above looting the nation for local benefits."

I assume some are looking at the Supreme Court angle at this.  Usurping some State's rights to buy off representatives from other states.

****Obama's dubious ‘wins’ in Copenhagen and Congress

By George Will | It was serendipitous to have almost simultaneous climaxes in Copenhagen and Congress. The former's accomplishment was indiscernible, the latter's was unsightly.

It would have been unprecedented had the president not described the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit as "unprecedented," that being the most overworked word in his hardworking vocabulary of self-celebration. Actually, the mountain beneath the summit — a mountain of manufactured hysteria, predictable cupidity, antic demagoguery and dubious science — labored mightily and gave birth to a mouselet, a 12-paragraph document committing the signatories to . . . make a list.

A list of the goals they have no serious intention of trying to meet. The document even dropped the words "as soon as possible" from its call for a binding agreement on emissions.

The 1992 Rio climate summit begat Kyoto. It, like Copenhagen, which Kyoto begat, was "saved," as Copenhagen was, by a last-minute American intervention (Vice President Al Gore's) that midwifed an agreement that most signatories evaded for 12 years. The Clinton-Gore administration never submitted Kyoto's accomplishment for ratification, the Senate having denounced its terms 95 to 0.

Copenhagen will beget Mexico City next November. Before then, Congress will give "the international community" other reasons to pout. Congress will refuse to burden the economy with cap-and-trade carbon-reduction requirements and will spurn calls for sending billions in "climate reparations" to China and other countries. Representatives of those nations, when they did not have their hands out in Copenhagen grasping for America's wealth, clapped their hands in ovations for Hugo Chavez and other kleptocrats who denounced capitalism while clamoring for its fruits.

The New York Times reported from Copenhagen that Barack Obama "burst into a meeting of the Chinese, Indian and Brazilian leaders, according to senior administration officials. Mr. Obama said he did not want them negotiating in secret." Naughty them. Those three nations will be even less pliable in Mexico City.

At least the president got a health-care bill through the Senate. But what problem does it "solve" (Obama's word)? Not that of the uninsured, 23 million of whom will remain in 2019. Not that of rising health-care spending. This will rise faster over the next decade.

The legislation does solve the Democrats' "problem" of figuring out how to worsen the dependency culture and the entitlement mentality that grows with it. By 2016, families with annual incomes of $96,000 will get subsidized health insurance premiums. Nebraska's Ben Nelson voted for the Senate bill after opposing both the Medicare cuts and taxes on high-value insurance plans — the heart of the bill's financing. Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln, Indiana's Evan Bayh and Virginia's Jim Webb voted against one or the other. Yet they support the bill. They will need mental health care to cure their intellectual whiplash.

Before equating Harry Reid to Henry Clay, understand that buying 60 Senate votes is a process more protracted than difficult. Reid was buying the votes of senators whose understanding of the duties of representation does not rise above looting the nation for local benefits. And Reid had two advantages — the spending, taxing and borrowing powers of the federal leviathan, and an almost gorgeous absence of scruples or principles. Principles are general rules, such as: Nebraska should not be exempt from burdens imposed on the other 49 states.

Principles have not, however, been entirely absent: Nebraska's Republican governor, Dave Heineman, and Republican senator, Mike Johanns, have honorably denounced Nebraska's exemption from expanded Medicaid costs. The exemption was one payment for Nelson's vote to impose the legislation on Nebraskans, 67 percent of whom oppose it.

Considering all the money and debasement of the rule of law required to purchase 60 votes, the bill the Senate passed might be the only bill that can get 60. The House, however, voted for Rep. Bart Stupak's provision preserving the ban on public funding of abortions. Nelson, an untalented negotiator, unnecessarily settled for much less. The House also supports a surtax on affluent Americans and opposes the steep tax on some high-value health insurance plans. So to get the bill to the president's desk, the House, in conference with the Senate, may have to shrug and say: Oh, never mind.

During this long debate, the left has almost always yielded ground. Still, to swallow the Senate bill, the House will have to swallow its pride, if it has any. The conference report reconciling the House and Senate bills will reveal whether the House is reconciled to being second fiddle in a one-fiddle orchestra.****

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« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2010, 10:00:06 AM »

Remember how $200 billion in federal stimulus cash was supposed to save the states from fiscal calamity? Well, hold on to your paychecks, because a big story of 2010 will be how all that free money has set the states up for an even bigger mess this year and into the future.

The combined deficits of the states for 2010 and 2011 could hit $260 billion, according to a survey by the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Ten states have a deficit, relative to the size of their expenditures, as bleak as that of near-bankrupt California. The Golden State starts the year another $6 billion in arrears despite a large income and sales tax hike last year. New York is literally down to its last dollar. Revenues are down, to be sure, but in several ways the stimulus has also made things worse.

First, in most state capitals the stimulus enticed state lawmakers to spend on new programs rather than adjusting to lean times. They added health and welfare benefits and child care programs. Now they have to pay for those additions with their own state's money.

For example, the stimulus offered $80 billion for Medicaid to cover health-care costs for unemployed workers and single workers without kids. But in 2011 most of that extra federal Medicaid money vanishes. Then states will have one million more people on Medicaid with no money to pay for it.

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Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
 .A few governors, such as Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Rick Perry of Texas, had the foresight to turn down their share of the $7 billion for unemployment insurance, realizing that once the federal funds run out, benefits would be unpayable. "One of the smartest decisions we made," says Mr. Daniels. Many governors now probably wish they had done the same.

Second, stimulus dollars came with strings attached that are now causing enormous budget headaches. Many environmental grants have matching requirements, so to get a federal dollar, states and cities had to spend a dollar even when they were facing huge deficits. The new construction projects built with federal funds also have federal Davis-Bacon wage requirements that raise state building costs to pay inflated union salaries.

Worst of all, at the behest of the public employee unions, Congress imposed "maintenance of effort" spending requirements on states. These federal laws prohibit state legislatures from cutting spending on 15 programs, from road building to welfare, if the state took even a dollar of stimulus cash for these purposes.

One provision prohibits states from cutting Medicaid benefits or eligibility below levels in effect on July 1, 2008. That date, not coincidentally, was the peak of the last economic cycle when states were awash in revenue. State spending soared at a nearly 8% annual rate from 2004-2008, far faster than inflation and population growth, and liberals want to keep funding at that level.

A study by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Seattle found that "because Washington state lawmakers accepted $820 million in education stimulus dollars, only 9 percent of the state's $6.8 billion K-12 budget is eligible for reductions in fiscal year 2010 or 2011." More than 85% of Washington state's Medicaid budget is exempt from cuts and nearly 75% of college funding is off the table. It's bad enough that Congress can't balance its own budget, but now it is making it nearly impossible for states to balance theirs.

These spending requirements come when state revenues are on a downward spiral. State revenues declined by more than 10% in 2009, and tax collections are expected to be flat at best in 2010. In Indiana, nominal revenues in 2011 may be lower than in 2006. Arizona's revenues are expected to be lower this year than they were in 2004. Some states don't expect to regain their 2007 revenue peak until 2012.

So when states should be reducing outlays to match a new normal of lower revenue collections, federal stimulus rules mean many states will have little choice but to raise taxes to meet their constitutional balanced budget requirements. Thank you, Nancy Pelosi.

This is the opposite of what the White House and Congress claimed when they said the stimulus funds would prevent economically harmful state tax increases. In 2009, 10 states raised income or sales taxes, and another 15 introduced new fees on everything from beer to cellphone ringers to hunting and fishing. The states pocketed the federal money and raised taxes anyway.

Now, in an election year, Congress wants to pass another $100 billion aid package for ailing states to sustain the mess the first stimulus helped to create. Governors would be smarter to unite and tell Congress to keep the money and mandates, and let the states adjust to the new reality of lower revenues. Meanwhile, Mr. Perry and other governors who warned that the stimulus would have precisely this effect can consider themselves vindicated.
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« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2010, 08:34:01 AM »

I found this a pretty good piece.  It has several citations which refute the pro big government people who scream racist when you try to bring up this legitimate topic.


by William Norman Grigg

Those who are mystified by the political concept called “interposition” can find a very compelling tutorial in a vignette from Larry McMurtry’s novel Lonesome Dove.

Led by former Texas Rangers Augustus McRae and Woodrow Call, the men of the Hat Creek Cattle Company left their village of Lonesome Dove, Texas to drive a herd of cattle to Montana. During a brief stop to replenish supplies and give their horses a rest, the cowboys encounter a small party of soldiers. Their commander, one Captain Weaver, approaches a Hat Creek Co. employee named Dish Boggett and explains that he seeks to “requisition” Boggett’s horse, along with any others the soldiers find suitable.

After Boggett replies that his horse isn’t for sale, Weaver tries to intimidate the man and his friends by saying that defying the U.S. Army is “treason” and that they could be hung. Once again, Weaver demands the animal, and once again Boggett refuses to sell it.

At this point, Weaver lets Dixon, his Army Scout, off the leash. The malodorous wretch beats Boggett to the ground and moves to steal his horse. This prompts young Newt – a teenager who more than carried his weight in the company – to intervene, grabbing the reins of Boggett’s horse and reminding the scout that the animal, an item of private property, was not for sale and not the government’s to take by force.

Newt’s act is a form of peaceful interposition in defense of his friend’s property rights. His reward is to be assaulted by the infuriated scout, who repeatedly lashes the young man with a quirt. From across the plaza, Woodrow Call – who had been shopping at a dry goods store – spies the assault on Newt, his only son (a fact not known to the young man).

After quickly saddling up and dashing on horseback the length of the town, Newt’s infuriated father knocks Dixon from his horse. Woodrow dismounts, kicks Dixon in the teeth – and then he gets rude.

A blacksmith’s shop nearby yields a branding iron that Woodrow wields as a club. His anger not abated, Woodrow then grabs the scout by collar and belt and hurls him, face-first, into an anvil. A pair of tongs then finds its way into Woodrow’s hands. He is approaching the battered and bloodied bully with lethal intent when he is lassoed by his best friend, Augustus, who drags Woodrow away to let his fury dissipate.

“I hate rude behavior in a man,” Woodrow politely explains to a group of stunned settlers who had witnessed the incident. “I won’t tolerate it.”

In addition to being the most beautiful scene in American literature, this episode illustrates several applications of the principle of interposition – the lawful, necessary intervention by one person in defense of the rights of another.

Newt interposed to protect his friend’s horse; Woodrow intervened with righteous violence to protect Newt from the Army scout’s criminal assault.

It could also be said that Augustus interposed on behalf of the scout by preventing his friend Woodrow from exceeding his moral authority: Yes, Dixon deserved a stout beating, but killing him outright would have been disproportionate.

By threatening the use of lethal violence against those who refused to surrender their property, the fictional Captain Weaver made explicit the implicit threat made every day by his analogues in real life. In terms of both morality and the law, Boggett’s refusal to sell or surrender his horse ended the matter. The violence that ensued was an entirely credible dramatization of what happens when agents of the state’s killing apparatus refuse to take “no” as the final answer to a demand for the legal property of a law-abiding man.

By using the term “law” we are not referring to the positivist enactments through which governments plunder the productive on behalf of the parasitical, and inflict criminal violence on anyone who objects; rather, we are referring to what Frédéric Bastiat described as “the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.”

While providing for that common defense is supposedly the purpose of government, it is government that most consistently threatens individual rights and property. Interposition could be considered a form of “citizen’s arrest” – that is, an action taken to arrest criminal aggression by government. The most basic form of interposition is defensive physical action, whether through peaceful non-cooperation or lawful exercise of defensive violence.

In political terms, interposition is an organized effort to accomplish the same end by way of deputized representatives. In the U.S. constitutional system, interposition can take the form of nullification of unconstitutional federal acts by a state government, or of the application of an unjust “law” by a jury (as in “jury nullification”).

Critics of the concept treat it as either an invention of fringe-dwelling conspiracists or the disreputable refuge of race-fixated segregationists. Typical of such people is self-styled “expert” on extremism David Neiwert (the author of a deeply silly and incurably dishonest book on “hate politics”), who – exhibiting his proprietary blend of ignorance and mendacity – refers to interposition and nullification as concepts supposedly created by the “militia movement” in the 1990s.

The truth, which is readily available to anyone with a library card (or access to Google) and a mind not shackled by statist prejudices, is that those concepts were first propounded centuries ago in England, and that they are part of the warp and weave of the U.S. constitutional system. The Magna Carta is the product of interposition. The pseudonymously published 17th Century Puritan tract Vindiciae contra Tyrannos (elements of which clearly anticipate the Declaration of Independence), describes interposition by legislative bodies as a critical means of restraining a lawless king’s corrupt ambitions.

The most systematic and compelling exposition of interposition and nullification was provided by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison – neither of whom was among the living during the much-hyped “militia” scare of the mid-1990s – in their 1798 Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which were enacted by the legislatures of those states in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts.

The December 1798 Virginia Resolution condemned the Alien and Sedition Acts as an exercise of a power “no where delegated to the federal government” and subversive of “the general principles of free government,” including “the Liberty of Conscience and of the Press.” In the face of such usurpation, the states that created the federal government as their agent “have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil [represented by those Acts], and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.”>

Kentucky’s Resolution, which had been passed earlier, addressed the same concerns described in Virginia’s measure and focused particularly on the Alien Act, which provided for the deportation of non-citizens arbitrarily deemed to be threats to the “peace and safety of the United States.” The Kentucky measure declared that “alien friends are under the jurisdiction and protection of the laws of the State wherein they are [and] that no power over them has been delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the individual States, distinct from the power over citizens.”

In 1814, shortly before the end of a disastrous war with Great Britain,delegates from New England States met in Hartford, Connecticut. Using the same constitutional reasoning Madison himself had invoked in 1798, the Hartford delegates discussed the possibility of seceding from the Union as a way of interposing on behalf of constituents whose livelihoods and liberties were imperiled by “Mr. Madison’s war.”

Among the possible actions contemplated by the delegates was enactment of state measures nullifying federal laws “which shall contain [any] provision subjecting the militia or other citizens to forcible drafts, conscriptions, or impressments….”

From this we see that the concepts of nullification and interposition were not created by southern politicians seeking to preserve Jim Crow, as we’re told by Neiwert and other self-ordained pontiffs of “progressivism.” In fact, they were most forcefully articulated in opposition to war and conscription, and in defense of civil liberties and the rights of unpopular minorities.

Either out of deliberate deceit, incurable ignorance, or some alloy of the same, Neiwert acts as if this history is of no relevance to the current controversy over nullification.

In fact, when former federal judge Andrew Napolitano observed that state legislatures have the authority to enact health freedom measures intended to nullify Obama’s proposed “health care” legislation, Neiwert’s reflexive response was to traduce the judge as a proto-Klansman, rather than to engage his argument in the fashion of a practicing adult. (In a moderated debate with Judge Napolitano, Neiwert would be whipped more thoroughly than a pint of heavy cream in a French pastry shop.)

If so much as a particle of honesty resided within Neiwert he would acknowledge that many of George W. Bush’s left-leaning critics, to their credit, re-discovered the merits of the “states’ rights” perspective during his reign. Some of them eagerly practiced nullification and interposition à la carte, >particularly with respect to the so-called USA PATRIOT act.

In early 2002, the municipal government of Ann Arbor claimed the honor of being the first to enact a resolution urging outright nullification of key sections of that odious act; by 2005, hundreds of other municipal, county, and state governments had passed similar resolutions of their own.

Somehow those entirely commendable acts of nullification and interposition were spared the indignant condemnation of Neiwert and other anti-”hate” activists, who now insist that invocation of those principles is a rhetorical“dog whistle” – a type of political code used by cunning racists seeking a PR-friendly way to rile up their vast and stealthy constituency.

Likewise, during the late, unlamented Bush era, some 30 major U.S. cities enacted “sanctuary city” measures forbidding local police to enforce federal immigration laws. Unlike opposition to the PATRIOT (sic) act during the Bush era, and to much of the Obama administration’s agenda today, the “Sanctuary City” movement was obviously and undeniably rooted in racial politics, as practiced by foundation-funded (and often federally supported) ethnic lobbies such as MALDEF and La Raza. Yet those racially tinged acts of nullification and interposition – a form of city-by-city secession from a national immigration policy – escaped censure by Neiwert and other self-appointed titans of tolerance.

The desire for power frequently begets petty hypocrisy, which is among the world’s most tragically abundant resources. Just as many of yesterday’s leftist dissidents now treat political nonconformity as a species of treason, many of those who denounce the current president as a domestic enemy would have considered such rhetoric a Gitmo-worthy offense just a few years ago.

Many of yesterday’s most strident “peace” activists are either deferentially silent, or dutifully supportive, as their president slays thousands of innocent foreigners via remote control. Likewise, many (by no means all) of those who condemn Obama’s orgy of federal spending are recent converts to the church of public austerity, having endured eight years under the reign of the equally profligate Bush without audible complaint.

The problem here, of course, is that both sides in this manufactured conflict are manipulated by power-obsessed people into defining the enemy in “horizontal” rather than “vertical” terms; that is, the real threat consists of “those people” over there, rather than those who presume to exercise power over all of us. Rather than seeking an end to the Leviathan State, each side seeks to control its coercive appendages while protecting its own interests in the cynical and entirely misplaced confidence that the powers they surrender to the state today won’t be pitilessly deployed against them tomorrow.

There are at least a few campaigns that offer some modest cause for optimism:>

    * Former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mac>k, who insists that the only legitimate function of peace officers is the protection of person and property (he denounces most “law enforcement” as “taxation by citation”) has been finding at least some traction in his campaign to educate county sheriffs regarding their duty to interpose on behalf of constituents threatened by federal agencies, including – no, especially – the IRS.
    * New Hampshire’s Free State Project is seeking to cultivate an agorist society through both electoral politics and creative acts of peaceful non-cooperation with the state.

That’s interposition in its most elemental form. In what sense is this difficult to understand?

    * South Carolina state representative Mike Pitts, who obviously has absorbed some of the lessons taught by the Ron Paul “End the Fed” movement, has proposed legislation to forbid the use of the Regime’s fraudulent script (Federal Reserve Notes, commonly called “dollars”) as legal tender in the Palmetto State. Although it is entirely symbolic at present, that measure may acquire substance as the collapse of the Regime’s fiat currency accelerates.
    * The Second Vermont Republic has not confined itself to symbolic repudiation of the Regime’s currency. That movement, which promotes peaceful withdrawal from Washington’s empire, has minted a silver token with a face value of $25. Last month, the movement announced that it would field nine candidates for state-wide office, including gubernatorial candidate Dennis Steele.

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Steele reduces his political program to the essentials: The bastards who are running things are not getting his sons.

“I see my kids going off to fight in wars for empire 10, 15, 20 years from now,” Steele told Time magazine. Think of Captain Woodrow Call racing to rescue his son Newt, and you’ve got a good picture of Steele’s motivations.

That’s interposition in its most elemental form. In what sense is this difficult to understand?

William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.
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« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2010, 08:22:15 AM »

Early Pennsylvania, Nullifying the Way to Freedom

by Steve Palmer


It might be instructive to look at how Pennsylvania dealt with the issue of slavery in our early history.  This topic is useful, because in retrospect it is perfectly clear which side was morally right.  So, this week I learned a little bit about the history of anti-slavery laws and sentiment in early Pennsylvania.  I have only scratched the surface, so we will probably revisit this topic in the future.  It may be that Pennsylvania’s activities, in support of Liberty for blacks in early America, can contribute to our Tenth Amendment roadmap for the future.

The first ever American resolution against slavery was issued from Pennsylvania in 1688.  The University of Houston quotes the Germantown Petition against slavery as saying, “…In Europe there are many oppressed for conscience-sake; and here there are those oppressed which are of a black colour….Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse…”.  The Germantown Petition, although largely ineffective, was passed among the Quaker communities in Pennsylvania.

Anti-slavery sentiment in Pennsylvania grew during the following years.  Numerous writings against slavery, by various Quaker authors, were published in Ben Franklin’s Philadelphia newspaper.  Pennsylvania abolished slavery, using a gradual phase-out starting in 1780, and George Washington commented in 1786 that “once slaves got to the Pennsylvania/West Jersey area, they became nearly impossible to find and retrieve”.

Between the American Revolution and The Civil War, two fugitive slave laws were passed by the federal government in order to attempt to ensure that slavers were able to forcibly return any slaves who had escaped to other states.  Pennsylvania met these federal laws with laws of our own, designed to insure liberty for the escaped slaves and to nullify the unjust federal legislation within Pennsylvania’s borders.

Federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

In 1793, the first Federal Fugitive Slave Act (FFSA) was issued.  Wikipedia says that this act established a legal mechanism by which fugitive slaves could be seized, brought before a magistrate, then forcibly returned to their state of origin.

Pennsylvania’s legislative resistance to this law apparently began in the 1820s.  There are conflicting claims about Pennsylvania’s legislation in that decade, but the years 1820 and 1826 are commonly mentioned.  The University of Pittsburgh says that in 1820, Pennsylvania passed a law to prevent state officials from enforcing the FFSA.   In 1826, after receiving an appeal from Maryland to implement the FFSA, Pennsylvania responded by passing another law which is variously referred to as a Personal Liberty Act or a state Fugitive Slave Act and “After enactment of the 1826 law, there was virtually no way for a slaveholder to recapture a fugitive slave in Pennsylvania and be safe from prosecution as a kidnapper”.

Prigg v. Pennsylvania

Supreme Court Justice Taney

According to many sites, including TheDish.Org, a Maryland slave named Margaret Morgan escaped to Pennsylvania in 1832.  A warrant was received from a Pennsylvania district justice to forcibly return her to Maryland, but the local constable refused to honor it.  She and her children were then abducted and taken to Maryland by several Maryland men, including Edward Prigg.  Pennsylvania charged the men who abducted her with kidnapping and the dispute made its way to the Supreme Court in 1842.

In the decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the FFSA was constitutional and Pennsylvania could not prevent federal agents from enforcing it.  The court also ruled, however, that Pennsylvania state officials could not be compelled to enforce the FFSA.

Personal Liberty Laws and a New FFSA

In 1847, Pennsylvania passed a new Personal Liberty Law.   The University of Pittsburgh says, “This law provided sanctions for purchasing or removing free Blacks with the intention of reducing them to slaves; prohibited state officials from accepting jurisdiction over cases arising under the federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1793; provided penalties for claimants seizing slaves in a violent, tumultuous, and unreasonable manner”.   The AfroLumens Project says that this law was carefully crafted to comply with the Prigg v. Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling.  Around that time, New York, Vermont and Ohio passed similar Personal Liberty Laws.

The federal reaction to the new set of Personal Liberty Laws was to pass the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  This law provided for the seizure of blacks without any due process at all.  As a result, even free blacks were suddenly at risk of capture based on nothing more substantial than an accusation.  This, in turn led to more Personal Liberty laws from many of the North Eastern States including Massachusetts in 1855.

A Proposed Compromise

In 1860, a Virginia Newspaper carried an editorial proposing a compromise to save the Union.  In this editorial, they suggested that Pennsylvania could save the Union by repealing our Personal Liberty Law, saying,

    “There will probably be a separation of one or more States from the Union before the obnoxious laws passed by some of the Northern States can possibly be repealed.  But the separation will not be final if Pennsylvania, responding to the patriotic suggestions of Virginia, shall set her sister States of the North the example of repealing an act conceived in unreasonable hostility to the South, and beyond all question violative of the just rights of the people of fifteen sovereign States.”

Lessons for Pennsylvania Today

We all know what happened next.  A brutal and bloody war was fought and slavery came to an end.  We should be careful about reading too much altruism into the federal government’s motives in that conflict though.  Ending slavery in America was merely a happy side-effect.  President Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, wrote in an 1862 letter to Horace Greely,

    “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.  What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union”.

Then, as now, Washington’s primary goal was to maintain political dominance.

From this history, we can learn a few things which may be helpful when we think about nullification in the modern context.  First, it is indisputable that Pennsylvania’s Personal Liberty Laws were right and the federal government was wrong.  The federal government was attempting to take away the blacks’ inherent right to liberty.  Pennsylvania stood on the side of natural law.  It is crystal clear that nullification is a valid course of action for a state pursuing a just cause.

As far as tactics, the various states used different tactics in their Personal Liberty Laws.  Some of the legislation simply said that state officials need not assist with enforcing the FFSA; Other legislation made it illegal for state officials to assist with enforcement and still other legislation made even Federal action illegal within the state.  A variety of tactics like these should be kept in our nullification tool box.

From Prigg v. Pennsylvania, we learn that we can count on the federal government to take the side of the federal government in any particular dispute.  From the 1860 VA Newspaper editorial we learn that the Supreme Court does not give the final answer.  Regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1842, Pennsylvania apparently continued to successfully hinder abductions for another 18 years.

Lastly, we see from the 1850 FFSA which followed the 1847 Personal Liberty Law, that the initial response from the federal government will be to escalate when challenged.  Only through persistent challenges from numerous states will the federal government eventually wind down.  Pennsylvania resisted the federal government on this issue for somewhere around forty years.  Successful nullification requires commitment.

Natural Rights

Before wrapping up, I would also like to redirect slightly for a final point about natural rights. Some of today’s writers seem to think that our rights are granted and revoked at the whim of the government.  Examining the question of slavery makes the error in that viewpoint clear.  Was slavery reprehensible because of the thirteenth amendment or was slavery reprehensible because men’s inherent rights to Liberty were being violated?

Those who say that our rights come to us at the pleasure of government must also believe that if a majority votes to repeal the thirteenth amendment, than slavery could be sanctioned.  This is self-evidently wrong to anyone with a functioning conscience.  It is clear from this example that our rights are natural possessions which cannot be granted or withdrawn by government edict.

The government’s role is to be a protector of rights, not a giver of them.

Steve Palmer [send him email] is the State Chapter Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center
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« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2010, 10:39:47 PM »


« Reply #42 on: February 26, 2010, 06:11:13 AM »  Is about the jury interposing, or nullifying a law.   They have the right to say "justified action" or "does not apply in this case".   There are checks and balances that are not taught to citizens in school anymore, much less a proper coverage of the constitution.
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« Reply #43 on: February 26, 2010, 06:35:25 AM »

I am enjoying this discussion.

I find I am wishing that this thread were part of the "Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters)" thread on our SC&H forum , , ,
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« Reply #44 on: February 26, 2010, 08:30:27 AM »

Crafty I will post this sort of thing in the  American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) subject as you suggest from now on.  I debated where to put this.

Rarick  That is a nice web site   Thanks  It is the only place, except for my father telling me about it, I have heard about the power of a jury
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« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2010, 01:06:25 PM »


Doomed From the Start?

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo,

After spending a lifetime in politics John C. Calhoun (U.S. Senator, Vice President of the United States, Secretary of War) wrote his brilliant treatise, A Disquisition on Government, which was published posthumously shortly after his death in 1850. In it Calhoun warned that it is an error to believe that a written constitution alone is “sufficient, of itself, without the aid of any organism except such as is necessary to separate its several departments, and render them independent of each other to counteract the tendency of the numerical majority to oppression and abuse of power” (p. 26). The separation of powers is fine as far as it goes, in other words, but it would never be a sufficient defense against governmental tyranny, said Calhoun.

Moreover, it is a “great mistake,” Calhoun wrote, to suppose that “the mere insertion of provisions to restrict and limit the powers of the government, without investing those for whose protection they are inserted, with the means of enforcing their observance, will be sufficient to prevent the major and dominant party from abusing its powers” (emphasis added). The party “in possession of the government” will always be opposed to any and all restrictions on its powers. They “will have no need of these restrictions” and “would come, in time, to regard these limitations as unnecessary and improper restraints and endeavor to elude them . . .”

The “part in favor of the restrictions” (i.e., strict constructionists) would inevitably be overpowered. It is sheer folly, Calhoun argued, to suppose that “the party in possession of the ballot box and the physical force of the country, could be successfully resisted by an appeal to reason, truth, justice, or the obligations imposed by the constitution” (emphasis added). He predicted that “the restrictions [of government power in the Constitution] would ultimately be annulled, and the government be converted into one of unlimited powers.” He was right, of course.

This is a classic statement of the Jeffersonian states’ rights position. The people of the free, independent and sovereign states must be empowered with the rights of nullification and secession, and a concurrent majority with veto power over unconstitutional federal laws, if their constitutional liberties are to have any chance of protection, Calhoun believed. The federal government itself can never, ever be trusted to limit its own powers.

How did Calhoun come to such conclusions? One answer to this question is that he was a serious student of politics, history, and political philosophy for his entire life, and understood the nature of government as much as anyone else alive during his time. He also witnessed first hand or quickly learned about the machinations of the sworn enemies of limited constitutional government in America: men such as Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Marshall, Joseph Story and Daniel Webster.

The Founding Fathers of Constitutional Subversion

America’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, did a much better job of limiting the tyrannical proclivities of government than the U.S. Constitution ever did, and it did so while permitting enough governmental power to field an army that defeated the British Empire. The limits on government that the Articles contained outraged the advocates of unlimited governmental powers, such as Alexander Hamilton, which is why the “Perpetual Union” that was created by the Articles was abolished as all the states peacefully seceded from that union

The constitutional convention was Hamilton’s idea as much as anyone’s. Upon arriving at the convention Hamilton laid out the plan of his fellow nationalists: a permanent president or king, who would appoint all governors, who would have veto power over all state legislation. This monopoly government would then impose on the entire nation a British-style mercantilist empire without Great Britain, complete with massive corporate welfare subsidies, a large public debt, protectionist tariffs, and a central bank modeled after the Bank of England that would inflate the currency to finance the empire.

Hamilton did not get his way, of course, thanks to the Jeffersonians. When the Constitution was finally ratified, creating a federal instead of a national or monopolistic, monarchical government, Hamilton denounced the document as “a frail and worthless fabric.” He and his Federalist/nationalist colleagues immediately went to work destroying the limits on government contained in the Constitution. He invented the notion of “implied powers” of the Constitution, which allowed him and his political heirs to argue that the Constitution is not a set of limitations on governmental powers, as Jefferson believed it was, but rather a potential stamp of approval on anything the government ever wanted to do as long as it is “properly” interpreted by clever, statist lawyers like Alexander Hamilton or John Marshall. Hamilton “set out to remold the Constitution into an instrument of national supremacy,” wrote Clinton Rossiter in Alexander Hamilton and the Constitution.

One of the first subversive things Hamilton did was to rewrite the history of the American founding by saying in a public speech on June 29 1787, that the states were merely “artificial beings” and were never sovereign. The “nation,” not the states, was sovereign, he said. And he said this while the constitutional convention was busy crafting Article 7 of the Constitution, which holds that the Constitution would become the law of the land only when nine of the thirteen free and independent states ratified it. The states were to ratify the Constitution because, as everyone knew, they were sovereign and were delegating a few express powers to the central government for their mutual benefit.

It was Hamilton who first invented the expansive interpretations of the General Welfare and Commerce Clauses of the Constitution, which have been used for generations to grant totalitarian powers to the central state. He literally set the template for the destruction of constitutional liberty in America the moment it became apparent at the constitutional convention that he and his fellow nationalists would not get their way and create a “monarchy bottomed on corruption,” as Thomas Jefferson described the Hamiltonian system.

Hamilton’s devoted disciple, John Marshall, was appointed chief justice of the United States in 1801 and served in that post for more than three decades. His career was a crusade to rewrite the Constitution so that it would become a nationalist document that destroyed states’ rights and most other limitations on the powers of the centralized state. He essentially declared in Marbury vs. Madison that he, John Marshall, would be the arbiter of constitutionality via “judicial review.” The Jeffersonians, meanwhile, had always warned that if they day ever came when the federal government became the sole arbiter of the limits of its own powers, it would soon declare that there were, in fact, no limits on its powers. This of course is what the anti-Jeffersonians wanted – and what has happened.

In the case of Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee Marshall invented out of thin air the notion that the federal government had the “right” to veto state court decisions. Marshall also made up the theory that the so-called Supremacy Clause of the Constitution makes the federal government “supreme” in all matters. This is false: The federal government is only “supreme” with regard to those powers that were expressly delegated to it by the free and independent states, in Article 1, Section 8.

Marshall also repeated Hamilton’s bogus theory of the American founding, claiming that the “nation” somehow created the states. He amazingly argued that the federal government was somehow created by “the whole people” and not the citizens of the states through state political conventions, as was actually the case. In the name of “the people,” Marshall said, the federal government claimed the right to “legitimately control all individuals or governments within the American territory” (Edward S. Corwin, John Marshall and the Constitution, p. 131).

All of the Hamilton/Marshall nonsense about the founders having created a monopolistic, monarchical government and having abolished states rights or federalism was repeated for decades by the likes of Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story and Daniel Webster. Story was “the most Hamiltonian of judges,” wrote Clinton Rossiter. His famous book, Commentaries on the Constitution, published in 1833, could have been entitled “Commentaries on Alexander Hamilton’s Commentaries on the Constitution,” says Rossiter. He “construed the powers of Congress liberally,” i.e., meaning there were virtually no limits to such powers; and “upheld the supremacy of the nation,” i.e., of monopolistic, monarchical, and unconstitutional government. Stories Commentaries provided a political roadmap for “the legal profession’s elite or at least among the part of it educated in the North during the middle years of the nineteenth century,” wrote Rossiter.

Story’s “famous” Commentaries are filled with phony history and illogic. On the Articles of Confederation, he wrote that “It is heresy to maintain, that a party to a compact has a right to revoke that compact.” But of course the Articles were revoked!

Secession of a single state would mean “dissolution of the government,” Story wrote. Nonsense. After eleven Southern states seceded in 1860–61 the U.S. government proceeded to field the largest and best-equipped army in the history of the world up to that point. It was hardly “dissolved.”

In a classic of doubletalk, Story admitted that “The original compact of society . . . in no instance . . . has ever been formally expressed at the first institution of a state.” That is, there was never any agreement by the citizens of any state to always and forever be obedient to those who would enforce what they proclaim to be “the general will.” Nevertheless, said Story, “every part should pay obedience to the will of the whole.” And who is to define “the will of the whole”? Why, nationalist Supreme Court justices like Joseph Story and John Marshall, of course.

Story admitted that social contract theories of “voluntary” state formation were mere theoretical fantasies. He also held the rather creepy and totalitarian, if not barbarian view that “The majority must have a right to accomplish that object by the means, which they deem adequate for the end . . . . The will of the majority of the people is absolute and sovereign, limited only by its means and power to make its will effectual.”

What Story is saying here is not that there should be a national plebescite on all policy issues that can express the “will of the majority.” No, as with Hamilton he adopted the French Jacobin philosophy that such a “will” was possessed in the minds of the ruling class, and that that class (the Storys, Hamiltons, Marshalls, etc.) somehow possessed “absolute” power as long as it has the military means to “make its will effectual.” Here we have the theoretical basis for Abe Lincoln’s waging of total war on his own citizens.

Contrary to the political truths expressed by Calhoun which have all proven to be true, by the way Story expressed the elementary-schoolish view that the appropriate response to governmental oppression should be only via “the proper tribunals constituted by the government” which would supposedly “appeal to the good sense, and integrity, and justice of the majority of the people.” Trust the politicians and lifetime-appointed federal judges to enforce their view of “justice,” in other words. That hasn’t really worked out during the succeeding 170 years.

Story also repeated John Marshall’s fable that the Supremacy Clause created a monopolistic government in Washington, D.C. and effectively abolished states’ rights, along with the equally ridiculous myth that the Constitution was magically ratified by “the whole people” (presumably not counting women, who could not vote, or slaves and free blacks).

Another famous and influential subverter of the Constitution was Daniel Webster, who repeated many of these same nationalist fables during his famous U.S. Senate debate with South Carolina’s Robert Hayne in January of 1830. This is a debate that Hayne clearly won according to their congressional colleagues, and the media of the day, although nationalist historians (a.k.a., distorians) have claimed otherwise.

The first Big Lie that Webster told was that “the Constitution of the United States confers on the government itself . . . the power of deciding ultimately and conclusively upon the extent of its own authority.” No, it does not. John Marshall may have wished that it did when he invented judicial review, but the document itself says no such thing. As Senator John Taylor once said, “The Constitution never could have designed to destroy [liberty], by investing five or six men, installed for life, with a power of regulating the constitutional rights of all political departments.”

Webster then presented a totally false scenario: “One of two things is true: either the laws of the Union are beyond the discretion and beyond the control of the States; or else we have no constitution of general government . . .” Huh? All the laws? Are the people to have no say whatsoever about laws they believe are clearly constitutional? Apparently so, said Daniel Webster.

The a-historical fairy tale about the Constitution being somehow ratified by “the whole people” was repeated over and over by Webster. His strategy was apparently to convince his audience not by historical facts but by repetition and bluster. “The Constitution creates a popular government, erected by the people . . . it is not a creature of the state governments,” he bellowed. Anyone who has ever read Article 7 of the U.S. Constitution knows that this is utterly false.

In fine French Jacobin fashion, Webster asked, “Who shall interpret their [the peoples’] will? Why “the government itself,” he said. Not through popular votes, mind you, but through the orders, mandates, and dictates of “the government itself.” The people themselves were to have nothing to do with “interpreting” their own “will.”

Article 3, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution clearly defines treason under the constitution: “Treason against the United States shall consist in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Thus, treason means levying war against “them,” the sovereign states. This is why Lincoln’s invasion of the Southern states was the very definition of treasonous behavior under the Constitution. Had the North lost the war, he could have been justifiably hanged.

Webster attempted to re-define treason under the Constitution by claiming that “To resist by force the execution of a [federal] law, generally, is treason.” Thus, if the federal government were to invade a sovereign state to enforce one of its laws, a clearly treasonous act under the plain language of the Constitution, resistance to the invasion is what constitutes treason according to Webster. He defined treason, in other words, to mean exactly the opposite of what it actually means in the Constitution.

Then there is the elementary-schoolish faith in democracy as the only necessary defense against governmental tyranny: “Trust in the efficacy of frequent elections,” “trust in the judicial power.” Well, we tried that for decades and decades, Daniel, and it didn’t work.

All of these false histories and logical fallacies were repeated by other nationalist politicians for decades. This includes Abraham Lincoln, who probably lifted his famous line in The Gettysburg Address from this statement by Webster during his debate with Hayne: “It is, Sir, the people’s Constitution, the people’s government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people. The people of the United States have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme law.” Of course, they did not.

As Lord Pete Bauer once said in commenting on the rhetoric of communism, whenever one hears of “the people’s republic” the “peoples’ government,” etc., it is a sure bet that the people have nothing whatsoever to do with, or control over that government.

Hamilton, Marshall, Webster, Story, and other nationalists kept up their rhetorical fog-horning for decades, trying to convince Americans that the founding fathers did, after all, adopt Hamilton’s plan of a dictatorial executive that abolished states rights and was devoted to building a mercantilist empire in America that would rival the British empire. But their rhetoric had little or no success during their lifetimes.

New Englanders plotted to secede for a decade after Thomas Jefferson was elected president in 1800; all states, North and South, made use of the Jeffersonian, states’ rights doctrine of nullification to oppose the Fugitive Slave Act, protectionist tariffs, the antics of the Bank of the United States, and other issues up until the 1860s. There was a secession movement in the Mid-Atlantic states in the 1850s, and in 1861 the majority of Northern newspaper editorialists were in support of peaceful secession (see Northern Editorials on Secession by Howard Perkins).

The false, nationalist theory of the American founding was repeated by Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address (and praised decades later by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, wherein Hitler mad his case for abolishing states’ rights and centralizing all political power in Germany). In the same speech Lincoln threatened “invasion” and “bloodshed” (his words) in any state that failed to collect the newly-doubled federal tariff tax. He then followed through with his threat.

The only group of Americans to ever seriously challenge this false nationalist theory, Southern secessionists, were mass murdered by the hundreds of thousands, including some 50,000 civilians according to James McPherson; their cities and towns were bombed and burned to the ground, tens of millions of dollars of private property was plundered by the U.S. Army; Southern women, white and black, were raped; and total war was waged on the civilian population. This is what finally cemented into place the false, Hamiltonian/nationalist theory of the American founding, for the victors always get to write the history in war. Government of the people, by the people, for the people, is “limited only” by the state’s “power to make its will effectual,” as Joseph Story proclaimed. The technology of mass murder in the hands of the state finally made this will “effectual” in the first half of the 1860s. Americans have been mis-educated and misinformed about their own political history ever since. It is this mis-education, this false theory of history, that serves to prop up the Hamiltonian empire that Americans now slave under.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2010 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2010, 05:43:58 AM »

Hmmm, the first part of it I definately agree with we can see how "proceedural modifications" are making it easier to pass laws when it was meant to be a PITA2to get that done.

As for the Civil War revision/modification, I find it interesting, but will need to see more verified info. (sigh) books time.  (They can make semi-decent thumpers but can somtimes be a dry hacking chore to read.....)
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Posts: 513

« Reply #47 on: May 17, 2010, 05:09:29 PM »

by Andrew Nappi

The following is based off a speech given at the Citrus County, FL tea party on April 17, 2010

The 10th Amendment, also known as the “states rights” amendment says very simply, “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.” Very simple words…and these simple words mean just this: If it’s not in the enumerated powers of the Constitution, the US government is not empowered to legislate it.

There is nothing in the US Constitution that authorizes the New Deal, the Great Society, or nationalized health care or any other fiscal or civil dishonesty that is being perpetrated upon the people.

When the revisionist historians talk about the all-encompassing power of the United States, there should be two flags that go up immediately: First, we should remember that after the revolution, the states were as free and independent from each other as they were from the British. And those men that gave us that independence were not about to give it away to a government that would impose its will upon them in all matters. Second, at the first constitutional convention, there was a proposal called the Virginia Plan which would have given the federal government the power to veto the actions of state legislatures. It was soundly defeated. I ask you, does that sound like a historical basis to give the United States Government free and total reign over the states? Absolutely not!

Historically-speaking, all-encompassing power to the federal government has never been in our nation’s DNA.

Our opponents seek to assign hatred to our words. They seek to discredit our attempts to return the states to their proper check and balance position on federal power. But neither history nor current events legitimizes this. The truth is that the demand for state sovereignty was expressed emphatically in both northern and southern state conventions.

On February 6, 1788 Massachusetts, the 6th state to ratify the proposed constitution, was the first state to formally request amendments to the document. And their requests went in part, first “that it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid constitution are reserved to the several states to be by them exercised.”

Rhode Island insisted at its ratification convention that the United States shall “guarantee to each its sovereignty, freedom, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this constitution expressly delegated to the United States.”

In Virginia, they demanded the “powers granted under the constitution being derived from the people of the United States be resumed by them whensoever these same powers shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them at their will.” [emphasis added]

That power remains with who? You, and at your will!

Have we become so comfortable with the illusion of freedom that we will ignore the intolerable act of 16,000 additional armed federal agents enforcing punishment on us for not buying health insurance? Will we rely on their systems, their courts and bureaucrats, to protect our rights?

Throughout its history, the Supreme Court has sided with its co-partners in the federal government more times than it has the states. Relying on the Supreme Court to be an impartial player in intergovernmental disputes is like relying on your ex’s Mother to be your mediator in your divorce settlement. The supreme court has been missing in action for generations – and congress and the executive are only too happy about this.

A better option is nullification. The correct term for nullification is actually state interposition. When the central government legislates outside of its enumerated powers, the state government is obliged to interpose, to place itself in between, its citizens and that unlawful legislation to protect the rights of those citizens.

reclaiming-american-revolutionThe concept was first thought of as the states’ right of self-defense. The idea of states’ rights and the defense of same are as old as our revolution and they are not the sole franchise of any one geographical region. The adherence to states rights and state sovereignty threatens no one except those enemies of individualism and liberty.

In writing the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson asserted that “whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, voide and of no force.” They are illegitimate, and they should not be obeyed!

Andrew Nappi [send him email] is the State Chapter Coordinator for the Florida Tenth Amendment Center.

Copyright © 2010 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given
Power User
Posts: 42556

« Reply #48 on: May 17, 2010, 06:56:51 PM »

Good to see the continuing development of the re-awkening of States Rights, this time without the baggage.

BTW I saw today that the runner-up to Miss America was asked what she thought of the AZ law and she answered that she supported States' Rights!  Maybe that is why she is runner up, or maybe it was to politically perfect that the eventual winner was a Muslim, whom I must say looked quite hot in a lingerie foto on the 'net  wink
« Reply #49 on: May 18, 2010, 06:49:46 AM »

The Miss USA winner also won a Stripper Pagaent- go figure.  Do whatever you want as long as you can play PC.........? evil
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