STATES TELL FEDS TO POUND SAND

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State nullification efforts chip away at the monster government

by MICHAEL BOLDIN | MARCH 31, 2015

The Internal Revenue Service gives subsidies when it wants. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Environmental Protection Agency redefine words on a whim in an effort to give themselves more power and more control over your life. “Legislating from the bench” has been superseded by this even more dangerous “lawmaking” by unelected, unaccountable federal agencies.

As Chapman law professor Ronald Rotunda noted recently, we “have come a long way towards governance by bureaucrats.” Some states, however, are taking positive steps in 2015 to thwart the effects of these unilateral — and wildly unconstitutional — acts.

The following is an overview of state legislation to thwart federal overreach that’s moving forward right now.

Federal gun control

Even though the ATF has, at least temporarily, backed down on a proposed M855 ammo ban, gun rights advocates should be alarmed. More of this should be expected moving forward, that is, more gun control no matter whom you elect to Congress.

In Arizona, however, a bill that would effectively block in practice any additional restrictions on the natural right to keep and bear arms has already passed the state Senate by a 17-12 vote and is due for further consideration in the state House in the near future. A similar bill passed the Montana Legislature and is going to Gov. Steve Bullock’s desk, and another in Tennessee is up for a do-or-die vote in committee this week.

Other states like Ohio and Pennsylvania have seen legislation introduced, but not yet considered. Should any of the bills pass into law, they’d join Idaho, which in 2014 was the first in the country to pass legislation specifically designed to thwart any new federal gun control measures.

Broader bills have been introduced in other states, with the goal of addressing not just new federal gun control measures, but nearly all of them. Missouri HB1341 would make any federal gun control measure — past, present or future — invalid and unenforceable in the state. And two Texas bills, HB413 and HB422, would work together to do almost the same. Should either pass, they’d join Alaska, which passed a similar law in 2013.

Self-ownership

The Food and Drug Administration has a lengthy process for approving new treatments for people. In some situations, however, that long process can actually kill people.

Take, for example, the case of Mikaela Knapp, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer. She and her husband, Keith, launched a social media campaign to lobby drug firms and the FDA to give her access to a new gene therapy. Their efforts gained national attention and generated 200,000 signatures on a petition, but failed to win access to the treatment. The 25-year-old newlywed died a few months later.

In 2014, Arizona residents approved Prop. 303, a measure that now allows people the “Right to Try” some experimental treatments not yet approved by the FDA. They joined Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana and Michigan in passing such legislation.

In 2015, governors in Wyoming in Arkansas have already signed a Right to Try act into law. Bills in Virginia, Montana, Indiana, Utah and Mississippi have also passed the full legislature and are awaiting a signature from each state’s governor.

“These laws are a no-brainer,” said Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center. “When someone is on their deathbed, the fact that FDA regulations would let them die rather than try, has got to be one of the most inhumane policies of the federal government. Every state should nullify the FDA like this.”

Farming

The total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. in 2014 was recently said to be at least $620 million. According to the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a nonprofit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, this includes items like nondairy milk, shelled seed, soaps and lotions, along with clothing, auto parts, building materials and various other products.

Federal regulations resulting in a de facto ban on hemp farming has created a situation where the U.S. is the world’s No. 1 importer of hemp, while China and Canada are the top two exporters in the world.

And while the Feds now “allow” hemp farming for “research purposes,” some states and individuals have taken action beyond what is permitted and are now harvesting crops for commercial purposes.

Hemp is already being farmed in both Colorado and Vermont. On Feb. 2, the Oregon hemp industry officially opened for business. One week later, the first license went to a small nonprofit group that hopes to plant 25 acres this spring. The Tennessee Agricultural Department recently put out a call for licensing, signaling that hemp farming will start soon there, too. A law by Gov. Nikki Haley in South Carolina in 2014 authorizes the same. Another passed this year in North Dakota is awaiting a signature from Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

Hemp farming bills have also passed the New Hampshire House, the Washington State Senate, and committees in Connecticut and Missouri. Legislation has been introduced and will be up for consideration soon in Texas, Florida, Maine and elsewhere.

Surveillance

Former National Security Agency chief technical director William Binney called the agency’s practice of “parallel construction” the “most threatening situation to our constitutional republic since the Civil War.” This is the process whereby federal spying data is being handed off to local police for use in everyday law enforcement work, not just for investigating “terrorists.”

In 2014, Utah and New Hampshire passed bills to ban each state from participating in this practice. And this year, bills in Texas, Alaska, Tennessee, Missouri, South Carolina and elsewhere have been introduced to ban all “material support or resources” to all federal bulk warrantless spying programs.

Passage would ban participation in parallel construction, but also take things further and withhold other resources like water, electricity or even trash pickup from state or local governments or agencies to any federal agency involved in the wholesale surveillance of anything and everything you do with your phone or Internet service.

Legislation to help block a recently revealed nationwide license plate tracking program has already passed the Virginia Legislature and the Montana House. Similar legislation is up for consideration in New York, Missouri, Vermont, Massachusetts and Oregon.

Obamacare

While the legal world awaits an opinion this summer from the Supreme Court in the King v. Burwell case, some states are considering bills that will help bring down the federal takeover no matter what the court opines.

Bills passed in the Arizona House and introduced in Texas would ban a crucial enforcement mechanism for the federal act, and set the stage for pulling the rug out from under it and bringing it down.

What’s next

Sometimes, however rare, a federal court will stop a federal agency from unilaterally giving itself more power. Sometimes, a federal agency will back down on a newly proposed rule, like the recent M855 ammo ban from the ATF, because of heavy public pressure. And even more rarely, although I can’t remember anything of note, Congress will actually repeal a law it passed, giving up its own power.

The truth of the matter is this: Federal courts cannot be trusted to limit federal power, and federal politicians cannot be trusted to limit their own power. Only the states and the people can do it now.

While these moves by states give liberty-lovers hope, there is no silver bullet to stop the runaway freight train that is the federal government. But instead of waiting years for a lawsuit, or a convention, or any other national-level process, these state nullification efforts chip away at the monster government right now — one state at a time.

What this gets down to is the power of the people. When enough people tell the Feds to pound sand, and enough states pass laws backing them up, there’s not much the Feds can do to force their unconstitutional laws, rules, regulations or mandates down our throats.

NSA FAILS TO PREVENT CROSSDRESSERS FROM INVADING HEADQUARTERS DESPITE MASS SURVEILLANCE

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That’s because mass surveillance is meant to control the population

BY KIT DANIELS

The NSA failed to prevent two crossdressers from invading its headquarters despite the agency claiming its mass surveillance program helps thwart criminal activity.

Two men who were dressed as women tried to ram their SUV through a gate at the NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade, Md., on Monday, prompting security to kill one of the men and seriously injure the other.

“The FBI said … it was conducting an investigation with NSA police and other law enforcement agencies, and interviewing witnesses on the scene,” CNN reported.

Similarly, a former state correctional officer was charged with a string of shootings near the NSA headquarters earlier this month.

The NSA’s failure to anticipate these incidents at its own headquarters contradicts previous statements from officials claiming the NSA’s domestic surveillance would help stop such events from occurring.

In particular, former NSA Director Keith Alexander claimed the agency’s surveillance program foiled “50 potential terrorist events” and former FBI Director Robert Mueller claimed that if such dragnet surveillance had been in place before 9/11, it may have curtailed the attacks.

And the public is expected to believe all that despite the NSA’s failure to stop crossdressers from invading its headquarters.

That’s because the government is simply using the guise of “crime prevention” to hide its real intent behind mass surveillance: to control the population.

“The entire process that was adopted by the NSA and has been spread around the world through all the intelligence agencies is one of controlling and assembling information to be able to control the population, and not just in the United States but around the world,” former NSA official William Binney revealed, adding that bulk surveillance is destroying representative government in favor of authoritarianism. “In fact, we’re doing such a good job that the Russians and other we used to call totalitarian states are now adopting the procedures we implemented.”

“This basically tells you we’re on the wrong path.”

GOVERNMENT SECRECY AT ALL-TIME HIGH

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by ZERO HEDGE | MARCH 28, 2015

US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said:

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

But there’s no longer much sunlight to disinfect the corruption of the government or the powers-that-be.

More and more commonly, the government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.

As just one example, government is “laundering” information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will “recreate” the evidence in a “parallel construction” … so the original source of the evidence is kept secret from the defendant, defense attorneys and the judge.   A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a “totalitarian process” which shows that we’re in a “police state”.

The government uses “secret evidence” to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorism charges (even against U.S. soldiers) and even assassinate people. And see this and this.

Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are being prevented from reading their own briefs.

Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret. And it’s about to get a lot worse.

American citizens are also being detained in Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago … including being held in secret, with the government refusing to tell a suspect’s lawyer whether his client is being held.   And see thisthis and this.

The Department of Defense has also made it a secret – even from Congress – as to the identity of the main enemies of the United States.

Today, Glenn Greenwald adds yet another twist to the trend towards secrecy:

A truly stunning debasement of the U.S. justice system just occurred through the joint efforts of the Obama Justice Department and a meek and frightened Obama-appointed federal judge, Edgardo Ramos, all in order to protect an extremist neocon front group from scrutiny and accountability. The details are crucial for understanding the magnitude of the abuse here.

At the center of it is an anti-Iranian group calling itself “United Against Nuclear Iran” (UANI), which is very likely a front for some combination of the Israeli and U.S. intelligence services. When launched, NBC described its mission as waging “economic and psychological warfare” against Iran. The group was founded and is run and guided by a roster of U.S., Israeli and British neocon extremists such as Joe Lieberman, former Bush Homeland Security adviser (and current CNN “analyst”) Fran Townsend, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and former Mossad Director Meir Dagan. One of its key advisers is Olli Heinonen, who just co-authored a Washington Post Op-Ed with former Bush CIA/NSA Director Michael Hayden arguing that Washington is being too soft on Tehran.

This group of neocon extremists was literally just immunized by a federal court from the rule of law. That was based on the claim — advocated by the Obama DOJ and accepted by Judge Ramos — that subjecting them to litigation for their actions would risk disclosure of vital “state secrets.” The court’s ruling was based on assertions made through completely secret proceedings between the court and the U.S. government, with everyone else — including the lawyers for the parties — kept in the dark.

In May 2013, UANI launched a “name and shame” campaign designed to publicly identify — and malign — any individuals or entities enabling trade with Iran. One of the accused was the shipping company of Greek billionaire Victor Restis, who vehemently denies the accusation. He hired an American law firm and sued UANI for defamation in a New York federal court, claiming the “name and shame” campaign destroyed his reputation.

Up until that point, there was nothing unusual about any of this: just a garden-variety defamation case brought in court by someone who claims that public statements made about him are damaging and false. That happens every day. But then something quite extraordinary happened: In September of last year, the U.S. government, which was not a party, formally intervened in the lawsuit, and demanded that the court refuse to hear Restis’s claims and instead dismiss the lawsuit against UANI before it could even start, on the ground that allowing the case to proceed would damage national security.

When the DOJ intervened in this case and asserted the “state secrets privilege,” it confounded almost everyone. The New York Times’s Matt Apuzzo noted at the time that “the group is not affiliated with the government, and lists no government contracts on its tax forms. The government has cited no precedent for using the so­-called state­ secrets privilege to quash a private lawsuit that does not focus on government activity.” He quoted the ACLU’s Ben Wizner as saying: “I have never seen anything like this.” Reuters’s Allison Frankel labeled the DOJ’s involvement a “mystery” and said “the government’s brief is maddeningly opaque about its interest in a private libel case.”

Usually, when the U.S. government asserts the “state secrets privilege,” it is because they are a party to the lawsuit, being sued for their own allegedly illegal acts (such as torture or warrantless surveillance), and they claim that national security would be harmed if they are forced to defend themselves. In rare cases, they do intervene and assert the privilege in lawsuits between private parties, but only where the subject of the litigation is a government program and one of the parties is a government contractor involved in that program — such as when torture victims sued a Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen, for its role in providing airplanes for the rendition program and the Obama DOJ insisted (successfully) that the case not go forward, and the victim of U.S. torture was thus told that he could not even have a day in court.

But in this case, there is no apparent U.S. government conduct at issue in the lawsuit. At least based on what they claim about themselves, UANI is just “a not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group” that seeks to “educate” the public about the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program. Why would such a group like this even possess “state secrets”? It would be illegal to give them such material. Or could it be that the CIA or some other U.S. government agency has created and controls the group, which would be a form of government-disseminated propaganda, which happens to be illegal?

What else could explain the basis for the U.S. government’s argument that allowing UANI to be sued would risk the disclosure of vital “state secrets” besides a desire to cover up something quite untoward if not illegal? What “state secrets” could possibly be disclosed by suing a nice, little “not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group”?

We don’t know the answers to those questions, nor do the lawyers for the plaintiffs whose lawsuit the DOJ wants dismissed. That’s because, beyond the bizarre DOJ intervention itself, the extreme secrecy that shaped the judicial proceedings is hard to overstate. Usually, when the U.S. government asserts the “state secrets privilege,” at least some information is made public about what they are claiming: which official or department is invoking the privilege, the general nature of the secrets allegedly at risk, the reasons why allowing the claims to be adjudicated would risk disclosure, etc. Some redacted version of the affidavit from the government official making the secrecy claim is made part of the case.

Here, virtually everything has been hidden, even from the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Not only did the U.S. government provide no clue as to what the supposedly endangered “state secrets” are, but they concealed even the identity of the agency making the claim: was it the CIA, the Treasury Department, the State Department, some combination? Nothing is known about any of this, not even who is making the secrecy claim.

Instead, the DOJ’s arguments about why “secrecy” compels dismissal of the entire lawsuit were made in a brief that only Judge Ramos (and not even the parties) gets to read, but even more amazingly, were elaborated on in secret meetings by DOJ lawyers in the judge’s chambers with nobody else present. Were recordings or transcripts of these meetings made? Is there any record of what the U.S. government whispered in the ear of the judge to scare him into believing that National Security Would Be Harmed™ if he allowed the case to proceed? Nobody knows. The whole process is veiled in total secrecy, labeled a “judicial proceeding” but containing none of the transparency, safeguards or adversarial process that characterizes minimally fair courts.

This sham worked. This week, Judge Ramos issued his ruling dismissing the entire lawsuit (see below). As a result of the DOJ’s protection, UANI cannot be sued. Among other things, it means this group of neocon extremists now has a license to defame anyone they want. They can destroy your reputation with false accusations in a highly public campaign, and when you sue them for it, the DOJ will come in and whisper in the judge’s ear that national security will be damaged if — like everyone else in the world — UANI must answer in a court of law for their conduct. And subservient judicial officials like Judge Ramos will obey the U.S. government’s dictates and dismiss your lawsuit before it begins, without your having any idea why that even happened.

Worse, in his written ruling, the judge expressly acknowledges that dismissal of the entire lawsuit at the start on secrecy grounds is what he calls a “harsh sanction,” and also acknowledges that “it is particularly so in this case because Plaintiffs not only do not get their day in court, but cannot be told why” (emphasis added). But he does it anyway, in a perfunctory 18-page opinion that does little other than re-state some basic legal principles, and then just concludes that everything the government whispered in his ear should be accepted. Just read for yourself what Judge Ramos said in defending his dismissal to see how wildly disparate it is from everything we’re propagandized to believe about the U.S. justice system:

What kind of “justice system” allows a neocon “advocacy” group to be immunized from the law, because the U.S. government waltzed into court, met privately with the judge, and whispered in secret that he had better dismiss all claims against that group lest he harm national security? To describe what happened here is to illustrate what a perverse travesty it is. Restis’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement this week:

We are disappointed that some secret relationship between UANI and the government allows UANI to hide from disclosing that association or to defend what has now been proven to be its false and defamatory allegations directed at Mr. Restis and his company. We are mystified that the U.S. government has such a stake in this case that it would take such extraordinary steps to prevent full disclosure of the secret interest it has with UANI or others. And, we are concerned that, in our court system, such a result could occur on the basis of sealed, one-sided filings and meetings in which we were not allowed to participate.

Indeed, the government is going to incredible lengths to keep secrets, including:

  • Treating reporters like terrorists. Andsee this
  • Prosecuting and demanding draconian jail sentences for whistleblowers
  • Framing whistleblowers with false evidence

Sadly, the sunlight is fading … and America is falling into darkness.

Postscript: On “Freedom of Information Day” – in the middle of “Sunshine Week” – the Obama administration announced that White House emails are not subject to freedom of information requests, and urged that a whole new category of information be kept secret from the American people.

Orwell would be proud.

The greatest Obama joke ever

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Here’s one the greatest and funniest joke about president Obama!

-Rob: “Did you hear about the Obama administration scandal?

Tony: “You mean the Mexican gun running?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “You mean SEAL Team 6?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “You mean the State Dept. lying about Benghazi?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “You mean voter fraud?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “You mean the military not getting their votes counted?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “The NSA monitoring our phone calls, emails and everything else?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “You mean the of drones in our own country without the benefit of the law?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “Giving 123 Technologies $300 Million and right after it declared bankruptcy and was sold to the Chinese?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “You mean the president arming the Muslim Brotherhood?”

-Rob: “No the other one:.

Tony: “The IRS targeting conservatives?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “The DOJ spying on the press?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “Sebelius shaking down health insurance executives?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “Giving SOLYNDRA $500 MILLION DOLLARS and 3 months later they declared bankruptcy and then the Chinese bought it?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “The NSA monitoring our phone calls, emails and everything else?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “The president’s ordering the release of nearly 10,000 illegal immigrants from jails and prisons, and falsely blaming the sequester?”

-Rob: “No, the other one.”

Tony: “I give up! … Oh wait, I think I got it! You mean that 65 million low-information voters who don’t pay taxes and get free stuff from taxpayers and stuck us again with the most pandering, corrupt administration in American history?”

-Rob: “THAT’S THE ONE!”

Sadly, these are not jokes!

Here’s the single most convincing reason to vote for Ted Cruz in the Republican primary *(SAY NO TO ANOTHER BUSH.)*

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BY KEVIN BOYD

Texas Senator Ted Cruz officially entered the presidential race on Monday. His decision to run was greeted by his friends and attacked by his foes.
One of those who was pleased was Red State’s editor in chief Erick Erickson, who wrote a post welcoming him.
The hyperbolic Jennifer Rubin was less enthused. She wrote a blog post calling his candidacy “absurd” and said it was important for conservatives like Scott Walker to reject the “libertarianish, conspiracy mindset that opposes the NSA program.”
Perhaps the strongest opposition to Cruz thus far has come from Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.). But in attacking Cruz, King may have also provided the single best reason Cruz should receive your support.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked King about comments he made comparing Cruz to a carnival barker. According to Mediaite, here’s what King said:
“We need intelligent debate in the country. Ted Cruz may be an intelligent person, but he doesn’t carry out an intelligent debate,” King said. “He oversimplifies, he exaggerates and he basically led the Republican Party over the cliff in the fall of 2013. He has shown no qualifications, no legislation being passed, doesn’t provide leadership and he has no real experience. So, to me, he is just a guy with a big mouth and no results.”
But would King support Cruz if he ended up becoming the Republican Party nominee for 2016?
“I hope that day never comes,” King told Blitzer. “I will jump off that bridge when we come to it.”
Many of the same people who talk about a “big tent” in the Republican Party threaten to “jump off a bridge” if called upon to support a conservative candidate.
There are reasons Peter King, who has developed a reputation for being an authoritarian bully, should be ignored. The first and foremost is that he is a hypocrite on fighting terrorism.
King has emerged as a supporter of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program that is troubling to civil libertarians. King has also called for the arrests of journalists such as Glenn Greenwald for publishing the documents stolen by former contractor Edward Snowden, which showed the NSA had been conducting surveillance on the phone calls and e-mails of the American people.
But King was and still is a supporter of the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland. The IRA, which was backed by Moammar Gaddafi’s Libya, was responsible for the deaths of 1,823 people between 1969 and 2001.
As Michael Moynihan documented for Reason in 2011, Peter King is not sorry about his support for the IRA, despite the group’s record of murdering civilians in bombing attacks throughout the United Kingdom.
Another reason Peter King should be ignored is that he doesn’t believe in limited government. King’s lifetime rating from FreedomWorks is a pathetic 55 percent, his lifetime rating from the Club for Growth is an even more awful 50 percent, and his lifetime Heritage Action score is an abysmal 39 percent.
Is this man even in the right political party?
If Ted Cruz running for president will make hawks and other big-government Republicans go crazy, that’s reason enough to consider supporting him.

Read more at http://rare.us/story/heres-the-single-most-convincing-reason-to-vote-for-ted-cruz/#CU2wT1rljIo2CKSC.99

Obama’s Illegal Aliens Just Skipping Immigration Hearings in Record Numbers *(THANK YOU OBAMA.)*

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by Warner Todd Huston

Why should any illegal follow our laws when they know that Obama is going to just excuse their lawbreaking and give them amnesty? And it only follows that illegals are skipping their immigration hearings in record numbers, doesn’t it?

Often when an illegal is caught he is let go on his own recognizance and told to appear at a hearing for immigration officials to determine legal status or to initiate deportation.

But those being caught and then let go into the interior of the country are simply skipping their court dates.

The federal government said the number of undocumented immigrants failing to appear at deportation hearings is on the rise.

According to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, the number of people who did not show after being released on bond or on their own recognizance grew by 153 percent in the last four years.

Immigration judges ordered deportations for those no-shows.

About 30 to 40 percent of undocumented immigrants failed to appear at their hearings last year.

The statistics also show that judges grant asylum less than 50-percent of the time while immigrants from Central American countries get asylum an average of 2-percent of the time.

There just isn’t any reason for illegals to respect our laws when our president, our very top leader, has shown that he himself doesn’t respect our laws.

Obama is our top lawbreaker.