Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2000's: Worst decade ever!

From the good folks at

Saturday, December 26, 2009

State Sovereignty Group Supports Lawsuit Against Obamacare

In my post four days ago I said to expect lawsuits challenging Obamacare's constitutionality. Well, the ink is barely dry on the recently-passed Senate bill and the lawsuits are gearing up already. The Utah-based Patrick Henry Caucus may be the first one to challenge the (sure to be signed) new law. Here's their press release from today:


Leading state sovereignty caucus strongly opposes the federal health care bill and supports lawsuits based on two violations of the U.S. Constitution.

The Patrick Henry Caucus adopted a unanimous position Wednesday, December 23, 2009, to oppose the Health Care Reform Bills, and to support a lawsuit against the federal government in order to stop the national health care bill from becoming law.

Calling the law unconstitutional, The Patrick Henry Caucus, which is comprised of legislators from both the Utah House of Representatives and the Utah Senate, vows to fight the federal law on multiple fronts. The Patrick Henry Caucus has an opt-out provision drafted and ready for presentation to the Utah Legislature next month. The opt-out would make it illegal for Utah agencies to implement any portion of the new federal law. The Caucus is calling on the State of Utah to join in with other States and take the lead on filing a lawsuit to stop the bill, should it receive final approval.

The Caucus believes the law is unconstitutional in at least two respects. First, the law unfairly gives preferential treatment to residents of Nebraska as a result of efforts by Senate Democrats to court the vote of Nebraska Senator Ben Campbell. The Caucus
believes that this preferential treatment violates principles of due process and equal protection and is therefore unconstitutional under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Second, the law amounts to an excess of Congress’s enumerated powers inasmuch as it requires every American to acquire health insurance. This legislation marks the first time in history that Congress has required every single American to purchase a particular good or service, and cannot be reconciled with the notion that Congress possesses only those limited powers granted by the Constitution.

The Patrick Henry Caucus calls on the leaders from all States to join in the effort to file a lawsuit against the federal government in order to stop this wrongheaded piece of legislation. We must not allow Congress to commandeer one sixth of our nation’s fragile economy while simultaneously undermining the authority of the States.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Three Reasons To Oppose Obamacare

It appears that the clock is ticking toward a Christmas Eve vote on the U.S. Senate's healthcare "reform" bill. As I see it there are three primary reasons not to like this monstrosity.

1. It's unconstitutional.

Before Congress passes any legislation, it should first ask itself: "Does the Constitution allow this?" Apparently this doesn't even cross their minds anymore.

The Constitution gives Congress absolutely NO authority over healthcare. As I've written before at length, the often pointed-to general welfare and commerce clauses do not give Congress free rein to meddle in every aspect of the American peoples' day-to-day lives.

When this onerous bill does pass, expect numerous court challenges to the new law. Since it is mainly liberals pushing for this government takeover of the medical industry, it is ironic that one of their favorite Supreme Court rulings, Roe v. Wade, may help hasten its downfall. It's hard to reason that the doctor-patient relationship is shielded by some sacred right to privacy from government intrusion when an abortion is being performed, but not when a colonoscopy or hip replacement is.

Whatever parts of the bill that the courts don't swat down, the states may be willing to mop up themselves. As reported earlier, many states are set to pass laws nullifying the new healthcare law. The Tenth Amendment Center, which tracks state nullification laws, expects 20 to 25 states to consider such legislation in 2010. If enough states dig in their heels in resistance, they may be able to smother the new healthcare reform in the cradle, as they did with the Real ID law.

2. We can't afford it.

The U.S. government is currently over $12 Trillion in debt. That is $39,435 in public debt for every man, woman and child in America. The future benefits that the government has already promised to American citizens for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicare drug benefits (with no way to pay them) amounts to $106 Trillion. That's $346,049 in unfunded liabilities for every living soul in America. The Chinese and the rest of the world are growing weary of financing our debt.

No organization that is that far in the hole should be starting any massive new entitlement program. In November the Congressional Budget Office figured that the Senate healthcare reform bill would cost $849 billion over the next decade. One thing we should learn from previous government spending programs, whatever they say it may cost, the actual price tag will be much, much higher.

3. It won't work as advertised.

As Don Racheter, PhD points out in a recent Institute Brief for the Public Policy Institute at Iowa Wesleyan College: "Those who favor a 'public option' (read government-controlled medicine) are ignoring all the problems in the Social Security Disability program, Veteran’s Hospital system, Medicare, and Medicaid and want to extend these failed government regimes to the rest of us. Those pushing for more socialized medicine refuse to acknowledge that things controlled by government (such as the Post Office, Amtrak, government-run schools, etc.) continue to decline in quality while costing more and more. In contrast, products produced in the competitive private sector (I-pods, cell phones, computers, etc.) continue to improve in quality and decline in price."

In another brief Racheter rightly concludes that we need "reforms that involve choice, competition, and consumer-driven plans, rather than more coercion, control, and central planning. And let the states be 'laboratories of democracy' which try different plans to see what works – and what doesn’t – before we legislate a 'one size fits all' plan from Congress."

He continues: "Indiana seems to have had success with a reform plan which includes an insurance pool for small businesses, tax incentives for employers who offer health-care insurance, free preventive care, a health-savings account, and annual insurance coverage from a private company. Texas has been doing tort reform since 1995 which has resulted in lower medical malpractice rates and more doctors starting to practice in the state. Massachusetts, on the other hand, has had a plan in operation since 2006 which mandates everyone buy a state approved health-insurance plan or pay a fine. The Indiana and Texas plans seem to be accomplishing their goals, while costs in Massachusetts continue to rise without accomplishing universal coverage. So why are all the plans currently being considered in Congress using the latter approach rather than the former?!" Good question.

Someday, when our soon-to-be enacted healthcare plan fails, we'll need to spend even more money (that we won't have) to "rescue" an unconstitutional travesty that never should have been. If our children or grandchildren don't revolt and hang us, they don't deserve the title "Americans."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Regulators Delay Vote On Medical Marijuana

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy held hearings around the state to gather public sentiment on legalizing medical marijuana for prescription use. Sounds like they got an earful.

From the

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State regulators have delayed a vote on the medical use of marijuana until February after being swamped with opinions.

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy planned to vote this month on whether to recommend that the Legislature legalize marijuana for medical problems. The board on Monday delayed a decision until Feb. 17 to give its members time read 12,000 pages of written comments.

I'm not sure why this is even an issue, other than the inertia of seventy-some years of prohibition.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

10 Questions with TAC founder Michael Boldin

Michael Boldin is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC). According to its website: "The Tenth Amendment Center works to preserve and protect Tenth Amendment freedoms through information and education. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power."

Boldin was raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin, but now lives in Los Angeles. In addition to his duties at TAC, he is a contributing writer for

Cold Hard Cashner recently interviewed him via email.

1.What is the 10th Amendment?

Boldin: The 10th is the defining amendment of the Constitution - its exclamation point! It's a "rule of construction" which makes clear that it was "We the People," as sovereigns, who created the federal government to be our agent for certain, enumerated purposes..and nothing more.

2. Why should the average American care about it?

Boldin: If there's anything people should learn from history is that a government without limits is a tyranny.

3. There have been many federal programs, from Social Security to Cash For Clunkers, that are apparently popular but probably wouldn't survive a literal interpretation of the 10th Amendment and the rest of the Constitution. Why should the American people be willing to support strict adherence to the Constitution if they may potentially lose federal programs they appreciate?

Boldin: For years and years, people have allowed politicians to bend or break "the rules" (that is, the Constitution) for one "emergency" or another. But the bottom line is this - after years and years of allowing politicians to break the rules, eventually you'll end up with politicians who feel that the rules don't apply at all. Arbitrary government - government without rules - is another name for despotism.

4.What is the Tenth Amendment Center? What are its goals?

Boldin: I created the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) in mid-2006 and launched the website,, in January 2007. It was my way of recognizing that it doesn't matter which political party has the power in D.C. - year in and year out, the power of the federal government continues to grow while your liberties are increasingly lost. It's essential that people in this country understand the principles that the founders and ratifiers passed on to us - that a government without limits is a tyranny.

Our goals? Oh, they're pretty small - we just want to empower you - and millions of others - to understand the principles of the Constitution and liberty. That way you can take that knowledge and take action.

5.What motivated you to found T.A.C.?

Bolden: see above

6.Media Matters For America, a "progressive research and information center," recently castigated T.A.C. for reprinting several articles on its website that mention secession. Are the "Tenthers" (as 10th Amendment supporters are sometimes called) some type of secessionist movement?

Boldin: Yes, they sure did. They were angry that Lou Dobbs would interview the founder of such an awful organization as TAC!

The essential thing here is that this country was founded on the principle of secession, and while the Tenth Amendment Center is advocating adherence to the Constitution - which is the only that this country won't fall to pieces - we still feel it's essential to discuss and explore this important part of our American tradition.

I wonder - would Media Matters, if they were around in the 18th century, have castigated Thomas Paine, or Thomas Jefferson, or Patrick Henry for simply talking about breaking away from "The Crown?" Seems to me that the cheerleaders for tyranny never really go away...they just change faces.

7.Here in Iowa we had a "state sovereignty resolution" introduced in the Iowa legislature this year. Similar measures are popping up all over the country. What is the purpose of these resolutions?

Boldin: These non-binding resolutions, often called “state sovereignty resolutions” do not carry the force of law. Instead, they are intended to be a statement of the legislature of the state. They play an important role, however.

If you owned an apartment building and had a tenant not paying rent, you wouldn’t show up with an empty truck to kick them out without first serving notice. That’s how we view these Resolutions – as serving “notice and demand” to the Federal Government to “cease and desist any and all activities outside the scope of their constitutionally-delegated powers.” Follow-up, of course, is a must.

8.What are "interposition" and "nullification?" What are the differences between them?

Boldin: Some would say they are virtually the same in practice - they are the principle that the State governments are to resist unconstitutional laws and regulations emanating from the federal government.

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 that state is concerned. The state apparatus, then, would "interpose," or stand between you and the federal government to protect your liberty.

9.Isn't it up to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether or not a law is unconstitutional?

Boldin: Sure - that's just what kings and tyrants all through history have always wanted. And that's probably why most of us who've gone through government-schools come out believing that a branch of government filled with unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats would be the one determining how much power the other branches of that same government would have. Absurd, really. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson warned us that if the federal government would ever have the exclusive right to judge the extent of its own powers, its power would continue to grow – regardless of elections, the separation of powers, and other much-touted limits on government power. Sure sounds familiar to me.

10.What can people do to help rescue the 10th Amendment from obscurity?

Boldin: Get informed. Get others informed. Get active - and most of all - recognize that the Constitution isn't a conservative or a liberal document. It's there to ensure the powers of the federal government are limited - and the most difficult, the most divisive issues would be handled where they can be handled best ... close to home.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Growing Movement to Nullify Nat'l Health Care

[From our friends at the Tenth Amendment Center. Reprinted with permission.]

by Michael Boldin

In response to what some opponents see as a Congress that doesn’t represent their interests, State Legislators are looking to the nearly forgotten American political tradition of nullification as a way to reject any potential national health care program that may be coming from Washington.

In 2010, residents of Arizona will be voting on a State Constitutional Amendment that would let them effectively opt out of any proposed national health care plan. Legislatures in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania are also considering similar State Constitutional Amendments.

And now, Missouri is joining them. According to a report in The Missourian, “Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, pre-filed a bill Dec. 1 that, if approved by voters, would effectively put a halt on any national health care legislation. Davis said her intent was to give voters a way to protect themselves.”


The bill, HJR48, “Proposes a constitutional amendment which would prohibit compelling a person to participate in any health care system.”

It states:

“To preserve the freedom of citizens of this state to provide for their health care, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly or through penalties or fines, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system. A person or employer may pay directly for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for paying directly for lawful health care services. A health care provider may accept direct payment for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services. Subject to reasonable and necessary rules that do not substantially limit a person’s options, the purchase or sale of health insurance in private health care systems shall not be prohibited by law or rule.”


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.

Early nullification movements began with the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. These resolutions, secretly authored by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, asserted that the people of the states, as sovereign entities, could judge for themselves whether the federal government had overstepped its constitutional bounds – to the point of ignoring federal laws.

Virginia and Kentucky passed the resolutions in response to the federal Alien and Sedition Acts, which provided, in part, for the prosecution of anyone who criticized Congress or the President of the United States.

Nullification was regularly called upon by states all over the country in response to everything from higher taxes to the fugitive slave law of 1850.


Besides the Health Care legislation in Arizona, activists and state-legislators are pushing forward with nullification efforts all across the country – and it spans the political spectrum.

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. Massive state nullification of the 2005 Real ID Act has rendered the law nearly void. And, two states, Montana and Tennessee, have already passed laws nullifying federal gun laws and regulations within their states.


“We (Missourians) don’t like it when people try to take away our freedom,” Davis told The Missoulian. “We will maintain the right to purchase health care however we chose. This national health care debate is not about health care as much as it is about redistribution of the wealth. This resolution allows voters to say don’t redistribute our wealth here in Missouri.”

George Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, in an interview with the Atlanta Business Chronicle said, “Proposals to deny or limit access to the purchase of private health care are simply unacceptable. Our basic freedoms are at risk with the government-run health care proposals coming out of Washington.” Legislators from Georgia recently announced that they would be introducing a similar resolution in 2010.


Supporters of modern nullification efforts look to the successful rebellion by states against the Bush-era Real ID Act.

In early 2007, Maine and then Utah passed resolutions refusing to implement the federal Real ID act on grounds that the law was unconstitutional. Well-over a dozen other states followed suit in passing legislation opposing Real ID.

Instead of attempting to force the law to implementation, the federal government delayed implementation not once, but twice. And in June of this year, the Obama administration, recognizing the insurmountable task of enforcing a law in the face of such broad resistance, announced that it was looking to “repeal and replace” the controversial law.

Supporters see this as a blueprint to resist various federal laws that they see as outside the scope of the Constitution. Some say that each successful state-level resistance to federal programs will only embolden others to try the same – resulting in an eventual shift of power from the federal government to the States and the People themselves.

Michael Boldin is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center

Copyright © 2009 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fight Terrorism With Freedom

Once again I'm responding to a column in the newspaper. I sent the following to my hometown paper:

I felt compelled to respond to the recent column by retired Army Colonel Clyde Meyer about militant Islam. I agree with Col. Meyer that Islam has a long history of violence. I also agree with his point that throughout history there have been fanatics from all religions who have used violence to advance their cause. Where I begin to disagree with the good Colonel is how best to fight Islamic extremists today.

Let me preface this by saying that, as a former military member myself, I am not reflexively anti-war. I understand its utility and occasional necessity, but I am not reflexively for war either. While I’ll leave the foreign policy side of the debate for another day, I would encourage anyone interested in the subject to read the book Imperial Hubris by CIA veteran Michael Scheuer for a thoughtful analysis of the motives of the Islamic terrorists.

Colonel Meyer states that since some terrorists have reached American soil they need to be “weeded out” through “counter-insurgency measures.” He casually shrugs off potential violations of the U.S. Constitution that he once swore an oath to defend. (As Republican activist and former-Marine Bill Salier likes to point out, that oath has no expiration date.) Meyer writes that the measures he endorses include “the control of people and resources and can infringe on some of the individual rights to which we are entitled by our constitution.”

Before we unleash the counter-insurgency tactics that we employed in Vietnam and Iraq on the American public, perhaps we could try something else: Freedom. I believe that we can defend ourselves against those who would harm us not by destroying our individual liberties but by defending them and expanding them.

For instance, Meyer mentions the recent Fort Hood attack by a suspected jihadist. Soldiers on that base were, as a matter of policy, denied the Second Amendment right to carry firearms that people elsewhere in Texas and 39 other states currently enjoy. That section of Ft. Hood (like Columbine and Virginia Tech) had become a “gun-free zone,” a proven magnet for mass murderers.

The same could also be said of the September 11th attacks. Government restrictions on the rights of Americans turned airliners into “gun-free zones” and government policy dictated that crews and passengers not resist hijackers. If people had been allowed to resist (as those on Flight 93 did anyway) or if the pilots had been allowed to keep pistols in the cockpit (as was common practice until the 1960’s) then 19 terrorists probably wouldn’t have been able to kill 2,976 Americans armed only with box cutters.

These are just two quick examples of how the answer is more freedom, not less. On this issue, as on many issues, the best thing the government can do for the American people is to stay out of our way. Surrendering our freedom and power to the government in exchange for promises of security ensures that the government will always find new threats so as to expand its power.

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