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Archive for August, 2013

A nullification victory, DOJ will not fight states on marijuana legalization

August 30, 2013 2 comments

Boton_malThe Tenth Amendment Center posted some great news for nullification fans: Nullification Win! Holder, DOJ Back Down. This from the story:

On Thursday, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice essentially backed down in the face of marijuana legalization by popular vote in both Colorado and Washington state.

The DOJ said that it would not challenge the new state laws. A DOJ memo indicates that as long as Washington and Colorado create “tightly regulated” markets that address eight federal “enforcement priorities,” it will not interfere with state laws. Federal enforcement priorities include preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, keeping drug money out of the hands of criminal enterprises, preventing diversion of marijuana into states where it remains illegal, preventing trafficking, preventing drug related violence, preventing drugged driving, keeping marijuana cultivation off public lands, and stopping marijuana possession on federal property.

This is great news. But this news shouldn’t give anyone the impression this is being done because the Obama administration finally woke up to the great harms done to American society by the War on Drugs. It would also be a be a mistake to think this is being done because the Federal Government suddenly recognizes states rights. The 10th Amendment Center article gives the true reason Holder is backing off:

Don’t for a minute think that the feds backed off because Holder and company are soft on weed. The Obama administration has spent more on enforcement measures and conducted more marijuana raids than any president in U.S. history. But when the people of the states resist in big numbers – the feds lose – just like Madison envisioned.

And the people do not support the unconstitutional federal war on marijuana. A Pew Research poll shows 59 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans think the feds should back off enforcing federal drug laws in states with legalized marijuana. Thursday’s DOJ announcement reveals the power of the people working through their states. It does indeed create “obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”

A victory of this magnitude goes beyond fighting against the federal government’s failed drug policy. Nullification can and should be used as a tool by states to oppose any federal power that goes beyond its constitutional limits. Many states have passed (or are trying to pass) laws that nullify federal gun control laws. States such as South Carolina are trying the nullification of Obamacare. Nullification is a tool designed to allow States to counter the Federal government when too much power has been taken from the States.

The 10th Amendment Center mentions Federalist 46. Here is an excerpt from that essay written by James Madison in 1788:

The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.

There is no doubt the War on drugs has created a disquietude for a majority of US citizens. Issues such as gun control, Obamacare, and over-regulation have also created a disquietude for great sections of American society. That disquietude can be relieved by States nullifying unconstitutional laws and actions. States exerting their rights presents “obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter”. That is exactly what happened in Washington and Colorado with the marijuana laws. The Obama administration did not want to give up the war on drugs in these states. Rather they realized it is impossible to for the DOJ to act directly against the wishes of these states.

Hopefully more states will enact nullification laws. Nullification is the best hope American citizens have to reign in the overreach of power by the Federal government. And for those opposed to nullification I would remind them of one simple fact: this country was founded upon one of the greatest nullification documents in history called the Declaration of Independence.

Too bad we don’t have Senator Obama and Senator Biden in the White House

August 29, 2013 4 comments

ying_yangWar with Syria seem imminent. Here is what the AP had to report on Obama’s remarks yesterday:

President Barack Obama is vowing that American retaliation for Syrian chemical weapons use would send a “strong signal,” as U.S. intelligence officials readied briefings for Congress on evidence aimed at linking last week’s attack to President Bashar Assad’s government.

and

Obama did not present specific evidence to back up his assertion that the Assad regime is responsible for the Aug. 21 attack.

and

Obama said he was not seeking a lengthy, open-ended conflict in Syria, indicating that any U.S. response would be limited in scope. But he argued that Syria’s use of chemical weapons not only violated international norms, but threatened “America’s core self-interest.”

“We do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable,” he said.

Wow. Is anyone having flashbacks to the Bush years? Replace any time Bush used the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” and insert “chemical weapons” and you now have the talking points for President Obama. Notice how Obama isn’t even seeking Congressional approval. I wonder what a couple of top Senate Democrats during the Bush years would have said about such unilateral motions of war from a president?

Here is what Senator Obama told the Boston Globe back in 2007 :

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that “any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress.” The recent NIE tells us that Iran in 2003 halted its effort to design a nuclear weapon. While this does not mean that Iran is no longer a threat to the United States or its allies, it does give us time to conduct aggressive and principled personal diplomacy aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

What a difference a change of title makes. It would be interesting to see Senator Obama stand up to President Obama. Maybe we should get those two to meet someday!

How about Vice President Joe Biden? Is he supporting President Obama’s call to war? Here is what the NY Daily News has to report on the matter:

Meanwhile, Biden became the highest-ranking member of the Obama administration to rattle a saber as he ripped into Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his henchmen.

“Those who use chemical weapons against defenseless men, women and children should and must be held accountable,” he said at an American Legion convention in Houston.

Biden’s comments about the alleged Aug. 21 attack on the outskirts of Damascus came after White House spokesman Jay Carney turned the screws on Syria by saying “there must be a response.”

Now lets look at what Senator Biden would say on the issue. Biden was very outspoken against President Bush and had this to say in 2007 (YouTube video):

“I want to make it clear to you, I’ve drafted, with the help of 17 years I was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee or the ranking member. Ladies and gentlemen, I drafted an outline of what I think the constitutional limits have on the president in over the war clause. I went to five leading scholars, constitutional scholars, and they drafted a treatise for me, and it’s being distributed to every senator. And I want to make it clear and I made it clear to the president, if he takes this nation to war in Iran, without congressional approval — I will make it my business to impeach him.”

I wonder if Senator Biden will support the impeachment of President Obama now that he is taking the same steps as those walked by President Bush? Maybe Vice President Biden can help us find Senator Biden. Maybe we can find Senator Obama and Senator Biden before it is too late. Sadly I fear DC has removed all signs of Senators Obama and Biden.

PS: On Saturday August 31 there will be Global No War with Syria Rallies!

Categories: Obama, War Tags: , , , ,

Join the No War With Syria Rally this Saturday

August 29, 2013 1 comment

1185949_583181441743829_2053719350_nIt is happening again. President Bush Obama is moving forward with plans to attack Syria. This despite the fact most Americans do not want to intervene in Syria. According to a recent Reuters poll: “About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.” It is hard to see any support for the President there.

Even with chemical weapons involved there isn’t that much more support for war.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.

So even with chemical weapons being used the American public overwhelmingly rejects the call to war.

In response to this imminent war there is an international effort to have No War With Syria rallies in cities around the world. Here is the Facebook page for the cause. The Global No War With Syria Rallies movement is being spearheaded by the Anti-War Taskforce group.

It is worth noting the anti-war movement is NOT condoning anything done by any group in Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had done many things that make him a criminal and tyrant. However punishing the civilian population of Syria is not the answer. It is time for the US to realize we are NOT the world police. We as a nation cannot use our military to force changes in other countries. Three are other paths that can be taken. It is time to let President Obama know the American people do not stand with him.

Here are the instructions to find a rally in a city near you:

Go to the FB search bar and search for ‘No War With Syria Rally (your city)’ example: No War With Syria Rally San Diego

Join the event, invite ALL of your friends to join it as well, then get involved with the locals that are already in the event page to help them any way you can.

*If there is no event page made for your location yet, please make one.
Here’s how:

-Simply click on your event tab from your FB homepage

-Click create an event

-Name the event ‘No War With Syria Rally (your city)’ example: No War With Syria Rally San Diego

-make sure you set the privacy to public so other people can find it when they search for it

-Pick a central and relevant location and start time for your area(please make it on Saturday August 31st)

In South Dakota there is an event setup for Sioux Falls. Currently the event is scheduled to be in front of City Hall at Noon on Saturday. However I would check the event on Saturday to make sure the time/location haven’t changed. Also make sure to click “going” to the event if you plan to attend. People that are ‘on the fence’ about attending rallies gain more confidence and will actually show up if they feel a large group will be there.

Categories: War Tags: , ,

South Dakota DCI agrees with the NSA, Verizon is the best place to shop for phone records

August 29, 2013 1 comment

PrismYesterday I was listening to the Daniel Willard Robocall trial happening in Madison, SD. One of the witnesses called by the prosecution was Bryan Gortmaker, Director of South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). During the investigation Gortmaker had to retrieve phone records of calls involving a TracFone allegedly used to make some of the robocalls. What is interesting is that Gortmaker did not get records from TracFone. Instead all calls involving Verizon were subpoenaed and received. Gortmaker stated this was done because a colleague within the DCI said this is the standard way they do things. The records from TracFone were not actively sought, even though they would be the most relevant for the case.

This points to a much bigger problem at Verizon. It appears that Verizon doesn’t just comply with court orders; Verizon actively partners will any law enforcement agency to pass on the data of their customers. CNET pointed out back in June that the NSA has created a surveillance ‘partnership’ with companies like Verizon. I think Director Gortmaker’s testimony shows it is not just the NSA that has been ‘partnering’ with Verizon. If the DCI uses Verizon as their favorite place to get phone records it makes one wonder how many law enforcement agencies operate the same.

Keep that in mind when doing anything involving the phone or internet. Companies such as Verizon have become ‘partners’ with the NSA and other law enforcement agencies. The NSA may have the largest collection of private data for citizens; but now I’m starting to wonder how much of that data is also collected and housed by agencies such as DCI. I doubt any agency other than the NSA is keeping such data on a large-scale. However that doesn’t mean they aren’t collecting and keeping data without regards to the Fourth Amendment. Perhaps some of the attention pointed at the NSA should also be aimed at these tech companies that are over-complying with data requests.

Categories: Rights Tags: , ,

Dykstra summed up the Robocall trial with one sentence

August 28, 2013 1 comment

This morning I decided to actually listen to testimony in the Robocall Trial. Keloland.com has a live-stream of the trial so those of us that can’t make it to Madison can listen in. I’ve mostly avoided the trial because I don’t see anything wrong that was done. Even if Willard is found guilty it won’t change the fact he was charged with a crime that has no victim. To me the trial was best summed up this morning by Dykstra during his testimony:

The fact that we’re here today is proof in and of itself that some people don’t like what we had to say.

That small statement is the heart of this issue. This trial is not about a broken election law. Election laws get broken in this state a lot with no prosecution. This case is about certain politicians using the coercive power of government to stifle the free speech of opponents.

When all is said and done I don’t believe this trial will have any impact on anything. I would like to think this trial will show the abusive nature of certain politicians that run the Republican Party in this state. That however will not happen. At the end of the trial the political machine in Pierre will continue its dirty tricks.

 

PS. It was interesting listening to Dykstra explain dynamic IP addresses; and brought back memories.. I had to testify as a subject matter expert for a trial some years ago. Trying to explain NAT (network address translation) and active/passive firewalls to a jury was interesting. There were a lot of glazed eyes.

Categories: South Dakota Tags:

Take the time to actually watch the ‘I have a dream’ speech

August 28, 2013 1 comment

50 years ago today Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr, gave his historic speech as part of the historic March on Washington. Below is the speech in its entirety. Due to the importance of this speech I believe everyone should take just over 15 minutes to actually watch the speech. 

** Because Rev King’s family copyrighted the speech after his death this video starts with a short message about Internet Freedom Day from earlier this year. Just be patient and the MLK speech starts at about the 1 minute mark!

 

PS. Yes, technically it is an act of civil disobedience to link this video. However I feel it is more important to for everyone to see this speech than worry about broken copyright laws.

Categories: Rights Tags: , ,

What is the biggest issue facing the United States

August 28, 2013 Comments off
Stossel's list of 100 items just as bad or worse than NSA spying

Stossel’s list of 100 items just as bad or worse than NSA spying

A few days ago Kal Lis over at Displaced Plainsman listed 10 issues he feels are more important than Obamacare. Before listing 10 issues he had this to say:

This morning, I found this post and Larry Rhoden’s claim: “The battle against Obamacare is the most pressing issue our nation is facing.” Repealing a law passed by Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court is “the most pressing issue” in the country. Seriously?

His whole list is worth reading. I actually agree with most of his 10 items. But even if I didn’t agree with his list it would be worth seeing what he or anybody finds important.

Along the same lines libertarian TV host John Stossel has come under heat recently for not getting too worked up over the NSA spying. He has created a list of 100 things he thinks are just as bad or worse than the NSA spying. I’ve actually seen Stossel called a LINO (libertarian in name only) for his stance on this.

I think both of the above people are basically making the same point: there is no single ‘biggest issues’ facing the United States. Going back to Obamacare; I believe Obamacare is a work of pure crony capitalism with the insurance and portions of the medical industries being the recipients. To that end I do speak against Obamacare a lot. However, I do not feel it is the most important issue in the United States. Additionally I think the Republicans will shoot themselves in the foot in 2014 if they cause a government shutdown over funding of Obamacare (personally I would love a government shutdown, but I’m not the voting public that Republicans have to worry about).

The same is true of the NSA spying. Back in the Bush years I protested alongside many people (mostly liberals) that believed the Patriot Act and other DC moves would decrease the civil liberties of all Americans. Fast forward to the NSA revelations over this last summer. Am I upset about what the NSA is doing? Yes. Is it the biggest issue in the US? No. For many of us it has been hard to resist having “I told you so” moments. However instead of having those moments I’ve been trying to bring more awareness to these issues and hopefully public support will force DC to change the laws.

I guess the real point of this post is that there is no ‘biggest issue facing the US’. Individuals and society are much more complex than any single issue. I thought of making my own list of big issues. But then I realized that is what this blog is about. Almost every issues I’ve posted on I feel is just as important, if not more important, than Obamacare and the NSA. Now if we could just get such variety of opinions and issues from political candidates…

I think the perfect way to end this post is a song from Ten Years After:

Categories: libertarian Tags: , ,
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