Guest blog: Imminent Rebellion: Nullification, Secession, and the Constitution

Editor’s note: This is timely, in light of the Vinson judicial decision today.  James Williamson, who is one of my younger brothers, is an Ohio native who currently lives in Nevada. Among his guest blogs that have appeared at Buckeye RINO are 3 others with “imminent rebellion” included in the title (Imminent Rebellion: States vs the Federal Government; Imminent Rebellion: The Tar Pit; & Imminent Rebellion: The New Fort Sumter). All of these “imminent rebellion” articles explore the friction between the Federal government and the state governments, a conflict which James believes will quickly escalate.

IMMINENT REBELLION: NULLIFICATION, SECESSION, AND THE CONSTITUTION

Not long ago I noted that discontent was growing among the states toward the federal government.  At first I thought immigration would be the main dividing issue but now I think there is more than one lightning rod issue driving the wedges.  Recently I have been reading in the news that nullification is resurging in response to “Obamacare.”  Apparently this is now being seriously debated in the Idaho legislature with several other states watching closely.  And if you think I’m a little crazy I now have company.  Representative Jim Moran from Virginia is now making the same observation…  (Don’t think because we seemingly share a first name and agree on one point that I’m giving this guy any credibility.  I think he is dead wrong on his race comments.)

Since this seems to be a budding phenomenon in our country, let’s look at the ideas of nullification and secession for a minute.  I could write a book and include a lot of history on this topic, but I don’t think it is necessary.  In fact, I don’t think you need to look any further than the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to come to a conclusion.  Consider the following extract from Article VI:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

This sentence (in my mind) clearly precludes nullification (with one exception).  To paraphrase, laws or treaties made under the Authority of the United States supersede anything written in any state constitution or law.  In short, when you join the union you accept the constitution in its totality along with the entities that it creates; executive, legislative, and judicial.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  A state can’t cherry pick the laws they will allow and which ones they won’t in their state.  That would create chaos and render the federal government useless.  The only exception I would make are laws, orders, decisions, etc. that clearly conflict with the constitution itself.  If that is the case then it isn’t really a law; it’s a statutory blunder.  In the case of “Obamacare” the mandatory purchase of health insurance is a prime example.  In such cases, states are perfectly justified in ignoring the provisions of the law that aren’t really law…  At least one federal judge agrees with me on this one (Hudson in Federal District Court in Virginia and now Vinson in Federal District Court in Florida . . . article from New York Times here).

So if nullification isn’t legitimate (excepting cases of unconstitutional legislation) then what about secession?  Is that also forbidden by the constitution?  It is a topic that is not addressed by the nation’s founders in the Constitution itself.  Presumably they didn’t really think any state would want to leave once it entered the union, otherwise they may have addressed it.   Let’s start with Section 3 of Article IV:

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Note the difference between territory controlled by states and territory not controlled by states.  Congress has the power to dispose of territory that doesn’t belong to a state on its own but they can’t dispose or alter the jurisdiction of any territory controlled by a state without their consent.  If the federal government is superior to the state governments then why are there restrictions on its power?  Why couldn’t the federal government decide to combine Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire at their own discretion if it is superior to the state governments?  It would be more efficient and reduce operating costs of Congress and of the executive branch.  The new state wouldn’t even be among the top 25 in population or area.

The answer is simply that the Federal government is not superior.  The United States of America is just what its name says it is:  sovereign states that are united and are located in America.  Any state that agrees to join the union needs to play by the same rules as the other states in order to maintain a union but they don’t give up their sovereignty.  Much like a labor union that governs the workplace but not the individuals that belong to it, the United States government governs collective actions like trade and war, but not individual actions of the states.

Many point out that the states created the Federal government and not the other way around.  Not only is this true but the states did not abdicate their sovereignty when they did it.  This is very apparent in the 10th Amendment.

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.

So you English experts out there, what is the antecedent to delegated?  Who is delegating powers to the United States? Could it be? NO!!!!  It can’t be!!!!! NOT…… THE STATES!!!!!!!!!!!! Say it isn’t so!

Yes it is so.  Do you hear that Senators and Congressmen?  Do you hear that Mr. President?  Your authority is delegated to you by the states!

Taking this one step further, the states are delegated their authority by the people. That is what is unique about our nation and that is what has made it so special.  The people, the general public, everyone that can be called a citizen is a sovereign.  Sovereignty is held by the people not by the government.  All government authority is delegated and derived from the people to the states and from the states to the United States.

So if the states are sovereign can they secede from the union?  Well, if an individual leaves the country and renounces their US citizenship do they not in effect secede as an individual by leaving the jurisdiction of the United States and refusing to be governed by it?  Is it not the same with the states?  States can’t cherry pick the Federal laws, but they can accept or reject the union altogether.  Just as they voluntarily join the union they can also leave.  They cannot be compelled one way or the other.  Consider the opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

So Thomas Jefferson and the signers of the Declaration all believed that there are legitimate reasons for dissolving political bands.  Furthermore they believed that sovereignty (separate and equal station) was given to them by God!  Now that’s radical thought for you.  It must make all the elites in Washington tremble to hear such words.  Perhaps that is why they have never read these documents publicly in congress until this January…

By now anyone who knows anything about history is probably thinking, “OK, smarty pants.  What about the Civil War.  Why did the North prosecute the war and compel the states to return to the union then?”  That is simple.  The United States was attacked, specifically at Fort Sumter.  That was an overt act of war.  President Lincoln and Congress were generous enough to recognize their prior status as states following the war rather than making them start over.  They didn’t have to do that.  Just like we didn’t have to give Germany and Japan their sovereignty following World War II.  We did it because we recognized that people must have liberty to govern themselves if they are to be happy and we are to have lasting peace.

I digress.

In conclusion, since the Federal government derives its authority from the states that actually makes the states (collectively) superior to the Federal government.  Without them there would be no federal government.  But without the Federal government we would still have state governments.  The federal system is dependent on the states, not the other way around.  As such, the states absolutely have the right to secede.

Oh, and Mr. Reid, you tried to remind the Republicans that the constitution was formed out of compromise.  May I point out that Amendment X was a part of the compromise between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, two opposing parties with opposite ideals.  Compromising within your own party and making back door deals with industry is hardly in the same league….

From the desk of Sean Kalin Stipe: Pending Ohio ballot issues

Editor’s note:  Sean Kalin Stipe is a Lorain resident.  In 2009, Stipe ran for Lorain City Council.  More recently, he’s written a guest blog article about the rise of the Libertarian Party in Lorain County.  He is currently Deputy Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of Ohio.  Here, he has summarized the issues that are projected to be on ballots statewide, provided petitions are filed containing the required number of valid signatures.

2011 BALLOT ISSUES

Work has begun on potential ballot issues for the November 2011 election. Ballotpedia.com has identified five proposed measures, one of which is legislatively referred. The issues include judicial reform, gambling, health care, immigration and state sovereignty.

Ohio Judicial Appointment Amendment

The legislatively-referred constitutional amendment “Ohio Judicial Appointment Amendment” would create a bipartisan selection panel that recommends candidates to the governor. Justices would serve 2 years, after which a retention election will be held. During retention elections, justices will not face an opponent. Ohio is one of 21 states that currently elects their justices. In 1987, Ohio voters defeated the “Ohio Abolish Supreme Court Elections,” which proposed abolishing the election of Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges.

Supporters argue that a “merit system” will help reduce the influence of money in judicial election races.

Opponents argue that the amendment would reflect the views of the elite and not of the general public.

In order to place the measure on the ballot, the proposed measure must garner support by 3/5 of lawmakers in the House and the Senate. Should that fail, there is the option of an initiated constitutional amendment. That petition method requires 400,000 valid signatures.

Ohio Slot Machines at Horse Tracks Referendum

The veto referendum “Slots at Horse Tracks” looks to delay implementation of, and possibly repeal, the legislature’s “casino implementation” HB 519. That bill contains implementing provisions for the “Ohio Casino Initiative.” Issue 3 was passed by voters in November 2009 with 52.9% of the vote. It authorizes the building of one casino each in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo. Horse track owners object because Issue 3 did not allow slots at horse tracks.

Ohio Health Care Amendment

The “Health Care Amendment” is a citizen initiated constitutional amendment (CICA) which exempts residents of Ohio from national health care mandates; also know as “Obama Care.” The Ohio Liberty Council fell short of the signatures needed to make the 2010 ballot.

The Opposition argues the proposed amendment would block the federal health care reform bill without offering alternative options.

Supporters argue that The federal government has a limited set of enumerated powers. None of these powers includes the ability to force people to purchase health insurance, or anything else for that matter.

Ohio Immigration Reform Initiative

Another CICA titled “Immigration reform Initiative” would authorize police to question a person’s immigration status if there are any suspicions. The initiative mirrors the immigration bill in Arizona passed in 2010.

Ohio Senator Tim Grendell (R) is supportive of the proposed measure:

“If they are getting services in Ohio they are not legally entitled to and taxpayers are paying for this, we need to stop it.”

Opponents argue that anti-immigration legislation negatively affects local housing markets, lowering the values of other homes in neighborhoods and collecting less property, sales and income tax.

Ohio Sovereignty Amendment

The most significant CICA, “Sovereignty Amendment” deals with the administration of government. Aside from “reining in government,” the measure would allow juries to nullify laws; expand the right to bear arms and maintain militias; permit the recall of elected officials by petition signatures alone; ban federal enforcement of laws except through a county sheriff; and require that all public school operations through the 12th grade be regulated at the district level only.

The issues are very complex and the challenge is to explain all the elements and the complexity of the proposal. Proposed by The People’s Constitution Coalition of Ohio, they state that the . . .

“American people are quickly reaching the limits of their endurance for governmental encroachment upon their rights and liberties. They are seeking an end to the barrage of federal legislation and mandates currently being forced upon them that will effectively place them and their posterity into perpetual financial servitude and surrender the sovereignty of our country to foreign powers.”

Guest blog: State rep Terry Boose on Ohio’s biennial budget

Editor’s note: State Representative Terry Boose (R-58) released this editorial to media outlets on 1/27/2011. As a reminder, town hall meetings are scheduled on Monday 1/31/2011 (in Norwalk) and Thursday 2/10/2011 (at Lorain County JVS).

THE OHIO BUDGET FROM A LEGISLATOR’S POINT OF VIEW

Huron, Lorain and Seneca counties have suffered through the current economic crisis and we face a budget that requires spending reductions, but I am ready for the challenge of hard work and creative solutions to help create a balanced budget.

Our state constitution requires a balanced budget, but if we were to continue funding all programs in the next budget at the current level, we would have an $8 billion deficit.  So I must work with other legislators to pass a balanced budget and, at the same time, promote policies that encourage employers to hire as many unemployed Ohioans as possible.

Job losses, declining company sales and a lack in funding will all be issues debated in great detail over the next five months. As your legislator, I will fight for the issues that matter most to the residents of the 58th House District.

Passing a budget is a long process that begins in the governor’s office.  Governor Kasich will present his draft of the budget by March 15 to the Ohio House of Representatives and is subsequently introduced before the House Finance and Appropriations Committee.  The House Finance Committee will hold hearings and listen to agencies, staff, interested parties and the general public about the merits of the governor’s proposed budget. Committee members will then vote on the bill and pass it on to the House floor for a vote by all Representatives.

Once the House passes a budget bill, it moves on to the Senate and undergoes a similar legislative process.  If the House and Senate have different versions of the budget bill, a joint conference committee is created to resolve them.  That committee prepares a report for both chambers’ final approval and, after passage in both chambers, the budget goes back to the Governor’s office for his final signature.

The state’s fiscal year begins July 1 so the budget must be passed by June 30, as required by the Ohio Constitution.

I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we tackle the issues most important to Ohio.  Our priority this year is to create a climate within Ohio that promotes job growth and business investment while transforming and revitalizing our economy.  I am committed to continuing our efforts on tax reform to make Ohio an even better place to live and raise a family.

If you have any questions regarding this issue or any other policy matter, I can be reached at (614) 466-9628, by email at district58@ohr.state.oh.us or by mail at Representative Terry Boose, 77 S. High St., 12th floor, Columbus, OH  43215.

Preparing for calamities

Don’t want to feel vulnerable in times of uncertainty?  I don’t blame you.

Whether a catastrophe is man-made, whether it materializes by freak accident, or whether it’s the product of Mother Nature, the last thing you want to do is panic and not be able to think straight.  Keeping a cool head so that you can think quickly and decisively with complete clarity can save life and limb.

You have to prepare.  You have to put things in place and put some work into it in order for things to fall into place and everything work out just fine when disaster strikes.

For instance, you may have a functioning smoke detector in your house.  Has your family actually had fire drills where you evacuate the house and have everyone accounted for?  I don’t think your kids will think it’s weird if you have family fire drills.  After all, they have fire drills at school.  Schools also have tornado drills and lock-down drills.  You might practice those, too.

If a blizzard snowed you in for four or five days, would you have enough food on hand?  How would you keep from freezing if the blizzard also knocked out the power lines?  Don’t think it could happen?  Well, it happened to our family back in January 1978.

What about a flash flood warning and your house lies in the flood plain?  You have precious little time to round up everyone and get the heck out of there so you don’t get swept away and drowned by the swift currents.  Are you able to just grab something that will tide you over for the next 72 hours or so?  Or will you escape with just the shirts on your backs?

Even if you have more time to evacuate, such as an approaching hurricane (if you are living on the Gulf Coast or Atlantic Seaboard), are you all in agreement about what goes with you in the car and what gets left behind?  Or will you be squabbling about it when it’s time to hit the road?  You could practice packing the car with everyone in tow so that you know what will fit and what won’t, plus you’ll know how to fit it all in.

Or, instead of having a plan for any of these scenarios, will you just take your chances and wait for FEMA to save you?

I don’t know about you, but as for me, I’m not waiting on FEMA.  If you followed the news coverage of Hurricane Katrina, you know that depending on government help isn’t your safest bet.

  • Practice, practice, practice.  Have drills until everything happens smoothly, and revisit the practice and drills from time to time. Time yourselves.  If any of you have physical disabilities, you’ll have to train even harder.
  • Have an evacuation plan. Know how you’ll discover if all persons are present and accounted for, especially when every second counts.
  • Have a plan if you’re stranded in your own house.
  • Have a 72-hour emergency kit already prepared in a location already designated so that you can just grab it and get out of there in a matter of seconds.
  • Have alternative energy plans so that you have light and heat in the house when the utilities have been knocked out.
  • Have food and even some huge jugs of water (you know, like the ones they use for the water cooler in your workplace) that can last you for a month, maybe more.  Actually use the stored food so that the oldest stuff doesn’t go bad, and keep replenishing the stockpile with new stuff.  By rotating through the stockpile, you’ll also discover what stuff works and what doesn’t: For example, storing wheat makes no sense if you can’t grind it into flour, and storing flour makes no sense if you don’t know how to prepare food from scratch or follow recipes, and following recipes to make food from scratch makes no sense if you’re family hates the taste of it and refuses to eat it.  You’ll need to know which foods you can prepare without going to the grocery store for missing ingredients.  You’ll need to know which foods can be prepared without running water, natural gas, or electricity.  You’ll want to have some food, perhaps in your 72-hour emergency kit, that you can just eat as is, like beef jerky or trail mix, plus some bottled water.
  • Have your vehicle in good enough condition so that it can be relied upon when it really counts.
  • Go camping.  It’s good practice for “roughing” it.
  • If you have a yard and if zoning ordinances permit it, plant a vegetable garden this spring.  Maybe you’ll even want grape vines or fruit trees on your property.
  • Encourage your neighbors, friends, and relatives to prepare.  If a tornado rips your house to shreds, or a fire burned your house to the ground, or a flood washed your house away, it probably wiped out your food storage, too.  But if your neighbor, friend, or relative also prepared and has stored food, they can share.  In your neck of the woods, the more households that are prepared, the more likely you can all band together and help one another out in times of crisis.

If you are prepared, then you need not fall victim to fear, confusion, indecision, panic, or paralysis.  Just proceed according to plan, and if a monkey wrench is thrown into the mix that screws up the plan, you’ll be able to think on your feet and compensate more quickly with a Plan B than if you were caught totally flatfooted with no plans at all.

Be survivors, not casualties.

Should a state be able to declare bankruptcy in Federal court? NO!

Oh, those rascal politicians on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.  Oh, those rascal politicians in state offices scattered around the country.  What do we do about such rascals that have bloated government spending for decades and decades now?

So many states are facing red ink, and so many of those states won’t solve the problems on their own.  Instead?  Look to the federal government for bailouts of states.

But wait!  The federal government spending even more?  For more bailouts?  How?  How can the federal government keep coming up with more dollars out of thin air?  It’s unfathomable.

So now there are some tongues wagging on Capitol Hill to provide relief to fiscally undisciplined states without committing even more federal dollars to bailouts.  It’s called bankruptcy.  Legislation may soon materialize that would allow states to declare bankruptcy.

If you are one of the lucky Americans that hasn’t been wiped out in this disastrous economy and it just so happens that you’ve invested in municipal and state government bonds thinking that they were safe bets, well, all that could change.

If it changed, then where would you invest your money that would allow it to hold its value?  Every investment that’s only on paper or that’s only a few bytes on a computer chip has its risks, and the risks are getting bigger by the day.

Workers are already being punished by this economy by losing jobs and not finding new jobs.  Perhaps it’s time to punish the investors, too.  Well, at least punish the investors who don’t own stock in financial corporations that are “too big to fail.”

If a state were to declare bankruptcy under the proposal that’s wagging tongues on Capitol Hill, bondholders would be unsecured creditors.  So, how do you get your money from cashing in bonds from a bankrupt state?  I don’t know.  With no collateral, there’s nothing a bondholder could repossess that would coax the state to pay up.  Perhaps you could take the matter to court and seek a judgment against the state, but what good would that do?  There’s no mechanism at your disposal that would allow you to collect the money the state owes you.  Futility.  Utter futility.

Oh, and state pension funds?  Gone.  Sorry about your retirement.

What if bankruptcies spread through the states like wildfire?  Is it conceivable that the federal government might do likewise?  And then what?

I think this bankruptcy idea is dead in the water, as I don’t see how it could gain any traction with voters.

Sorry, all you political rascals.  You’ll just have to learn fiscal discipline.  Unless, of course, your objective is to cause the collapse of America as we know it.

Ohio House Republican press release: Proposal to restructure public mental health

Editor’s note: This appears to be just a proposal, at present, as I do not yet see a bill listed on the General Assembly website. State rep David Burke represents the 83rd Ohio House district, which includes Logan County, Union County, and most of Marion County.  This press release was issued 1/21/2011. After reading through the press release, you are welcome to read my further editorial comments (below the fold).

REP. BURKE: OHIO’S MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM FACES A CRISIS

Will introduce bill to identify cost-savings, structural improvements

COLUMBUS—In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Ohio’s mental health services, State Representative Dave Burke (R-Marysville) intends to propose legislation that calls for a review of Ohio’s behavioral health system. The goal of this legislation will be to identify potential reforms and cost-containment opportunities within the system, which will not only improve state health services but also rein in costs.

“The current system is crumbling and fragmented,” said Burke, who serves as chairman of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee of the Finance and Appropriations Committee. “There is no transparency with regard to costs, and oftentimes there is no coordination of services. With numerous tragic events that have happened over the last few years that have involved behavioral health system issues, it is important that Ohio make a comprehensive review of the system.”

More than 340,000 Ohioans received community mental health treatment during fiscal year 2009. Starting in 2014, the Ohio Medicaid program expects that more than 550,000 new enrollees will be added to the system, about one-third of whom will require mental health treatment. However, the current system leaves significant gaps in coverage for individuals who need behavioral services, which in fiscal year 2009 left more than 22,000 mental health patients without Medicaid coverage.

According to Burke, a lack of coordination between departments often leads to inflated costs or flawed patient care, which not only strains the state budget but also puts vulnerable Ohioans at risk. Many mentally ill Ohioans end up institutionalized in prisons and nursing homes, when in reality, a number of these individuals require more intensive behavioral treatment.

“It is extremely important that we don’t let Ohioans who depend on state services fall through the cracks or be subjected to inadequate treatment,” said Burke. “We will soon have an opportunity to improve Ohio’s mental health system while at the same time reduce inefficiency. This is a standard of excellence that we owe to those who elected us to lead this state.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Press release: Rep. Boose town halls in Norwalk and Pittsfield Township

Editor’s note:  Save the town hall dates on your calendar: 1/31/2011 (Norwalk) and 2/10/2011 (Pittsfield Township).  This press release was issued on 1/19/2011.

BOOSE TO CONDUCT TOWN HALL MEETINGS ON STATE BUDGET ISSUES

LOCAL LEGISLATOR TO PRESENT BUDGET OUTLOOK AND IS REQUESTING FEEDBACK FROM CONSTITUENTS

State Representative Terry Boose (R- Norwalk) announced today that he will be holding two special town hall meetings in his district.  The purpose of the meetings will be to give a presentation about the budget climate that the legislature faces while planning for the next state budget.  After giving the presentation, the representative will open up the floor to allow constituents to make suggestions and voice their concerns.

“There is no doubt that it is going to be a tough budget year, and I wish to take this opportunity to make sure that people are fully informed,” Rep. Boose said. “Everyone is affected by this budget so it is important that people show up at one of these meetings to give me their ideas.”

The meetings will take place at the following times and locations:

  • Monday, 1/31/2011 from 7 pm to 9 pm in Norwalk at the Norwalk High School’s Fisher-Titus Learning Center
  • Thursday, 2/10/2011 from 7 pm to 9 pm in Pittsfield Township at the Lorain County JVS in Lecture Room B

For more information, people are encouraged to call the representative’s office at 614-466-9628.  The 58th House District includes Huron County, western and southern Lorain County, and eastern Seneca County.