Wait, What? Governor Cuomo Getting a 47% Raise?

Andrew-Cuomo-1024x683By Mary Calamia for the Independent Sentinel, August 7, 2016 •

Have YOU ever gotten a 47 percent raise?

Not likely, but New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature are currently being considered for salary bumps as high as 47 percent.

In a year already rocked by multiple corruption scandals and the “dark of night” passage of a most controversial and hotly contested budget, the power brokers of New York State are now engaged in another slick move that will saddle the taxpayers with yet another burden.

Ask any New York taxpayer, “Does Governor Cuomo deserve an $84,000-a-year raise?” You will probably hear a few classic four-letter words, none of which will be “Sure!”

Yet the New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation, an “independent” panel that determines legislative salaries will be meeting this September to discuss salary increases for elected officials. Under consideration is upping Cuomo’s base pay from $179,000 to $263,000.

What is most interesting is that this brand new, “independent” body is appointed by the very people whose salaries they determine:

“Every four years, beginning June 2015, the Commission is established with seven appointed members – three are designated by the Governor, one by the President Pro Tempore of the New York State Senate, one by the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, and two by the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, one of whom serves as chair of the Commission.” (NYS Commission on Compensation)

Conveniently, the Commission has until a week after Election Day to present its recommendations.

Under the proposed salary schedule, the base salary for a legislator (a part-time position) would jump from $79,500 to $116,900. Senators and Assembly members are also paid thousands more for participating on and/or chairing committees.

It is inconceivable that anyone could think a salary increase is appropriate at this point in time — NOT for a legislature that passes bills without even reading them — NOT in a state that is still uncovering layer upon layer of corruption in government — NOT for legislators who have denied the constituents’ pleas for meaningful ethics reform in the wake of the most shameful and embarrassing period in New York State history.

Panel member Roman Hedges, who was appointed by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, proposed these exorbitant salaries, saying, “I’d like the legislators to be well enough rewarded that they’ll stick around.” (Record Online)

Newsflash, Mr. Hedges: Albany has legislators who have been serving for decades – some starting as far back as the 1970’s. They’re not going anywhere. Given their performance, however, it might be better for all of us if they did.

So take heed, New Yorkers. Even in the quiet months when the Legislature is out of session, Albany has its hands deep inside your pockets.

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Globalist Ideology Undermines National Identity, Sovereignty

By Wayne Hill for the Standard-Times, March 9, 2016 •

One World Trade Center has now replaced the old World Trade Center. “One” is an address, but the subliminal message is clear.

The political movement for world government has many facets. For example, we have so-called free-trade agreements that create supranational organizations that govern the agreements made and these supranational organizations supersede our nation’s own congressional authority, resulting in a loss of national sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats. Eventually these supranational organizations will be transformed into regional governing bodies.

What the globalists’ vision is a world similar to what the United States was, which is sovereign states that all agree to a common defense, with open borders and the free flow of goods and services across those borders and the freedom of citizens to move from state to state without hindrance. We have since lost our state sovereignty and are dictated to by a federal master and the coming world government will be master of all the nation states.

Another facet of world government is the creation of global citizens, which entails the loss of national identity and national interests. Ridding a nation of its national identity starts by re-educating its population to think in global terms. The younger generations don’t question globalism, since they’ve been hearing it all their lives, but most of their parents don’t question it either.

Globalist ideology is that all citizens of the world have the same status as all other citizens of the world, regardless of whether they are native to that nation or not. Both illegal immigrants and those who are brought here by United Nations mandates are given higher status for food, medical care, housing and education than our own citizens. Even our homeless veterans don’t have it as good as most illegal immigrants.

Mass immigration serves the globalist ideology by diluting the national identity. If immigration were a controlled process, like the one that existed decades ago, it can be beneficial to a nation, but when it’s out of control and immigrants are literally pouring in as they are today, it leads to a fragmented society of conflicting interests.

Another way that globalist ideology is served by mass immigration is to weaken our form of government. Most of the immigrants entering the U.S. today come from Third World nations who have little to no idea how our national government is designed to work. They come from nations with repressive regimes and would be happy as long as a gun isn’t pointed in their face. Their presence provides the opportunity for a government that no longer answers to constitutional law to continue to expand its power and authority over the true government of this nation, “We the people.”

Globalists pass themselves off as true humanitarians who care about these poor unfortunate people, but in reality their goal is evil in concept because they are imposing their will over you.

Globalist ideology has stolen the power from the people. We had a government of the people, for the people and by the people. That meant a government guided by God, because the true constitutional government of this nation is the people of this nation who overwhelmingly believe in God. Now that the people have lost that power, God is no longer guiding the decisions made in our nation’s capital. The lust for power and privilege, however, is. #

Wayne Hill lives in San Angelo.

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Decentralize Sovereignty

By Bruce Walker for American Thinker, June 23, 2016 •

Throughout the world, the fundamental problem we face is the hyper-centralization of sovereignty. In America, the vast majority of problems in government would begin at once to heal naturally if the limitless credit card of the federal government, the dimwitted bullying of federal courts and bureaucracies, and the myopia of national media were not consumed by the cesspool on the Potomac.

When Governor Perry began his campaign for the nomination in 2012, he had the best theme of any candidate since Reagan: make what happens in Washington the least important thing in the lives of ordinary Americans. That is the solution to our most pressing political problems: decentralize sovereignty back, where it was always supposed to be, with the states.

More and more conservatives ought to ask themselves what the federal government is doing that could better be done by others

Any currency – banknotes backed by gold, for example – would be better than the Monopoly money issued by that farcical creature, the Federal Reserve System.

The federal government does not protect our borders or keep out terrorists or wage war to win or protect our intellectual property or do anything but engage in destructive and malicious meddling with the American states and the American people. It is the tool of angry ideologues and the milk cow for the true plutocrats, the lobbying and government mafia.

The second part of that decentralization of sovereignty is, of course, to take as much sovereignty as can be possibly transferred and then give that back to individuals or to families or to small communities of like-minded folks who just want to be left alone. There are a few things we really need from state governments but even states are largely now bottomless pits of over-funded programs doing nothing anyone really wants.

Even those few things of value that government does today could be privatized or devolved to local governments, which are truly responsive to the voters and whose foul-ups would cause people to move across city lines and cause property values to plummet – creating a marketplace that works even when politicians did not.

It is a stunning and grim fact that in this presidential election year of profoundly disaffected voters, the most important issue, the radical decentralization of sovereignty, hardly registers a blip in the rhetoric of the candidates and federal politicians, and candidates talk as if problems not “solved” by Washington cannot be solved at all.

What is true in America is true everywhere. The decentralization of sovereignty in Europe has been profoundly liberating – just ask the Irish, the Croats, the Bosnians, the Slovaks, the Montenegrins, the Ukrainians, the Lithuanians…and so on.

The horror that is the European Union is held together now by invested national politicians, greedy pseudo-capitalists, and vast barracks of bureaucrats. These groups always howl at the imagined dangers of decentralization of power because the only value that they have is the calculated and murky manipulation of centralized power producing tawdry bribes and substitutes for the real blessing of liberty. The EU has degraded into a grinning goblin of that worst horror of internationalism, the United Nations, the enemy of truth and freedom everywhere.

Less noticed but no less important than the grave danger of hyper-centralization of sovereignty is the vital benefit of decentralizing sovereignty around the globe. Most of Africa and Asia consists of large nations that are really empires. Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, China, Nigeria, and Indonesia, among others, are empires that have many different languages, many different tribal groups, and many different regionally located religious minorities.

What would happen if America strongly supported the decentralization of sovereignty in the Iranian empire, whose Persian population is scarcely half the population? What if America supported the independence of the Azeris, the Baluchs, the Kurds, the Turkmens, the Lurs, and other oppressed subject nationalities trapped within that empire?

What if we supported the creation of small nations carved out of that evil empire as safe havens for the Yazidis, Mandeans, Zoroastrians, Bahá’í, and others who simply want to live in peace in the place they have always called home?

Why doesn’t anyone in Washington advocate this? Why doesn’t the left, that pretended champion of minorities, call for this dissolution into natural parts of the Iranian empire? The left loves to rant about “capitalism,” the real problem is rather “capitolism,” the complete inability to conceive of any solution which does not come from the elites within the ruling city of a huge land.

No politicians, no punditry class, no bureaucratic legions, no power-peddlers with deep pockets – no one who “counts,” in other words – supports the decentralization of sovereignty. It helps only that least important, most forgotten part of any governmental system: the governed.

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DHS Secretary Sees All Americans As a Threat: “Gun Control Has To Be a Part of Homeland Security”

un-twisted-gunBy Mac Salvo at SHTFplan, June 15, 2016 •

The agency’s source of power has always been fear.

And now is the time to capitalize upon it.

Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson has seized upon the Orlando shooting and is… rather predictably… using the specter of terrorism as a pretext for instituting gun control on a wider scale. (Of course, he isn’t alone.)

Secretary Johnson told CBS News that:

Just days after the massacre in an Orlando nightclub left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday said that gun control is now a critical element of protecting the U.S. homeland and keeping Americans safe.

“We have to face the fact that meaningful gun control has to be a part of homeland security,” Johnson said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.” “We need to do something to minimize the opportunity for terrorists to get a gun in this country.”

[…]

“I thought frankly after Sandy Hook where you have schoolchildren murdered in a classroom that maybe finally this will be the tipping point and we were not able to move the needle in Congress, unfortunately,” Johnson said.

It seems Jeh Johnson thought Sandy Hook would be all that was necessary to reign in gun rights. For him, it is all part of ‘public safety.’

But apparently, the powers-that-be will wait for a bigger and bigger tragedy until something too big to ignore happens, then they can push for their un-American agenda with the opposition pinned down and the rest of the population too afraid to think.

Maybe the Orlando mass murder is that event.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson: Passing gun control is now ‘part and parcel of homeland security’:

Though quieter than than it has been under past heads, Homeland Security has clearly maintained the twisted view that all Americans are potential terrorists, and that a preemptive police state, complete with surveillance, data mining and social profile trolling is necessary in order to maintain relative peace.

This attitude is noted in recent meetings of the Homeland Security Advisory Committee, discussing in part its community partnership program for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE):

“Secretary Johnson said there is much left to accomplish in this final year of the Administration… Counterterrorism remains a cornerstone mission of the Department. There is a new environment when it comes to the global terrorism threat, which includes not only terrorist-directed attacks, but terrorist-inspired attacks. These threats call for a whole-of-government response, including military, law enforcement, and robust intelligence gathering and sharing efforts. These efforts extend to the private sector as well, and DHS is very active in this arena.”

It is clear that so-called “right-wing extremists” are still a leading concern for Homeland Security and the federal government agencies.

via Breitbart

One month after the San Bernardino terrorist attack that left 14 innocent people dead, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told advisors that right wing extremists pose just as much of a threat to the country as Islamic extremists.

Johnson made the comments during the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s (HSAC) January meeting. City of Austin Mayor Art Acevedo, whom Johnson appointed to HSACshifted the discussion to the threat of right-wing extremists, according to the official meeting minutes.

“Member Acevedo reminded the Council that the threat from right-wing extremists domestically is just as real as the threat from Islamic extremism,” the minutes state.

The Homeland Security Advisory Committee reports:

“Secretary Johnson agreed and noted that CVE, by definition, is not solely focused on one religion. Member Goldenberg seconded Member Acevedo’s remarks and noted the importance of online sites in right wing extremist communities, not only in America but worldwide.”

Against all logic, the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration and the borders in addition to law enforcement and national security issues, has vowed to ‘give voice to the plight’ of Muslims, rather than focusing on keep out radical and potentially violent members of that group – essentially welcoming another attack.

Instead, ordinary Americans, including those with dissident political views of any kind, are typically regarded as potential threats under Homeland Security watch lists.

Flags, firearms and incendiary conversations on social media have given ’cause’ to a government that is out of control and only wants a population that is ready to turn in its guns and be afraid of what the media tells them, not a population that is ready to challenge the unconstitutional actions of its government.

Changes are coming. Keep your eyes open and encourage those around you to stand up for their rights.

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New York Common Core Opt Out Movement Gains Steam, Support from Teachers

common-core-new-york-040616By Shane Trejo for Tenth Amendment Center, April 6, 2016 •

While many state legislators have been reluctant to pull their states out of the Common Core educational standards, a growing number of New Yorkers are taking matters into their own hands. Parents and students, with support from some teachers, are opting out of testing in growing numbers.

An Apr. 4 New York Post report covered this tend. Some New York teachers have been lending support to the “opt-out” movement:

Some parents at PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights received emails directly from teachers telling them that their kids can skip the exams without punishment.

“It’s your right to opt out of the NY State Tests. . . . Alternative educational activities are planned for all students opting out,” one email sent by a third grade PS 8 teacher said…

And a fourth grade teacher forwarded an attachment about opting out, claiming it came at the request of assistant principal Robert Mikos, a copy obtained by The Post reveals.

The Post also reported that 20 percent of parents chose to opt their children out from the Common Core standardized testing last year. In the Lower Hudson Valley, the number reported this week was even higher, according to the USA Today:

Some school officials voluntarily reported their figures on Tuesday; others declined, saying the numbers should first be reported to their boards of education; others did not respond at all. Those who responded were responsible for nearly 44,000 students, nearly 10,000 of whom declined to take the test, at a rate of 24 percent.

The Washington Post reported that he number of opt-outs were also high in other areas.

Eighty-six percent of test eligible students in the Long Island district of Comsewogue refused the test, and 89 percent of students in Dolgeville in the Mohawk Valley said “no.”

Newsday reported that 49.7 percent of all Long Island students refused the test Tuesday even though the Newsday editorial board has repeatedly urged parents to have their children take it.

This demonstrates that while state legislators may lack the desire or courage to end participation in Common Core, the public still has options.

BLUEPRINT

James Madison advised Americans in Federalist #46 to engage in a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” as the means to fight back against government overreach, and said that such actions in multiple states would be effective in bringing down federal programs. While Common Core supporters will claim that it’s a state-based program, connecting the dots shows that, at very least, it’s being directed and pushed by the feds.

New York parents and teachers provide a blueprint for people in other states to follow. This year, more bills to nullify Common Core and replace it with state controlled curriculum options have been introduced than ever before. However, many of these bills failed or stalled during the legislative session due to resistance from establishment politicians from both major political parties.

The next step for people in others states is to emulate New York and stage massive opt-out movements. This can  open eyes, raise awareness and put legislators on notice. Ultimately, if enough students opt out of the testing, it could collapse the Common Core system altogether. #

Additional reporting from Mike Maharrey and Michael Boldin.

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Posted in 10th Amendment, Bill of Rights, Education, Learn Liberty, New York News, New York State Constitution, New York State Government, News, Nullification, The Constitution, Tyranny | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Andrew Cuomo and Other Democrats Launch Severe Attack on Free Speech to Protect Israel

cuomo-israel-article-headerEd. Note:

Ed. Note: Personally, I like most of the Israeli people that I have met, and most of the Jews that I know. I also approve of the actions that the Israeli government takes most of the time. Assuming that the Mossad didn’t orchestrate and/or participate in a sanctioned destruction New York’s Twin Towers, you’d have to count me in the number that says, ‘I stand with Israel.’

However, Andrew Cuomo’s new Executive Order #157 (yes, the governor has a phone and a pen, too) treads rather ominously on the Nation and New York’s beloved freedom of speech. The first of its kind in the country, the order punishes those doing business with New York State who happen to hold political views different from his highness. This is a dangerous precedent, to say the least.

One wonders if those sacred, public progressive learning institutions that harbor pro-Palestinian, hate-baiting, anti-Israeli professors would see their funds cut, or perhaps the professors themselves dismissed. Not that I’d mind. But principles are principles, and the Bill of Rights is the Bill of Rights.

We’ll let The Intercept take it from here. #

By Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman at The Intercept, June 6, 2016 •

One of the greatest free speech threats in the West is the growing, multi-nation campaign literally to outlaw advocacy of boycotting Israel. People get arrested in Paris — the site of the 2015 “free speech” (for Muslim critics) rally — for wearing pro-boycott T-shirts. Pro-boycott students on U.S. campuses — where the 1980s boycott of apartheid South Africa flourished — are routinely sanctioned for violating anti-discrimination policies. Canadian officials have threatened to criminally prosecute boycott advocates. British government bodies have legally barred certain types of boycott advocacy. Israel itself has outright criminalized advocacy of such boycotts. Notably, all of this has been undertaken with barely a peep from those who styled themselves free speech crusaders when it came time to defend anti-Muslim cartoons.

But now, New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (above, in the 2016 Celebrate Israel Parade) has significantly escalated this free speech attack on U.S. soil, aimed at U.S. citizens. The prince of the New York political dynasty yesterday issued an executive order directing all agencies under his control to terminate any and all business with companies or organizations that support a boycott of Israel. It ensures that citizens who hold and express a particular view are punished through the denial of benefits that other citizens enjoy: a classic free speech violation (imagine if Cuomo issued an order stating that “anyone who expresses conservative viewpoints shall have all state benefits immediately terminated”).

Even more disturbing, Cuomo’s executive order requires that one of his commissioners compile “a list of institutions and companies” that — “either directly or through a parent or subsidiary” — support a boycott. That government list is then posted publicly, and the burden falls on them to prove to the state that they do not, in fact, support such a boycott. Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told The Intercept: “Whenever the government creates a blacklist based on political views it raises serious First Amendment concerns and this is no exception.” Reason’s Robby Soave denounced it today as “brazenly autocratic.”

To read the relevant provisions of Cuomo’s order is to confront the mentality of petty censoring tyranny, flavored with McCarthyite public shaming, in its purest form. See for yourself:

cuomo-1024x695

Making matters worse still is the imperious nature of Cuomo’s order. As Salon’s Ben Norton noted, “The New York legislature has unsuccessfully tried to push through anti-boycott legislation for months.” So instead, Cuomo just unilaterally decreed this punishment of boycott advocates.

New York’s Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer wasted no time, now demanding a federal statute that tracks Cuomo’s order. Hillary Clinton, last July, wrote a public letter to her (and the Democratic Party’s) billionaire supporter, self-described Israel fanatic Haim Saban, endorsing the core principle of this censorship effort — that boycotting Israel is a form of anti-Semitism — and did so again in her March speech before AIPAC. Numerous Republicans support similar measures.

Beyond the McCarthyism and profound free speech threat, the stench of hypocrisy of Cuomo and Democrats is suffocating. Just over two months ago, Cuomo banned state officials from traveling to North Carolina in order to support the boycott against that American state in protest over its anti-transgender law. That pro-boycott executive order from Cuomo began by proclaiming that “New York state is a national leader in protecting the civil rights and liberties of all of its citizens” and thus barred “publicly funded travel” to North Carolina.

But in justifying this punishment for Israel critics, Cuomo’s counsel told the New York Times: “It’s one thing to say I want to engage in political speech. It’s another thing to say I’m going to sanction you or penalize you for engaging in commercial activity.” But that — “I’m going to sanction you or penalize you for engaging in commercial activity” — is exactly what Cuomo did just two months ago by boycotting North Carolina. Think about how warped that is: To the governor of New York, it’s not only permissible but noble to boycott an American state, but it’s immoral and worthy of punishment to boycott Israel, a foreign country guilty of a decadeslong brutal and illegal occupation. Questions submitted by The Intercept to Cuomo were not answered as of publication.

More ironic still is that Cuomo, in imposing a boycott of North Carolina, said he was doing so because in “a free society the equal rights of all citizens … must be protected and cherished” — exactly the principle that the boycott of Israel is seeking to fulfill by ending oppression and discrimination against Palestinians. But even if you disagree with the Israel boycott itself, no rational person should want Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials to have the power to dictate which political views are acceptable and which ones result in denial of state benefits.

The free speech hypocrisy on the part of all sorts of people here is obvious. In 2012, conservatives were furious when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he would block the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A from expanding in the city as punishment for its owner’s anti-gay activism, depicting this move as a grave threat to free speech (a position we shared). Throughout 2015, pundits such as New York’s Jonathan Chait wrapped themselves in the free speech flag when it came time to defend racist and anti-gay speech on campus, insisting that all forms of speech, even “hate speech,” should be protected (positions we also share).

Yet now, a systematic, international campaign — fully bipartisan in the U.S. — is being implemented to abuse state resources and the force of law for a full-frontal assault on free speech and free assembly rights, and virtually none of them is objecting because it’s all in service of protecting Israel from criticism. It’s bizarre enough that someone gets elected as governor of New York and then believes it’s part of his job to shield Israel from criticism. That he does so by assaulting the free speech rights of citizens of his own country — just weeks after imposing a boycott on another American state — tells you all you need to know about the role Israel continues to play in American discourse and the willingness of people to stomp on free speech principles the moment doing so benefits their political goals.

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Activists Expose Monsanto’s Senate Lackeys Minutes Before DARK Act Vote

Actions highlight how senators who took money from Big Ag companies are voting against majority public opinion on GMO labeling

monsanto_3By Nadia Prupis at CommonDreams, July 6, 2016 •

Just before a controversial genetically modified (GM or GMO) labeling bill came up for a cloture vote in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, food and consumer advocates dropped over $2,000 on the chamber floor in a symbolic protest against what they are calling the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act.

The action aimed to highlight the fact that senators who took money from biotechnology giants like Monsanto are voting against majority public opinion, as recent polls have found that roughly 90 percent of Americans want labels on GMO foods.

The legislation, a so-called “compromise” bill introduced in June by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), would mandate GMO labeling nationwide but allow food companies to choose between using symbols, electronic codes, or packaging language—an unnecessary and confusing method, according to critics. The bill would also undo Vermont’s landmark labeling law, which went into effect July 1.

Roberts and Stabenow are reportedly pulling out all the lobbying stops to get the bill passed in the days before the Senate breaks for the summer. According to Politico, that includes “letters being sent, staffs briefed, reports and FDA assessments flaunted, and farmers and consumers are being encouraged to inundate lawmakers with phone calls.”

Politico notes that “The cloture vote is expected sometime after 3 p.m. If successful in winning the 60 votes needed, lawmakers can limit debate to 30 hours, setting up a floor vote as soon as Thursday.” If they can’t reach 60 votes, Sen. Bernie Sanders has vowed to put a hold on the bill.

“The American people have a right to know what they’re eating,” Sanders said during a press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. “The timing of this legislation is not an accident. Its goal is to overturn and rescind the very significant legislation passed in the state of Vermont. I will do everything that I can to see that it’s defeated.”

Activists say the legislation was negotiated behind closed doors with executives from Monsanto as well as other corporate organic companies, including Whole Foods, Stonyfield, and Smucker’s. Lobbyists from the Organic Trade Association were also involved.

“This bill was written and approved by Monsanto and America’s most corrupt food companies in a last ditch effort to avoid common sense, mandatory labeling of GMOs, while keeping the doors wide open for a flood of campaign cash,” Dave Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now!, said Wednesday.

Murphy’s group, along with other advocacy organizations, also staged protests in New Hampshire this week targeting the state’s Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and the Londonderry-based Stonyfield Yogurt’s headquarters for their central roles in the lobbying blitz. The activists say Ayotte has taken more than $10,000 from Monsanto in campaign donations.

The Senate last week approved the bill 68-29 in a procedural vote. According to an analysis of OpenSecrets.org data by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), senators who voted ‘Yes’ received more than twice as much in contributions from the agriculture lobby than those who voted ‘No’ ($867,518 for the supporters vs. $350,877 for opponents).

OCA political director Alexis Baden-Mayer, who participated in the money drop, said, “When Congress moves to crush the will of 9 out of 10 Americans because they need companies like Monsanto to fund their campaigns, you know our democracy is in real trouble.”

“The corporate lobbyists are totally corrupt,” Baden-Mayer said. “These companies have organic brands, but they also sell a lot of GMOs that they don’t want to label.”

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Happy Independence Day: Teach Your Children Well

declaration_stone_thumb_295_dark_gray_bgBy Thom, July 4, 2016 •

Virtually every American is familiar with the preamble of the American Declaration of Independence.

“…That all men are created equal” is known the world over, and stands as one of the most beloved and enduring phrases ever written in the course of human history.

Equally important are the actual Causes that compelled the colonists to separate from Britain, for it serves as the road map to Independence then — and now.

In this current period of American political revolution, we should take note of the trials and tribulations, as well as the patience and persistence of the founding generation. And pass these lessons on to our own children, the next generation to inherit the struggle for Freedom and Liberty.

The summary causes for separation, listed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration, were in large part the genesis for the Bill of Rights, in particular the First Amendment. Freedom of Speech and the Press does not mean that you can say whatever you want or trash any private individual in a blog without consequence. Nor is Freedom of Assembly about your guest list for today’s Independence Day cookout.

Religious freedom aside, the intention of the First Amendment is to protect the rights of Americans to criticize their government without penalty, and the Right to Petition for redress of grievances, when our elected and unelected officials run afoul of the federal Constitution — the rule book by which government must operate. It’s no accident the First Amendment is first, and the Second Amendment is second.

Indeed, these are our primary tools to govern the government, and peacefully bring about remedies and change when federal administrators have overstepped their authority. These are our Natural Rights guaranteed by the Constitution, not given to us by the government. And they are rooted in the Declaration of Independence.

Please take a moment to read the entire Declaration with your friends and family today, especially the younger ones. Resistance to tyranny is not only our right, it is our Duty.

You may download and print your own image of the original Declaration of Independence, along with complete printed text (courtesy of Hillsdale College), or simply refer below.

 

The Declaration of Independence
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

[The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:]

COLUMN 1
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

COLUMN 2
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn,                                             South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr.Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts: John Hancock
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin. John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton

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Posted in 10th Amendment, 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment, Bill of Rights, Education, Founders, Global Governance, Learn Liberty, Nullification, Right to Petition, The Constitution, Tyranny | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New York Bill Would Allow Customers to Opt Out of Smart Meters; Undermine Federal Program

smart-meter at Tenth Amendment Center, May 20, 2016 •

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 20, 2016) – A bill working its way through the New York legislature would allow customers to opt out of installing “smart meter” technology on their homes and businesses. Passage of this bill would allow New Yorkers to protect their own privacy, and it would take a step toward blocking a federal program in effect.

Asm. Michael DenDekker (D – East Elmhurst), along with a bipartisan coalition of four cosponsors, introduced Assembly Bill 4364 (A4354) in January. The legislation would allow New Yorkers to opt out of any utility company smart meter program with no penalty.

The Assembly Energy Committee passed the bill on April 28. It now moves on to the Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.

Smart meters monitor home energy usage in minute detail in real time. The devices transmit data to the utility company were it gets stored in databases. Anybody with access to the data can download it for analysts. Without specific criteria limiting access to the data, these devices create significant privacy issues. Smart meters can also be used to remotely limit power usage during peak hours.

A4354 provides a comprehensive smart meter opt-out right for utility customers.

It  shall be the right of every customer of an electric and/or gas corporation, at no penalty, fee or service charge to decline the permission of his or her electric and/or gas corporation, (a)  to  replace  an existing  meter  at  such  customer’s  premises that is assigned to such customer’s account with a two-way smart meter  or (b) to  install  any two-way  smart  meter device at his or her property without such customer’s consent.

The legislation would also require utility companies to give customers 90 day notice before installing smart meter technology with a right to decline installation. It would also allow a customer to require removal of a smart meter with no charge for one year after installation.

Privacy Concerns

The proliferation of smart meters creates significant privacy concerns. The data collected can tell anybody who holds it a great deal about what goes on inside a home. It can reveal when residents are at home, asleep or on vacation. It can also pinpoint “unusual” energy use, and could someday serve to help enforce “energy usage” regulations. The ACLU summarized the privacy issues surrounding smart meters in a recent report.

“The temptation to use the information that will be collected from customers for something other than managing electrical loads will be strong – as it has been for cell phone tracking data and GPS information. Police may want to know your general comings and goings or whether you’re growing marijuana in your basement under grow lights. Advertisers will want the information to sell you a new washing machine to replace the energy hog you got as a wedding present 20 years ago. Information flowing in a smart grid will become more and more ‘granular’ as the system develops.”

The privacy issues aren’t merely theoretical. According to information obtained by the California ACLU, utility companies in the state have disclosed information gathered by smart meters on thousands of customers. San Diego Gas and Electric alone disclosed data on more than 4,000 customers. The vast majority of disclosures were in response to subpoenas by government agencies “often in drug enforcement cases or efforts to find specific individuals,” according to SFGate.

“Mark Toney, executive director of the Utility Reform Network watchdog group, said the sheer number of data disclosures made by SDG&E raised the possibility that government agencies wanted to sift through large amounts of data looking for patterns, rather than conducting targeted investigations.”

No Smart Meter, No Data

Refusing to allow a smart meter on your property is the only sure-fire way to ensure your energy use data won’t fall into the hands of government agents or private marketers, or end up stored in some kind of government database. Passage of A4354 would make opting out a legal option for New Yorkers and give them control over their own privacy.

Impact on Federal Program

The federal government serves as a major source of funding for smart meters. A 2009 program through the U.S. Department of Energy distributed $4.5 billion for smart grid technology. The initial projects were expected to fund the installation of 1.8 million smart meters over three years.

The federal government lacks any constitutional authority to fund smart grid technology. The easiest way to nullify such programs is to simply not participate. A4364 would make that possible. If enough states pass similar legislation, and enough people opt out, the program will go nowhere.

We’ve seen a similar opt out movement undermining Common Core in New York. Opting out follows a strategy James Madison advised in Federalist #46. “Refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” provides a powerful means to fight back against government overreach. Such actions in multiple states would likely be effective in bringing down federal smart meter programs.

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Posted in 4th Amendment, Founders, Learn Liberty, New York News, New York State Constitution, New York State Government, Surveillance State, Tyranny | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYT’s ‘Gun Control That Works’ Just Another Disarmament Zealot Wish List Attack on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

ThompsonAd

If The Times were really interested in “what works” as far as machine guns are concerned, they’d admit that access to the weapons is “necessary to the security of a free State.”

for Oath Keepers, June 6, 2016 •

“For more than 80 years, the United States has enforced a tough and effective gun control law that most Americans have never heard of,” Alan Berlow claims in The New York Times. “It’s a 1934 measure called the National Firearms Act, and it stands as a stark rebuke to the most sacred precepts of the gun lobby and provides a model we should build on.”

Alan Berlow? So is this going to elaborate on some actual solutions, or does the guy have an agenda?

You tell me.  First, note his forum. Yeah, The Times. There’s an honest broker. They’re the ones who  offered a lame excuse for not reporting on Fast and Furious. Then they did their utmost to run interference for Eric Holder. Still, it was instructive taking on an entire panel they stacked against me on Virginia Tech in  a “How Many 5-Year-Olds Can You Take in a Fight?” kind of way.

And Berlow? He seems obsessed with going after NRA (not always a bad thing, but for the wrong reasons) in anti-gun “progressive” Mother Jones. And it’s not his first time up to bat at The Times.

Still, as much as the medium and the messenger may raise eyebrows, what is it he’s really promoting this time out?  After all, ad hominem argument is a logical fallacy.  We need to instead examine what he’s advocating.

“Leaders of the National Rifle Association rarely talk about the firearms act, and that’s probably because it imposes precisely the kinds of practical — and constitutional — limits on gun ownership, such as registration and background checks, that the N.R.A. regularly insists will lead to the demise of the Second Amendment,” he offers.

Actually, NRA rarely talks about NFA ’34 because they had a strong hand in the abomination. It’s hardly in Fairfax’s interest to have people reminding them of that (this is what I meant above by “not always a bad thing”).

And as for it being “constitutional,” the reason the feds went after a transfer tax instead of a ban is they knew they didn’t have authority to try for the latter. And as for that registration and tax, the district court in the Miller short-barreled shotgun case agreed that it was a violation of the Second Amendment. It was only after the government appealed to the Supreme Court and no attorney showed up to argue the case, and only the government’s side was heard, that the opinion cited in subsequent cases was issued.  And even that had to concede a weapon was protected if it had “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia [or] that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense.”

The function of the militia, defined as “all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense [and] bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time,” was — and is — to field citizen soldiers. And these citizens must bear arms that are suitable for that purpose, “ordinary military equipment” intended to be taken into “common defense” battles. The militia in the War of the Rebellion did not assemble on the green bearing clubs and spears.  They came with the intent to match and best the professional military threat of the most powerful empire of the time.

This is what the American people have allowed to be scammed from them, and what the slick professional wormtongues at The New York Times and other subversive agitprop outlets are counting on the ignorant and the cud-chewers remaining ignorant about.

So here we have this citizen disarmament hack telling a readership he reckons has never heard of NFA ‘34 that we need to extend similar infringements to apply to all gun purchases, and to do that, he pulls another bit of misdirection. He’s also got good reason to be confident most of his readership will never notice that correlation does not imply causation.

Sure, “legal” machine gun owners are extraordinarily “law-abiding.” They filled out the forms, jumped through the hoops and paid for the permission, didn’t they? And with the extreme expense of such firearms due to the limited supply made inevitable by the post-’86 ban, we’re talking a strata of society that can afford individual firearms artificially valued more than the entire collections of many gun owners.

But it’s not just the absence of “machine gun crimes” where such folk prove their trustworthiness. You can bet they also have non-existent rates of rapes, stabbings, liquor store robberies, and you name the violent crime.

So isn’t that proof that only individuals with clean records in that regard should be “allowed” to have guns?  That’s already the case.  There are all kinds of existing disqualifiers designating people “prohibited persons,” and the gun-grabbers are doing their utmost to expand them to include everyone they view as an ideological threat to their collectivist end game. It’s either that or admit the truth that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian.

Then, once they have everything down to a small and compliant subset of elite owners who have shown a willingness to submit to prior restraints, be registered, pay fees, obey “requirements” and submit themselves for approvals, inspections, permissions and revocations, all the monopoly of violence needs to do is change the rules. (Curious the spokesman for the NFATCA collector’s group tells The Times “You’re not giving up any rights.” Curious, but sadly, not surprising. Such an appallingly oblivious assertion about rights practically begs for an Inigo Montoya response.)

Give the gun-grabbers a few more years morphing the electorate with that “pathway to citizenship” they’ve been paving and adding lanes to, and they’ll have the legislative and judicial confirmation juice to enact and uphold whatever they want, declaring  anyone defying them an “outlaw.” And there’ll be no shortage of hive insect propagandists convincing the dull and the uninformed that not only works, but it’s both desirable and “constitutional.”

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