After three days of continuous blogging on this conference, we are exhausted physically, but reinvorgated in spirit. Hundreds of people over the three days of the conference were given pertinent information, challenged and encouraged to expend the effort necessary to protect our foundational liberties and our unalienable rights.
We know that we have not come close to doing justice to the breadth and depth of information presented, so we would urge you, if you have found our analysis interesting, to go to the Freedom21 site and order a set of the DVD’s of the conference. Use them to educate yourself and your family and friends, and then engage for freedom in your local communities!
As this article and the attached video (see below) demonstrate, the Oklahoma Legislature continues to run an impromptu class on the “How-To’s” of reclaiming state sovereignty. And while they’re at it, they’re also giving an unsolicited (and probably unwelcome) advanced level seminar on long-term political strategy and tactics. What have they done?
Once again, Oklahoma has passed a state sovereignty resolution. The previous one was passed in both the Oklahoma House and Senate but was vetoed by Gov. Brad Henry whose best excuse was to claim that it would require the “return of federal tax money,” thus proving that the Governor either completely failed to grasp the point of the resolution or grasped and rejected it.
What’s interesting here is that the Oklahoma House has come up with a parliamentary method to bypass the Governor who has proven himself to be a federal lick-spittle. Oklahoma House members led by Charles Key (R- Oklahoma City) has made the new resolution a House Concurrent Resolution which can be passed by both houses of the legislature and does not require the signature of the governor. The Oklahoma House passed it last Monday May 4, 2009.
But why is this bypass such a political coup, when the concurrent resolution really doesn’t have any legal punch?
The strategic reasons:
Once state sovereignty begins to be discussed seriously, it means that discussion of the repeal of the 17th amendment, the amendment that requires Senators to be elected by popular vote rather than appointed as state government representatives to the federal legislature, can begin
True federalism, i.e., Madison’s “divided sovereignty,” with true sovereignty of the states will only be returned through the repeal of the 17th amendment
Repeal of the 17th amendment would make repeal of the 16th amendment, the amendment that allows the federal government to engage in direct taxation, far easier. This would be another step towards the re-establishment of true federalism. Direct taxation authority belongs only to the states in the original federalist design
Once the federal leviathan is put on a strict forced tax diet, its unnecessary fat necessarily shrinks and falls away. The surest way to reduce the size, cost and intrusiveness of government is to reduce the revenue available to it.
Repeal of the 17th would also make it possible to repeal of the Federal Reserve Act, which would go a long way to reducing the revenue available to grow government. It could be replaced with the old Independent Treasury System, often called the “most stable banking system of the 19th century”
One state doing re-declaring its 10th amendment sovereignty is cause for derision from the “federal supremacy in all things” camp, 5 states is a cause for concern there, 10 states is reason for panic, 25 or more means that some form of completely irrational response would be forthcoming from those in the power centers which tends to awaken the sleeping populace.
The tactical reasons:
Oklahoma Republicans now have their governor, a Democrat, on record as being against their state’s sovereignty. He has, in effect, said to them “We have to live with the federal boot on our necks to keep our own tax money coming back to us.”
The Republican legislators now have a basis to work to expose an extremely popular governor of the other party who has clearly flouted the will of the electorate (this measure is quite popular in Oklahoma) who has now been show to be more interested in pleasing his federal overseers than protecting the constitutional guarantees of the rights of the citizens of his own state
Republican legislators have demonstrated that they are willing to proactively go toe-to-toe with a popular governor in order to protect those same constitutional guarantees in spite of his efforts
Republican legislators have demonstrated that they are willing to go toe-to-toe with the federal playground bully who has, up to now, had no qualms about whose lunch money it would steal
Republican legislators have maneuvered Democratic legislators into demonstrating that they will do “whatever it takes” to protect a Democrat governor who kow-tows to the federal leviathan and disparages state sovereignty (thus exposing their own positions) from the political fallout of the resolution’s passage while Republicans have shown they’re willing to do “whatever it takes” to protect Oklahoma voters from federal usurpation
A few state legislators working within the bounds of their authority in their own state legislature have made the now astronomically expanding federal leviathan begin to look over its shoulder to see the specter of the Constitution beginning to haunt its attempts to assume all authority and make the states an anachronism
The real question here is will other state legislatures, it really doesn’t matter what their party affiliation, recognize that there is a Constitution, that it sets boundaries and limits to federal authority and gives the states wide latitude to interpose on behalf of its citizens.
Frankly, that’s an open question in Ohio. If state leadership like the feckless Kevin DeWine have their way, Republican legislators would run screaming from the room if this type of legislation were to be mentioned. But it seems that there are some of that party who understand the two-fold utility of this type of resolution. It both alerts federal usurpers that Ohio will no longer stand idly by while the 9th and 10th amendments (not to mention article IV) are simply ignored by Congress and the Executive branch and it exposes those members of both parties who oppose Ohio’s move to protect its citizens from federal over-stepping of authority as despots or the toadys of despots. Thus, these resolutions HCR 11 in the Ohio House and the new resolution in the Ohio Senate (to be introduced today) are the tools Ohioans need to dig out from the avalanche of federal laws, rules, regulations and resolutions that are burying them in taxes and the fetters of government restriction.
What can be done?
Part of this article contains a promotion of a conference where you can learn how Oklahoma is getting the job done. Freedom21 is a grassroots coalition of state and national groups banded together to protect life, liberty and property from both federal and international assault. At its core, Freedom21 exists to oppose the UN’s laughably misnamed Agenda21 sustainable development power grab.
Oklahoma Rep. Charles Key is a headline speaker there and was last year as well. Last year Key, an aptly named key player, came to the Freedom21 conference and explained how he and other Oklahoma legislators stopped the NAFTA super-hiway (remember? It’s the road project that the federal government claimed never existed) from passing through Oklahoma.
Texas activists also did their part to stop the corridor using local planning commissions. They were so effective that Gov. Rick Perry (who appears to have gotten the message if his latest statements at a Texas TEA Party is any indication) came out and announced that the road project that didn’t exist was now officially canceled in Texas. These folks were at Freedom21’s conference last year as well to explain how they did it.
Will you be there this year to find out how to do it? Come out to Freedom21 in August and learn how to re-take your state’s sovereignty- proactively.
In the meantime, contact your state Senators and Representatives and urge them to co-sponsor and vote for the state sovereignty resolutions.
Dan Byfield, of the group American Stewards of Liberty, explained to the assembled conferees how the coordination of local commissions by liberty activists have helped to put a roadblock in the way of a massive transnational project called the Trans-Texas Corridor project. The corridor is an internationally funded toll road designed to connect Mexico to Canada that will take 146 acres per mile of private property from Texas citizens.
Byfield discussed the important concept of coordination, which is local governments (counties, cities, school districts, water districts, etc) utilizing existing laws that require the federal and state agencies to work with them on a government-to-government basis.
He referenced a number of federal statutes which have requirement for the federal agencies to coordinate with local levels of government, by notifying the community of pending implementation of regulations or programs. The federal agency must work with and address concerns of the local government units, and if the local government has a plan or policy in place that conflicts with the federal plan, the federal agency must adopt their plan to harmonize with the local plan!
Using this, his organization has been working with those local governments to leverage this requirement to protect private property and individual liberty rights from usurpation by federal bureaucrats. Their organization is working with several states, mainly in the west, to educate and empower local units of government as to the power this regulation reserves into the hands of local elected officials and local governmental agencies, including water districts, conservation districts, etc.
Byfield discussed the particulars of how this powerful concept was used (and is now being used) to stop the wholesale implementation of the TTC, also known as the “NAFTA Superhighway” whose ultimate goal is to create a corridor from central Mexico to Canada, running straight through the central plains of the United States. You can read about the background and ongoing efforts on this issue here.
They found language in state statute that mandated that even state agencies must coordinate with local regional planning agencies on any proposed effort, and set to work to create those local planning agencies between five towns, representing multiple county jurisdictions, right in the pathway of the TTC, putting a 30 mile wide gap in the pathway. These five mayors are actively working to keep the TTC from being implemented, and are reaching out to other surrounding mayors to “coordinate” with them. American Stewards of Liberty has created eight more of these local regional planning commissions in Texas.
Their continuing efforts led to a signficant change in the desire of the state government to push for the continuation of the TTC plans, actually killing legislation that would have extended authority for this, something that Texas Governor Rick Perry was seeking.
Byfield knows the TTC is not dead; like any bad idea, it has just been repackaged under a new name: Innovative Connectivity Vision of Texas/2009. The state wants to split the project into segments, but use the entire route plan as the template, which may violate a number of federal regulations.
Byfield also discussed a grassroots effort to reinvigorate our representation: GOOOH. He believes this is a doable option. I will personally reserve judgment on this until more details are revealed about how to ensure the process.
American’s need to re-learn what the 10th amendment is and what it is about. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and no entity is above it. Laws contrary to the Constitution, the highest law in the lans, is no law at all. Yet this is the central question of the day- can an act or an executive order that violates the Constitution be legal?
The Declaration of Independence lays the foundation for the Constitution. It contains “inalienable” rights that men possess by virtue of their humanity and the primary purpose of government is protection of those rights. In our government, the people are the sovereigns. The 10th amendment is an explicit statement of those rights. What America faces is an accumulation of violations of the Constitution.
We must be able to face the fact that the federal government including the Supreme court is in violation of the law, the Constitution, constantly. We now must clearly state that fact, that the government is the lawbreaker, or we cannot pull out of the tail spin. The government is currently behaving as if we belong to it but in reality it belongs to us. The Constitutional Convention rejected the idea that there could be a broad, liberal interpretation of the Constitution.
There are 2 views of the Constitution and Key quoted extensively from Dr. Thomas DiLorenzeo’s book Hamilton’s Curse regarding Alexander Hamilton’s belief in a ruling elite class and a broad and expansive interpretation. He also quotes John Taylor’s book New Views of the Constitution regarding a narrow and strict constructionist interpretation ala Jefferson. Jefferson’s view is, of course, the view that liberty advocates adhere to. Hamilton’s view allows the federal government to usurp any power that they can twist from deliberately mis-reading the clauses of the Constitution. When we violate the Constitution we kill it a little each time. The damage is cumulative.
With the death of the Constitution, society itself is in retreat as the federal government advances. The passage of the 16th amendment is one of the most intrusive burdens yet passed. But the 17th amendment is one of the most damaging to the federal structure of the government, thus keeping the pivotal 10th amendment at bay. The removal of state government representatives from the federal government allowed the federal to override the state government’s wishes.
In Oklahoma atleast 100 bills are expected in 2010 acting on state sovereignty issues. Key called for more candidates with knowledge of constitutional issues. He said we must call federal criminals just that, we need to challenge every elected official to be faithful to their oaths of office or they should be labeled what they are- enemies of the Constitution, we need states to demand repeal of the 17th amendment, citizens need to support legislators willing to stand up for the sovereignty of states. Key explained that the Oklahoma sovereignty resolution was not originally his idea and has been around since the 1970’s but that it bounced around for years. But it was only a first step; a notification that the states are serving notice that they know what’s going on. Key admonished constitutionalists to stay positive and stop think that all is already lost.
The luncheon speaker for Freedom21 today is Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Committee. His engaging talk today focused on how the involuntary collection of union dues is used as a financial prop for candidates who oppose Constitutionally-limited government and the principles of freedom. Mix noted that the motto of his organization is “Everyone should have the right to join a union, but no one should be compelled to join.”
He talked about the profound impact a period, yes the punctuation mark, has had on our country. In relation to the National Labor Relations Act, the language that would give the rights to defer from being compelled to join a union was not ended with a period, but with a qualified exemption statement which spelled out the compulsory right of unions to require membership.
Right to work was passed in 1947 as a corrective to the problems created in the 1935 NLRA. It allowed states to outlaw forced unionism , and 22 states have done so (no, Ohio hasn’t exercised this option). Data shows that overall economic vitality is improved in states which have exercised the right to work option, and those states have increased residency migration to the state as well.
There are some significant interests who have a vested interest in forced unionism and the involuntary payment of dues to the union (forced unionism is a $20 billion/year business, and is growing yearly). This economic muscle is being utilized politically at this point to try to eliminate the ability to keep union organizing votes as secret ballots (the card check legislation). A large proportion of this is to push forced unionism on all workers, and a provision in it would require government officials to mandate terms of contracts if an agreement cannot be reached between the union and the employer within 120 days, which would give the union leaders unprecedented leverage to demand massive concessions. The president of the SEIU union knows that passage of this bill will expand union numbers by 1.5 million per year for the next 10 to 15 years. Even if mandatory dues would only be $35 per year, it equates to a massive influx of money for the union leaders to use to further centralize control over both employers and the employees they supposedly represent.
Mix notes the big prize they are seeking is First Contract Arbitration, which would mandate the above 120 day time limit, and would prevent any renegotiation of the contract for at least two years. Mix also noted that the ability to force individuals to contribute to an agenda with which they by and large disagree with, with no voice in how such practices should be done, is the essence of socialism.
Amanda Teegarden, executive director of OK-Safe, talked on fusion centers. Fusion centers are integrated information gathering centers. This includes places where street and private business camera information is centrally located. These are collaborative efforts between two or more intelligence gathering agencies. Supposedly at the core is gathering information to fight “criminal activity and terrorism.”
Terrorists are now being defined as groups of people who reject the “international system” according to people like Henry Kissinger. The goal of the construction of the intelligence networks is to remove barriers to information sharing between fed, state, local, tribal and private intelligence information gathering centers. They are supposed to turn information into actionable knowledge while paying lip-service to “protecting privacy.”
Every level of law enforcement and every sector, public and private, are involved. These include virtually everything you can think of and several you cannot probably think of from banks to restaurants to public and private buildings, manufacturing plants, pleasure centers- amusement parks, cruise ships, etc.
This is part of a global effort to create an inter-connected intelligence based policing. Interoperability is key and uniform language and systems are imperative. Involved entities have to agree to “non-disclosure” agreements (memorandoms of understanding) before they are allowed to hook-up to the system. Supposedly states have the ability to keep info within the state but this is non-sense. Information includes driver’s license information. Info Guard is part of this system. Many involved do so with good intentions but this does not excuse becoming part of this evil system. We need to find our equivalent of Oklahoma’s SB 483. Part of the mandate of the bill requires reports of suspicious activities and incidents in order to build a database of suspicious “behaviors” that “might lead to terrorist activity” (thought policing). Guidelines are being developed to centralize the collection and distribution of “suspicious behaviors.”
This is an effort to identify and eliminate “stove pipes” or barriers to the new system. Among the “stove pipes” are “legacy systems” like the concept of the nation-state and those who still hold to the concept of the nation-state. Supply-chain management strategies have been worked into intelligence and law enforcement methods.
Part of the mission is to create “decision advantage” which require hard-nosed and dedicated agents to accomplish the goals of the participating agencies. There are technologies involved like “cloud technologies,” etc. The Dept. of Defense and the Department of Justice have signed joint agreements to work together to develop these technologies. Other agencies are now beginning to join in- black boxes in cars and monitors in trucks and other transportation.
Amanda compared the erection of the Tower of Babel with the construction of this overarching (not to mention unconstitutional) intelligence gathering capability.
Honestly, you simply must watch this presentation to get the full impact of what Amanda Teegarden talked about. It was simply too complex and compact to relate with any real intelligence in this short format! Please watch it on the Video On Demand system!
Catherine Bleisch, executive director of the Liberty Restoration Project in Kansas City, is a grassroots activist who early in her activist life was a self-described leftist who had been indoctrinated to believe the mantra “Republicans bad; Democrats good” but who came to the realization that it is not a left-right dichotomy that is really the underlying struggle in our country, but that the real struggle is between liberty and centralized control.
Her epiphany came from being exposed to the philosophy of Republican congressman Ron Paul of Texas. That set her on the path of being an activist and catalyst for the defense of liberty under law. This transformation took place in 2007. She didn’t have long to wait before that philosophical shift was tested in a significant way.
In an earlier post, we discussed the issue with the Missouri Information Analysis Center report on “suspect groups”, basically a modern “Enemies List” targeting many groups and individuals identified as being supportive of returning the country to its Constitutional boundaries. Bleisch was called to the response of this issue, and did she and her organization ever respond!
She developed a strategy of education and mobilization of freedom activists, including collecting official documentation from the state of Missouri through the use of Freedom of Information Act and state open records laws, putting together a coherent and informed response, educating state elected officials on the significant concerns with the MIAC report, engaged and brought to the table a large number of activists, prepared and presented testimony, and most importantly, did not let go of the issue or took a dismissive response from officials as a good answer to their questions.
Her strategy: seek grassroots input, identify the ROOT of the problem, think outside the box, do what is RIGHT (no matter how much opposition and derision you might receive from those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo), and keep focus at the level where the problem can be solved the best (in this instance, it was at the state level with the executive and legislative branches of Missouri government). Also, give your supporters effective action informational alerts: keep it short, sweet and specific to the root problem. She also suggests mobilizing the media (not the MSM, but alternative and independent media sources) to support your position and build your support.
With activists like Catherine Bleisch and her energy and solid ideas, the future of liberty under law in our country looks hopeful.
The opening session today was a panel on how to use new technologies and techniques to communicate and activate the grassroots of America. The panel consisted of John Stadtmiller of the Republic Broadcasting Network, and Gary Franchi and George Shepherd of Republic magazine.
Stadtmiller discussed the history of the network he operates, utilizing alternative media and internet based broadcasting to bring voices to the airwaves which wouldn’t be normally heard on commercial radio. The Network’s motto is “Real News Real Talk Real People: Because you can handle the truth”.
Gary Franchi, publisher of Republic magazine, discussed the usage of new technology to bring together people and organizations to activate the freedom movement. They have launched a social networking site, ala FaceBook, called RTR ActNet, dubbed “the activist network for the modern revolutionary” to bring together freedom activists in community. The platform is being used to help generate idea development and provide a space for those who are working to promote liberty, often without recognition or thanks, to be able to share their efforts with others.
George Shepherd discussed the rationale for the formation of Republic magazine, and that it is a information organ to help people learn about information much like what has been presented over these last two days at the Freedom21 Conference. They are launching a local franchising option for folks who are interested in developing media for their communities or regions and need publishing support. Shepherd believes that in order to be able to be successful in restoring our Constitutional republican form of government.
Another effort that Shepherd discussed is the formation of an online “television network”, Freedom TV, which he dubbs the “1st online TV station for the patriot movement.” From on-demand movie downloads to liberty-based informational programming, Freedom TV has it.
All in all, the panel’s main message is that there are numerous streams available to share information and to encourage activists without having it filtered or suppressed by the main stream media, whether it be via the Internet or over the airwaves. The information revolution may be a key to the restoration of the republic.
After two days of intense information overload, we are preparing for a third full day of learning about some of the ways in which freedom-loving Americans have stepped up to the plate and have been working to correct the problems facing our country. I have heard a number of comments from attendees over the last two days that the true picture of what is really happening “behind the scenes” in our nation is depressing to hear. I believe that today’s sessions will help to dispel that depression, and provide a ray of hope that the American experiment in liberty under law is far from being just a quaint memory, but is at the breakpoint of a vibrant resurgence. Are you ready to get into the struggle for freedom? Equip and engage!
Oklahoma State Senator Randy Brogdan called for a return to the fundamentals of government- the US Constitution. He cited the cascading problems that now face the nation and pointed back to the fact that politicians have been ignoring the restriction of their powers for several decades. Brogdan stated that a return to the restrictions of the Constitution will not be easy but that we have an obligation to do the job.
Sen. Brogdan pointed out that we have no choice but to step up to preserve our freedoms. We have really no choice. We have been given the assignment from the generations that passed before. While our present generation settles for greed and corruption we have been assigned the task to stand in the gap so that freedom can be passed to the next generation. He warned that this job cannot be done while moral thought gravitates toward immorality and perversion. He points out that this is true because we have lost sight of the reference point of freedom. Thomas Jefferson called these things “self-evident” and yet they are quickly being lost.
The fight to recover liberty will require sacrifice but the rewards will be worth the sacrifice. Many of us will become discouraged but we need to remember that one honest voice can overwhelm a crowd. Life in any nation is good only as long as the people remain vigilant and free. While our leaders exploit our moral blindness to work towards erasing our borders those of us who still possess the vision cannot surrender.
Senator Brogdan made it clear thathe was not calling for change but restoration. That includes a restoration of America’s moral foundation. As long as there is a spark of righteousness left we can recover our freedom and liberty in the republic. But, he warned, it must be accomplished at the STATE level.
Promoting The Steady Hand of Biblically-Based Christian Statesmanship on Public Policy