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Anti-Commandeering: The Key to Effective NSA Resistance

One of the most common concerns people express in response to our plan to fight back against the NSA is that they think the feds are simply too powerful. They think they will come in and run roughshod over our rights even if we succeed in getting states to push back. This is an understandable position. The feds have made a mockery of the notion of ‘States Rights’ and have desecrated the Constitution at every turn.

However, the OffNow strategy rests on solid legal footing. Under the anti-commandeering doctrine states can refuse cooperation and material support to the feds for whatever reason they choose.

The doctrine is non-controversial in a legal sense.  Even nullification deniers and federal supremacists have a hard time propagandizing people against anti-commandeering because it has been affirmed and re-affirmed by the Supreme Court. The often maligned Supreme Court has consistently rebuked the overbearing federal government when it has tried to commandeer state governments to do their bidding. Let’s examine those four significant rulings.

Prigg v. Pennsylvania: This case concerned a slave fleeing the state of Maryland to Pennsylvania after her master died. While in Maryland, she lived a life of relative freedom, although she was never formally freed. The widow of the deceased ‘owner’ later decided to go claim her ‘property’ and hired an agent to capture the slave. In doing so, the man violated Pennsylvania state law and was convicted. The man appealed and his conviction was overturned because the Supreme Court declared that the Fugitive Slave Acts were ‘supreme’ over Pennsylvania state law.

While this ruling was obviously abysmal, it was not without a silver lining. Justice Joseph Story wrote in his opinion for the court that states, while unable block the Fugitive Slave Act, did not have to assist the feds in fugitive slave rendition.

New York v. United States: This case concerned radioactive waste. The feds passed an act to coerce states to dealing with their waste in a manner that the federal government approved of. If states did not comply with the federal government, they were forced to take ownership of the waste produced inside state lines. This part of the Act was ruled unconstitutional because, as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it, the federal government was trying to commandeer the state governments which was unconstitutional and in direct contradiction to the “core of state sovereignty,” the Tenth Amendment.

Printz v. United States: This case pertained to firearm regulations. As apart of a Clinton-era gun control effort (the Brady Bill), lawmen such as sheriffs were deemed ‘chief law enforcement officers’ and required to enforce federally-mandated background checks. Arizona Sheriffs Jay Printz and Richard Mack sued the federal government and got that provision overturned based on anti-commandeering grounds.

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius: This is the infamous Obamacare ruling.  Although Justice John Roberts ruled the Obamacare mandate lawful under the reasoning that it is a tax, the opinion did clear the way for states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion provision. The Court held that the threat to cut off existing Medicaid funds to states that refused to expand Medicaid was an unreasonable coercion and not allowed.

Even the Supreme Court recognizes that there are state sovereignty line the feds can’t cross. They simply cannot coerce, force or demand that states cooperate with implementation or enforcement of federal acts or programs.

James Madison acknowledged these boundaries of sovereignty between the states and the federal government, and advised states to use the power they retain to serve as a check on federal overreach. He wrote about it in Federalist #46 before the Constitution was even ratified.

If an act of a particular State, though unfriendly to the national government, be generally popular in that State and should not too grossly violate the oaths of the State officers, it is executed immediately and, of course, by means on the spot and depending on the State alone. The opposition of the federal government, or the interposition of federal officers, would but inflame the zeal of all parties on the side of the State, and the evil could not be prevented or repaired, if at all, without the employment of means which must always be resorted to with reluctance and difficulty. On the other hand, should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.

Madison wanted the people of the states to become excited, vocal and uncooperative when their liberties are being violated. He wanted us to use the state legislatures to take action against illegal and unpopular measures from the feds.

State and local refusal to cooperate with the federal government is both an legal and effective way to stop unconstitutional violations of our rights. Madison gave us confidently the blueprint and the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the legality of the tactics.

Now, it’s time for you to take action. Urge your state senator and representative to introduce the Fourth Amendment Protection Act.

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Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Another Shameless NSA Fraud

#NullifyNSAIt’s the 10th anniversary of Cybersecurity Awareness Month! Should we celebrate? NSA Director General Keith Alexander certainly thinks so! If you ask him, everything’s fine and dandy in America and we have the brave ‘public servants’ at the NSA to thank for that.

“Cybersecurity is vital to our economy and our way of life, and ultimately the security of our nation. The Internet, a virtual global city in which we all participate and benefit, is part of the fabric of our daily lives. But just as in our cities and towns, this virtual city attracts criminals and those who would do us harm,” Alexander wrote in a condescending press release.
Continue reading Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Another Shameless NSA Fraud

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The Newest Threat to the Surveillance State: Spam

NSA spamThe bureaucrats at the NSA have a new problem to deal with. Aside from their illegal behavior being revealed to the public and never-ending fallout over that as more leaks are uncovered, there is also the matter of spam. Apparently junk mail is up there with transparency and accountability competing to be the bane of the NSA’s existence.

Spam e-mails are giving the NSA a hard time. According to this Slate article, a majority of the data they collect from e-mails are not even from real human beings. This is another indicator that the NSA is not as omnipotent and infallible as they want you to believe they are.

The whole idea of the NSA, aside from their laughably false statements that they want to keep us safe from terrorism, is to intimidate their political opposition into submission. The idea that Big Brother is out there always listening is supposed to make you cower in fear and become silent. They want you to think that if you speak out, you can be identified and potentially disappeared under the NDAA 2012. That way their agenda of accumulating power can continue according to plan without anyone messing it up. But can they really be that powerful if some spam e-mails can give them a lot of trouble? Continue reading The Newest Threat to the Surveillance State: Spam

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How To Stop NSA Spying: Corporations, Universities, State Governments In Bed With Big Brother

#NullifyNSANow that the NSA has been exposed, its minions hope you will sit cowering in fear of their power. The agency hopes that widespread knowledge of its unbelievably expansive spying operation will cause activists to relent.

However, the NSA has an Achilles Heel that they do not want you to know about – the fact that it relies on our complicity to run its operation.

Because the NSA has arrogantly embarked on such a vast, Orwellian venture, it has left itself vulnerable to local and state action against it.

NSA relies on our complicity, our resources, our manpower, our universities and private corporations to destroy our privacy rights. Big Brother simply does not have what it takes to pull off such a grand endeavor without our help. By removing that help with a grassroots, bottom-up campaign, we can turn it off for good!

Here is how we fight back. Continue reading How To Stop NSA Spying: Corporations, Universities, State Governments In Bed With Big Brother

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Achilles Heel: NSA Water Use Hints at Large Problems in Utah

Not only is the new NSA Spy Center (Data center is what they call it) having troubles with electricity and some “meltdowns” as the Wall Street Journal reported, they also seem to be having some water issues.

According to a report from the Salt Lake Tribune that was shared with us by our lead Utah coalition partner, Libertas Institute, “Water use hints at problems at Utah Data Center.”

If you want a clue as to whether there are problems at the Utah Data Center, talk to the man selling the massive spy building its water.

When operational, the Utah Data Center is expected to consume 1.7 million gallons a day in order to cool the people and technology inside. But so far, says Bluffdale City Manager Mark Reid, water consumption has been wildly inconsistent.

They’ve gone from no usage to over their amounts that they planned to use,” Reid said on Tuesday.

“I don’t know what they’re doing there,” Reid said, “but they’re usage has been all over the board. ”

The sporadic water use could point to the kinds of equipment failures reported this week in the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper said the Utah Data Center has been plagued by power surges that have ruined “hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery” and “delayed the center’s opening for a year.”

Much more important than figuring out what “they’re doing there” is this question: Continue reading Achilles Heel: NSA Water Use Hints at Large Problems in Utah