February 22, 2014
States introducing Bills to cut off NSA water, power, gas
February 22, 2014. Boston. It would seem that opponents of the National Security Agency (NSA) have found a weapon to combat the domestic spy ring. A number of state legislatures, with more joining the list all the time, have proposed Bills to cut off all resources from NSA buildings. The needed items that would be withheld include water, electricity, gas and all services provided by state vendors.
NSA spy center headquarters in Boston, MA. Image courtesy of BostonGlobe.com.
Proponents and sponsors of the various pieces of anti-NSA legislation cite the Tenth Amendment Center for providing the idea, as well as the details needed to draft and propose the Bill. The group’s website has the appearance of the typical ‘patriots for profit’ site with endless calls to donate, buy ‘Tenther gifts’, or purchase ‘Tenther products’ from their online ‘Tenther store’. That’s not to say their efforts aren’t sincere. Even grassroots campaigns cost money. It’s just that their fundraising efforts appear to outweigh their Tenth Amendment efforts.
Off Now Coalition
Together with other like-minded groups, the Tenth Amendment Center created the Off Now Coalition. It’s that coalition that has made available draft legislation that activists around the country can adopt to fit their own State Legislature’s guidelines. The model Bill provided by the organization begins, ‘It is the policy of this state to refuse material support, participation or assistance, to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize the collection of electronic data or meta data of any person(s) pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person(s), places(s) and thing(s) to be searched or seized.’
The two-page draft Bill goes on to name three specific groups that are warned not to help, aid or assist the federal government’s spying efforts in the respective state. Those groups include government employees on all levels that may feel obligated to obey orders from Washington. It also includes companies doing business with the state who will be cut off from future contracts if it’s discovered the vendor is providing services to the NSA. And finally, cities and counties within the state are warned that they will be cut off from all state funding if they violate the mandated blockade of NSA facilities.
Read the full piece of sample legislation here.
States propose the Bill
Over the past month, a small handful of states have seen the NSA Blockade Bill proposed by State Representatives or State Senators. In at least one instance, the legislation cutting off the NSA is a bi-partisan effort with both Republicans and Democrats co-sponsoring the Bill. According to a report by US News; Arizona , California, Tennessee and Washington were the first states to have the Bill officially proposed. Arizona has been the most successful so far with the legislation actually being approved by a 4-2 Committee vote on February 3rd.
The full list of State Legislatures that have introduced the Bill or taken steps to have the legislation introduced include (from OffNow.org):
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Probably the two most important states to the NSA and its spy capabilities are Utah and Maryland. The agency has spent years building and fixing a massive espionage complex in Utah that is years behind schedule, billions over budget and a common target for those accusing the federal government of overstepping its bounds.
Maryland hosts the NSA’s headquarters at Fort Meade. In that state, eight Republican lawmakers co-sponsored the anti-NSA Bill. The facility is said to use a mind-boggling amount of water which is needed to cool massive computers used to spy on people the world over. According to the local utilities, the NSA center at Fort Meade requires up to 5 million gallons of water per day to keep the spy headquarters running. The Maryland ‘Off Now’ legislation would shut off the center’s water and its spy capabilities. The Bill is currently assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
Tenth Amendment Center
One of the items the Tenth Amendment Center provides is a brief history and explanation of the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution. ‘The founding fathers had good reason to pen the Tenth Amendment,’ the organization writes, ‘The issue of power – and especially the great potential for a power struggle between the federal and the state governments – was extremely important to America’s founders. They deeply distrusted government power, and their goal was to prevent the growth of the type of government that the British had exercised over the colonies.’
The website goes on the detail how between the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the US Constitution in 1787, a division had arisen among the dozens of original founding fathers. On one side were men like John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. They were called Federalists and wanted a strong national government just like the one they had just rebelled against. Anti-Federalists like Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams and Patrick Henry saw the new Constitution for what it was – the creation of another all-powerful, far-off central government.
As a compromise of sorts, the Federalists were allowed to keep their Constitution which focused all the power in one tiny spot – the federal government. In exchange, the anti-Federalists were allowed to add ten Amendments that guaranteed, in all times and places, certain inalienable rights and a host of protections from future tyrants and dictators. Possibly the most important of these was the Tenth Amendment.
Showing that the Tenth Amendment isn’t some political philosophy but the law of the land, the group quotes a federal court decision from 1931. “The Tenth Amendment was intended to confirm the understanding of the people at the time the Constitution was adopted, that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the States or to the people. It added nothing to the instrument as originally ratified.” – United States v. Sprague.
In plain speak, that means that the only thing the US federal government can do is what’s specifically listed in the Constitution. Anything and everything else is restricted to the states and the people. One key word that could have changed everything is ‘people’. If the word ‘individual’ were used, as actually intended by the founders, America wouldn’t have the bloated federal government it has now. Because the Executive Branch has used the legal loophole insisting the federal government IS the people, Washington has given itself unlimited powers – exactly the opposite of what the founders intended.
Consider that in 1786, the US federal government included no more than the couple dozen members of Congress, the 10,000 members of the Continental Army and the few hundred postal workers that made up Benjamin Franklin’s new Post Office. That was it. That was the federal government. Today, estimates put the size of the US federal government at numbers ranging from 4 million people to 14 million. The American military has 2 million Executive Branch employees alone.
With the federal government growing nearly every year since its inception, and with US Presidents arbitrarily giving themselves more and more dictatorial powers with each new administration, the Tenth Amendment movement will only grow and get stronger. For more information, visit TenthAmendmentCenter.com or OffNow.org.
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