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Neutralizing the New Deal? Destroying the United States? Neo-Secessionism and the Peach Fuzz Fascist

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. [1] (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

[2]COMMENT: A very important story [3] highlights what we feel is a major thrust of the psy-op for which Edward Snowden–the Peach Fuzz Fascist [4]–is fronting.

A right-wing libertarian political milieu is working to have states cut-off electricity to the NSA, this in response to the Snowden disclosures.

As the authors of the story note: “The bill is rooted in a the­ory that, in James Madison’s words, would speed­ily put an end to the Union itself. [5] More imme­di­ately, it could empower con­ser­v­a­tive state law­mak­ers to cut off Medicare, Med­ic­aid or Social Secu­rity, to frus­trate civil rights enforce­ment or even to pre­vent fed­eral law enforce­ment from inves­ti­gat­ing criminals.”

Advanced by the Tenth Amendment Center, the legislation; poses a seri­ous threat to that lib­eral touch­stone, a fed­eral reg­u­la­tory and wel­fare state equal to the prob­lems of grow­ing cor­po­rate power and poverty.

Not surprisingly, the Tenth Amendment Center [6] heavily overlaps elements associated with the League of the South and the neo-Confederate movement. Those elements, in turn, are inextricably linked with the Ludwig von Mises Institute [7], the “Paulistinian Libertarian Organization [8] and The Peach Fuzz Fascist himself [Snowden]. Citizen Greenwald [9] has defended birds of the same feather [10].

Furthering their goal of destabilizing the Obama administration, the GOP plans on holding hearings on the NSA [11] in order to generate political capital.

“Beware Of Lib­er­tar­i­ans Bear­ing Gifts: Why A Bipar­ti­san Move Against The NSA Could Kill The New Deal” by Zack Beauchamp and Ian Mill­hiser; Think Progress; 1/24/2014. [3]

What does the NSA need if it wants to spy on you? Even before legal per­mis­sion [12], there’s the basics: elec­tric­ity to run its com­put­ers and water to feed the servers that stores the reams of data they acquire. Enter­pris­ing state leg­is­la­tors in six states [13] have seized upon this almost-too-obvious insight, and used it to draft leg­is­la­tion that would quite lit­er­ally turn off the NSA’s lights in their states.

This might seem like a good idea to NSA crit­ics unhappy [14] with Pres­i­dent Obama’s reform pro­pos­als, but the con­sti­tu­tional the­ory it depends on is pro­foundly dan­ger­ous. It poses a seri­ous threat to that lib­eral touch­stone, a fed­eral reg­u­la­tory and wel­fare state equal to the prob­lems of grow­ing cor­po­rate power and poverty.

Ulti­mately, this pro­posal to depower the NSA reveals that there’s only so much that can be accom­plished by right-left coali­tions. Unless each side can agree to aban­don tac­tics that threaten the other’s sacred cows, the mem­bers of these coali­tions must con­stantly be on guard against the man stand­ing behind them wait­ing to stick a knife in their back.

Turn­ing Off The Lights

Each of the six states (Kansas, Indi­ana, Mis­souri, Wash­ing­ton, Okla­homa, and Cal­i­for­nia) base their pro­pos­als on model leg­is­la­tion [15] devel­oped by the OffNow coali­tion, a group orga­nized by the rad­i­cally lib­er­tar­ian Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter. So too will leg­is­la­tors in the next three states (Michi­gan, Ari­zona, and Utah) that plan to pro­pose lights-off leg­is­la­tion [16]. So OffNow, and by exten­sion the Tenth Amend­ment cen­ter, is more-or-less run­ning the show here.

How does the leg­is­la­tion work? Basi­cally, it pro­hibits any state entity and many cor­po­ra­tions from:

Provid[ing] ser­vices, or participat[ing] or assist[ing] in any way with the pro­vid­ing of ser­vices to a fed­eral agency, fed­eral agent, or cor­po­ra­tion pro­vid­ing ser­vices to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment which is involved in the col­lec­tion of elec­tronic data or meta­data of any person(s) pur­suant to any action not based on a war­rant that par­tic­u­larly describes the person(s), place(s) and thing(s) to be searched or seized.

Else­where, the leg­is­la­tion pro­vides that any cor­po­ra­tion “that pro­vides ser­vices to or on behalf of this state [15]” which vio­lates this pro­hi­bi­tion “shall be for­ever inel­i­gi­ble to act on behalf of, or pro­vide ser­vices to, this state or any polit­i­cal sub­di­vi­sion of this state.” So if a state’s util­i­ties — elec­tric­ity, water, sewage and so forth — are owned by the state, they are for­bid­den from pro­vid­ing any ser­vice to the NSA [17]. And if a state’s util­i­ties are pri­vately owned, they must choose between cut­ting off ser­vice to the NSA or per­ma­nently los­ing their abil­ity to do busi­ness with the state.

In most states, this would be largely sym­bolic: the NSA doesn’t have instal­la­tions every­where. But bothWash­ing­ton [18] and Utah [19] house sig­nif­i­cant NSA facil­i­ties, and it would actu­ally be quite painful for the agency to move them.

. . .

The Power To Destroy

The bill is rooted in a the­ory that, in James Madison’s words, would speed­ily put an end to the Union itself. [5] More imme­di­ately, it could empower con­ser­v­a­tive state law­mak­ers to cut off Medicare, Med­ic­aid or Social Secu­rity, to frus­trate civil rights enforce­ment or even to pre­vent fed­eral law enforce­ment from inves­ti­gat­ing criminals.

The Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter is one of the lead­ing pro­po­nents of “nul­li­fi­ca­tion,” an uncon­sti­tu­tional the­ory [5] which claims that states can uni­lat­er­ally inval­i­date fed­eral laws sim­ply by pass­ing their own law claim­ing that the fed­eral pro­vi­sion is invalid. Yet their pro­posal to cut of water and power to the NSA rests on a slightly dif­fer­ent con­sti­tu­tional the­ory than pure nul­li­fi­ca­tion. Under some­thing known as the “anti-commandeering doc­trine [20],” the Supreme Court gen­er­ally does not per­mit the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to com­mand a state to take a par­tic­u­lar action. Thus, for exam­ple, if the fed­eral gov­ern­ment wants to crim­i­nal­ize mar­i­juana, then it can order fed­eral agents to arrest mar­i­juana users, or it can encour­age states to pros­e­cute mar­i­juana users by offer­ing them fed­eral funds if they do so, but it can­not sim­ply order a state to pros­e­cute some­one the state does not wish to pros­e­cute. Wash­ing­ton and Col­orado get to have their own drug laws [21] and their police force is under no oblig­a­tion to enforce fed­eral law.

Apply this rule to the NSA, and it fol­lows that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment can­not force a state to have its own domes­tic spy­ing pro­gram, or to loan its own agents to the NSA. If the fed­eral gov­ern­ment wants to engage in sur­veil­lance, it must use its own money and its own offi­cers to do so unless a state vol­un­tar­ily agrees to pro­vide assistance.

But what if a state orders its state-owned power com­pany to deny elec­tric­ity to the NSA? Or if the state refuses to con­tract with any com­pany that also pro­vides basic ser­vices to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment? On the sur­face, these deci­sions seem to be cov­ered by the anti-commandeering doc­trine as well. Why should the fed­eral gov­ern­ment be allowed to direct the state’s busi­ness rela­tions any more than it directs its police force?

Chief Jus­tice John Mar­shall pro­vided a really good answer to this ques­tion nearly two cen­turies ago. In the land­mark case of McCul­loch v. Mary­land, the state of Mary­land attempted to tax a fed­er­ally char­tered bank. Mar­shall wrote for a unan­i­mous Court to explain why state tax­a­tion of fed­eral enti­ties was not allowed. “[T]he power to tax involves the power to destroy,” he explained, and “the power to destroy may defeat and ren­der use­less the power to cre­ate” the bank that the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion entrusted to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. More recent Supreme Court deci­sions have explained that states may not enact laws that “stand . . . as an obsta­cle to the accom­plish­ment and exe­cu­tion of the full pur­poses and objec­tives of Con­gress. [22]

If the power to tax includes the power to destroy, so too does the power to cut off water, power and other essen­tial ser­vices to a fed­eral agency such as the NSA. Fed­eral offices could not pos­si­bly man­age the kind of record keep­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions nec­es­sary to oper­ate in a mod­ern soci­ety with­out access to elec­tric­ity. Indeed, the OffNow coalition’s web­site is quite explicit about the fact that they believe that the power to cut off util­i­ties is the power to destroy the NSA’s abil­ity to oper­ate — the NSA’s “mas­sive super­com­put­ers mon­i­tor­ing your per­sonal infor­ma­tion are water-cooled. They can’t func­tion with­out the resources to keep them at oper­at­ing tem­per­a­ture [23]. That water is sched­uled to be pro­vided by the Jor­dan Val­ley River Con­ser­vancy Dis­trict, ‘a polit­i­cal sub­di­vi­sion of the state of Utah.’”

This tac­tic, of using state power to pre­vent the fed­eral gov­ern­ment from oper­at­ing, should trou­ble pro­gres­sives regard­less of how they feel about the NSA’s sur­veil­lance pro­gram. If Utah can cut of water or elec­tric­ity to the NSA, what’s to pre­vent Texas from cut­ting off power to fed­eral agen­cies that pro­vide health care to poor peo­ple [24], or North Car­olina from turn­ing the lights off on fed­eral vot­ing rights attor­neys chal­leng­ing theircom­pre­hen­sive voter sup­pres­sion law [25]?

Burn­ing It Down

Don’t doubt for a minute that, if the Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter suc­ceeds in estab­lish­ing a prece­dent for nullification-via-power-outages, they will imme­di­ately deploy this and sim­i­lar tac­tics to imple­ment other parts of their sweep­ing lib­er­tar­ian agency. Some of their other ini­tia­tives include bills pur­port­ing to nul­lify fed­eral gun laws [26] and the Afford­able Care Act [27], as well as a truly sur­real pro­posal to under­mine the Fed­eral Reserve by requir­ing cit­i­zens to pay their state taxes in gold or sil­ver [28].

Nor are these the least of the Tenth Amend­ment Center’s ambi­tions. A res­o­lu­tion intro­duced in the New Hamp­shire leg­is­la­ture and pushed by the Cen­ter [29] lays out an expan­sive list of poten­tial fed­eral laws that it objects to on con­sti­tu­tional grounds — one of them is “pro­hi­bi­tions of type or quan­tity of arms or ammu­ni­tion” — and then claims that the Con­sti­tu­tion shall become null and void [30] if the fed­eral gov­ern­ment enacts any of the laws the res­o­lu­tion deems objec­tion­able, and “all pow­ers pre­vi­ously del­e­gated to the United States of Amer­ica by the Con­sti­tu­tion for the United States shall revert to the sev­eral States individually.”

The Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter, in other words, is not sim­ply dis­trust­ful of cen­tral­ized power. They fear the fed­eral gov­ern­ment with such patho­log­i­cal inten­sity that they’ve actu­ally sug­gested dis­solv­ing the Union in its entirety if Con­gress, the Pres­i­dent or the fed­eral judi­ciary takes any action that vio­lates their idio­syn­cratic view of the Con­sti­tu­tion. Their posi­tion on states’ rights makes John C. Cal­houn [31] look like a moderate.

So how­ever attrac­tive rein­ing in the NSA this way might seem, it’s a Tro­jan Horse: a legal strat­egy that has the poten­tial to bring down the major fed­eral accom­plish­ments lib­er­als most deeply cher­ish. Good thing the depower bills are unlikely to pass in any state [16]. Regard­less, how­ever, this inci­dent tells us some­thing impor­tant about the var­i­ous pro­pos­als for a left-libertarian alliance to rein the secu­rity state you see bandied about.

Real­is­ti­cally, that’s the alliance you’d need you take seri­ous, nation­wide action on spy­ing out­side of the exec­u­tive branch; see the vote count [32] on Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)’s just-barely defeated bill to end NSA meta­data col­lec­tion. It’s the same coali­tion that could help accom­plish wor­thy goals like reform­ing fed­eral drug laws or racist prison sen­tenc­ing guidelines.

On issues like those — where the pol­icy fix is legally sim­ple, and the goals are fully shared — the left-libertarian alliance has the poten­tial to do a lot of good. But the state-level drive to turn off the NSA’s lights demon­strates the lim­its of this mar­riage. Law­mak­ing nec­es­sar­ily sets prece­dents. In some cases, those prece­dents come from the judi­ciary — giv­ing offi­cial sanc­tion to tac­tics once acknowl­edged to be uncon­sti­tu­tional. But the mere act of enact­ing a law and get­ting away with it can nor­mal­ize rad­i­cal tac­tics as well. Hid­den pro­vi­sions of a law or the legal the­ory behind it can change the coun­try as surely as the legislation’s intended end. . . .

“‘Nul­li­fi­ca­tion’ Con­fer­ence Attracts Far-Right Extrem­ists” by Hate­watch Staff; Hate Watch [South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter]; 10/24/2011. [6]

On the eve of a Nul­li­fi­ca­tion Now! con­fer­ence in Jack­sonville, Fla., last week, the Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter issued a warn­ing: The South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter was send­ing some­one to report that “those of us who want polit­i­cal decen­tral­iza­tion as the Con­sti­tu­tion requires [are] ‘dan­ger­ous.’” Then, when the con­fer­ence began, every speaker repeated the warn­ing. Some­one from the SPLC was there, they said.

And you know what? We were.

We were there when Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes warned that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was lay­ing the ground­work to freely kill Amer­i­can cit­i­zens. We were there when John Bush, who runs the Foun­da­tion for a Free Soci­ety in Austin, Texas, stoked the audience’s already inflamed fears that a one-world gov­ern­ment was com­ing in the form of a U.N. plan for sus­tain­able growth. We were there when Doug Tjaden, direc­tor of the Sound Money Cen­ter, called for the nul­li­fi­ca­tion of the Fed­eral Reserve. “Nul­li­fi­ca­tion of any fed­eral law will only have long last­ing effect if we take away the bankers’ abil­ity to buy back our lib­erty,” he said with a thump of his fist on the podium.

Roughly 100 peo­ple attended the con­fer­ence orga­nized by the Los Angeles-based Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter, a group focused on how to weaken the reach of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment through nul­li­fi­ca­tion. Their cen­tral idea—that each state has the con­sti­tu­tional right to inval­i­date and dis­re­gard vir­tu­ally any fed­eral law—relies on a spu­ri­ous inter­pre­ta­tion of the Tenth Amend­ment, which reserves to the states and the peo­ple any power not explic­itly given to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, and flies in the face of more than two cen­turies of jurisprudence.

Much of the con­fer­ence seemed to be focused on dis­tanc­ing the move­ment from those mem­bers of the extreme right that tend to be the most attracted to the nul­li­fi­ca­tion con­cept.

That’s hard to do when the League of the South (LOS) has a table at the event, which it did. It was attended by Michael Tubbs, a for­mer Green Beret demo­li­tions expert who, in 1987, robbed two fel­low sol­diers of their M-16 rifles dur­ing a rou­tine exer­cise at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the name of the Ku Klux Klan. Tubbs is pres­i­dent of the Florida chap­ter of the LOS, which envi­sions a sec­ond South­ern seces­sion and holds to a dis­tinctly white suprema­cist ideology.

There were also rep­re­sen­ta­tives from groups advo­cat­ing for the legal­iza­tion of raw milk—to limit the government’s reg­u­la­tory power to ensure food safety—and for the Oath Keep­ers, a group that ped­dles antigov­ern­ment “Patriot” para­noia about fed­eral tyranny.

The force behind much of that para­noia is Rhodes, a for­mer Army para­trooper and Yale-educated lawyer who founded Oath Keep­ers. Rhodes cau­tioned that the recent killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a rad­i­cal, U.S.-born Mus­lim cleric who had been des­ig­nated by the U.S. gov­ern­ment as a global ter­ror­ist, was merely a pre­view of what will even­tu­ally befall Amer­i­cans cit­i­zens at home. Assas­si­na­tion? Kid­nap­ping? Intern­ment? All will be pos­si­ble in the tyran­ni­cal future the far right fears is unavoid­able. “I’m not being para­noid. I’m just con­nect­ing the dots,” Rhodes said. “It will be done at home. Mark my words.” . . . .

. . . . The high­light of the day was Thomas E. Woods Jr., the author of Nul­li­fi­ca­tion: How to Resist Fed­eral Tyranny in the 21st Cen­tury. He argued that nul­li­fi­ca­tion was the prin­ci­ple tool of the north­ern abo­li­tion­ists who com­bated slavery—a fact, he said, the pro­gres­sive left con­ve­niently dismisses.

Woods couldn’t avoid call­ing out the SPLC “agent provo­ca­teur” in the audi­ence. To do so, he some­what mock­ingly employed Godwin’s Law to dis­miss any crit­i­cism of nul­li­fi­ca­tion. Godwin’s Law states, essen­tially, that as any dis­cus­sion pro­gresses, the odds increase that some­one will even­tu­ally invoke Hitler. Woods warned that the SPLC and oth­ers would seek to mar­gin­al­ize nul­li­fi­ca­tion by cre­at­ing neg­a­tive associations.

Woods was once a mem­ber of the LOS and remains a senior fel­low at the Lud­wig Von Mises Insti­tute, a con­ser­v­a­tive think tank in Auburn, Ala., that views social jus­tice as destruc­tive. Who needs Hitler when para­noid antigov­ern­ment fig­ures, hair-trigger Aryan mil­i­tants and an aca­d­e­mic extrem­ist are there to glad-hand the audience?

“The New, Snowden-Loving Repub­li­can Party” by David Weigel; Slate; 1/24/2014. [11]

EXCERPT: Benjy Sar­lin has a nice read [33]on the other news emerg­ing from the RNC meet­ing. Sup­port­ers of Ron Paul, chiefly Nevada’s Diana Orrock, were able to sell the whole com­mit­tee on a res­o­lu­tion “renounc­ing” the NSA’s data col­lec­tion pro­grams. As of today, the RNC “encour­ages Repub­li­can law mak­ers to call for a spe­cial com­mit­tee to inves­ti­gate, report, and reveal to the pub­lic the extent of this domes­tic spy­ing” and “calls upon Repub­li­can law­mak­ers to imme­di­ately take action to halt cur­rent uncon­sti­tu­tional sur­veil­lance pro­grams and pro­vide a full pub­lic account­ing of the NSA’s data col­lec­tion pro­grams.” It basi­cally endorses Rep. Justin Amash’s leg­is­la­tion in the House.

Andrew Kaczyn­ski com­mem­o­rates the occa­sion [34]with a flash­back to the August 2006 RNC attack on the “lib­eral judge” who ruled against another NSA pro­gram, and was “praised by Dems.” Not long after that, one of the party’s endan­gered mod­er­ates, Con­necti­cut Rep. Nancy John­son, attacked her Demo­c­ra­tic oppo­nent for dar­ing to oppose the program.

So it’s taken seven-odd years for the GOP to come fully around and real­ize the groovy pol­i­tics of civil lib­er­ties, but that should have been obvi­ous even before Snowden.