Sunday, April 27, 2014

Will The Center Hold, Part 3: More Calls For A Convention Of The States, Humping The Feds on Hemp, and More

This is our third post this past week on how the middle core of the country might be coming apart as the Washington political class becomes more and more oppressive in its policies and overreach. This is causing state governments and individual citizens to push back agaiinst the oppressive tactics of the Federal government which is hindering the states’ and individuals' rights and freedoms as laid out in the Constitution. This wide ranging pushback raises two critical questions for our nation’s future:
  • What if Washington passed a law that no one obeyed?
  • If this behavior became widespread, would the center of the country hold or would the Federal government as we know cease to exist?
Never in the history of our country has Washington been held in such low regard and contempt. Issues causing this friction range from gun control to overbearing and ineffective education requirements to Federal land grabs, to Obama Care resistance, etc.

The nation has stayed united through depressions, recessions, world wars, a civil war, the Nixon administration and a range of other problem eras. However, it remains to be seen where the current friction across the country will take us.

The first two parts of this series can be viewed at:

1) Common Core is the Federal government’s idea to institute a one size fits all educational curriculum across the country. However, early reviews on the effectiveness of such a single focused mentality for all kids in all schools are are not good. That ineffectiveness has caused a multitude of states to opt out of all or some of Common Core’s requirements, a slap in the face to the Federal government which is trying to control the education of our kids, a job that was traditionally handled at the local and state government level.

A concerned mother (by the way, this mother works as a literary consultant to urban schools so she probably knows a little about English tests besides holding a PhD in English) investigated the English class  Common Core material in some detail after her ninth grade daughter had an experience with a Common Core English test. The daughter came home and told her mother that:
  • “These are such weird questions.” 
  • “This test is crazy.” 
  • “This is a stupid, impossible test.”
Given that teenagers can often be a little overly dramatic, the mom decided to try to answer a few of the Common Core tests for herself. She was so shocked by the material that she wrote a letter to the President to describe the many problems the material presented to ninth grade kids. The critical paragraph of her letter goes as follows:

“I have a Ph.D. in English, I’ve been in college and high school classrooms for over 20 years, and for much of that time I’ve trained and coached high school English teachers. I was shocked that the ninth grade test included an excerpt from Bleak House, a Dickens novel that is usually taught in college. I got seven out of 36 multiple choice questions wrong on the eleventh grade test. And I had no idea what to do with this essay prompt on the third grade test.”

If a highly educated, PhD holding woman cannot ace a ninth grade test in her area of specialty, who thinks that a seventh grade kid can? And if that is truly the case, what educational value did those seventh graders receive? I am not saying all tests should be easy. School should be hard and challenging, but not impossible. This is just one reason why many people are telling Washington to kiss off on Common Core, it does not work, much like just about everything else that Washington politicians touch.

Her entire letter can be viewed at:

2) Many states are moving forward and calling for the so-called “convention of the states,” allowed under Article V of the Constitution. This Article allows for a convention to be held to install changes to the Constitution once two thirds of the states, 34 states, pass resolutions or bills calling for a convention. Never before in my memory do I recall anything close to the states taking the initiative to push back an over reaching Federal government.

A recent article on the Capitalism Institute website reported how Alaska became the next state to call for such a convention. Highlights of the article include:
  • Alaska’s Senate passed a resolution calling for a Convention of States, matching the Alaska House to make their application official. 
  • Alaska joins Georgia as the only official applicants thus far, but states including Alabama, Arizona and Florida are close to making their applications official as well.
  • A signature by the state’s governor is not necessary for the application to be valid, only passage through both houses of the legislature is required. 
  • The Alaska resolution resolves “to call a convention of the states for the sole purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the Federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office of Federal government officials.” 
  • If 34 states officially apply for a convention, Congress will be compelled to call it to order. 
The article explains that the likely agenda items at an Article V convention would be strictly limited to a balanced budget amendment, a Congressional term limit amendment, and possibly an amendment prohibiting Congress from exempting themselves or other government employees from the laws they pass.

This may be the only way to attack what has become a $17 TRILLION national debt burden, return us to a much smaller but hopefully much more effective Federal government as required by the Constitution, and the implementing of term limits so that we get rid of the entrenched and useless politicians that got the country into the mess it is in now in the first place. 

Heaven knows the current Washington political set has shown no ability or desire to do what has to be done, forcing states and individuals to ban together to use the only tool left to them, Article V.

3) Another recent article from the Capitalism Institute also announced that the state of Florida had also passed a binding resolution calling for a Convention of The States to reign in the Federal government. What is interesting about the convention of the states drive is:
  • The effort is only about a year old.
  • However, there are organized Article V teams already up and running in all 50 states.
  • Seven states who are well ahead of the rest of the states and include Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Mexico, and South Carolina.
  • These states include a broad cross section of geographic areas from Florida in the most southeastern part of the U.S. to Alaska in the most northwestern part of the U.S. to Missouri in the Midwest to Arizona to New Mexico on the southwest, i.e. Americans across the entire country are fed up with Washington.
4) We recently came across another state government push back against the Federal government that we have not previously discussed. It is against Federal law for any American to grow industrial hemp in the country. Industrial hemp, it is my understanding, while a relative of marijuana, does not contain any of the mind altering properties of marijuana. 

I am assuming that the Feds have long banned it since it looks like real marijuana. Another theory I have heard in the past is that Dupont, who makes a lot of man-made fabrics, did not want to compete with the fabrics that could be developed from hemp and thus, successfully lobbied the Federal government to ban this competitive product. That crony capitalism story can wait for another day.

Industrial hemp has a lot of different uses across the world, it would provide a nice boost to American farmers by giving them another crop option to use or to rotate through their lands. To that end, on April 16, 2014, the state government Assembly of Tennessee took the final necessary steps to send legislation to the Tennessee governor, which if signed, would nullify the Federal ban on hemp in the state.

The Tennessee Assembly Bill 2445 was sponsored by State Representative. Jeremy Faison and it would mandate that the state authorize the growing and production of industrial hemp within Tennessee, Senator Frank Niceley was the chief Senate sponsor of the legislation.

Some media reports say that since hemp production is still banned on the Federal level, the Tennessee legislation will only take effect begin cultivation once the feds change the law. However, the legislation makes no such stipulation with regards to waiting on the Federal government since the bill reads:

“The department shall issue licenses to persons who apply to the department for a license to grow industrial hemp.”

According to Mike Maharrey, communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center, one word strengthened the bill considerably: “By including the word ‘shall’ in this legislation, it has a great deal of impact. This means that rather than keeping it open-ended like other states have done, hemp farming will be able to move forward in Tennessee whether the [Federal] regulatory bureaucrats there want it to or not.”

Wow, another state telling the Federal government to back off on another Federal law. Tennessee joins three other states that are also working to ignore or nulllify Federal hemp banning laws: Colorado, Oregon and Vermont have already passed bills to authorize hemp farming, but only in Colorado has the process begun. 

That will do it for now. Push backs against the Federal government meddling in a whole range of our lives including harmless hemp growing, a doomed-to-failure national education program, term limits, out of control federal spending, and more. Again, 1) what if Washington passed a law that no one obeyed and 2) will the center hold if the previous point becomes common place? Interesting times.

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