Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nullifiers Have A Plan To Stop The NSA: Turn Off Its Water Supply


Nullifiers Have A Plan To Stop The NSA: Turn Off Its Water Supply

AP Photo
The California-based Tenth Amendment Center has teamed up with a few other organizations to promote model legislation that would have states refuse to cooperate with the NSA. There are a few ways this would work, but the flashiest part of the plan is to have Utah cut off the water supply to the NSA's Utah Data Center. No water means no cooling for the agency's massive computers. Or so the argument goes.
Here's the web ad the groups have put together:

The model legislation put together by The Tenth Amendment Center is called the 4th Amendment Protection Act. It would do a number of things. It would prohibit state officials and employees from providing support to the NSA. It would prohibit state resources from being used to support the NSA. It would bar information collected by the NSA from being used in criminal investigation or prosecution. It would bar state universities from working with the NSA. And it would bar corporations that provide services to the NSA from working for or providing services to the state.
In an interview with TPM on Friday, Michael Boldin, the executive director of The Tenth Amendment Center, acknowledged that his group had a long, hard fight ahead. But he believes the issue of NSA mass surveillance -- unlike other issues the center has worked on, like federalgun law nullification -- crosses partisan lines. And he compared his group's efforts to those of the Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks.
"We believe when things are bad enough, you have to start looking at the Rosa Parks method of how to deal with it," Boldin said. "Sooner or later you got to just sit down and say, 'No, we're not going to participate in this.'"
Asked about a report that a Utah lawmaker had committed to introducing the 4th Amendment Protection Act in that state, Boldin said the last time his group had spoken with the lawmaker was about two weeks ago, and he cautioned that "sometimes they back out." In the meantime, Boldin's group has also put together a website,, to help promote their cause.
"We're not also trying to talk about the traditional Calhoun-type of nullification which is absolutely insane," Boldin explained. "The Calhoun thing, which is crazy, is taking the view that one state can say that, 'Oh, this law doesn't exist any more.' And that's not what we're trying to do. We're just trying to, in practice, come up with ways to stop participating -- again the Rosa Parks method -- stop participating in so many different ways, that it really just makes their attempt to do what they want to do almost impossible."


Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily,, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached
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I dropped better plans during my morning poo.
It only counts if you mailed it to the NSA!
The problem here is the Navigable Waters Act. The Feds have first claim on ownership of the rivers and lakes.
That may be irrelevant; most municipal water sources are subterranean, to which the Navigable Waters Act doesn't apply. The issue here is actually one of the non-sovereign nature of municipalities, which in most states (Utah included) are forbidden to cut off utilities to a paying customer in good standing absent extraordinary circumstances.

Mind you, the Tenth Amendment Center would probably claim (inaccurately) that the NWA is magically unconstitutional on the grounds that no one thought to specifically authorize it at the Constitutional convention.
This sounds like a plan that Professor Chaos and General Disarray would hatch.
You know what I see on this board? A lot of liberals doing exactly what we accuse the Tea Party of: taking the wrong side just because we disagree with the messenger.

Just as conservatives hate anything that comes out of Obama's mouth, even if they used to agree with it, I see liberals turning against civil liberties just because libertarians are picking up the torch on that issue.

Of course, many of those libertarians didn't care about civil liberties until THIS administration started infringing them, but the point is that if this is an issue on which the right and the left can come together, let's not fuck it up by complaining about the stupid stuff the Tenth Amendmenters also believe.
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You lied when you stated that the Tenth Amendment Center aims to 'turn the Tenth Amendment into a twenty-eight word reinstitution of the Articles of Confederation' which is complete hogwash.

Perhaps Mr. Boldin just has more patience when dealing with liars than myself. And here is a fact that you seem to be unable to grasp: This plan to turn off the NSA falls under anti-commandeering grounds which are undeniably legal and constitutional. Quit conflating the issue and you'll receive more dignified responses.
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Well then, it is your opinion that is tremendously misinformed and ignorant. The 4th Amendment Protection Act cuts off the NSA at the state level. That water belongs to the state of Utah, and they don't have to give them a drop. If the NSA comes in and takes the water, they are commandeering. Any questions?
No, no questions; I actually understand exactly where you're wrong on the issue, but that's because I'm a professional political consultant with several laws on the books and am used to watching people who insist upon speaking with authority on things they know nothing about. As stated, this isn't a Constitutional issue at all, but a legislative one. It's also pretty clear you don't even know what the Tenth Amendment Center themselves are advocating, since you don't know the difference between the state of Utah and the municipality of Bluffdale, where the legislation is actually being proposed... at the local level, not the state level.
No. I disagree with most of the sutra and drag about the NSA, and have zero respect for SNoxedn et al.
I have little respect for Snowden as an individual, or the particular path he took, but I can't deny that he has started a conversation that needed to be had.

He isn't a whistleblower, since the activities he revealed are not illegal.

But their legality is the story, and we are finally having a national debate (20 years late, perhaps) about whether a legal right to privacy exists on the internet.

I would like to see either Congress or the courts take a clear stand that the 4th Amendment protects internet communications (not public ones, but private ones), and that any government agency, whether law enforcement or intelligence, needs a warrant to use that information in any investigation of an American citizen, or foreign citizen on American soil.

But that is not the law right now, so our efforts should be to make it so.

The Internet is the future. It is where our children will live their lives to a greater degree than us, and our grandchildren to a greater degree than them. This is the moment we get to shape what that future looks like. Let's not let it slip by.
Does anyone assume that if the NSA can tap into the web and collect everyone's communications that the Soviets and Chinese aren't doing the same thing? Do they have a problem with that?
The Russians (not Soviets any more...) and the Chinese ARE doing the same thing, but they have no jurisdiction here. I couldn't care less if the Russians know I'm growing pot in my back yard, or if the Chinese know I visit transsexual prostitutes. I care if the NSA knows, because the NSA might actually share that information with the FBI or Justice Department.

Additionally, because so many websites are hosted in the United States, the NSA has much greater technical and legal ability to capture data and then use it against us.
The problem with such approaches is that they tend to 'throw out the baby with the bathwater.'

First, I assume most of us agree that we are legitimately concerned with communications among and by Jihadists. If some of those communications are coming to people in the United States, then it is very reasonable to try to find out who's the contact at this end.

Second, I assume most of agree that it is not legitimate to have a record made and indexed of what I am typing here.

The problem is that we can't destroy the computer which has the latter, without destroying the computer that has the former.
If you're posting on a public forum, you can't be expecting much privacy. Why not make a record of it? Besides, I haven't heard of of any US persons who have been personally harmed by any of NSA's collection programs. As far as I'm concerned NSA is one of the few federal agencies that gives this taxpayer his money's worth. If the Tenth Amendment Center really wants to feel important they should declare that red light cameras are unconstitutional and develop a plan to cut power from them.
Huh? We're not talking about public forums. We're talking about people's private email correspondence and web browsing history.

If I post something in a public forum online, of course I have no right to privacy. You don't need the NSA to track that stuff; your local sheriff can do that.

What the NSA is doing is capturing information that is intended to be private, and is often encrypted. You should absolutely need a warrant to record such information, just as you would a phone conversation (which, by the way, are also being recorded and kept).
I wonder what their plans are for Facebook, Google, Equifax, et al.

I find it endlessly amusing how many folks losing their cookies over the capacities of our intelligence and law enforcement services choose to do so on social media, alongside cloud-stored photos of the latest burrito they ate, and every other triviality of their daily lives.

But I guess privacy only matters when a government's involved, right?

#yourEULAwontprotectyou #tellittoKarenSilkwood
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Companies like Facebook and Google gather information from users that is given to them voluntarily. The NSA steals private data from people illegally and in direct violation of the Constitution. There is a big difference.

Google and Facebook are unscrupulous companies, but they aren't operating in violation of the Constitution. The NSA is. I am not a fan of what Google and Facebook does, but you can simply choose not to use their services to not have your privacy violated. With the NSA, there is virtually no escape from their information gathering operation.
This isn't a philosophical point. Putting aside the fact that lots of us use software to protect our identities from Facebook and Google that doesn't work against the NSA, Facebook and Google can't prosecute me for my behavior, so I don't care what they know about me.

Privacy from the government matters because the government has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force (incarceration). To the degree that Google and Facebook do accumulate information about me that could be used by the government, I demand that the government get a warrant before the access that information.

That is what we are fighting for.
According to their website The Tenth Amendment Center also wants to abolish the Federal Reserve (because GOLD!!!), reject State Health Care Exchanges (which seems odd), opposes Medicaid expansion in the States and (no surprise) loves guns but really really hates the TSA.

Michael seems like a nice enough fellow but I'm reminded of the old idiom 'If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas".
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It's very true that in the congressional debates over the wording of the tenth amendment there were several attempts to insert the word “expressly” into the tenth amendment. Madison opposed those efforts -- but NOT on grounds that the government wasn’t one of expressly enumerated powers. Madison’s opposition was based on the negatory effect the word “expressly” would have on the necessary and proper clause. Advocates for inclusion were concerned about the abuse of enumerated powers; whereas opponents were concerned the word “expressly” would diminish or eliminate entirely the necessary and proper clause. Madison himself reminded the House of Representatives that proponents for ratification assured the state conventions the federal government could not exceed its expressly enumerated powers.
Your archaic viewpoints aside, the fact that you really can't tell the difference between disagreement and a lack of knowledge is indicative of an absolutist viewpoint addled and exacerbated by confirmation bias; this is further confirmed by the fact that you spent a great deal of effort repeating the same exact charges ad infinitum and then completely contradicting your entire position with the single sentence, "Madison’s opposition was based on the negatory effect the word 'expressly' would have on the necessary and proper clause," a sentence that, in and of itself, is further support of everything I've been patiently trying to explain to you.

Absolutism is a decidedly unevolved trait, and one which is the antithesis of the nuanced dialectic upon which the republic was founded; your strangely projected belief that simply because you apparently only consume information that supports that which you have already chosen to believe that other people must do the same (and, working for different sources than yourself, must therefore be incorrect) can be best described as intellectually unmotivated and colossally misguided.

This is of course to say nothing of the unwarranted hostility and vitriol you seem to feel is necessary to display towards people who have the temerity to disagree with your opinions; That some of us have demonstrable credentials in Constitutional law and/or history as opposed to your completely anonymous screeds is apparently of little consequence as a mitigating factor to you in your quest for self-righteous 

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