Herewith, the NH House State-Federal Relations Committee hearings on HCR6: "affirming States' rights based on Jeffersonian principles," 2/5/2009.
Surprise, surprise: unanimous testimony. Even the Representative who believes that there aren't really any hard limits intended on the feds' power still supports HCR6! This is soooo cool.
The Executive Session is scheduled for 2/12/2009. I expect to be posting video of that here, too.
But if you, like me, are particularly beguiled by NH Constitution Part First, Articles 7 & 10, revel in this 10-minute excerpt...
A response from (only) one of my Representatives to my instructions regarding HCR6 prompted further communication back on 2/1. Following is the bulk of my reply.
The text of HCR6 is dense, in the spirit and style -- when not in the very words -- of the founding documents, appropriately enough. If it were written for today's government-indoctrinated middle-schoolers, it would hardly be as powerful, nor as interesting, nor as serious. It reiterates the history, and original intentions and accepted justifications long ago conveniently ignored. It evokes the founding principles, with similar resolve. Let's face it: nothing else has worked. And I would assert that very soon (if not already) nothing will work.
"That a committee of conference and correspondence be appointed, which shall have as its charge to communicate the preceding resolutions to the Legislatures of the several States; to assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship and union ... and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own"
This is similar to, "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." It is thus my reading that, like the original contract, our course is not to be dependent on the respective decisions or requirements of other sovereign states -- although we trust they concur with our reasoning -- the original contract being between the states, not between the states and the federal government created by the contract.
No requirement for such concurrence is stipulated, however. They may take a similar course, or remain unintendedly subservient to the feds. Their choice. But as far as NH is concerned, "all powers previously delegated to the United States of America by the Constitution for the United States shall revert to the several States individually." That was the original intent. Yet NH still wouldn't nullify the Constitution: the feds would have done that themselves by violating it, like any other contract. NH agreed to participate in the Republic, given that the federal government was to be limited. If it's no longer limited, the contract is no longer in effect. All HCR6 does is restate the obvious, and put the feds on notice that we're actually going to pay attention from here on.
"That any Act by the Congress [etc.] which assumes a power not delegated ... and which serves to diminish the liberty of the any of the several States or their citizens shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution"
Which again, this is the original intent. This does suggest that the resolution could be triggered by such acts even though they didn't directly affect NH. Invasion of the Confederacy, for example. Or, say, a Republic of Alaska.
To the assertion that "an accumulation of offenses, even though large, cannot substitute for a smoking gun," I must ask, if an "accumulation," even though large, isn't sufficient, then the loss of which specific intended state prerogative would constitute a smoking gun? Standing on principle is rarely convenient, and time is not on our side.
And thus the pot inexorably approaches boil. We have a country dense with drowsy frogs. The Alien and Sedition Acts. The War of Northern Aggression. The Federal Reserve. The 17th Amendment. The New Deal. The Great Society. The Welfare/(undeclared)Warfare state. The alphabet-soup of unauthorized federal agencies unilaterally passing unconstitutional de facto "law." The explosion in federal "crimes," precipitating, e.g., "federal police" (?!?) raids on lawful state commerce. The USAPATRIOT Act. NCLB. The Military Commissions Act. Extraordinary rendition. Suspension of habeas corpus. $1T wealth-redistribution "bailouts" with nonexistent money (lucky future generations don't get a vote, eh?). REAL ID. Manifestly unauthorized violations of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, etc., etc., etc. The ongoing and escalating transfer of extraordinary power from the states (where it belongs, where citizens can far more easily ride herd) to the feds, by the feds. By the hands of the states' own ostensible "representatives."
Who at the federal level will stand for state sovereignty now? No one. There's no reason to. It's not in their interest. Ron Paul is branded a crazy old man, an anachronism, given a "laugh track," for actually honoring his oath.
We must all consider where our line in the sand is. For some -- including, by their writings and actions, the Founders -- it's a time and condition long since passed.
To the assertion that this is primarily an exercise in futile and even marginalizing and alienating navel-gazing, it's true I don't expect it to get very far [yet now, a mere 5 days and one hearing later, I'm not so sure anymore], either (but I had similar concerns over REAL ID, so...). There's so little respect for, or even understanding of the rule of supreme law anymore that I've little doubt it will fall on many deaf and/or confused, even hostile ears, regardless of the language. We no longer have an electorate that even remotely appreciates liberty or why the government established to protect it was expressly limited.
We have, too, I'd wager, a strong majority of the state legislature, itself, that hasn't even read the Constitution it's sworn to uphold. How does an honorable individual do that?
Yet we also have a servant federal government that is more than happy to encourage and profit from the ignorance. The American Empire was built and is now crashing for lack of jealous citizen oversight. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, per se, but it's taking the original intended Republic with it, if anyone still cares. We're rapidly running out of time. We need the conversation. Desperately and soon.
"A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."
"In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility... I welcome it."
-John F. Kennedy-
"Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular - but one must take it simply because it is right."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.-
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
Here now, I might also add:
"Every normal man must be tempted at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
The conversation, I'm happy to report, has most definitely begun...