Karen Bracken, “Our Constitution Limits Federal Authority To 18 Enumerated Powers?”
“The Federal Government is the problem, not the solution.” So said President Ronald Reagan. Karen Bracken is the Founder of Tennessee Citizens for State Sovereignty (TNCSS). (www.tncss.weebly.com) (www.tncss.substack.com) . TNCSS intends to be a ‘watchdog’ group at the state level in Tennessee, which then intends to expand state by state nationwide. TNCSS is supporting a ‘Nullification Bill’ now before Tennessee’s legislature. Karen reminds us that our Federal Government and the Supreme Court are not the final arbiters of the Constitution. The proposed nullification bill intends to manage the overreach of the federal government. She claims the Federal Government is “out of its lane” and has overreached into too many areas, that the Constitution does not authorize their oversight of. For example, the Department of Education is not mandated to exist under our Constitution. Karen directs us to Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S.Constitution. She points to the 18 enumerated powers of the federal government. “If it’s not listed there it falls to the state,” she says. SHE’S RIGHT! Before “Common Core”, before the Clinton Administration, education was a successful laboratory process, where states were not required to have common standards across the nation. “Federalizing education has proven to be a national disaster,” she says. The money coming in to colleges from the federal government, superseded the implementation of good education standards. Federal money distracted our politicians from good education system standards, she claims. Studies show a historic drop in national reading and math scores since the adoption of national Common Core curriculum standards. She now wants to invoke nullification when such federal actions are an ‘overreach’. Karen Bracken supports this notion of nullification to remove the State of Tennessee from federal oversight by the U.S. Department of Education. She claims the federal government has no Constitutional right or obligation to impose oversight in education. In this interview, education is just one focus. The concept of nullification was born from the notion that instead of taking up arms and fighting another ‘civil war’, we can fix federal government overreach at the state levels first. Reaching U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators and seeking their support for this HB 0726 is essential. If Tennessee gets behind Karen Bracken and TNCSS in 2024, look for this movement to spread nationwide.
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Karen Bracken, “Our Constitution Limits Federal Authority To 18 Enumerated Powers?”
Originally Recorded on Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Season 2, Episode 230
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Full Episode Transcript
Karen Bracken, “Our Constitution Limits Federal Authority To 18 Enumerated Powers?”
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Gene Valentino: Hi, friends. Welcome to another episode of Gene Valentino’s Grassroots Truthcast. I’m with Karen Bracken today, and she’s from Bristol, Tennessee. She and her husband have been there for some time. She was a former county commissioner, ironically, just like I have. I don’t know why you did it, Karen, but, uh, we’re all victims of some, uh, punishment from one time to time, I guess.
But more importantly, she’s the founder of the National Anti UN Agenda 21 Group. She’s also founder of Tennessee Against Common Core and co founder of Child Abuse in the Classroom. Very interesting topic. This woman’s been around the track. She’s experienced a lot of, uh, a lot of, uh, real life experiences, all for the intended purpose of trying to promote our community.
And like all of us seem to do from time to time. Uh, [00:02:00] uh. A legal challenge, uh, to the ESSA and now has organized 10. This is the one we wanna focus on. Mm-Hmm. , uh, Tennessee citizens for state sovereignty, this was a new term for me, TN, CSS, Tennessee Citizens for state sovereignty and, uh, let it not go unnoticed.
She’s also a mom, a grandmom, and a proud grandmom at that. So welcome Karen, for joining us here today. Thank
Karen Bracken: you for inviting
Gene Valentino: me. Well, you know, we have so much to discuss. It’s really a question of what part of the elephant, part of the elephant you want to eat first. I’d like to start with, uh, the Tennessee Citizens, uh, uh, what am I saying?
Tennessee Citizens for State Sovereignty. This is a group that was founded after your term of office as county commissioner. Want to take it from the top and just explain what this group is all [00:03:00] about?
Karen Bracken: Sure. Um, well, you know, I, I think for many years, like yourself, um, I realized that the federal government is not the answer or the solution.
The federal government, as Ronald Reagan would say, is the problem. Um, so, uh, I focus a lot on state legislation, and last year, as I always do, I was following very closely our state legislation, and there was one bill in particular that really caught my attention, and it was called Restoring State Sovereignty Through Nullification Act.
Um, so again, I followed that bill very closely. I tried to get people in the state of Tennessee to call legislators and support that legislation, and when it did not move forward, I was very disappointed, and I contacted the sponsor of that legislation, Representative Bud Halsey, and I asked him if he was going to resubmit the bill in 2024.
He [00:04:00] said that he was, and I told him that I was going to form a of Tennessee citizens to support that legislation and do everything we can to get that bill passed in 2024. So, um, I contacted my good friend, David Vance, and asked him if he would be willing to work with me on this initiative. We’ve worked together in the past, and of course he agreed, and the rest is history.
We, Tennessee Citizens for State Sovereignty. And
Gene Valentino: the bill itself tries to focus. I’ve read it. Um, thank you for sending me those links. And, uh, folks, before I get into it, uh, Karen, give us, give, give us the, uh, website first and foremost, so that people can go and maybe monitor what it is we’re going to try to talk about now.
Karen Bracken: Okay, well, the website is T N C S S dot Weebly. It’s W E E B L Y dot com. That’s our [00:05:00] website.
Gene Valentino: It’s um, it’s very encompassing and rather attractive. Uh, I’m very Now, let’s talk about the whole concept of state nullification. You and I have had a few conversations by phone. One of the things I think America needs is a unification of sorts of the states coming together under one roof.
But one of the, and I think you, you and I have agreed to that in part, the, the concern I have is that when one or two or three straights try to splinter off on their own, the question Is it meritorious? Is it justified? And sometimes I would say, boy, I’m having a problem with them doing that. And then I think about Governor Abbott in Texas and his ability to protect his southern border because the federal government, [00:06:00] which is within its authority to do so, has not done so.
And as a consequence, he’s felt the need to step up. And it’s not a question of jurisdiction. Uh, the, the federal government should be doing that. The question is, should he have the right to intervene and really take the lead, which is where we are in, uh, January 2024 right now with, um, state, uh, law enforcement officers in Texas having to step up to do with Joe Biden and the federal government is not.
I’m using that as an example. There’s some issues that distinguish it from the other issues you’re talking about. I get it. Am I in the right ballpark? Is that a
Karen Bracken: good comparison? Yes. Yeah. I mean, sure, the federal government is supposed to protect our borders, but the governor of every state is also required to protect [00:07:00] The citizens
Gene Valentino: of their state.
Absolutely. And they took an oath of office to do so. Mike, my concern is that you have had, you have seen an, a bill in, in the state, uh, assembly of Tennessee, and you’ve seen it come forward and you’ve supported it. Why have you supported this nullification bill?
Karen Bracken: Well, because, um, I think one of the big issues that we have as Americans is that we do not know our constitution and, um, our, or, you know, the writings of our founders, the Federalist Papers, and basically the federal government was given extremely limited powers.
The states were given almost indefinite powers, and we’ve kind of turned the, uh, you know, the pyramid of authority upside down. Um, the federal, the federal government is not the final arbiter of the Constitution, nor [00:08:00] is the Supreme Court. It is the states. The states created the federal government. The states gave the federal government very limited, enumerated powers, 18 of them to be exact.
And everything else is the authority of the state. And, and that’s been turned totally upside down over many
Gene Valentino: decades. And why is that? Sometimes, uh, you and I were both county commissioners and, uh, let me ask the question by throwing a statement out first. When I was county commissioner, I could see that in the history of governance under this constitutional republic we’re living in, that there were times when our five county commissioners in Escambia County, Florida, were very powerful.
In fact, one would argue, uh, they were too powerful. They were dictating, they, they weren’t setting, they were not only trying to set policy, they were also trying to, uh, manage operations of government, which is [00:09:00] where they, in, Our case is where some of them got in legal trouble. On the other hand there’s other periods in history in this county where the pendulum swung back the other way and you found that the administration was too powerful and they were the tail wagging the dog in effect.
They were, they were minimizing the effectiveness of the elected official. and denying him or her the ability to, to come forward with good policy, but is it because it was at cross purposes with, with what was being done, uh, in government, uh, uh, in the county level by these self serving administrators or administration and staff.
Your comment on that and how that relates to this bill.
Karen Bracken: Well, I mean, you’re, you’re talking about, well, just like the states have more authority than the federal government, the state itself has more authority than the cities and the counties. The state created [00:10:00] the cities and
Gene Valentino: the counties. And so probably what, what I’m getting at is there’s a, there’s a tendency at times in government to cause one arm of government to over, uh, manage the, uh, the entitlements that they were, that they were given or that they were authorized to, to enforce.
In your case in Tennessee, Talk about how the nullification process is so important, uh, to, um, correct an over, an overreach of government. Tell me why you think this is so important.
Karen Bracken: Well, because the federal government has totally moved outside of its lane. You know, they’re in our backyard. They’re, they’re playing in a lane that they do not have the authority to play in.
They’ve had that, they’ve done this for decades. Um, I believe that a lot of the [00:11:00] reason is money. I believe that, um, you know, they use the power of the purse to control the states. You know, as soon as the states try to, uh, take their rightful authority, Uh, the first thing they say is, uh, well, we’re gonna, you know, take away your federal funding.
If you don’t obey, we’re gonna take away your federal funding, and legislators just collapse at the thoughts of, you know, losing federal funding, and it’s also a lack of backbone. Uh, it’s also a lack of, of education. Many of our elected officials, I don’t think they’ve ever even read the Constitution. They don’t know.
Gene Valentino: Right. You hit the nail on the head there, boy. I’ll tell ya. Um, listening to some of them, um, comment at the microphone, uh, in, in, in cross purposes against the very laws they’re supposed to be upholding. Start with the legislation that’s sponsored and ready to go with, um, tell them, talk about the five different pathways to [00:12:00] invoke nullification and what that means in Tennessee.
Karen Bracken: I’ll grab the bill. Yeah, there, the legislation has, um, five different pathways. Okay, it is not legalizing nullification because nullification is already legal. Um, it is a right and, um, the bill has five different pathways in which to invoke nullification when the federal government steps outside of its lane, which it does most of the time.
Um, the governor. Can, um, issue an executive order of nullification, members of the state assembly can issue, um, a bill of nullification, the judges in the state of Tennessee, uh, 10, combination of 10 cities or counties, or a petition of 2, 000 voters. [00:13:00] They’re, they’re the five different ways. Now
Gene Valentino: the, what would be nullified?
It would be something from the federal level that the citizens of Tennessee feel are, are overreaching or, or just not within the, the bailiwick of authority of the feds. Is that correct? Yeah, I
Karen Bracken: mean, if you look at different things like mandating education, education, the federal government has no authority over education and look at where they are with the Department of Education.
Totally unconstitutional. Yeah. Um, so we could always. Nullify any mandates that come down regarding education. Uh, marriage. The federal government, the Supreme Court, has no authority over marriage. Um, you know, so basically anything that goes outside, if you look at Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, that 18 enumerated powers.
[00:14:00] Anything that is not listed there belongs to the state. And I also recommend that you look at Article 1, Section 9, and 10 as well.
Gene Valentino: And, and the real, um, con uh, when you talk to education, you hit the nail on the head for me. It, it, it, in general senses, um, it’s nice to have a federal standardization of education or quality.
education specifically with respect to test scores and and just a general standard across the board that apply in all 50 states. But that doesn’t mean they have to go to the next step and micromanage, create unions, protect their educational process with a tenure system that no one else seems to be able to touch.
At the county and local level, they um, they they have Uh, school boards that are either, uh, appointed or [00:15:00] elected, uh, I came from New England originally where the superintendent of schools was an appointed position, uh, uh, not an elected position. I came to Florida and the superintendent of schools was an elected position.
But hold on, two, two to three years ago. They felt the need to move it back to an appointed position, uh, appointed by the school, school board, the elected school board. And, uh, I, I, I find it interesting because the, um, superintendent of schools allowed. For the introduction of, um, what I would saw, I would refer to kindly as sexually explicit material for underage children in the libraries of the school system.
And when the parents found out about it. Uh, Karen, uh, there was, we were one click [00:16:00] short of a mutiny here. They, they, they came so totally unglued in this very conservative community, that school board, uh, that, um, super, superintendent of schools is no longer employed by the county, and some of the elected school board members are about to be replaced, uh, as you might imagine.
Is this, you. This is sort of consistent with where you’re going,
Karen Bracken: Yeah, and first of all, I do not believe that every state should have the exact same education policies, objectives, goals. You know, we are 50 sovereign, independent states, and I believe 50 independent laboratories of education will always function better than trying to blanket Education across the 50 states, which is what Common Core did.
Um, I do not believe in education standards prior to, you know, prior to the Clinton [00:17:00] administration, we didn’t have education standards. We had objectives. We had goals for our children. Some children will learn to read at 4 years old. Some children will learn to read at 7 years old. When you set a standard and you say that every child at 5 years old, must know how to do this, you’re setting that child up for failure.
Because not every child’s going to accomplish that same goal at the same age, the same time in their life.
Gene Valentino: Yeah, funny you say that. I lagged behind in some of my reading skills in grades two through five. Uh, I caught up quickly when I got into, uh, before middle school, but you are correct. I could feel I was lagging behind and it was very demoralizing.
Uh, I don’t know. It was just maybe something chemical or something metabolic or just my, the way I was growing.
Karen Bracken: You were a boy. Some, you know, boys have a tendency to learn, um, language [00:18:00] and reading a little later than girls where, uh, boys generally excel in math a little earlier than girls do, but eventually everybody seemed to catch up at one time.
Gene Valentino: Yes. Yeah. Well, it drives to a point, though, that if the school systems on the secondary and higher levels are going to try to present talent into the colleges and universities, that some standardization must kick in at some point to create a vetting of the talent coming into the schools in their freshman years There must be some standardization, or, or certain colleges are, are appearing to be more attractive to certain states or to certain areas of the nation, and it doesn’t seem as uniform, it seems more bifurcated, and you think [00:19:00] that’s okay.
It might be okay.
Karen Bracken: Well, the thing is, is back, way back when, before the federal government got involved so deeply with education, you know, we had a 98 percent literacy rate in this country. Today, we’re at about 30 percent of our students can read at a third grade level. So, you know, that to me proves my point, that a state should be concerned.
and involved to the point that they want to provide the best education for their children that they can. When you have the federal government coming down and saying, this is how you will educate your children, you know, you’re, you’re taking that, uh, authority away from the states. And, you know, long ago before Common Core, Massachusetts was the number one academic State in the United States.
Well, here I sit in Tennessee and I’m the governor of Tennessee or I’m the superintendent of education for the state of Tennessee. [00:20:00] I’d be taking a trip to Massachusetts and say, Hey, what are you people doing here? You know, you’re, you’re performing outstanding. You’re number one in the country on the NAEP results.
Um, you know, help us do in Tennessee what you’re doing here. And that’s the beauty of 15. independent laboratories of education. The states should be learning from each other and implementing the best form of education for the students in their state. And we’ve lost that. We’ve lost that.
Gene Valentino: We’ve lost it because of a common, uh, of a desire to create some sort of across the board, uh, equity system.
Is that what you’re saying?
Karen Bracken: We did it. We did it for money. Tennessee. When Common Core started, Race to the Top was the competition where states had to apply, uh, race, for Race to the Top money. And Tennessee and the state of Delaware were the first two states that were ever awarded any money from Race to the Top.[00:21:00]
And they agreed to adopt standards in the state of Tennessee that were not even written yet. And for that, they got 535 million. And that was the impetus for implementing and adopting Common Core standards. And again, they agreed to them before they were ever even written. So, to me, the goal there was to get 535 million dollars not to implement good education
Gene Valentino: standards.
Yeah, well, we’re talking with Karen Bracken from, uh, Tennessee, uh, Citizens for State Sovereignty. Karen, let me drill down one level more. Would you distinguish between the SAT scores, for example, as a uniform standard and say that there’s a place for higher ed, um, a national education to help create some standards versus interfering with the [00:22:00] criteria?
of uniformity, if you will, letting each state draw in its own talent on its own basis. Can you distinguish on that
Karen Bracken: level? Sure. I mean, you know, if every state, you know, they take the SAT test, you know what the SAT test is all about. You want to make sure that your students in your state fare well. On the SAT if they wanna go to college.
So that to me would be the factor that would drive a state education system to make sure that when their children are ready to enter college, that they can perform well on the SAT test. And you know that your education system should be geared towards that success. But that doesn’t mean that every state has to implement the exact same education system to acquire that.
Gene Valentino: Or, or, or focus on what it is they want their higher education system to be, um, advancing in [00:23:00] areas of education itself. I agree with you completely on that. We’re talking with Karen Bracken from Tennessee for safety, Tennessee Citizens for State Sovereignty. We’re going to take a break right now. And when we come back, I have, I want to ask her something about Andrew Jackson.
We’ll be right back.
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Gene Valentino: welcome back to [00:28:00] another wonderful episode here of Grassroots Truthcast. My guest this day is Karen Bracken from Tennessee Citizens for State Sovereignty. Karen, before we begin, I got to hear about this Andrew Jackson quote you had. Oh,
Karen Bracken: no, this is, this is Thomas Jefferson.
Oh, forgive me, Thomas Jefferson. Right, and I use this when I speak to legislators, county commissioners, uh, because 1 of the things that we’re doing is we have a resolution that we’re taking around to the different county commissions to have them, uh, sign and support nullification. Anyhow, it is by Thomas Jefferson, and it basically proves that our founding fathers believed that the states were the final arbiter of the Constitution.
And it says the several states who formed that instrument, meaning the Constitution, being sovereign, were sovereign. Thank you. An independent have the unquestionable right to [00:29:00] judge of its infraction and that nullification by those sovereignties of all unauthorized acts done under color of that instrument is the rightful remedy.
So basically, if you unpack this, it basically says that the state has the right to judge acts of unconstitutional aggressions. and that we have the right to nullify.
Gene Valentino: Okay, now focus on one and as it pertains to Tennessee, what would you be thinking a good springboard would be in Tennessee? Well,
Karen Bracken: um, currently our assembly, our speaker of the house, our governor, uh, they’re holding discussions on actually removing the state of Tennessee from the U.
- Department of Education. That is Nullification. And
Gene Valentino: they’re looking to do that for what reason? There must be some [00:30:00] procuring cause that’s uh, incited this level of thinking.
Karen Bracken: Well, because, like we said earlier, the federal government has no authority in the realm of education, that’s number one, and number two, um, since they’ve implemented Common Core, our NAEP scores, our, uh, student performance academically has dropped drastically, and I think they’ve realized that the problem is the mandates and interference by the federal government.
For more information visit www. fema. gov So
Gene Valentino: I, I was, I was going into that because I saw teachers unions on the state level and on the federal level and, um, clauses within the Department of Education, almost attempting to usurp standards at the state and local levels, uh, uh, drives to your point. And when I was talking about, um.
Uh, literacy in the, in the classroom and, uh, and [00:31:00] the quality and character of some of the reading material we’re seeing in the school libraries that our children are being exposed to, exposed to, unbeknownst to us, it drives to a greater point about maybe a greater A deep state subversive level of activity that’s causing, uh, us to lose control over the, not only the quality of our education, but this village community effect that, uh, is just not working.
Karen Bracken: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. We, you know, if you really look at the education system and what’s being taught in our schools today, we have moved away from academics and we’re concentrating on behaviors, attitudes, um, you know, over academics. And if you research The Prussian education system, which is what Horace Mann brought to the United States many, many, many years ago, um, it is based in [00:32:00] behaviors, attitudes, uh, not so much in academics.
So when people say, well, we have to fix the public education system, my answer is you can’t fix something that’s not broken because it’s finally working the way they planned it to work many, many years ago.
Gene Valentino: At the, with the funding and with the dollars from the federal government, which has, to your point, promoted a social political cause, um, I would suggest that George Soros and many of his cronies had something to do with moving the needle in the direction of socialism and Marxism at the national level.
that caused education at the local level to be usurped by these philosophies. So would nullification take away the money and take away the control of federal control over some of the local standardizations? Is that what you’re saying? Yes. We,
Karen Bracken: we would have [00:33:00] to give up the money. All the ESSA, which is something I fought years ago with my friend Anita Hoag from Pennsylvania, and, um, yeah, we would get no more money from the federal government for education, and the federal government really does not give the state, not our state anyhow, um, the bulk of its education money to begin with.
Tennessee is very financially stable. We have a huge surplus of money, um, so we really don’t need their money as far as education is concerned, and that will give us the freedom to end ESSA, to end all of this mental health stuff that’s taking place. Our schools are becoming mental health clinics, um, all the, uh, Title I’s, Title IX’s, Title X’s, anything that the federal government has mandated will be gone in the state of Tennessee.
Now, will they do it? Of course, what are they doing? They’re talking about the federal funding. Oh, we’ll lose the federal funding and the poor [00:34:00] children, you know, the poor children, um, you know, will be put at a disadvantage. And my response is, you know, what has the federal money done for the poor children?
Since the Johnson administration, it’s done nothing. You know, they just keep sinking more and more money into education for the poor children. And the poor children are no smarter today, probably less smarter than they were 20, 30, 40 years ago. So the
Gene Valentino: answer is funny. I would rely, yeah, I would rely on educational experts smarter than me to, um, step up and create those standards at the local state levels.
But I do not see a place, uh, uh, in education for the federal government to be drawn. Look at the money that we spend now on our funding for education. Generally speaking, I, I, I know there’s There’s nuances around the nation, but generally speaking, around the nation, uh, our funding for [00:35:00] education is from the property tax, and it’s usually between 30 and 60 percent of the property tax, based on the, uh, government, the jurisdiction you’re in.
Right. That money is going to an educational process that we have no control over. Right. That sees. I have a school board representative that I elected, but between us guys and gals, I don’t know what the heck that person’s doing in terms of managing. Pardon me?
Karen Bracken: They do as they’re told.
Gene Valentino: Well stated. And so if So how do we, so here’s what I see happening as a, as a, as a go around.
I see this concept of private school systems and chartered school systems stepping up where you get to fund your child in that system directly, but hold on now, if I’m going to use my money to pay for that [00:36:00] child to go into a alternative program, hopefully sanctioned and has having some standardizations.
It’s my expectation that I get a rebate off of the taxes I’ve already paid into the educational system. from my property tax. A voucher. I hate to, I hate to think we have to complicate the matter for me to get a rebate back on education I’ve already paid for in my property taxes, but now I have to do that to get around public education.
The shortcomings of public education. What say you? Well, charter
Karen Bracken: schools are public schools. So you don’t, you don’t pay a fee to, to belong to a charter school. Uh, but public charter schools are public schools.
Gene Valentino: They’re funded in some of the other private schools that, um, you know, Montessori, Montessori school.
Karen Bracken: Right. Well, [00:37:00] again, If you think about the academic performance of the students in the United States of America prior to the Department of Education, we were the number one in the world. The answer is getting out from underneath. The federal government. Well, I,
Gene Valentino: I think we agree. I may have misspoke when I said chartered schools, but I, I do mean to say that you as the parent should have the right to put your child in the school system of your choice.
I mean, my words were, we’re talking about homeschooling. How many parents really have a curriculum guide that they’re following correctly while they’re trying to work nine to five anyway for a homeschool system? Uh, the, the, The point is, is that I think there ought to be an alternative that TNCSS could shepherd, and that is an alternative to public education being [00:38:00] funded at the federal level by creating incentives, um, from federal funding, I should say, by creating, um, incentives for, for the local, state and local folks to do it themselves.
Karen Bracken: You know, I’m, again, it’s, uh, I don’t have any objections to considering that, um, you know, I, I have to disagree on one point that I find the most academically astute, socially adjusted children that, that I meet with. Are the homeschool educated children, and those moms educate those children for a tiny, a tiny amount of money.
Um, these kids, you know, I can spot a homeschool educated child in five seconds. There is such a difference between a public educated child, public school educated child, and a homeschool. It’s, it’s amazing. It’s really, and, and the first, I lived in Florida for a while. [00:39:00] That’s when I really learned. about homeschool education.
Gene Valentino: Yeah. There’s a lot of it around here. Yeah. It’s interesting. You’re, you have no state income tax either, do you? No. So Florida and Tennessee have something in common there. Uh, there might be some analogies to be drawn in terms of our funding source. And we both, both states are doing well with balancing a budget too, by the way.
Uh, something that federal government ought to consider. Let’s go back. Go
Karen Bracken: ahead. Florida has worked very hard, um, and I’m not a Governor DeSantis fan, but as far as education is concerned, he’s done a lot of good as far as education is concerned in the state of Florida.
Gene Valentino: Where would you like to take, uh, the, what is the status of TNCSS right now?
Karen Bracken: Well, um, we have a pretty large membership. Like I said, I started working on this last spring in preparation for the [00:40:00] 2024, uh, legislative session, which just started last Tuesday and, um, You know, we have five constitutional experts on our team. We also have a consultant from the Tenth Amendment Center that works with us.
Uh, we have county leaders. So far we have 27 counties that have leaders, um, because we do believe that eventually, uh, it will be left up to the people to file petitions of nullification. So having leaders in the counties will help us accomplish that. Um, you know, we’re just contacting our legislators and getting resolutions signed and sent to the legislators, letting them know that the counties and the people support this legislation and we want this passed, um, in 2020.
Gene Valentino: this was coming in originally under, uh, there was a senate bill 1092, right? Wasn’t this the house bill 726? You know, when [00:41:00] I explain, let’s, let’s talk about House Bill 726, because this is the core of how you’re trying to move this. Right. It’s an, it would, it would be enacted, um, by the General Assembly of the state of Tennessee, subject to approval from the Senate.
And sometimes things get held up by the Senate, uh, in their, uh, deliberation process. But this bill articulates what I think you’ve been trying to say this morning, and that is that there’s got to be a mechanism in place for us to be able to assess first the jurisdiction of the federal government’s reach on any given issue.
We’re focusing on education right now, but um, the bill would really be for anything else. Uh, uh, to determine if there is an overreach based on what our constitution of the United States intended or not. Uh, the first, what, eight, uh, sections of this bill? We’re trying to define that or articulate
Karen Bracken: [00:42:00] that.
Right. And, and understand that nullification does not just apply to, uh, federal laws. It applies to unconstitutional executive orders. It applies to unconstitutional international agreements. It applies to treaties that are unconstitutional. Uh, May of 2024, we’re going to be faced with the, uh, pandemic treaty.
and the amendments to the international health regulations, which are all unconstitutional under the United States Constitution. And these are all things that are coming down upon us in the very near future. We talked a little bit the other day about the natural Um, Asset Companies, uh, and, you know, which is basically the biggest land grab ever, um, with all these kind of things that are coming down upon the states, nullification, if you have an [00:43:00] assembly that has a strong enough backbone to stand up and say, no, we are not doing this, it is unconstitutional.
So we have a lot of issues other than just education, you Uh, facing every state in our country and, uh, Well
Gene Valentino: stated. That, that’s where I was talking earlier, Karen, about, uh, Greg Abbott in Texas on the, on the border issue. I, I didn’t mean to jump in, into different directions, but I was trying to make the point that the concept of nullification can extend far beyond the scope of what we were spending time on, which was education a minute ago.
Karen Bracken: And a lot of people don’t know, you know, the, the, the, the president signs an executive order and everybody thinks that’s law. You know, the executive orders do not create law. You know, that, that’s where the Congress, they create law. Um, most executive orders that are issued are unconstitutional because executive orders are supposed to pertain to the employees of the executive branch.[00:44:00]
Gene Valentino: Is it that they’re unconstitutional under the federal constitution? Is the same executive order, in your opinion, enforceable? Does he have, does the governor hypothetically have jurisdiction over such an executive order? at the state level.
Karen Bracken: Of course. Yeah. If it’s, if it’s unconstitutional, the state can say, no, we’re not going to do this and we’re not going to allow, uh, the federal government.
You’ve, you’ve also got a thing called the anti commandeering act, which, um, basically the states can use to say that, um, we’re not going to use resources, money, whatever, in the state of Tennessee to support unconstitutional executive orders or laws.
Gene Valentino: In the remaining 10 minutes we have, Karen, would you like to stay on TNCSS and focus on what you think the first, second, and third steps are going to be in the [00:45:00] months and years ahead?
You’ve created a structure in Tennessee, you’ve talked about a certain number of counties getting on board, you’ve talked about For lack of a better word, what I would call precinct leaders helping you, uh, manage this process statewide in Tennessee. And then you talked about, um, how you might want to cookie cutter this for other states in the nation.
You want to talk about the, what’s coming first, second, and third in your plan here?
Karen Bracken: Right, yes, and we are talking. We’ve been approached by several states, Louisiana, South Carolina, um, and they’re interested in this legislation. And there are other states that do have legislation, not exactly like ours, but there are several states that do have legislation to invoke nullification.
And our bill is different in that, You know, you talk about nullification and people go, well, that’s all well and good, but how do we do it? How do we do it? And that’s what this bill does. It, it [00:46:00] gives you five different pathways in which to invoke nullification. So, um, yeah, but, you know, we would love to have other states adopt.
the same thing because of course there’s always more power when several states come together than just one state standing out there all by itself being the rogue. Um, but yeah, we are, we are working and talking with other states to, to, to get on board as
Gene Valentino: well. It’s funny you mentioned this because many of the problems that you are talking about that you think might be addressed nationwide.
through state based nullification, uh, statutes is, it, it drives to the convention of states issue that was being considered as a way of securing a constitutional amendment to our national constitution. Uh, because many of the, uh, of the, uh, [00:47:00] of the, of the Congressmen of the nation will not get on board with such constitutional amendments, such as term limits, such as a balanced budget, such as the removal of education from the state, um, from the federal, from the federal government’s involvement, like Vivek Ramaswamy was talking about recently.
Uh, It seems the convention of states might be a friendly ally to Tennessee citizens for state sovereignty. Would it not be a way of addressing some of the issues you’re trying to move
Karen Bracken: nationwide? You know, to fix what’s wrong with our government, you don’t, we don’t need to change the Constitution to do that.
What we need to do is make the federal government abide by the, the Constitution. You can amend the constitution all you want, and they can ignore it, you know, whatever the, well, that’s true, right? Whatever the [00:48:00] COS accomplishes, the, the, the elected officials can, can ignore the new stuff. The same way that it’s been ignoring the Constitution itself for decades.
So the answer is not to, uh, amend the Constitution. The answer is to make the federal government abide by the current Constitution that we have.
Gene Valentino: Yeah, the only concern I have is how do you do that too? I mean, they can ignore it as well. I mean, let’s, to your first point, they have been, and they
Karen Bracken: have. Right, they can ignore the Constitution all they want.
It is the duty of the state to keep the federal government in line. It is the duty and the responsibility of the state and the people of the state, not just the government in the state, but the people of the state to keep the federal government in its lane. Well,
Gene Valentino: that’s, that’s exactly why I mentioned Governor Greg Abbott from Texas taking the bull by the horns on the border.
Karen Bracken: And it is the state and the [00:49:00] people of the states that have failed in that job.
Gene Valentino: So folks, what Karen Bracken is talking about is the fact that we the people mean something very, very It is what it says. We the people, it’s the grassroots, it’s the bottom up governance of this nation, not the elitist top down selected few controlling your way of life and taking your freedoms right out from under your nose before you even realize it.
And I think that’s what she has, uh, uh, uh, uh, exposed this morning on Grassroots Truthcast. Karen, uh, would you like to focus on some other initiatives? And y y your, it’s, your cause is so meritorious and so, so well founded in logic, uh, especially because of the short f the failings at the federal government.
Uh, you know, we’re all patriotic in our own way, aren’t we? I mean, [00:50:00] We’ve all, we all believe in this government, in this country, uh, notwithstanding its warts and its, uh, shortcomings. But boy, I tell you what, I’m, I feel like such a patriot, I’ve tried to do my best to be loyal to this nation, but I walk away, as I think you have, as a county commissioner, shaking my head, saying, oh my god, What?
It’s not that the principles are bad. Follow the principles as you’re, as you’re suggesting. There is a fundamental scheme of bad behavior that exists at all levels of government that has usurped the spirit of good principles of government. Might it be that there’s just got to be an uprising from the grassroots of the citizens of this nation to take back, uh, our, our, our freedoms and our liberties that have been stolen right out from under our nose?
What do you say?
Karen Bracken: I [00:51:00] agree, and our founders would agree with that too. That’s why the concept of nullification was born. Rather than take up arms and, you know, have a civil war, they said, you know, there must be another way to respond to a government that becomes tyrannical, and nullification was that answer.
And in my opinion, nullification is the last peaceful option. That we have to to resist what’s coming down from the federal government. You know, we talked just a real brief about the natural asset companies that are going to be created and, you know, if you. If you look at that natural asset company that’s happening, it’s, it’s, I mean, I’m just speechless.
It is our federal government, the biggest land grab, you know, President Biden signed an executive order to seal off [00:52:00] 30 percent of all land in the United States by 2030, and the next phase is 50 percent of all land by 2050. That is totally unconstitutional. It is totally a United Nations agenda, and now we have these natural asset companies that are going to be taking federal land and private land and turning them into a national asset company where, uh, these companies will profit off of the resources, the air, the water, the land of these federal properties and private
Gene Valentino: properties.
This is the beginning of China’s takeover of this nation and I think it’s consistent with some of, sometimes when people come out with a crazy scheme, it, it, it seems to be, um, oh this guy’s crazy, that’ll never fly. But if you look deeper into your, [00:53:00] into the good intentions behind what you’re trying to create here, It’s not, not unlike our early, um, leaders of government who, it was called the Boston Tea Party, it was called, um, uh, a secession from, away from British rule, uh, and, uh, the Civil War, and the issue of slavery, and the issues that preceded after that, we were working through a process, we are the first to admit, I’m sure you, you admit this as well, that we’re not perfect, but boy, we, we sure, It’s because of our shortcomings and why we’re always trying to fix it.
You know, democracy to me has always been a governance of tension. The constitutional republic we have has always been under stress, trying to tug and push and pull to try to get it right, both at the local, state, and federal levels. And we’ve [00:54:00] We’ve had, we have our shortcomings, I’ll be first to admit, but we certainly are still, for one, by the grace of God, the longest standing governance in the world.
We must have done something right, and I think one of the things we did right is we had systems in place, whether we liked it or not, to test the merits of our government, and I think the Tennessee, uh, Citizens for State Sovereignty, uh, is, is a perfect example of that point, that you’re trying to bring forward a system to test the validity of those good principles our Founding Fathers intended.
It’s not, it’s not pretty. It’s not pleasant. And it’s not always appealing. And for those folks in government who are looking for a cushy job for another 40 years, those bureaucrats are going to object to this kind of thinking because you’re messing, [00:55:00] you’re screwing with their sandbox. And, uh, so I commend you for going up against a wall.
Talk about where your legislation and this bill stands in Tennessee’s legislature. Now let’s get it right in Tennessee first, right? You get it right in Tennessee first, you become the template and a cookie cutter that maybe other nations, other states adopt throughout the nation. What say you?
Karen Bracken: I agree. I agree 100%.
Uh, like I said last year, uh, this bill was presented for the first time last year in our legislative session, and it was doing very well in the House. Um, but when the bill was read, the SB 1092 was presented to the Senate, state, and local committee. Um, they failed to give the bill a second. Which means, basically, the, the Senator, Senator Bolling, could not even present her bill, read her [00:56:00] bill, it was done, it was dead at that point.
Um, so, we expect that that very same committee will be a thorn in our side this year as well. So, we’re going to concentrate our efforts on the members of that committee. Of course, we’re going to Any committee that this bill goes through, whether it be House or Senate committee, before it gets to the floor, we’re going to be concentrating on those different committee members and, uh, with an emphasis on the Senate, state, and local committee.
We had, I had one senator tell me that the state has no right. to nullify that the Supreme Court is the supreme law of the land. And my response to him was, well, then if the Supreme Court is the law of the land, then where does that put the Constitution?
Gene Valentino: Yeah, the problem is, yeah, the problem is, is the Supreme Court does not legislate.
Right. Which is one of, which is why these impotent legislators are [00:57:00] trying to push it off on the Supreme Court to do, to do their bidding. It’s, on that point you said senators, you meant state senators, I think, and representatives. But that brings up another point. What about someone like a renowned Senator, U.
- Senator Marsha Blackburn, or some of your congressmen and women, could you not have more merit in getting this through the state legislature with U. S. congressmen endorsing this in some way?
Karen Bracken: It’s a very good, very good question, a very good question.
Gene Valentino: If you have the support of the legislators at the level you’re trying to, uh, uh, harness or throttle.
Through, through this nullification procedure at the state level, you’re saying the federal legislators, the congressmen and women and the senators would be saying in effect to its own constituents in [00:58:00] Tennessee, hey Tennessee, I’m not looking to create more layers of government. I’m not looking to reduce my rights or authority as a U.
- senator or congressman, but I am trying to make sure that the federal government stay within its boundaries on what it legislates and what it, what it has oversight in. And I think the, this adoption of the Nullification Act by the State General Assembly, Which I’m here to support, a Marsha Blackburn could say, is something you need to get behind.
So, Karen, respectfully, for those people who don’t support you, this might be a way of getting those people to look at what you’re trying to do in a different light. What say you?
Karen Bracken: That’s a very good, very good suggestion. I have no problems contacting Senator Hagerty [00:59:00] or Senator Blackburn. I do talk with my federal House representative, Diana Harshbarger, often, and people in her office.
So I do interface with her. One of the reasons that we were hoping to push that Particular committee along is the fact that so many county commissioners are approving the resolution to support HB 726. so every time a county commission approves 1 of these resolutions, it goes up to the state assembly.
So they’re aware of it. Our state executive committee also passed this resolution. So. Thank you. Our legislators up there know feel a little more threatened this year than they did last year because there was no organization. We have an organization now. [01:00:00] Uh, like I said, we have county commissioners and and our state legislators do pay attention to the county commissioners.
Gene Valentino: you’re, you’re talking about House Bill, um, uh, 0726, uh, and the related Senate Bill 1092, and what kind of traction are you getting on that? Where does it stand with those two bills right now?
Karen Bracken: Well, right now, it’s, um, you know, it has to be assigned to a committee. Uh, the bills are submitted. Uh, they have to be assigned to a committee, which they have not yet been assigned to a committee, and then, of course, they’ll go through in the House, they’ll go through two different committee hearings.
In the Senate, it’s generally one committee hearing, and then it goes to the full floor. But, like I said, They’re getting a lot of pressure right now from the counties and from the state executive committee in Tennessee. We have a super majority of Republicans in both House and Senate, [01:01:00] so the state executive committee passing this resolution, uh, caught the attention of of many of our state legislators where we didn’t have any of this last year.
to put any pressure on them.
Gene Valentino: So, uh, if there’s ever a time to strike, one would argue now might be the time. Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. So, um, we’re talking about, um, we’re talking about, uh, House Bill, uh, 0726, which is the parallel of Senate Bill 1092. There are other bills pending that you’re involved in, but staying focused on this for a moment, this sets into motion the original plan.
of Tennessee’s Citizens for State Sovereignty initiative in the state of Tennessee. You’ve got an infrastructure in place to kind of move the mountain amongst the counties. You seem to have other counties getting on board with this. You know, especially with a super majority in the, um, in the House and Senate, [01:02:00] you strike now or ever, or forever hold your peace is what I would say to you, um, the, the, um, Is there a plan in place to go after other states specifically?
Karen Bracken: Yeah, I mean, I, I do because I’ve done initiatives, um, in other states. I have contacts in other states. And like I said, we, um, I did have a, a zoom meeting with legislators from Louisiana. Um, I’ve been talking with people in South Carolina. South Carolina actually has, um, HB 726 on their list of pending legislation for 2024, and I’ve talked to people from Florida, California, Utah, um, you know, and I’ve made it very clear that I’m willing to talk with and help any other state that wants to do the same thing that we’re doing here in Tennessee.
Gene Valentino: We’ve been talking with, uh, Karen Brack and she is, um, she’s with us here today [01:03:00] to, to discuss the, um, Tennessee Citizens for State Sovereignty Initiative. It’s a way of bringing government back to the people. Karen, in the last, uh, two minutes, would you like to summarize where you are and where you’re going and, um, And maybe we’ll have you back on certain initiatives.
I think we started in the right place. Tennessee Citizens for State Sovereignty is the umbrella governing entity that will be dealing with several issues, but getting you set up in Tennessee is probably the first place to start. You’ve talked about the environment, you’ve talked about, um, We’ve talked about the border.
We’ve talked about, we did not talk about currency. We did not talk about the state of Tennessee and their own currency. Would you like to summarize where TNCSS is going? And then, um, and then I’ll close. Right,
Karen Bracken: and nullification is our primary [01:04:00] objective for 2024, but we’re also supporting, um, we have legislation right now to make gold and silver coinage legal tender, and we also have legislation to set up a precious metals depository, and we also have legislation pending to stop natural act.
Natural asset companies from doing business. in the state of Tennessee. Um, that’s, that’s a big one. That’s a big one right
Gene Valentino: there. I don’t want to jump into it without giving it all the credit it deserves. What’s, I know what it is, but articulate what a natural asset company is.
Karen Bracken: Well, first of all, I’ll tell your viewers to go to AmericanStewards.
- They have, they are the leading force in fighting this, they call it the NAC, and basically there’s a group called IEG who has [01:05:00] partnered with the New York Stock Exchange To create a natural assessment, the investment vehicle called natural asset companies. And what they’re going to do is they’re going to have, you know, the rich and powerful will invest in these natural asset companies.
And the goal of these companies will be that federal land and private land will be very limited in what they can do with that land. And that these investors will make money off of the resources in that land, the air, the water, um, the soil itself. Um, so we’re basically monetizing our air. It’s like, it’s crazy.
But the federal government, Joe Biden, is 100 percent behind this. They also created a national capital accounting system that will develop the price that they put on air and water [01:06:00] and all the natural resources. And they will also establish taxes and fees for citizens. Who own a big house or own a lot of land, um, everything that they deem unsustainable, they’ll actually start taxing and, and placing fees on American citizens for owning gas driven cars, gas stoves, large houses, lots of land.
Um, it is just unbelievable. 100 percent behind this, just like they’re 100 percent behind the pandemic treaty and the, and the, um, amendments to the international health regulations which will basically sign our country’s sovereignty over to the WHO. That’s why Bingo,
Gene Valentino: Karen. I jumped on you. Say again.
Karen Bracken: I was going to say that’s why nullification is so critically important and it’s important to get past this year.
Gene Valentino: [01:07:00] Boy, you hit the nail on the head, folks. This is Karen Bracken and she’s talking about a concept that goes, it’s not a new concept. It’s a concept that goes back to the January 13th of 1833 when Andrew Jackson wrote the Vice President, Vice President Martin Van Buren, expressing his opposition to South Carolina’s defiance of federal authority.
He closed in his assertion that nothing must be permitted to weaken our government’s At the home, at home or abroad. And it starts with we, the people at the state and local levels keeping our federal government in check, because that’s what the federal constitution says they should be doing, is being put in check by the state level.
In fact, at the, at the, when we created a federal government, it was the deal, uh, between the states that said. That the federal government will be kept in [01:08:00] check by statehood. We have to make everything, it’s a pendulum, it swings to extremes at both ends and we have to be careful of that. But I’m so glad to see the Tennessee Citizens for State Sovereignty being formed under your Uh, uh, in, in Tennessee, and I hope you get it to first base through your, um, state legislative act that you have before the Tennessee House, uh, uh, of representatives and the Tennessee Senate.
And, uh, you will be invited back on this show so that we can figure out how to move the mountain and take this to the next level. You talked about several things that I, I was cautious not to confuse the, the, the, the viewers with, and that’s. Uh, uh, uh, currency and, uh, uh, health care issues worldwide and how that affects this, not to mention education and protection of the border, the, the TNC CSS can do that.
Um, uh, uh, uh, you can create the [01:09:00] template, which is what you’re trying to do, but you’ve got to get the structure in place first. I commend you for doing that. Any Give us your contact information and your
Karen Bracken: website. Sure. Um, we have a sub stack. It’s tncss. substack. com and that’s where I communicate to our members.
It’s a free sub stack. It will always be a free sub stack. And that’s where we communicate the status of what’s happening with the legislation that we’re supporting. Uh, tncss. weebly. com is our website where you can go and get a lot of information. You can also get a copy of the legislation if you want it.
And once this bill gets passed by our state assembly, TNCSS is going to be the watchdog. The people of our group, we’re going to be the watchdog to make sure that when things come down that are unconstitutional, that our Tennessee assembly is invoking nullification. [01:10:00] And if they don’t do it, we’re very happy to fill out a petition and get 2, 000 signatures and we’ll invoke nullification ourselves.
Gene Valentino: Karen Bracken from Tennessee, Citizens for State Sovereignty, focusing on nullification and the concept of nullification, which is guaranteed to us in our federal constitution. She’s, uh, she’s bringing back a little bit of coffee. I call it a sobering of, um, uh, of thought of what our It takes two to tango, doesn’t it?
It’s a sobering of thought that we’ve needed, uh, to remind ourselves of just what our purpose is, what, what our government’s purpose is for us. And if we believe in this notion of we, the people, uh, of the grassroots, of the individual rights coming out of, uh, and, and the protection of our liberties and freedoms at the local level.
It’s really what our Founding Fathers intended, and Karen’s reminding us of that today [01:11:00] in our interview with her. Thank you so much, Karen, for joining us today. I really
Karen Bracken: appreciate it. Thank
Gene Valentino: you. And thank you ladies and gentlemen for joining us on another episode of Gene Valentino’s Grassroots Truthcast.
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