The End Is Coming If We Don’t Do Something Soon

Look, the country is falling apart.  Our industries are gone, outsourced or replaced by cheap imports.  We are changing the climate in unpredictable ways by burning fossil fuels.  We are spending 700 billion dollars a year overseas to buy those foreign fossil fuels.  As a result of that massive transfer of wealth, our overall standard of living is declining.     Ninety percent of the wealth of this nation is owned by one percent of the population. In terms of 1970 dollars, adjusted for inflation, the middle class is earning less now than we did forty years ago.

The war between the right and left in Washington DC is spilling out across the country, in state after state.  Feeling empowered by their gains in the 2010 midterm elections, the right wing is in full attack mode.  Because of the increasingly intense belief that compromise itself is wrong, there will be no compromise, no civility, no reasoning possible between the extremes.

Face it, unless we do something soon, we’ve had it.  The nation is not going to be able to pull out of this nose dive unless the reigns of government are taken out of the hands that are currently controlling them.  We need a totally new government.

A national constitutional convention is the only way that can happen short of revolution or civil war.  Make no mistake, war is what will happen if we don’t start fixing our problems now.  A new government, based on a direct participatory form of democracy, is possibly the only way to make the necessary changes.

A representative democracy is too prone to being controlled by special interests.  A representative democracy is not really a true democracy at all.  It is merely a method used by the powerful and wealthy elite to control the vast majority of Americans, and preserve their own wealth and privileges.

I don’t know what it will take to wake people up.  If we don’t start working on fixing the future now, our children will not like the world that we are going to leave for them.  America, wake up!

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Our Country Is In A State of Decline

Do you recall former President George W. Bush saying that the fundamentals of the US economy were sound?  George W. Bush is a moron.  The “fundamentals” of the US economy are in crisis.  Our infrastructure is crumbing.  We import trillions of dollars worth of foreign goods every year, far in excess of the worth of goods that the US exports.  As a nation, we are bankrupt.

Our industry is a joke.  Sure we can make fighter jets, battle tanks, smart bombs, ICBMS and other high tech goodies, but can we make can openers, TV’s, microwave ovens, or hundreds of everyday goods?  Not so much, anymore.  Go into any store in American today and you will find that the vast majority of goods and products on sale were made somewhere else than in the good old USA.

Our infrastructure is in as bad shape as our industries.  Bridges are decaying, roads are falling into disrepair, the electrical grid is overloaded and beginning to fail, sewers are overflowing, pipelines are leaking, and the list goes on, and on, and on.  It is estimated that it will require at least five trillion dollars in the next 5 years to bring up the infrastructure to a minimally safe and adequate level.

But the trillions of dollars needed to do that don’t exist.  That money got spent overseas buying stuff that could have been made in the USA, or on foreign fossil fuel sources.  We are screwed big time.

How did this happen?  The current government system.  I don’t mean just the current President, or even the last President.  I mean the whole system, the form of government that we allow to mismanage our lives.

Our government is the tool of special interests.  It isn’t really a government for the people, by the people.  It is a government of the people by the rich and the large corporations.  The pretense that “We the People” govern ourselves through democratically elected officials is beginning to wear thin.  The “System” isn’t working anymore, and it shows.

For example, there was a fuel shortage in the mid 1970’s, caused by unrest in the Middle East.  We had soaring gas prices, the President instituted a national speed limit of 55 miles an hour to conserve fuel.  Gas was rationed, you could only fill up on even or odd numbered days, that kind of thing.

People could see the writing on the wall.  Our dependence on foreign fuels was being used by the Arabs to force the US to support the Muslims, or at least not support the Israeli side of a foreign war. The fact that oil is a finite resource that will eventually run out in the middle of the 21st Century became part of the collective consciences.  Everyone from the President on down proclaimed that we needed to develop a national energy policy that would free the US from reliance on foreign energy sources.  Alternative energy sources were to be developed and phased in.  Clean energy sources were to be given priority over polluting fossil fuels.  It never happened.

So, why?  Why didn’t it happen?  Because it wasn’t in the short term interests of Big Oil, that’s why.  They make their money selling gasoline to the public, and if the public doesn’t need their oil, the big oil companies like Texaco, BP, Standard, and Exxon would be out of work.  So, rather than let the country develop a plan to deal with the eventual depletion of the world’s oil reserves, they work behind the scenes to block the government from actually developing a national energy plan.

They have succeeded for 40 years in halting a true national energy plan, even up to today.  And the reason that they have succeeded is because we don’t live in a true democracy.  We live in a Republic, with a representative form of government.  The big oil people only have to deal with 535 Congressmen and Congresswomen, 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate, plus the President.  That’s not so hard.

Five hundred and thirty-five plus one.  That’s all it takes.  Well, not even that many really.  They only need to count on a fifty percent majority plus one of each house to really get what they want, 218 in the House and 51 in the Senate.  That’s what Political Action Committees, campaign contributions, and lobbying; not to mention the illegal gifts, outright bribes and blackmail, have been doing for big oil since the 1950’s.

If the government was actually a true participatory democracy there would be no way that big oil, or any of the other big corporate special interests, like big banking, big auto companies, etc., could control the electorate.  If everyone who is of age, of sound mind, and not in prison could participate and vote on laws and national policy, it would be impossible for special interests to control national policy.  There just isn’t enough money for bribes, or enough lobbyists to spread bribe money, to go around.  Policy would be decided on it’s own merits, not on the “needs” of special interests.

We could have a true participatory democracy today if we wanted it.  The technology is available.  There is no practical reason not to do it.  The government won’t allow it though, mainly because the special interests wouldn’t allow it.  We are in essence governed by the special interests through our “elected officials.”

The people who really control America will fight to the death to defend their stranglehold on the US government.  The special interests will view any challenge to their control as treason.

However, things are reaching a breaking point.  The old system can’t continue to maintain the status quo much longer.  There will be change soon.  It can be good change or it can be bad change. I hope that it is good change,  that is why I believe that we need to rewrite the US Constitution.

We need to put the control of the government back in the hands of “We the People.”  A true participatory democracy needs to be established, and the rule of law must apply to everyone, especially the powerful special interests who currently rule this country.

I call upon the state legislatures of the various States to vote for resolutions for the US Congress to call a National Constitutional Convention.  It is long time past time to do something to take back control of our country and our future.

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Why Is The Current US Constitution Not Up-To-Date?

Why should we force a national constitutional convention?  The present US Constitution is a living document.  It was intended by the Framers that the US Constitution be periodically amended as needed.  One whole article, Article Five, describes the methods by which the Constitution is to be kept up-to-date.

The Constitution has been amended 27 times.  The first ten of those amendments, the Bill of Rights, were more or less part of the original document.  That leaves just 17 amendments proposed by Congress and ratified by the States.  The last amendment to take effect, the 27th Amendment, became part of our Constitution in May 1992.  The 27th amendment was originally proposed on September 25, 1789, as part of the Bill of Rights.  It took 203 years to gain ratification!

Prior to that, the 26th amendment was proposed on March 23, 1971, and ratified on July 1, 1971.  The 26th amendment took just 100 days to become part of the US Constitution.  The 25th amendment was proposed on July 6, 1965, and ratified on February 10, 1967, 584 days after being proposed.

It is obvious that if the political will is present, the US Constitution can be changed.  Sometimes it takes hundreds of years, other times it can be done in a 100 days.  The last amendment proposed by Congress, and ratified by the States to become part of the US Constitution, was proposed 40 years ago.

The US Constitution isn’t being kept up-to-date.  It isn’t changing to reflect the changes that have occurred in society for 40 years.   The right to privacy has all but been lost due to advances in electronic technology.  The Equal Rights amendment failure to be ratified is still a glaring failure of democracy and equality.   Why?

Political parties, and political polarization, are the reasons.  The attempt to extend any freedom or liberty to the citizenry of the US has and will continue to be blocked and stifled by the two main political parties in this country, the Republicans and the Democrats.

The two parties are engaged in a political test of wills.  The Republicans are trying to remake this into a rightwing, Capitalist dominated, Christian theocracy, the Democrats are more prone to try to pursue socialistic and left wing policies.  The vast majority of the the people of the United States of America are politically somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between these two extremes.

A new Constitution, in essence a new form of government, is one of the only three ways out of the current stalemate between the two political parties.  This stalemate has resulted in a situation that has “locked down” the current constitution, and is slowly resulting in the loss of political freedom and civil rights in the US.   The other two avenues available are, one, a new moderate political party to arise, or two, a second war of independence, but this time it would be a war for freedom from our own government.

I don’t see a third party being able to arise.  The current situation makes it very difficult for anyone to get financial support to run a nationally effective third party.  People have been trying to start one for years with little success.  No one, or very few of us anyway, would want another civil war, so revolution is absolutely the last recourse.  We should try to force an unlimited national constitutional convention first.

So how would a new constitution get by the current deadlock between the Republican and Democratic Parties?  Any new constitution could contain its own specified method of ratification.  That’s what the Framers of the present US Constitution did to the Articles of Confederation.  They bypassed it.  The US Constitution was ratified according to the rules in the US Constitution itself, in a bootstrap kind of manner.  How could the US Constitution be used as a legal method of ratification, while it itself wasn’t yet in effect?

I really don’t know the answer, but the fact is, it did.  And if it worked one time, it could work again.  If we were to specify that a new constitution would be ratified by a supermajority of the electorate, voting directly for or against ratification, a new constitution could be ratified regardless of the forces opposed to change.

I renew my call.  Let’s get a new constitutional convention called.  Use ballot measures to force state legislatures to issue a resolution to the Congress calling for a new, unlimited, constitutional convention.  The clock is ticking.

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So, How To Pick Delegates to a New National Constitutional Convention?

This is the single most difficult part of calling for a new constitutional convention. There are so many different and opposed factions in our society now. Many of these factions are fanatically opposed to the viewpoints of other factions.

I personally want to have a government that is fair, has very little power to dictate the morality and lifestyles of the citizenry of this nation. I personally want to see the DEA shut down, with no governmental authority to restrict what people want to put into their own bodies. For good or ill, people take what drugs or other substances they want. Self destructive behavior should be a right, not a crime. Freedom to make poor choices in life is as important to the exercise of liberty as is the freedom of speech or religion. If you do not have the freedom to make your own choices, then you aren’t truly free.

I want marriage between one or more persons of either the same or opposite sex to be a matter of personal conscience. The government has no business telling anyone who they can love, or how many people they can love. I want the government out of the morality business entirely. Nudity, sex, anything between consenting adults, there should be nothing that the government can do to control people. I want a county where a person is free to be what and who they want to be.

That is basically the story of what our history has been, what the ultimate goal of our nation is meant to be. We have been working toward becoming a better county, a better people, than we are. We have slowly been making progress toward that destiny. We started this journey two centuries ago when there was slavery in this country. We have moved beyond that, first abolishing slavery, allowing interracial marriages, and we are working our way through gender discrimination, and sexual orientation discrimination, to name just a few movements toward a truly free county.

The government is not the answer to making us a more free people. In fact, it is the main tool of repression and maintaining the status quo. People who do not want you to be truly free, who see you as needing their “guidance” are getting more vocal and impatient. They look at all the changes that have happened and don’t rejoice, rather they see loss of “morality,” by which they really mean loss of control.

These are the people who should not be allowed anywhere near a constitutional convention. What is the answer? I frankly don’t know. I do know that we can’t let the government, the Democrats, the Republicans, the religious right, the moral majority, anyone who isn’t dedicated to true liberty and freedom to write the new constitution. How to keep people, the ones who would try to roll back the tide of history, out of a new national constitutional convention is an open question.

Any suggestions?

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How Can A New Constitutional Convention Be Called?

The methods for changing the US Constitution are spelled out in Article 5 of the Constitution.  Most of us are aware that if two-thirds of the members of both houses of the US Congress approve, the Congress can propose an amendment to the Constitution.  If ratified either by approval of the legislatures of three-fourths of the states or ratifying conventions held in three-fourths of the states, then the amendment becomes part of the US Constitution.

There is another part of Article 5 that is not as well known.  The States themselves can propose amending the constitution by calling for a national constitutional convention.  It takes two-thirds of the legislatures of the various states to call for a national constitutional convention.  If that happens, the Federal Government doesn’t have the option of not allowing it; by present constitutional law, a new constitutional convention must be held.

As it happens, state legislatures have been calling for a national constitutional convention for years.  Most of state legislatures have specific amendments in mind that they want to become part of the US Constitution, such as the balanced budget amendment, the equal rights amendment, a flat income tax, etc.  As it happens, by some current counts, only two additional state legislatures need to pass resolutions calling for a national constitutional convention.

Many opposed to the idea of a new constitutional convention dispute the count.  As a result of changing political fortunes, the state legislative houses can change from Democratic control to Republican control, or vice versa.   A couple of legislatures have “rescinded” or “revoked” their state’s call.  However, the US Constitution has no such provision or process for removing a state’s resolution calling for a new convention.

However, once two more state legislatures call for a constitutional convention, then the matter will be resolved by the US Supreme Court.  Most constitutional scholars give even odds one way or the other on how the Supreme Court would rule, but regardless of the Supremes,  eventually there will be enough state calls for a national constitutional convention to force the matter.

And that scares the shit out of lots of people.  But not normal people, but people who have a vested interest in the current form of government do not want the rules changing, especially in ways that may take away their advantages.  Imagine, Billionaires and Mega Corporations forced to pay 20 percent of their income as a flat federal income tax, all of their tax exemptions and shelters swept away by a new government.  Unthinkable!! … for Billionaires.

They even bankroll a foundation dedicated to the monitoring and suppression of state calls for a constitutional convention.   Check out and, if you don’t believe me.  Or just Google “stop the constitutional convention.”  You’ll get lots of hits.

Why does it scare these people?  Because a national constitutional convention is not limited in anyway in how much or what subjects it can address and change.  The last time a national convention was called, it was supposed to merely propose changes to the first American Constitution, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (not in any way linked to the Confederacy and the Civil War).  Instead, they threw out the Articles of Confederation and wrote the current US Constitution as a total replacement.  It could happen again.

In fact, many past and present members of the Supreme Court, as well as other eminent constitutional scholars,  have give their opinions on this very subject.  I quote former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.  “I have repeatedly given my opinion that there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened it is too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda.”

I say good.  That’s what we need, total review and reevaluation of the present structure of government.  If amendments can’t get the Federal Government working for the people of the United States of America again, then change it.  Change it totally, if necessary.

Face it.  The average Joe or Jane doesn’t matter to the Federal Government anymore.  You have to have money, and lots of it, to get any attention from the government.  But if you do, you can get just about anything you want.  Our nation isn’t a democracy in anything but name anymore.  It is actually an Aristocracy, ruled for and by the wealthy and their corporate lackeys.

So am I advocating Socialism?  Not hardly.  I believe that a person should be allowed to achieve high success, earn lots of money, and keep the monetary rewards of their efforts, minus a fair amount paid as income taxes.   I don’t want to discriminate against the rich.

What I am saying is that just because you have money, you shouldn’t be anymore important, worthy, or significant than the average wage earner.  Not in the eyes of the government anyway.  The operation of the government effects us all, and it should be a level playing field.  It shouldn’t be run like a high stakes poker game where you have to “buy in” to be a player.

So, how can we do this?  Get a new national constitutional convention called?  Frankly, I  suggest the initiative process be used in states that allow people to propose and vote their own laws into being. A initiative, or proposition, could be placed on a ballot as a proposed law that, if approved by the electorate, would force the legislature to call for a national constitutional convention. It could take the form of a state constitutional amendment or an ordinary statute. California has such a process, and is not one of the states that has already called for a constitutional convention. It would only take the addition of two such states to reach the two-thirds majority of state legislatures needed to force the matter.

Let’s get this done.  Let’s get those two to four additional states to call for a constitutional convention.  It is time for a change.  A real change this time and not just a slogan.

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What Should Be in the US Constitution That Isn’t Already There?

The United States Constitution needs revision.  There is much about the Constitution that needs to be added and changed, but for now let us consider only one basic right that isn’t being adequately protected in the Constitution.

The US Constitution was written two centuries ago.  There are technologies in use today that were not even dreamed of by the men who bent their impressive intellects to writing the perfect framework for a government of the people, by the people, for the people.  The electronic age has created an enormous range of possibilities for governmental, and non governmental, entities who want to know everything there is to know about you.  There are people who want to know what your political beliefs are, what you purchase at the supermarket, how often you contribute to your favorite causes, and what those causes are.

In today’s world, privacy is an endangered species.  There isn’t much that the police and other governmental agencies don’t know about you, or can’t find out with very little trouble. All they have to do is ask one of their pet Judges to sign off on a warrant.  The protection afforded your privacy by the US Constitution is minimal to nonexistent.

Reasonable cause is set so ridiculously low that it is easy for any governmental agency to claim that they should have access to your private information.  Not one in a hundred requests for a search warrant is turned down by either Federal or by State Judges.  With a search warrant your every record, anywhere, is an open book.

If for some reason you come up on the radar of a governmental agency, your whole life story is open to complete strangers.  And you may never know.  They don’t have to tell you about anything, and they practically never do. You have no recourse against the police, the FBI, the Justice Department, or even the local animal control office.  All they have to do is show that “due process” was followed.

Due process was a once upon a time protection from unfair exercise of governmental power against a citizen, but that was before the computer was invented. Due process does not protect you from governmental snooping, invasion of privacy, or tracking.  They get their “permission” without you having any say, and they are protected by sovereign immunity laws that give them immunity from prosecution if they “just made a mistake.”

Sovereign immunity is the doctrine that the government or employees of the government cannot commit a legal wrong and are immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution. All the cards are in the government’s hands.  You don’t stand a chance in hell of getting fair treatment or redress if your privacy is unjustly invaded.  That needs to change.

At the very least, the US Constitution needs to be amended to include strong protection against governmental intrusion into your private life and your private information.  Every Judge who grants a search warrant needs to be held directly and personally responsible for maintaining your right to privacy.  The doctrine of sovereign immunity needs to be abolished.

Any Judge who grants a warrant on weak or nonexistent cause should be punished by being relieved of pay or position.  Any police or other law enforcement officer who seeks a warrant without convincing evidence needs to suffer serious consequences.  It has to be serious and personal, or it isn’t a real deterrent to abuse of power.

Every person who is the subject of a search warrant needs to be advised of the fact in a timely manner.  They need to be given the affidavit that was used to procure said warrant and any evidence used to convince the Judge.  Every person should be allowed to confront the Judge and law enforcement officer and challenge their reasoning and decision making process. There needs to be a system that is solely designed to judge the Judge and Law Enforcement, able to exercise disciplinary measures to discourage rampant disregard for civil liberties and the right of the citizenry to privacy.

Without the right to live your life free from the oversight and intrusion of the government into your personal life, you can’t call yourself “free.”

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What’s Wrong With the Constitution?

Why do we need to rewrite the United States Constitution?  Why can’t we fix the one we already have?  Could we not amend the current plan of government we have used for the past two centuries, and make it work for us again?

Sadly, no.  It would require too much reworking of the basic fabric of the Constitution.  Take political parties for example, the Republican and Democratic Parties are nowhere to be found in the Constitution.  No political party is mentioned, absolutely no mention anywhere at all, in the basic plan of government framed by the Constitution, yet political parties are fundamental to the operation of government in the United States of America.  These days it is hard for most people to envision government separate from political parties and party politics.

Indeed, they arose spontaneously at nearly the beginning of independent rule over our own land.  It was a way for like minded individuals to organize their efforts and energy into accomplishing goals for the government.  However, political parties are now the bane of our county’s government, and therefore also of us, “We the People.”

Ideology has consumed the hearts of the political parties currently co-ruling the United States.  The Democratic Party is one main pole of political belief, and the Republican Party is almost the diametrically opposed political pole.  These two parties have traded off running the county for over 150 years.  At first they were able to put aside pure ideological purity in favor of compromise and accommodation.  They were able to work together, at least together enough to keep the government functional.

That willingness to see the other side as worthy and the willingness to work together has vastly diminished over the past fifty years.  The war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal were the beginning of the end of effective two party rule in the United States.  Ever since those epic traumas to the national psyche, the two main political parties have essentially been in a state of war with each other.

Today, in Washington D.C., we see a classic example of the dysfunction of the two party political system at work.  The current President, a Democrat, was elected by a majority of the voters in order to allow him to fulfill his plan, his promises, to the people.  One of the promises he made, one of the most important,  was to revamp the healthcare system to broaden its availability to all Americans.  On the other hand, we have just elected a Republican majority to the United States House of Representatives.  One of the Republican Party’s main promises was to undo the reforms brought about by the President.

Many of the Democratic President’s reforms have yet to take effect, yet the Republican Party is trying hard to disassemble them.  This state of affairs is worse than gridlock, it is chaos.  The damage to the healthcare system by this political tug-of-war is likely to be enormous.  Insurance companies, doctors,  hospital administrators and owners, and the companies that buy most of the health insurance policies covering Americans today are going to be hard pressed to do any rational planning.  At best they will be in damage control mode until the issue is resolved.  That could take years.

In addition to the House of Representatives being in conflict with the Executive Branch of government controlled by the Democratic President, the Legislative branch of government in conflict with itself.  The Senate is controlled by the Democratic Party.  The House of Representatives  is controlled by the Republican Party.  The two Houses of Congress are controlled by different parties, with totally different goals and agendas.

We don’t need this kind of service.  These institutions are there to serve us, you know, We the People.”  More and more, the political parties are there to serve themselves and to give us what they believe we should have.  The differences in opinion about what forms of service are appropriate are deeply rooted in the respective ideologies of the the two parties, not in what the people truly need and want.

In order to create a more perfect Union, we need to revise Article 1, the Legislative Branch, and Article 2, the Executive Branch, of the United States Constitution.  We need to find a way to elect a chief executive and a legislature that will not fight each other.  However we need to assure that the original intent of the founding fathers that the legislature and the executive branch act as checks against abuse by the other is not destroyed in the process.

I propose that we do away with some of the powers of both branches of government.  We live in an educated and interconnected country.  We don’t need a representative form of government as much as the founding fathers did when horseback transportation was all the rage.  We may want to keep a deliberative body such as the Senate, but how about we try direct democracy?  Let the President propose legislation, let the Legislature debate and argue its merits.  Let us, “We the People,” enact our own laws by direct vote.

The people could vote using a secure internet link, tied to some form of electronic ID verification.  Once the citizenry has voted, if a majority does agree, the law is enacted, no need for a Presidential signature.  Why would it need any more authority than the will of the people?  And, why would we allow our elected servant to veto it?

We would need a independent governmental agency to police this national voting system to prevent fraud and tampering, but this would be something that is possible with today’s technology.  For years the nation’s banks have run a secure and reliable electronic system for transferring massive amounts of funds.  I am sure that a system as secure or more so could be devised at a reasonable cost and in a time frame that would allow its implementation in the near future. The future would bring more technology to increase the security of the national voting system.

By taking back this important function of government, the enacting of our own laws, we would take much of the power away from the political parties to steamroll their own ideological and often polarized version of what laws we need upon us.  If political parties could not impose their own ideology, the tendency toward the polar political extremes would be greatly reduced.

This is just a suggestion.  It is one of many different options to eliminate the quagmire of political stalemate that has resulted from the two party system.  The one thing that both parties would agree on however, is that it must not be allowed to happen.  They will never willingly relinquish this right back to the people.  The only way to get it back will be to hold a constitutional convention and rethink the whole constitution.  When a new plan is drafted they would have to accept it or reject it as a whole.

How would “We the People” get the political parties to agree?  That’s the meat of another post to come.

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