Part 4 America – Convention of States; a worthwhile endeavor

NOTE: The Federalist Papers were written in a series of 85 essays arguing in support of the United States Constitution. They were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay in their endeavor to support the new document which became the Supreme Law of the Land.

To fully understand the meaning of this great document, one must thoroughly understand the thoughts of the men behind its authorship. To do that, one should study the Federalist Papers, because today it has become a challenge to even the brightest minds to understand why the wording was so brief given the primary intent to limit the powers of the federal government. In other countries nearly every charter or constitution attempts to layout the limitations of the individual, and set a dominant role for government in such finite detail, one can never be really sure what they mean.

Because of its brevity, once the Philadelphia Convention sent the Constitution to the Confederation Congress in 1787, according to Constitutionfact.com, “the document became the target of criticism from its opponents. Hamilton, a firm believer in the Constitution, wrote in Federalist No. 1, that the Federalist series would “endeavor to give a satisfactory answer to all the objections which shall have made their appearance, that may seem to have any claim to your attention.”

The Federalist Papers provided the background and justification for the wording of the Constitution, and did not go unchallenged by those wanting less federal power and more states rights. Some of the states agreed to ratify the Constitution only if ten specific amendments limiting the power of the government, and assuring the rights of the individual, were included. They became known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was taken up at the first session of Congress and was adopted into the Constitution. The dissolution of the Confederate Congress and the Confederate States of America occurred with the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

There are some historians and many people in general who contend the convention, which brought us the U.S. Constitution was illegally enacted, and/or was flawed in its enactment. There are also many in public office who find problems with our form of governance simply because they do not want to live by the constraints which are called for in the constitution, or because they have an agenda which will more evenly divide the “spoils” our great nation has afforded some of its citizens. Whatever the motive, the historic use of conventions to alter the constitution in order to effect the exigencies of government, was established, and by that authority, we the people are duty bound to our successors by our predecessors, to preserve our freedoms and liberties by limiting the power of the federal government as originally intended in the Constitution.revolution of people

So, let’s get to the heart of the matter…I believe we all recognize that asking the bureaucrats in Washington, and that would be inclusive of all three branches of government, to even consider rolling back the power they have stolen from the American people in any meaningful way, will not happen. That would be like asking a zebra to give up its stripes. Our efforts to take matters into our own hands via a Convention of the States, is the only way “change” will come about and why that pathway was put into Article V.

While the government has become so bloated and overstaffed with thousands upon thousands of employees and entities, it is unlikely anyone can name or recognize all the branches, agencies, departments, and commissions, that make up the federal government. The website history.com states “Most estimates suggest there are probably more than 2,000 of these. They each have an area of specialization — some much broader than others — but their duties often overlap, making administration more difficult. To complicate things even more, many agencies have counterparts at the state and local level. Its size, complexity, and overlapping responsibilities leave the federal bureaucracy open to constant attempts to reorganize and streamline”. . .but all of us out here in “fly-over American” can plainly see all attempts have been an exercise in futility and the behemoth keeps growing like The Blob with its voracious appetite for more power and more tax dollars.

The mess becomes downright scary when we add-in the cabinet secretaries and their fiefdoms; the unelected presidential tsars; government corporations, and independent consultants, and entities that contract with the government. So, while Congress has the power to create, organize, and disband all these federal agencies by defunding them, they are reluctant for a number of reasons including, loss of influence, loss of jobs, loss of the federal government funding they can grab for their state, and loss of campaign contributions from the lobbying groups which are vested in their influence-peddling schemes.

In short, Washington will not relinquish its power on its own and it is time for the we the people to act. According to the Convention of States Handbook, the Convention of States is initially targeting four major areas of abuse…

  • The spending and debt crisis: Even if the government confiscated (they call it taxation) ALL corporate and personal wealth in the country, we would fall far short of covering the national debt! That in itself is mind-boggling.
  • The regulatory nightmare for business and citizens alike: Research from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows that government regulations in many cases, slows economic growth; reduces employment opportunities, disproportionately harms low-income households; and stifles innovation and is remedying the situation, hence there is no chance to stop the bleeding without immediate action on the part of the citizens.
  • The attack of state sovereignty: The cruelest form of state torture is the federal government’s use of mandates and grants which come with strings attached, compromising the sovereignty of the states, and their residents, which often bypass the will of the voters who end-up having to pay the costs once the grant money runs out.
  • Federal takeover of decision making: The purpose of the U.S. Constitution, as pointed out in my previous articles, was to limit the power of the federal government. This was the only way to insure liberty and freedom. Unfortunately, those in Washington, particularly the Supreme Court, which has allowed the sovereignty of the states erode, has a history of disregarding the original intent of the Constitution, as described in the Federalist Papers.

Among the numerous issue that must be addressed if the nation is to survive and not enslave future generations to lives far less prosperous than our own, are amendments which will alter the behavior of the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court. This can only happen by the Article V process. Passing a few laws will not get the job done. As history has proven, laws can overturned by the Supreme Court, often in direct opposition to the will of the people and even without a constitutional basis. It has gotten so bad we have seen Supreme Court decisions based on the laws and customs of other countries.

As proof. . .According to a well-document thesis by Kara Mundy, some of the Supreme Court decisions were not based on their constitutionality but rather based on other criteria. She documents that former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor agreed with the majority, including Breyer and Kennedy, that “International law is a help in our search for a more peaceful world”. Mundy also states that far-left of center, Noam Chomsky, a professor and political activist, believes that The Court made decisions by taking into account international law, and that the same justification for those decisions, is being used in today’s opinions.

Mundy went on to argue, “It is important to keep in mind when evaluating the arguments for and against the application of international norms that the United States is an active participant in the formation of the norms and laws that some are arguing are irrelevant in judicial decision making”. This is a bogus argument not written into the Constitution and such a thought is wrong-headed because the “constitutionality of a U.S. law” is exactly that. . .is or isn’t the law in question Constitutional? That sounds pretty simple to me.

Other issues of concern include a public debate on the national debt which is long overdue, and Congress’ willingness to run the government on continuing resolutions rather than an up and down vote on a real budget. Congress’ lack of guts in passing an annual budget is a complete dereliction of duty, and a prime example of malfeasance in office. A balanced budget amendment would go a long way in holding the government accountable to the taxpayer.

One of the key problems of government over-reach and why we are spending so much taxpayer money is that the federal government wants to insure its re-electability by being everything to everybody. We need a real discussion on the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution. According to Cornell University School of Law, “The grant of power to “provide . . . for the general welfare” raises a two–fold question: How may Congress provide for “the general welfare” and what is “the general welfare” that it is authorized to promote?”.

The General Welfare question was answered by Thomas Jefferson back in the eighteenth century, “the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. UN worthlessThey (meaning Congress) are not to lay taxes ad libitum (at one’s pleasure) for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose.” All these government programs and social give-a-ways have certainly bastardized this part of the Constitution. An amendment to more clearly define this issue is a couple of centuries overdue.

Also from Cornell University School of Law, we can be educated that the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution) gave Congress only the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” It did not grant Congress the complete authority to regulate and tax nearly all economic activity of the nation. It’s overreach is smothering much of the business activity and needs to be more narrowly defined by an amendment.

Regarding treaties. . . The Senate must be consulted and approve all international treaties and laws that effect domestic policies of the United States. The executive branch of the government, both the current and previous administrations, have gone overboard in their attempt to force the U.S. to abide by UN agreements that would subject us to economically irresponsible and/or unenforceable treaties proposed by proponents of the “New International Economic Order”.

Among the many treaties that have yet to see the light of day: the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC); International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR); Law of the Sea Treaty; U.N. Arms Trade Treaty; the Kyoto Protocol; UN Framework Convention on Climate Control (UNFCCC); plus international attempts to abridge our Second Amendment rights. What we have here is a failure of the elected officials to understand what’s best for our country, and an executive branch willing to play Russian Roulette with the American public.

The government is one which has run wild with unchecked power. We need an amendment to specifically limited the President’s Executive Orders and federal regulations to prohibit executive choice as to enforcing or opting-out of laws duly passed by Congress. Writing laws is the exclusive power granted to Congress, not the White House.

An amendment to impose term limits on Congress and the Supreme Court is called for, but we need to go even further so as to prohibit elected officials from consulting with companies, lobbying activities, and from becoming employees of companies which either contract with the federal government or which benefit from government economic activity, for a period of ten years from the date they leave office. This will eliminate the rampant influence peddling and the conflict of interest we see today.

How about an amendment placing an upper limit on federal taxation, and requiring ALL citizens to have a stake-in-the-game, by imposing a minimum participation tax, even if only a few dollars, if we cannot agree on a consumption or flat tax rate. It is time to completely do away with the U.S. Tax Code, which is 3,951,104 words long, and is seven times longer than Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the number of laws on the books. There are so many, nobody really knows for sure, however it is estimated 40,627 new laws were passed and put on the books this past year, and many were dedicated to laws dealing with taxation. We definitely need an amendment requiring a sunset provision on all laws; a review of all existing federal tax regulations; and a super-majority vote to replace any new laws that deal with taxation.

My final article on the Article V Convention of States will deal with the informed and concerned citizens behind the movement, and share with you their concerns for the government mess we are about to leave for generations to come.

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