Wednesday April 16, 2014
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In my opinion, the disgraceful way these agents treated those mentally challenged individuals is rivaled only by that of the ill-advised bureaucrats who would impose a no-hug policy on our teachers. Just two more reasons to get the long arm of the federal government out of our states' business.
Once again, I thank you for your indulgence, Tom, but even more for the thoughtful exchange. As others here have said more eloquently than I ever could, you are indeed an invaluable asset... to this newspaper, and to the community.
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We keep sending good people to Washington, only to see them disappear into the meat-grinder that is Congress, and come out the other side just so much baloney! If they go in knowing that their term is limited by constitutional edict, they will think twice before casting a vote on legislation that could have a severe impact on the very communities to which they themselves will soon be returning… to live among the rest of us, to work at a job like a normal person again, outside of the Beltway Bubble, forced to bear the burden of whatever damned-fool laws that body might pass with little or no concern for the unintended consequences they might have on the daily lives of real people throughout this country.
And before anyone says that removing the “perks” of congressional service will cause a brain drain, and that no one of any consequence will want to run for an office that they can only hold for such a short amount of time, I would submit that if the folks up there running things right now are the best and the brightest that money, power and prestige can buy, then I think it’s time to give some of us poor, stupid people a chance… we couldn’t possibly screw it up any worse!
So, it would seem that we agree, Tom, that this may be our best and last chance… a convention of states. I hate to say it, but I’m afraid it’s finally come to the point where it really doesn’t matter who we elect anymore, because sooner or later, once they become a member of an elite class that exists above the very laws they impose upon the rest of us, coupled with the realization that they can stay there forever if they just play by the rules, there’s no longer any incentive for them to exercise any discretion whatsoever. Eventually, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between any of them, and frankly… I’ve run out of dimes.
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Frankly, term limits is the primary reason that I support this movement, Tom. Since the Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom ruled that the voters of a sovereign state don’t have the right to impose term limits on their own locally-elected federal delegation, I can see no other way for us ever to bring an end to the modern-day phenomenon of the “Career Politician.”
Resolving that one issue, I believe, would go a very long way toward eliminating many of the most pressing issues that we face. Washington, DC, without a doubt, has become the most powerful city in the world, and no one who enters its enormous sphere of influence can help but be changed by it... and usually not for the better.
It’s almost become trite to say, but it bears repeating anyway: With very few exceptions, virtually every politician’s top priority, regardless of party, platform or principles, is to get re-elected. As soon as they arrive, they are surrounded by and steeped in the “Career Mentality” that pervades Washington, D.C. It is imposed on them, particularly by the old dogs, the veterans, the party leaders, and soon the urgency of remaining a part of that culture of power supersedes anything and everything they may have promised or aspired to during their campaign. The wants and needs of the people who sent them there – the folks back home – all take a back seat to the new imperative – raise money for re-election.
And as we all know, huge amounts of re-election money come from the major political parties, so in order to maintain the party’s financial support come election time, deals are made that have nothing to do with what’s in the best interest of the voters back in the home state. Legislation is passed at the direction of the party leadership, for instance, without a single legislator having read it. Does any of this sound anywhere near like what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they coined the term, “Citizen Legislator”?
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“Just making sure that anyone reading this string is aware that other things could happen. And hey! They could, after all, be good things, couldn't they?”
They certainly could, Tom, and I, for one, am counting on it!
I’m really intrigued by your idea about “demographic representation.” I can’t say that I’ve ever heard it proposed before. On the face of it, gerrymandering would be a thing of the past, and how could that be a bad thing when one’s legislative district puts the needs of Christopher Creek in the same basket as those of Lake Havasu? This is exactly the type of ideas that should be proposed and debated openly and at length, with both the pros and the cons thoroughly aired. What do you think the chances are of something like that happening under our current system? Don’t bother answering that, Tom… save the bandwidth.
Beyond that, however, I noted that you declined to express any other changes that you might wish to see forthcoming from such an assembly. Let me see if I can come close to at least one more:
A balanced budget amendment requiring that the federal government spend no more than it takes in. No more financing today’s spending at the expense of the next generation (or two)
Followed immediately by an amendment placing an upper limit on federal taxation, requiring the states, not Congress, to ratify any request from the president for a debt ceiling increase.
An amendment requiring the sunset of all existing federal taxes, and requiring a super-majority vote to replace them with new, fairer taxes, preferably on consumption rather than earnings.
A clarification of the General Welfare Clause (the original view was the federal government could not spend money on any topic within the jurisdiction of the states, like education and voter ID, for starters)
A clarification of the Commerce Clause (the original view was that Congress was granted a narrow and exclusive power to regulate shipments across state lines--not all the economic activity of the nation, like outlawing medical marijuana, for instance)
A prohibition against using international treaties and law to govern the domestic law of the United States
A limitation on using Executive Orders and federal regulatory agencies to enact laws (since Congress is supposed to be the exclusive agency to enact laws)
And my own personal favorite - Imposing lifetime term limits on members of Congress and appointees to all federal courts, including the Supreme Court. Maybe 12 years in the Senate, 6 in the House, and 10 on any federal court.
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Now, what I feel is the most fool-proof of all fail-safe measures built into an Article V convention, which inarguably displays the genius of the founding authors, is that no matter how long or how heated the debate, no matter how many amendments are proposed and disposed, no matter what documents are eventually proffered from this Convention, after it has done its duty and adjourned, it will have done nothing more than PROPOSED amendments to the Constitution. It will not have changed a thing, and here, Article V speaks very clearly: Not until ¾ of the several states have ratified those proposed amendments do they become the Supreme Law of the Land.
I’m not a math whiz, but it also occurs to me that it only takes 13 states – that’s the other ¼ - to kill any hair-brained, un-American, cockamamie notion that may have somehow emerged from such an august convention. Seriously, can you imagine 13 states that would stand by and allow a re-write of the foundations of some of our greatest decisions, e.g., Marbury v Madison, Miranda, Roe v Wade, Brown vs Bd of Ed, Heller or Sullivan, just to name a few?
I can’t… not in my wildest nightmare. Unlike today’s Big Government Federalists, I trust the people of this great nation to prevent a “runaway” convention ONE THOUSAND TIMES MORE than I would ever trust any politician to fix our runaway federal government. I mean, think about it… we keep going to the polls every two years, more determined than ever that this new crop of constitutional candidates will fix what ails us, but – to paraphrase Sarah Palin – how’s that working out for us?
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LOL! I, too, am amazed at how quickly the time has passed. Just this month I’ve become the proud bearer of a red, white & blue health insurance card, marking the point in my life when I can finally start withdrawing from the account I’ve been building all these years. It’s a bit of a non sequitur to say that life is short, especially since it’s the single-longest experience we will ever have, but regardless of the logic, tempus does, indeed, fugit!
First things first – in re-reading my last post, I see that I misspoke. It is not ¾ of the states that need apply to Congress for a convention, it’s 2/3. The former fraction is that needed for final ratification of whatever amendments might originate from the convention. And having now set the record straight, it actually dovetails nicely into your underlying issue, which I feel free now to describe as the fear factor, since my first attempt seems to have failed to dispel your concerns.
Let me lay the groundwork for my final argument by noting that each delegate who will attend a Convention of States will either be publicly elected, selected or appointed – methods vary from state to state – and will be commissioned by the state legislature and/or governor to act in their behalf. No matter the method of selection, prior to the commission, there will be a public process whereby all candidates will be thoroughly vetted by the people, either through public debate, written statements of application, public endorsement and the like. Whomever the delegates end up being, they will, in essence, be the representatives of our representatives, and since all proceedings leading up to and during the actual Convention will be completely open and public, unlike the “transparent” goings on of our current federal government, they will begin as and remain an envoy of our state, immediately answerable to We, the People.
And, to illustrate the authority of Congress to strictly aggregate applications from the states to amend the Constitution, there have been over 400 such applications from the several states over time, and Congress has never considered an adequate number of them to be similar enough in subject matter to trigger the “call.”
And lastly, the delegates to the Convention of States themselves – assuming first that enough states do eventually submit identical applications to Congress to trigger Article V – will be commission by their respective state legislatures to perform in a specific manner under penalty of law. This was also a precedent set at the Philadelphia Convention. Delegates can be recalled, imprisoned and replaced at the will of the state that sent them there. Arizona, by the way, is moving an updated version of that very legislation though the House as we speak (HB2104)… I believe that they are, among other changes, amending the rules used back during the repeal of Prohibition to make the failure of a commissioned delegate to perform his or her duty a Class 6 felony.
I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with all of this, but it’s really your fault, you know, that I’ve become so interested in this liberty movement. Something you said once in an earlier discussion about the people holding their government accountable being not a just a right but a responsibility. Well, here we are.
By the way, the latest update is that HCR2027 passed both committees in the House and is awaiting a vote of the full chamber, possibly as early as Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Support has been mostly along party lines (which is really disturbing), but there have been some notable cross-overs. An open debate by the people of ways to bring some sanity to federal overreach should not be a partisan issue. There’s only one boat, and we’re all in it!
Oh, and Happy Belated Birthday!
Good morning, Tom… sorry it took so long for me to respond here. Sure wish there were one of those little buttons I could click that you see on so many boards these days, one that would send me an eMail anytime there’s a new post on this (or any other) thread. Oh well… like good tea, a little time usually makes for a better, more thoughtful discussion.
Anyway, from your comments, it almost sounds as if you don’t trust – or rather, you fear – the authority of the states over that of the federal government. Maybe that’s reading too much into it, and if so, I apologize, so I’ll just respond to your point.
You’re right, of course, about the language in Article V proscribing no limitation on the subject matter or issues that a Convention of States might address. In the reading that I’ve been doing, however, as a result of your referral to the Gutenberg Library, I’ve discovered that Constitutional scholars agree that an application for a Convention of States must specify the subject matter. They base this not on the plain language of Article V, but from the notes and records of the intent of the founders at the Philadelphia Convention where Article V was proposed, debated and eventually produced.
Actually, the prevailing precedent was set immediately after our Constitution was signed – as part of a deal to convince enough states to sign on to the Constitution, the delegates agreed that a Convention of States would be called right away to add the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights. It was determined then, and remains the practice today, that it was the duty of Congress to “aggregate” the applications, or determine if the requisite ¾ of the states had applied, and the only way they could do so was if the applications all indicated the same subject matter.
As a matter of fact, that very convention seems to be the “handbook” for virtually every state convention since, including those that were called by Congress to repeal the 28th amendment.
Does the federal government conduct its business in a fiscally responsible manner, as does Arizona?
Does Arizona have a meaningful and respected role in helping to guide the direction of the federal government?
Does the federal government use its discretion to tailor its policies in accordance with the needs expressed by the majority of our people and our legislators?
Do Arizonans suffer financially due to the increased costs associated with federal regulations that restrict our education programs, our social services, and our economic development, from the smallest of our businesses to the largest of our corporations?
Is it reasonable to suggest that the fiscal policies of the federal government are having a negative impact on Arizona’s economic growth, its ability to create jobs, and our general pursuit of happiness?
Has the federal government shown any intention whatsoever, or even the capability should they ever entertain the notion, of reversing its current fiscal and regulatory trajectory?
And lastly, is there any rational reason why, if someone were given the right tool to do the job, they should refuse to use it… or fear trying?
Article V is that tool, and HCR2027 is the path for Arizona to exercise its constitutional authority and assert its sovereignty as a member state of this Union. We know that the federal government isn't going to fix itself... ever. It's up to us.
Chairman Rep Bob Robson firstname.lastname@example.org
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