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A CALL TO ACTION


Article V of the United States Constitution says that if two thirds of the State Legislatures apply, the Congress shall call a convention to propose amendments to the constitution.
In the 230 years of our history there have been more than 700 applications from the State Legislatures. Forty-nine of the fifty states have applied. Some States have applied many times.
Congress has never called a convention. Congress has never considered calling a convention. Congress has never even counted the applications.
Why haven’t they? Why has Congress ignored their obligation under Article V?
Very simply because they don’t want a convention.
The Article V convention was written into our constitution for the very purpose of giving the States a means to amend the constitution in ways that the Congress doesn’t want.
Term limits. Gerrymandering. Pork barrel laws. Balanced Budgets. Congress doesn’t want to reform itself. And Congress doesn’t want a convention that will propose reforms.
Let’s face it. The United States Congress will never call an Article V convention. No matter how many states apply. No matter how many times they apply. No matter what words they use or what amendments they want.
Congress simply will not call a convention. Not in my lifetime. Not in your lifetime. Not in the lives of our children and grandchildren. 
 
So what are we to do?
The Constitution gives us the right to a convention. With or without the call or the permission of the Congress, the people of the United States have the right peaceably to assemble for any lawful purpose.
We don’t need a call from the Congress. We don’t need anyone’s permission. The Congress can’t stop us. The President can’t stop us. The Supreme Court can’t stop us. The army can’t stop us. The FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security, nobody can stop the people from coming together to propose amendments to the United States Constitution.
All we need is the will and the way. The way is right here on the Internet. www.conventionusa.org. Convention USA – conVusa for short – is up and running. It is to be an interactive Article V Amendatory Constitutional Convention of 6,166 delegates representing every county in the nation.
All that is left is the will.
Government is like the weather: everyone talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.
Whatever your politics, if you believe we need constitutional reform in America, I urge you to join me and hundreds of other patriotic citizens in this historic effort. Go to www.conventionusa.org. Find your district and register as a delegate. Then forward this page to all your friends.
You can make a difference. 

Continue reading A CALL TO ACTION

A CALL TO ACTION


Article V of the United States Constitution says that if two thirds of the State Legislatures apply, the Congress shall call a convention to propose amendments to the constitution.
In the 230 years of our history there have been more than 700 applications from the State Legislatures. Forty-nine of the fifty states have applied. Some States have applied many times.
Congress has never called a convention. Congress has never considered calling a convention. Congress has never even counted the applications.
Why haven’t they? Why has Congress ignored their obligation under Article V?
Very simply because they don’t want a convention.
The Article V convention was written into our constitution for the very purpose of giving the States a means to amend the constitution in ways that the Congress doesn’t want.
Term limits. Gerrymandering. Pork barrel laws. Balanced Budgets. Congress doesn’t want to reform itself. And Congress doesn’t want a convention that will propose reforms.
Let’s face it. The United States Congress will never call an Article V convention. No matter how many states apply. No matter how many times they apply. No matter what words they use or what amendments they want.
Congress simply will not call a convention. Not in my lifetime. Not in your lifetime. Not in the lives of our children and grandchildren. 
 
So what are we to do?
The Constitution gives us the right to a convention. With or without the call or the permission of the Congress, the people of the United States have the right peaceably to assemble for any lawful purpose.
We don’t need a call from the Congress. We don’t need anyone’s permission. The Congress can’t stop us. The President can’t stop us. The Supreme Court can’t stop us. The army can’t stop us. The FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security, nobody can stop the people from coming together to propose amendments to the United States Constitution.
All we need is the will and the way. The way is right here on the Internet. www.conventionusa.org. Convention USA – conVusa for short – is up and running. It is to be an interactive Article V Amendatory Constitutional Convention of 6,166 delegates representing every county in the nation.
All that is left is the will.
Government is like the weather: everyone talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.
Whatever your politics, if you believe we need constitutional reform in America, I urge you to join me and hundreds of other patriotic citizens in this historic effort. Go to www.conventionusa.org. Find your district and register as a delegate. Then forward this page to all your friends.
You can make a difference. 

Continue reading A CALL TO ACTION

Eric Garner: Killed Because of Cigarette Taxes?

My thoughts on Ferguson/Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Was it excessive force? Who should be blamed? Are the laws messed …

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Continue reading Eric Garner: Killed Because of Cigarette Taxes?

FERGUSON RIOTS

Last night, they burned the town. Thousands of people milled around in downtown Ferguson, Missouri. Many were good folks who had come to protest the decision of a grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen ager.
But some of them – indeed, many of them — were there to make trouble. And they did. Millions of dollars of property damage. Stores looted. Automobiles and buildings torched. Shots fired. People injured.
Most of the rioters were black and  young. They had been given a pass. Responsible people, adults, even white folks, were incensed about the shooting of Michael Brown. The TV, the newspapers, the Internet were all hyped up to react to the grand jury’s decision.
And so they came. Bearing, sticks and stones. And gasoline, and guns.
Most of the Ferguson rioters had not yet been born when Detroit was burned. On a summer night in 1967, police raided a blind pig on 12thStreet. The patrons refused to be taken downtown and the ensuing scuffle exploded into an uncontrolled rampage.
Four days later, 43 people were dead, 1,189 were injured, 7,200 were arrested and more that 2,000 buildings were destroyed.
In 1967, we lived in Detroit, on Berkeley Road near Seven Mile and Livernois. The stores just a few hundred feet from our back door were looted. We could smell the smoke and hear the gunshots.
Anarchy isn’t pretty. It’s scary. It’s insane.
Bron Cruz is not a white man. His name and his photo suggest that he is Hispanic. He is a Salt Lake City police officer who shot and killed an unarmed white teen ager two days after Michael Brown died in Ferguson, Missouri.
The family and friends of Dillon Taylor, the Utah teen ager, have organized several protests in an effort to get answers about Dillon’s death. South Salt Lake police have refused to comment. No grand jury has been convened. Only the local media gave the matter any real attention, and that has pretty much died down. Hardly anyone cares in Utah. Nobody cares in America.
On April 23, 2012, a 29 year old, unarmed Hispanic pedestrian named Daniel Adkins was shot and killed by a black man who was sitting in his car in front of an Arizona Taco Bell. No charges were ever filed against the shooter. In fact the name of the gunman has never been released by the police.
As far as I can find on the Internet, the friends and supporters of Daniel Adkins and Dillon Taylor have not looted any stores, burned down any buildings, overturned any vehicles or pranced in front of network television cameras.
The administration of criminal justice is not perfect. But civilization requires that we do the best we can, and that the people who are dissatisfied with the system work responsibly to improve it. 
Often protesters are not concerned about the system. They don’t object to the way we do things; they complain about what we do. No one claims that the Ferguson grand jury was tainted or improperly constituted, or that the constitutional requirement of grand jury indictment is not a valid and valuable civil right.
No one says that the grand jury didn’t hear all the evidence. No one is saying that they didn’t listen, or were in any way corrupted or compromised.
No sir, what we hear coming out of Missouri is the voice of the mob. Black or white, a mob is never rational, never reasonable. No doubt there are some protesters in Ferguson who want Darren Wilson indicted and put on trial, but the majority would not be satisfied unless Wilson is actually convicted.
One can only imagine what would have happened to Darren Wilson if he had been seen walking out of a police station or a courthouse last night.
A mob has no conscience. Black Americans should be keenly aware of the horrors of vigilante justice.

Continue reading FERGUSON RIOTS

FERGUSON RIOTS

Last night, they burned the town. Thousands of people milled around in downtown Ferguson, Missouri. Many were good folks who had come to protest the decision of a grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen ager.
But some of them – indeed, many of them — were there to make trouble. And they did. Millions of dollars of property damage. Stores looted. Automobiles and buildings torched. Shots fired. People injured.
Most of the rioters were black and  young. They had been given a pass. Responsible people, adults, even white folks, were incensed about the shooting of Michael Brown. The TV, the newspapers, the Internet were all hyped up to react to the grand jury’s decision.
And so they came. Bearing, sticks and stones. And gasoline, and guns.
Most of the Ferguson rioters had not yet been born when Detroit was burned. On a summer night in 1967, police raided a blind pig on 12thStreet. The patrons refused to be taken downtown and the ensuing scuffle exploded into an uncontrolled rampage.
Four days later, 43 people were dead, 1,189 were injured, 7,200 were arrested and more that 2,000 buildings were destroyed.
In 1967, we lived in Detroit, on Berkeley Road near Seven Mile and Livernois. The stores just a few hundred feet from our back door were looted. We could smell the smoke and hear the gunshots.
Anarchy isn’t pretty. It’s scary. It’s insane.
Bron Cruz is not a white man. His name and his photo suggest that he is Hispanic. He is a Salt Lake City police officer who shot and killed an unarmed white teen ager two days after Michael Brown died in Ferguson, Missouri.
The family and friends of Dillon Taylor, the Utah teen ager, have organized several protests in an effort to get answers about Dillon’s death. South Salt Lake police have refused to comment. No grand jury has been convened. Only the local media gave the matter any real attention, and that has pretty much died down. Hardly anyone cares in Utah. Nobody cares in America.
On April 23, 2012, a 29 year old, unarmed Hispanic pedestrian named Daniel Adkins was shot and killed by a black man who was sitting in his car in front of an Arizona Taco Bell. No charges were ever filed against the shooter. In fact the name of the gunman has never been released by the police.
As far as I can find on the Internet, the friends and supporters of Daniel Adkins and Dillon Taylor have not looted any stores, burned down any buildings, overturned any vehicles or pranced in front of network television cameras.
The administration of criminal justice is not perfect. But civilization requires that we do the best we can, and that the people who are dissatisfied with the system work responsibly to improve it. 
Often protesters are not concerned about the system. They don’t object to the way we do things; they complain about what we do. No one claims that the Ferguson grand jury was tainted or improperly constituted, or that the constitutional requirement of grand jury indictment is not a valid and valuable civil right.
No one says that the grand jury didn’t hear all the evidence. No one is saying that they didn’t listen, or were in any way corrupted or compromised.
No sir, what we hear coming out of Missouri is the voice of the mob. Black or white, a mob is never rational, never reasonable. No doubt there are some protesters in Ferguson who want Darren Wilson indicted and put on trial, but the majority would not be satisfied unless Wilson is actually convicted.
One can only imagine what would have happened to Darren Wilson if he had been seen walking out of a police station or a courthouse last night.
A mob has no conscience. Black Americans should be keenly aware of the horrors of vigilante justice.

Continue reading FERGUSON RIOTS

FIXING CONGRESS

Now that the Republicans have won the Congress, perhaps the mainstream media will allow itself to focus on needed constitutional reforms.
There are three main proposals that are usually advanced to reform our national legislature.
1)   Do something about campaign financing. This usually takes the form of: a) prohibiting all private campaign funding and requiring the government to finance campaigns; b) prohibiting certain kinds or amounts of campaign expenditures; or c) specifying who can or cannot finance campaigns.
2)   Enact term limits by constitutional amendment.
3) Increase the size of the House, shrink the districts, prohibit gerrymandering and decrease the expenses and emoluments of Congress persons.
Personally, I favor the third  approach. Public financing of political campaigns is a frightfully bad idea. Public funding is controlled by the government and the government is controlled by the incumbents. It follows that public funding of elections, controlled by incumbents will absolutely favor incumbents. Giving that kind of an advantage to career politicians is hardly the way to discourage career politicians.
I am, at best; ambivalent with respect to term limits. We have them for some offices and the evaluations are mixed. The main argument against term limits is that they deny the people the right to elect the representatives they want. My concern, frankly, is that term limits don’t address the real problems. You will still have career politicians, albeit ladder climbers rather than lifelong incumbents. You will still have interminable fund raising, expensive campaigns, cozy lobbyists, and all the shenanigans that besmirch our system today.
Moreover, term limits tend to exacerbate the career path of legislator-to-lobbyist that already makes our Congress seem like a post graduate course in representing supplicants at the public teat. 
The third approach appeals to me as the soundest. The Founders intended the House of representatives to be reapportioned every ten years to reflect the increase in the nation’s population. Because the ratio of representatives to constituents was not specifically written into the constitution, Congress was able to freeze the number of representatives, thus increasing the power of their offices every ten years.
Today, Congressmen represent an average of 710,000 people. Campaigns are expensive. That is why so many incumbents are reelected. Gerrymandered districts assure that one or the other of the two major political parties has a “safe” district.
Most importantly, Representatives do not reflect the sense of local communities. Districts which are not community-based foster appeals to the lowest common denominator of voter sentiment, typically evidenced by partisan affiliation, ethnicity or economic bias.
Large districts lead to full time legislators, large professional staffs, and centralized operations. The part time legislator who lives in his or her district and personally reads and studies Bills does not exist in  expansive and expensive constituencies.
At a minimum, we ought to eliminate gerrymandering and require Congresspersons to live in their districts. As now written, the Constitution only requires members of the House to be residents of their State. In truth, most do not actually live in their ‘home’ state, since their principal place of residence is Washington D.C. A vacation home or a campaign headquarters should not satisfy the requirement of residence.
There is much more to be said and written on this subject, to be sure. That’s why we need a convention.

Continue reading FIXING CONGRESS