Tag Archives: US Constitution

The only thing that ever scared the US Congress

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The framers of the US Constitution were careful, careful, careful to put as much distance as possible between the voting citizenry and the people running things in Washington.  They did their best to make it near impossible for groups of individual citizens to directly recall elected officials, judges, anyone capable of directly influencing the activities of government.

That’s because they didn’t want the Boston Tea Party running things.  Simple as that.  They knew the people who’d be elected to office would be people who could afford to campaign.  Wealthy property owners who could afford to leave their jobs to serve in Congress.  People who’d respect the property rights and interests of other wealthy people.

So they deliberately left out any provision for direct citizen initiative or referendum demands related to laws, changes in the Constitution, replacing federal judges, getting rid of corrupt or incompetent elected officials.

But they did provide the illusion of the possibility for changes in Article V of the Constitution.  A demand, not by citizens, but by states for a Constitutional Convention.  And every time there’s ever been a demand by states approaching likelihood, the US Congress suddenly saw the error of their ways.

States have demanded an Article 5 Constitutional Convention a lot of times since 1787.  Never, not once has one happened.  You can see a list of the tries at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_state_applications_for_an_Article_V_Convention

According to Article V, Congress must call for an amendment-proposing convention, “on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States”, and therefore 34 state legislatures would have to submit applications. Once an Article V Convention has proposed amendments, then each of those amendments would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states (i.e. 38 states) in order to become part of the Constitution

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_to_propose_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Plenty difficult enough to reduce the possibilities of it ever happening.

The next nearly-successful attempt to call a convention was in the late 1970s and 1980s, in response to the ballooning federal deficit. States began applying to Congress for an Article V Convention to propose a balanced budget amendment. By 1983, the number of applications had reached 32, only two states short of the 34 needed to force such a convention.[18] Enthusiasm for the amendment subsided in response to fears that an Article V Convention could not be limited to a single subject and because Congress passed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which required that the budget be balanced by 1991 (but that Act was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1986).[18]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_to_propose_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution

As you can see, the states have been concerned about the Federal deficit a longish while.  Congress sidestepped a Constitutional Convention by promising promising promising they’d mend their ways.

But as you can also see, they gave it a wink and nod as soon as the danger of an Article V Constitutional Convention ceased to loom in front of them.

So what can you as a citizen, as a voter, as an unhappy frustrated idealist do?

Not a damned thing except grin and bear it.  The US Constitution is not about you.  Quit thinking it is, quit whining about it, quit worrying about it.  Human beings generally haven’t had a lot to say about what demands their aristocrats would choose to make on them.  And at least for the moment it could still be a lot worse than it is.

Old Jules

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The Zen of politics – Romantic vs Classic forms

Hi readers. Thanks for the visit.

Probably some of you have noticed as I have that things in Washington D.C. aren’t always as they appear to be.

Moving the White House and Congress to Disneyland – A serious proposal

The reasons for this reach deeply into the psyche of the people who call themselves Americans. They’re entrenched in the idealized construct of the US Constitution and the romantic, dehumanized cardboard cutouts of the ‘founding fathers’, US presidents, generals, politicians and jurists. By definition their motives were pure, their decisions and actions were entirely driven by the desire to protect the rights of the future citizenry.

A classical view of all this would note a few contradictions inside the fog of idealism. The supposed ability of the judiciary, for instance, to shed the skin of partisanship and self-interest once sworn into office. The fact a substantial portion of the humanity born inside the borders, the ‘Indians’, were not to be included in the census, not to be taxed. In fact, were not citizens at all when it came to the protected rights of citizenship. The only protections the US Constitution provided them were treaty obligations approved by the US Congress. Even the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868 pretended the tribes governed themselves and the US Government had no jurisdiction over them. Excluded for automatic citizenship even those who gave up tribal affiliations.

Keeping the options open, those realists. Kept them open until 1924, by which time the protection of any rights they might have had as citizens couldn’t do them a hell of a lot of good.

Not to say impartial or non-partisan Supreme Court jurists, or what happened to the rights of American Indians has anything to do with anything except reality.

The reality. Washington D.C. is inhabited by human beings looking out for their own best interests. They’ve pared the environment down so it’s contained in a two-party system to protect itself from intruders, outsiders, invaders. They’re all singing from the same songbook inside the conch shell where the only sound you hear is their ocean.

Whining about taxes, rights protected by Constitutional amendments, undeclared wars and candidates for National elected offices who aren’t blessed with chins can’t penetrate the walls of the conch shell.

The reality is that if any of that can be changed it can’t happen in a capsule of romantic form anchored to a past that never existed, celluloid people canonized in myth and a piece of paper with less substance than a US dollar.

Playing nicknack tallywack inside Washington’s two-party system only results in them throwing the dog a bone. But the dogs do love it.

That’s reality.

Old Jules

The Road to Damascus [Washington DC to Deadwood, SD]

roadsigns

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I don’t see any way around it.  I’m going to have to waste a little of my life being Dictator In Charge of this Great Nation.  Begin by changing the Pledge of Allegiance to, “Whoopteedoo I’m an American.  I’ve got better things to do than spending my time making the US Government feel important.”

Move the seat of government to Deadwood, SD, and buy all the people making a living off it and connected to it, along with the news media FEMA travel trailers to head up there after changing all the road signs along the way.  Eventually they’ll end up dead in the water at Rabid City where they’ll be able to gaze contentedly at Mount Rushmore and go fishing daytimes.

Change the US Constitution so’s it’s concise enough so anyone can read it and have no doubt what it says and doesn’t say:

Mind your own affairs, tend your own business, and leave other people to tend theirs.  Step out of line or start arguing about it and the local vigilance committee or whatever they do there will take care of your ass.  Run you out of town, tar and feather you, march you naked around with a sign, ‘He beat his wife’, whatever.”

Suspending Habeus Corpus Here

This cold and moisture is taking a toll on The Great Speckled Bird:

The Great Speckled Bird: Respecting our Betters

The Liar: The Great Speckled Bird, Part 2

News from the Middle of Nowhere

October Quietude, Dead Bugs and Old Roosters

Every night someone, coons, deer, hogs, break into Fortress #1 where I keep the two younger roosters and the Communist Americauna, the Commie because it’s the only where she’ll sleep, roosters because daytimes they want to beat hell out of TGSB.

Every morning I go out and repair it before releasing the roosters into the pen and the Commie hen to free range.  And by mid-day the two roosters have usually found a way out, by which time TGSB is usually in the other henhouse anyway, stove up and just wanting to rest.

If they don’t find a way out, I usually let them out mid-afternoon because I don’t care for the idea of anything being penned up all time.  It allows them to run free for a few hours before bedtime. 

But they’re still a potential threat to TGSB, and they’re a nuisance to get back into the pen, will never go in until the Commie hen re-enters to roost.

Today I’m pulling a page from the immediate, current activities of the US Congress and Whitehouse.  As of today I’m going to fix that pen so they can’t get out.  Period.  Until I take it into my head they’ve been there long enough so’s I feel good.

Suspending Habeus  Corpus, I am.   Indefinite detention for anyone strikes my fancy.  Maybe if I decide I don’t like one of the cats I’ll put him/her in there, too.

Remember where you heard it first.

Old Jules