Probably going to turn this into a series. Should have done that a long time ago.
Well, good evening, my good friends, and welcome to another segment of Musings After Midnight. I hope all of you are well, which is more than I can say for myself. Another bout with inflammation of the eyes has beset me of late, stemming from an underlying inflammatory condition that can effect multiple body systems. This, of course, carries with it some rather peculiar difficulties that must be worked around.
But over all, the situation is improving with treatment, although progress is rather slow.
Summer is now in its final days, and here in the South we have been abundantly blessed with one of the mildest seasons I ever remember. In fact, I never remember a summer that has been this unseasonably mild. Rarely has the temperature gone above 90 degrees, which for this area is highly unusual. We have also been the recipients of an amazing amount of rainfall, totally obliterating a drought that has beset us for several years and shattering rainfall records that have stood in place for nearly a century.
If all summers could be like this in this area, I would have no complaints about the weather, although my heart does go out to those who have been hit with flooding. I could do without this much rain, but the temperatures have been wonderful.
And now, down to business.
Things have gotten demonstrably worse politically since we last met together. Obama not only continues to ignore the Constitution but has doubled down in his disdain for its provisions, particularly its clear limitations on executive power. He has made a complete mess out of foreign policy, pushing through and exploiting a precarious situation in Egypt to get a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in power, and now sides with that terrorist organization against the military that ousted him and seeks to maintain stability in a nation that is precariously close to disintegrating into Islamic extremism along the lines of Iran, Libya, and Yemen.
On the home front, Obama defied the Constitutional mandate for presidents to follow the law by granting a delay to the implementation of the employer mandate in his infamous and unconstitutional ObamaCare program. The law he and his cronies wrote expressly fixes the date of implementation. Yet by executive fiat he decides that he will delay the implementation of the employer mandate while refusing to grant the same delay to the individual mandate. This is a clear violation of the law, a violation of the Constitution, and is a high crime/misdemeanor.
In the midst of all of this, Congress does nothing. We already know that Senate Democrats, who control that chamber, are worthless. But now we know that the Republican leadership in the House — Boehner, Cantor, and McCarthy — are just as worthless.
As I have stated before in previous Musings After Midnight, the ballot box has completely failed us at this point. So-called “Tea Party” candidates turn out to be complete duds once they get in office, except for Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul.
But one major development that has occurred since the last time we talked is that at least one major conservative thinker has concluded the same thing we have, that the electoral process in America today has failed. The difference is that he has a more orderly Constitutional process for correcting it.
First, I want to consider the proposal and then offer a critique.
Mark Levin, radio talk show host, attorney, and former member of the Reagan Administration, has just released a new book that shot up to number one on the Amazon best seller list called, The Liberty Amendments. Already the book has created quite a stir in the conservative/libertarian world. Some have immediately slammed the book and its proposals while others have enthusiastically embraced them.
Levin’s basic premise is that the Constitution itself has provided a remedy for predicaments exactly like ours when the ballot box has failed us. And make no mistake. Levin agrees that the ballot box has failed. He has lambasted the president, the Congress, and the Supreme Court for their systemic failures to uphold the very Constitution they are sworn to protect and defend. And he also debunks the notion that merely electing more conservatives to Congress will correct the problem, or that electing a conservative president with a conservative Congress will correct it.
As we have seen over the past 12 years, any Tom, Dick, and Harry can sound and act like a conservative to get elected or even to get appointed to the Supreme Court. George W. Bush and a Republican Congress (2001-2006) are prime examples. Can you say, Patriot Act? And John Roberts at the Supreme Court is perhaps the joke of the centuries.
So, what are citizens to do in order to stop this brazen tyranny and get the nation back on course? If another election or two are not guaranteed to do the trick, then what will?
Levin proposes a list of amendments to the Constitution that he calls “the liberty amendments.” And how does he propose to get these amendments approved? By using the provisions set forth by the Constitution itself in Article V.
Article V is referred to as “the amendment process.” Some erroneously refer to the amendment process remedy as a “Constitutional Convention,” the very name of which is enough to strike fear in the hearts of patriots who fear that having such a convention will possibly result in a runaway mob that approves measures that obliterate sacred protections of hard fought liberties.
Detractors of Levin’s book are already going into hysterics over the proposal. Some of that hysteria was evident today on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show not only by the host but by his guests.
But Levin correctly observes that Article V is erroneously viewed as a “Constitutional Convention” that can either discard portions or the entirety of the Constitution. The provision of Article V is more correctly referred to as “an amendment convention,” or “a convention to add amendments to the Constitution.” Such a process is bound by certain time honored limitations. A convention of this sort cannot vote on whether or not to abide by the Constitution. That is off the table and has already been decided. The agenda of the convention is set before the meeting commences. In fact, the convention is called only to consider and decide on proposed amendments, despite Cornell School of Law’s contention that this is up for debate and that the issue has never been decided.
The process itself, however, would seem to work against the possibility that such a convention would go rogue. For example, a specific proposal to amend the Constitution must originate with the states, precisely, two thirds of the state legislatures are required to call such a convention, and any proposal coming out of it eventually must be approved by three fourths of the state legislatures or three fourths of state amendment conventions (yes, a state can call an Article V convention).
Here is the precise wording of Article V of the Constitution:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
Cornell provides this interesting tidbit of annotation to Article V:
The Convention Alternative.—Because it has never successfully been invoked, the convention method of amendment is sur[p.900]rounded by a lengthy list of questions.21When and how is a convention to be convened? Must the applications of the requisite number of States be identical or ask for substantially the same amendment or merely deal with the same subject matter? Must the requisite number of petitions be contemporaneous with each other, substantially contemporaneous, or strung out over several years? Could a convention be limited to consideration of the amendment or the subject matter which it is called to consider? These are only a few of the obvious questions and others lurk to be revealed on deeper consideration.22 This method has been close to utilization several times. Only one State was lacking when the Senate finally permitted passage of an amendment providing for the direct election of Senators.23 Two States were lacking in a petition drive for a constitutional limitation on income tax rates.24 The drive for an amendment to limit the Supreme Court’s legislative apportionment decisions came within one State of the required number, and a proposal for a balanced budget amendment has been but two States short of the requisite number for some time.25 Arguments existed in each instance against counting all the petitions, but the political realities no doubt are that if there is an authentic national movement underlying a petitioning by two–thirds of the States there will be a response by Congress.
Regardless of what one thinks about the prospects of such a convention or what may or may not happen therein, Levin’s book, in my opinion, is essential reading for anyone interested in liberty and in putting a stop to the growing tyranny and its concomitant encroachments on the liberties of the people. The book is sure to spawn a lively debate, even among conservatives and libertarians, a healthy exercise for a nation in which a sizable portion of the population has been conditioned to think they have absolutely no power or recourse at their disposal to fight the dictates of a growing oppressive, monolithic surveillance state.
Now, on to the critique.
I have great respect for Mark Levin. He understands the liberty movement, is sympathetic to its goals and objectives, and speaks our language. But he has invited critique with the belief that his is by no means the final word and that the nation needs to have a lively and healthy ongoing discussion concerning these issues.
It is in this spirit that I offer the following observations.
In the first place, having a convention to propose amendments is no guarantee that any of them actually will be followed even if they gain the approval of the necessary number of state legislatures. Granted, merely having the discussion, the debate, and the convention will enhance the chances that such amendments will be enforced. The attention of the entire nation will be focused on the issues addressed in those amendments, and thus, there will be a natural tendency to gauge the extent to which their provisions are adequately implemented.
However, that alone is not enough to guarantee adherence by Congress, the Courts, the president, or even the states. The lawlessness that ravages our land at the present hour provides ample proof that an alarming number of citizens, states, and elected officials do not care what the law says. Nancy Pelosi, for example, has proposed that the state of California officially be designated as a “sanctuary state” for illegal aliens, in defiance of federal law. Barack Obama himself has refused to obey several direct court orders. Congress has failed to hold him accountable.
It is very difficult to imagine any of these people suddenly deciding to obey Constitutional directives just because an Article V convention was held and the states approved. Regardless of how popular Levin’s proposed amendments may be in some states and with some elected representatives, this in no way guarantees that the current crop of lawless despots will leave or change their ways. Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein, Schumer, Durbin, and others will continue to be the very same criminal vermin they have always been. Barack Obama will not stop lying or defying the Constitution, or ignoring court orders when they are inconvenient to him.
Further, it is also very hard to believe that a majority of voters in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, or Illinois will change the way they vote. They are going to continue to send to Congress the very same tyrants they have for at least 10 to 20 years. Term limits will help, for sure. But the removal of one entrenched tyrant career politician will only result in his/her being replaced by another tyrant. Massachusetts got rid of Ted Kennedy when the senator died of cancer. But they replaced him with a Republican whose only sensible act was voting against ObamaCare, and now they have turned around and placed a kooky, loony bird liberal in that Senate seat, who is even worse than Kennedy or Brown.
In short, if the Constitution is not now being followed, then how on earth will several more amendments to it guarantee that they will be followed?
Lawless, elected thugs will ignore the new amendments as thoroughly as they do the current document.
America has not followed its Constitution in over 100 years. Most conservatives/libertarians believe that the Constitution was discarded as soon as the Income Tax was approved, along with the establishment of the Federal Reserve. While I agree that both of these acts are deplorable and unconstitutional, I take it back even further. As soon as Abraham Lincoln, as great as he was, made it illegal for a state to withdraw from the union, the Constitution was on its death bed. The Framers were able to secure the approval of the Constitution only upon the promise to many patriots that the authority of states would never be usurped and that they could leave at any time. Lincoln broke that sacred promise although his heart was in the right place with regard to slavery.
Not long afterward the nation saw the advent of the Progressive Movement, which viewed the Constitution as a great roadblock to its agenda. And when one takes an objective look at the most well known progressives at the time, one is immediately struck by the fact that in one accord they believed the Constitution posed a problem for them. Woodrow Wilson was one of the worst. So was FDR. And in reality, so was Teddy Roosevelt.
Wilson stated openly while he was a college professor that the Constitution was too restrictive in its approach to government. Years later before he was elected president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said the very same thing…in 1926. Both Wilson and FDR advocated putting the Constitution on the back burner, ignoring it, or outright defying it, in order to pursue an agenda that would result in a powerful, controlling centralized government-industrial-military complex — one of the very things our Framers wanted to avoid. Thus, by the time we went to war with Germany in the 1940s, there was actually little philosophical-economic difference between the United States and Nazi Germany or the Communist Soviet Union. The only difference was a matter of degrees.
Lyndon Baines Johnson solidified and expanded what FDR and Wilson started with his Great Society. And here we’ve been ever since attempting to figure out how we lost so many of our freedoms, when the answer has been right in front of our eyes all along, and in fact, was set in motion by our very citizens in the voting booth.
Bill Buckley, one of my mentors, was famous for having said that he would rather be governed by the first 500 names in the Boston phone book than those who have been elected to Congress. At one time I agreed with him. That day is long gone. I no longer trust my fellow citizens in the voting booth. They invariably make boneheaded decisions that culminate in more and more tyranny for me. So, why would I want to trust you with my liberties?
Frankly, it sickens me to no end to have to say these things, but it is the truth. We have been betrayed not only by our courts, our presidents, and our elected representatives in Congress, but by our fellow citizens as well. Promise them a $200 subsidy for national healthcare, a government apartment on the cheap, and a Social Security check, and they will vote for a modern equivalent of Chairman Mao.
Don’t get me wrong. I have long advocated for political solutions to our current quagmire even while we make preparation for more convincing solutions. To give up on that entirely would be a travesty and a big mistake. Thus, I hope Levin is right and that eventually we can get what he has proposed. I will do my part to work toward it. But I am not willing to pin all my hopes on that, for the reasons listed above.
In a very real sense, Levin is showing some naivete in his proposal. If we could trust the electorate as we once could, then yes, he would be 100 percent correct. If we were not facing the current dire straits brought on by evil men in high places, then yes, his treatise would be a most welcomed and refreshing solution. But reality tells me something entirely different, something that Levin may not be able or willing to accept. The enemy has not only gotten through the gate but he has become entrenched in command central. And most Americans are simply not informed enough to recognize him as the enemy.
The moral and ethical decay that has afflicted, infested, and infected modern American society makes it well night impossible for normal remedies to work effectively. Evil interlopers intent to do harm will say and do anything to get elected or to become entrenched in places of power in the unconstitutional Fourth Branch of government, the vast, nameless bureaucracy that controls most everything behind the scenes along with their allies and financiers in shadowy, duplicitous organizations such as the Center for American Progress, Tides Foundation, the organizations formerly known as ACORN (which, by the way, are still there), and at least several hundred others. These groups know no bounds, no limitations, no restrictions ethically, morally, politically. Their only focus is on the agenda, the end game, to change America from a Constitutional Republic to something else that is a strange combination of Communism, Fascism, Nazism, or more appropriately, collectivism. The individual person does not count. Persons are entirely expendable as long as the end game is achieved. Thus, you and I have no rights. We are mere pawns in a deadly game designed to turn us from citizens into subjects or slaves to the state.
Thus, a convention designed to approve commendable amendments to the Constitution, as noble an idea as it may be, will not change anything as long as we do not address the deadly cancer that is growing in the very center of the nation. And in this case, only radical surgery will do the trick.
This means Resist, Defy, Evade, Smuggle, and Sabotage.
The kind of enemy we fight is not reasonable, nice, respectful, or fair. Our only recourse, thus, is to thwart their march into tyranny at every hand, and then, when we get the chance, rout them out by sheer force. Force the criminals in public office to pay the price for their crimes. Place them on trial. Imprison them. And if they murdered the innocent in their pursuit of the “progressive vision,” implement the death penalty if Congress decides this is a fair punishment for their murderous actions.
Sounds rather harsh, doesn’t it? Well, would you rather be a slave with no rights? Would you prefer that government goons kill thousands if not millions of citizens, like Stalin and Chairman Mao? Would you rather political dissidents be thrown into the ovens?
If not, your choices are limited. Either get rid of the monsters that would do these things to you and me, or get set for a bloodbath initiated by a government that is just as oppressive and dangerous as anything we have ever seen.
It really is as simple as that.