The tenor and tone of some of the debates going on within the so-called “conservative,” freedom and liberty elements seems to have gone more than a little out-of-whack surrounding the Article V “Convention of the States” debate. As the Article V Resolutions and application movement gains momentum in state legislatures, opponents have become more shrill and demeaning in their attacks on supporters. It’s seems almost completely routine for opponents to engage each attack through the use of factors one could categorize under the label of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). They also employ the tactics of guilt-by-association and ad-hominem attacks.
It is neither attractive nor pleasant to watch the divisiveness and damage being done in the overall movement by resorting to such tactics more typically practiced by our major ideological opponents against the Constitutional/conservative/freedom and liberty movement. Using “FUD factors” was a technique I first observed in the tech industry more than 30 years ago, employed by IBM against its rising competitors in the desktop and networking arena. The technique is simple and can be effective, for a period of time.
IBM would tell all its existing and potential customers that using a competitor’s products was dangerous to their jobs. The IBM marketeers would first sow multiple fears and uncertainty that the competitors products could work in the customer’s environment. If that failed, they would spread doubts that the competitor would be there for their customers if and/or when the products failed. They assured their customers that no executive or manager would ever be fired for using IBM’s products, even if they failed, as IBM would always be there to take the heat from management for them and make it right.
I watched over and over as IBM employed these tactics to great success, even while they failed to fix many of their own products that failed dramatically. Many corporations suffered tremendously, organizationally and profit-wise, in the process. In many cases it set back the desktop computing industry for years, as IBM desperately sought to maintain its hold on the mainframe computing industry.
Eventually, it became obviously evident that using IBM’s mainframe technology was a failing strategy. Then, the desktop industry competitors began making huge inroads into IBM’s business. IBM nearly went bankrupt. However, the success of employing the FUD tactic did a lot of harm for several years, and slowed the IT industry from quickly and effectively migrating away from mainframe computing technology to the vastly superior desktops and distributed architecture of the Internet.
In the Article V/Convention of the States (CoS) debate the same tactic of FUD is employed. There are many examples starting with the constant use of the term “Con-con” when opponents talk about the Article V/CoS. Con-con is a clever term. On the surface, it is meant to be a contraction of the term “constitutional convention.”
However, “Con-con” is employed as a subtle pejorative and a misdirection at the same time. It is subtly implied that the CoS is a “con” (or confidence game) to set the stage to toss out the entire existing constitution and replace it with some undefined Marxist screed. Even though, reading the state Resolutions now being introduced and passed by state legislatures strictly limits the first Article V convention to ONE issue; a balanced budget amendment. The Resolutions direct that any other outcome automatically nullifies the Convention. The rules for the convention being developed by the organizing committee also will disqualify delegation who try to propose other amendments or alter the agenda set.
As the language of Article V directly states a CoS is a convention to “propose amendments,” not a “constitutional convention.” The Con-con term is used to imply that the CoS would be used to rewrite the existing Constitution rather than simply add new amendments or repeal/correct existing bad amendments such as the 16th, 17th or 22nd.
Given the multitude of issues that Congress and the rest of the federal government fails to deal with or exceed its authority, it is evident that the CoS Article V conventions will likely have to become a standing process of the states in order to countermand the failures of Congress to address multiple issues and abuse. Congress meets nearly continuously. I would propose on ongoing Commission formed and funded by the States to enable a process that would likely last more than a decade and be reconvened every couple decades to review and advise the states what’s working and what’s not working.
Many states have successful citizen’s initiative process that compliments and counterpoints the state legislative process. The ongoing CoS Commission would act in a very similar way to manage and counterpoint the federal Congress. It is an inherent and near-completely unused due process feature of the Constitution. “A Timely Gift From the Founders,” as author/researcher Robert Berry titles it in his book on the subject.
The CoS may also be used to clarify and limit the extensive abuses by all three branches of the federal government of vague terms within the existing Constitution. Vague terms and clauses such as “…promote the general Welfare…,” or “….provide for the common defense and general Welfare of the united States… and “…regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States….” are ripe for clarifying amendments to limit the extensive past and present exploitative abuse.
Opponents have tried guilt by association through directly implying that somehow secret conspiracies and shadowy figures such as George Soros are secretly funding and directing the development of the CoS efforts behind the scenes. It is posed as yet another element of the Grand Unifying Conspiracy Theory. However, they fail to identify that the liberal and Progressive elements, running their own very small parallel effort for a CoS, are both very small and have not gained any traction in the larger CoS effort being run by solid constitutionalists through the state legislatures.
They also fail to acknowledge the solid and growing numerical advantage held by Constitutional conservatives in the red state legislatures and governorships over the blue state minority that would be decisive in any CoS held. The FUD tactic used there is to imply that the blue state delegations in any CoS are so smart and devious that they would somehow take complete control of the convention. That would either turn the Convention into a Con-con or somehow be able to slide through only amendments that would destroy the US Republic and Constitution.
And, in the end, the opponents always fail to acknowledge that any and all potential amendments finally selected and passed by the CoS would then have to be ratified by either three-fourths of the state legislatures or the States in a separate ratifying convention. Again, nearly 3/4 of those state legislatures and delegations already being red state not blue state-controlled. To that argument then, the opponents raise the FUD factor of the grand conspiracy somehow controlling behind-the-scenes those red states legislatures or delegations to only ratify amendments detrimental to the federal constitution and the Republic.
One of the principal arguments of the CoS opponents is that there is no reason to amend the Constitution as it is “perfect” and only needs to be enforced as written. That argument is both simple-minded and belied by the facts and history of abuse. All one need do is simply answer how the document can be “perfect” when it contains the 16th, 17th and 22nd amendment and the extensive distortions created by the vague “general Welfare” and “interstate Commerce” clause abuse? Or, if doing a thorough analysis, realizing that in many, if not most, cases the current abuses we suffer under were often reached by sincere and honorable people who just happened to make grievous errors or were trapped by the politics of the day? All of which does not restrict any subsequent generation from correcting, once recognized, even if Congress fails to do so. That is the genius part that was designed into the document and process.
Recently, I came across an attempt to bolster that argument (“it’s perfect, don’t touch it”) through resort to a superficial comparison to the Ten Commandments. The idea was that one couldn’t credibly propose changes to the Constitution any more than they could to the Ten Commandments, so why do it to the Constitution? On the surface it seems to be momentarily reasonable. That is, of course, until one scratches below the surface and recognizes the problems associated with the items noted in the previous paragraph. The attempted analogy to the Ten Commandments then immediately fails the “smell” test.
Comparing the Constitution, written by flawed and fallible men (and later women), to the Ten Commandments would seem ludicrous on its face after a moment’s thought. Real people must continually strive for a “more perfect union” because we’ve never had one and it’s likely invention still lies well into the future. The amendment process itself, being contained within the body of the document, is a reflection and direct proof of that. The Constitution has never been perfect nor would ANY of the Founders who produced it even imply that it was. The attempt to deny the use of a patently constitutional process, for remedy to the States and specifically put there to redress one or multiple failures or abuses, or to correct error by the branches of the federal government, seems to be, at best, misguided.
Being forever fearful of using all the tools contracted for the People in the Constitution has played a large part in reaching the current dreadful state of our Republic. Just look to history. Remaining fearful and uncertain means a continual, grinding-down of the Republic to its final incremental demise. That is a certain path to violent revolution where no redress can be taken. At this point, no one can credibly argue that what the states have been doing is working to either slow or reverse the ongoing construction of the centralized, nationalist federal government or the demise towards violent revolution.
The time to be bold, go big and go early has long passed. The only question that remains is how long before all necessary steps are taken to avoid or alter the current path? How long will we succumb to the FUD factors and the blissful convenience of ignorance instead of trying every constitutional due process method available? They range from Article V/CoS, 9th and 10th amendment, Jury/State Nullification-Interposition and Jurisdictional control, to Constitutional County Sheriffs, State banking and so forth.
How long do we ignore or abdicate OUR authority and ALL the due process methods available now? The following generations will certainly know the answer in the outcome.
There’s not a week gone by in the last 15-20 years where I haven’t thought about the movie and book, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The story by that “merry prankster” Ken Kesey was a brilliant and devastating critique, on many levels. It certainly has remained, at least for this writer, one of the most defining allegories of American society of the last 50 years (the movie was not produced until 1975). With each passing year we come closer to matching the allegory Kesey wrote into his novel 50 years ago.
The majority of the American population is represented by the regular inmates of a mental institution that the main character, “McMurphy,” encounters after being incarcerated there for a string of petty crimes. He’s starts out sane but decides to have himself declared insane thinking that will allow him to serve out his sentence in relative ease. McMurphy is the anti-authoritarian rebel of the drama.
However, that’s where he encounters the “steely, unyielding” Nurse Ratched and the system she runs. Brilliantly played by Louise Fletcher in the movie, Nurse Ratched represents the government in this little set-piece. Her control of the system, arbitrary rules and the meting out of reward and punishment to the inmates is highly indicative of the behavior of modern government in all its incarnations.
The last main character in the drama is “Chief” Bromden, a supposedly deaf-mute Native American, institutionalized for unspecified reasons. He never says much in the movie, however, in the book one finds he is the narrator. Chief Bromden represents, to this writer at least, all of the informed (at least to some degree) but non-participating citizens now sitting on the fence. Each is hoping for release, idling in place or waiting for who-knows-what in order to take action.
Most Americans seem to no longer recognize they have grown accustomed to living in one of the largest mass mental institutions in the world. It is the asylum that America has become. They get by as spectators while the institution degrades and controls them.
Since leaving the military-intel and defense system contracting business, I’ve oscillated between the characters of McMurphy and Bromden. Most of the time I’ve chosen to be McMurphy and it is a painful process to be sure. For a long time I thought the other inmates would rally with me. I have repeatedly been reminded of the truism in the “1-4-95 rule,” my older business partner taught me years ago: Out of every 100 people, one person acts, four people watch the one and 95 people say, “What happened?”
I oscillate over to the Bromden character when I need a rest. My hope is to avoid the ultimate fate of McMurphy in being lobotomized (or just eliminated) by the system. Or, maybe I already have been. Some days it’s hard to tell, watching C-SPAN, the general media and many friends, family and the general population. I do know real change will only come when the evil Nurse Ratched and all her cronies are the ones locked-up and the inmates are free again.
If you happen to be someone to whom many, if not most, of the articles on this ongoing blog resonate with, then perhaps you’re one of the sane, too. Perhaps you also hate living in “The Matrix” or the coming dystopian “Hunger Games“-like future.
One way or the other, I do know, I don’t want to live under Ratched’s tyranny anymore. Do you? If not, please do not be discouraged. In the end, after McMurphy was lobotomized by the system, Chief Bromden finally found it within himself to break out of the asylum and find a better future. Always remember that some of us and our kids and grandkids will get to a better future devoid of Nurse Ratched. We will finally destroy her malevolence in the end.
One of the top 5 most important but under-reported stories of 2014 is the failure of the federal government to complete either a general audit or the specific agency audits mandated by Congress. It should be indisputable, at this point, that the federal government’s spending habits are utterly and completely out-of-control. In the 90s and early 2000s, the Department of Defense (DoD) failed 7 GAO audits in a row and failed to account for more than $1 trillion in spending. In the decade since, and after continued Congressional orders and demands, the backlog and estimated un-accounted-for spending has grown to more than $8.5 Trillion! The General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that the current backlog of 24,000 pending audits will NEVER be completed.
The fact that the federal government is completely out-of-control seems to cause nary a ripple in the population. The IRS demands, “under penalties of law…” that every household account for every penny they spend in their tax return each year. However, the federal government thumbs their nose at all Americans every day and says, “Bugger off!” in their own accounting to the people.
Yet, nothing happens. No one is accountable. No one is fired. No one is jailed. In the closing days of the now-obvious, crumbling American empire, it’s simply ignored and added to the ever growing pile of unresolved issues. Congressmen and women throw their hands in the air and say, “There’s nothing I can do!” Then, the turn right around and vote for the next level of spending and programs to continue to throw good money after bad.
Then there’s the non-federal “Federal” Reserve Corporation that can create, with a keyboard stroke, and lend $9 trillion somewhere without any public accountability. There’s the tens and hundreds of $billions lost in “reconstruction” of Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans have largely become immune and pay no-never-mind to all the fraud going on around them every day.
For just one example, Afghanistan, the IEEE Spectrum magazine did an investigation into the restoration of the Afghan electrical grid. The examination revealed that virtually the entire $60 billion spent on the electrical grid was wasted. The power plants were never fired up or even connected to the grid. The ones that were could only deliver electricity at 5 times or more the cost of electricity in the US, so will be abandoned almost immediately since the Afghan people cannot afford the cost. Some generation plants were built so far off the grid that there is no way to get fuel to them. Or, the grid itself was improperly constructed and truckloads of money siphoned-off by corrupt contractors and government officials.
In the other waste, military commands and installations were constructed only to be abandoned, fleets of vehicles and other equipment delivered, only to sit and rust in the sand. The scale of the waste and fraud is so enormous it defies any real descriptive to encompass the extent. This goes on every where in the world the US has been or is involved in any kind of military or humanitarian effort. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has been fraught with every kind of fraud imaginable for decades.
That is without even considering the same behaviors going on here at home in the US. More billions are lost to Food Stamp (SNAP) fraud, welfare fraud, Social Security fraud, tax fraud, subsidy and loan fraud of every kind imaginable! It is now so thoroughly embedded into the fabric of society that it corrupts virtually every aspect of economic life in America today. And still, most Americans move along in a sheep-like trance doing mostly whatever it is government tells them to do; work, pay your taxes, going into debt; become dependent, then die to be replaced by your children.
It almost begs the question: How long will Americans continue to go along with being treated like cattle; feeding, putting on weight being herded up and slaughtered year-after-year for the tax revenue? Then, their good name used to sell their children into debt slavery for generations for a totally corrupt federal government?
Obviously, there is no way to empirically know in advance when “the point of no return” is reached in historical transition periods. It is also difficult to know when the world might be right in the middle of passing that point. Only hindsight and data analysis clearly shows those turning points in the rear view mirror. However events, as they are unfolding right now, argue strongly that we are very close to a major turn in the future history of America. Consequentially as well, there is a coincident turn in our global civilization, given America’s enormous impact on world affairs.
Many people have been enamored of the popular book, “The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy,” by William Strauss and Neil Howe since its publication in the 90’s. It was not a particularly defining book for anyone having even peripherally studied historical and economic cycles and the works of other authors on the subject. However, it was a handy summary of how those cycles collide to reach a “nexus point.” Studies such as Dr. Joesph Tainter’s 1988 book, “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” are more illuminating from the standpoint of the archaeological evidence that shows the commonalities between various major societal collapse events over 5000 years of history.
Such events or transitions, in general, are more easily understood in view of continuing and consistent behavior rather than being particular events in time. Generally economic, political and social behaviors have all reached a nadir. If certain behaviors are sustained the turning point reaches the inevitable break point. Both subtly and overtly, whether intellectually analyzed or viscerally felt by the population as a whole, I’d speculate that most folks today believe we’re at “the point of no return.”
This writer believes there should be little doubt, in 2015, that the “neoclassical economic synthesis” lies at the heart of the turning about to commence. Neoclassical economics in practice, in conjunction with the global central bank cartel and fiat currency regime, is the core of destruction and the “hollowing-out” that is proceeding within the entire global financial and government fiscal structure. The injection of trillions of dollars, euros and yen liquidity via the various central banks have propped-up and forestalled the inevitable reconciliation of debt for almost 7 years. The next downleg is set to begin in the next two years. The doubling, tripling and, in some debt sectors, quadrupling of debt levels in the last 6 years is coming to a head.
In contrast, it is the Classical economic model in conjunction with the adjunct explanations offered through the Austrian School that offers the only full explanation for the behavior of both free and regulated markets and their business cycles. It also explains why, at this point, there is no escaping the enormous destruction about to proceed in the next turn, which was described in chapter 6 of “The Citizen’s Last Stand: Are YOU Ready?” as “The Grand Correction.”
Blowing inter-galactic levels of liquidity into the system has created a temporary lull in that inevitable Correction and, in consequence, made the final reckoning many times larger and more devastating to the long term economy. It has re-inflated the market and real estate bubbles and provided a mirage of economic activity through government spending and deficits. For the “hot money” (well-connected and speculative investors) in the top-end of various markets it has created grand opportunities to take money from the rest of the market suckers, thinking they’re following an actual “economic trend.” The suckers better be smart enough to know when to get out, before the turn, or everything they thought they had will immediately disappear. Pension funds and the bond markets will be hit the hardest behind the equity markets.
For a more in-depth review and guide how to navigate the coming storm, after my own volume, I highly recommend James Rickards 2014 book, “The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System.” While Mr. Rickards has a slightly different take on some of the features of the take-down, we’re 96% on the same page and it is a wonderful reference. Mental awareness and preparation are the two greatest tools anyone could have at their disposal between now and 2020.
There’s no varnish that can shine up the next few paragraphs. The race-baiting, race hustler/peddler/scammer Al Sharpton is filling the airwaves and cable news with his one-man campaign to stir-up racial hatred, incite riots and civil unrest. This populist charlatan is doing his ‘best’ work these days to insure the cause of racial harmony is set-back a couple generations. He knows therein lies his hope of ‘best’ success. Sharpton is literally a one-man sideshow promoted by MSNBC. However for the rest of us lies ruin, including for African-Americans.
Sharpton began his race-baiting national career via the Bensonhurst incident and co-opting the then 15-year old Tawana Brawley and her false rape charges. Since then, he’s built a continuing corrupt enterprise through his National Action Network. Racing from one potential racial housefire-hustle to the next, Sharpton stokes each one long enough to get the national media inflamed, his donor list pumped up and then runs to the next one.
He’s likely the ‘best’ dissembling, duplicitous-populist-self-promoter to come along in a generation or so. He has little relationship with the truth and, frankly, why should he? The truth, in his skillful hands, has little to no place in the discussion. He succeeds by feeding into longstanding myths and fallacies. His best art is misdirection and the specious statement.
Amazingly, he seems to be doing such a fine job getting the latest string of police shootings, take-downs and incidents converted into a racial detonation that even liberal African-American leaders are beginning to criticize his methods and message. Albeit they’re way too slow and way too late. Conservative African-American leaders have long criticized Sharpton to no avail. Sharpton and his outriggers have the majority of blacks convinced such conservative voices are “Uncle Tom’s.”
Will any of them succeed in taking down such misdirected politics of race? Likely not and here’s why: The entire population has been so long trained in the ‘politics of tribalism’ and the completely fallacious ‘group rights’ concepts. They have done so at the expense of individual rights. So much so that most conservatives seem no better equipped to understand why the message of victim-hood and ‘collective right’ is a fundamental myth. The entire population are forced to talk and think about African-Americans as a tribe because that is the way so many think of themselves. Groupthink is what enables ultimate control, even though it is the most inhuman and inhumane way to think if one actually wants freedom and liberty to be fundamental values of their society and governance.
So many of the most ardent and intelligent conservatives buy into some form of “collective right” artificial construct. They espouse different forms, such as “corporate rights” but it is the part and parcel of the same fallacious special and collective rights concept. They also give rhetorical cover to such artifice as “women’s rights” and “human rights” attempting to avoid the wrath of the politically correct crowd. Instead they should be categorically rejecting same for the myths they represent.
As explained in the 3-part series of articles being posted starting here, the proper understanding and definition of rights lends itself to being endowed only upon individuals. All other attempted applications are myths and totally erroneous. However, more than a century of propaganda and education have done their job well.
This, in fact, is probably the greatest single battle of our age that remains to be finally joined: the elimination of the artificial construct and legal structure that has built-up around ‘special,’ group or collective ‘rights.’ The series of fundamental legislative and judicial errors and legal policy constructions of the 19th and 20th centuries will continue to destroy the cause of freedom and liberty until this battle is recognized and fully joined.
So many Americans of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds have bought-in to the collective right myths to their detriment. However, African-Americans have probably the highest degree of buy-in. They have been co-opted to the highest degree by “limousine liberals” and their own leaders. They fail to recognize how the federal and state plantation of government subsidy, benefit and control has been substituted for the southern plantation of the old south. No whippin’s are needed when benign buy-in can more easily be obtained through taxpayer and deficit-generated largesse and programs. Nor do many seem to realize how it has also generated some perverse cultural or ethnic/racial behaviors.
When a Euro-American gets arrested or commits a moderate to serious crime, even the most heinous, I don’t feel any ‘group guilt’ that somehow it reflects upon me as a Euro-American. How could it? Why could it? I look at and treat every individual one at a time as they come in accordance with how they treat me as an individual.
Not even when some criminal is part of the specific Irish or Scottish (most of my heritage) “tribe” I may happen to belong to, do I feel any ‘group-guilt’ for the acts of that individual. That whole concept is bizarre. How or why I should feel some sort of guilt or responsibility for the actions of another person because we happen to be of the same ethnic, cultural or racial background? That seems a pretty ridiculous concept on its face.
Maybe, if they were an immediate part of my family…however even then, if we’re not a family of criminals, I might feel ashamed but not guilty of anything. If 95% of all Scots-Irish Americans were committing virtually all the crime, doing all the drugs, having all the abortions, had the highest rate of divorce and dysfunctional families, it casts no reflection on me whatsoever, nor should it. Why would it? I don’t do any of those things.
Afro-Americans, or any minority, allowing themselves to continue buying-in and be exploited by such concepts like racial shame, guilt or anything like it due to the actions of others, are a mystery to me. Anymore than I should or would feel some form of racial guilt because earlier and other Europeans and Euro-Americans at one time enslaved, hated or segregated African-Americans. Such views are complete and utter bullshit. All people are individuals, free and independent to conduct their lives in any manner they choose as long as they respect my rights to do the same.
People that feel and act as collectivists are allowing others to define, control and keep them on that plantation without true freedom, liberty and self-determination. It is precisely that control which has obviously greatly harmed their culture and family structure. In fact, it has damn near destroyed the culture and family structure for so many. Yet, they persist in believing the myth, handed to and controlling them, willingly embraced. As long as they do, others are in charge of them and they have given up their actual individual rights without even a fight.
European-Americans are next in line with their own form of state and federal plantation with corporate and personal loan or direct subsidies, tax credits, loan guarantees, grants and the like. Here it’s not so much a cultural but an economic plantation they live on. It is both in the thinking that groups have rights, are owed something or entitled as a group that locks all the groups onto the government plantation. It is also what keeps America divided so the race-baiters and haters and political opportunists of all stripes can take advantage. Primarily it keeps the government in control of the plantation, to the detriment of all people.
The shootings of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, and the take-down of Eric Garner, each was an individual event with its own circumstances. The only pattern here is that each was committed by people, each with their own prejudices, poor training, bad behaviors, personal foibles and agendas. However, until all Americans are properly educated into what actual rights, freedoms and liberties truly are, the negative reinforcement pattern we are in will continue. To the extent that justice is not done in each case and outcome, we ALL suffer the loss. The tragic thing is that the current paradigm of mass ignorance and disinformation disallows justice instead of serving it. And, it allows the political opportunists of both political stripes to use each incident for their own self-serving political agendas to keep Americans divided and true rights, liberties and freedoms on the ropes. It enables centralized control to be the true nature of governance in the United States.