Justifying A Constitution Convention For The 21St Century
Plain Talk And Common SenseIntroduction:
The necessity of a constitutional convention came to the forefront again in 1999 because a dishonest President refused to resign and the U.S. Senate failed to convict him after an impeachment by the House of Representatives. This major incident has caused many citizens to review the constitution and observe that renewal and strengthening is reasonable at two hundred years for this great and historic document. As many of the "founders" related; all power of government is derived from the people, and continues theirs, unless specifically disposed of. They also were clear about the future needs of revising the constitution. In addition, the complications of the communication age on our society, the abuses of power by various government agencies, and the inability of Congress to get things done, or balance the budget, has precipitated attention to constitutional questions. (07, 11, numbers indicate years updated)
The 1776 Declaration of Independence was the precursor of the Articles of Confederation and later the Constitution of the United States. Although allowed by Article V of the basic Constitution of 1787, there has never been a full fledged, state organized, open ended, gathering of delegates in convention to review and consider some of the fundamental problems of American society with relationship to the amended original document. All amendments to date have been written and presented by the Congress, albeit on some occasions after threats of a convention by the people or state governments. If we have serious questions with the Constitution, and the Congress cannot do right by the citizens, then it is time for a Convention of the States with delegates from each State.(11)
The words that follow are the probable thoughts of many patriots, conservatives, and libertarians of mid America. Perhaps the words are right leaning depending on your definition of words; which, it seems, after the "is" fiasco, we are now allowed to make up as we see fit. Sections are labeled below as those basic enough to rights and liberties to be thought as justifying consideration in a revised 21st century constitution.Basic Grievances For A Petition:
Fifteen major topics are addressed, more than enough for a basic one page petition with minimal explanation. They may not be the most important or listed in the ideal priority for all citizens. The first topic below deals with the President lying in court under oath, a serious problem. The others are covered in books, the media, and heard in coffee shops with regularity. Controversial religious or pseudo-religious subjects are not included. They are best left to states or the clergy. (07)I. Prevention of a Flawed President:
First let's consider moral decay and history. Discussions of moral decay are often best left to religious leaders, but for some reason they remain fairly quiet. Perhaps they are taking the "casting of stones" too seriously. Most everyone agrees the Roman Empire met its demise from moral decay from within. Many of our professional people and professors of history concur that the mores of America have changed for the worse. Corruption and ethics problems in our Congress and with our Presidents are of the worse variety, and must be dealt with. (07)
If you read the history of Germany in the 1930's, you have to see the very scary parallels between what happened during those years and the present circumstances of our federal government. The brown shirts have been replaced with spin miesters and misuse of FBI files. Citizens stood by and did nothing as a tyrant abused power and flaunted the law then as now as a similar rapid improvement in the economy occurred in the 90s. (11)
With Nixon's pardon and Clinton's acquittal, history will judge us poorly, assuming there are any historians left when our system of laws degenerates further into anarchy. How soon we forget the cultural cleansing, historians included, during Pol Pot's genocide and the oppressions of the Cultural Revolution in Communist China. (07)
Perhaps Americans really don't care if their leader has multiple sexual transgressions. They may not care if their commander lies to a foreign leader to protect national security. But they do or should care about being lied to on national items of importance and about elected officials who lie under oath and abuse the rule of law. Certainly the constitution needs changing to scrub the President's character clean before he is put up for election. And it wouldn't hurt for national Congressmen to pass a similar scrutiny.
A second question concerns "power" and "followers." What power is left to a morally wounded President? He still has "referent" power, his power to convince the uneducated and gullible through charisma. Jones' Town can't be denied. Waco was real. Mussolini and Chairman Mao were not fictional characters in some horror movie. (07)
Bill Clinton's aptitude and "knowledge" power remains intact. He fooled the major media for at least six years. You can't refute his staff for their expert spin and political tactics. Remarkably, his reputation has yet to be fully discredited, but history will solve that. (07)
Nevertheless, brains and the ability to seduce blind followers is not reason enough to retain a flawed President. Once he loses his "legitimate" power, the power most important to his position, he has lost respect. His credibility has been poisoned. Even though acquitted, a wounded President cannot truly lead. His staff should wonder what is true and what is false. Will the Joint Chief's continue to obey a flawed President's orders? Is the parliamentary system allowing leader removal better? (07, 11)
The President's staff are generally educated and intelligent followers. Why do they fail to resign in disgust when they realize their leader is corrupt or dishonest? Some do, of course, but the mainstream media often fail to follow up with the reasons for departures, or if they do the person so questioned often does not want the public attention spotlight and the courts often look the other way. Can referent power apply to intelligent people? Of course it can. The best example is pre-war Germany. Hitler's staff and the German people were not stupid. The economy in the 1930's was vastly improved over the reparation era after World War I. Hitler's speeches were mesmerizing, as are those of some of our politicians. The German people were taken-in, they were horn-swoggled, and Hitler's staff didn't come to their senses and try to dispose of him until well after he had consolidated his physical power through secret police and storm troopers, which made the removal attempts nearly impossible. (07, 11)
Our Constitution allows us a way to rid our system of abusers of power "before" they get out of hand, through impeachment and conviction. An individual can be removed from the political or judicial scene, before they cause more serious problems. Unfortunately, the system hasn't worked very well in the past and didn't work in 1999; the Senate had not the guts, the fortitude, nor the backbone to do the righteous thing, and remove the dishonest President. The partisan Senate did not remit the question to the State Legislatures for their input and conclusions, even though most of the State Legislatures were in session. The States themselves did not complain. Obviously, the whole system failed and now the only recourse is for the people to petition and call for a Constitutional Convention or wait for the next election and hope for the best.
A third important concern with respect to the Presidency is the relationship with the military and the secrecy of technical programs and foreign intelligence required to maintain our free society. The armed forces has the physical power to take over the government at any time. The air-mobile divisions of the U.S. Army or the Marine Expeditionary Units from Camp Lejeune could be on the White House lawn in a few hours. No unit from the Army District of Washington is capable or likely to stop them. Such action is not recommended, of course, but an outside chance exists for a military take over if the executive or congressional branch of government gets too far out of whack. Generals and admirals are sworn to uphold the constitution and subordinate themselves to civilian rule. The constitution has to take precedent, since the civilian leadership is animate. The military is not likely to stand by while either the Congress or Executive runs rough shod over the Constitution and the republic. This often called military coup happens in other countries when the government becomes weak and corrupt. In Pakistan for example. (07)
From a historical standpoint, the state militias were in existence before the Continental Army and the Continental Congress. When you think about it, any republic or democracy can exist only if the armed forces are supportive. George Washington chose not to be king, but to help set up a republic. He probably assumed the civilian leadership would be ethical, honest and obey the rule of law.
It should also be remembered that the Continental Army was supported by only one-third of the citizens, beat the British (with French help), and secured the nation. The Constitution came some eleven years later. Army officers and veterans were frequently vocal in arguing the content of the original Constitution during the convention and the State ratification's. We are now again in the midst of a Constitutional upheaval. The Congress should be asking for input from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as their own constituents. If for no other reason, the military should be made to feel that they are important citizens in our republic, which they are. (07)
Can we really blame the veterans and active duty military for being upset? Even though the President is not in the military, he is the commander-in-chief. The President may not now have a legal obligation to live by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but he certainly has a moral and ethical obligation to do so. Is it really too much to ask for the leader of the Armed Forces to be honest and honorable? The constitution can easily be changed to require the President to live by the ethics sections of the UCMJ.
Perhaps the most telling problem is not the lies, not the sex, not the immorality; but in keeping the ongoing secrets of the government. Clinton obviously could not have passed a security background check for a secret or top secret clearance and as Senator Kerrey from Nebraska wrote, "the President would have been disqualified from working for himself." Wanta-be Presidents' should have a security background check well before elections. Media vetting is just not sufficient. (11)II. Law versus Justice:
Thomas Jefferson wrote, "a little rebellion now and then is a good thing." Is there a danger to the republic? Several senators during the Clinton trial said they didn't think so. They turned out to be correct. Several left leaning callers on the C-SPAN call-in line said there would be riots in the street if the President was removed. It's a moot question now. (07)
On the other hand we have the far right and the veterans who may turn to marches on Washington or worse at some future incident. This second group of people are not the psycho's who blow up federal buildings, but honest patriots, concerned for their country. An up-dated constitution would likely minimize the possibility of civil disobedience, now and in the future.
During the Clinton trial, on the points of perjury and obstruction of justice, the managers made a lot of common sense conclusions, while the President's lawyers looked for loopholes and split hairs. Our national leader should be honest and honorable regardless of the "quid pro quo no's." An impeachment is more about ethics than law, and character does count. President Clinton lied, he lied repeatedly and under oath. Senators must sometimes discard their Blackstone's and consult their own conscience. Anti-federalist No. 78-79 clearly states high crimes and misdemeanors was thought of at the time as "evidence of corruption or want of integrity." (11)
A further and deeper question and concern is the continuing conflict of interest between lawyers who will later practice law while also being congressmen who make the law. This has allowed lawyers to feather their nest for 200+ years. America has far more per-capita attorneys and law suits than other countries of similar economic status and social structure. Tobacco related and other unreasonable suits are typical of the judicial system gone awry, driving up the cost of nearly all products, and indirectly stealing from the citizens. No doubt, guns, alcohol and fast-food will be next. But, if antitrust laws are enforced and not weakened or abused by monetary/big bank influence through congress members or agents of the executive; then "caveat emptor," let the buyer beware, let free enterprise work. Young citizens have the right to a vibrant and ethical free enterprise system, and we the adults have the duty to pass to our children a non-corrupt America. (07, 11)
Clearly, we have a problem worthy of constitutional attention. There must be a way to either limit the number of lawyers in congress or to require them to give up the bar and pledge not to feather the nest of their attorney friends by passing open ended laws which lend themselves to one or multiple law suits. Litigation prone legislation has to stop, through pain of punishment. If it doesn't stop, the next step the public will have to take is to remove lawyers entirely from Congress, except for staff assistants. It is interesting to note that the North Carolina assembly would not let lawyers represent them at the Continental Congress during the American Revolution.
An additional, and related, legal issue is the weakness of mal-administration and malfeasance statutes which somehow allow attorneys to argue in court (given sufficient remuneration) for persons they know full well to be guilty. Shifty lawyers purposefully brief and cajole criminals not to inform them of their guilt. Clinton's lawyers clearly knew him to be guilty. (07)
Courts are for bringing criminals to justice, not for criminals to be coddled. The Bar Associations have failed to police their members. Lawyers have become a parasite on society. Penalties for improper and unethical practice by attorneys need to be strengthened, and in the constitution. They are not likely to do this on their own in Congress, or they would have done so already. (07)III. Federal Hostages and States Rights:
One has to ask if the federal senators from conservative states truly represented their constituents. Granted, democratic senators such as Daschle, Harkin and Dorgan were duly elected, but the federal government has held "hostage" the states they represent (South Dakota, Iowa, and North Dakota) with grants, pork, highway money and farm subsidies for years. The people of these states do not want a dishonest President; they are conservative, God fearing, honest people, who were more than irate with the fact that Clinton was not removed. However, the citizens of these states are not uninformed. Under the present federal system, they try to elect congresspersons they believe can obtain the most goodies from Washington. This "hostage" system fairly reduces the status of small (population) states to mere vassals of the federal bureaucracy.
Another hostage holding by the federal government is the gag law applied to tax exempt organizations. This law needs adjustment. Why on earth should we silence our patriotic, learned, or any other organization, in a time of constitutional crisis; or at any other time for that matter. What happened to free speech? What happened to liberty?
Federal power abuse has certainly arrived. Founder Hamilton was dead wrong on this issue, as many of the other Founders pointed out on several occasions. A constitution convention must address the growth of federal power over the States. This has gotten so bad that U.S. Senators have more political power than State Governors. In fact, in less populated states, governors are now thought to "move up" when they run for the U.S. Senate.IV. Election of Senators:
Many Americans were appalled when the U.S. Senate acquitted President Clinton. This brings into question the method by which Senators are elected and their power. The Senate was originally fashioned after the House of Lords in England to be the wiser and learned house of Congress and to give more power to the smaller states. This changed somewhat when the method of election by the state legislatures came into disrepute for some corruptions and in 1913 the XVII Amendment was ratified, which changed the election method to a popular vote.
Senators are now more like representatives at large, but with a great deal more power, particularly in the states with smaller populations. At this juncture one has to challenge this change and revisit the question of how Senators are elected. Perhaps the Founding Fathers were right after all? Or, it may be, that a new and different method of election is in order, such as nominations by the state legislatures followed by a popular vote. Larger states would no doubt prefer less power for Senators from smaller states. We do know "honesty" failed in the Senate trial of Clinton, something is wrong. (07)V. An Unworkable Precedent:
An additional constitutional question is having the Attorney General's office (Justice Department) under the executive branch, resulting in numerous questions of the executive branch putting pressure on citizens or business entities; or, of executive agencies performing unlawful or questionable operations knowing full well they have an "in" with those who prosecute illegal acts. There is in fact nothing in the constitution which specifically requires the Attorney General be in the executive branch, it's just the way President Washington decided to do it, based on one-sixth of a sentence in the constitution about the President's duties. It worked quite well as long as all the players were honest and moral; but even if they always were, the present system gives the executive branch way more relative power than The Judiciary branch of government.
The most serious problem, which has resulted from this arrangement, precipitated in the passage of a special attorney statute during the Nixon administration because of Watergate, and was again used in the Clinton investigation. The supporters of President Clinton brought the use of the law into doubt. It seems the law will be in limbo depending on which political party is in power and who is violating, or may be violating, other laws. The Founders did not foresee such a biased and partisan two party system, and Congress doesn't seem to be able to sort out a reasonable solution. There is yet to be a comprehensive argument as to why the 20 billion dollar Justice Department and Attorney General's office should not be under the legislature or a separate forth branch of government. Execution of law is twice mentioned in the constitution under the powers of Congress. A constitution change is required.VI. Taxes and Federal Power:
Let's face it, Americans are sick of taxes and the way legislatures spend and distribute the proceeds thereof. Citizen disgust is directly proportional to the dollar amount and the efficiency level of administration; that is, less at the local level and the most at the federal level, with the State government somewhere in-between. It is said that one in three federal employees pulls their weight while two of three state workers are efficient. At any rate it is obvious the proficiency and efficiency drops rapidly in the transfer of tax proceeds to the federal level and the bureaucratic expenditures of tax dollars at that level.
The constitution is wide open on the tax issue. Neither Article I nor the XVI amendment to the constitution sets any tax limit. We are at the mercy of the federal government as to the amount and types of taxes we pay. Our Founders were very concerned about taxes since that was one of the main reasons for the war for independence. They believed taxes were like taking your property, which is forbidden in Amendment IV. Somehow, over the 200 plus years, taxation has gotten out of control. It is time to set some limits, at least on the most inefficient portion of government, the federal government. The main function of the federal government is to provide armed services for protection of the States and regulate trade between the fifty states and foreign countries. You can call it States' rights if you like, the federal government has no business in education, welfare and other issues close to the local level. The constitution needs to be changed to set reasonable federal tax limits. This will indirectly keep the fed's out of State and local issues. Former U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson had a plan to disband the IRS and start over from scratch on the 10K+ pages of code and regulations, which most of us agree is completely out of hand. Some of his ideas should be in the revised constitution. (07, 11)VII. Constitution Language:
Please read the Constitution! You must conclude the document has many archaic phrases and omissions of communication age subjects. As Senator Snowe said, "the Founding Fathers could not have envisioned the world we live in today." George Washington said the constitution wouldn't last twenty years and Hamilton said it was not perfect. The document is a great work, no question, but it is over 200 years old, and by the very fact it has numerous amendments indicates it can't be exacting in perpetuity. We even have amendments to the amendments. A State sponsored Constitution Convention has several positive aspects. It spreads the joy so more than just the U.S. Legislature is involved. It keeps the arguments more bipartisan at the lower government level. It favors a central location. True, getting two-thirds of the States to agree to convention revisions would be tough, and ratification by three-fourths even tougher, but communications are significantly better than they were in 1788 and it can be done, if the people would just demand it, as they are entitled to do. (07)
When you read the history of the first Constitutional Convention and the State Legislatures ratification meetings on the document, the wide range of detail and various arguments will impress you. In addition, you have to be cognizant of the numerous misgivings by the Framers of this famous and some say "sacred" document. Our forefathers were mortal men, they wrote and ratified a document of great import, but it can and should be brought into the 21st century.
Now is the time to fix the basic laws that stifle our society and waste so much money. If the people do not insist on modernized codes, a reduction in the quantity of lawyers to a reasonable number, and a restraint of frivolous and unreasonably high monetary settlements of law suits which prevent entrepreneurship and economic growth; some latter day Napoleon will come along and do it for us. We, the citizens of the United States, must provide the basis for reasoned codes of morality and honesty, without which, the necessary laws are infinite in number.
A constitution is not easy to write, but neither is it impossible. Some terms must be defined, like "high crimes." Writers must be cautious not to include too much detail and too many restrictions in a constitution, and yet the language must be strong enough to justify enforcement. For example, the right to a "speedy trial" is already in the constitution, but it is not specific enough to be enforced. There are numerous other examples of language, which need revision for our modern society. Here are just a few. Under the powers of congress in Article I; "post roads" are now called "federal highways"; "Armies" and "Navy" now include an "Air Force" or could be combined into "Armed Forces"; appropriation of money to support Armies should not be limited to "two years" (obviously, you can't develop a modern weapons system in two years); etc., etc. There are many, many more examples.
Another important caution is that the individuals who revise the language do not degrade our present rights and liberties. A major concern might be the language of Amendment II, the right to bear arms, which has frequently been challenged, and even recently by the requirement for registration. This language needs to be more specific. If we must register to buy arms, there is a possibility the government will come to confiscate those arms since they know who possesses them. In fact, the British did just that in Boston when the revolution was just beginning. Therefore, the language must be reinforced to say; "if a citizen must register to purchase a firearm to avoid criminals from obtaining them, then that registration must be certified as destroyed soon after the background check is approved." There also must be language to preclude law suits which will force gun manufactures out of business. One of the first things colonies did during the Revolution was to encourage arms manufacture. How soon we forget our roots and how we became a great and strong nation. In our modern world, we can not maintain our freedom without a viable aerospace, steel, and arms industry, as unpopular as it may seem to some people.
So, why not modernize the language for the 21st century? It is a timely and reasonable occasion. Of course there are some dangers that new revisions will not work, but as long as the amendment method clauses remain in the constitution, there is little danger we will be returned to the oppressive conditions brought about by the English Parliament in the mid 1770's.VIII. Money and Banking:
One nagging problem which has been around since the Civil War is the use of paper money, instead of coin, and the question if such paper must be backed by some tangible asset, such as gold. There is no truly legal way to resolve this problem short of constitutional change.
While fixing the money problem, delegates to a convention should review and consider what banking constraints are logical and necessary for the constitution. Don't forget the bail out (your money) of the savings and loan industry and the Chrysler Corporation. And why are banks now getting into the securities business and why are they approving home loans without reasonable credit ratings? Is it time to actually enforce antitrust laws on the books or limit the size and power of large corporations? (07)
Is the time correct to insist-on and force a balanced budget? No, it's worse than that, not only must the budget be balanced, but also the huge, gargantuan public debt, near five trillion dollars in1999 (and much higher now), must be paid down to a reasonable level as a percentage of population or of GDP. Otherwise, the U.S. dollar, backed by no tangible asset, will one day collapse, and the depression of 1929 will look like a cakewalk. Mr. Keynes, the economics guru who supported government debt in bad times also supported creating a government "surplus" in good times. We ignore his advice and our own common sense at our peril. To spend the coming generations into a common poorhouse is not only unethical, but should be unconstitutional and illegal. (07)
Note: This almost came true in 2008 and the basic problem remains. (11)IX. Education and the Ring of Pork:
The trial of a President should run its complete course, in public, with witnesses and cross-examination. Logic demands a thorough and detailed analysis in any trial. If no other positive result occurred from the Clinton impeachment episode in our history, it is the educational value of the Senate trial. For law, for constitution, for civics, for history; these are the things our people need, to be intelligent voters and citizens. Let the parents of undisciplined children and our liberal teachers pay the bill for the trial, they are the ones who have dumbed-down a generation of Americans to the point they are unable to vote with intelligence. The callers on C-SPAN during the trial who were for acquittal, did they sound intelligent? As Noah Webster said in 1785, "it is scarcely possible to reduce an enlightened people to civil or ecclesiastical tyranny. Deprive them of knowledge, and they sink almost insensibly in vassalage." (07, 11)
We have to wonder how some learned professors have misread, misconstrued, and misinterpreted the Clinton case. Are these liberal professors the same ones who taught our lawyers about ethics? I'm reminded of some engineering students, who after being lectured about ethics for two days, plagiarized a corporate document the very next week without reference. Perhaps ethics, or morality, or honesty cannot be taught. Evidently, parents or elementary teachers endow these characteristics at an early age and Clinton along with most of the Senate missed the boat. The apology was not believable.
The liberal ring of pork and corruption is a unique brand of democracy. First you convince people you're going to give them a handout (grants, pork, subsidies) from the federal government without direct personal contribution. Then you ask for their vote to keep the transfer of payments continuing. The cycle continues and the circle gets bigger until all elected officials are hostage to the giveaway system. When the heat is on for any other problem, the handouts increase, as they did during the Clinton trial, to divert attention from the corrupt or immoral activity. What a system! This is more than abuse of power, it oppresses the whole nation, it even endangers lives in some cases, when military operations are part of a cover-up or news diversion. It is a high crime! (07)X. The Media and the Polls:
The mainstream media had no remorse or excuses for their support of the flawed President Clinton and they flip-flopped from resign to censure. If it were not for the Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh, and a few others, the popular voice of the conservatives would be dead and mute. There are plenty of conservative organizations, some 422 web pages on Yahoo alone (1999), but these institutes, committees, foundations, etc., spend most of their time singing to the choir, seldom having much impact on the general public, however learned and logical their writings. The need for balanced reporting by the popular media is evident. The bias too far left may be a danger to the republic. In our communication age, the media can skew the polls and even sometimes unknowingly spread political propaganda to the general public.
How do we explain the support of crazy ideas in the polls? Here are a few reasons why it happens: (1) The education system has failed to teach history and civics. (2) The press corps attended these same schools. (3) A charismatic leader can mesmerize and induce mass hysteria in an audience and followers. (4) The "refusal to admit a mistake" syndrome; e.g., "I voted for him, therefore he must be OK." (5) Some polls may not be valid because they are not truly random or verifiable. For example, how do the polltakers handle people who are on answering machines or call monitoring, which many of us are? (6) Positive economic polls are based primarily on employment level and a full lunch box. (7) The communications revolution of the 90s was responsible for the growing economy, not government policies. (07)
It would be nice if the mass media would help teach the public about the above items, but they didn't then, and they don't now. The impeachment certainly provided some educational value. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the population watched the trial. University Regents have some responsibility to see that Journalism schools have a politically balanced faculty.
Our forefathers did not foresee the use of polls. Should the polls have been ignored by the U.S. Senate during the impeachment trial? The answer is yes. If the President had resigned or been removed, the same political party would have maintained executive power. The Vice President has been on the same political ticket as the President since very early in our history. It is not as if the opposing party was taking over. Our President is not a king or emperor and need not be treated as one, he must obey the same laws as other citizens. (07)The media needs to review their responsibility for the polls, and in our communication age, whether a large media corporation does or can bend the logic and truth (spread propaganda). The people are interested in more than just freedom of the press, we are interested in protection and freedom of the local press and local electronic media. We would also like to see facts and opinion well separated without press created reruns. State laws, the FCC, and anti-monopoly laws provide some protection, but one can not deny that local area control of the local press is all but dead in many midsize towns and villages. Congress couldn't drag their feet much more than when it comes to this issue, and for good reason, the media controls their popularity and they know it. A constitutional consideration is in order. XI. Term Limits:
For obvious reasons the Congress is not likely to pass term limits even when the public overwhelmingly wants them. The U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. versus Thorton in l995 ruled that a constitutional amendment would have to be enacted. This topic alone is enough to justify a constitution convention. As with the President, most of the corruption and illegal activity by congresspersons happens after their first term. The problem of old age can't continue to be ignored. Granted, the two-year term of the House is too short in this day and age to allow a House member enough time to get properly trained and accustomed to the job. And, one can argue the freedom issue for citizens to pick who they want more than once. Never the less, the reasoning for term limits, at least consecutive terms, is well documented and supported by most citizens. (07)XII. Political Action Committees:
Some PAC's are helpful and useful to the democratic process. Others, usually large ones, have operations that are the equivalent of legalized bribery and interference in free elections. Congress has allowed PAC's to corrupt our state and federal system long enough. So-called "soft" money is used illegally. If you have questions on this topic, just look at the donation list of any federal senator or representative. Large contributions of tens of thousands of dollars by political committees and corporations not only threaten democracy but also increase the cost of commercial products and stifle the economy. The practice also favors an incumbent to the detriment of a new political candidate. There is no need for a long discussion; reasonable dollar limits must be set, and foreign loopholes closed. Constitution inclusion keeps congresspersons and political parties honest. Unchecked, the practice will continue to the detriment of the nation. The McCain-Feingold law helped, but was later overturned by the Supreme Court. (07, 11)XIII. Age Limits:
This is another form of term limits, at least for judges. Some judges retire on their own before they become sick or senile. Others lug along at reduced effectiveness well beyond 65 when they could receive full pay retirement. It seems reasonable to require retirement as they approach the insurance longevity age for their gender. (11)XIV. Organization Size Limits:
When corporations become extremely large three things happen: (1) They are less efficient, just like big government; (2) They have too much power through lobbyists; and (3) They may fail but have so many employees or financial importance that they must be bailed out by the government (i.e., the taxpayers).
When unions become too large similar problems occur and they skew capitalism so the "invisible hand" cannot function properly. Other giant organizations can also become too powerful. To avoid too-big-to-fail it becomes necessary to limit organization size using either the number of employees or assets or both as a function of some type of economic activity such as the GDP. See Lex Ferenda, A Constitution Modernization with Tea Party Bullets for a long discussion of this topic. (11)XV. War Powers:
Presidents have ignored the Constitution in recent decades and joined in or started wars or near war skirmishes without Congress approval in advance. The Constitution needs revision to stop this dictator type behavior or at least define in better language the war power division between the Executive and the Congress along with the associated military action timing.
An additional problem is that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) can wipe out the whole Congress at one time leaving the country without Congressional governance. Giving State Governors the power to replace House members on a temporary basis, as they currently have to replace Senators, is an easy Constitution fix.Summary:
Citizens, please consider all the problems with having or keeping dishonest politicians in office. As with Clinton, the loss of legitimate power, the long record of lying, the attempted cover-ups, the vulnerability to foreign espionage or bribes, and the loss of integrity with the military and the people, is a danger to our republic. You can come to only one conclusion, the constitution failed to work properly. Corrupt politicians should resign. Often they don't. A less partisan Senate would have removed Clinton. The Senate failed their duty. There is no assurance another rogue president will not be inadvertently elected in the future, or that some future Senate will have better morals and integrity. The constitution must be changed, and the sooner the better. We need to set a positive example for our children. (07)
As described, other serious and grievous problems exist in our federal system. For example we have not yet considered: foreign aid, flag burning, abortion, and several other topics. You probably have topics to add to the list, and the convention should be open enough to at least briefly address all reasonable concerns. Many of our congresspersons will not pass statutes on the main issues presented in this essay, either because they favor proliferation of lawsuits and the bloated litigation process, or for biased partisan reasons, or because of PAC influence. Again, the book Lex Ferenda available on Amazon and elsewhere covers many of these topics. (11)
With recognition and respect to our forefathers and the gifted and creative writers of our original constitution; the people must now, without the assistance or interference of the federal government, petition the individual fifty States for a Constitutional Convention at a convenient mid-continent location, and insist on a timely and comprehensive update in the Constitution of the United States for the 21st century.
For Abe's Indignation League, 1 March l999, (revised Dec, 2007 and Nov. 2011) by James A. Schmitendorf, Engr./Treasurer, PO Box 126, Piedmont, SD 57769, e-mail: email@example.com