WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?

constitution1.pngBUNKERVILLE | God, Guns, and Guts Comades! has an interesting post on Nationwide Protests July 18-19 to Oppose Illegal Immigration‏. Here is how it starts.

The so-called Immigration reform bill swirling around Congress is a dangerous bill according to Mark Levin. It includes amnesty for everyone arriving prior to 2014. Congress wants to hood wink us once more. Precious little is being disclosed. Join the protests Friday and Saturday and let’s send Congress a message. We turned it in 2010, let’s do it again. All of the House is up for reelection this fall.

Rep. Henry Cuellar and Sen. John Cornyn have introduced legislation into the House and Senate, respectively.

The biggest issue with Rep. Cueller and Sen. Cornyn’s bill is that it includes Rep. Michael McCaul’s border security bill almost in its entirety. Rep. McCaul’s original bill, H.R.1417, would actually weaken border security, not strengthen it, in several ways. First, current law requires DHS to take all actions to achieve operational control of the entire border, but McCaul’s bill only requires DHS to submit a plan to achieve operational control of high-traffic areas and along the Southern border, ignoring much of the Northern land border and all maritime borders. Second, the bill contrasts with existing law, which already requires 100% operational control of the entire international land and maritime borders. McCaul’s bill defines “operational control” as apprehending 90% of illegal crossings as determined by DHS. (continued here)

As the post continues, what is the solution? We stage protests. I think protesting illegal immigration is a good idea, but we already know the result. The corporate news media will either ignore the protests or paint the protesters as racist extremists. Therefore, we also need more focused, long range plans.That would involve strategies like the following:

  1. Get our children out of the public school system. Instead of educating children, the public school system is designed to provide jobs to unionized Democrats. Hence we end up with poorly educated adults who don’t understand either their religious or political heritage.
  2. Stop rewarding politicians who promise us other people’s money. We must vote the BUMS OUT! We need leaders who love America and want to protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  3. Campaign for a Convention of the States to amend the Constitution. For an example of an organization pushing the idea, check out ConventionOfStates.com and this Forbes article, Mark Levin’s Game Changer: Using The Constitution To Arrest Federal Drift.

To beat the corporate news media, we must go directly to our neighbors. We must show each other what can be done, and we must make America’s government once again small and mostly a local matter.

Want more details? Here is a debate on a Convention of the States, Conservatives pro and con.

Is a Convention of the States a bad idea? Ultimately, that will depend upon us. If we do our homework, and we make our expectations abundantly clear, we can pressure our leaders to enact specific Constitutional amendments. If we do not do our homework and fight for the process, bad men and women will take over the convention, and it will be a disaster.

Unfortunately, bad men and women are already corrupting government. To stop them, we must use EVERY tool we have at our disposal. In a no holds barred fight, we must not tie our hands behind our backs. We must go on the offensive and tie our opponents up in knots.

25 thoughts on “WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?

  1. Many of us conservatives find the idea of a Constitutional Convention to be a rather radical idea, Tom. There’s no clear way of measuring it, but my guess is that the majority of opinion among constitutional conservatives is against the idea of convening a new convention. The urge for a convention seems to bespeak a lack of confidence in a document that has served us very well indeed and which, as conservatives, our instincts are to preserve. A lot of us feel that the United States was extremely fortunate (even Providentially blessed, if you like) to get this document as our guiding operator’s manual and that it would be very unlikely that we would ever do so well again. The Founders were unique, both individually and in how they applied their knowledges and intelligences collectively in the 1780s. Do we have among us 40 such people today? If so, are they likely to be the people forming the new convention? Can we agree who these people should be? I wouldn’t count on that. For example, will New York State find us, as their one delegate to the convention, an Alexander Hamilton, as they did in the 1780s? Would Virginia proffer another Madison, another Washington (maybe Colin Powell would do in that role)? Do you think those attending the convention could keep to the high road and keep petty modern political feuds out of the process? I would not be optimistic about that.

    I would be very concerned that the result would be garbage virtually indistinguishable from the products that emerge from the Congress now. Why would conservatives want to take that risk? We tend to be a cautious lot.

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    1. scout — Since you are not a Conservative, I think we can set aside worrying about that aspect of the problem.

      Were the Founders unique? Given the fact they risked everything to fight the American Revolution, I suspect that as group they were the most honorable group of leaders our nation has ever had.

      Nevertheless, we get the leadership we deserve. To get better leaders we must seek to be better ourselves. If we each take more personal responsibility for what we should be doing anyway, we will become better people.

      How must we take more personal responsibility? Charity is not a government function. When government performs that function, politicians use other people’s money to buy votes. That corrupts both our government and us. If we each repent of our selfishness and stop using government as method of filling our pockets with our neighbor’s money.

      When the Founders held the convention that created our Constitution, they did so in desperation. Only after the fact did men marvel at what they had done. Even so what they had done was imperfect for by their failure to abolish slavery…….

      Each generation can only do its best. If you insist upon perfection before we make the attempt, we will do nothing.

      So the issue comes down to this: why should we hold a Convention of the States to amend the Constitution? What do we expect that convention to accomplish? Please consider the case made here => http://conventionofstates.com/

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    2. Anyone could hold a Constitutional Convention or call it whatever to draft a new form of government; there is no mechanism in the US Constitution to support this, and it is not what we’re talking about.

      Instead, a convention of the states would propose and ultimately ratify amendments under Article 5; Congress would not be involved, though would be bound by the ratified amendments. The purpose of such amendments would be to clarify ambiguities and unwind the intentional misreading of clauses (such as the Commerce Clause) that have created so much distortion of this original plan.

      The mere fact that you would recommend a big-government liberal Obama voter as your representative to such a conference is no surprise; such things make your protestations of being a “conservative” perhaps your only successful attempt at humor here, even if inadvertently and sadly funny.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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      1. One thing about that first convention that people forget is how much control the states exercised over the process. Perhaps the delegates to the convention may have gone further than expected in altering the Articles of Confederation. Nonetheless, the Constitutional Convention actually was a Convention of the States. In order to sell the idea, the Federalists had to promise the states a Bill of Rights (and Madison and the People made them keep that promise). Even so, the state conventions barely approved the Constitution.

        If a majority of the states request a Convention of the State, that will put state leaders in a head-on conflict with our elected officials in DC. Can imagine our egotistical state politicians sitting on their hands and letting Washington hijack their convention? Somehow, I think that such open rivalry would be an improvement over the current situation.

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        1. Perhaps the delegates to the convention may have gone further than expected in altering the Articles of Confederation.

          Most had specific instructions to replace the Articles, which were considered ineffective. But in any event, we are proposing operating in every respect under the Constitution, and the states’ delegates will have their own instructions. Most will send conservatives, completely unlike our friend scout who thinks of Colin Powell as an appropriate statesman.

          And the entire process is laid out; there is no need to fear that the government would be thrown out. Such an action would not be within the current Article V process, which means in essence that anyone could do this. It’s just not clear what they would do with the resulting new plan.

          Congress, clearly, will not propose amendments that limit (by clarification or through any other wording) their own power. The current scheme has lost its way; we can steer it back on course, and there are enough real conservatives and self-interested parties in the state legislatures that, combined, could ratify such fixes.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        2. Careful Keith. You are ruining the legend about the Constitution I was taught in high school. Supposedly, the delegates to the convention went well beyond their instructions. But the odd thing is that the Constitution they proposed barely gave the Federal Government the power to do what needed to be done. If Washington had not been our first leader, I wonder if it would have succeeded.

          We don’t live under either the original Constitution or the Constitution as written. Otherwise, very few would be seriously considering the need for such a convention. As it is, we are desperate.

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      2. Keith, I think of Colin Powell as the most well known and respected military leader from Virginia, hence the analogy to Washington. I put a question mark after that example precisely because the point I was trying to make is that we either don’t have people of the stature of Washington now, or that they would be very difficult to find and have nominated.

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        1. Powell is the most well-known and respected military leader among liberals, hence your nomination of him. He is an establishment liberal Republican, nominally, and despite having voted twice for Barack Obama he is still accepted by the Republican elite because he is opposed to Constitutional conservatives as they are and is a useful playing piece in their opposition.

          From the liberals’ standpoint, he betrayed his Commander-in-Chief, the Bush they hated so badly, so of course they like him. Besides, Powell is quick to accuse Constitutional conservatives of racism, claiming that voter ID laws can have no other basis, so his position as the darling of people like you is well cemented.

          It would be interesting to count the number of times you have referred to Constitutional conservatives using scare quotes, claiming “real” conservatism for yourself.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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    3. You asked for a substantive reply to this comment. Let us do it, ignoring your pretenses, protestations, and claims about what conservatives think.

      Many of us conservatives find the idea of a Constitutional Convention to be a rather radical idea, Tom. There’s no clear way of measuring it, but my guess is that the majority of opinion among constitutional conservatives is against the idea of convening a new convention.

      This is not what is being proposed. A “Constitutional Convention” to craft a new constitution is an idea loved by many on the Left, but there is no mechanism for this in our current structure. Thus, any such group would be making up its own rules, and could be a class of high-school students if they can sell their idea. And then, it would be imposed, if they could, by force or by salesmanship, but not through any extant legal process. And the current government would be duty-bound to oppose such a thing.

      But this has nothing to do with the process laid out in Article V of the US Constitution, which details the process of the states putting forth their own amendments and (almost completely) bypassing Congress. That is what is being suggested, and that should be the focus of any remaining concerns you may have or pretend to.

      The urge for a convention seems to bespeak a lack of confidence in a document that has served us very well indeed and which, as conservatives, our instincts are to preserve.

      This is not true. The original work has been eroded due to a gradual assumption of power by the Judiciary (beginning with Marbury v Madison) and now through executive overreach, but massively and extensively through an unelected bureaucracy. These aspects would be the focus of amendments that would restore, to the extent possible, the original concept and intent of the Constitution using the wisdom of the framers as a guide to that concept and intent.

      A lot of us feel that the United States was extremely fortunate (even Providentially blessed, if you like)

      I am amused at the sop that you throw to the religious Citizen Tom, magnanimously ignoring your own continued secularism.

      … to get this document as our guiding operator’s manual and that it would be very unlikely that we would ever do so well again.

      I happen to agree. It was extraordinary; the best we can hope to accomplish is to implement course corrections to restore the original aims.

      The Founders were unique, both individually and in how they applied their knowledges and intelligences collectively in the 1780s.

      I agree here as well. Extraordinary thinkers, producing ultimately an inspired result.

      Do we have among us 40 such people today? If so, are they likely to be the people forming the new convention?

      We have such thinkers, but few of them are attracted to government service.

      Can we agree who these people should be?

      That decision is called out in Article V as one made by individual states.

      I wouldn’t count on that. For example, will New York State find us, as their one delegate to the convention, an Alexander Hamilton, as they did in the 1780s? Would Virginia proffer another Madison, another Washington (maybe Colin Powell would do in that role)?

      We’ve discussed your liberal nomination. No more to be said here.

      Do you think those attending the convention could keep to the high road and keep petty modern political feuds out of the process?

      I would agree with you that this will not happen.

      I would not be optimistic about that.

      Here is a different point of view: Most of the states lean conservative in their state-level legislatures. Also, many of those candidates on the left, since they are state level, would find reducing the power of the federal government attractive — even if they have in mind turning their own states into liberal Utopias. This combination of good hearts and self-interest might be enough to see good amendments done, and if nothing more is accomplished but proposing amendments, we can then focus on those to see where to go next.

      I would be very concerned that the result would be garbage virtually indistinguishable from the products that emerge from the Congress now.

      I can imagine a Constitution the size of the Internal Revenue Code. In fact, we effectively have more than that now, because of the hundreds of thousands of regulations written without benefit of legislation. That is worth ending.

      Why would conservatives want to take that risk?

      Because we believe that this is the only way, as it follows the Constitution and avoids violence, to salvage the mess progressives have made.

      We tend to be a cautious lot.

      You personally are anything but, here, except cautious about avoiding substantive discussion … but of course you were speaking of conservatives.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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      1. I placed my reply in Tom’s new post on the subject, the one with the impressive image of the Iowa-class battleship. It is a sight to behold, and we won’t have that again.

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  2. Tom, I think I said that I was a conservative. How did you miss that?

    As mentioned previously, I may not be the same kind of “conservative” that you self-identify as being (at least I rather hope that I am not), but these labels, fraught as they are with limitations, are essentially self-applied by anyone who uses them. Unless you have some miraculous powers that are unique to Tom, you don’t hold the keys to who is “conservative” and who is not. I’m not sure your judgment on that point is entitled to any more weight than the next man’s.

    In any event, it probably doesn’t really matter. Either one’s ideas hold up to discussion or they don’t, and the labels are just that, self-referential labels that people use to explain the starting point of a position (if they use them to describe the end point, then it hasn’t been a very good discussion). Hence, because I classify myself as a constitutional conservative, I and a number of my colleagues who have the same starting point, are very skeptical that a constitutional convention in modern times, for reasons I mentioned above (among others) would likely leave us with a worse product than we have now. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that could benefit from discussion and change. I can think of two or three. But the amendment process might be a better place to start the discussion.

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  3. Love the way you engage on substance, Tom. In any event, I tend to think of myself as more of a hummingbird – lots of energy, but flitting around somewhat randomly in a lot of different directions. Good to know that you hold the title of Chief Political Ornithologist. How did you come by that? Can anyone apply?

    Do you have anything interesting to say about the substantive concerns I expressed in my 0641 comment? Or do you prefer just to keep it personal and on the low road?

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  4. Since I consider myself a constitutional conservative, I doubt if I ever put “scare quotes” around the phrase, Keith. I find myself a distinctly un-scary fellow. Perhaps you have another view, but you don’t spend nearly as much time with me as I do.

    As for Powell, if you had read my comment with any care or comprehension, you would have noticed that I didn’t “nominate” him for anything. I was making the point that were we to convene a new Constitutional Convention, one of the risks (and I consider it a very serious risk) is that we would not find 40 (or whatever workable number, but 40 is the approximate size of the first group in the 1780s) capable, knowledgeable, visionary, public-spirited people of the stature of Washington, Madison, Hamilton, etc. To emphasize that point, I rhetorically asked whom Virginia would send as its modern day Washington. I then put Colin Powell’s name on the board with a question mark, precisely to make the point that Colin Powell, while the most widely known military man in Virginia, he ain’t no George Washington.

    This is why reading comments before replying to them is generally a good policy.

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    1. Of course you nominated him, scout. “I then put Colin Powell’s name on the board…” however tentatively, with no one else even coming to your mind. Cut the deceit, the cutesy and constant reminders to read your comments more thoroughly (or at all!), and just speak plainly.

      But I have little hope for this. Are you going to now argue, like an absolute fool, that you didn’t set up rules for nominations and therefore your advancing of Colin Powell, with “I think of Colin Powell as the most well known and respected military leader from Virginia,” was not technically a nomination? Could even you be so deceitful in this? I’ll wager yes. I will bet that you will refuse to admit that your placing Powell’s name — and only his — as a possibility was reasonable to describe as a nomination. Your pusillanimous, prissy, pedantic personae you’ve adopted will not admit to being wrong.

      You consider Colin Powell to be among Virgina’s most “capable, knowledgeable, visionary, public-spirited people” which simply shows how far from a Constitutional conservative you are. And you have indeed scare-quoted “conservative” many times when referring to Constitutional conservatives, even as you so ineffectually pretend to be one (and pretend further that we are not). But you will not admit that either, will you?

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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      1. Powell was a relatively decent four star, but he reached his level of incompetence. It seems he chose race over character. Because racism was such a dreadful evil, I suppose we should not be surprised we still suffer from it. I know of other black Republicans, people who really should have know better who supported Obama. I suppose Powell has made his support so public he feels trapped.

        Sadly, no matter who we send to a Convention of the States we will find that they have human frailties. That’s why they held the Constitutional Convention in secret. The people who attended wanted the opportunity to speak frankly, and they knew of each others weaknesses, if not their own.

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      2. I’ll entertain your ideas of the Virginian military leader (sorry, has to be someone alive today) who would come closest to having the qualities of Washington. If I like your idea better, I’ll certainly say so. General Powell was my best stab at it. Sorry. My point continues to be that we don’t have an obvious Washington these days.

        Just so we don’t dance around this point (as irrelevant as it is to my original invocation of his name), I have a great deal of respect for Colin Powell. I think he served his country ably. I regret that the end of his public career was as a Secretary of State who could not stop a war that did untold economic and geo-political damage to the Republic. He should have resigned in late 2002. But, on balance, over the course of his national service, he contributed far more to the Nation than almost anyone I can think of among our contemporaries.

        But, in the context in which this came up, I used his name to say that, even if one considers him the closest analog in Virginia to Washington in our day, he does not nearly have now the stature that Washington had then. That was just an example of our the difficulties of getting a workable convention together.

        By the way, who is your idea for the Alexander Hamilton role as New York’s sole representative?

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        1. scout – You are really trying to sidetrack the discussion.

          In almost every time and place, the people determine who will lead them. Some time the people do well. At other times, they do not. So it is that history is strewn with intermittent episodes of progress and wars started by tyrants and genocidal maniacs.

          In a nation this large, if we cannot find enough able and honorable people to represent us in a Convention of the States, that just means we won’t select enough able and honorable people. Yet we have to try.

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  5. How vast is the difference, TMG? It frankly never occurred to me that an Article V convention was other than a convention. The states can request the convention and the Congress call it, but once that process starts, why is that not a constitutional convention? Certainly when I use the term, I am assuming the advocates of that process are proposing an Article V convention. I don’t see any other means of pulling it off.

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