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Belmont Club

The Book of Numbers

April 14th, 2014 - 1:56 pm

George Will calls them the Fivers. “From the Goldwater Institute, the fertile frontal lobe of the conservative movement’s brain, comes an innovative idea that is gaining traction in Alaska, Arizona and Georgia, and its advocates may bring it to at least 35 other state legislatures. It would use the Constitution’s Article V to move the nation back toward the limited government the Constitution’s Framers thought their document guaranteed.” “Members of this nascent movement to use Article V have a name: Fivers.”

Then there’s Rand Paul’s Four-men.  The Senator is actually going “to file a class action lawsuit Wednesday against President Obama, the National Security Agency and a host of others involved in a U.S. surveillance program that collections information on millions of U.S citizens.”

“I am filing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama because he has publicly refused to stop a clear and continuing violation of the 4th Amendment,” Paul said in a statement from his political action committee. “The Bill of Rights protects all citizens from general warrants.”

Let’s not forget the Firsters. A First Amendment Zone declared by the Bureau of Land Management in order to channel objections by the Bundy Ranch supporters after the agency deployed 200 agents to push ranchers off the disputed area.  The incident also featured the Seconders, as many ranchers were seen with their Second Amendment firearms on display.

And spare a thought for the One Tenners:

Representative James Lankford (R-OK), Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, today introduced the House Joint Resolution legislative proposal for the Health Care Compact, a breakthrough governance reform that allows states to clean up the health care mess created by the federal government….

To date, eight states have joined the Health Care Compact (Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah), [perhaps 9 now as Kansas has passed it in both houses] and legislation has either passed the state legislature or is being considered in 12 additional states.

Interstate compacts are governing tools that have been used on more than 200 occasions to establish agreements between and among states. Mentioned in Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution, compacts are constitutional instruments that provide authority and flexibility to the states for administering government programs without federal interference. Congressional consent is required for states to enter into a legally binding compact.

In case you think Lankford is starting a rebellion, Vermont’s trying to leave Obamacare too. The Green Mountain State wants to adopt a single-payer health care system. The difference is that Vermont’s attempt to craft its own system are described as “bold” but Kansas’ efforts under the Health Care Compact are “crazy”.

Of the plans that states have hatched for the Affordable Care Act, none has been bolder than that of Vermont, which wants to implement a single-payer health-care system, along the lines of what you might find in Britain or Canada. One government- operated system will cover all 620,000 of Vermont’s citizens. The hope is that such a system will allow Vermont to get costs down closer to Canada’s, as well as improve health by coordinating care and ensuring universal coverage.

Just two small issues need to be resolved before the state gets to all systems go: First, it needs the federal government to grant waivers allowing Vermont to divert Medicaid and other health-care funding into the single-payer system. And second, Vermont needs to find some way to pay for it.

Numbers, numbers everywhere.  Perhaps the increased citation of Constitutional numbers is because political groups are using it as a fallback protocol. Network traffic is breaking down and the system is defaulting to an earlier, more primitive standard just to get the packets through. Appealing to the Constitution is the political equivalent of calling upon God;  something that doesn’t happen everyday, but whose occurrence underscores the seriousness of the situation.

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Top Rated Comments   
We can all draw up wish lists of proposed constitutional amendments. My hopes are not pinned on an Article V convention being called to save the day. First because I think that it is unlikely to happen. Second because we just have no earthly reason to expect the results to be desirable. Third because it is a distraction.

There is a real danger of being trapped by wishful thinking into believing that some deux ex machina will descend and save the day. We have seen it before with the hopes in late 2008 that some Birther proceeding would get reviewed by the SCOTUS and Obama would vanish like a bad dream. No such luck. Put not your faith in administrative remedies under the sufferance of those with everything to lose. In 225 years there has never been an Article V convention. Only one amendment, the XXIst repealing Prohibition, was ratified through state conventions.

What besides wishful thinking would lead us to believe that any convention would not be controlled by the same corrupt political machines that now supply our national and state legislators? Obama got nominated in 2008 by David Axelrod packing the conventions in states where Hillary Clinton won the primary. Any Article V convention would likely be packed with delegates selected by state legislators and their handlers. By law a ratifying convention in New Mexico is the state legislature rebadged for the purpose. It would not surprise me if a convention called under conditions where the entrenched Democrats of our large urban centers can dominate will deliver a set of amendments repealing or modifying the Bill of Rights and installing a set of "positive rights' reminiscent of the old Soviet Constitution.

There are efforts that are more likely to yield a positive return. We need to take control over more local and state governments. Partly that is because by our own lights that is where the answers should be. Partly because without control of the states that select delegates any convention is to be feared. Any support given to embattled but working state level leaders, like Walker of Wisconsin and Jindal of Louisiana and Haley and McCrory of the Carolinas is likely to yield the greatest returns. If there is a future it is there.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
OT, but what the h*ll...........

Drudge has a link to a mag with the topic, "If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?"

I feel conflicted........... Would the response "CELEBRATE" be too harsh????
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The thought occurs that, if the Democratic party, officeholders and operatives et al, truly come to the conclusion that they have squandered all trust or faith that the general population may have in them, that will leave them only one choice -

Rather than ceding the field to their opponents because of their own squandering, they will inevitably go full stop to make certain that every single person NOT a Democrat must be seen as equally untrustworthy, and will thus use that terrible power of the MAC Axis (Media/Academia/Culture) to that end.

Namely, from a philosophical standpoint, they will burn the entire house down, and do every thing they can do to discredit American governance across the board for the forseeable future.

"If I can't have her, nobody can" writ large.

And the firm of Cloward, Piven and Gramsci will smile all the way to the bank. (Assuming banks survive.)
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (115)
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Click hear to become rich [http://www.Green37.com/]
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
You speak about the Chain Of Command, and you are on point, to a point.
Above all, the Constitution is a standard of behavior that is lifted above all authority. All authority pledges obedience to it, and all servants pledge to uphold it. It is a line in the sand. It is a standard that stands in plain language, above the interpretation and spin. All who serve are beholden to interpret for themselves. They have an individual responsibility to match their mandates against the standard of the words. The spin and the irrelevancies are cut away in the cold light of individual interpretation.
When orders grow more outlandish, regulations strain at bounds, eventually one man must stand up and say; "No. That is unlawful and I will not comply". Like a rubber band stretched to it's breaking point, suddenly the lawless behavior is seen and others follow where a single man has stood.
The lawless understand this too. That is why they retreat before the rubber band breaks...
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
And just as those who stand and say "Enough!" will be noted by history; those who depend on the pre-Nuremburg formulation of "I was only following orders." will be noted by those who used to be their countrymen, and dealt with.

Subotai Bahadur
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
There never has been any doubt that the perverts in charge mean to drive the vehicle over the cliff. I wonder if they have some delusion they can jump off and save themselves at the last.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, I think they do. I think they imagine it's going to be like that scene in 'Independence Day', with the President (and them) in Air Force 1 speeding down the runway as a fireball hurtles after them. It's touch and go for a few moments but then, hurrah! The silver bird outstrips the pursuing maelstrom and they're off and away, soaring above a world consumed by flame. They never imagine themselves as the poor schmoe standing dumbfounded in the middle of a 10-mile long traffic jam as a spinning bus careens directly toward him and squashes him flat.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
To attempt to govern by ‘Any Means Necessary’ is another word for Every Man For Himself. And that’s too expensive to work.

True, but the folks pushing it are far too used to paying all their bills with other people's money to understand.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
>> William Manchester argued that the British ruling class finally collapsed when it spent the trust reposed in it by its incompetence in the Great War and its betrayal of Britain in the 1930s.

I wish I knew more about British history, but I think the "incompetence" charge over WWI is a historical revision and a creation of the poets and literary types. Their argument has won the day, but not clear it is true. It may be that there isn't a direct cause of pessimism. It may be like anxiety, and need no direct cause or focus.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Article V is the least known and the most dangerous Article in the whole Constitution. It is the Hail Mary, Final Solution. Most anything could be done in an Article V situation from minor changes in wording to scrapping the whole Constitution and starting over. Plus you have to remember that Blue as well as Red States will be involved, all trying to get things changed to their way of thinking.

What looks like a minor change in wording could change the whole meaning of an Article and lead us down a whole new path. Just a couple of changes to the 2nd Amendment could get us arrested for NOT carrying a gun at all times. Even now, think of the arguments we are having over the freedom of religion as opposed to the freedom from religion.

Be very careful what you wish for, you might get it!
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Just a couple of changes to the 2nd Amendment could get us arrested for NOT carrying a gun at all times."

Good suggestion. The delegates to an Article V Convention should certainly consider your proposed change to the 2nd Amendment.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe on topic -- there was a passing reference in a recent London Telegraph article to the fact (staggering, I should think) that membership in David Cameron's "Conservative" Party has declined from about 250,000 when he became Prime Minister to about 100,000 today.

OK -- the London version of democracy is not very democratic. Lil' Dave became Prime Minister when his Party won the affirmative votes of about 1 citizen out of 4. Even so, 250,000 party members in a polity with about 60,000,000 people is not great -- worse than the Soviet Communists.

And OK, the London "Conservative" Party is as spineless & Big Government as the US Institutional Republicans. Still, only 100,000 party members is getting close to a rejection of that form of politics.

The future of what is left of democracy in the West seems to be the Irish kind, where the put-upon populace increasingly ignores their would-be rulers. Or maybe these days, it would be better to describe that as Greek democracy, where some cling tight to the government teat while most disappear into the grey economy.

Not sustainable, that's for sure.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kinuachdrach: "... the London "Conservative" Party is as spineless & Big Government as the US Institutional Republicans."

By coincicence, while reading Hayek's, "Why I am Not A Conservative", I came across this insight:

"[Conservatism] by its very nature…cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving. It may succeed ... in slowing down undesirable development, but, since it does not indicate another direction, it cannot prevent their continuance... The tug of war between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of contemporary developments…I personally cannot be content with simply helping to apply the brake. What the [classical] liberal must ask, first of all, is not how fast or how far we should move, but where we should move. "

This is a good start to understanding why the British Conservatives and U.S. Republicans can't seem to offer a good alternative to the current slide towards Statism.

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

- A Man For All Seasons
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
--one of my favorite passages --thanks!
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
A big part of our current troubles results from the fact that the political/geographic structure of the U.S. as laid out in the Constitution no longer reflects reality. Look at this red county/blue county map of the 2012 election.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=election+results+by+county+map&qpvt=election+results+by+county+map&FORM=IGRE&id=321B35725AA13FB87316B26FA272058FBEDE015A&selectedIndex=1#view=detail&id=321B35725AA13FB87316B26FA272058FBEDE015A&selectedIndex=0

States like California, NY and Illinois that are solidly blue electorally contain vast swaths of territory that are solidly red. We need an entirely new political/geographic structure that reflects this reality. New "city states" must be created around the major metro areas of the U.S. At the same time, regions like central Calif, upstate NY and downstate Illinois would also become separate states or merged with neighboring states in order to achieve a proper balance in the U.S. Senate and electoral college. This is not a call to disenfranchise urban areas. Any new structure must give these city states proper representation in Washington.

Federalism (more decisions made closer to the people, rather than in Washington) will solve many problems. But for it to work properly, we need a configuration of states that fits with reality. The urban centers should not be micro-managing the entire country via the Federal Government. Nor should the urban centers be micro-managing the rural areas of the states where they happen to be located. That's not only tyrannical, it's also stupid and inefficient. The big metro areas need to be vested with the status and power of states so they can properly govern themselves. At the same time, these new city states should have very little to say regarding governance of low density regions located many miles away.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Go back to having senators elected by state legislators. The congress would turn More red immediately.
The dems took that away so city-states could rule over the rural rubes (regular Americans).
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps to start, the 17th amendment should be repealed. That moved the US closer to mob rule democracy than any other thing done in the last 200 years.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very. Well. Said.

This article ought to be required reading for every voter.

But then, like the Iraqis, too many of them do not have the moral, philosophical, and educational foundation for it to do them any good. They cannot appreciate liberty because they fundamentally do not know what it is.


19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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