Archive for the ‘Constitution’ Category
Once Again… The solution to what ails America is found in the Constitution. We have tampered with this document way too much. Once again the people, years removed from the alterations responsible for our woes, lack the historical perspective to solve today’s problems in a Constitutional manner. Seeing no constitutional remedy, we have civil unrest and irresponsible behavior instead of academic solutions and real leadership.
Why don’t we all cool down and review the Electoral College as it was designed. Then look at the changes in the process that are responsible for today’s discontent? What follows is a re-published article by Dan Smoot, a past Harvard faculty member and constitution expert. Hopefully, this report will help put into perspective where we need to go with this problem in order to correct the process and protect our Constitutional rights.
THE DAN SMOOT REPORT
Vol. 12, No. 49 (Broadcast 589) December 5, 1966 Dallas, Texas
ELECTORAL COLLEGE — PART III
Americans generally think of the Founding Fathers as a group of wealthy, periwigged old gentlemen, all of one mind, who met at Philadelphia in 1787 and, after some polite and leisurely conversation, wrote a Constitution.
The 55 men who attended the Constitutional Convention were delegates chosen from 12 of the 13 states. The oldest among them, Benjamin Franklin, was 81. The youngest was Jonathan Dayton, 27. Their average age was 42. They were merchants, lawyers, judges, planters, officials of state governments. Half of them were college graduates. Some were outstanding scholars.
They brought to the Convention an immeasurable wealth of information about governments of ancient and contemporary times; and they represented more diversity of opinion about what the American government should be than is represented in the present Congress.
After almost 4 months of deliberations, they produced the most nearly perfect plan of government ever devised by men – delivering to 18th Century Americans, as a heritage intended for all succeeding generations, what Prime Minister Gladstone called “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”
Above all else, the Founding Fathers feared excesses of political power. From their vast knowledge of history, they knew that unlimited political power cannot safely be trusted to anyone not to appointed officials of government, not to elected representatives of the people, not to the people themselves. Hence, they devised a system to control political power by dispersing and balancing it so that too much could not be concentrated in any one place.
The power of large states was balanced against that of small ones. Some power was taken from states and given to the federal government; and state governments were given some control over federal power.
The federal government was divided into 3 branches, each with a check on the power of the others; but only one-half of one of the three branches was answerable directly to the people.
State legislatures were given power to choose U. S. Presidents and U. S. Senators, who, in turn, were given power to choose members of the judicial branch of the federal government. Only the House of Representatives, elected by the people, was to be directly answerable to the people. The people’s control over the other two and-one-half branches of the federal government was to be indirect, through their state legislatures.
By thus balancing federal power against state power, and dividing federal power into three branches, each acting as a counterweight upon the others, the Constitution created a federal system in which the people, though retaining ultimate political power over all agents and agencies of government, were themselves protected from demagoguery, mob psychology, corruption, and fraud, which are fatal weaknesses of direct popular government.
The perfection of our federal system was seriously impaired when the 17th Amendment (adopted in 1913) provided for direct popular elections of U. S. Senators. It has been even more seriously impaired by the present method of electing Presidents and Vice Presidents. The method evolved illegally, because state legislators became subservient to political parties, and surrendered to those parties an important responsibility which the Constitution assigns to state legislatures.
As it is used – or abused – the “electoral college” system is a travesty on the elective process. As created by the Constitution, the “electoral college” system is a superb means of electing the two highest officials of the federal government.
Article II, Section I of the Constitution provides:
“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
“The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”
On the day chosen by Congress, the Electors cast two votes each, one for President, one for Vice President. To win, a candidate must have a majority of all electoral votes. If no candidate for President has a majority, the House of Representatives, voting by state delegations ( 1 vote for each state) elects a President from the three candidates having the most electoral votes. If no candidate for Vice President has a majority, the Senate elects from the three candidates with the most electoral votes.
Each State shall appoint … Electors is an imperative requirement that electors be chosen as agents responsible to state legislatures which, in turn, are responsible to the people; but state legislatures now permit the appointment of electors by irresponsible political bodies (nominating conventions or state committees) , generally dominated by office-holders and office-seekers and their friends.
It is erroneous to say that legislatures abdicated their responsibility in order to give the people the privilege of electing Presidents. They did it to serve the interests of political parties.
The people are given the limited choice of endorsing, indirectly (that is, by voting for electors unknown to the people) , one or the other of the party candidates ; that limited choice is vitiated by political-party catering to organized special-interest groups and by the winner-take-all method of counting electoral votes.
The people have infinitely less control over election of a President in the method now used than in the legal method prescribed by the Constitution.
If you do not like Johnson as President, whom can you hold responsible for his selection? The 43 million anonymous people who cast secret ballots for his electors in 1964? The 1964 Democrat National Convention, a temporary body that went out of existence as soon as Johnson and Humphrey were nominated? If Johnson had been legally elected – by electors appointed by state legislatures – whom could you hold responsible? The men who represent you in your state legislature!
The Constitution gave the people rather effective, indirect control of presidential elections, the framers knowing that direct control by the people is a practical impossibility.
Throughout the vast body of general voters a feeling of hopelessness prevails in every presidential election. What good can one voter do when he is just one among 70 million?
This feeling of fatalistic surrender to the multitude which they cannot influence is one reason why more than half of all qualified Americans never bother to vote in presidential elections. The feeling spills over and dampens voter interest in other elections.
Only a minority of voters participates in presidential elections; but only a fraction of a minority participates in local and state elections. Why? Political power has gravitated to Washington, where most of it is concentrated in the presidency. Millions of voters consider local and state elections petty and perfunctory.
If state legislatures were appointing the agents who choose the President, much of this voter apathy would disappear. Every member of a state legislature would be enormously important. Working for, or against, state legislative candidates in the relatively small home-town districts they represent could have real meaning to a voter. He would not be pitting his individual influence against that of organized voting blocs in some faraway city – would not be dropping his one vote into a pile with 70 million others. He could have a measurable effect in selecting the most important elected officials in the world.
In The Federalist Papers (No. 68), Alexander Hamilton explained that the “electoral college” system was devised to guard presidential elections against “cabal, intrigue, and corruption” and against “tumult and disorder.”
Anyone with only a cursory knowledge of the cabal, intrigue, and corruption which are now standard features of presidential nominations anyone who has ever watched the tumult and disorder of a nominating convention – should admire the deep wisdom of the Founding Fathers.
Television has made political nominating conventions even worse atrocities than they were before. Now, they are in no sense deliberative bodies. They are rostrums from which demagoguery and cynical appeals to special-interest groups are broadcast to an audience numbering millions.
The Constitution prohibits any “person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States” from having any part in the election of a President. As Hamilton phrased it:
“And they [the people] have excluded from eligibility to this trust [electing a President] all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in Office.”
Yet, political nominating conventions which select our Presidents are dominated by federal office holders. Millions getting money from the federal treasury participate in presidential elections, most of them supporting the presidential candidate whose election will mean continuation of their profit under the United States.
The Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities (1939) prohibits persons in the Executive Branch of the federal government from taking any part in political campaigns. The President and most members of his Cabinet and a multitude of lesser bureaucrats consistently violate this law, the President being the most blatant offender. Remember Johnson’s trip to the Democrat National Convention in 1964 to place Hubert Humphrey’s name in nomination? Remember all of the costly “non-political” swings-around-the-country that every President since Roosevelt has made in every election year?
These illegal, tax-consuming, demagogic practices would be stopped if we reestablished the constitutional system of electing Presidents.
How It Can Be Done
There is a simple, practical way to reestablish the constitutional system – a way advocated for many years by Thomas James Norton (deceased) . Norton discussed the causes and consequences of the present method, and the need for his proposed reform, in Chapter XV of Undermining the Constitution : A History of Lawless Government, published by Devin-Adair, 1951 .
In 1957, John P. Rogge, a Houston, Texas, attorney started a movement for the Norton proposal; but the proposal, though heartily approved by constitutional lawyers all over the country and by many state legislators, never made much headway. It is, however, the only electoral reform that constitutionalists should support.
Norton pointed out something so obvious that it is generally overlooked: namely, that the constitutional system of electing Presidents can be reestablished by state legislatures without a constitutional amendment, and without action by the federal Congress. State legislatures can act one at a time, instantly making the reforms needed in their own states, not being required to act in unison with other states in order to make the reforms general throughout the country – as is the case with constitutional amendments.
Constitutionalists in every state should begin now, persuading state legislators to make whatever changes necessary in state election laws, to guarantee that state legislatures reassume, immediately, their constitutional duty to appoint presidential electors.
That is all that is needed to reactivate the best system possible for electing Presidents of the United States.
This job can be done. In trying to influence national politicians, constitutionalists often find they cannot exert as much influence as liberals can. But, relatively speaking, there is not much competition for the attention of state legislators. Most of them would be enormously impressed by a drive, on the part of their constituents, for their support of a measure which would restore to them a constitutional role of immeasurable importance.
Why It Should Be Done
Envision a presidential election if all state legislatures appointed presidential electors. Political parties could continue to make their own nominations as they please, but the country would not be foredoomed to take one of their nominees. A man who wanted to be President could explain his program and philosophy of government to the 43 electors in New York, to the 3 in Nevada, to the 10 in Alabama, to the 4 in South Dakota, to the 40 in California. The electors would choose the President.
There would still be bribery, corruption, and special interest pressures as now; but illegal or unethical actions could be clearly pinpointed as such. Guilt could be fixed, and guilty persons held accountable, to public opinion if not to a court of law. In 1953, Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, not because Warren was qualified for the job, but because he had delivered votes of the California delegation to Eisenhower at the 1952 Republican Convention. Such de facto bribery is now so commonplace that it is almost beyond criticism. In fact, those who criticize the bribery are generally more loudly condemned than those who practice it.
If, however, a presidential candidate bribed a group of electors with government jobs or otherwise, the malodorous act would be a stench in the nostrils of the people; and the people could do something about it. How electors voted would be a matter of public record. If their votes were displeasing to the people of their state, the people could take political action against state legislators who appointed the electors.
This legal system of electing presidents would give the people some control. It would be a gigantic step toward reestablishing states’ rights in the magnificent federal system that our Constitution created.
- The Electoral College: An archive of Articles (including parts I and II)
This post was created with the aid of ocr (optical character recognition) software. It is common for ocr scans to have errors (~2%). Please comment if you see any that I missed.
|Broadcast Transcript||Dan Smoot Report Title||Broadcast Date||Run Time|
|Dan Smoot Report #386||The Fourteenth Amendment||1963-Jan-07||11:53|
|Dan Smoot Report #387||Kefauver Medicine||1963-Jan-21||11:51|
|Dan Smoot Report #391||How To Lose Friends||1963-Feb-11||12:03|
|Dan Smoot Report #396||Kennedy’s Tax Plan||1963-Mar-18||11:48|
|Dan Smoot Report #398||United Nations||1963-Apr-01||11:54|
|Dan Smoot Report #400||United Nations in Africa||1963-Apr-15||11:27|
|Dan Smoot Report #401||Wheat Referendum (1963)||1963-Apr-22||11:52|
|Dan Smoot Report #403-#405||Disarmament Parts I – III||1963-May-06,13,20||33:12|
|Dan Smoot Report #406||First Roll Calls (1963)||1963-May-27||11:48|
|Dan Smoot Report #409||Politcal Action For 1964||1963-Jun-17||11:58|
|Dan Smoot Report #411||Civil Rights Act of1963||1963-Jul-01||11:44|
|Dan Smoot Report #414||The Edifice of Liberty||1963-Jul-22||11:41|
|Dan Smoot Report #415||Confiscating The Land.||1963-Jul-29||11:53|
|Dan Smoot Report #417||The Power Grid Scheme||1963-Aug-12||11:54|
|Dan Smoot Report #419||Second Roll Calls (1963)||1963-Aug-26||11:52|
|Dan Smoot Report #420||Stop Withholding||1963-Sep-02||11:58|
|Dan Smoot Report #421||Third Roll Calls (1963)||1963-Sep-09||11:56|
|Dan Smoot Report #423||Reorganizing For Stalemate||1963-Sep-23||11:58|
|Dan Smoot Report #424||McNamara’s Commissars||1963-Sep-30||11:49|
|Dan Smoot Report #429||Mr Stevenson Goes To Dallas||1963-Nov-04||12:02|
|Dan Smoot Report #433||The Assassination||1963-Dec-02||12:06|
|Dan Smoot Report #434||A Stranger In Their Midst||1963-Dec-09||11:59|
|Dan Smoot Report #435||The Idle Wind||1963-Dec-23||11:53|
|Dan Smoot Report #436||Fourth Roll Calls||1963-Dec-30||11:58|
|Dan Smoot Report #437||Voting Records||1964-Jan-06||11:50|
|Dan Smoot Report #442||Civil Rights||1964-Feb-10||11:54|
|Dan Smoot Report #446||Medical Care Through Social Security||1964-Mar-09||11:49|
|Dan Smoot Report #447||Federal Firearms Legislation||1964-Mar-16||11:24|
|Dan Smoot Report #449||Johnson’s War On Poverty||1964-Mar-30||11:44|
|Dan Smoot Report #454||General Of The Army Douglas MacArthur||1964-May-04||11:50|
|Dan Smoot Report #456||That Hand From Washington||1964-May-18||11:58|
|Dan Smoot Report #457||Discrimination In Reverse||1964-May-25||11:47|
|Dan Smoot Report #459||Sonic Booms and Busts||1964-Jun-08||11:48|
|Dan Smoot Report #460||First Roll Calls 1964||1964-Jun-15||11:47|
|Dan Smoot Report #461||How They Stand||1964-Jun-22||11:52|
|Dan Smoot Report #463||Constitution of The United States||1964-Jul-06||10:41|
|Dan Smoot Report #467||United Nations A Soviet Aparatus||1964-Aug-03||11:47|
|Dan Smoot Report #469||War and Politics 1964||1964-Aug-17||11:52|
|Dan Smoot Report #471||The Supreme Court’s Apportionment Decisions||1964-Aug-31||11:54|
|Dan Smoot Report #472||Politics 1964||1964-Sep-07||11:54|
|Dan Smoot Report #473||Second Roll Calls (1964)||1964-Sep-14||11:57|
|Dan Smoot Report #474||The Meaning of Change||1964-Sep-21||11:55|
|Dan Smoot Report #486||Save The Connelly Reservation||1964-Dec-14||11:53|
|Dan Smoot Report #514||America’s Promise||1965-Jun-28||11:36|
|Dan Smoot Report #528||Power Hungry Bureaucrats||1965-Oct-04||11:40|
|Dan Smoot Report #541||What We Should Do In Vietnam?||1966-Jan-03||11:50|
|Dan Smoot Report #556||A Republic, Not A Democracy||1966-Apr-18||10:59|
|Dan Smoot Report #575||Foreign Aid||1966-Aug-29||11:19|
I’m looking for more film and transcripts. If you are willing to donate, please leave a comment or click the federalexpression media icon on the top right contact me. My goal is to publish as much Dan Smoot as can be had. Use the form to report broken links.
by Bill McNally
An organization founded by Mark Meckler called “Convention of States” has its lobbyists in state houses across the United States promoting an Article V Convention. Their paid lobbyists and supporters have every right to promote one but what they don’t have a right to do is to smear honorable people who oppose one, and that is what they recently did in New Hampshire.
Good Morning Supporters,
One of the members of the NH State Senate Committee Kevin Avard is now opposing SCR4 due to a donation he recently received for his campaign by the John Birch Society who is against us. Senator Avard is from District 12 which includes Brookline, Greenville, Hollis, Mason, New Ipswich, Rindge, & Wards 1, 2, & 5 in the City of Nashua. Make a call and leave a voice message to Senator Avard today at 603-271-4151 and tell him to support SCR4! Don’t forget to leave your name and the town you are calling from.
Convention of States Project
Senator Kevin Avard was informed off this outrageous slander and accusation of bribery and contacted Ms. Mills by email only to receive an arrogant reply to the effect that if he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t be in politics. Senator Avard then contacted the New Hampshire director of Convention of States, and he went into damage control mode and issued this weak apology:
On behalf of Convention of States Action New Hampshire, I would like to publicly apologize to Senator Avard for the email message that was sent yesterday by our former volunteer Grassroots Coordinator, Priscilla Mills. The information in the message was inaccurate and I am truly sorry that it was sent. Please disregard it in its entirety.
I believe that Senator Avard continues to seriously consider both sides of SCR4, and I hope that this recent error in judgment by one of our former volunteers will not prevent him from focusing his attention on the critical substance of this issue for our nation.
For the foreseeable future, I will be the only volunteer sending out communications on behalf of COS Action New Hampshire, and I will ensure that no further incorrect information is disseminated.
I sincerely hope that Senator Avard will forgive us and will not hold this error in judgment (made by one volunteer) against our entire statewide or national movement.
New Hampshire State Director
Mr. Therriault called Ms. Mills smear “inaccurate information”, and her deed simply “an error of judgment.” Hal Shurtleff didn’t agree… “It was not inaccurate information, it was a bold face lie, Shurtleff said, “An error of judgment?” No, it was a hateful attempt to destroy the reputation of an honorable elected official, and the good men and women who make up The John Birch Society.” Readers should note that no apology was forthcoming to members of The John Birch Society. Mr. Shurtleff wanted to make it clear that the sponsor of the resolution calling for an Article V Convention, Senator Gary Daniels of Milford, NH is “an honorable man who has nothing to do with this ugly tactic.” Please note that if wasn’t for Mr. Shurtleff’s friend, this lie would not have been uncovered. It begs the question: How many E-mails of this nature went out to Convention of States supporters that were not detected?
Convention of States has enjoyed the support of many good, decent Americans who are well-meaning. Let us hope that they will do a little research into this group that is only a few years old. May I suggest a visit to this web site for starters:
Yours for America’s future,
7 Blueberry Road
Windham, NH 03087
Mr. McNally is the host of the radio show “Literacy Matters” heard on WSMN in Nashua on Mondays 9-10am, and the recipient of the NHCCS 2015 Loalty Award (National Center for Constitutional Studies).
Mr. McNally is a NH Section Leader for The John Birch Society
2016 Promises to be a very active year for Con-Con battles across the United States. The magic number necessary for a Convention call is 34 state applications. As of this writing there are 27 states with an active call on the books. Some of these active calls are very old. Take Pennsylvania for instance; the last active call by Pennsylvania was in 1979 yet the Con-Con advocates want to count that in the total towards the necessary 34. The con-con advocates are leaving nothing to chance, however, as they routinely get newer calls introduced in those states in an effort to update the calls and remediate any potential challenges down the road.
So this is where the battle stands in PA:
#1. : HR 374 & SR 170, HR 63, HR 378 Are three new pieces of legislation being considered in Pennsylvania during the 2015-2016 legislative session. There may be more so it is important to oppose all resolutions which invoke a “Convention pursuant to Article V of the Constitution of the United States“.
#2: There are 4 Active calls dating back to 1943. That’s right, 1943. There are no end dates on these resolutions so it is impossible to know what the Congress would do with regard to these. It would seem logical that a convention call should require a consensus of current constituents in all 34 states at one-time, however, there are no assurances with regard to this unused process. We’re blazing new ground here.
|1943||1943 PA Article V Con- Con application||Unconditional Federal Public Funds|
|1943||1943 PA Article V Con- Con application||Repeal of 16th Amendment|
|1978||1978 PA Article V Con- Con application||Right to Life (Vetoed?)|
|1979||1979 PA Article V Con- Con application||Balanced Budget Amendment|
This is where membership in a national organization is extremely helpful. You see, if Pennsylvania JBS members concentrate on opposing the con-con network in Pennsylvania, they can be assured that members in the other states will do so as well. This is at least the third iteration of this battle over the last 50 years and the con-con network has failed every time. The battle must be contested in every state to be sure the magic number 34 is not attained.
Now, the JBS needs the help of concerned citizens of Pennsylvania. Member or not, your freedom hangs in the balance and our success will allow you and your loved-ones to enjoy the protections afforded the American People by the Bill of Rights.
Here’s what needs to be done.
#1. We need to continue to oppose all con-con calls currently under consideration. Here is a letter I penned to accomplish this. Simply download this letter. Change the items in red to personalize it and send it to your local officials and the State Government Committee of the General Assembly and the Senate. Links are provided for easy lookup of those needed to be contacted.
#2. Ask you local representative or senator to have the 4 ancient active calls repealed. Here Is a packet of information to assist you in that endeavor along with a sample resolution, the 4 outstanding calls and sample rescissions in several other states.
#3. Use this petition to urge Pennsylvania Legislators to repeal the 4 ancient and active calls for a con-con: http://libertyactioncenter.com/campaign/56a52dc8-b7d4-4587-ac7e-621a68ed8cac
#4. As a more permanent solution, we should advocate legislation that would require a moratorium clause be included in future resolutions and expire all resolutions not acted upon after 7 years of passage if no moratorium is placed within the resolution. The legislation should act retroactively upon outstanding, dormant resolutions. Having to address resolutions going back to 1943 is asinine. I will be following up on this possibility. Your advice or help in this is appreciated.
- Con-Con Call
- Marshall Peters Con-Con Letter
- Michner Warnings Re: Con-Cons
- States Should Enforce Not Revise the Constitution
- Who Needs A New Constitutional Convention
- A treasure trove of Con-Con Articles
During this year’s fabulous camp, this photo was taken during the musket training provided by “Patriot” Pastor Garrett Lear. Among others, Andrew Affleck, Junior Patriot Camper dressed in colonial uniform, fires a blank round with guidance & instruction by the good Pastor. The lesson included fundamental facts about the concept of a militia, the duty and requirements of those who served, the tools of the trade and inspirational dialog. This was an extremely popular event with the entire camp. Enjoy the video.
Monday, June 22, 2015 Presentation
KrisAnne Hall is an attorney and former prosecutor, fired after teaching the Constitution to TEA Party groups – she would not sacrifice liberty for a paycheck. She is a disabled veteran of the US Army, a Russian linguist, a mother, a pastor’s wife and a patriot. She now travels the country and teaches the Constitution and the history that gave us our founding documents. She is a dynamic speaker and she will share tremendous information and historical facts every American should know.
Watch The Presentation On The FEDERALEXPRESSION Youtube Channel.
Don’t Miss KrisAnne Hall
KrisAnne Hall is an attorney and former prosecutor, fired after teaching the Constitution to TEA Party groups – she would not sacrifice liberty for a paycheck. She is a disabled veteran of the US Army, a Russian linguist, a mother, a pastor’s wife and a patriot. She now travels the country and teaches the Constitution and the history that gave us our founding documents. She is a dynamic speaker and she will share tremendous information and historical facts every American should know. Click the Image to Download the Flyer !!! or Click Here.