We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Hi, I’m Bill Clinton and I’m here to help

“The insurance companies simply do not offer those plans that are being cancelled. And there’s no way they can reformulate them in the 30 days available. And anyway, killing off those plans was the whole point of the design change. They wanted to destroy “insurance” as a concept in health care and to move to something much more like pre-paid health care. Thus plans that had high deductibles (ie, catastrophic plans, aka insurance instead of assurance) had to be banned. This isn’t a mistake, an error, a flaw in the plan, it was one of the very points of it all.”

Tim Worstall, commenting on calls by former US president Bill Clinton for efforts to be made to prevent insurance firms scrapping medical cover in the US, and hence save the face of the current Obama administration. When a politician as crooked as Clinton is seen trying to come to the rescue, you are, in non-technical terms, up shit creek sans paddling device. (Actually, given how things are going, Clinton’s era was a veritable golden age, although let’s not forget that his own “Hillarycare” reforms were shot down by the-then Congress.)

63 comments to Hi, I’m Bill Clinton and I’m here to help

  • Johnnydub

    I just can’t believe what an utter lying cunt Obama has been over this… and that most of his sheeple followers will still see him as the chosen one…

  • Paul Marks

    Nice cynical move by Bill Clinton.

    He knows perfectly well that the whole point of Obamacare is to force people from real private coverage – this year the individual plans, in a year’s time the employer based plans.

    The objective ALWAYS WAS to get most people on what is basically MEDICAID (even if with phony “private providers” in the exchanges – till the government turns on them as it turned on the “private providers” of student loans). Indeed a lot of people are going straight to Medicaid now (without the phony “private provider in the government subsidised exchange” stage). In States where the Medicaid was extended (such as New Jersey – many thanks RINO Christie) only a minority of the population will still have real private health cover by the next election in November 2016. The idea being that where MOST people are dependent on the government for their health care the victory of a roll-back-the-government candidate will be difficult (if not impossible).

    However, Hillary Clinton (who would have done exactly the same as Barack Obama is doing) needs to be shielded from the inevitable consequences of Obamacare – hence Bill comes in as the great defender of human freedom………

    By the way – it was in the time of Bill Clinton that SCHIP was established (government backed care for “children” – including many adults).

    But then it was back in the time of Ronald Reagan that the left conned Congress into passing a Act to supposedly stop women being thrown out of hospitals in the middle of giving birth to a baby (which WAS NOT BEING DONE – IT WAS A MEDIA LIE).

    The small print of this Act (Congressman and Senators are not in the habit of reading the stuff they pass – let alone writing it) forced private hospitals to give “emergency” treatment to anyone who turned up.

    This cost was passed on to the insured – thus pushing up private insurance costs (along with all the other government interventions – going back many decades) and leading to the current crises.

    As normal with interventionism.

    Government interventions supposedly fix problems that were, in fact, caused by previous government interventions.

  • Rob

    Obama could order the death all first born sons, a la Herod, and they would still support him. They are beyond tribal – the relationship is more of a religious mystic and brainwashed followers.

  • Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.

    – H.L. Mencken

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Perry.

    And a classic example is New York City.

    It was not close – it was 73%.

    There was no excuse – as the Republican candidate was perfectly reasonable.

    And the people were warned – even by some of the local press (for example an editorial in the New York Post).

    Everything that happens now in New York City is the fault of the overwhelming majority of the people of the city.

    And they DESERVE what is going to happen to them.

  • What Paul Marks said. Bill Clinton is preparing the way for Hillary Clinton to be the “good cop”.

    And yes, whatever shock the MSM feels at this turn of events is still just a lovers’ quarrel.

  • Greg

    johnnydub – “liar” yes. “Sheeple” yes. Rob, what if he only kills 1% of first born sons? Arguably, destroying the best health care system in the world will do exactly that (daughters, too), probably more than 1%. But you’re correct, doesn’t matter what he does, media, academia, et al are behind him then, now, forever. Which brings me to the 2nd Amendment…it’s our last recourse and is becoming a more necessary option as additional cars are hitched to the train of abuses.

    All, I’ve followed Samizdata for some time now–very much like the thinking and expresssion of it here–but I don’t recall how much advocacy there is in these parts for righteous insurrection. What in your view are the necessary conditions to justify a second Declaration of Independence (throw off the rule of King Obama and his ilk, i.e., outside of what the ruling elite view as the correct process for this–elections; return USG to its roots, probably <10% of the current Fed budget; etc)?

  • Paul Marks

    Greg – it is not the moral case I doubt, the regime has used the Constitution for toilet paper (indeed it has been used as toilet paper since 1933).

    It is the practical plan I doubt.

    It is the duty of those who call on others to fight to the death to produce a practical plan for VICTORY.

    If one has no such practical plan then one has no justification for calling for revolt.

    I do not believe in gesture politics.

    Especially as I am old – it would not be me in any real fight.

    I say again – the moral case is proven (beyond all reasonable doubt).

    What is needed now is a practical plan with a reasonable chance of success – of VICTORY.

    If one does not have such a plan one can not (reasonably) call for revolt.

  • rfichoke

    Greg, no kind of revolution will happen without popular support. But the people aren’t all that upset about what’s happening here because Best Buy is still selling big screen TVs, and you can still buy beer and have sex and party.

    Hedonism is the real opiate of the masses. Religion, at least in the form of traditional Anglo-Saxon Protestantism, was part of the reason we had our original secession. It informed people that they were made in the image of God and therefore had dignity that should not be insulted. It then went on to inspire the abolition of slavery before becoming corrupted to such an extent that no one paid attention to it any longer.

    You need something like that to wake people up and put them in a mood to take action.

  • Laird

    Greg, I agree with the replies of both Paul Marks and rfichoke, and would also add that the proper groundwork hasn’t yet been laid for a successful insurrection. Prior to the American revolution many years of preliminary work had been done (some of which were referenced in the Declaration of Independence): repeated entreaties to the King, widespread popular complaints; the creation of a Continental Congress to form that nucleus of the new nation (or, at least, to provide some measure of coordination for the revolutionary movement). And, probably most importantly, the British fired the first shots (at Lexington and Concord). That is what really galvanized the populace into action. Until we see another episode such as at Kent State in 1970 the time won’t be ripe.

    Also, I would suggest that any such insurrectionist movement would be very different both from the American revolution and the Civil War. There is no clear geographical line of demarcation here. It is certainly true that much of the Old South is opposed to the runaway federal government, but that is not universally true and moreover there are other portions of the country which feel the same way. We are more likely to see a splintering of the country into several smaller entities, which I think would make the most sense.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    This is true. We can’t go back. And Obamacare is so broken, so bad we can’t go forward with it. Don’t worry the federal government will save us with single payer. Wait! Isn’t that what Obama said he planned to do?

  • Dom

    “… killing off those plans was the whole point of the design change.”

    I think the world of Worstall, but I don’t think that’s true. We already have laws governing insurance plans, we could have easily issued other laws. For example, Obama could have proposed legislation that forced all insurance to cover pregnancy.

  • Mike James

    “What in your view are the necessary conditions to justify a second Declaration of Independence … “

    Greg, if you’re edging around to the subject of a possible bullet catching contest, I would wait and see if anti-Leftists show up for the riot. There haven’t been any street battles between Obama supporters and opponents, so far. If Obama’s deliberate destruction of the American health insurance system isn’t enough to provoke Americans to stand up for themselves in the streets, and start hitting back, it won’t be enough to start ACW II (American Civil War II).

    The Left inflicts casualties, they don’t take them. The Left owns the streets. Until this changes, I wouldn’t get too ‘het up’. Apologies if I’m being a buzzkill, but that’s how things look to me.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Dom, I don’t think so. Obama and his neo-communist pals are after Total Control. And he and those for whom he is the mouthpiece judged that the time had come when they all could get serious and get on with the program.

    No more of this pussy-footing around. A tweak here, an “adjustment toward greater fairness” there. The h*ll with that noise, let’s get ‘er done.

    All that’s left is to give the whole ball of wax to the tender mercies of The Gov.

    Color me cynical, if you must.

    . . .

    I must say I am rather shocked at the comments by Mr. Marks and The Sanity Inspector maligning one of our best presidents, Mr. William Jefferson Clinton. I have been reading lately that “even Bill Clinton” speaks against the Health Fraud mess, and also that he is considered by many (even some alleged conservatives) that he was overall a pretty good president.

    Of course, you have to overlook a few minor transgressions such as his dealings with the Chinese. But never let the facts get in the way of a nice upbeat soothing story. :>)

  • Regional

    Taking advice from the Meeja is like having Vlad the Impaler as your proctologist.

  • The remarkable thing about O’care is that it’s fundamental assumptions are so flawed. First, that the US healthcare system is ‘bad’, ranking 37th in the world according to WHO when in fact when you control for auto accidents and murder (both much more common in gun and driving mad America) American life expectancy turns out to be highest in the world.

    Second, they presumed that health insurance improves healthiness. The only two large randomized studies to test this (Rand back in the early 80s and Oregon MedicAid in the past few years) could find NO quantitative health impact of having insurance (although the Oregon study found a self assessed 30% reduction in ‘depression’ – of course if someone else suddenly began paying a big chunk of my rent or food bill I’d probably become less depressed too).

    Third, there is an assumption that health insurance equals access to health care. One that my English friends on this website have much more familiarity with than we wasteful yanks. The best actuaries estimate a successful O’Care will increase unit demand for healthcare services by 30% without increasing supply. And in the US today, the poor’s health plan Medicaid already has huge problems with access. As does Romneycare in MA where getting in to see a new physician typically takes between 1.5 and 2 months vs. days or a week in the rest of the country.

    Finally, they assume that even if everything turns to crap at least it will be more equal crap. But in fact, systems that ration care bureaucratically often offer less equality of access: bureaucracies reward people who can follow rules, make appeals, leverage connections, and live in places where lots of affluent doctors want to work (aka near their homes). There’s no real evidence that this system offers more equality of access than the US system. Indeed, the US couldn’t get the highest (gun and car death adjusted) life expectancy in the world if large parts of the population couldn’t get access.

    Leave it to the Progs to do the exactly wrong things for the precisely wrong reasons. Again and again and again and….

  • Julie near Chicago

    Paul, thus:

    “This cost was passed on to the insured – thus pushing up private insurance costs….”

    I find it very interesting that the great humanitarian, doctor, and Vice-Provost of the University of Pennsylvania saw fit to make the argument that “it’s dreadfully unfair that those of us who pay for our insurance must also bear the costs of treating the uninsured.” Yes, and Health Fraud fixes this how, exactly??

    Get your kidney basins out again and listen to this lying creep yourselves at

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kfibukj1lY

    By the way, why the devil should insurance cover pre-existing conditions???

    People no longer even understand what insurance is!

    I love Megyn Kelly. She’s the hardest charger out there, unless you want to consider Spittle Matthews! (Disagree w/ her sometimes of, for instance in the pre-existing conditions.) For example,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtYPaNEM9oI

    She is faulted by some of the commenters for “saying ‘it’s an honor to have you here’,” and, I might add, reiterates it a few times. Then, to close, “we’d like to have you back” and “you’re an interesting guy.” Shades of Bill O’Reilly!

    . . .

    And speaking of Bill O, he still thinks we should take our marching orders from Karl Rove.

    Bill O’Reilly Argues w/ Tea Party Head* Over Defunding Obamacare:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-MeoTVsQCY

    *For those who might not be aware: the Tea Party is a movement, not an organization. Ms. Kramer is the head of the Tea Party Express, which IS an organization. It was formed (presumably) to further the Tea Party movement. They used to be pretty good…haven’t kept up with them lately. There is some buzz that another of the organizations, the Tea Party Patriots–arguably the most visible of them–has gotten sidetracked or derailed or something. Further deponent sayeth not.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Bill Reeves, thank you for your posting! You make great points and your halo is pretty shiny. :) I wish more Americans understood your points, let alone the rest of the world [at least they, mostly (SNARL), don't vote here--either actually or effectively].

    I do have a question and a comment. You wrote,

    “…[I]n fact when you control for auto accidents and murder (both much more common in gun and driving mad America) American life expectancy turns out to be highest in the world.”

    Question: Have you got a source for that that even my kids, who think they’re Progressives, *sob*, would believe? Or even, preferably, sources?

    Comment: I could well be reading into the quote something you didn’t intend, but it’s not the fault of “gun-madness” that American life-expectancy rates can be presented as low. It’s the commonality of murderous gangs here. And since they are outlaws anyway, or anxious to “make their bones” and prove themselves worthy, naturally they have guns.

    Most non-outlaw-minded gun owners don’t commit murder, nor even actually shoot at people. But a great many of them have defended themselves successfully by simply showing themselves seriously ready to use their guns if the would-be perp won’t stop “perping.”

    [And turning my question back on myself, no, I haven't a source at hand. But you might try searches on "Gary Kleck," "Clayton Cramer," "Liberty Belles," "John Fund," SFA (the Second Amendment Foundation), GOA (Gun Owners of America), the National Rifle Association (NRA), and maybe the Oregon Institute ... for starters.]

    You might also try John Lott. His website is at

    http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/

    He has a page (“The Bias against Guns”) of information, including links, on his 1998 book

    More Guns, Less Crime,

    which includes instructions for accessing his raw data, at

    http://www.johnlott.org/

    Here is a short excerpt from a discussion of a number quoted in the book, linked above:

    “Compared to the 98 percent number there was an earlier survey by Kleck that found 92 percent of defensive gun uses involved brandishing and warning shots and because the survey was asking people about events that occurred over a long period of time it is likely that it over emphasized more dramatic responses. (My number that is directly comparable to the 92 percent estimate is about 99 percent.) My point in the book was that defensive gun use rarely involves more “newsworthy” events where the attacker is killed and either survey would have made the general point. A general discussion of the different methodologies is provided here (http://www.johnlott.org/files/GenDisc97_02Surveys.zip).

    What is usually not mentioned is that the survey results that I used were biased against the claim that I was making. [ ... ]“

    Please note that the “Bias” page hasn’t been updated since 2003, or so it says. I haven’t checked any of the links to see if they still work.

    http://www.johnlott.org/files/GenDisc97_02surveys.html

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh dear. The Great Humanitarian Doctor Vice-Provost Architect of Obamacare Lying Scumbag. That would be Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, spawn of someplace worse than dread R’lyeh.

    The first two UT’s are of him being interviewed by a rather firm Chris Wallace and then by the illustrious Megyn Kelly.

    Also, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express is Amy Kremer, not “Kramer.”

    Mea culpa. :>(

  • Julie near Chicago

    I can’t believe I left out Dave Kopel’s site on the Second Amendment! Loaded with links, and attorney Kopel is one of the most active and effective of Second-Amendment (anti-gun-control) scholars and actiivsts.

    No American (at the very least) should miss his site.

    http://www.davekopel.com/2dAmendment.htm

  • Julie near Chicago

    I seem to be on a roll. Not to beat the dead horse, but here’s something that Dr. Sowell had to say on the topic of “gun-control”:

    http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell041409.php3

    “It is even more painfully obvious that “gun control” laws do not control guns. The District of Columbia’s very strong laws against gun ownership have done nothing to stop the high murder rate in Washington.

    “New York had very strong gun control laws decades before London did. But the murder rate in New York has been some multiple of that in London for more than two centuries, regardless of which city had the stronger gun control laws at a given time.

    “Back in 1954, when there were no restrictions on owning shotguns in England and there were far more owners of pistols then than there were decades later, there were only 12 cases of armed robbery in London.

    “By the 1990s, after stringent gun controls laws were imposed, there were well over a thousand armed robberies a year in London. In the late 1990s, after an almost total ban on handguns in England, gun crimes went up another ten percent.

    “The reason — too obvious to be accepted by the intelligentsia — is that law-abiding people became more defenseless against criminals who ignored the law and kept their guns.”

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Greg, first just repeat the declaration of Independence, and then add a rider that this is a perpetual right, and therefore States can secede from any such union. For the modern age, you’d probably need to allow computers and robots to vote, so replace humans and men with ‘intelligences, both natural and artificial’. We Australians will stand by from the sidelines, and see how you go!

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Gun control laws can work – just make the punishment draconian enough.

    According to the Arms Offences Act, unlawful possession or carrying of firearms is punishable with imprisonment and caning. Using or attempting to use arms when committing a scheduled offense is punishable with death. The death penalty may also apply to the offender’s accomplices present at the scene of the offense.

    I doubt the US has the stomach for these laws.

  • Richard Thomas

    Hillarycare actually made it in the form of Tenncare in, of all places, Tennessee. It imploded with little fanfare a while back (though I think it still exists in some form).

  • Dishman

    “… killing off those plans was the whole point of the design change.”

    The numbers weren’t going to work on the exchanges if there wasn’t a large influx of healthy people. That influx was intended to be generated by killing most of the individual plans. It had to be that way.

  • Midwesterner

    You miss the obvious, Wobbly Guy. Almost all of the criminals with guns have already committed crimes that would get them imprisoned for long times during the course of which they would probably get far worse than a caning from fellow inmates.

    You’ll have to explain to me how “stop doing what you are doing or we will do what we are going to do to you anyway” is going to reduce gun use by criminals. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from breaking gun laws.

    Gun laws only stop law abiding citizens. D’uh.

  • Paul Marks

    Richard Thomas – nice point.

    TennCare did get put in place – and it almost led to an income tax in the State.

    It was rolled back (to a great extent).

    Rolling back Obamacare will be far more difficult.

    These crazy things cause a lot less harm at the State level (because people can move – and they tend to be less extreme in the details, and the details MATTER) – and are less difficult to roll back.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Tim Sandefur weighs in on the fact that, as a desperate measure, the administration is telling people it will not enforce the new law for a while. In other words, the rule of law does not matter to this administration; all that matters is getting its way and destroying the US a free society.

  • Richard Thomas

    Paul, indeed, it (the threat of an income tax) had people protesting at the state capitol, en mass, every day until it was defeated. I hesitate to imagine what would happen were that attempted in Washington.

  • CaptDMO

    “What in your view are the necessary conditions to justify a second Declaration of Independence (throw off the rule of King Obama and his ilk, i.e., outside of what the ruling elite view as the correct process for this–elections”

    This is fairly well addressed by the Federalist Papers, as well as many of the founding fathers themselves.
    Folks under the Democrat umbrella pursued this with Lincoln’s “edicts”,For example.
    They “organized”. Fortunately, their idea of “organization” were as successful as they are today.

    “Obama could have proposed legislation that forced all insurance to cover pregnancy”
    The problem there is that only ONE side of the “legislative” aisle espouses Fascism to
    “nudge” We The People… into unmerited Socialist “entitlements”(often ignorantly “interpreted” as “rights”). Strangely, such folk consistently “compromising” for legislated Socialism (by any other name)end up VASTLY wealthier, and “landed”, AFTER their “political” time had come and gone, then when they left “law” to campaign for “the little people”. As strangely, The Little People are a bigger, and poorer, group to espouse Socialism(again, by any other name), by Fascist means to “provide” for it.

  • I can get people to do almost anything if I can credibly threaten them with death for failure to comply. That’s the lesson of the Soviet Union.

    What I can’t get them to do unless I give them liberty is THRIVE. And eventually THEIR failure to thrive leads to the collapse of YOUR ability to make them do anything.

    The paradox: the stronger you behave the weaker you get.

    Let liberty shine forth and build a studmuffin nation!

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Richard – I remember being told about this, I think that Talk Radio had a big role in it. And that the traitor Republicans and the Democrats could hear the protests as they hid inside government buildings.

    It must have been wonderful – I wish I had been there.

  • Paul Marks

    J.P. – yes.

  • Richard Thomas

    Yes, the governor at the time, leading the push for the income tax, was, by affiliation, a Republican.

    I was new to the country at the time but the first time I ever saw Don Sundquist on TV, before he even opened his mouth, I thought “There’s a slimy character if I’ve ever seen one”. History bears witness that I was correct on that one. I see a similar look on Mitch McConnell (He of the $3B betrayal). Phrenology and similar pseudo-sciences have mostly been debunked and yet…

  • veryretired

    I can’t imagine that anyone who has read any of my comments here over the last few years believes I am pleased or indifferent to the encroachment that collectivist ideology has been making into our lives for the last century and more.

    I say that as a preface to my misgivings about the suggestions that it is necessary to have a new constitutional convention, or an actual uprising, or the secession of this or that segment of the country.

    Not only would these ideas fall flat if seriously proposed to the general public, but history suggests that it would be even worse for all if any one or more of them were actually put into action.

    The circumstances of our founding were extraordinarily fortunate in that it was at the height of a century plus of serious philosophical and moral conversation about the legitimacy of the traditional forms of social and political organization, with the most pervasive conclusion among the debaters being that political justification came from the rights of the individual partially ceded to a state committed to protecting those rights as its primary purpose.

    Those who devised the various founding documents were a revolutionary group far above and beyond the typical leaders of uprisings and coups whose main desire was to obtain power for themselves and their group and wield it as ruthlessly as possible for as long as they could get away with it.

    This latter was the story of the French, Russian, Chinese, Italian, and German, and many other revolutionary groups, and the gruesome consequences of that mindset screams across the last few centuries in the wails of the tortured and dying.

    The US has also been the fortunate beneficiary of men and women who truly believed in the doctrines they preached, and therefore surrendered power peacefully, either by retirement, as did Washington, or leaving office in an orderly process following elections.

    Regardless of the faults and flaws of the many political leaders in our history, and they are beyond counting, this single aspect of our history might be as remarkable as anything else we have accomplished.

    As I have said in another context, this is not just in some distantly past age of heroes, but within living memory. It would be rare indeed in human history to find someone with the immense powers of Gen. George Marshall who would not seize power when the country’s leader died, instead of stepping aside to accept the constitutionally sanctioned authority of the lawfully named successor, a fairly minor political figure from a mid-size state, like Pres. Truman.

    We are not likely to enjoy either the ideological or moral coherence today that we have had among the leading elements of society in the past, and it wasn’t that great then in many ways, so the idea of allowing some ambitious political or social figure of this era to lead the creation of a new constitution, or any type of uprising, whether secessionist or more comprehensive, is grossly unappealing to me, and I hope a great many people.

    It is pleasant to dream of somehow throwing off the current collectivist superstructure, and replacing it with a more rights oriented formulation and leadership, and especially pleasing to imagine this could happen in some dramatic fashion, sanity in one fell swoop.

    Unfortunately, such musings are ahistorical, and unrealistic for so many reasons that even I cannot take the space to list them all.

    No, our salvation as free individuals, with our rights and liberties intact, expanded, and vigorously protected will be the result of a long, grinding course of hard work at every level of society, in every conceivable venue, and with a dogged persistence and consistency that will undo the collectivist state with reasoned care, and replace it with a reinforced minimal state that has the support of an educated public, and is carefully restricted by a reinvigorated commitment to the strictures of the Constitutional republic.

    And, even then, the task will never end, just as the vampirism of the collectivist mentality resurrects and reinvents itself tirelessly, always eager to rise from its coffin until another stake can be driven through its heart.

    This is the task. It is not glamorous, or charged with revolutionary adrenalin. There are no trumpets to sound before one trudges off to the next school board meeting, or county commissioner election, or mayoral town hall.

    Each and every person who values their freedom, and desires to protect and enhance the liberty of their community, will be called upon at some time to stand and be counted. It might not be glamorous, but it will be completely necessary, and we will carry the day when we have so schooled and prepared and committed ourselves to this great task that the collectivists and their siren songs cannot stand against us.

    As the book says, you do not know the day, nor the hour. Stand ready.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Very, I was against the idea of a “Constitutional Convention” too. But actually, what people like Randy Barnett and Mark Levin (The Liberty Amendments, see Amazon, I haven’t read it) are talking about is an “Article V Convention.” Quoted herewith the meat of Article V of the Constitution, taken from the National Archives at

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html:

    Article. V.

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress….

    There can’t be a “runaway Convention” because of the requirement for ratification by 3/4 of the states, either by their legislatures or (as I understand it) by the citizens directly.

    Of course, if the States and the Citizens decide by a 3/4 majority to enact a Stupid Amendment (Amendment 16, Amendment 18; Amendment 17 in contention), then we’re all up the creek, but the fact remains that we’re in that condition for sure if we don’t do something.

    Randy Barnett explains what he calls an “Amendment Conventions” in 2.5 minutes at UToob,period,com/watch?v=clV4Vos3lYM .

    Rob Natelson is a former law professor at the U. of Montana, now Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independent Institute in Colorado, and is a highly respected scholar on Article V. There is a detailed CV at

    http://constitution.i2i.org/about/.

    He has a recent article, “The Myth of a Runaway Amendments Convention,” at The American Thinker:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/08/the_myth_of_a_runaway_amendments_convention.html

    And at Volokh, see the short piece “Philadelphia 1787 was not a runaway convention,” where Dave Kopel points to the TAT article. Go to volokh-period-com /2010/12/06/philadelphia-1787-was-not-a-runaway-convention/

    But perhaps best of all is his 13-minute discussion with radio host Mark Levin, who is also a former prosecutor and was a speechwriter for Pres. Reagan:

    http://www.marklevinshow.com/common/page.php?id=5193

    If anyone searches for either “Rob Natelson” (with quotes) or ‘ “Randy Barnett” convention ‘ (string: name in quotes, space, convention) he will be richly rewarded.

    There is a retired attorney who writes under the name of “Publius Huldah.” She contributes quite a bit to the Canada Free Press site, and also has her own weblog. She is not convinced by the arguments that the above convention is safe. But others seem to me to answer her successfully. Nevertheless, she’s a sharp cookie and in favor of liberty, so you may want to look her up.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Smited! See, this is what happens when I try to count without taking off my socks. Blast it, I thought I only had three links. :>((((

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Say, is there any right to secede in America? I’m not talking about states, but micronations. We have some here in Australia, the most famous being Hutt River Principality, a small farm/country in Western Australia, which declared independence in 1970 because of some quota dispute with the state government. They even have their own website! It seems to have stayed independent ever since, so are their any such entities within the US?

  • Julie near Chicago

    From Todd Zywicki at Volokh, three years ago:

    This is a cool research site–The Article V Library. Robert Biggerstaff has collected volumes of materials not just on enacted constitutional amendments but proposed constitutional amendments through the years, including state calls for constitutional conventions. He also tracks states that have rescinded previous calls for conventions.

  • Pardone

    Hmph, you don’t mention the made-up illnesses which make up a large chunk of America’s health costs.

    The health insurance companies are vile parasites, in many cases, its important to remember, sponging off the taxpayer. Operating as a cartel, they use “pre-existing conditions” as a means to rip-off customers with impunity.

    Big Pharma is a true bastion of corporatism of which Mussolini would be proud; pumping kids full of fake drugs for fake illnesses (devised by the crooks in the American Psychiatric Association, who themselves admit that their DSM books are complete twaddle.. Of course, US politicians have been sure to keep out those nasty cheaper foreign drugs, thus ensuring there is no free market and the taxpayer gets gouged yet again by the cartel.

    Thusly, America has become a nation of drug addicts; children put on a diet of ridiculous drugs because of the disorder of behaving like children, teenagers put on a diet of nonsense drugs by narcissistic and lazy parents, All paid for, I might add, by the American taxpayer, as is, ridiculously, Viagra.

    Politicians are merely a cog in the wheel of scum parasites, the most despicable of which are the doctors and psychiatrists who are no better, and probably worse, than the worst “criminal” drug dealers.

  • Laird

    Since we’ve somehow veered off into the topic of constitutional conventions, I will second what Julie said in her (now unsmited*) post. In fact, I would also go farther: I don’t fear a constitutional convention not merely because whatever it produces would have to be approved by 3/4 of the states, but also because anything which is ultimately ratified, however noxious I personally might find it, would be the considered opinion of a substantial majority of the citizenry. What we have now is a Constitution in exile, honored when it suits the powers that be and ignored (or worse, cleverly “interpreted” into irrelevance by an enabling judiciary) when it becomes an inconvenience. To my mind it would be far better to have a constitution which suits modern sensibilities and which is actually observed than a “pretend” constitution which is routinely ignored. Indeed, I submit that it is the vast gulf between the rather clear words (and even clearer intentions) of the Constitution and the Alice-in-Wonderland distortions that have been made to it over the last 80 years which is the source of the tensions which today are tearing our social fabric. Let’s have the national debate and decide what we in the 21st century really want. A constitutional convention would force us to consciously address the issues and make those hard choices.

    And I would advocate not a single-issue convention (as was proposed by Mark Levin) but a wide open one like we had in 1789 when we threw out the Articles of Confederation and started from scratch. The distortions to the existing constitution have become too severe to paper over with a simple amendment. We don’t have to start completely from scratch this time, but nearly every Article requires substantial editing if we are to return to a truly federal form of government and restore the states to their proper place in the hierarchy of political entities.

    * I haven’t been smited since the new website was introduced. Somehow, I rather miss it!

  • Mr Ed

    Laird, the first principle in a new Convention might helpfully be ‘No Standing* Judiciary’. Let the parties choose the judges, pay the fee for sittting and make no precedent.

    * or perhaps ‘sitting’?

  • veryretired

    Laird, I respectfully disagree. Take a look at the EU constitution, or any of the ones written around the world in the last few decades, and you will see what we would get if we let this kind of project get going now in a heavily statist/collectivist intellectual and political environment.

    We have too much work to do before any such endeavor would be advisable. Now is not the time.

  • Laird

    VR, so you’d rather have a constitution full of lovely words and concepts which no one observes? Such a dichotomy between word and deed can only lead to psychosis. It is, I believe, what has led to our current state of national disorder, and to the already wide and ever-growing divide between the constitutionalists/federalists/small(er)-government types and the statists (on both sides of the aisle). That way lies madness, which is already beginning to manifest itself in the body politic. I have no love for the EU Constitution, either, but better a set of known rules which has been openly debated and widely agreed upon than our current head-in-the-sand approach to constitutional jurisprudence. (Or, as that profound philosopher Frank Zappa put it, “The US Constitution may not be perfect but it’s better than what we have now.”)

  • rfichoke

    I don’t think the words on a piece of paper matter. They don’t matter when the piece of paper is 224 years old and they don’t matter when it’s freshly written. What matters is what people actually do from moment to moment and that changes constantly. The real Constitution is made up of trillions of individual transactions and interactions on a daily basis. It’s organic and it works from the bottom up. That’s why we have to deal with education, media, and pop culture. Those are the real levers of power and the Left has been working on them for the last 100 years. We have to do the same.

  • Midwesterner

    I agree strongly with VR. If we can’t enforce the unequivocal terms of the constitution we have, there is no hope of extracting and enforcing the essential liberty elements of the contemporary encyclopedic wishlist of government ‘essentials’ that would be ratified.

    The error in ‘starting over’ is assuming the flaw is in the Constitution. It is not. The Constitution is clear and adamant in its terms. The problem is that government has been captured and the Constitution is being ignored. Any plan that involves a new constitution without incorporating a fail safe enforcement and continuance mechanism (hint, that’s not possible) will just bind into the new constitution as law the violations of the present one. The genius of our Constitution is not so much in the contents of the many enumerations, it is in the structure of the balance of power. Repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments to rebalance revenue and political power will be far easier and safer than any Constitutional Convention and the final product will be orders of magnitude better than anything our contemporaries will smother us with.

    My own theory on why we have lost understanding and appreciation of the Constitution we have is that, with the help of the industrial age, we have transitioned from a culture of generalist entrepreneurs into specialists. Instead of every household operating as a small business bound by the laws of economics, it is now a nation of paycheck cashers who are idiots outside the specialty of their savant. Our electorate, while smarter in the details, is completely ignorant to the whole.

    Dunning-Kruger democratically rules our lives.

  • What rfichoke said. In fact, I am gradually coming to the conclusion that the less written, the better.

  • Laird

    Mid, we can’t enforce “the unequivocal terms of the constitution we have” because we have permitted the federal government to be the sole arbiter of what those terms mean. The fox is thus guarding the henhouse, and we all can see the result. But it makes no logical or legal sense that an agent should be the judge of the scope of his own powers. I agree with you that “a fail safe enforcement and continuance mechanism” would be a necessary component of a revised constitution, but I disagree that it’s impossible. It merely requires two features: a formal mechanism by which the states, acting collectively, can revoke any action taken by the federal government (which is, in fact their creation and thus properly subject to their control under normal rules of agency); and an explicit recognition of the right of any state to withdraw from the union at its sole discretion. That’s all it would really take to keep the federal government within its proper bounds. (Repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments would be good, too.)

    frichoke (and Alisa), I disagree. The purpose of a constitution is to restrain government and, by necessary implication, the actions of its citizens. It doesn’t change incrementally by “trillions of individual transactions and interactions”. Or rather, if it does, it’s not truly a constitution. It changes only seismically, by constitutional amendment when a substantial majority consciously decides to change it. Otherwise it serves no purpose. That is the failing of the unwritten British “constitution”. It has no moorings.

  • veryretired

    Laird—once again I must repeat that, even if I agreed with every proposal you are making for a new constitution, the plain fact is that your approach would never be the controlling mindset in any gathering or legislative proceedings formed to write it.

    What we would get is a massive compilation of all the positive rights, pc/multi-culti cant, and interest group trade-offs that mark our political life now, and make it so corrosive to liberty.

    We must take whatever time is needed, and make whatever effort is required, to change the intellectual and moral landscape, before we attempt any sort of major constitutional overhaul simply because, regardless of how good and proper your ideas are, they would not carry the day in the deconstructed wasteland of the current cultural landscape.

    Collectivism is in the process of discrediting itself in the US, as it has everywhere it came to power. We must accelerate and complete that process before we can move forward with any renovations as substantial as you are proposing.

    Please believe me when I say I understand your frustration and anger at the relentless encroachments of the coercive state, but now is not the time to tear down and try to rebuild the house.

    The house of horrors that would result would make our lives, and our task, infinitely more difficult.

  • Laird, I think what I am saying (and I must admit it scares me to a degree to even hear myself say this) is that I’d rather see no constitution at all. As things stand now, the least-worst outcome would be for the Union to dissolve (peacefully, if one can hope), and then for the individual independent States to form an alliance, ensuring free trade, immigration, a defensive pact of some sort or another, etc.

    The original purpose of US Constitution was indeed to restrain the Federal Government, but the very act of writing and ratifying it also formally established that Federal Government, along with the implicit understanding that it was in fact necessary. I am not at all certain that it was then, and I am even less certain that it is now.

    But even if one takes it as fact that there was a real need for the Federal Government, and therefore for a Constitution limiting its powers, even then the document was too wordy and too explicit: the more a document says, the more there is to interpret and “to interpret”. Take the 2nd Amendment, for example: doesn’t the right to bear arms clearly and naturally arise from classic property rights as they have been practiced for centuries (admittedly to widely varying degrees) in most of the world, not to mention the Anglosphere? Who needs all the talk about militias, and “assault” weapons and god knows what else? Or take that ‘general welfare’ bit that caused all of us so much grief, or ‘regulation of commerce’. And the list goes on, of course. Some times less is truly more, and it seems to me (in hindsight, yes) that that was very much one of those times.

  • rfichoke

    Laird, I wasn’t trying to imply that a written Constitution changes because of the actions of individuals, but that the only true limit on government is what people are willing to put up with. The written Comstitution we have now represents the wishes of a subset of the American population over 200 years ago. I happen to agree with much of it, but if a new generation comes along that does not care about those principles, they won’t hold their elected officials accountable. That’s what has happened.

    There’s also a change in the way people view received wisdom, propositional truth, and the primacy of the written word. Situational ethics and post-modernism have destroyed whatever respect The Law once enjoyed. The same thing has happened to interpretation of Judeo-Christian scriptures in the modern churches and synagogues. And if religious people aren’t taking their own faith seriously, why would people take a mere political document seriously?

  • Paul Marks

    Most people are not constitutional scholars – they trust the Supreme Court to defend the Constitution of the United States.

    This trust is misplaced – fundamentally misplaced.

    Chief Justice Roberts does not want to be “political” – failing to see that the Constitution is a political document putting forward a certain opinion of what government should be (or rather what it should NOT be). Those who want Federal government to “help the people” can not (at the same time) support the Constitution of the United States because it was written to prevent such a “helpful” (Louis XIV and Colbert) style government.

    The idea that “people of different points of view can be loyal to the Constitution” is simply untrue – as it embodies one point of view.

    It is true that a lot of things are optional (for example whether or not to have a “post office and post roads” is up to Congress – they can have these things, but they do not have to have them). But Federal gold confiscation and the voiding of private gold contracts is not an “option” – the Federal government has no Constitutional power to do these things (period).

    Yet they were done – in 1933, and the Supreme Court (when the case finally made its way to them – in 1935, it was a scandal in itself that such a thing would take two years to reach them) did nothing. “Let us leave it to the people” was the attitude of the Chief Justice of the time.

    The trouble with that attitude is that the people will interpret it as the “the Supreme Courts says it is O.K.” (as with Obamacare) and so re elect the President (as they did in 1936).

    After all are judges on the Supreme Court not “people”? If they do nothing why should any other people?

    Nor was the 19th century perfect.

    For example the paper money of the government is totally unconstitutional.

    “Not worth a Continental” meant that the new Congress was given the power only to COIN money (not to print it) – and (Article One, Section Ten) in each State the legal tender shall be gold and/or silver coin.

    This was torn up in the second “Greenback” case.

    What is needed is a body to uphold a Constitution.

    And, sorry, a group of judges picked by the President and approved by the Senate is utterly unsuitable for this purpose.

    If you want to get “the people” involved – then forget elections (which are decided on all sorts of things, IMAGE, mostly – not Constitutional issues).

    Move to constitutional cases being decided by JURY.

    Do not trust juries?

    Well then you have admitted the people are no good.

    For people are rather more serious in jury service than they are at election time.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Alisa – there was a contradiction built into the Constitution from the start, and for a good reason.

    James Madison (the so called “father of the Constitution”) was just as concerned with tyranny from State government (after all he got into politics to oppose the tyrannical actions of the Commonwealth of Virginia against unlicensed preachers)as he was the new Federal government.

    After all the States could be a mess to – with fiat money, and taxes on imports from other States, and regulations on imports from other States (although the Congress NEVER REALLY DID sort that out – hence the problems with buying insurance over State lines to this day).

    Look at how James Madison messes up the Bill of Rights – the order of it.

    James Madison (contrary to what some people think) did not write the Bill of Rights – he just got the various things proposed by the States and put them in order.

    But that is important.

    Look at it…..

    The natural order would start with the Ninth Amendment (which would be the First) and then go on to the Tenth Amendment (which would be the Second).

    That is how it would naturally read – we start with natural rights (which limit all government), then we go on to the Federal government being the creation of the States and limited only to those powers they give it.

    Instead we get as the First Amendment – something that James Madison just happened to have been personally interested in his whole political life (the no regulations against religious preaching).

    By the time we get to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments (which should, by any natural reading, be the First and Second Amendments) most ordinary people would have stopped reading – or at least drifted off slightly.

    “Well it is still all in the Bill of Rights Paul” – yes, but in the wrong order (which makes it unclear to most people that the Federal government was created by the States – that the States have primacy over it).

    And I am not sure it is “all there”.

    For example, what happened to the word “specifically” in the Tenth Amendment?

    It is their in the drafts – but it is missing in the final text.

    “Paul the pedant strikes again”.

    Am I being a pedant?

    Or was missing out that word from the final text rather important?

    Ask Laird.

  • Paul Marks

    As for now?

    Yes.

    I can see (just about) how a State such South Dakota might (stress MIGHT)sort out its problems – all the old people dependent on government and so on.

    But the United States?

    A place where half the entire population is dependent on government (at all levels) and there is a 17 trillion Dollar debt?

    I do not see how any “sorting out” of the present United States is even possible.

    Time to start again.

    Which is a bit of a problem for the world – seeing as China and Islam are both on the march.

    By the way…….

    Republican dementedness……

    I was just listening to that fool the Governor of Ohio talking on “The O’Reilly Factor”.

    How he “brought home Ohio Dollars to Ohio” by agreeing to the expansion of MEDICAID.

    The United States is bankrupt, Medicaid is bankrupt, there are no “Ohio Dollars” to be “brought home”.

    Like so many Republicans the Governor of Ohio is either corrupt – or utterly demented.

    There is no hope from Republicans of this sort.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way veryretired is correct.

    A new Constitution (to judge by European experience – indeed experience around the world) would be full of “Positive Rights” (goods and services from government) and “anti discrimination” (i.e. death-to-freedom-of-contract-freedom-of-association) stuff.

    And if the present text can not be enforced – what is the point of a new text?

    And………

    State Constitutions have a better record of being enforced.

    Partly because they were written with PROPER PARANOIA.

    “How would a scumbag politician like me seek to twist this text” – that is the proper attitude in writing a Constitution.

    But YES – that can only happen AFTER the bankruptcy of the present system

    Then you can have your Alliance of American States (or whatever).

  • The Wobbly Guy

    @Midwesterner,

    You miss the obvious, Wobbly Guy. Almost all of the criminals with guns have already committed crimes that would get them imprisoned for long times during the course of which they would probably get far worse than a caning from fellow inmates.

    You do realize what ‘Using or attempting to use arms when committing a scheduled offense is punishable with death‘ means, don’t you? We’re not talking about imprisonment for a long time, we’re talking about outright execution. No man, no problem.

    Trust me, do that a few times, a lot of criminals will fall in line. Crime might not go down – there’s always the knife, for example, but gun crime should decrease. And when the gun is banned, the alternatives are decidedly less deadly.

  • England tried deterring crime by making everything a capital offense. The result was that juries refused to convict. I suspect that would be the first order effect. The second order effect would be ferocious gun battles using real automatic weapons. Because if a little popgun gets you as dead as a RPG, then lets bring out the heavy artillery, baby.

    It’s easy to talk tough at the pub with the lads, much harder to actually kill someone. You see there are all these other people and they have power too.

    The brutal truth that most of the anti-gun yahoos will not acknowledge is that the American people have spoken: they like their guns and contrary to opinion of global bien pensants (or bean pissants where I come from), they understand the consequences, both good and bad and are making an informed choice. In doing so, they are exercising their sovereignty as a free (well semi-free) people.

    That Americans have the ability to choose that which their elites disapprove and jam it down their snotty throats is a power largely unknown in the rest of the world. It’s kinda’ cool.
    .

  • Paul Marks

    Bill Reeves is correct – if the jury thought it was a “hanging judge” for a petty crime then they did refuse to convict.

    This is “jury nullification” – and I SUPPORT jury nullification.

    I would do that if I was on a jury – so I can not attack other people for putting natural justice above the ravings of government.

    “But how can we tell what natural justice is Paul” – there I do not think conscious is enough on its own, it must be informed conscious (but this gets us into deep matters – such as the vital DIFFERENCE between sins [although sins are not good] and crimes – violations).

    By the way…..

    I missed out an important point about the Emergency Room Act of the 1980s.

    Yet again (normal for modern times) the Senators and Congressman who voted for the Bill DID NOT READ IT.

    They thought they were voting for a Bill that prevented hospitals kicking out women in the middle of giving birth (which WAS NOT HAPPENING – IT WAS A MEDIA LIE).

    Instead they got an Act of Congress that (amongst other things) gives medical care to every illegal immigrant who turns up in a Emergency Room.

    Back in the 1950s Senators and Congressmen actually used to read Bills before they voted on them.

    But then Bills tended to be only a few pages long – for example the Interstate Highways Act (a bad Act by the way) is only a dozen pages long.

    Who turned Bills into monsters that are hundreds of pages long?

    Whoever did that was a revolutionary (in a very bad way).

    Because it ensures that Congressmen and Senators do not read what they vote on.

  • Midwesterner

    TWG, I grew up in a county where two elected prosecutors and four deputy sheriffs with deliberate calculation over the course of many years attempted to frame a man for a murder and to get him executed. They didn’t even know they guy, it was all about appearing “Tough on Crime!”

    I will not trust political opportunists who can’t even run the DMV or a website (despite many years and hundreds of millions of dollars) with the authority to kill citizens. I will not trust a political apparatus that legalizes police theft, taking property without a trial, calling it “forfeiture” and labeling it “Tough on Crime!” with the power to kill citizens.

    Death penalties are remarkably ineffective as deterrents. It appears from the statistics comparing murder rates in states with and without the death penalty that states killing people might even encourage criminals to kill more people. It should hardly surprise that hardened criminals would be willing to play for table stakes. Put their life on the line with the promise of execution and they’ll protect their own at the expense of other peoples’ lives.

    That you advocate so passionately for governments and politicians to have the unilateral power to select and kill citizens is indicative of astonishing naïveté.

    That said, this whole line of discussion is well off topic. Say what you will, but I won’t be replying to any further comments on the topic in this thread.

  • Paul Marks

    Mid – quite so.

    Juries have many problems – but they are not elected, they have no money or future political chances based on their decision.

    Old style magistrates in England and Wales were similar.

    There was no promotion from being a J.P. and no payment.

    If you were a landowner of a certain standing you were just expected to become a J.P. (the letter would come).

    You were then a “maid of all work” as many things everything was left to part time, unpaid J.P.s.

    It was a system that worked much better than people now admit.

    The Justice of the Peace had nothing to gain and did not depend on his (non existent) pay.

    So he was normally JUST.

    Why not be just?

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Then explain my country.

    Singapore is undoubtedly one of the safest nations in the world, partly due to it’s highly draconian laws. Of course, there are various factors that enable these laws to be effective, such as strong border controls and a more docile populace.

    It helps that our public officials are of a much higher caliber compared to most other countries.

    Sucks to be you then. :p

  • Mr Ed

    Wobbly Guy,

    It’s not merely down to officials, in the UK the ‘cost’ of being a habitual criminal is pretty low, as you still get welfare, housing etc if you adopt a criminal lifestyle. Hence criminals prosper and whilst they can face prison, the ‘cost” of prison is not as severe as it might be.

    If in ‘social housing’ any resident committing an indictable offence led to eviction for all in that dwelling, with no rehousing by the State, one might see a different incentive pattern emerge.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    That’s correct. The incentive structures in much of the West is just plain wrong. It’s not that Sg has no welfare – it’s so minimal that you basically have nothing left for any luxuries after food and rent.