Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Constitution’

Captain Rick: Thomas C. Patterson, a former Arizona State Senator, sees the Compact for America as a test to see if Americans are still able to take their future in their hands or if they are content to see America continue its decline. States have constitutional authority to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget. This is a ‘long shot’ but it offers a ray of hope to save America from pending fiscal decline.

The U.S. Congress recently raised the U.S. National Debt Ceiling to an astronomical $17.2 Trillion, exceeding U.S. Gross National Product … a wake-up call for any nation. The U.S. Congress raised the debt ceiling to accommodate current spending levels and thus kicked ‘America’s debt can’ down the road again for the Nth time to deal with after the fall election.  The sad fact is that with the cost of entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and pure welfare programs like Medicaid, greatly expanded by Obamacare… U.S. spending is mushrooming at an alarming pace, while revenue is increasing at a snail’s pace that can not keep up. I see this resulting in America sailing over the real ‘fiscal cliff’ in the not too distant future… an event that has the potential to reduce America to a third world country.

I invited Thomas, whom I have long admired for his excellence in thinking, to present guest commentary. With his acceptance, I asked him to tell us why his commentary is important to Americans. His reply:

Thomas C. Patterson: “I see the Compact–a constitutional convention of the states–as a test for Americans.  Are we still able to take our future into our hands, like our founders did, to forge the nation we want or are we content to see America continue its decline?  Do we care enough about our posterity, as our founders did, to undertake the most difficult, improbable shared national initiative in our time or will history judge us as standing by while a nation founded in liberty slides into oblivion?”

ABOUT: Thomas C. Patterson is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Nebraska. He was elected to the Arizona State Senate in 1989, serving as minority leader from 1991 to 1992 and majority leader from 1993 to 1996. Patterson was the author of legislation creating Arizona’s charter school system and welfare reform program. Until 1998, he was a practicing physician and president of Emergency Physicians, Inc.. Patterson also served as president of the Arizona chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. In 2000 he became chairman of the Goldwater Institute. Thomas is a retired physician and resident of Paradise Valley, Arizona.

ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL

Guest Commentary

by

Thomas C. Patterson

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More Americans than ever feel our federal government has been permanently taken over by special interests and collectivists.

Dependency on government is reaching ominous levels. Spending that exceeds income has become part of our political culture. We feel like shouting that our debt is dangerously high and that it’s immoral to pass on to future generations the consequences for our self-indulgence.

Yet realistically, there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it. Until maybe, just maybe, now.

The answer to our despair may well lie in the Compact for America, an agreement among the states to come together to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution. This idea is so promising and dynamic that is gathering momentum across the states, including ours, where it is known as HB 2305.

Here’s the skinny. The U.S. Constitution gives the states the power to call a constitutional convention, as a protection against central government overreach. The framers’ expectation was that once every generation or so, states would need to convene and tweak the Constitution to respond to evolving conditions and to protect the rights of people from the inevitable tendency of power to centralize.

The framers were prescient in understanding that the states would need this privilege, but for one reason or another the states have never called a convention. Every amendment proposed to the Constitution has come through Congress, the other authorized pathway.

It is said that the founders didn’t include a balanced budget provision in the founding documents because they thought it unnecessary. Now that incomprehensible levels of fiscal recklessness have become the norm, the potential need for the states to intervene is clear.

The problem is that, since the states have no experience with a convention, several concerns have arisen over its execution. How would the convention delegates be selected, how would votes be apportioned, how would leadership be chosen? More importantly, what about a runaway convention? What would stop interest groups from taking over the convention and bending the Constitution for their own hot-button issues?

It’s worth remembering that any proposed amendment would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the state Legislatures. But these are serious questions asked by serious people and they deserve answers.

Here’s the genius of the Compact for America. It allows states to know the answers to all the pertinent questions, including exactly which amendments may be considered, before they sign on. When state Legislatures pass a resolution agreeing to the contact, they become part of a constitutionally recognized organization of states created for the express purpose of proposing constitutional amendments. The selection process for delegates, convention logistics and even the text of the amendment would be in the compact document itself.

Would this be difficult? Would there be opposition from all sides? Are there still questions to be answered? Yes, yes and yes. Vast private and government interests are heavily invested in business as usual. Moreover, compacts require the blessing of Congress, although this has been previously granted.

But the Compact for America isn’t constitutional craziness, like annulment or secession. This isn’t some sort of redneck revolt. It’s an opportunity for states to use the clear intent and language of the Constitution to rein in the federal government and put the republic on a more sustainable course.

Unquestionably, the Compact for America would represent change and innovation on a scale many may find unsettling. But this is our challenge. Are we, the political descendants of founders who risked everything to create the most free and prosperous government in the history of the planet, now so timid that we are afraid to use the tools they gave us to defend ourselves from tyranny and decay?

The risk larger than the Compact is the continuation of politics as usual. If we continue doing the same thing, it’s highly probable we’ll get the same results.

Our present predicament was anticipated by the founders. It is precisely the reason they gave the states the power to amend the Constitution. They would very much urge us to use it.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Tom’s previous ANJ Commentary: “Look behind the Obamacare Curtain”

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Captain Rick: Guns and ammo have sold out at major U.S. stores as the gun debate heats up on Capitol Hill. Expanded background checks and a ban on certain assault style weapons are likely. The World Think Tank shares its thinking on this ‘hot’ topic.

A guns and ammo shortage began soon after President Obama mentioned gun control after a gunman killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook school in Newtown Connecticut. President Obama might have become the worlds top guns and ammo salesman as a result.

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Reports suggest a massive civilian arsenal buildup has taken place as a result of fear of future gun control in America.

Wal-Mart reported rationing ammo since January.

Cabela’s, one of Americas largest sporting goods retailers, reported strong gun sales and inability to gain inventory.

Some gun and ammo companies have been reported to be running 24-7 to keep up with demand.

As a result prices for guns and ammo have escalated. A $12 box of 50 rounds has climbed to $25. Demand for .223 caliber ammo has quadrupled. Stock is difficult to find anywhere.

Shares of Sturm Ruger, Smith & Wesson, which make assault rifles have seen shares skyrocket. They added labor and shifts to keep up with demand. 2-year back logs have been reported for people wanting to purchase an AR-15.

The number of FBI background checks filed for gun permits, considered a leading indicator for sales, surged 94% in January and 58% in February to reach their highest level in 15 years.

The U.S. Legislature begins debate on gun control

It is expected to be an intense debate, with a possible outcome to include expanded background checks and a ban on certain assault weapons.

Captain Rick’s World Think Tank … Thinkers share their thinking on this ‘hot’ subject…

I ‘captain’ a think tank group on Facebook to collect the thoughts of ‘thinkers’ who have demonstrated journalism excellence. I share some of their great thoughts on this important subject:

Bret of Arizona:   Well, of all of the current administration’s accomplishments, is there anything positive that it has done for our country besides inflating (to an explosive amount) gun and ammo sales? I was looking for .22lr ammo the other day, can’t find it anywhere. 5 years ago, you could buy 500 rounds for 10 bucks…now, that same “brick” is selling for $35..if you can find it.

Spencer of Arizona: did you see the report today that says FBI has done 32 background checks every minute since Obama has been elected? I think there has been 70 million background checks since Feb 2009

Ken of California: We are witnessing the end of America. Those “Happy Days” are long gone.
As soon as we are disarmed, we are nothing but sheep ready for slaughter.

Lori of Colorado: I fear that you are right, Ken. It is difficult to be optimistic anymore. We are having a gun battle of our own in Colorado. I think the politics go beyond gun control to people control. Gun ownership is a huge responsibility and no one should take it lightly. However, these laws seem to infringe on the right to privacy. Then, there are new taxes for gun owners and a push to make gun owners buy insurance.

Spencer of Arizona: any law that requires complete background checks will only incovience the law abiding citizens or must also be passed with an accompanying gun registry. if no one knows what guns are owned then criminals or others might sell to criminals because there is no proof they had the gun. it will also create a large black market for guns. I get annoyed that so many people want to ignore Mexico and their crime rates and Gun laws. All the societies that liberals tout as being great because of gun restrictions are Islands. It does amaze me how many homes own guns in Mexico without having them registered and how many liberals like to ignore that and think that we would be different.

Bret of Arizona: Spencer, you are spot on…Even if you had registration, there are so many firearms in existance right now, you could never get them all registered and accounted for. Therefore, criminals would always have access to an abundance of firearms. Most of the time, right now, when people talk about gun deaths in the US, they are talking gun deaths, not homicides. Gun deaths include everything from suicide, rightfull use of deadly force, accidental deaths, etc. I believe the media and polititians are trying to skew the statistics by makeing all gun related deaths sound like murders, and that is simply not the case.The largest instance of gun related deaths in the US are suicides, not murders. My question still remains though…how could we reduce the violence without stomping all over the 2nd amendment and my right to protect myself and family?

Spencer of Arizona: one item to reduce the violence could be actually using the current laws and prosecuting those that fail a back ground check. I am amazed at how few are actually prosecuted. and just for statistics sake there are about 11,000 homicides each year and 20,000 suicides with guns. so 30,000 dealths total from guns each year, now compare that to 100,000 dealths related to alcohol. if it was really about saving the most lives I think more would be done to reduce dealths due to alcohol where you could get three times the reduction. these laws are about disarming citizens, trying to make us an utopia which will not happen instead we will become a dictatorship

Lori of Colorado: If current laws aren’t enforced, why will more laws help? That is a good question. This applies to a wide range of issues, from immigration to drug enforcement.

Spencer of Arizona: well they can make them stricter and stricter making it impossible to own a gun at all soon, and then they can enforce all the laws. its like cooking a frog, as the heat slowly rises everything is good and comfortable, or kind of like Obamacare, its going to destroy our current system paving a way for a full government take over. more of my point of that whole topic is why strengthen anything when we don’t even use what we have now. I am of the opinion the best way to make sure you aren’t a victim is to protect yourself. the police are going to take 5 minutes or more to get to my house and that is even if I can call them. the police usually come to take a report about a crime that has already been committed not in the middle to stop the crime.

Bret of Arizona: All animals are unpredictable…from the soft little kitten to a human. If an animal can think, it is unpredictable….period! So what if someone passes a background check? We can never be sure that person won’t “snap” and do something illegal. Secure my right to protect myself! Do background checks really keep criminals or “mentally ill” from obtaining and committing crimes with guns?

Rick of Arizona: Something else to think about…If things continue on tightening background checks…the U.S. government will eventually be able to stop all gun sales in the U.S. The FBI data base is heavily slanted in the negative direction in order to catch the really bad guy. That is good, but it also rejects lots of innocent, law abiding citizens with it, perhaps because of some tiny flick on the radar screen. My point is that if this inept system is allowed to be expanded, there will come a day soon when no one…not even a saint will pass the background check…which will in effect remove the ability for all law abiding citizens in the U.S. to legally own a gun. In effect, the U.S government will have gained the ability to disarm America while upholding the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This is something to think about! I agree, the best way is to protect yourself…but sadly, there are a great number of honest, law abiding citizens who would be rejected from purchasing a gun if they tried. Most applying are ‘delayed’, meaning they have to endure the 5 day waiting period as stipulated by the Brady Law. The problem is, most reputable gun dealers do not want to fool with it for fear of a law suit…so they simply deny the sale to anyone that is ‘delayed’. That in effect kills the sale to the majority of would-be gun buyers.

Stay tuned for more thoughts from the great minds in Captain Rick’s World Think Tank

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Previous reports:

Guns in America: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/guns-in-america/

World Think Tank: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/world-think-tank/

Captain Rick: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law America’s toughest gun control law. Could this be legislation that begins a sweep of America to control guns?

As a past resident of the state of New York, I recognize it as the toughest state of all when it comes to guns. I am beginning a new series on my blog called ‘Guns in America’. I expect it will be a hot topic on ‘Capitol Hill’ in the coming weeks in light of the recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. This could very well be one of my most difficult reporting challenges to date. I will do my best to report the important facts from both sides of this important issue facing America. With your help via comments, perhaps we can guide America to an honorable solution.

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Details of the New York gun law

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a package of tougher gun measures Tuesday.
The Democrat-dominated Assembly passed the bill Tuesday by a 104-43 vote after the state Senate approved it by a wide margin late Monday.

The gun-control package makes changes and additions to a broad swath of state law, ranging from requiring universal background checks for all gun and ammunition sales, boosting the state’s power to confiscate firearms from the mentally ill and increasing penalties for gun-related crime.

The new laws provide for an immediate ban on semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and pistols with a “military-style feature,” such as a flash suppressor or a bayonet mount. Guns that had been legal but are being banned would be grandfathered in, but their owners must register their firearms with the state or sell them out of state within one year.

Magazines are limited to a maximum capacity of seven bullets, down from the current 10.

The legislation includes a “Webster provision,” a life-without-parole sentence for anyone convicted of killing a first responder. The provision is a reference to the Christmas Eve shooting in a Rochester, N.Y., suburb where two firefighters were shot and killed.

Criticism from gun rights advocates and a number of Republicans in the state Legislature was swift.

The National Rifle Association, which had previously labeled Cuomo as “America’s most-anti-gun governor,” expressed “outrage” at the “draconian gun-control bill that was rushed through the process.” “Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature orchestrated a secretive end-run around the legislative and democratic process and passed sweeping anti-gun measures with no committee hearings and no public input,” the lobbying group wrote in a statement.

The new gun laws received praise from New York City Michael Bloomberg, a staunch gun-control advocate whose Mayors Against Illegal Guns initiative has aired television advertisements pushing for tougher laws. “The responsible and comprehensive gun reform bills the governor signed into law today will help keep guns away from criminals and others who are already prohibited from purchasing them,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Captain Rick: Where does it go from here?  What is the answer?

This is a huge subject that involves U.S. Constitutional Second Amendment rights that protects the right of Americans to keep and bear arms … and consideration of the growing voice in America that is concerned about massacres of innocent people by a person with a gun or guns.

What is the answer? I welcome all reading this to voice your opinion in the comment form provided. Perhaps together, we can find the answer.

I welcome you to follow my blog as I probe deeper into the subject of ‘Guns in America’.

View my entire Guns in Ameria Series: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/guns-in-america/