www.CUSDI.org

Our Founders' Warning: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (Thomas Jefferson)

“Unless the mass retains sufficient control over those entrusted with the powers of their government, these will be perverted to their own oppression, and to the perpetuation of wealth and power in the individuals and their families selected for the trust.” (Thomas Jefferson). Clearly, the Founders did not trust elected representatives not to abuse their office to pursue their personal wealth and repeated reelection. But the People have ignored our Founders’ wisdom.

Oligarchy -- a broken CongressConsequently, our Democratic Republic is now a ruling Oligarchy of vastly wealthy individuals and their huge corporations, aided by hordes of lobbyists, non-profit fronts, dark money, and Oligarchs’ media. They use their wealth and resources to select and buy candidates’ loyalty, fund their campaigns, dictate their votes; creating intolerable systemic corruption, spreading big lie propaganda, causing lock-step dysfunction, waste the Nation’s physical and human resources, and ensure that their sitting members of congress are almost always reelected.

Most Members of Congress now represent the Oligarchs not the People: they have created their Oligarchs’ Gilded Age, exploiting the flaws in our Constitution that permit permanent Oligarchy. Our founders knew there were constitutional flaws and pitfalls; they warned us repeatedly and clearly.

Over the last 40 years, the U.S has fallen from the world’s Democracy leader to 25th amongst nations; we are now classified as a flawed democracy! Among many analyses, a 10-min. video and a Senator’s eBook “Captured” explain what has gone wrong. Neither the Peoples’ Congressional choice from mostly preselected and bought candidates, nor choice of Party, nor choice of President, can reverse Oligarchs’ relentless capture of Congress, and with consent of the Senate, the Supreme Court“[You have] A Republic … if you can keep it.” (Benjamin Franklin). But the People have allowed all three branches of our government to become permanent instruments of and for sale to political pressure and cash. The only effective remedy now is for the People to take some superior federal power unto themselves. This website describes how it can be done. It is easier than most Citizens realize, since 70% of us can already vote on state and local initiatives at federal elections! Even the Oligarchs cannot afford to bribe all the people–well, not yet we hope.

A relatively simple solution is for the People to demand that Congress convene a United States Citizens Assembly to recreate trust in the political process by allowing citizens’ decision-making input on issues of great national importance. For example, Citizens’ Assemblies have been used in Canada and the Netherlands to recommend revision of the election systems, in Ireland to consider issues of population ageing, etc. These are worthy efforts, but use statistics companies to select Assembly members, are under Government’s control, and therefore attractive only as a first step towards an effective solution to Oligarchy.

Switzerland, ancient Athens, and 24 U.S. States faced similar problems and came up with better solutions. They grant the People’s the right to propose legislation by ballot Initiatives (a.k.a., proposition, ballot measure), comment in public and Internet, debate and winnow by an Initiatives Qualifying Assembly (in Switzerland, Ancient Greece, and in a very few States to a degree), and then to vote on them directly at Federal elections. Both Switzerland and Athens thrived; Initiative States have done well too. None have ever revoked their ballot Initiative rights. The scope and size of U.S. Federal legislation requires a professional government despite all its defects, but Swiss, Athenian, and State initiative experiences indicate that the accumulation of a few Initiatives a year can limit the worst defects, particularly corruption and Oligarchy. “[A legislature] … should be an exact portrait, in miniature, of the people at large, as it should feel, reason and act like them” (John Adams).

Our Founders anticipated today’s problem and included a Constitutional Amendment solution by the Second Method that Congress cannot stop. We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.” (Alexander Hamilton). (Though Congress so far has always inserted itself and proposed the States’ Amendments using its First Method). The People have the power and the constitutional obligation to compel each State to take the necessary action. Most State capitals are within easy driving distance of their voters, so large pressure demonstrations, voting campaigns, etc. are far easier to implement than in Washington D.C.  “Of the people, by the people, for the people” are not just pretty words, they are very real duties of every American citizen to defend their freedom, most critically against Oligarchic Government.

To fix the flaw and constrain Oligarchy now and for the future, the People through their States must permit U.S. Initiatives on Federal election ballots under the U.S. Constitution, while retaining a republican form of Government. This can be accomplished constitutionally without support or approval from Congress!

34 States pass and then 38 States ratify the Initiatives Amendment by the 2nd Method.
It authorizes groups of 25 or more U.S. Citizens to propose Direct Initiatives.
A very large Grand Jury selects just the very best initiatives so as not to overload the voters.
These Initiatives go on the next Federal Election ballot for vote by the People.

“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.”  (George Washington, 1796). “All power is originally in the People and should be exercised by them in person, if that could be done with convenience, or even with little difficulty.” (James Wilson).

The availability of ballot initiatives in 24 States out of the 34 States needed to apply, and 38 States needed to ratify, a U.S. Constitutional Amendment, provides crucial power to bypass Congress. It permits concentration of the People’s resources to focus on convincing and/or forcing at least 14 of the 28 non-initiative States to submit their amendment applications. After the Amendment is ratified by a Limited Convention of the States (i.e. the Second Method of Amendment) followed by a one-year implementation period, the People will have the direct power to limit Oligarchy.

 Initiatives Qualifying Assembly is a Large Grand Jury
Initiatives Qualifying Assembly is a Large Grand Jury

The practical details to achieve this are presented in this website. Central is a large Grand Jury assembly meeting one week each month, with 12-month staggered membership, fairly paid to oversee the Initiatives system. It deliberates, seeks information and advice, reaches consensus, and decides which few (e.g., under 10) of the People’s Proposed Initiatives qualify to go on the Federal Election Ballot. It also has the ability to improve itself via Initiatives approved by the People, since the chance of getting it “just right” from the beginning is low.

Today, Oligarchs can damage our Democracy far faster than the People can repair it. For example, Oligarchs and friends implemented Citizens United in 2010; but over 9 years later, even the most aggressive responses from the People are still in the early stages. Peoples’ advocacy organizations such as Fix Democracy First – WAmend, Move to Amend, Wolf-PAC, et al, try to solve each problem with a separate Constitutional Amendment with repeated huge efforts and rare success. By comparison, once implemented, the single United States Initiatives Amendment herein enables concurrent consideration and prompt remedy, with advice but without consent of Congress, or the President, or (by Amendment) the Supreme Court, for many important and urgent issues within a few years after they arise, greatly reducing effort, cost, time, and dissention.

Our Founders in their wisdom gave us this path to a Constitutional solution. But to date, we as a nation have not shown the courage and patriotism to follow our Founders’ wisdom and the leadership of our 24 initiative States. “As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory to recur to the same original authority [the People]… whenever it may be necessary to enlarge, diminish, or new-model the powers of government.” (James Madison).

Without U.S. Initiative power, the People procrastinate and gamble that the Oligarchs and Congress will benignly reform themselves; but history predicts this is a futile hope – entrenched international Oligarchy and more dictatorships are likely. By trying the Initiatives solution for a few years, with the built-in ability of the People to adjust, improve, or abort the solution, at a total cost less than building one big warship, the U.S. could regain its democratic republic and world leadership in democracy. By ignoring it, the People will have only themselves to blame as they and their children lose their rights, freedoms, and security. There are thousands of U.S. non-profit organizations seeking to resolve a wide range of valid political and national problems with little hope of success; if enough were to adopt Citizens Initiatives in a unified front they would all vastly increase their chances of individual and collective success.

Quick Answers to Some Obvious Questions:

Download this Summary as PDF

“Unless the mass retains sufficient control over those entrusted with the powers of their government, these will be perverted to their own oppression, and to the perpetuation of wealth and power in the individuals and their families selected for the trust.” (Thomas Jefferson). Clearly, the Founders did not trust elected representatives not to abuse their office to pursue their personal wealth and repeated reelection. But the People have ignored our Founders’ wisdom.

Oligarchy -- a broken CongressConsequently, our Democratic Republic is now a ruling Oligarchy of vastly wealthy individuals and their huge corporations, aided by hordes of lobbyists, non-profit fronts, dark money, and Oligarchs’ media. They use their wealth and resources to select and buy candidates’ loyalty, fund their campaigns, dictate their votes; creating intolerable systemic corruption, spreading big lie propaganda, causing lock-step dysfunction, waste the Nation’s physical and human resources, and ensure that their sitting members of congress are almost always reelected.

Most Members of Congress now represent the Oligarchs not the People: they have created their Oligarchs’ Gilded Age, exploiting the flaws in our Constitution that permit permanent Oligarchy. Our founders knew there were constitutional flaws and pitfalls; they warned us repeatedly and clearly.

Over the last 40 years, the U.S has fallen from the world’s Democracy leader to 25th amongst nations; we are now classified as a flawed democracy! Among many analyses, a 10-min. video and a Senator’s eBook “Captured” explain what has gone wrong. Neither the Peoples’ Congressional choice from mostly preselected and bought candidates, nor choice of Party, nor choice of President, can reverse Oligarchs’ relentless capture of Congress, and with consent of the Senate, the Supreme Court“[You have] A Republic … if you can keep it.” (Benjamin Franklin). But the People have allowed all three branches of our government to become permanent instruments of and for sale to political pressure and cash. The only effective remedy now is for the People to take some superior federal power unto themselves. This website describes how it can be done. It is easier than most Citizens realize, since 70% of us can already vote on state and local initiatives at federal elections! Even the Oligarchs cannot afford to bribe all the people–well, not yet we hope.

A relatively simple solution is for the People to demand that Congress convene a United States Citizens Assembly to recreate trust in the political process by allowing citizens’ decision-making input on issues of great national importance. For example, Citizens’ Assemblies have been used in Canada and the Netherlands to recommend revision of the election systems, in Ireland to consider issues of population ageing, etc. These are worthy efforts, but use statistics companies to select Assembly members, are under Government’s control, and therefore attractive only as a first step towards an effective solution to Oligarchy.

Switzerland, ancient Athens, and 24 U.S. States faced similar problems and came up with better solutions. They grant the People’s the right to propose legislation by ballot Initiatives (a.k.a., proposition, ballot measure), comment in public and Internet, debate and winnow by an Initiatives Qualifying Assembly (in Switzerland, Ancient Greece, and in a very few States to a degree), and then to vote on them directly at Federal elections. Both Switzerland and Athens thrived; Initiative States have done well too. None have ever revoked their ballot Initiative rights. The scope and size of U.S. Federal legislation requires a professional government despite all its defects, but Swiss, Athenian, and State initiative experiences indicate that the accumulation of a few Initiatives a year can limit the worst defects, particularly corruption and Oligarchy. “[A legislature] … should be an exact portrait, in miniature, of the people at large, as it should feel, reason and act like them” (John Adams).

Our Founders anticipated today’s problem and included a Constitutional Amendment solution by the Second Method that Congress cannot stop. We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.” (Alexander Hamilton). (Though Congress so far has always inserted itself and proposed the States’ Amendments using its First Method). The People have the power and the constitutional obligation to compel each State to take the necessary action. Most State capitals are within easy driving distance of their voters, so large pressure demonstrations, voting campaigns, etc. are far easier to implement than in Washington D.C.  “Of the people, by the people, for the people” are not just pretty words, they are very real duties of every American citizen to defend their freedom, most critically against Oligarchic Government.

To fix the flaw and constrain Oligarchy now and for the future, the People through their States must permit U.S. Initiatives on Federal election ballots under the U.S. Constitution, while retaining a republican form of Government. This can be accomplished constitutionally without support or approval from Congress!

34 States pass and then 38 States ratify the Initiatives Amendment by the 2nd Method.
It authorizes groups of 25 or more U.S. Citizens to propose Direct Initiatives.
A very large Grand Jury selects just the very best initiatives so as not to overload the voters.
These Initiatives go on the next Federal Election ballot for vote by the People.

“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.”  (George Washington, 1796). “All power is originally in the People and should be exercised by them in person, if that could be done with convenience, or even with little difficulty.” (James Wilson).

The availability of ballot initiatives in 24 States out of the 34 States needed to apply, and 38 States needed to ratify, a U.S. Constitutional Amendment, provides crucial power to bypass Congress. It permits concentration of the People’s resources to focus on convincing and/or forcing at least 14 of the 28 non-initiative States to submit their amendment applications. After the Amendment is ratified by a Limited Convention of the States (i.e. the Second Method of Amendment) followed by a one-year implementation period, the People will have the direct power to limit Oligarchy.

 Initiatives Qualifying Assembly is a Large Grand Jury
Initiatives Qualifying Assembly is a Large Grand Jury

The practical details to achieve this are presented in this website. Central is a large Grand Jury assembly meeting one week each month, with 12-month staggered membership, fairly paid to oversee the Initiatives system. It deliberates, seeks information and advice, reaches consensus, and decides which few (e.g., under 10) of the People’s Proposed Initiatives qualify to go on the Federal Election Ballot. It also has the ability to improve itself via Initiatives approved by the People, since the chance of getting it “just right” from the beginning is low.

Today, Oligarchs can damage our Democracy far faster than the People can repair it. For example, Oligarchs and friends implemented Citizens United in 2010; but over 9 years later, even the most aggressive responses from the People are still in the early stages. Peoples’ advocacy organizations such as Fix Democracy First – WAmend, Move to Amend, Wolf-PAC, et al, try to solve each problem with a separate Constitutional Amendment with repeated huge efforts and rare success. By comparison, once implemented, the single United States Initiatives Amendment herein enables concurrent consideration and prompt remedy, with advice but without consent of Congress, or the President, or (by Amendment) the Supreme Court, for many important and urgent issues within a few years after they arise, greatly reducing effort, cost, time, and dissention.

Our Founders in their wisdom gave us this path to a Constitutional solution. But to date, we as a nation have not shown the courage and patriotism to follow our Founders’ wisdom and the leadership of our 24 initiative States. “As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory to recur to the same original authority [the People]… whenever it may be necessary to enlarge, diminish, or new-model the powers of government.” (James Madison).

Without U.S. Initiative power, the People procrastinate and gamble that the Oligarchs and Congress will benignly reform themselves; but history predicts this is a futile hope – entrenched international Oligarchy and more dictatorships are likely. By trying the Initiatives solution for a few years, with the built-in ability of the People to adjust, improve, or abort the solution, at a total cost less than building one big warship, the U.S. could regain its democratic republic and world leadership in democracy. By ignoring it, the People will have only themselves to blame as they and their children lose their rights, freedoms, and security. There are thousands of U.S. non-profit organizations seeking to resolve a wide range of valid political and national problems with little hope of success; if enough were to adopt Citizens Initiatives in a unified front they would all vastly increase their chances of individual and collective success.

Quick Answers to Some Obvious Questions:

Download this Summary as PDF
(Show Less)

Problem has Deteriorated Past Government’s Ability to Remedy

The Founders expected frequent problems requiring amendments, in their lifetime producing the first 12 amendments in 16 years, a rate of one every 16 months. Since then, Congress has produced only 15 amendments (some trivial, one reversed) in 194 years, a rate of one every 13 years. U.S. abolition of slavery took a civil war to ratify; women’s vote took 72 years to ratify. Contrary to the Founders’ intentions, Congress clearly finds responsibility for Constitutional Amendments to be a most inconvenient and undesirable burden. Consequently, in many cases, Congress has laxly deferred to the Supreme Court to produce legal decisions that are equivalent to Constitutional Amendments, e.g., Citizens United v. FECRoe v. Wade, Miranda v. ArizonaMcCutcheon v. FEC, etc. Modification or reversal of such decisions generally requires a Constitutional Amendment because it is nearly impossible for the Supreme Court to justify the such action with legal precedent. (more…)

Solution was Anticipated by, and Desirable to the Founders, but Infeasible at that Time

“[A legislature] … should be an exact portrait, in miniature, of the people at large, as it should feel, reason and act like them” (John Adams, 1776)
 “The People were, in fact, the fountain of all power, and by resorting to them, all difficulties were got over. They could alter constitutions as they pleased.” (James Madison, 1787)
 “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.”  (George Washington, 1796)

It all depends on who you trust for critical decisions by your Government:

  1. Congress alone, often following Oligarchs’ orders, OR
  2. Congress supplemented by the People making a few crucial decisions independent of Oligarchs’ influence.

(more…)

Campaign for Amendment Proposed by Congress or by Limited Convention

“…the persons delegated to the administration of the national government will always be disinclined to yield up any portion of the authority of which they were once possessed.” (Alexander Hamilton, 1788)
“The words of this article [V] are peremptory. The Congress “shall call a convention.” Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. And of consequence, all the declamation about the disinclination to a change vanishes in air.…” (Alexander Hamilton, 1788)

It is recognized that the Initiatives Amendment presented on this website is an early draft that requires substantial expert review and revision before the campaign to submit it to the States, and then limited to a few pioneering States so State feedback can be incorporated. It is possible that other organizations will assist or form a coalition since the magnitude of the task is far beyond the capabilities of an ordinary nonprofit corporation. (more…)

Benefits from Initiatives Amendment Solution

The Benefits are that this single Initiatives Amendment authorizes Direct U.S. Initiatives by the People that can provide legislative and constitutional Solutions to numerous Problems that Congress cannot or will not solve. 

About 20 examples of benefits for major issues that Initiatives may solve, and which Congress cannot or will not solve, are shown below. Under today’s Constitution it would take over 200 years to deal with these issues; after the amendment, it will take only a few years to start serious debate and potential resolution of many these and other major issues: (more…)