Is There a Summary of the Initiatives Amendment?
Initiatives Amendment Executive Summary
This summary of the Initiatives Amendment addresses the problem that Congress has abused the People’s trust by creating systemic Congressional corruption, dysfunction, and inefficiency. Moreover, it has usurped our Democratic Republic by transformation into an Oligarchy controlled by the very wealthy individuals; executives, directors, and major stockholders of domestic and international corporations; aided by 12,000 lobbyists who include over 350 retired congresspersons. Congress permits massively merged media corporations that propagandize their issues, facilitate divide and rule strategies. Hundreds of books, studies, and articles leave no doubt about the reality and severity of these Problems. However, Congress cannot and will not produce an effective Solution because Oligarchy bestows Congresspersons with far greater personal benefits than the People can provide. Consequently, Congress strongly accommodates Oligarchy’s wishes and does not consider the People’s wishes. Our government of the people has become by the Oligarchy, for the Oligarchy. (Download PDF)
That many freshman Congresspersons are decent people and unhappy about Oligarchy is largely irrelevant, because Congress quickly corrupts them or Oligarchs’ targeted election funding often ensures that defiant holdouts lose their seats.
The People can vote, donate, petition, and demonstrate, but Congress ignores them or hides behind mostly cosmetic solutions. Congress gives its serious attention only to big money, re-election, massive protest, and to the People’s remaining peaceful authority: the Declaration of Independence proclaims that, when confronted by abuse and usurpation, it is the People’s Right and their Duty to alter their Government.
The People can enforce this remaining Right peacefully only through the Power of the States, which can apply for an Article V Convention, propose Constitutional Amendments, and later ratify those Amendments. Congress has no Constitutional Power to prevent this most deliberate intent of the Framers (Hamilton, Madison, et al.) In August 2014, the Congressional Research Service affirmed that Congress should not impede an Article V Convention that is limited to dealing with a single issue, or group of issues.
To motivate States to alter Federal Government, the People have the Duty to use STATE initiatives to require States to apply for a Convention limited to an Amendment defining a Constitutional Solution. In 18 States with direct initiatives, the People can compel their State to apply. Additionally, in six States with other forms of initiatives, the People can demand State support. In total, these 24 initiative States represent 70 percent of the 34 States needed to apply for the Amendment. In addition, 14 or more non-initiative States must concur to reach the 38 states needed to ratify the Amendment.
In the States, in which the People lack authority to bypass any State Government reluctance or corruption, the People must generate massive voter pressure, apply focus, leverage contestable elections, if necessary forming movements like those that created initiatives to control corruption in 21 States from 1898 to 1918. Financial support will come from the People, the many businesses and corporations that prefer level-playing-field competition to corruption, freedom-loving philanthropists, nonprofits, etc. It will take much time, effort, and money, but our history constraining Robber Barons’ corruption with initiative power 110 years ago shows that it is certainly feasible.
The national effort to pass just one federal Amendment is huge, lengthy, expensive, and exhausting, whereas Oligarchy’s mischief is nimble, quick, lucrative, surreptitious, and recurring. Even an unlimited Constitutional Convention of the states could address only a few issues and cannot anticipate or respond to future issues. Therefore, the Solution must facilitate passage of Federal Laws and proposal of Constitutional Amendments over many years to resolve systemic corruption, dysfunction, inefficiency, Oligarchy, and subsequent attempts to circumvent the People’s intent.
The only way for the People to gain this continuing power to check and balance Government corruption and Oligarchs takeover is by a Limited Constitutional Amendment defining a FEDERAL Direct Initiative System. The People alone will be responsible for and will operate this Initiatives System in accordance with its Constitutional Charter, capable of enforcing the People’s wishes, capable of adapting to new circumstances, funded as an inalienable right of the People. The Constitutional Amendment must Order correct implementation of the System, denying Federal Government the opportunity to subvert it.
Even though the People value their existing STATE initiative rights, Oligarchic manipulation of signature gathering is easy and the qualification process cannot scale effectively to a Federal level. However, an improved Initiatives System makes Federal Initiatives both feasible and effective. Small self-organizing Groups of about 25 Citizens, some excelling with the finest experts and the most competent minds in the nation, provide the most effective way to create excellent remedies. They will have the right to propose Initiatives by publishing them in a newspaper that will concurrently post them to an Internet database. An Internet website (adopting social media and collaboration technologies) will present all proposed Initiatives enabling the People to search, evaluate, comment, grade, suggest improvement, and avoid duplication; however, data that might encourage effects such as “group think”, “decision cascade”, etc. will not be displayed while those risks are significant. Constraints, declining over time, will reduce initial inundation, mischievous over-use, and backlog.
The People will probably create a large number of proposed initiatives, but the People will want only a few on their ballot. Mirroring all the People, an adequately compensated and very well protected Assembly of about 500 randomly selected Citizens will perform the culling—adopting many concepts of a large federal Grand Jury process, our most incorruptible decision-making method of choosing between alternatives. (At a State level since 2012, the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission convenes a randomly selected panel of voters to evaluate state initiatives before they go on the ballot.) The Assembly (Jury) size assures representation of all the People’s views to national poll accuracy, makes any tampering effort dangerous and impracticable, and provides small-jury teams to evaluate the proposed Initiatives, ranking and finally, with the full jury, voting to select the best few as Candidate Initiatives for the People’s vote at each Federal Election.
After Candidate Initiative publication, months of open public debate will ensue, then the People will vote their decision at the next General Election. Congress shall not have an override power nor the President a veto power over a FEDERAL Initiative. Thus, citizen legislation can become law in one to three years after a citizen group originally wrote it—fast enough to be effective. Federal Constitutional Initiatives will go directly to the State Legislatures for their ratification.
This Solution can restore and defend their Democratic Republic, the People recommitted to and supportive of their Government, guardians of their Constitution and Government. The People value initiative power—since South Dakota first adopted initiatives in 1898, no State has ever discontinued initiatives.
Note that this Solution does not advocate any specific Federal Initiative subject or content—that is up to the People after this Solution is in place.
Without a Solution, the People can expect the Problems to get worse. Individuals who neglect their Duty and Right to alter their corrupt, dysfunctional, inefficient, and plutocratic Government are complicit in the consequences. The world watches while the true meaning of our democratic republic, the integrity of our Citizens, and our nation’s claim to leadership are in the balance.