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MEMBER DIARY

Tea Party Amendment

Proposed Amendment XXVIII

Section 1.  All bills before Congress shall be sequestered, remain unaltered and be made generally available to the public for a period of five days plus one working day per thousand words, before every vote in either House of Congress.

When a bill before Congress amends existing statutes, the complete amended text of all affected statutes shall be posted with the bill at each stage of the legislative process.

Any Senator or Representative that violates these requirements shall be immediately removed from office and shall be ineligible for election or appointment  to any office in the United States Government, or to receive any benefits from any public service.  Members of Congress removed from office for violating the terms of this section may not be pardoned nor may their accession to public office be restored by any Agency of the United States.

Section 2.  The Congress of the United States may not delegate its law making powers.  All laws based on delegated powers are void on the passage of this amendment.

In the Government of the United States, no person or council shall have discretionary powers not listed in the Constitution of the United States.

The Senate may not delegate its power to approve treaties.  Treaties with terms that restrict trade or industry or that provide payments to foreign Governments or international organizations must be available to the public when brought before the Senate for review.

All bills that contain tariff provisions expire four years after becoming law.  All tariffs and tax laws expire on passage of this amendment.

Section 3.  The President shall only issue Executive Orders to organize and direct activities of the Executive Branch of Government in compliance with law; however, Executive Orders may not make or have the force of law.

The President may impound but not reallocate funds authorized by Congress.  The President may impound payments to foreign states or international organizations authorized in treaties.  Authorizations for impounded funds shall be void after two years.

Section 4.  No court of the United States may exist except in the Judicial Branch of the Government of the United States.

No court of the United States may assume any executive or legislative powers or order any legislative body to pass any law.

No court of the United States may respect any law or policy that limits or delays the Government’s obligation to inform the public of its actions under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

No court may issue decisions that extend the power of the Government of the United States.

Contempt of the Constitution shall be a sufficient charge for the impeachment and removal from office of any judge in the Judicial Branch of Government.

Section 5.  A United States Senator may be recalled by a three-fourths vote of the legislature of that State and be replaced by a candidate chosen by that legislature to serve the remaining term.

The Congress of the United States may not require any of the Several States to do any task without providing all of the funds necessary to complete that task.

The Constitutions and laws of the Several States shall have the sole power to determine the boundaries of all political districts in those States.

No law of the United States may restrict commerce within or between the Several States or regulate the development of natural resources within the States or off their shores unless the legislatures of two-thirds of the States pass a sponsoring resolution for that law.

If the legislatures of two-thirds of the States pass a Nullification resolution against any law of the United States, that law is void.  The Nullification resolution voids court decisions based on that law.

The Congress and the Several States shall have concurrent power to enforce all laws passed by Congress.

All lands held by the United States that are not needed to provide services to the people of the United States shall be returned to the States without restrictions on passage of this amendment.

Section 6.  No law, policy, treaty or judicial decision may diminish the sovereignty of the United States in law, territory or abrogate any rights recognized in the Constitution.

No treaty may create any financial obligation for the United States for more than three years.

Upon passage of this amendment, the United States shall review and modify or abrogate all treaty obligations as necessary to meet these restrictions within two years.

Section 7.  No law of the United States may diminish the impartiality of the law of the United States or any State, or alter the property or contract rights of the people in any State.

The United States shall not make any act illegal without making a reckless false charge or prosecution of that act illegal.

Any law or court decision that violates these restrictions is void on passage of this amendment.

Section 8.  The United States may not acquire private property except for public ownership and essential public use.  The Eminent Domain powers of the United States shall be exercised only by the Executive Branch of Government on projects authorized by Congress and used only when open market purchasing is impossible.

Laws governing the use of Eminent Domain powers shall be determined by Congress and disputes over the use of these powers adjudicated in the courts of the United States.

The Eminent Domain powers of the several states shall be determined by the Constitutions of those States and disputes over the use of these powers adjudicated in the courts of those States.

Section 9.  The United States may not tax the property of any person or enterprise.  The United States may not tax the factors of production necessary for any enterprise except by tariff.  The products of any enterprise may be taxed only at the point of retail sale and a single tax rate shall be used for each product type.

In the United States, personal income from any Government or enterprise shall be assigned a single tax rate.  Personal income received from a private person for occasional services may not be taxed.  In the United States, there shall be no rebate law for income or sales tax, or any exemptions from taxation.  The United States shall have no other taxing authority.

Section 10.  The actual expenditures of the United States Government may not exceed tax revenues over any six month period.  If expenditures exceed revenues over this period, a deficit exist.

The United States may borrow money only with Congressional authorization.  The borrowed money shall be counted as revenue however, the borrowed money and the cost of the borrowed money shall be counted as an expenditure at the time the money is borrowed.

The United States Treasury shall have the sole power to print money and shall do so only with Congressional authorization.  If the Congress directs the Treasury to expand the supply of money, the increase will be counted once as revenue and twice as an expenditure at the time of the expansion.  A decrease in the money supply shall not be counted as revenue or expenditure.

The Treasury shall post all revenues and expenditures in an archive at the end of each month before the public.  If the Treasury fails to post accurate financial data on time, the President and the Secretary of the Treasury shall be subject to impeachment and removal from office for Contempt of the Constitution.

Throughout the last twenty-four month period, the amount of money each Senator and Representative votes to spend shall be totaled.  If a deficit occurs, the fifty members of Congress with the highest expenditures shall be immediately removed from office and shall be ineligible to be elected, or appointed to any office in the United States or to receive any benefits from any public service.  If a number of members have the same total and some must be among the highest fifty, all of these members are removed from office.

Members of Congress removed from office for violating the terms of this section may not be pardoned nor may their accession to public office be restored by any Agency of the United States.

Section 11. The United States may not own any part of any enterprise or control the management.  On passage of this amendment, the Government shall sell all acquired private property within six months.

Section 12. The Council of the Several States shall be composed of the Governor, the Attorney General and the Secretary of State from each State.

If four-fifths of the Council of the Several States determines that the Government of the United States has exceeded or failed to perform its enumerated powers, or neglected its duties, the Council shall assume only the impeachment powers of the House of Representatives.

No law of the United States or any State may impede the Council in any of its functions.  The Council shall have only those powers enumerated in the Constitution of the United States.

The impeachment powers shall not be restored to the House of Representatives until the Council adjourns.

If the Council impeaches any member of the Executive or Judicial Branch, all members of the House of Representatives and all of their supporting staff shall be reduced to half salary until the next Congress convenes.

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Notes for the Proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

Introduction:  Our purpose is to restore the republic.  The “Tea Party” movement is a full scale revolt against arrogant and unconstitutional government.  This “Tea Party” amendment is an attempt to forge the many dissatisfactions our group has with government into an instrument that can force reform.

The essential strategy is this:  this instrument must unite, not divide the movement and it must work.  There are no social issues addressed in this amendment since the tea party movement is not a social issues movement.

The founding fathers of the United States were “systems thinkers.”  They knew that all parts of government must work and compete.  They designed a republic, supported by democracy, with federalism and separation of powers.  When working properly, this republic is not a tranquil place; however, the design promotes competitive struggles that lead to reasonable policies.

Over the last century, the architecture of our republic has been slowly breaking down.  Today we have a concentration of power in Washington D.C. that can and is forcing ruinous policies on the American people at a terrifying pace.  If we are to keep our liberty and restore the republic, we must restore the architecture of government.

There are several main problems before the people.

Problem Areas (Remedies)

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1.  The breakdown of representative government. (Section 1)

2.  The breakdown of the separation of powers. (Section 2,3,4)

3.  The breakdown of federalism. (Section 5)

4.  Loss of sovereignty. (Section 6)

5.  The breakdown of the rule of law. (Section 7)

6.  Eminent Domain. (Section 8 )

7.  Taxation and currency. (Section 9)

8.  Deficit Spending.  (Section 10)

9.  Loss of market economy. (Section 11)

10. Gross incompetence of all branches. (Section 12)

Note 1.0:  The purpose of Section 1 is to restore representative government.

Note 1.1:  The citizens of the United States are not being represented in Congress when their Senators and Representatives are not allowed sufficient time to read and understand pending legislation before voting on it.  This long standing practice by Congress clearly shows their contempt for democracy and the public.  The Congress will stop this practice only when the people force them to do so.  Section 1 of this amendment forces Congress to allow each member time to read (and hopefully to understand) pending legislation before voting.  A word count is used because it is an objective measure of the length of a document.  Complex documents may require more time than the minimum required by Section 1 but at least the members of Congress will have a chance to realize this fact and demand more time for research and analysis from the leadership.  Since most bills are voted on several times in both the Senate and House of Representatives, this restriction should help the people to improve their representation in government.  Section 1 of this amendment does not prevent Congress from calling for votes in committee meetings or hearings nor does it alter other normal legislative procedures.

Note 1.2:  Often bills will contain text that alters existing statutes.  Members of Congress and the people need to be able to understand the consequences of these alterations before the Congress votes.

Note 1.3:  Much bad law results from the members of Congress “slipping in” what is called “amendments” to large stacks of papers few really understand.  The public only finds out what the law is when it is too late to do anything about it.  The people of the United States do not need legislators who employ this deceptive practice.

Note 2.0:  The purpose of Sections 2, 3 and 4 is to restore the separation of powers.

Note 2.1:  The principle of separation of powers is a vital aspect of our republic.  The Congress and the courts have allowed agencies in the Executive Branch to make law.  This practice is a clear violation of the Constitution (Article I, Section 1).

Note 2.2:  Members of the Government are public servants (not rulers) and as such, their powers and duties must be carefully defined.

Note 2.3:  The Government has developed the habit of giving away our money and opportunity without our consent.  The Government has no right to do this.

Note 2.4:  Since tariffs are effectively a national sales tax on items of foreign origin, the process of setting these taxes needs to be reviewed frequently.

Note 3.1:  The Constitution does not give the President the power to make law.  The use of the Executive Order to make law is a long standing abuse of executive authority.  In order to restore the separation of powers, the people must explicitly deny the President the power to make law.

Note 3.2:   Throughout most of our history, Presidents impounded (refused to spend) funds authorized by Congress to reduce wasteful spending.  Generally, this practice was very successful.  In 1974, the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act ended the President’s power to withhold authorized expenditures.  Section 3 allows Presidents to help balance the budget.

Note 4.1:  When courts exist in agencies of the Executive Branch of Government or when courts in the Judicial Branch of Government assume legislative powers, there is a violation of the separation of powers.

Note 4.3:  This country needs the courts to be courageous and insist that the Government provide complete and accurate information to the public when required.

Note 4.4:  Everyone who takes the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” must decide what the Constitution means.  The judges on the Supreme Court are no exception.  Today we see a court that is short on honesty and courage.  Judges should be removed from the court when they misconstrue the meaning of the Constitution.  What is Contempt of the Constitution?  The answer lies in the charge:  “the Government of the United States has exceeded or failed to perform its enumerated powers, or neglected its duties”.

Note 5.0:  Our republic relies on the concept of joint sovereignty:  federalism.  The purpose of Section 5 is to restore federalism.

Note 5.1:  Originally, the Senate was designed to represent the state legislatures in the Government of the United States.  Senators were chosen by the legislatures (Article 1 Section 3 of the Constitution).  The Seventeenth Amendment changed this reducing the state legislature’s influence on the laws of the United States.  This concentrated more power in Washington DC reducing state sovereignty.  Allowing the legislatures to recall Senators restores their influence.

Note 5.2:  Unfunded mandates from Congress forces States to raise taxes and do projects that the people of that State have not approved.  This makes the orderly control of state budgets difficult.

Note 5.3:  The determination of political districts is a state’s right.

Note 5.4:  The commerce clause was written so Federal Government could prevent any State from obstructing commerce among the States.  It has been used to obstruct commerce and abuse property rights.  If the people generally feel that some commerce must be restricted, the “sponsoring resolution” provides an orderly process.

Note 5.5:  Nullification is a natural and healthy process in a federal system.  We should not tolerate bad law; just nullify it.

Note 5.6:  The Congress has passed laws then told the States that they can not enforce them.  This puts the States in an impossible position.  Section 5 allows but does not force the States to enforce federal law.  This Section does not make State agencies the lead agencies in the enforcement process.

Note 5.7:  Much land is held by the Federal Government without reason.  States are being denied the opportunity to develop this land (and provide jobs).  Some or all National Parks can be retained (or converted to State parks) depending on the people’s preferences.  Military bases, Nuclear test sites, federal buildings, etc., would definitely be retained by the United States.

Note 6.0:  In Article VI of the Constitution we have:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

The purpose of Section 6 is to prevent the Government from using treaties to compromise our sovereignty, limit our rights or destroy our economy.

Note 6.1:  The method is to limit “the Authority of the United States” so the Government can’t put Americans under foreign laws.  Those who would destroy our sovereignty are in fact committing Treason against the people of the United States.

Note 6.2:  If we limit financial obligations in treaties to three years,  the State Department, Senate and House of Representatives will have to come back to the people every three years and explain why they want to take our hard earned money and send it overseas.

Note 7.0:  The purpose of Section 7 is to keep the Government from stealing our property, wrecking our jobs or making the law crooked.

Note 7.1:  Our State property and contract rights are a powerful defense against the Federal Government only if the Federal Government can’t override them.  Civil forfeitures and many other violations of property rights (and due process) will not be allowed unless the States choose to allow them.

Note 7.2:  False charges and prosecutions abuse the law.  Abuse the law is a common feature of failed states and when it is combined with greed or racism, the results are horrific.

Note 8.0:  Abuse of the Eminent Domain powers is a serious problem in the United States.  Currently, local government can conspire with developers and transfer private property to business using eminent domain.  The cowardly Supreme Court has approved this nonsense.

Note 9.0:  One of the most devious and destructive actions of the United States Congress is tax policy.  Bad tax policy divides communities, creates resentments and reduces prosperity.

The most efficient and least destructive taxes are direct taxes on income and sales.  A business tax is just a hidden (devious) national sales tax that is less efficient than an actual national sales tax.  When a business is taxed, it must pass the tax along to its customers as a price increase.  The taxed business also incurs additional costs, the “costs of compliance”, and these costs are also passed to their customers.  The business may also take many actions to avoid taxation.  All of these activities make the business less efficient, increasing the cost of their products to the customers.  The taxed business may be less able to grow, innovate and produce additional jobs.

In time of war, the Congress can raise income or sales tax or both as a “war tax” to avoid a deficit.  The same can be done for national emergencies (“emergency tax”, etc.).  If the Congress is allowed to run deficits during wars, we will be continually at war.  It is fair to say that we will always be at war with terrorists of various kinds.  Congress could just declare that the United States is at war with terrorism and avoid any restraint.

Personal income tax will not be too high as long as everyone pays the same rate.  Tax rates are only high when some people can be targeted while others are spared.  The people are generally more efficient at resisting high taxes than resisting excessive spending.

Section 9 forces the Federal and State governments to use a flat tax (tax at one rate) when taxing income.  The Congress would set the Federal flat tax rate and each State would set the flat tax rate for that State (the federal or any State rate could be zero).

The Federal Government will only be able to apply a sales tax to items that are not factors of production for any enterprise.  This assures the people that commodities (energy, basic food stuff), communications equipment and services, computers, financial services, etc. can never be taxed by the Federal Government.  The Federal Government will never be able to use a “Value Added Tax” since this is a tax on factors of production (and productivity).  The power of the States to tax personal and business property or factors of production is not restricted by this section.  For example, any State could choose to tax gasoline, but under this amendment, the Federal Government can not.

Note 10.0:  The purpose of Section 10 is to produce a balanced budget and stable currency.  The method is one of trapping the Congress between taxpayer revolts and “political death.”

Note 10.1:  A six month “moving window” is used to determine the surplus or deficit.

Note 10.2:  If each member of Congress is “credited” with an expenditure when they vote for a loan, the Congress will be reluctant to borrow money (and pile up debt).

Note 10.3:  This part of Section 10 (along with Section 2 “The Congress of the United States may not delegate its law making powers.”) eliminates the Federal Reserve System and should minimize currency debasement.  This leads to a “virtual gold” standard and a stable dollar.

Note 10.5:  A twenty-four month “moving window” is used to determine the total expenditures for each member of Congress.

Note 11.0:  The purpose of this section is to eliminate socialism at the national level.

Note 12.0:  The purpose of Section 12 is to provide the States with an orderly means of revolt.

General Comments:

Congress will never pass this proposed amendment.  Article V of the Constitution states:  “… 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,”

The States could take the following action:  Authorize three people (Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State) to attend and vote at any “Convention for proposing Amendments” called by the legislature of any State.  These three people would have only the authority to vote to send (or not to send) any amendment to the legislatures for approval.  They would specifically lack the authority to make speeches, hold hearings, delay the voting or amend proposed amendments.  If two or three of these people from a State vote to send the proposed amendment to all of the State legislatures for final approval, that State has approved the proposed amendment at the convention.  If two thirds of the States vote to send the proposed amendment to the legislatures, then the State legislatures take over the process.  If two thirds of the States vote not to send the proposed amendment to the legislatures, the process ends.  If Congress is allowed to “capture” the amendment, Congress will “improve” (destroy) it.

We have lost confidence in the Government’s ability to reform itself.  From Texas, the authors are:

Harold R. Hancock Jr. David C. Bruno

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