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Agenda 21 and Its ICLEI Stepchild

By John F. McManus, President

The centuries-long drive to create a totalitarian world government hasn’t been derailed. Because of widespread opposition, however, the route chosen to accomplish the goal has taken numerous twists and turns. The most devilishly effective method being currently employed to carry out the totalitarian scheme doesn’t call for military action or a series of sudden national coups d’etat. Instead, veteran promoters of the drive are using a “piecemeal” approach aimed at destroying personal freedom and transferring national sovereignty to the United Nations. This process brings to mind the oft-repeated poser: “How does one eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time!”

Using the “Piecemeal” Approach
Over the past few decades, well-known internationalist Zbigniew Brzezinski has bounced back and forth between government and academic posts. In 1970, he openly proposed world government in his 300-page book entitled Between Two Ages. Its recommendations led to the 1973 formation of the Trilateral Commission (TC), which he then led for many years. World government, he stated in his book, could be brought about in “piecemeal” fashion through “a variety of indirect ties and already developing limitations on national sovereignty.”

Four years later, another professor and occasional State Department veteran named Richard N. Gardner boldly suggested the same strategy in his article “The Hard Road to World Order.” Published in the April 1974 issue of Foreign Affairs, the journal of the world-government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations, Gardner lamented that a single leap into world government, which he preferred, wasn’t attainable. So he urged “an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece.” And he pointedly advocated a “piecemeal” transfer of power to such international organizations as the UN’s International Monetary Fund, the UN’s World Bank, the UN-led World Food Conference, the UN-led Population Conference, even a United Nations military arm.

The end sought by these two internationalist heavyweights — and many other likeminded globalists — would result in forced redistribution of the world’s wealth, termination of basic freedoms (religion, speech, publishing, property rights, etc.), and complete regimentation of all human activity right down to the local level.

It’s no surprise, therefore, to discover that the “piecemeal” process aiming toward this megalomaniacal goal appears in the UN’s Agenda 21. This enormous document emerged from the highly publicized 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Its 1,100 pages supply a detailed program for social engineering on such a massive scale that it would, if fully implemented, accomplish complete regimentation of all life on the planet during the 21st Century. Hence the name Agenda 21.

Rio Hosted the Birth of Agenda 21
More than 35,000 government officials, diplomats, environmental activists, and journalists journeyed to the UN’s 1992 extravaganza in Brazil. In country after country, achieving the goal contained in Agenda 21 has now proceeded in “piecemeal” fashion. The deceptively labeled steps leading to the overall goal usually fall under the label “sustainable development.” But they also appear under such appealing terms as “save the earth,” “biodiversity,” “environmental justice,” etc. Implementation of Agenda 21 at the local level also appears as “Smart Growth Initiatives,” “Resilient Cities,” “Regional Visioning Projects,” and a host of titles employing the word “Green.”

Attorney David Sitarz, one of the major editors of the massive Agenda 21 document, minced no words in telling the world its overall purpose. His revealing summary appeared in its early pages:

Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions which are intended to be implemented by every person on earth.... It calls for specific changes in the activities of all people.... Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced — a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. This shift will demand that a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level.

If a major enthusiast for Agenda 21 admits that this comprehensive document calls for the total regimentation of all life on Planet Earth, shouldn’t people take notice? Sitarz continued:

There are specific actions which are intended to be undertaken by multinational corporations and entrepreneurs, by financial institutions, by high-end companies and indigenous people, by workers and labor unions, by farmers and consumers, by students and schools, by governments and legislators, by scientists, by women, by children — in short by every person on earth.

“Every person on earth”? Yes indeed. What Sitarz wrote led The New American magazine’s William Jasper to conclude that Agenda 21’s “tyrannical implications are so stunningly transparent that it seems impossible that any nation not overtly communist could endorse it.” Yet, most nations have endorsed it and have been implementing its recommendations — piece by piece — while the far-reaching totalitarian goal remains in the shadows.

Piecemeal Implementation of Agenda 21 Through ICLEI
Launched in 1990, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is one of many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in association with the United Nations. Self-described as “an association of over 1,200 local government members who are committed to sustainable development,” ICLEI seeks to swallow up a nation’s independence by having local governments adopt the overall Agenda 21 program in piecemeal fashion. Because independent nations are obviously too large to swallow in a single gulp, ICLEI was created to gain control over local governments one bite at a time.

ICLEI’s website openly admits that its Local Agenda 21 Model Communities Program will “aid local governments in implementing Chapter 28 of Agenda 21, the global action plan for sustainable development.” Former Clinton administration adviser J. Gary Lawrence later worried that there might be some who discover that the ICLEI effort constitutes “an attack on the power of the nation-state.” At a seminar in England, he told a British audience,

The segment of our society who fear “one-world government” and a UN invasion of the United States through which our individual freedoms might be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined [in our effort.] So, we’ll call our processes something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management, smart growth.

Veteran “sustainable development” opponent Tom DeWeese, the leader of the Virginia-based American Policy Center, notes that the Sustainable Development plan contained in the Agenda 21 plan is being advanced under an array of deceptively labeled initiatives such as:

… cap and trade, global warming, population control, gun control, open borders and illegal immigration, higher taxes, higher gasoline prices, refusal to drill for oil and natural gas, education restructuring, international IDs, health supplement control, food control, farming “reform,” control of private property, etc.

While pointing out that ICLEI is already functioning in other countries, DeWeese has published a list of 544 U.S. communities (cities, towns, counties) where ICLEI is hard at work while being financed by local tax revenues. Just as the term “global warming” has lately been replaced by the increasingly mocked “climate change,” ICLEI has adopted a newer name, “ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability.” The hope is that the four-word addition to its title will overcome whatever fear might be generated by discovery of the word “International” in its full name. Yet ICLEI’s website actually bares its internationalist goal: “Connect cities and local governments to the United Nations and other international bodies.” Each would then “help their countries implement multilateral environmental agreements,” such as those produced at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. That means Agenda 21.

Americans Awakening to the Threat
Early in 2011, the Board of Commissioners in Carroll County Maryland voted unanimously to abolish the county’s “Office of Sustainability” and withdraw from the ICLEI program. Commissioner Richard Rothstein explained that the cost of the program wasn’t the greatest motivation for the commissioners’ decision. They took their action because of their awareness that ICLEI is “an organization with extreme beliefs on global warming that promotes United Nations big-government socio-economic policies.... In reality, Agenda 21-based sustainability programs seek government control of land, labor and capital....” City, county and community leaders across the nation should take heed.

The city of Edmond, Oklahoma, has also pulled out of ICLEI. In Maine, the state’s Department of Transportation cancelled plans for the “Gateway Project,” a plan to create unnecessary linkages among 20 communities. Some opponents of the Maine project expressed their belief that the idea stemmed from the overall Agenda 21 planning.

While some Americans now realize that Agenda 21 and its numerous stepchildren pose a danger to their communities and their nation, many more must be made aware. Far more than considerations about the cost and control associated with involvement, the more important overall threat posed by Agenda 21 is loss of independence at the community, county, state, and national levels. The designs of the globalists who are working to seize control of the world — piecemeal, step-by-step, bite by bite, or however else the process can be described — must be blocked. Our nation has always benefited from its diverse communities and independent-thinking citizens bound together loosely under the U.S. and state constitutions.

Let’s keep it that way!

President’s Corner

By John F. McManus, President

Hot off the press! A paperback edition of William F. Buckley, Jr.: Pied Piper for the Establishment is now available. The original edition, released as a hardback in 2002, generated a welcome bevy of responses, one of which came from Mr. Buckley himself.  In the midst of a published interview appearing a few months after we sent him a copy of the book, he surprised us by acknowledging that an unflattering book about his career actually existed.  In that March 2003 Human Events interview, Buckley stated of the book: “It’s about 300 pages…. It’s mostly about how I was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.”  He then used the opportunity provided, as he always used any opportunity, to disparage Robert Welch and the efforts of The John Birch Society.

Of course, the book provides a great deal more about the Establishment’s favorite conservative than his Council on Foreign Relations membership, which he proudly announced in 1974 within the pages of his National Review magazine. Let it be said right away that, in the 52-year existence of The John Birch Society, we have had no more effective enemy than this man. No communist or identifiable leftist could have kept millions of Americans from examining the Society, which is what Buckley accomplished. For his constant efforts that included sniping, misrepresentations, and nastiness about the Society and Mr. Welch, he won great favor with America’s internal enemies. But he failed to accomplish his frequently stated boast to his leftist, neoconservative, and CFR friends that he would destroy the Society.

Soon after my book appeared in 2002, I delivered a speech about it and its main character before a sizeable audience in New Hampshire. Happily, the C-SPAN network taped the program and broadcast it nationwide several times during subsequent weeks. That exposure brought us numerous inquiries and orders for the book from people who were searching for some answers about why our country was being led so poorly, and how Mr. Buckley had contributed to its decline. After orders for books had been fulfilled for those curious persons, they were contacted by a staff official or a member who found no need to explain the conspiratorial grip on our country or the plan of The John Birch Society. The book had done the job quite well. It still performs well for any reader.

The Buckley Career
While a student at Yale University, Buckley accepted membership in its extremely shady and decidedly bizarre training ground for conspiratorial efforts known as the Skull & Bones Society. Soon he accepted assignment as a “deep cover” operative for the CIA although he never explained what the deep cover entailed. He then sought and won the role of hero for 1950s conservatives with two books he had written: God and Man at Yale and McCarthy and His Enemies. But a careful reading of both shows that each amounted more to a reputation builder for Buckley than a condemnation of Yale or a defense of McCarthy.  His criticism of Yale didn’t deter him from sending his only child there. And, after reading the manuscript about her husband, Senator McCarthy’s wife angrily advised him not to endorse it in any way because it portrayed the Senator precisely as his enemies wanted him to become known. Then in 1955, Buckley’s National Review magazine emerged, even attracting for a time the enthusiastic support of Robert Welch whose warm endorsement of the publication generated a large number of subscribers. Mr. Welch’s friendship with Buckley was repaid with years of both open and behind-the-scenes hostility. 

Supplying a brief but substantive history of the CIA, the CFR, the Skull & Bones Society, the neoconservative movement, the nation’s moral slide, and the role Buckley played in each, William F. Buckley, Jr.: Pied Piper For the Establishment is an excellent introduction to the conspiratorial plot against our country and the role played by Buckley in so much of its skullduggery. But it also contains a closing chapter pointing out the worth of The John Birch Society that Buckley sought to minimize and wipe from existence. In addition, the book amounts to a much-needed warning about other supposed allies who are cleverly working against our nation’s interests.  

Buckley’s Former Associates and Friends
Joseph Sobran went to work for National Review magazine soon after graduating from college in the 1960s. He labored in the Buckley-led vineyard for 21 years before being betrayed in 1991 by the man he thought was a friend. When I began gathering the facts about the Buckley career, I visited with Joe and told him of my intention. Ever the kind and gentle man, Joe cautioned me to be careful about the William Buckley he had come to know because “he is good at retaliation.” Joe hadn’t kept any files about his experience with his former employer and felt at the time that he couldn’t add much about “Mr. Conservative” for me.  But before he passed away in 2010, Joe read my book and his enthusiasm for it was boundless. “I wish I’d known about all of this when I was working with him,” he told me. I gently asked him, “Did you read the entire book?”  And he responded, “Jack, I read it twice. Look at all the marginal notes I made and the pages I have dog-eared. Everyone should read this book.” I remain very grateful for Joe’s enthusiasm.

Numerous other former contributors to National Review as well as conservative leaders who had known Buckley eventually saw through him and issued their own denunciations. Medford Evans, Kevin Phillips, Brent Bozell, Don Feder, Thomas Lane, Murray Rothbard, even the leaders of the Buckley-created Young Americans for Freedom movement stated their reasons why they had parted company with the man so frequently named by leftists as the nation’s “responsible conservative.”  Brent Bozell’s defection was especially telling inasmuch as he and Buckley had been extremely close friends at Yale, and Buckley’s sister Patricia had become Mrs. Bozell. The joint denunciation offered by the Bozells centered on Bill’s acceptance of the legitimacy of abortion and his endorsement of the “gay” agenda, prostitution, and marijuana.

The Book Is Needed As a Warning
While participating in the two recent CPAC gatherings in the nation’s capital, we weren’t surprised that many of the 11,000 who attended continued to express admiration for Buckley. More often than not, the speakers and some of the visitors to our well-stocked booth recalled all the “good” Mr. Buckley had done for the conservative movement.  In 2010, we were able simply to point to a single display copy of my book and suggest that there was a lot more to know about the man. But in 2011, we had the new paperback edition for sale. Some who saw the book purchased a copy; some said they were delighted that someone was finally exposing “that faker”; but some were downright angry that we would dare raise any questions about their hero. We simply informed the Buckley lovers that nothing stated in the book had ever been challenged and that they needed to “rethink” whatever they believed about the man. 

It is very obvious that a completely misleading image of Mr. Buckley remains deeply embedded in many who consider themselves “conservatives.” But a sizeable number of the attendees at each of the two recent CPAC events now know that there is more to learn about Mr. Buckley and the sinister role he played — if they are willing to open their minds to truth.

We chose to use the term “Pied Piper” because Buckley’s career fits so aptly with the chief character in the German folk legend popularized by Robert Browning. Used to describe a false and dangerous individual who gains one’s confidence and then leads him to destruction, the label fits William F. Buckley very well. The book we have written about him will help to keep honest readers from being misled by others. Our carefully compiled history of liberaldom’s favorite “conservative” serves as a much needed alarm, but also an introduction to the conspiracy Buckley served so effectively, and a brief look at how to keep our country free and independent through the work of The John Birch Society.

President's Corner

by John F. McManus, President

Last December, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson ruled in a suit brought by the state of Virginia that the American people cannot be forced by President Obama’s congressionally passed healthcare measure to buy health insurance. His ruling countered the claim of government lawyers that the power compelling the people to make such a purchase was contained in the Constitution’s “commerce clause,” and that buying insurance is commerce.

The Virginia judge held that not buying insurance is the direct opposite of commerce because commerce has always been understood as positive economic activity. Not to engage in economic activity, he sensibly reasoned, can hardly be included as economic activity. So, barring appeal to a higher court, this portion of the ObamaCare measure has been struck down.

While we can applaud Judge Hudson’s common-sense decision, we do not agree with his willingness to accept the government’s inherent claim that all positive commerce falls under federal control. The Constitution reads in part that “Congress shall have power to regulate commerce ... among the several states.” What the Founders meant was that there should be no levies imposed on the transfer of goods from one state to another. James Madison warned that failure to forbid such a practice “would nourish unnecessary animosities, and not improbably terminate in serious interruptions of the public tranquility.” In simple terms, he said that the federal government should keep the states from taxing each other whenever goods crossed state lines. It would have been more helpful if Judge Hudson had relied on this attitude to strike down what has been termed the “individual mandate” from ObamaCare.

At the end of January 2011, however, a second federal judge struck a more substantive blow at ObamaCare, this time in a suit brought by the attorneys general of 26 states. Government lawyers again pointed to the commerce clause to justify the measure. Nevertheless, agreeing with Judge Hudson condemning reliance on the commerce clause to justify the “individual mandate,” U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled from his bench in Pensacola, Florida: “There is quite literally no decision that, in the natural course of events, does not have an economic impact of some sort. The decisions of whether and when to buy a house, a car, a television set, a dinner, or a cup of coffee also have financial impact ... and have a substantial effect of interstate commerce.” If allowed to stand as a form of regulated commerce, inferred Judge Hudson, ObamaCare’s “individual mandate” would open the door to federal regulation of every commercial activity.

In the Florida case, however, the government’s lawyers also pointed to what is called the “necessary and proper clause” of the Constitution to claim that the measure is constitutional. This clause appears in Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 and states that Congress shall have power to “make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States….” Again we turn to James Madison, who stated that the clause in question “only extended to enumerated powers. Should Congress attempt to extend it to any other power not enumerated, it would not be warranted.” In other words, necessary and proper law has to deal with powers specifically granted within the Constitution and no more. There is no power granted to Congress anywhere in the Constitution to deal with the nation’s health industry, hence ObamaCare cannot be deemed necessary and proper because there is no “foregoing power” to justify it in the first place.

Where Judge Hudson took aim only at the “individual mandate” portion of ObamaCare, Judge Vinson said that this portion of the entire law could not be “severed” from its remainder. He ruled that the whole law should be considered null. And his ruling supported claims of 26 states where Judge Hudson’s ruling dealt only with a suit brought by the single state of Virginia.

What does this mean for ObamaCare? It means that the great “triumph” of the President’s administration is in deep trouble. But the administration’s lawyers will surely appeal the matter to a higher court and, predictably, to the Supreme Court. Because other portions of ObamaCare are already being implemented, we would like to see the process proceed quickly. And, of course, we trust that courts higher than the one presided over by Judge Vinson will agree with him that all of ObamaCare is unconstitutional, not just this portion or that portion.

How Does the Conspiracy Work?

By John F. McManus, President

The John Birch Society is back in the news. We’ve been getting blamed for the rise of the Tea Party movement and targeted by some pundits who are searching for someone to blame for the nation’s shift to the right. It is good news that JBS has been “rediscovered” by those who wish the Society would simply go away.

A favorite topic of those who find JBS unacceptable is the Society’s claim regarding conspiracy. Yes, JBS believes that the problems facing our nation are largely the result of a conspiratorial drive to build a totalitarian world government. So when Time magazine’s Joe Klein scoffed at the Society because of “ridiculous conspiracy theories,” or Brit Hume of Fox News targeted the JBS belief that our nation’s policies are “dominated by a Communist conspiracy,” we can at least be sure they are paying attention.

The JBS has always maintained that things happen because men want them to happen and, further, that we are battling persons more than combating ideas. If what harms our nation and its people is evil, and a plan or a pattern can be shown promoting it, the three elements of conspiracy are present: secrecy, more than one person, and evil. When the perpetrators of the misdeeds aren’t held accountable, or when the misdeeds are portrayed as beneficial advances, more evidence of conspiracy arises.

While the conspiratorial designs of some (Edward Mandell House, Alger Hiss, David Rockefeller, and numerous Establishment figures) can be shown, work toward the conspiracy’s goals is always carried out by great numbers of self-serving individuals whose lack of moral principles combined with no-holds-barred ambition make them excellent worker bees. Lenin’s famous claim that “communism must be built with non-communist hands” can and should be converted into “the conspiracy to create a totalitarian new world order is being built with non-conspiratorial hands.”

The reality is that there aren’t that many totally committed conspirators aiming to destroy freedom and make slaves of mankind. But these satanically driven cretins have acquired great stature and wealth, and have the capability of rewarding anyone who carries out their desires. For many years, self-serving political figures have supported destructive measures in order to receive favorable treatment from the media, academia, campaign-funding groups, etc. They are not conspirators; they are the conspiracy’s willing hands. Journalists, pundits, and policy wonks who continually mislead the public aren’t conspirators as much as they are willing subverters of truth in order to stay employed or get promoted. Academics who feed rubbish to their students may themselves be victims of what they probably received when they were students, but they continue to be credited with superior wisdom and given tenure, promotions, even monetary awards for dispensing absolute nonsense. The result: More rubbish is drilled into students and the conspiracy’s goals become more achievable.

If a pundit or a local Birch-baiter attacks our Society because of our belief that a conspiracy exists and is moving steadily toward its sinister goal, none of us should back away. The opponent should be asked if he believes Henry Kissinger to be a fool, or David Rockefeller a sadly mistaken humanitarian, or the New York Times a completely reliable authority regarding national policy. He should be queried about our leaders ignoring the Constitution’s requirement for a congressional declaration of war before sending troops into battle; asked to defend the government’s grasp for the nation’s medical system when government has failed so miserably in the fields of education, energy, and housing; made to defend horrendous debt accumulated through an array of unconstitutional programs.

During the height of the 18th century French Revolution when many in France had been persuaded that the uprising would benefit their nation, a revolutionary figure named Marmontel worried aloud to confrere Chamfort that the nation might be taken further than it wished. Chamfort, obviously privy to more inside knowledge about what was really occurring in France, responded, “True, but does the nation know what it wishes? One can make it wish, and one can make it say, what it has never thought.” Manipulation of the public’s thinking helped to lead France into unspeakable horror.

Can the American people be similarly misled? Can millions of Americans be persuaded that evil is good, dark is light, and falsehood is truth. Today, many have been persuaded that wars authorized by the United Nations are good; that inflation is rising prices and not a thieving corruption of currency’s value; that pouring additional taxpayer dollars into departments of education, energy, housing and foreign aid programs constitutes wisdom; that the republic deliberately created by our Founders is a democracy; that the Constitution is an outdated relic needing modern “interpretation,” and so much more. Can all of this be attributed to stupidity? Or to ignorance? Doesn’t all of it, and a great deal more, suggest hidden design? As the nation’s first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, once stated, “Consistency has never been the mark of stupidity. If [our leaders] were merely stupid, they would occasionally make a mistake in our favor.”

A detective who investigates a crime would begin immediately by asking, “Cui bono?” Who benefits? Crimes are being committed against the American people, against common sense, and against enduring moral principles. Who benefits? The answer is that a conspiracy against civilization reaps rewards, a conspiracy that has a strong grip on our nation. The number of evil men directing the plot isn’t huge. But the plotters have induced many to do their work. They are the hordes of pundits, academics, politicians, clergymen, and others who allow themselves to be bought.

Some who attack JBS because of our insistence regarding conspiracy understand a very important aspect of human nature. This is the basis of the kind of attack we receive. Human nature doesn’t impel anyone to get involved if what is happening to our nation results from stupidity or ignorance. But if someone decides that a conspiracy is actively pushing the nation toward bankruptcy, chaos, and world government, self-preservation kicks in and he or she gets involved. The highest instinct in mankind, something which all of us possess, can’t be altered. Our enemies certainly understand this. So should we.

Let us never back away from explaining that a conspiracy is at the root of our nation’s problems and that exposing it is absolutely essential. Asking the right questions will help us to locate and enlist many in the freedom fight — those who haven’t been bought and haven’t been led away from the responsibility to oppose evil. The job can be done. With God’s help — only because we deserve it — we can defeat the conspiracy.

Refuting the Call for a Constitutional Convention

by John F. McManus, President

An online article entitled “Time for a Change!,” authored by “Cassandra” and drawn largely from a companion essay by Joel Hirschhorn, promotes the use of an Article V Constitutional Convention to address America’s woes. Carrying a subtitle “Whose [sic] Afraid of Another Constitutional Convention?” the article actually manages to counter its own argument in two of its early paragraphs.

Those who warn against creating a new constitutional convention (Con-Con), including The John Birch Society, have always claimed that the entire Constitution would be threatened because there is no limit on what a Con-Con could do. The term “runaway” has customarily been applied to any proposed Con-Con, meaning that no matter what limitations some proponents would hope to impose on such a session, there is no way it can be restrained. It can indeed run away.

The lack of limitations on a Con-Con invites wholesale change in the nation’s government — that is precisely what occurred in 1787. A Con-Con in that year met for the assigned purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation. But it chose not to amend the Articles; it cast them completely aside and produced the U.S. Constitution in its stead. While the nation was fortunate to have men of the caliber of Washington, Madison, Franklin, and others who gave our country its praiseworthy Constitution, virtually no one today believes that delegates to any new Con-Con would create a government that would be cheered even by those who want a Con-Con.

Cassandra makes note of what happened in 1787 when stating that the nation’s “first and only constitutional convention was a runaway.” That’s the point! Yet, the article accuses The John Birch Society of promoting “the Big Runaway Lie.” Cassandra then stated of the convention held in 1787, “… Rather than do what had been planned … the state delegates constructed what we have for over two hundred years worshipped: the U.S. Constitution.” Nevertheless, “Time for a Change!” contends that there would be no similar discarding of what exists today (the Constitution) for something else. This is absurd.

The author of this article then provides seven numbered paragraphs to buttress those insupportable claims. Refutations of each of these claims are presented below in the same numerical order.

1. Cassandra contends that there is nothing to worry about because there have been numerous “state constitutional conventions.” But state conventions have a variety of built-in limitations that do not exist in the federal Constitution’s Article V. State procedures for carrying out their own Con-Cons are irrelevant in this discussion. State constitutions vary widely and they should be considered “apples,” while the federal Constitution’s different procedure regarding a Con-Con should be looked upon as an “orange.”

2. Cassandra refers to Article V’s requirement that whatever a Con-Con produces would have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states. But not necessarily the state legislatures — its product could be sent to special state ratifying conventions that don’t necessarily reflect the will of the legislatures or the people. Moreover, Cassandra doesn’t seem to understand that a Con-Con can alter the Article V ratification procedure, even abolish it. A Con-Con has no limits. Simply stated, it can become a runaway convention with the power to alter or abolish our nation’s governmental system.

3. There is a rather naïve belief expressed in Cassandra’s six-page article that the nation’s media would keep any Con-Con from doing harm. Relying on the nation’s mass media to inform the public properly is almost like expecting the sun to rise in the West.

4. Cassandra cites the need for a Con-Con to rein in the mischief produced by the Supreme Court and other courts. But there are procedures in the existing Constitution to accomplish this goal: impeachment of rogue judges being the most obvious, and Congress utilizing its power under Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution to cancel or regulate the jurisdiction of the federal courts is another. If the current Congress will not do its duty and stop the destructiveness of the courts, why should anyone believe that a Congress under an altered or new Constitution produced by an Article V Con-Con would do so?

5. While erroneously referring to our nation as a “democracy” (the Founders wisely created a republic, a government of law that protects basic rights from the will of the majority, and clearly despised democracy), Cassandra expects that a new Con-Con would produce a government that would successfully deal with “corruption, lying and deception.” How so? If our Republic is converted into a democracy where the power of government acting on behalf of the people is unrestrained, we would expect more corruption, not less.

6. Cassandra claims that a new Con-Con would empower “independents” based on the false assertion that non-Democrats and non-Republicans don’t already have political clout. The claim is irrelevant in any discussion of the wisdom or lack of wisdom in creating a Con-Con.

7. Cassandra correctly notes that many amendments have been proposed over more than 200 years and only 27 have been added to the Constitution. But to proceed from that fact to insisting that changes produced by a Con-Con would face similar scrutiny, during any congressional examination or subsequent ratification process, overlooks the “runaway” possibility that the article itself admits as a possibility. As stated above, a Con-Con could do away with any ratification procedure and it could completely alter the role of Congress.

In numerous places, Cassandra’s article refers to, and even praises, America’s “democracy.” If its author has no appreciation of the fact that the Founders of our nation created a Republic, and if he or she doesn’t know that the two systems are totally incompatible, then this author is self-disqualified as a reliable resource to recommend changes in our nation’s governmental system.

We repeat: A Con-Con is a dangerous route to follow. If a balanced budget is the goal, Congress can create one with a majority vote in each House. There is no need for an amendment to balance the budget, especially one that might be sought via a Con-Con. Further, if an amendment is truly needed, the process through which the existing 27 amendments have been added should be employed. Don’t endanger the entire Constitution with a Con-Con.

Similarly, Congress already has power to deal with other deficiencies in the federal government. If Congress has the will to do so, it can rein in or even remove judges; it can deal with corruption; it can expose and punish lying; it has the power to combat treason. No dangerous Con-Con is needed.

Further, the entire amendment process should be understood as follows: Amendments should be considered only if some deficiency is found in the Constitution. Amendments should not be a substitute for legislative acts. There should never be an amendment to balance the budget, put prayer and Bible reading in the schools, stop abortion, curtail flag burning, etc. All of these problems can and should be dealt with at levels far below the amendment process — mostly by Congress. The energy of concerned Americans should be directed toward choosing better individuals to serve in Congress. They could and likely would address numerous problems.

It is proper to amend the Constitution to abolish a previous amendment, as was done when XXI abolished XVIII (prohibition). Again, no Con-Con was needed. This reversal within the Constitution demonstrates that amendments can actually create problems rather than solve any.

There are numerous highly credentialed constitutional scholars who strongly recommend against a Con-Con. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger was not alone in urging caution when he stated:

[T]here is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that a Convention would obey.

For the reasons given above, The John Birch Society continues to warn against creation of a Con-Con. Yes, the current Constitution contains a procedure for creating one. But respect for the existing Constitution combined with good sense has kept this potential mine field from being laid for over 220 years. Let’s keep it that way!

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