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The Article V 100: An Untitled Documentary

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Some weeks back I left work early to hear Scott Ritter at a book-signing. Remember Scott Ritter? Remember that night at Cal-Tech in Pasadena? The eve of war? Everyone was incredulous, the Bush Administration was going to invade Iraq while the previous months the world watched inspectors on the ground, and Richard Perle and the Neocons scared everyone into the idea that we better take care of business or wake up to a mushroom cloud.
I remember it was packed that night, they put speakers outside the auditorium and hundreds of us stood and sat around the quad and listened to Scott tell us there were no WMDs in Iraq. Now he's got another book out about Iran. Besides wanting to hear what he was going to say about the new book, I had a question for him.
Scott Ritter is one of those people you're happy to be around. A gentle giant who is intelligent, has a sense of humor, and actually some artistic talent too. A tradition at the that little bookstore there on the coast in California is to have the author sign an album and draw a picture of themselves next to their comments. He drew a decent picture of himself.
I had seen him on C-SPAN in his staged appearance with Seymor Hersh before the New York Society for Ethics. What struck me peculiar was a moment in the broadcast where Ritter was responding to Hersh, and he was impassioned, and he said what the U.S. ought to be doing is talking with the Ayatollah and the main council of clerics. That Ahmadinejad was somehow getting a bunch of media coverage and making the situation a mess. Ritter said we ought to be dealing with the Iranians who actually have a say in the matter, and that in fact those folks had already attempted to establish diplomatic ties with the Bush Administration but had been rebuffed.
What happened at that moment in the interview was interesting. It was how Hersh told Scott to back up in that "wait-a-minute buddy" kind of way saying that Ahmadinejad was dangerous. Hersh, in what was an admonishment, told Ritter that we must pay attention to what Ahmadinejad says because much of the Arab world was behind him.
By the time I got down to the book signing I was wondering what Scott's opinion about the electoral system was, and what he thought about reports of e-voting and the danger of it. He may be an expert on matters concerning fissile nuclear materials, but he's also an American so I wanted to hear what he thought. And being a former Marine, someone who has taken an oath, he understands well the concept of protecting the country from enemies foreign or domestic. Which is what e-voting and the issue of source code is, it is a crucible as to whether or not this generation of Americans is going to lose the vote to special interests forevermore. There is a very simple solution to the political catastrophe caused when the country was flooded with $3.8 billion worth of corporate voting machines: the 28th Amendment. The work of securing the vote in the age of e-voting requires the political weight of an amendment to the Constitution. No amount of legislation coming out of a corrupted institution is going to create the effects required. Representative Rush Holt and Senator Brack Obama are currently set to intorduce legislation in the next Congress which will "stay the course" and waste millions on the system HAVA brought about. For things as they are now, nothing short of a constitutional amendment is going to secure the vote.
I got to the bookstore in time and Scott made the case that he does in his book: that the Bush Administration is going to cook up some reason it needs to bomb Iran, and Congress will comply, and a strike will occur. He said that according to his calculations the earliest is March, the latest, June. It will take until March at least to get all necessary logistics in place in order to carry it out.
He said Iran does not have what a country needs in order to build a nuclear weapon. That was his expert opinion. His personal opinion was that if America did strike Iran, that we may as well choose an American city to be sacrificed. "Go ahead," he said, "pick your city. Because a strike on Iran will mean retaliation."
During the Q & A I asked Scott what his thoughts were about the electoral process, and he said he's for a paper ballot. Then I pressed him and asked if he was aware that more than half the votes cast in the recent election were done so electronically. And that the media has everyone focused on the need for a paper trail, but what is more important is the source code which instructs the computer how to tally votes. I asked if that issue should be placed before that of the Bush Administration and what it may or may not do next year because if the issue of source code gets away from us, we may lose the ability to vote change into existence. If the 110th Congress does not propose an amendment concerned with electoral reform, Americans who do not want to lose the red, white, and blue to special interests will have a limited window of opportunity to effect the change which is now required. Unless it is done, from here on we'll have private corporations telling us who won an election or what initiatives passed.
Scott said he didn't know enough about the particulars, but thanked me for raising awareness of the issue of source code in regards to e-voting.
Then everyone got their books signed, and there was a handful of us left, and we, Scott included, all got a kick out of watching him draw the picture of himself. After everyone had said everything they wanted, I wanted to tell him about the lawsuit Walker v. Members of Congress. During his talk he never stated it directly, but just about everything discussed pointed to the problem of our legislative branch being controlled by special interests. He even mentioned the U.S. Constitution a few times, so I wanted to tell him about a federal suit that showed all the states had applied for a national convention and that Congress was failing to carry out its constitutional obligation and issue the call. That the evidence in the suit is the Congressional Record which shows 567 applications, and by law, the convention call is peremptory and based on a simple numeric count; that the suit was the first in American history concerned with the convention clause found in Article V. The exact phrase being, "shall call a convention." While it's true Congress has already ignored the Constitution in regards to NAFTA and CAFTA, Walker shows how it is ignoring the most important part of the Constitution, the legal mechanism for change: Congress or Convention. At issue is the single principle which not only provides for the basis of our entire republic, but indeed who we claim to be ourselves when we say we are American.
He looked a little tired, so I gave him a copy of a book that explained the idea and suggested that if he was so moved to read it.
We're down to the nitty-gritty now and the next six months will tell the tale. Are we going to "stay the course" with the way we elect officials? Or are we going to use the popular dissent of corporate politics to do away with it?
We already know marches don't work in Post 9/11 America, nor do recount efforts work in Post 9/11 America. They didn't work in the lead-up to war, and they didn't work in the 2004 recount effort in Ohio.
If you are about to lose your country to special interests, you're going to need a group of Americans to come together in a very public way to coerce the Congress to relinquish the formal process by which the states can propose changes to the federal government. America needs another Boston Tea Party, so to speak.
Things have gotten to this point, and if you want to consider yourself living an authentic life as an American, with all the glory and responsibility that entails, whether you are Democrat, Republican, or some other party affiliation, as an American you must at last become cognizant that the final threat is upon us and if the status quo is not broken so it can be reformed we will remain slaves to the special interests that control the Congress.
Forget about the trumped-up ability of the Bush Administration, and the fear-based chatter of their ability to lock up and water-board people. If the country is woken up, there isn't a thing Bush or Cheney or any other politician, or any MSM corporation can do about it.
A staged event comprised of 100 Americans in the Capitol some time next year may do the trick. Because of the importance of symbolism as part of the overall strategy, each participant must be a viable candidate for delegate to a national convention--an Article V Convention. ArticleV.org is dedicated to such a staged event.
Stay tuned....
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I'm a writer/artist/activist from California, with a degree in Creative Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. I've been an advocating for the convention clause of Article V since 2001.


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