New History of Founding Era Conventions

Very few people know that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 only the last of nearly 20 other conventions in which American colonies, and later states, met to deliberate on specified problems.

In these gatherings, states met as semi-sovereigns; these were essentially diplomatic meetings. The rule for decision was “one state, one vote.”

Those conventions were the model for the “convention for proposing amendments” in Article V of the Constitution.

I have just finished a paper that appears to be the first historical account of the entire series of inter-colonial and interstate conventions. It is called Founding-Era Conventions and the Meaning of the Constitution’s “Convention for Proposing Amendments.” I have posted it on the website of the Social Science Research Network where you can read and download it if you are so inclined.

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Detroit Doesn’t Need More Federal Money

With the City of Detroit heading toward bankruptcy, The Hill reports that Mayor Dave Bing has signed a $330,000 contract with a Washington lobbying firm to help the city grab more money from federal taxpayers. At the same time, Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI) wants up to a $1 billion in “emergency aid” (i.e., bailout) for Detroit from Uncle Sam.

I typed “federal funds Detroit” in a Google search and the following headlines popped up on the first page:

Cockrel: ‘Idiotic Management of Federal Funds Cost Needy Detroit Resident a Chance at Jobs

Detroit Poorly Managed Federal Funds

Detroit Could Lose $20 Million in Federal Funds Due to Mismanagement

State Seeks Better Oversight of Detroit’s Federal Funds

Officials Examining Detroit’s Finances Find Federal Funds Poorly Managed

As I clicked through the search pages a pattern emerged: most of the articles are either about Detroit receiving federal funds or Detroit mismanaging federal funds. And Mayor Bing and Rep. Clarke think the rest of the country should give Detroit more money?

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CISPA is the New SOPA

by Ron Paul

Earlier this year, strong public opposition led by several prominent websites forced Congressional leaders to cancel votes on two bills known in Washington as “SOPA” and “PIPA.” Both of these bills threatened search engines and websites with possible shutdowns if the Justice Department deemed them insufficiently cooperative with our phony “war on terror,” or if they were merely accused of copyright infringement. Fortunately the American public flooded Capitol Hill with phone calls and Congressional leaders dropped both bills.

But we should never underestimate the federal government’s insatiable desire to control the internet. Statists of all parties, persuasions, and nationalities hate the free, unbridled flow of information, ideas, and goods via the internet. They resent the notion that ordinary people can communicate and trade across the world without government filters or approvals. So they continually seek to impose controls, always under the guise of fighting terrorism or protecting “intellectual property” rights.

The latest assault on internet freedom is called the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act,” or “CISPA,” which may be considered by Congress this week. CISPA is essentially an internet monitoring bill that permits both the federal government and private companies to view your private online communications with no judicial oversight–provided, of course, that they do so in the name of “cybersecurity.” The bill is very broadly written, and allows the Department of Homeland Security to obtain large swaths of personal information contained in your emails or other online communication. It also allows emails and private information found online to be used for purposes far beyond any reasonable definition of fighting cyberterrorism.

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