America’s Failure to Protect Voting

America may call itself democracy’s gold standard, but it fails to guarantee the right to vote and permits the dominance of political money, a shameful anomaly that requires a constitutional amendment, writes William John Cox.

By William John Cox

With their government under the control of corporations and special interests, the People of the United States may think they at least have the right to vote, but, unfortunately, they do not. When the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written, the authors intentionally omitted this very significant detail. They failed to include the right to vote, and the error has never been corrected.

Most Americans are unaware that they, unlike the citizens of most other democracies, do not have a basic constitutional right to vote. The constitutions of Germany and Japan adopted after World War II include a specific right to vote. Even in nations, such as Afghanistan and Iraq — where Americans are fighting to impose democratic governments — the people already have a constitutional right to vote. Of 120 constitutional democracies in the world, only 11, including the United States, fail to explicitly guarantee a right to vote in their constitutions.

James Madison, a principal author of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights -- and fourth president of the United States

James Madison, a principal author of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights — and fourth president of the United States

This critical omission from the Constitution was acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000, when a majority stated in Bush v. Gore: “The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College.”

As the result of a series of amendments, people of color, women, and young people over the age of 18 cannot be deprived of the right to vote because of their status; however, nowhere in the Constitution does it say they have a fundamental right to vote in the first place.

Fearing an “excess of democracy,” a majority of the delegates who gathered at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 decided to replace the Articles of Confederation with a central representative government that preserved the power of the economic and social elite and left voting matters up to the states.

James Madison, the principal author of the Constitution and the subsequent Bill of Rights, publicly stated the electors of the new government would be “the great body of the people of the United States.” In private, however, he worried that, “In future times, a great majority of the people will not only be without landed, but any other sort of, property. These will either combine under the influence of their common situation; in which case, the rights of property and the public liberty will not be secure in their hands.”

John Adams was even more direct. In opposition to allowing electors other than property owners, he said “There will be no end of it. New claims will arise. Women will demand a vote. Lads from 12 to 21 will think their rights not enough attended to, and every man, who has not a farthing, will demand an equal vote.”

The new Constitution provided that members of the House of Representatives “shall be chosen every second Year by the People of the several States” and goes on to provide that the “Electors” shall have the same “Qualifications” as that for the “most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.” In other words, each state determines who can vote for state and congressional representatives.

Composition of the Senate was even more closely controlled, in that Senators shall be “chosen by the Legislature thereof.” Finally, the Constitution held that “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”

In electing the president and vice president, the Constitution imposed an even greater barrier between the “People” and the election of their principal representatives. The Constitution provides that “Each State shall appoint” presidential Electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct. Thus, it is these “Electors” who actually vote in the “Electoral College” for the president and vice president. The result has differed from the popular vote four times in history, the last being in 2000.

Participation by the People in presidential elections — even today — is almost entirely at the discretion of the legislature in each state. States have enacted legislation allowing for primary and general presidential elections, but it is still the Electors who actually elect the president. The state legislatures still have the power to directly appoint presidential Electors without elections, and there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent it.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights may not have included a specific right to vote; however, over the subsequent two centuries, the voting power of the People steadily increased and the United States republic gradually become more democratic.

Expanding the Suffrage

Initially, all states required voters to own property; however, Vermont began to allow all men to vote, and for a time, Tennessee provided universal male voting, including free blacks. Only New Jersey allowed the possibility of female suffrage; however, it was later revoked. Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Delaware, Georgia and North Carolina soon expanded the franchise to all taxpayers, but in 1800, the New Hampshire and Massachusetts legislatures suspended elections and directly appointed their presidential electors.

With westward expansion, voting was extended to include non-property owners. By the presidential election in 1828, there were 24 states, and they had all adopted free white male suffrage. The new Democratic Party represented the farmers and artisans against the business and financial interests.

President Andrew Jackson

President Andrew Jackson

The Democratic candidate, Andrew Jackson — who believed even the poorest white male should be allowed to vote — ran against President John Quincy Adams. Three times as many white men voted in the election as did four years earlier, and most voted for Jackson.

Following the Civil War — and to ensure the vote of freedmen in the South for the Republican Party — the Fifteenth Amendment was enacted. It held that: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The corresponding Fourteenth Amendment imposed penalties on states whenever “the right to vote at any election” was “denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State. . . .”

The new constitutional guarantees of a freedman’s right to vote, did not, however, improve the fundamental voting rights of all citizens. The states may not have been allowed to overtly discriminate on the basis of race; however, they could impose other restrictions on voting — which had the same effect.

Democrats quickly regained political dominance in the Southern states and passed “Jim Crow” laws effectively depriving African-Americans of their right to vote or to hold office. These laws included discriminatory literacy tests, the imposition of poll taxes, and a “whites only” primary system.

Constitutional amendments calling for the popular election of U.S. senators were introduced, but it was not until 1913 when the Seventeenth Amendment allowed most men, and a few women, to directly vote for their senators.

Commencing in 1848, women activists began to agitate for their right to vote. Following the Civil War and ratification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, women were able to point to the failure of the Constitution to protect the voting rights of half of the people in the United States.

Women’s suffrage was first introduced in 1878, but the Nineteenth Amendment was not ratified until 1919. Profound in its simplicity, it says: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” The Amendment implies that “citizens” have the right to vote. In reality, it only provided women the same voting rights as men, which continued to be denied or abridged by the states.

Beginning around the turn of the century, the states began to legislate in favor of replacing political party caucuses with the popular nomination of candidates in primary elections. By the First World War, the majority of states had direct primaries, and most included all state offices on the primary ballots. More and more states began to include the nomination of congressional representatives, senators, and presidential candidates in primary elections.

With the Twenty-fourth Amendment in 1964, which eliminated poll taxes, and the Twenty-sixth in 1971, which extended the right to vote to citizens over the age of 18, the Constitution took its present form in regards to voting. Its interpretation by the Supreme Court, however, regarding the acts of Congress and state legislatures in voting matters, continues to both define and restrict the right to vote.

Right or Privilege

One would think that in a democratic republic, the right to vote is elemental — paramount — beyond question. It should be; however, the reality is that because voting in the United States is left up to the states, it is more of a privilege than a right. The difference lies in the ease by which voting can be restricted. Absent an explicit constitutional right, the vote can be giveth or taketh away by state legislatures, Congress, and the state and federal courts.

Voting rights activists in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964.

Voting rights activists in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 empowered the federal government to enforce voting rights in all of the states, but particularly in the South — which had experienced a century of racial and social disenfranchisement. In those states with the most overt racial discrimination, the Act required the preapproval of any legislative changes that affected voting. The effect was immediate: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Hispanics, in ever growing numbers, were allowed to register to vote, to participate in elections, and to be elected to public office.

Most of the newly enfranchised minority voters registered with the Democratic Party, which became more liberal. At the same time, white voters began to switch to the Republican Party, which became more conservative. Today, generally, the larger Democratic Party supports increased registration and voting, while the smaller Republican Party seeks to impose restrictions on both.

Approximately one-quarter of all qualified voters are not registered, and many state laws and administrative practices are aimed at blocking — rather than encouraging — their enrollment. These include the imposition of arbitrarily short deadlines for the submission of voter registration forms and imposing harsh penalties for administrative errors.

Other schemes to suppress voting involve the unnecessary purging of registration rolls to remove qualified people; the deliberate misallocation of election resources resulting in long lines in low-income and college precincts; misleading voters regarding procedures and locations for voting; and “caging,” which involves sending certified letters to voters and striking registrations for those whose letters are returned as undeliverable.

There are millions of otherwise eligible voters in the United States who do not possess photographic identification. If the reason is a lack of money to pay the licensing fee, voter ID laws have the same effect as the Jim Crow poll tax did in the South. The laws disproportionately affect the young, disabled, seniors, minorities, and the poor and disadvantaged of every race. The reality is that voter fraud is very rare, and when it does occur, it would not be prevented by voter ID laws.

The partisan bias of suppression laws is indicated by the fact that more than half of all state photo ID legislation resulted from the efforts of the conservative, corporate-sponsored, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Sixty-two bills based on ALEC’s model Voter ID Act have been introduced in state legislatures. Of the 22 states in which new voting restrictions have been passed, 18 have Republican-controlled legislatures.

In 2008, a conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court approved an Indiana voter ID law — even though it had a partisan basis — because it was not “excessively burdensome” to most voters. The decision followed an earlier one in 2000 in which the Court affirmed that the Constitution “does not protect the right of all citizens to vote, but rather the right of all qualified citizens to vote.”

Another opinion by the Supreme Court immediately prior to the 2014 midterm elections reversed a Federal District Court in Texas, which had ruled the state’s voter ID law unconstitutionally prevented more than 600,000 registered Texans from voting. The lower court found the law was adopted “with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose” and it placed “an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.”

The conservative majority of the Supreme Court disagreed — directly cutting off the access of more than a half million Texans to the polls and challenging the votes of millions of other Americans subject to similar laws in other states.

Previously, the Texas voter ID law had been blocked by the Voting Rights Act, which required jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to obtain permission before changing voting procedures. That provision of the Act was earlier struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, and Texas officials announced they would begin enforcing the state’s new voter ID law. In her dissent to the 2014 decision, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “A sharply disproportionate percentage of those voters are African American or Hispanic.” She added that “racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact.”

De facto Disenfranchisement

The addition of a specific right to vote in the Constitution would help control the legislative and judicial assault on voting because restrictions would receive “strict scrutiny” to ensure they actually address compelling state interests.

"We The People" begins the U.S. Constitution

“We The People” begins the U.S. Constitution

In effect, a basic constitutional right to vote would create a presumption against restrictions, such as voter ID laws; however, other factors, such as unrestrained campaign financing, gerrymandering, lobbying, conflicts of interest, and corporate personhood also diminish the quality and value of an individual’s vote.

The combination of these destructive political practices has resulted in an even more insidious disenfranchisement of American voters. Since both major political parties have come under the domination of a powerful oligarchy composed of corporations, special interests, and the financial elite, the candidates of both parties fail to offer effective solutions to the critical environmental, economic, personal liberty, and militarization problems that threaten the People of the United States.

The consequence is starkly apparent in the abominable 2016 election which features two of the most unpopular major presidential candidates in history. Declining to vote — or having to decide between the less threatening of two dangerous candidates — contributes nothing to successful governance and further erodes what little confidence Americans have remaining in their government.

Secretly handing out campaign contributions and paying outright bribes through lobbyists, the oligarchy effectively manipulates political processes beyond the presidency throughout Congress, the federal bureaucracy, state and local governments, and the courts. The net result is that — irrespective of who is elected — the People’s representatives refuse to take action on any issue that threatens the wealth or power of their true masters.

A Rasmussen survey in February 2016 illustrates this abdication of governance. Sixty percent of likely U.S. voters believe that Congress is doing a poor job, and 61 percent believe it is likely that most members of Congress have sold their vote for either cash or a campaign contribution.

The failure of their representatives to offer solutions, or to act on their behalf, is yet another way in which the vote of the People has been devalued. As long as other anti-democratic practices are allowed to continue, the power of the People to control their government through voting will be corrupted, even if the right is enshrined in the Constitution.

If, however, voters were also empowered to make their own policy, control the electoral process, and cast effective votes, Madison’s “great body of the people of the United States” could finally become the Electors (and masters) of their own government.

The Right to Cast Effective Votes

Voting in a free society has to be more than a privilege, which can be granted or taken away at the whim of government. By definition, voting is an integral part of a republican form of government, and, if a government is to be free and democratic, voting not only has to be a right, but it has to be effective as well.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Tying together the provisions that follow it, Section One of the U.S. Voters’ Rights Amendment (USVRA) simply provides that all citizens have the right to vote. Moreover, by specifying an effective vote, it incorporates the subsequent sections within its intent and purpose:

“The right of all citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to cast effective votes in political elections is inherent under this Constitution and shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State.”

The USVRA not only guarantees the individual right to vote, but it includes other remedies to ensure that the votes cast by the People are effective in defining what they want their government to do and how they want it done. These include defining equal rights for women; maximizing voter participation and prohibiting the suppression of voting; eliminating corporate personhood; controlling campaign contributions; guaranteeing freedom of the press; public funding of elections; prohibiting gerrymandering; increasing congressional representation; improving civic education and public information; articulating policy issues; deciding policy issues by voting; eliminating the Electoral College; curtailing lobbying; and prohibiting conflicts of interest.

The purpose of the USVRA is not to change the personal political beliefs of anyone. Rather, its mission is to provide individuals of every political persuasion with the power to effectively focus and communicate their thinking, and to persuade others of the validity of their convictions.


Not one of the founders of the United States believed the Constitution was perfect, and all believed it could and should be amended as necessary. The failure of the Constitution to guarantee the right to vote and its abdication of voting rights to the states has resulted in the destructive political practices that currently undermine the liberty of the People and the effectiveness of their republic.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in an MSNBC interview.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in an MSNBC interview.

The United States government is no longer representative of those who elect it, nor is it the government the American People consented to. If the Republic is to continue, its Constitution must be amended to empower the People, whose consent is essential to its legitimacy.

The USVRA is a voters’ bill of rights, in that it remedies the destructive practices that have eroded the tenuous voting rights granted to the People by Congress and allowed by the states. It is, however, far more than a set of constitutional amendments that would curtail these anti-democratic practices.

Its ratification, and the movement that forces it to happen, would create a dramatic transformation of the United States government into finally becoming a true representative democracy.

Under the USVRA, the government will be reoriented to the People and their society; it will nurture — rather than endanger the People; and it will provide the means to make the government work for their benefit.

William John Cox is a retired public interest lawyer. He is the author of “Transforming America: A Voters’ Bill of Rights,” from which portions of this article were adapted. He can be contacted through his website,

29 comments for “America’s Failure to Protect Voting

  1. John Ellis
    July 23, 2016 at 09:43


    Purpose of planet earth is to reach the brink of the complete and total destruction of existence, this thing we call life. For whether our existence started by creation or evolution, whether or not there is a God over creation, humanity has a greed problem with everyone feeling their greater then those less intelligent and have an unalienable right to pursue happiness upon the misery of those born slower of thought.

    For a day will come when there is no greed, which will cause all wealth to disappear. For wealth is the property we own above what is needed for a comfortable life, wealth is stolen property belonging to the one-billion poor who suffer want. And to know how greed driven a man is, you have but to know his net worth.

  2. John Ellis
    July 23, 2016 at 08:40


    Without a restriction on wealth disparity, the 51% most intelligent will always own all the land and wealth.

    THEREFORE, the minimum wage shall always be adjusted to where the laboring-class lower half of society owns a forth of the land and wealth.

  3. Evangelista
    July 19, 2016 at 21:42

    William John Cox appears to be a lobbyist for what he designates “USVRA”. His article here is blathering whose apparent purpose is to shill for his “USVRA”. His writing is ‘blathering’ because he does not shape an argument, but, instead, shotguns a blast of loose and irrelevant info-bits about the United States Constitution and elements in it, together with additional info-bits he has salted in.

    Chief among causes for problems, and incoherence, is that Mr. Cox does not seem to know what the United States was when the Constitution was made, or is today. Which information he could derive, were he inclined, from the name of the nation “The United States”. He also does not seem to know what kind of government stystem the United States has, or is supposed to have, or what the various designations he assigns at random actually mean.

    His purpose seems to be to ‘sell’ his “USVRA” as some kind of panacea that, if adopted, will bring the USA “a true representative democracy” and “provide the means to make the government work for their [the People’s] benefit”.

    Cox clearly, in his Rapture, does not recognize that everybody getting to vote for everything, with their voted decisions being binding, is the recipe of ‘Divide-and-Conquer’ and so is a recipe for governmental disaster.

    “Democracy” means “Government by a decision-making leader”. The “Dem” prefix of “Democracy” derives from the Greek root from which “deem”, “judge” and “demon”, “a judge”, and “dome”, as in “domesday”, and “doom”, as in “fate”, derive. In Greek religion there was an underworld where three “demon” “deemed” whether a spirit, disembodied, had done well enough to enter “Hell”, the bright world (of course Judeo-Christianity assigned the “demons” and “hell”, and the Greek heathen nether world to be damned and damnation). So “Democracy” is from a people electing a ‘judge’, or ‘judges’ to rule over them. People do this by listening to what their chosen ‘demon’ tells them and voting the way their ‘demon’ demands. Usually then regreting it. Lynch-mobs are democratic. Lynch-mobs will lynch this one, then that one, and then another. Do you see how wonderful “Democracy” is? And why it is chosen by those who want to swing decisions on emotional spurrings? Democracy is the decision-making method preferred by despots and manipulators who want to divide and conquer. Like the international gangster-elite of the current gangster US, who have divided and made a malleable mess of the Middle-East.

    Let’s look at some of Cox’s writing: He writes, “Americans are unaware that they, unlike the citizens of most other democracies, do not have a basic constitutional right to vote.” Here Cox makes the United States a “democracy”. He also indicates he has not read the United States Constitution, at least in a connected way, because he contradicts this statement, himself, further along.

    Cox justifies his above statement by writing, “When the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written, the authors intentionally omitted this very significant detail. They failed to include the right to vote”.

    Cox justifies his above statement by writing, “This critical omission from the Constitution was acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000, when a majority stated in Bush v. Gore: “The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College.”” In thus justifying using a Supreme Court decision referencing “electors for the President of the United States” Cox indicates the only voting done in the United States to be for “electors for the President of the United States.” Does a system that assigns electors for presidential elections, and assigns states authorities to decide how the electors for that purpose may be selected mean the People of the United States have no right to vote? There is an intellectual disconnect here, and it involves not reading the whole, or in context, or cherry-picking irrelevant passages to, not make a point, but to blather confusion. Presidents of the United States are not directly elected. How does that steal rights to vote?

    Cox then writes, “The new Constitution provided that members of the House of Representatives “shall be chosen every second Year by the People of the several States”. OK, the word “vote” is not used, but the means of choosing is assigned to “the People of the several states”, not to leaders or legislators.

    Cox goes on, “to provide that the “Electors” shall have the same “Qualifications” as that for the “most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.” This seems to say that the process for national congressional elections shall be the same, in each state, as that for congressional election in the state.

    But Cox assigns it to mean, “In other words, each state determines who can vote for state and congressional representatives.” How so? The Constitution says the People choose. The Constitution only assigns to the states the authority to each carry out its own election process.

    The United States, when it was constituted, was a collection of states. Each state had its own government. The Constitution was constituted for the coalition of the states, to form a United States government system. Cox seems to forget, or not give a damn, that the United States was, and is, an agglomeration of states, not a single-state country.

    Cox writes, “The Constitution provides that “Each State shall appoint” presidential Electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct. Thus, it is these “Electors” who actually vote in the “Electoral College” for the president and vice president.”

    Cox was, apparently, unable to correlate this information with his quotation of the Supreme Court in the Bush v. Gore business, where the Court recognized this, and that the Constitution recognizes that the States elect, each as it devises, the “Electors” who elect the candidate for the one office, President of the United States, and recognize that the Court was only recognizing that the elections of Electors, in presidential elections, was relegated by the Constitution to the States.

    No, the United States does NOT have direct election of presidents.

    And, NO, before the 17th Amendment United States Senators were not elected in direct elections; they were elected by State Legislatures (who the people of the states voted for). This did not mean ‘no votes’ for the people, it meant national senators were not elected directly.

    Cox writes, “The corresponding Fourteenth Amendment imposed penalties on states whenever “the right to vote at any election” was “denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State. . . .””

    First, the United States Constitution does not assign, or impose, any penalties. It cannot, because it is a Constitution, not a statute ordinance or law. Second, the 14th Amendment clearly, even in Cox’s quoted butchered quotation, states that right to vote is guaranteed (meaning would be if the Supreme Court enforced the 14th Amendment, instead of finessing around it for political and self-aggrandizement reasons). Is there really any legitimate point in creating a whole new constitution, or Constitutional Amendment to replace a perfectly valid and clearly stated existing Amendment because the U.S. Supreme Court has not enforced the existing law of the existing Amendment? If existing law is not enforced, how will adding more law make any difference?

    Cox’s premise is ridiculous. His “arguments” are not arguments, they are words, blatherings, noise with no communication purpose. All the voting in the world, by itself, will improve no iota of the United States system of government.

    To improve things, or even just to make the system properly work, it needs, first, to be recognized that the United States was organized a Republic. It needs, second, for what a Republic is to be known. “Republic” derives from “re” and “public”. It means, “Regard for the public”, or “in regard to the public”. Republican government, in itself, has nothing to do with voting. It has everything to do with the rights and privileges of the People, who constitute the Public of a Republic. Because a republic is a republic the obligations of those who govern in a republic are to the members of the public, the People, and are responsibilities to safeguard and look after their benefits.

    It does not matter in the United States how election to any government position is effected. Democratic process, not democracy, is utilized in most cases: In democratic proces the people who are qualified (e.g., who are of adult age) make selection from candidates who have expressed interest, and promised dedication to the interests of the People. The elected persons then have obligation, for the government being republican, to work for the interests of the people, all of them, not only portions.

    In a Republic it is republican principles that are supposed to rule, not elected officials. The peculiarities of selection and election processes enshrined in the United States Constitution are enshrined their in representation of the Constitution’s makers’ best efforts to safeguard that responsible persons, not opportunists and goof-balls, would be graded and selected, not rushed on enthusiasms and tides of emotion, for offices requiring responsible behavior and respect for principles.

    The hope of the makers of the Constitution was to bias the kinds of people who stop lynch-mobs from going a-lynching on a roil of whoop and holler and momentary blood-thirst, into offices, instead of the kind who would whoop up a mob to lynch the owner of the forty acres next door to him, to bring the acres onto the market at distress-price.

    Making lynch-mobs easier to form won’t bring the present US back from mob-ocracy mobilized by powers interested in gangster-governing.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      July 20, 2016 at 13:24

      Democracy means “rule of the people”, Trump supporter.

      • Evangelista
        July 20, 2016 at 20:51

        “Rule of the people by an agreement-selected overseer.”

        It’s the way lynch-mobs form, “electing” their “leaders” by agreeing to follow their “leads”, or “insturctions”, or orders”.

        Your “Trump supporter” informant appears to have given you wrong, or incomplete, information, R.R.T.

  4. J'hon Doe II
    July 19, 2016 at 14:24

    FYI — James Madison and Religion in Public
    David Barton – 09/2002

    Madison’s religious views and activities are numerous, as are his writings on religion. They are at times self-contradictory, and his statements about religion are such that opposing positions can each invoke Madison as its authority. An understanding of Madison’s religious views is complicated by the fact that his early actions were at direct variance with his later opinions.
    Consider six examples of his early actions.

  5. J'hon Doe II
    July 19, 2016 at 14:03

    All Justice requires true consternation of thought between equal participants.
    Honset “rule of law” denounces statesmen armed with a sense of
    authoritative power as in a frequent willingness to kill/with attached impunity.
    Many subjective examples of thought are arrayed within Old Testament drama.
    It’s as a sudden exposure to Wisdom, as viewed via slow motion celluloid strip.
    The Book of Micah
    by André van Belkum

    The message of the prophet Micah contains dire warnings, but also hope of restoration for Israel and all nations. What lessons are there for us in Micah?

    The Book of Micah
    The name Micah is a shortened form of the Hebrew word “Mikayahu,” which means “who is like the Eternal?” There seems to be a reference to his name in Micah 7:18: “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity?”

    The book of Micah is the sixth book of the 12 Minor Prophets.

    Time setting of Micah
    Micah prophesied during the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Micah 1:1). Jotham and Hezekiah were good kings, but Ahaz was very wicked.

    Micah’s career began a little later than his contemporaries, Isaiah and Hosea (Isaiah 1:1; Hosea 1:1), but his message was similar to the themes of his fellow prophets.

    Micah’s message
    Halley’s Bible Handbook states: “Micah’s message was to both Israel and Judah, addressed primarily to their two respective capitals, Samaria and Jerusalem. Its three main ideas were: their Sins; their Destruction; and their Restoration. These ideas, in the book, are mixed up, with abrupt transitions between Present Desolation and Future Glory” (p. 366).

    Micah delivered strong indictments against both Samaria and Jerusalem (Micah 1:5-6). He witnessed idolatry, evil business practices, dishonesty, cheating, bribery and internal strife and corruption.

    God was not going to allow these sinful practices to continue. Punishment with famine, war and ultimate national captivity would soon descend upon the people unless they responded to the prophet’s warning messages and repented of their wickedness. The rulers were mostly to blame, as they were responsible for leading the people into sin, despite possessing knowledge of God’s laws.

    Religiously, economically and socially, Israel and Judah were in decline. Unfortunately, history shows that the stubbornness of these nations, and, in particular, their leaders, led to sorrow, bitterness and, in the end, national captivity.

    Frequent transitions in Micah’s message
    The prophet’s writings change from messages of doom and despair to deliverance and peace. His prophecies covered the full spectrum from a lawless nation deserving divine punishment to restoration as the chosen people of God. It is a message of utter despair, but also of joyful hope and a promise of an abundant life for all of mankind.

    Notice this comment from The Universal Bible Dictionary, edited by A.R. Buckland and A.L. Williams: “Micah foretells in clear terms the invasion of Shalmaneser and Sennacherib (1:6-16) … the utter destruction of Jerusalem (3:12). Just as clearly he foretells the deliverance of Israel (2:12, 4:10, 5:8); the birthplace of the Messiah (5:2); the promulgation of His Gospel from Mount Zion, and its results; the exaltation of His Kingdom over all nations.”

    Outline of the book of Micah
    The following is a suggested outline of the book of Micah:

    Chapter 1: Judgment announced against Israel.

    Chapters 2-3: Micah announces God’s condemnation of the false prophets and the rich and powerful for their evil ways.

    Chapters 4-5: Millennial reign of Christ; judgment upon the enemies of Israel.

    Chapter 6: God’s controversy with Israel; impending sorrow and punishment for their sins.

    Chapter 7: God’s forgiveness upon Israel’s confession of their sins.

    Micah and Isaiah

  6. J'hon Doe II
    July 19, 2016 at 06:40

    The most devastatingly destructive (and criminal) failure to protect the vote in America occurred in the year 2000 — when Jeb Bush’s Florida rigged it’s vote in a number of ways and the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Florida’s State Court decision to COUNT ALL BALLOTS. — Their unprecedented action led to the INSTALLATION of GW Bush as POTUS.

    The aftermath of this crime led to the state of perpetual war we remain embroiled in.
    We have hundreds of thousands of wounded American veterans and chaotic instability, death and displacement across the world.

    A little spoken of fact of the matter is that, all of the ballots were eventually counted and proved Gore actually won the state of Florida.

    All of this illegal activity reinforces the idea that the GOP had preplanned the entire Middle East Takeover. While campaigning in 1999 George W. Bush made this (clairvoyant?) statement —
    –Bush said to [Pastor]James Robinson: ‘I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen… I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.’

    What did he know,and when did he know it… ?

  7. Brad Owen
    July 19, 2016 at 05:13

    I sometimes suspect the entire, centuries-long Democracy Project is a sham, a pacifier for the pawns in a “Game of The Gods” (same goes for bogus Crowns for Kings, Queens, Emperors and such-like “Rulers”…same goes for “Dictators”, Oligarchs, and various assorted “Authoritarians”). I sometimes get the feeling that “things get done” according to “The Script” (NOT Scripture…that may be another ruse), and humanity had no hand in authoring “The Script”, except perhaps in the form of our personal Karma dictating the next “Act” of the “Play” (as ye sow, so MUST ye reap). What if it is as simple as “Love ye one another”, regarding one’s own personal actions, and things will go well for you. The entire “Script” reduced to four words? Could it be that simple?

  8. Abe
    July 19, 2016 at 00:27

    Voter suppression is real. It’s a crime.
    And it’s happening to YOU.

    Steal Back Your Vote!
    Greg Palast’s and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s investigative comic

    Download Voting Guide Comic for FREE or a DONATION

    Investigative journalist Greg Palast is the author of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, Armed Madhouse, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic.

    Palast covered the theft of the 2000 US presidential election in Florida (Guardian, BBC, The Nation, Harper’s), the hidden story of BP’s Deepwater Horizon blow-out (ARTE, Channel 4 TV), and the Bush Administration’s secret pre-invasion plans for the oil fields of Iraq (BBC, Harper’s).

    • July 20, 2016 at 12:41

      Section 3.
      The States shall ensure that all citizens who are eligible to vote are registered to vote.
      In balancing the public benefit of maximum voter participation with the prevention of voting fraud, Congress and the States shall not impose any unjustifiable restriction on registration or voting by citizens.
      The intentional suppression of voting is hereby prohibited and, in addition to any other penalty imposed by law, any person convicted of the intentional suppression of voting shall be ineligible for public office for a period of five years following such conviction.

  9. Evangelista
    July 18, 2016 at 20:51

    It is noted in the article that amendment to the United States constitution “guarantees” a right to vote to persons under the age defined the age of majority in the U.S. Constitution (and widely recognized, and affirmed, the age of majority in a wide range of reflective referencings). It is not, however, noted that the votes of under-majority-age voters are not Constitutionally countable in any voter-decided decision-making process.

    The age of majority is defined, in the Constitution, and by the Constitution, as the age at which the People of the united States become politically ‘adult’, meaning mature enough to be defined ‘adult’ and so a fully empowered and enfranchised member of the United States Ruling People population.

    Among the privileges reserved to adults by “We the People of these United States” (Preamble) who made the United States Constitution law, and The Law for the government of the United States, and for those who govern under that law in the United States, are the rights, and responsibilities, to decide for themselves, to rule themselves and to elect who they will entrust to serve them in positions of authority in the United States government.

    For the age of majority defined in the United States Constitution defining the age at which these rights accrue to the individual person of the People, without the age of majority being changed, the age at which any majority-age dependent political right may be exercised remains as defined in the Constitution.

    For this, while amendment may assure 18, 19 and 20 year-old persons a right to vote, the right does not include power for the sub-majority aged to participate as a majority-age adult in the People of the United States’ decision-makings.

    Wherefore, it is not Constitutional for the votes of 18, 19 and 20 year-old voters to be counted toward any vote-count decision, and the results of any election, and all elections, where 18, 19 and 20 year-old young and so ‘apprentice’ voters’ votes are counted, or have been counted, are illegal, Constitutionally void and moot, and are of no legal or legitimate authority, in the past, now, or in the future.

  10. jfl
    July 18, 2016 at 19:13

    This post is informative and well argued … but the rubber meets the road in the proposed amendment(s) to our constitution, so that is where our attention ought to be directed. It is time for all of us to become legislators. Collectively, not as individuals, and both WJC and myself agree on that and have taken the time to imagine legislative measures that will enforce principles missed or debased by our constitution.

    I am quite willing to admit that I am ‘just another Bozo on the bus’, in fact I am quite proud of the fact, and I have no illusion that my efforts are the last word on the problems they try to address. But they might, as WJC’s efforts might, be used as the first word, might be perfected and enacted by all of us at large, collectively … that’d be democracy, and I’m all for democracy.

    I will put my efforts, and WJC’s as well if he’s willing, up at github, or on some other open source, distributed development platform, to be cloned and developed by all of us at large. At least as a proof of concept, and post a link here.

    Small ‘d’ democracy is not just ‘fair’, not just the means for us all to ‘have our say’ in our government, although of course it is that. Oligarchies do not arise from cabals of evil plotters, although they do seem to be maintained by a professional cadre of same, but they arise from those directly interested in the chiefly economic consequences of governmental decisions. But the oligarchs are deaf, dumb, and blind to considerations outside, ‘external’ to, the narrow spheres of self-interest which they seek to protect. A just society, one with a future, requires the participation of all the people who constitute it – I wish the rocks and trees and the other animals could participate as well, but we’ll just have to be sure to consider their ‘interests’ in governing for them. Without democratic government we are doomed. The powers that are, are driving us over the cliff – toward nuclear war and/or the annihilation of our environment and ‘life as we knew it’ on earth. They truly are deaf, dumb, and blind to any but the most immediate consequences for themselves of their acts. If we do not, all of us, together re-animate our government – the process, not the ‘thing’ – we’ll face an horrific descent into the degenerate world we can all see yawning now before us, at the hands of the oligarchs. Not the few, the many – all of us – that’s our only chance According to this Bozo at any rate.

    • July 20, 2016 at 12:39

      Feel free to post jfl. I will be interesting to see how the Amendment might fare with crowdsourcing; however, the matter will ultimately come before Congress where the potential for being watered down to nothing will likely be attempted and solidarity will be essential. Nonetheless, it will never make it to that point in the absence of a massive, nonpartisan political movement, which must be led by the young people of America–who have the most to lose and gain. ~wm

  11. jfl
    July 18, 2016 at 18:08

    On electronic voting see WJC’s USVRA Section 11, paragraphs 2 and 3. There’s no room for electronic voting in his amendment.

  12. Erik
    July 18, 2016 at 17:40

    The right to vote is basic, but is a relatively small issue in comparison to oligarchy control of election funding and mass media, both of which also require constitutional amendments.

    All political campaigns as well as all mass media (over ten percent of audience share in any subject or region), and those who handle their funds, must be restricted to limited and registered individual contributions. But this cannot be done because elections and mass media, the tools of democracy, are already controlled by oligarchy.

    • July 20, 2016 at 12:34

      You are absolutely right Erik, which is why the USVRA also addresses your concerns, see for the complete text such as:
      Section 5.
      Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
      Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
      The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
      Section 7.
      In balancing the public benefits of corruption-free elections with allowing candidates to accept private campaign contributions, Congress and the States shall favor public financing over private contributions.
      Broadcasters using the public airwaves shall provide free airtime for political campaign programming; ensure controversial issues of public importance are presented in an honest, equitable and balanced manner; and provide equal time to opposing candidates and political points of view.
      No campaign for elective public office, including receipt of campaign contributions, shall commence prior to six months before such election.

  13. jfl
    July 18, 2016 at 17:14

    Great stuff. Tried to discover an email address at WJC’s many websites, was unsuccessful. The USVRA seems to contain more than one constitutional amendment to me. Am concerned at the call for constitutional conventions.

    I think an amendment is required as well … several, in fact :

    Open election amendment
    Recall, Referendum, and Initiative amendment
    Campaign Finance amendment

    I present them in order presumed, preferred order of passage, the reverse of their chronological order of conception.

    The first corresponds most closely to the USVRA’s primary intent.

    The second is Mike Gravel’s National Initiative for Democracy (ni4d), without the Electoral Trust and with the requirement for an absolute majority of eligible voters for a referendum, initiative, or recall to pass. And with the explicit addition of recall and referendum, of course.

    The third attempts to decouple economic and political control from representative government.

    Unlike Aki Orr, I still see the utility of representative government, but certainly agree that direct democracy is the ultimate political authority.

    Edward Snowden has demonstrated the foolishness of trusting government to electronic manipulation.
    Paper ballots and precinct level registration of voters, administration of elections, and counting and storage of ballots seems proper as well.

    I certainly agree with WJC that the struggle is at once its own realization. It seems to me that the natural unit of organization lies in the ~175,000 political precincts which we collectively constitute. Units of 1-2000 souls each.

    And that there is no role for corporations in our governance.

    • July 20, 2016 at 12:31

      jfl, most of your concerns, such as paper ballots and referenda are addressed by the Amendment, and please feel free to contact me at [email protected]. ~wm

  14. Joe Tedesky
    July 18, 2016 at 16:24

    I wish this article had told me how not to vote this year.

    • Bart Gruzalski
      July 19, 2016 at 17:54

      Easy. (1) If Hillary is the DNC’s candidate for POTUS, do not vote for her. She feels that she is the crown princess, which means the princess next in line for the honor she’s waiting to have bestowed on her. (2) IF Hillary is NOT the Democrats’ candidate, and I suspect she won’t be, I hope Bernie will be the candidate. But the DNC could exchange her for Biden who would be a tremendous advance on Crooked Clinton. For now, since these changes are subrosa and because the elite control-freak Dems refuse to even continence the idea that the crown princess won’t become the queen-in-waiting after the results of the November election are announced, even if the Supremes have to step into the breach to insure that Hillary will be the queen-in-waiting, we need to limit, for the purposes of conversation, our analysis of who will win between the Crown Princess and the Donal.

      I realize that discussing “who will win” is fairly pompous unless we have inside information (the game is already rigged, e.g. like a fight in which one of the fighters is willing to take the fall for $5M), or the vote counters have secretly committed to voting for one candidate (like most of the insiders had promised their superdelegates to Clinton even before the first primary was held).

      Note also that all my professional friends in philosophy, including Chomsky, are totally put off by Trump and would push the button when the voting booth’s computer comes up with the change to vote for Hillary for the presidential nominee. Whether Sanders or Biden replaces Clinton as the DNC’ favored candidate—I predict that someone will replace Hillary as the potential Democratic party’s candidate (I certainly hope it is Sanders), then it will depend on who is the Democrat’s candidate and whether Trump can hold on long enough to become Republican candidate for POTUS…. I need to see in less than see in less than 60 hours or we will have to publish out manuscript on the question of whether, given that Hillary’s going down in flames, the Dem insiders let her take down the party or use a medical excuse (e.g., her propensity to be confused) to choose Biden (likely but won’t win) or Sanders (has a chance of becoming president and sweeping in a new more idealistic group of Congresspersons, Senators, and more. It will be interesting to see what they choose: abandon their own in-house crown princess, which will deeply hurt Hillary, or “damn the torpodeos, full steam ahead.”

      P.S. If you have any good sense of what the elites will do, and why, please think of leaving a reply.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 21, 2016 at 01:29

        Bart, if we are to surmise the elites are Wall Street, MIC, MSM, & all around rich people, then I believe that most of their money will be on Hillary. Since, the very wealthy hedge, I will say 75 Hillary 25 Trump. The reason this rich faction will be hopeful for a Hillary win, is because when has she or Bill ever let them down before? Remember their are those who look fondly upon the Clintons. I won’t go into all the history of Bill’s deregulation policies, and his introduction of Clintonomics, but a big part of of that elites riches coupled with today’s economic troubles can be traced to the Clinton Adminstration.

        Hillary’s biggest concern, is to what kind of Senate and House will she have to shadow over. A Republican majority will have a field day with her as president, thier treatment of Obama will look like a day in the park, to what they will do to her. Another thing would be to how comprised she is with this email business. Comey better get a nice corner office, better yet big enough to have two corner windows. If somehow she were to get brought down sooner, I would bet that the Democrate party leaders would pick her replacement, and not Bernie. It’s turning out not to matter anyway, because our history tells us that our voting is a privilege.

        I hope the deck chairs geopolitically are different enough, that by the time Hillary takes office there won’t be much she can do, to destroy the world. If that turns out to be the case that would be Obama’s greatest legacy. Yeah, rendering Hillary helpless would be like saving humanity. I apologize if I go to the extreme when it comes to my thoughts regarding Hillary, but from what I’ve learned, and from how she appears to me to be always making bad decisions in the end anyway, is what makes me feel she isn’t the one for the job this country really needs done. Plus, with my world view and governmental philosophy of things, Hillary doesn’t fit the definition of being even close to resembling a cure. If it’s Hill I’m voting Jill!

  15. Zachary Smith
    July 18, 2016 at 16:14

    I found this to be a very interesting essay, and learned a lot from it. Still, it’s odd that the author ignored the 4-ton pink elephant in the middle of the room.

    Computerized Voting. It might appear on the surface that computerized voting could supply a modern and secure method of voting; however, evidence of its vulnerabilities continues to accumulate.

    In addition to the facts that voting machines are manufactured and marketed by political partisans who refuse to disclose their operating codes, that the computers can be and have been easily hacked, and that voting machines are mechanically and electronically unreliable and often break down during elections, they do not produce an auditable paper ballot completed and verified by the voter.

    That’s from his own web site, and is surely as important as all the ‘theoretical’ things the Elites and other crooks can do to manage US elections.

    Primary selections are probably the first firewall for the Rich Bastards. By some strange miracle likely involving kiddie porn or piles of cash candidates just don’t show up. Recall how vulnerable Obama was in 2012? He’d already demonstrated he’d lied about everything, yet not a single Democrat challenged him. (never mind that the Republican primary produced a pair of opponents so ugly that the Kenyan guy suddenly looked pretty darned good – by comparison)

    Next, the Rich Guys can overwhelm voter senses with what Churchill called a Bodyguard of Lies. Black is White, Up is Down, etc. At least until the election is over. The opposition guy who won a pile of medals is a coward, while your own candidate who went AWOL is a macho ‘bring ’em on’ hero.

    The rich guys obviously own all the media, so there is more opportunity to pile on there.

    If all else fails, send the election to the Supreme Court. They’ll get the result you want. There may be a lot of media flutter about “conservative” or “liberal” justices, but when push comes to shove, the rich guys get what they want – if they really want it. Recall how the “conservative” head justice Roberts cast the deciding vote for Obamacare? If he hadn’t fallen on his sword, Alito or Thomas would have done it. Recall the recent 8-0 vote letting that Virginia governor off the hook for his bribery and corruption. The rich guys owned the Supremes to get Citizens United, and now the same rich guys own us – without breaking any law.

    Touchscreen voting, properly used, means the Supremes won’t be bothered much. The vote stealing will have happened in a few key out-of-the-way places, and you can bet your last dollar Rich People Corporate media will ignore it.

    • Gregory Herr
      July 18, 2016 at 20:03

      Without validly produced paper trails there is no integrity to the process. Without publicly financed campaigns that are also allowed, as a public service, a fair amount of free air time to allow for some exposition as opposed to soundbites, there is no integrity to the politicians. All citizens should be automatically registered to vote. Polling places should be readily accessible and expeditious.
      But the politicians like being bought and the oligarchs like buying them. The media conglomerate enjoys their cash cow and will fight tooth and nail to keep all of it coming.
      One thing I think we can do is give Jill Stein our support. If she can continue to gain exposure, she will continue to gain support.

    • Bart Gruzalski
      July 19, 2016 at 12:06

      ZACH, thanks for sharing on the huge—-even bigger than the elephant you described, since the elephant I’m referring is not the biggest thing in the room, the room with your pink elephants IS IN THE ELEPHANT. WOW, someone says, but it is difficult to see it, kinda like the fish who heard there was this thing called water and kept swimming to find it—-yes, the HUGE writing off of our fathers and their sacrifices in the Civil War (“that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth”).

      I loved in Europe for roughly six years between 2008 and 2014. When I talked to Europeans (mainly Irish) about our voting abnormalities due to vote theft, the Europeans I spoke with couldn’t believe that Americans wouldn’t go bananas over this. I mean, voting is the last remnant of Democracy and, even at that, it’s one that is not even being sold to the Vote Fairy Thieves but blatantly taken.

      I was asked many many times, generally around election time, whether Americans wanted to protect their basic right or not.

      What could I tell them? I always made something.

    • Bart Gruzalski
      July 19, 2016 at 18:42


      That question catalyzed my remembering the old phrase— BS, bullshit; MA, more of the same; Ph.D., of which group I am one: PILED HIGHER AND DEEPER. I tend to think of these three in less derogatory terms but much more accurate terms as—- BS or BA: BABY research; MA:, MOUNTAINS of Actual footnotes; Ph.D.: Piles of footnotes, many footnotes on other footnotes that maybe three or four people in the world will ever be read with any enthusiasm or interest (meaning: besides what would be the minimal to fulfill and assignment or degree requirement.

      The issue of voter fraud via computer voting issue came to my attention via the internet when my wife and I were in Ireland. Although the issue didn’t gain anywhere near the attention it deserved, it received a lot of attention over in Europe. In Europe there were numerous articles, and at least two or three books, and I think a series on American democracy that focused on what should be done to ban computerized voting and to insure there ballots that can be recounted (for most districts using computerized voting, the only paper trail is the count initially produced by the computer’s hackable “total votes are… ” program. That Americans didn’t seem to mind that this tiniest of democratic rights had been effectively stolen puzzled and even distressed the Europeans.

      So for most voting districts the possibility of a recount is effectively zero.

      In Humboldt county, where I’d voted for a dozen years in person and for six years via absentee ballot, I naively thought that Humboldt County’s registration office was “out of it” (like most voter–registration departments across the country).

      Delightfully I was wrong. The Voting Register in our anarchistic, distrustful-of-authority, “US OUT OF HUMBOLDT COUNTY” political culture, which also housed the hippie Humboldt State University, was actually more awake on this issue than I would have dared hope.

      The office devised a system whereby every cast ballot had a paper trail and the voter could verify what the paper ballot said. Good system but unfortunately, because it is labor intensive (we can’t afford it), took days to do a recount (more money and of course most recounts were faux recounts just repeating back the data the computer had already spit out–that would make the slower precincts look like they were a drag on the system as well as necessitate hours of volunteer counter and hours of party officials who had to overlook every aspect of the recounting process.

      I look forward to reading an article on this issue, which strikes at the heart of our faux democracy, or any other that you would like to write. Still, even without doing that, thanks for having your antennae out on behalf of our individual right to have out vote counted. The old platitude is still true: it is much more important to be the vote counter than even a hundred voters. The deeper crime in computerized voting is the lack of any independent way or recounting votes and, deeper still, how to verify the counters and their final count.

    • July 20, 2016 at 12:28

      Regarding computerized voting, the USVRA provides:
      Section 11.
      Federal elections conducted every second year shall be held on a national voters’ holiday, with full pay for all citizens who cast ballots.
      Federal elections shall be conducted on uniform, hand-countable paper ballots and, for the presidential election, ballots shall include the twelve most critical policy questions articulated by Congress, each to be answered yes or no by the voters.
      Paper ballots shall provide space allowing voters to handwrite in their choice for all elective federal offices, if they choose, and all such votes shall be counted.

      • Richo
        July 20, 2016 at 17:42

        How about just do what India does and mandate that voting occur on a weekend.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      July 20, 2016 at 13:24

      The Kenyan guy? You lost all credibility there.

Comments are closed.