THIS UNNAMED GEOLOGICAL formation is the likely result of wind, rain and time eroading away surface material to expose what at one time would have lava (magma) that had cooled and solidified. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
COMING INTO OR out of the Chisos Mountains, this is the northwest view and is several miles south of Panther Junction and the headquarters for Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
THE CLARET CUP is covered in barbed spines and blooms a reddish, cup-shaped flower from about April to June or July in Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
THIS VIEW FROM a formation called, “The Window,” looks out from the westside of the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
INDIAN HEAD MOUNTAIN and its southern region offers this “leaning” wall of geology at the western boundary of Big Bend National Park. The rocks of the foreground are boulders ranging from man-sized on up. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
MASSIVE AND TOWERING, this wall of the geology is at least a couple of hundrend feet high and situated in the Indian Head area of Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
WIDE-OPEN PANORAMAS and mountainous terrain such as this are routine along roadside in Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
THE SOUTHWEST SIDE of the Chisos Mountains, also known as the Chisos Mountain Basin and home to the lodge in Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2011 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
A FALLEN TREE is an impassable barrier in an otherwise debris-free dry riverbed in Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
INDIGENOUS TO TEXAS, New Mexico and Arizona, Javelinas in Big Bend National Park genetically differ from swine. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
LOST MINE TRAIL in Big Bend National Park, looking southward over Juniper Canyon, the Chisos Mountain’s Northeast Rim and into Mexico. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
A TREE SILHOUETTED against the night sky as seen from Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
THIS VIEW EAST of a volcano is an illusion of the setting sun streaming through the Chisos Basin area behind Casa Grande Peak in Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
WRIGHT MOUNTAIN in background at Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
A VIEW WESTWARD after sundown from the Indian Head area of Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved.
A CAMERA COMPENSATION for the limited light after sundown provides this view westward from the Indian Head area of Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson/Camera One. All Rights Reserved.
SANTA ELENA CANYON after sunset, as seen from the Chimneys in Big Bend National Park. Copyright © 2010 by DL Tolleson/Camera One. All Rights Reserved.


Author, Photographer, Researcher, Artist, Adventurer and Buccaneer Extraordinaire

“Or at least that’s the plan each morning after coffee.”

Publication History: The Power of the States—Part I. Copyright © 2013, 2019 by DL Tolleson. All Rights Reserved. Excerpts from this work are permissible if author attribution is included. However, beyond this no part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission from the author.

Tolleson, DL. “The Power of the States—Part I.”, 2013.

Tolleson, DL. “The Power of the States—Part I.”, 2016.

Description: Commentary » Political » Constitutional Matters—1,724 words.

This article footnotes to References containing parallel cites. A parallel cite sources two Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), the second of which is rendered in this differing font color. Each parallel cite will source either a first URL that resolves to the second URL, or source a dead URL that necessitates sourcing the second URL for the same or similar content.

Commentary: This is a revision and update of an article originally appearing as a July 12, 2013 entry in The Great American Novel Blog on this web site under the heading, The Power of the States. The original entry remains available in the 2013 Archive of this site via the Compendium.

—DL Tolleson

DL Tolleson

This is about a specific power of the States that are united as America.

But first, let’s recap the various dire circumstances of recent history. The mid-to-late 2000s brought with them government mandated healthcare, the implementation of which was constitutionally questionable and negatively impacted the economy.

That economy had previously limped along for seven years of two to three percent annual growth (up through 2016). With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obama Care” as it came to be known) businesses were suddenly saddled with new and expensive healthcare regulations. Corporations (both massive and mom & pop) reasonably sought to avoid fines and healthcare expenses by reducing weekly employment to less than 30 hours (the threshold at which companies were to fund all employee healthcare regardless of whether employees would have previously elected coverage). This was one of the stagnating economic backlashes to the law. It translated into part time employment (less than 30 hours) for many who previously were employed full time (40 hours or more). Then came the falling dominos: less hours, less money, less people able to meet financial obligations on less than 30 weekly hours of pay and resultantly, less overall economic activity. And If a person without private health coverage was no longer employed come tax time, that person was penalized out of any refund he or she might receive (simply being unemployed at the time was not, in and of itself, sufficient reason for exemption).

Insurance rates—post Obama Care implementation—soared through the roof and numerous were the carriers who ceased offering medical coverage. Social Security and Medicare, which are perpetually teetering on the plunge into an abyss of insolvency, continued their route to oblivion.

At around the same time as all of this was occurring illegal immigration once again came to the political forefront. Citizens were compelled to bring public pressure to bear on wayward elected representatives. These representatives were proposing legislation granting economic “favors” or “relief” to noncitizens. While citizens rightly objected to this, most people did not even realize the crippling dangers inherent to the proposals. The proposals would have set-up the legal argument of an unconstitutional second class of illegal alien citizenry by virtue of statutory entitlement to the social safety nets on which American citizens depend. That, of course, would have been true and thus proven to be a judicial path to citizenship.

Had this occurred all restrictions for “legalized” illegal aliens would have been swept aside, immediately followed by economic/social/cultural disaster. The infrastructure on which American citizens depend in time of need (Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Housing Assistance, Food Stamps, etc.) would have crashed under the weight of 11 million newly “legalized” illegal aliens. God only knows what would have become of the country during the next several years of illegal immigration anticipated to have exceeded 40 million people pouring over the border.

Avoiding this economic and social collapse was the one bright spot during those years—but it did not solve illegal immigration. As of 2019 illegal immigration continued apace under the weight of a democrat party for open borders (or more precisely, for no borders). And all the while increasing numbers in illegal immigration and associated crime has continue unabated.

Looking at taxation… Historically the top 50% of wage earners have paid up to 96% of the government’s ENTIRE yearly collection of taxes. That’s the top 50% of wage earners. Not 50% of everybody, but rather just half of the top wage earners. And in terms of what the government collects and the wealth it redistributes, the top wage earners could paid 100% of the taxes collected with 100% of their incomes and it still wouldn’t be enough to meet the federal spending of roughly 10 to 11 billion dollars per day. Add to this that we have seen the IRS politically weaponized.

Moving into 2016 there was a concerted effort upon the part of government employees (described as the “Deep State”) attempting to alter the result of a Presidential election. This constituted illegal activities that remained unaddressed during a pointless two-year investigation, at the end of which evidenced the foregone conclusion of non-existent Russian collusion upon the part of the President. With that finally coming to a long-overdue close an investigation into the participants of the “Deep State” should actually yield criminal charges for abuses of power in the attempts to alter an election and overthrow of the duly elected president.

There are more of these and other problems, such as…

• Regulatory agencies and branches of government run amuck (the Supreme Court, for example, backed the EPA in ruling that your expelled breath was pollution)

• Lies about the attacks in Benghazi leading to American deaths (repeatedly announcing the attack was spontaneously motivated by a video when it was actually terrorism coordinated in recognition of the 9/11/2001 attacks)

• Cover-ups about those deaths (including that our government elected to ignore providing additional security when notified of the region’s unstable environment well in advance of the Benghazi attack)

• Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) unaddressed criminal activity on various fronts, including her home server, e-mail (and destruction of both that had been requested by Congress) and the overlapping cover-up the so-called “Uranium One Scandal

• FBI surveillance abuses of Americans based upon warrants illegally obtained through the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC, also known as the FISA)

• Ongoing intrusion into the phone records and e-mail of every single American Citizen (everyone has been spied on—everyone; if you’re reading this, your phone records and e-mail have been spied on)

• Publically elected representatives openly advocating socialism

…and a whole lot more.

Just a few years ago all of this would have been considered fiction. In terms of personal freedom there was—and is—good reason for alarm. Who would have thought George Orwell’s Animal Farm predicted the rise of elected American representatives who live free of what they impose (or legislate to impose) upon the rest of the country? Who would have thought that the news media would alter the perception of reality like some Ministry of Truth out of Orwell’s 1984? Or who would have thought that the venom of pop culture, multiculturalism, political correctness and technology would saturate our society like something eerily similar to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World—inclusive of abortion on demand through the day of birth and a nation doomed to repeat the ignored lessons of history?

In short, we are at risk of losing our American heritage and the freedoms inherent to federalism. The circumstances I’ve just described offers neither candidates nor voters that seem capable of reversing these trends. Elections, as we have seen, offer at best 4 to 8 years of occasional reprieves and at worst, further subjugation. We have become a nation of weak States and weaker citizens, powerless to stop a federal government backed by a few men in black robes and a percentage of citizenry bent on national self-immolation founded on dangerously deranged concepts, ill-conceived notions and outright lies.

We are totally powerless to stop any of it.

Or are we?

Mark Levin, an attorney and conservative talk show host of the Mark Levin Show was in Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department and also runs the Landmark Legal Foundation, which has prevailed in suits over the IRS: In his book, The Liberty Amendments, Levin has detailed how the states can alter the trajectory on which we find ourselves.

As noted therein (and in many other venues of learning) our framers anticipated that our federal government might get out of hand. So in the formation of our government’s foundation—the Constitution—the framers provided a solution we’ve usually overlooked. They even discussed the matter in what has become known as the Federalist Papers.

So, what is this solution? It is found in the Constitution of the United States of America. Specifically in Article 5, wherein is found the following:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress...

The key points are rendered in italic. The layman’s translation is this: Two-thirds of the Legislatures of the States can bring forth proposed amendments to the Constitution and if ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the States such Amendments become Constitutional law. According to Levin it has been attempted only once and has since remained dormant.

But nonetheless, there it is.

It behooves us to remember that while the structure of our federal government remains the same, the elected representatives charged with implementing that government fluctuates in terms of who they are and what they choose to do. That is the consequences of elections and the impact of competing agendas. But when, for whatever reason, elected representatives do not carry forth with their Constitutional responsibilities, it isn’t because the Constitution is “broken.” Rather, it is because the elected representatives are giving preference to their own agendas or are swayed by unconstitutional influence. For example, during the Obama administration the federal government actually brought legal action against the State of Arizona for trying to control illegal immigration when the federal government was failing to do its duty in that regard. So, if the federal government is against us in the States, our Constitutional framers gave us the power to set aright problems such as those.

This may sound like an over simplification—and it is insofar as the effort this would take. Or perhaps it is better put this way: The State-powered amendment of the Constitution is a simple idea while the implementation is by necessity, difficult. It is by design a task that can be undertaken without fear of the process falling into the hands of people who would destroy the Constitution though a Federally brought Constitutional Convention (a topic I will address in subsequent articles).

In short, the message here is that we have a way to reign in an out-of-control, over-bearing and oppressive Federal government.

Recommended Reading

* “The Power of the States—Part II.”, 6 Oct. 2013,, (Retrieved 2014)., (Retrieved 2016).

* “The Power of the States—Part III.”, 13 Dec. 2013,, (Retrieved 2014)., (Retrieved 2016).

* “The Power of the States—Part IV.”, 29 Dec. 2014,, (Retrieved 2014)., (Retrieved 2016).