Why and How I am a Committed Radical (9th in Series): Special Privileges and Duties of Congress
by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 11:37pm ·
This Note will be about the Section Four of Article Two in my Model Constitution. For those who want to see the Model Constitution I propose as a whole you can go to the following link:
I am exploring what a particular version of another American Revolution might mean. By revolution I mean not only to the Left but in the older sense where various political forms were seen as points on a wheel and sometimes it was necessary to move the wheel radically to a new position for a society to survive. I am looking at what this would mean for the Congress which was such a central part of the revolutionary period which formed our current Second Union and the First Union under the Articles of Confederation. The Congress will still be very important in this proposed third Union. This is in part about where that status and importance could come out of and where it might bring us. Here, in this post I will very briefly try to draw out the continuity of Congress from our Revolutionary Heritage, through the Congress as it it today and on into the Congress as it would exist in and under this Model Constitution. Many of the Founders of our current Union were eager to make sure the Congress and the Union were far more complete political structures than a mere democracy, thus in many ways this third union will complete the promise of the first and second. It is often forgotten that founders such as Adams were more openly critical of the whole espousing of Democracy as an ideal and they did not believe that they had intended to create a democracy nor that such had been the result of their efforts. Adams was on the committee which assisted Jefferson in writing the Declaration of Independence and approved it before submitting it to Congress. Yet he did not hesitate to declare. “Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” John Adams There are many elements besides democracy which are supposed to be operating in our country’s governance and conventual. We are a country founded on getting these mechanics right under an accepted and specific constitution which provides the ground rules and lines of operation for the “game” which is government and indirectly culture and society. There is no way that people can all be persuaded to understand the same questions as being priorities nor to come up with an understanding that the same answers are always right and especially not right for all. This is a Congress proposed under the Model Constitition which balances racial interests, is more inclusiive, balances the access points for women. I t assures both preservation of the republican heitage of theUnion in many ways as wellas assuring royalist and aristocratic influences. That means it must be and remain a Congress where conflict and negotiation are nearly inevitable — that milieu is what we should expect and hope for in our future. Naive optimism is how our enemies have described our nation’s political philosophy but it is not fair even to our most idealistic founder: ”An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.” The previous sentence was authored by the famed idealist Thomas Jefferson. There is more than conflict resolution here that is intended. Federalism itself allows some conflicts not to be resolved and states to live under different laws while all still are participating in the great American society with its greater resources and grand purposes. Far from Term Limits for everyone I believe that in a new constitutional order we should have three US Senators for each State. Let popular elections choose two as has become habitual but let a third one be elected by the state legislatures (as in the original constitution) but let this one officer be subject to certain qualifications tests (not too onerous) and be elected for a longer term. The new regime will in the very fabric of the House of Representatives allow a new and more mature “national” federal self knowledge known by the Censors who also play other roles in Congress without being members of Congress in the strict or regular sense. Let former Presidents, retired General Officers and the US and retired Justices of the US Supreme Court serve on a small per diem and their pensions as Censors. Let them control the Census now taken by the Commerce Department and also create districts and apportion seats for Congress. Let them serve independently and for life. Let them also hold some power over the organs for ethics in the federal government. Radical as this may seem there is evidence the founders thought we should get to this eventually. This Council of Censors would restore the nondemocratic elements which have wasted away and left us in chaos as we see all power in the hands of popular majorities. That is very un-American. We have a more complex society now and it should be under a more complex government not a less complex one.The Censors will intime help to lift Congress to a much more esteemed place as an institution than where it currently is and the cost in power to create districts is well repaid in the worth of the Congress that is gained in increased trustworthiness and dignity.
This Congress has a varity of roles in rebuilding the worth and dignity of our instituions. This is a matter of instituions which are effective and yet can also inspoire a little bit of respect even in an adversary. This moral aspiration is part of our hertage as a union. Neither the current Constitution nor this Model Constitution were designed to consider all starting positions as equal. Neither was crafted so that all ideas and ways of life could start on exactly the same footing. Few were more in touch with the founding of the country that is the USA than John Adams and he did not hesitate to write about what was to be favored. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams. Nor was Adams merely concerned with any kind of piety. He could not have been more certain in his own mind of the pre-eminence of Judaeo- Christian values and cultural traditions in forming the national fabric. “The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. ” John Adams. Remember that the racial and ethnic implications are coming out clearly from one of the Declarers select committee. This diverse proposed Congress is more rooted and secured in its Americanism than is the one we currently have in power.
After the addition of the State of Puerto Rico there would be no new States added without a Constitutional amendment. There would also be the one additional Senator for each State elected by the State Legislature and serving a longer term. That would bring the total number of US Senators to 153. These Senators from the States would with the Second or Deputy Executive Vice President would constitutite the Senate Proper and would serve for all purposes of Law, Procedure, Equity and Normal Business. They would be the only ones allowed to vote when the Senate considered such matters. However, there would be a number of additional members of high office and some elected by the Censors and Tribunes to serve in a Grand Senatorial Council entitled to vote on some amendments to the Constitution and a variety of other matters of very special and limited types of acts. The current Congress of the United States numbers a bit under 550 and the new Congress would number a bit under 1000. This would be more in line with our revolutionary heritage.
Obama ran on the slogan of “Change you can believe in!” It may turn out in 2012’s November election that his policies are now change you can be leaving behind.Or it may turn out that this will be the midway point in an eight year period of his Presidency. At least that may be how many people are trying to see many of the thrusts of the Obama program. Well we did see the Democrats lose the giant gavel of the House of Representatives which transferred from Pelosi to Boehner’s Republicans, let us not read too much into the change of party control in the House of Representatives. Barack Hussein Obama can certainly continue to come back among many voters during the rest of 2012 when his own name is on the ballot and when many people in this country will vote for the black man without reference to any other issue. History shows that vey often once blacks have gotten someon of the right skin tone into an office they will do all that is necessary to keep him there and then see him succeeded by another black man (or sometimes woman) that will often not have anything to do with other support for that executive’s legislative slate, policy or popularity in general. For Obama this election may have very little significance as a harbinger for next chance to finish destroying the country with hate, racism and hypocrisy which are the heart and soul of his life and our country in so many of it worst hours whether black or white inquity is involved. The other issues of getting citizen politicians involved, of challenging statism and of resolving the problems of the economy or also interesting. I think there are some good ideals in this ever-changing political world. However, it is possible and even likely that like the readership of this blog the USA is in systematic and permanent decline.
In Louisiana I am able to say that Republican US Senator Vitter won reelection by a large margin. I voted for Vitter in 2004 but this time in 2010 I voted against him and for lifelong Democrat Charlie Melancon whose COngressional District was changing because of the fact that my Senator David Vitter first sought to further shelter BP from Louisiana’s wrath and because I thought Melancon was interesting and for other ethnic reasons which served as a tie-breaker in the decision I suppose. Of course in the Federal picture these were all conventional politics and these notes I am writing are about Constitutional reform and change. However, in Louisiana we had a very large number Constitutional issues grouped into a number of Constitutional Ammendments that were up for a popular vote. I did inform myself about these things and I did vote on each Constitutional Ammendments. I also saw that most of the Constitutional Ammendment in my State went the way I voted. For me it is almost always a matter of mixed results. The proposed Congress like the current one will be a web of persons and relationships that attracts connected people who continue to weav more connections and who holds posts which are vulnerable to the vicissitudes of national and local politics.
Congress has ties to the experience of violence in the world an the Union. It has toies to universities and in the case of Senator John Glen and a number of others with the elite world of astronauts. Each person in Congress is in themselves a vital part of our national and federal dialog and so they must be both protected and assisted. This was recently brought home to all of us in a new way as it often has been before. January 9th which followed the midterm elections was my father’s 68th birthday. I was busy with issues and activities related to this event. However, January 9, 2011 was also the occasion of a tragedy which occurred at a “Congress On Your Corner” event hosted by Gabrielle Giffords, the only member of Congress married to an active duty member of the United States military. This shooting spree yesterday in Tucson killed a child recently elected to student council and who was there to see how government works as well as a federal judge and several other peope. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of them and to those who are suffering the loss of treasured friends and family members.
Congresswoman Giffords had been a fairly young and exciting kind of Democrat serving the people of Southern Arizona. It was in this innovative and open spirit that her office has held these “Congress on Your Corner” events. Rapid response by a number of people has resulted in some survivals, the aprehending of the shooter and other good outcomes in this horrible incident. However, I have little unique information to occasion my commenting on this and leaving out some names and mentioning others. “Congress on Your Corner” allows residents of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District to meet their congresswoman one-on-one and discuss with her any issue, concern or problem involving the federal government. The Lictors in the new Cogress will not guarantee safety or even a decrease in violence but in time will devlope a capacity to support others in protecting the COngress they police so that one person is less able to frustrate the voice of the people. I have been and am in contact with the Space community and so I am aware of Congresswoman Gifford as one who knows something about this field. I am reproducing her astronaut husband’s statement from her website:
Statement from U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly“On behalf of Gabby and our entire family, I want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the people of Arizona and this great nation for their unbelievable outpouring of support. Gabby was doing what she loved most – hearing from her constituents – when this tragedy occurred. Serving Southern Arizonans is her passion, and nothing makes her more proud than representing them in Congress.
“Like all Americans, we mourn the loss of Gabe Zimmerman, a fine man and beloved member of Gabby’s team, Judge John M. Roll, Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck, and Dorwan Stoddard. We must never forget them, and our prayers are with their families. Our hearts go out to everyone injured yesterday; we hope and pray for their quick recovery. We also extend our thanks and appreciation to all of the first responders, medical personnel, law enforcement, and Arizona citizens who acted swiftly yesterday and continue to assist our community through this tragedy. Many stories of heroism are emerging, and they are a source of strength for us during this difficult time. We are forever grateful.
“Many of you have offered help. There is little that we can do but pray for those who are struggling. If you are inspired to make a positive gesture, consider two organizations that Gabby has long valued and supported: Tucson’s Community Food Bank and the American Red Cross.”
In 2010 I voted for former COngressman Cao as his name appeared on a ballot for a statewide position he had already conceded to his opponent. His loss and the loss of Melancon were not in my view good for the Congress. The Parties will still have an influence but new factors will make things more complicated in a good way. Besides Cao, Giffords, Melancon and others we are able to thinki of all a man was able to contribute in a long carreer. Senator Byrd who knew the Senate so well is still remembered, so is Daniel Patrick Moynihan and a number of others and just before the midterm elections we saw Scott Brown elected and I hope he will do well in bringing a lot to his party, chamber and country. He is able to embody the values of rising form nowhere which this Model Constitution does not condemn. He may be a founder of something great given a history of various kinds of excellence. But it is also revealing to see the seat he has filled. Continuity and connectedness was so well embodied in the life and ambitions of Edward Kennedy the Senior Senator from Massachussettes. His father served as Ambassador to the Court of Saint James. His brother Joseph was killed in an experimental aircraft in the midst of World War II. His brother John Fizgerald was President of the United States of America after having been a Senator and was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. His brother Robert was Attorney General and a United States Senator who was gunned down during his bid for the Presidency of the United States. His sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her husband founded and oversaw the Special Olympics. His niece Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger is the First Lady of California. His nephew John Fitzgerald Kennedy Junior was a publisher of “George” a political magazine and died in a plane crash. Given the wealth of his father it is not surprising that with this record of untimely death and public service many people have called the Kennedy family America’s royal family. While I do not see that as an apt description they are certainly a special family which deserves some recognition.
Edward Kennedy was a strong and committed voice in the legislation of our country. He played a significant role in electing Barak Hussein Obama to the Presidency. I may not approve of that and it may be his voters back home did not either — but he was in this as in all else able to stand tall as a Senator. He was an example of leadership in an era in which leaders are rare. Kennedy was the kind of man who becomes a national monument no matter how one feels about any of his ideas or policies. Edward Kennedy is going to be buried in Arlington National Cemetary. My cousin Severin Summers III who was killed in Afghanistan will also be buried there very soon. So he will be linked in my mind by this coincidence to my own family.
This Congress of the Model Constitution will also be compelled to keep alive the quality of discusssion and language on the floor. This will be part of the total structure which will make Congress what Congress is supposed to be. It will be the best and not the most demeaned version of itself if we can make it such. The work of producing a budget bill will be kept as central to a Congress in the modern era.
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Section Four: Special Privileges and Duties of Congress
Subsection One: Immunity
Members of Congress may not be arrested while in office except by the Lictors and for the purposes of remaining in Lictorian Custody. Other law enforcement may collect information may attempt to indirectly protect public safety on their own and may assist in the arrest so long as a Lictor is physicaly present and presiding. The Emperor may remove any Member of Congress from Office Pending Review on Published Suspicion of High Treason or Grand Piracy.
Subsection Two: Status
All Members of Congress are legaly entitled to their proper form of address, are to be given a preferred status within known limits on Common Carriers, shall have property taxes waived on their principal home in the District of Columbia should they own it and shall be exempt from the servile obligations beyond address which their otherwise low station may place them in as regards higher ranked persons in the Imperial House or Fivefold Nobility. The Emperor is still in his person absolute and many duties attach to him and in a lesser way to the Empress when they are present.
Subsection Three: Requirements
Provision One: The Budget
The Congress must submit a credibly balanced Central Budget Bill in the first five bills and the first six weeks of each Congressional Year to the First Executive Vice President each Year. Spending Bills beyond that Bill must be numbered each session an published in the public media and the Capitol and shall have a preamble explaining why it was needed.
Provision Two: Homage
Each Member of Congress must pay homage at the Imperial Palace in each term of Office either received directly by the Emperor or one he shall appoint to receive them.
Provision Three: Conversation, Debate and Special Cases
1. Members of Congress shall remain an acknowledgedly ambiguous term, It shall have at times and in certain cases the meanin of only Representatives and the true Senare consisting of Senators from the States and no other member of the Grand Senatorial Council. In other instances such as immunity from arrest it shall mean all those in the Grand Senatorial Council and the Representatives. The Narrow meaning is intended in this provision.
2. One tenth of the salaries of Members of Congress shall be paid according to a certain formula in this provision. On every Wednesday that Congress is in Session that is not a first class solemnity or its equivalent in the Roman Catholic, one of the two most major holidays not shared by the Roman Catholics observed by the Greek Orthodox Church, not a Jewish High Holy Day and not a recenly disestablished American Holiday Shall be Floor Debate and Conversation Day in Congress. Where the schedule finds fewer than twelve such days a number of Thursdays shall be created to bring the number up to fourteen such days in a Congressional year. No matter how many days there are in a year proper attendance at thirty or more such days shall always constitute perfect attendance. a Days attendance shall be four or more hours spent in the Chamber itself on such a day. One tenth of the Member of Congress’s salary will be paid on the basis of a/h * .1S which shall be the number of such days attended divided by the number of such days held times one tenth of their annual salary.
3. One percent of their annual salary will be withheld from every Member of Congress who does not deliver a speech of four to six minutes length during one of these Floor Debate and Conversation Days during a given Congressional year.
4. Floor Debate and Conversation Days shall run from nine in the morning to six in the evening with an hour recess between noon and one. From Nine to Ten President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House shall present presentations on a single day’s theme to their respective chambers. Each must speak personally with three excused absences each year. Half the presenting time nearly must be from members of the Chamber and half must be from those no members. The Cabinet member from the Chamber shall have the right to the next fifteen minutes. Until eleven discussions shall be confined to the major presentation and the cabinet presentation. At eleven any visiting dignitaries, legislators or heads of state will sspeak first followed by any maiden speeches made by Members who have never before addressed Congress. Should their be any time remaining an ephemeral media screen or other such device will present the bills awaiting a vote in the chamber and members will vote their first, second and third choice for those to discuss in the afternoon. At one if the voting just described has not been done it will be done and then scheduled speeches by Members of Congress will be presented until two. At two bills will be discussed in the order of the voting points awarded each with four points for a first place two for a second and one for a third. Those having obligatory speeches prepared on the selected bill will go first. This discussion will go on untill three thirty. At three thirty the Cabinet member and any subpoenaed or invited mebers of the Executive shall be questioned and answer questions untill four. At four there shall be open comments, speeches obligatory and otherwise as well as discussions on all of the days events untill there no one more deisres to speak or until five. If there is time before five then the Speaker or President will call on any heads of committee to report to the chamber on recent work and buisiness. All debate and speech up to this hour shall, without prejudice to linguistic color and illustration, have been entirely in English or the evolving American Imperial Dialect. At five the Certified Language Caucuses of each chamber shall have the priority of scheduling one day per year when the hour of five to six discussions, business and speeches in the Chambers on Floor Conversation and Debate Days will take place in their caucus language with simultaneous translation provided in headsets to other members. On days not scheduled for such languages the Members obligatory speeches will take priority and then there will be scheduled reading with discussion of sections from the Constitution, the authorized biography or biographies of the Monarch, the Bible, Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws, Aristole’s Politics, the Minutes and Acts of the Imperial Tribal Council and Declarations of the Censors.
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So if you have the energy to discuss this with friends that would be great. But the basic point here in this Article Two: “Congress” Section Four: “Special Privileges and Duties of Congress “is that for our system to work in the new context proposed there must be means for the Congress to hold a special status, to enage in broad consultations and to exercise with dignity and effeciveness its proper role as the legislature of the Union. Because this is complex system in type there must be varied measures and distinctions which strengthen the real effectiveness of the Congress. Under this Model Constitution the society has evolved into one in which rank and position are expected to be borne and worn in a way seen by this writer and some others as more honest and useful in keeping people aware of who is in charge and while facilitating democracy also seeking to persuade people to use the opportunities of civilization to fully tend to their own responsibilities. This Congress exists in a system which in many ways strengthens the role of the ordinary executive power wielder but compells him or or her and other figures in and outside of the FEVP’ s admisinistration to deal with a more effective and autonomous Congress than ever before. This COngress will be structured to have great floor discussions — that is one of its jobs in itself. This Section is in brief a list of immunities and related privileges of Congress as well as few duties which keep it independent of the Executive in key ways and which create an environment which is suitable to the position of the main legislature in an Empire and Union with great and global interests acknowledged state responsibilities uniting various kinds of polities and with a royal monarchy in an Imperial framework. These privileged and empopwered positions and operations of Congress under this new system do not prevent the Congress being held in Checks and Balances as is the American and also Acadian tradition while it still holds an Imperial dignity and is able to be an effective legislature.
I have tagged a few FB friends and I will in some or all my notes. Any kind of political radicalism at any time is a risk for those associated with it and so I am keeping the tagging to a minimum and while a great deal of endorsement will be needed to effect these changes there is no indication that someone tagged in a note in this series is actually endorsing the note. As always I am willing to respond to posted comments, chat and private messages.