Category Archives: Mexico

Lent and the Return

This is now fairly deep into Lent and it is also near the time of the time change when we will all spring forward an hour, and most of us will find our waking a bit cruel for a while.. The Wednesday that is the seventh of March I spent  some time working on a gutter system and I have been otherwise preoccupied with a variety of little things but I am also aware that it is Lent — deeply aware that it is Lent although not as deeply as I might like to be. President Donald J. Trump gave his first address to the Joint Session of Congress on Mardi Gras and did not mention that the next day was Ash Wednesday nor that the Louisiana delegation had to neglect a major regional holiday to be present there and absent from Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday commitments at home. It is not that I recommend such recognition as a Federal Duty but then again I do not recommend scheduling such an event on Mardi Gras. So that is how my Lent really began — although I left off watching the speech at my parents house and went to a friend’s house for a last glass of sherry and a last slice of King Cake before midnight. But there was a dissonance between what I wanted and had on my mind and what the national scene was doing.Now the party of carnival season is truly over and my life is Lenten although not in every ideal sense. Perhaps not very holy but very austere in some ways.

Amid the other duties, noise and goings-on of life I am going over one of my unpublished novels. I wrote it online and printed two copies several years ago. So this set of marginalized, copy editors marks and other small and medium size changes are the first writing done on paper. For me writing novels has always been objectively better than self amputation, maintaining street heroin, or robbing convenience stores. But it probably feels much worse and is less rewarding.

However, it keeps my natural effervescent and exuberant qualities in check.  But the point of all this is that if ever one feels unable to control one’s giddy inner child then writing long novels can be excellent therapy…. However, most readers probably are not afflicted with excessive joy.

Nor is is impossible see that Washington faces real and austere challenges. A recent email from the White House says.

It’s been seven years since Obamacare was passed, and now, more than ever, we are seeing the harmful effects of this disastrous law.

Obamacare has led to higher costs and fewer health insurance options for millions of hard-working Americans. Independent analysis found 41 states faced higher average healthcare deductibles last year, with 17 states facing double-digit rate increases. Nearly one in five Americans have only one insurer offering Obamacare exchange plans.

In just the past year, Obamacare premiums have increased by 25 percent on the typical plan and coverage choices have dropped by 28 percent as insurers have left the market.

Things are only getting worse. This past year, nearly 20 million American citizens opted not to get healthcare insurance, with 6.5 million paying the penalty and millions more asking for a hardship exemption from the penalty.

Now, not nearly everyone will agree with Trump’s tone and take on this issue but I am relieved that he is trying to end the individual mandate. We all have sacrifices to make for America to make it and those sacrifices are Lenten enough in nature to deserve some thought in that regard. I think Catholics often have a variety of struggles as regards Lent. But it is a time to try and take our medicine with or without sugar to make it go down. America could use a little Lent just now.

I went to mass the morning of the first day of this Lent and received my ashes for Ash Wednesday. There was quite the crowd at church at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church.  I am very much aware of all that I am not doing for Lent and all that it might be better for me to do.

In the distant times when elves abounded on Middle Earth….
Actually no that is in no sense descriptive or proper — but a long time ago — I did a lot of penance and then at other times I did a lot during Lent . Then in recent years I have more often than not failed to give up anything for Lent. I have lacked the generosity of spirit necessary to add another sacrifice to the wearisome burdens of my daily life and the lacks I feel so keenly. But I have received the Ashes and kept a decent fast. There was another period in my life when I was often in a blur and sometimes forgot what day it was and violated fasts publicly in a huge way in Catholic towns on a few occasions. My sin there was running around in a chaotic state rather than consciously breaking a fast. But this year I did give up something for Lent — nothing huge and not smoking which anyone who hangs out with me lately would be likely to suggest but I did give up something.

Back in the days when I often prayed for hours alone or in a chapel AND wore a knotted cord that bit my flesh in secret AND gave way more in alms than a normal percentage AND volunteered for lots of ministries that few wanted and some everyone did — Back then I found it easy to add on a Lenten Penance. Lately, as I aim at catching the bottom rung of the safety ladder hanging out of purgatory in the knick of time any sacrifice seems heavy. But I have small ministry in the church and it seems fitting. So as I went for Ashes I decided I would do something. I also have noticed that since Mass was early and I had a priest who is not a real brander and stainer in his approach I once again have fading ash syndrome by the time I get out into the world — that is good and bad. The pros and cons go beyond this little post. But I have Fading Ash Syndrom in both Ash Wednesday pictures here, quite a few years apart. I sometimes envy those with Strong Ash Condition late in the day. But I used to wear a cross a whole lot all the time and it sometimes irked me. Now I am an annual fading ash guy.

A Fading Ash Guy scheduling in his liturgical ministry in a busy week. Life brings us places we did not expect to be posting almost undetectable ash crosses and musing about minor penances. I am not the publican or the pharisee in the famous parable of Jesus. Maybe I am the guy not mentioned in the parable who would like longer phylacteries and a more lawful beard, a little more booze and gold and a little more repentance. Beware of being lukewarm we are warned. Those who know me would say there are parts of my psyche that always run very hot and others very cold. But perhaps the lukewarm has found much of the central region.

While I certainly know that my flesh shall turn to dust it is less clear how much I will repent and believe the Gospel this Lent. But Lent does not depend solely on me. God is God however unworthy or indifferent I may be….



There is a lot going on in my life and yet not so much as to justify spending a blog only on what is going on in my life. Problems with Mexico, Russia, North Korea and Iran are not figments of our national imagination. We must address real challenges each day as a country — we must sober up from the carnival atmosphere of the election and do some good in the world. That can mean doing some good for ourselves as well. For example,  I think it’s time for everyone to realize that North Korea is able to withstand even the very most brutal diplomatic tongue-lashing. I don’t mean to trivialize the problem but maybe they know we dislike their weapons program by now…. Sobriety and a little fasting from delusion is in order. There is a real fact that our secrets are out in the world and the White House leaks like a sieve and the Academy Awards handed the Best Picture award to the wrong movie first.

I would like to thank the academy, my parents and everyone — but I am not receiving an Oscar. On the other hand, that may not have much to do with getting to give those speeches anymore…
Also not important for determining who is crowned in a huge international pageant. Steve Harvey crowned the wrong woman not long ago. these are little things compared to the open prey our secrets and promises to one another have become but they are not extremely small things. We see a continuity to our national political life. We could use a little Lent.

I have a suggestion for major televised award shows, go ahead and use whatever approach prevented these messes in the 20th century. Maybe don’t just fumble along like idiots on your program’s biggest moment. Just saying….

Then maybe we can run our country with some sobriety as well. I have been remembering two serious older Americans now deceased this week. I have been remembering Justin Jesss Spiehler the grandfather of my nieces and nephew. His obituary from years ago is linked here.  But in the spirit of such memories, I spent a few days this Lent looking for and not finding a report of the decease of Judge Marcus Broussard, known as Buddy Broussard, a jurist and attorney in Abbeville. I hesitate to post his name first although I knew him. He and I were for a few years the only two active, dues-paying members of Mensa in Abbeville. I knew his son as well and he was friends with my maternal grandparents. I look forward to seeing the kind of character I knew in those men come to the fore — they weren’t perfect but they were good solid Americans I admired, are we?

This month I am on schedule for ministry at early morning mass. I hope to keep a holy Lent there in Church but I hope to return from church with a little Lent to bring to my country as well.

“Keeping the Faith” and Keeping the Faith

There is a good bit of questioning about antisemitism in America and about the Jewish identity and experience in America if one is attuned to such discussions. The totality of the discussion would include a variety of relatively disinterested observers, Jews and also thoroughgoing antisemites.   However, this post is not primarily a post on antisemitism. Like a lot of posts on this blog it sort of meanders along –but it meanders more into being a discussion of Jews in America than being a discussion of antisemitism. However, for those interested in a more thorough discussion of antisemitism in America in recent years this article on the Huffington Post is a place to start.  But while there are no simple answers to the question, it is possible in a meandering way to ask “who are American Jews?” With all respect to Wrangler and Lee, it has always seemed to me that the most American garment is a great pair of blue jeans and the most American of the great blue jeans is also Jewish. The Levi Strauss company founded by a German Jewish family before Germany became known for the Holocaust and when Mendelssohn’s wedding  march filled both synagogues and Christian churches and was likely to be what one thought of in terms of the relationship of Jewishness and German identity. But this article is not mostly about Mendelssohn but mostly about another music maker — Billy Joel. (Still alive and more than welcome to comment on my little blog).

I like Billy Joel music and songs — in fact Piano Man is probably my favorite Billy Joel song, although this post is much more about Keeping the Faith. But in this post I want to discuss a particular aspect of my appreciation of his music. That aspect is how his music added, and still adds a certain something to American life and culture. Something which is Jewish, which is American and which is more profound than it seems.


The story of American life and the story of American Judaism is a complicated pair of stories that relate very definitely to one another. Some names that come to mind when thinking of the Jewish qualities and tones that are part of American life and the American qualities and tones that are part of some Jewish life are Billy Joel, Eli Wiesel, Albert Einstein,  J. Robert Oppenheimer, Gloria Steinem,  Adam Sandler, Gilda Radner, Billy Chrystal and Yasmine Bleeth among others. But in the matrilineal tradition of many parts of modern Judaism and Hebraica neither Bleeth nor Steinem or necessarily Jewish –only their fathers really are for sure. Some people like Jean Chatzky are not so open about it in all aspects of their life but they are still willing to reveal their Jewish identity in the right format. The connection of all Jewish life to the events of the Holocaust is a real and vital set of connections. That doesn’t mean that the terms “Hitler” and “Nazi” have not often enough been bastardized to mean whatever anyone might want them to mean. Nonetheless, the Third Reich was real enough. The nation of Israel has shown Jews fighting for their own people and doing so effectively. There were few such successes in direct Jewish resistance to the Third Reich. But a Jew from Germany ‘s First Reich (named J. Robert Oppenheimer) with the support of a Jew who refused to return to the Germany during the Third Reich (named Albert Einstein) designed and developed the atomic weapons that would have defeated the Third Reich if we had not already beaten them a bit earlier. These same Jewish based technologies secured America’s place in the post-war world. As much as these varied people have contributed to American life and greatness I still am drawn to think about Billy Joel.


I am where I am in my own journey through life. There is not much I have to write that does not matter in some significant way to me but I am aware of the limits of its import to the larger world. But as I begin this post I have a particular song on my mind — Keeping the Faith, by Billy Joel. The video features his real life wife playing a character in the song. Christie Brinkley is the only woman to bear him a child that I or the general public know about for sure — Alexa Ray. Although he would be married several other time and Christie Brinkley would have other children not with him and most romantic of all, she and Joel didn’t make it all the way to the grave together they were a couple who made an impression. I have spent a good bit of time in the last few months talking about my own past, in some ways I find something to relate to in Billy Joel’s song. But it is hard to know how well America relates to this nostalgia for an American youth.

Billy Joel is a man who in real life has known something about the love affairs and American living that he heard about first and later wrote intelligently about in  the songs of American popular music. The story is that of a man with his fair share of woes to say the least but also the story of a great American pop artist. The lyrics of “Keeping the Faith” tell some of his story.


“Keeping The Faith”

If it seems like I’ve been lost
In let’s remember
If you think I’m feeling older
And missing my younger days
Oh, then you should have known me much better
‘Cause my past is something that never
Got in my way
Oh no
The truth is that when one looks back on the past and sees only the glory days or only the sorrows one does not really look back on the past.  But we have a hard time not looking back on the past with all the many colors of nostalgia at one time or another. Billy Joel has allegedly attempted suicide a number of times and had struggles with alcohol abuse. What I am sure of is that he wrote and performed songs which people have related to fairly intensely over the years. Judaism contributed to the founding of Islam and Christianity each more than any other single source in objective historical terms — and therefore it is older. Nostalgia has a particular place in Jewish identity in the West.

Still I would not be here now
If I never had the hunger
And I’m not ashamed to say
The wild boys were my friends
‘Cause I never felt the desire
‘Til their music set me on fire
And then I was saved, yeah
That’s why I’m keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith

There was a  whole lot more going on in the  urban neighborhood of Joel’s song besides just music and faith. One thing he seems to believe in as he tells the story in song is the junction of youth, community and the  commerce based on  local  shared consumption. One can imagine a largely or susbstantially Jewish neighborhood in a great American city in the song. the song is sometimes shocking but a Catholic who is honest about Mardi Gras or Carnival as a Catholic liturgical season that is not a liturgical season should have no trouble making room for some kind of insight.

We wore old matador boots
Only Flagg Brothers had them with a Cuban heel
Iridescent socks with the same color shirt
And a tight pair of chinos
I put on my shark skin jacket
You know the kind with the velvet collar
And ditty-bop shades
Oh yeah
I took a fresh pack of Luckies
And a mint called Sen-Sen
My old man’s Trojans
And his Old Spice after shave
Combed my hair in a pompadour
Like the rest of the Romeos wore
A permanent wave, Yeah
We were keeping the faith

The boys with the condoms and  and the knowledge of which local merchants had the right clothes who smoked and got their hair done were making the boundaries of their community real enough. One wonders about the connections between the Catholic situation in America and the Jewish one at various times and in various places. the Jewish belief in the rituals that consecrate sex, life, the seasons of the year and the sense of being a people are modified in different ways as they come into Christianity. The secular Jewish experience is another modified view of those ancient streams.

Catholics have different reactions to the Trump administration singling out Mexico for his principal target of isolation. Isolation can be targeted. So the reactions over time will be interesting…. the targeting of Sanctuary cities may well be a cause of conflict with Catholics in many cases.  But the Catholic identity is that of Mike Pence, VP as well as of the undocumented worker. In addition Mexico and Central America are much less Roman Catholic than they used to be — much less. One wonders about the kind of Catholicism that Donald John Trump expects to confront. In the paper below from the American bishops, the right of the country to protect itself is balanced with the rights of those who might suffer. But there is a cultural sympathy that is not to be missed. One sees in trump a man who is very much an American secular Protestant who surrounds himself in close relationships with Catholics and Jews as well as others. I still have not pegged Trump at the personal level, his real policy goals I feel I understand well enough to discuss them but the man — not so much. Pence seems a likeable Catholic and his job is important and official. Mnuchin seems an unusually unlikeable American Jew and may not get confirmed. While Ivanka and Jared seem to be trotted around a great deal neither seems to have an official position. If not all Catholics will trust Trump is devoid of Anti-Catholic bias one wonders what varied Jews might be thinking.


I am told that the President of Mexico has cancelled a meeting with President Trump. I like Trump being strong and energetic and I favor a vigorous and strong America. I also favor a healthy Mexico. I am a Catholic and an American. I look at the people who are trying to see where Trump plays out with Jews and there seems to be a hint that some people are wondering if only Israel is the Jewish place to be. Some see this perhaps in Trump’s chief strategist. I myself am on the far right (in my own opinion). I am able to oppose too much driving of Christianity from the Public square. But I also see a value in secular space and zones of governance. I also appreciate the Jewish American experience I even think there are things all of us can learn from their journey — even my WASP friends.

Getting back to Billy Joel, I too can remember that my own ethnic and specific heritage as a particular kind of American was not perfect either. You  (or one) can see a criticism of both a blind progressivism and a cultural conservatism that is unquestioning for any American in his  next few lines. Take them as autobiography, politics, romantic memoir or any  number of other forms and one can find some truth in them.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith
You can get just so much
From a good thing
You can linger too long
In your dreams
Say goodbye to the
Oldies but goodies
‘Cause the good ole days weren’t
Always good
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems

But Billy Joel and I do indeed have different pasts and he is quite a bit older than me. Getting a bit off text again we witnessed different parts of the fire he sang about. We had different parts of the song going through our heads. But only the differences of versions and arrangements of the greater metaphorical song — I relate to his song We Didn’t Start the Fire , just fine. But like a lot his songs it is not of a single simple meaning. For now, let’s get through the song for which this post is named.

Learned stickball as a formal education
Lost a lot of fights
But it taught me how to lose O.K.
Oh, I heard about sex
But not enough
I found you could dance
And still look tough anyway
Oh yes I did
I found out a man ain’t just being macho
Ate an awful lot of late night drive-in food
Drank a lot of take home pay
I thought I was the Duke of Earl
When I made it with a red-haired girl
In the Chevrolet. Oh yeah
We were keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith

A while back on Facebook I received a compliment from a red-haired beauty from my own ethnic community in Acadiana and reminded her of a long ago date in Chevy Impala and was gratified by a smoochy emoji in response. While Billy Joel’s lyrical boasts do not apply to the date she and I were commemorating online much is similar, thus remembered by me or in song  it is a deeply American experience.  So I look at the role of Jews as a religious minority and I contrast them to the Jihadi Muslim communities. The other Muslims may or may not listen to Billy Joel but the smartest among them realize that American Jews have worked hard to create a workable secular American culture because it is one that they can participate in. It is sometimes good and sometimes bad but I respect the effort. Muslims, Christians and Jews can all wear Levis, listen at least to Piano Man if not this post’s theme song  and enjoy some discrimination-free public space. I have a  Jewish friend, a woman whose initials are JY and like some of the great American Jews she has done humanitarian and secular and patriotic things. She is spiritually adventurous and like so many she is vastly more liberal and more leftist than I am (two separate measures) but I think she has come to respect me and my views a little. I have mentioned her here but will not go further than this in this particular post. The relationships between Acadians and Jews are very complex and very enduring. there is plenty that is of Hebrew origin in the mix of French, Greek, Latin, Spanish and MiqMaq ingredients an Anglo scholar can find in the Cajun culture. I have reminded miss JY of her heritage more often than not — although I do not know really how closely she relates to it. But whatever her struggle is with majority culture it does not involved blowing up people in their homes and at markets. Europe’s murdered millions of Jews filled a niche that others from the same region of the world now fill- a good number of those people are committed to destroying the Europe both Goethe and Mendelssohn built together.   Where Hitler complained of the occasional Jewish Caftan there is now the burka.

You know the good ole days weren’t always good
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems

I told you my reasons
For the whole revival
Now I’m going outside to have
An ice cold beer in the shade
Oh, I’m going to listen to my 45’s
Ain’t it wonderful to be alive
When the rock ‘n’ roll plays, yeah
When the memory stays, yeah
I’m keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith
I’m keeping the faith,
Yes I am

So what about America and Billy Joel? What about the world of Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel? I am not sure that America will be great again or OK or anything else. But I will be here fighting my corner until I can’t anymore.  I am glad there are friends of Israel in the new administration. But along with some York, some Cornwall, some Languedoc, some Extremadura and some Shetlands — besides some Sicily and some Chihuahua — I like a little Galilee, Judea and Israel in my America as well.



Looking at 2016: the Next Phase

The elections at the end of President Barack Hussein Obama’s second term are likely to be very significant. Yet, that is not provable in the same way as one can prove rainfall or other natural occurrences after the fact. We also know that elections are held when the person’s term has not yet happened. The incumbents are running on a record but still one does not know what the term will be like and it is not so clear how much one’s vote will impact the outcome.  However Democrats, Republicans and lots of groups and organizations are very concerned about and aware of the elections. So we who live in this system and this country look at the days ahead and those remaining until the next election and we presume that we will follow it with interest and be involved in some way.  Not every one votes. Entire communities, religious groups, classes of felons and expatriots without real poll access really never can or do vote. Others do not start thinking about this so early and in fact this year we have governors and senators and all of the House of Representatives being elected. In my state all to these three important offices will be on the ballot.  We also have lots of other elections and votes before the presidential election.

Many of our most important issues and best stories are related to these other elections.  I probably will write about them. Yet I will choose to write about the presidential elections in this blog.

The amount of spectacularly impressive and heavily reported crime in the United States is definitely up since Obama has been elected. Fort Hood One and Two, The Navy Yard, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater, Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon, the Sikh Temple, Oikos University, the Carson City IHOP, the North Carolina Nursing Home,  the Congressman Gabby Giffords shooting and many other events form a fabric together in a society long troubled by mass killings I have  proposed a new approach under a changed legal system.  that recognizes this crisis. But I also have an axiom I will bring to bear as I decide how to vote:

Pro- crime Legislation exists although it is not announced as such.

1. Where there is an established conflict between the law-abiding and criminals outlawing anything used in that conflict is a great benefit to the criminals.

Violent crime and other forms of homicide affect all of our lives and not just our votes. All of us have to deal with them and not only vote about them. But I will want all officials and the President to be thinking in ways I can respect about our problems. Because as hard as these problems are to solve we have to face them bravely and those in office who do not face problems like the many acts of mass violence all over the country may prevent others from reacting to these problems. that brings me to another principle which applies in other areas of politics as well.

The Dog in the Manger Fable Applied …

2. The one who takes responsibility and protects his office but does not fulfill his responsibilities very well often makes the problems he was supposed to solve much worse than if nobody was responsible.

American and other citizens of countries which vote do not just sit around and wait for elections. Life is pretty fully absorbing  most of the time. This post is about politics. It is about what is going on in my mind as I look at the next presidential election.  It is about region and regions play a big role in presidential elections. It is about healthcare and that has played a big role recently and will for a while longer. It is about voting behavior.  It is a post about my life and how I look through this life of good and bad at the next election for president.  I have far more than enough to do without looking at future politics and in many ways should not take the time and energy. So if I am so far from fully engaged now and yet not doing what I need to do why am I thinking of elections in November of a future year?

Well elections are not the whole solution to any problem I am concerned about but they are part of what I can do to address those problems.  It is worthwhile to be voting and electioneering along with many other activities. I have a political principle related to that as well.

A Map is a Map …

3. Having a simplistic model of a complex situation is often helpful. Acting as though the simple model is the complex situation is often evil.

The truth is that even in politics there are many things I do and others do besides vote that have some political impact. Town hall meetings, correspondence and this blog are all ways I reach out to make a difference. But I do vote a lot although I missed the most recent library tax vote in Vermilion Parish despite my strong interest in that institution. May is a very busy time and there are elections nearby but not for me and when I checked the online official calendar for my precinct on May first I found no scheduled elections this month and was a bit disappointed. But despite my interest in small and local elections we all know what the big elections are in our current system and the next one is getting nearer in time.  America is in the process of building up a number of new tensions in anticipation of the 2016 election. The future of this set of contests which decide the occupant of the White House is seriously important to us and the world but it is also a focal point for a vast variety of trivial inquiries. But if as I have already written I believe that I really I have far more than enough to do without looking at future politics and believe that in many ways  such concerns distract me from all the things I have to do why am I posting this? If I am so far from fully engaged now and yet not doing what I need to do why am I thinking of elections in November of a future year?

Prisons are full of those who believe they are innocent….

4. Just because you do not believe in evil does not mean you are not evil.

I do not expect the next President of the United States to agree with everything I think is important in terms of policy. Oddly enough I find it very important that he or she can evaluate themselves in some sense more real and meaningful than by whether or not they feel good about themselves and their pals and followers like them. Such integrity can be costly but it is important as well.

It is hard to know how things will play out exactly in terms of what is remembered and what is not. Who will remember what about a given presidency.  I am not glad to have been involved in  the period of time  of this presidential administration in the way I have but certainly I have almost no connection to the administration itself. But I wrote about President Obama as recently as the Ukraine Crisis, not only once although he was not the central topic of my blog posts on that subject  his administration was highly relevant to my discussions of the subject. That foreign policy crisis is far from over now. I have a principle that I will hold in mind when voting in the next big election.  A principle related to foreign policy:

Lazy governments want to resolve conflict. A good one wants to make peace.

5.Conflict resolution and peacemaking are not the same thing.   Survival of all ecosystems including human ones and the balance of civilizations depends largely on unresolved conflicts.

I have written a lot about foreign policy and geo-politics in this blog. that subject is important to me. I have also written about other aspects of the Obama Presidential Administration here in this blog. Some of those posts date from early on in his years in the White House. Some are related to other foreign policy crises that have come up. I have commented on appointments and other matters that were made relevant for relatively trivial reasons. In addition I spent a lot of space and time and energy covering the BP-Macondo Oil Leak  and sometime I discussed his response and my comments on him and his choices which are mostly negative elsewhere were often favorable in this context  though some were disparaging, the links here would put you in among the many varied posts for trying to figure out what I was writing about then. I also wrote about race in America in ways responsive to the facts of Obama’s administration.

The Peter Principle is it…

6. Very often in many civilizations important decisions are made by those certain to do the worst possible job.

 But most of my blog posts have not been much related to the Presidency. A large exception is that the Obama administration has drawn me into writing a set of model constitutions.  That is a bridge crossed and burnt behind me. Whatever the next administration is like I will forever be someone who honestly and seriously proposed changing the system a great deal. Of course the political system, my politics and all things political do not cover all aspects of my life or anyone’s life.

This is being written in May when my nephew Oliver has a birthday, My brother Joseph turns 30, my sister Sarah has a birthday, some of my family  have anniversaries and most of all my niece and godchild Anika graduates from high school. Coming up soon is the ordination of my second cousin Charles William Massey to the permanent diaconate. With all of those distractions and my father’s current ill-health  and many recent surgeries and medical procedures I am busily engaged in many things that ought perhaps to take all my attention off of politics. While healthcare has been a big political issue lately it is not  only issue. Sickness, health and medicine  are very much issues in my daily life in recent months. Mostly this is through my father’s experience.  Family which is tied to love, sex, marriage, relationships and the like has a lot do with defining and shaping human life. I care about that and it affects my voting. I have a principle I keep in mind:


A star quarterback is not also coach, referee and commissioner…

 7. Beautiful young women of all types play a very important role in any healthy human culture but are not supposed to invent and police the entire role they play all by themselves.

Going back in time through April my father’s health has formed the content of my status updates on  Facebook. I reproduce a few here:  May 1 I wrote: Dad went to sleep here last night and woke up here this morning. He walked a bit around the property looking at blackberry bushes to assess the ripeness of the berries. He is not doing great but seems better.  April 30 I wrote: I just spoke to my mother. Sarah was with them, they have been discharged and on working their way homeward. April 29 I wrote: I stopped by the hospital and dropped off some things for my mother and father. I also prayed with Dad and told him I cared. I am off schedule right now and trying to feel my way through the day. This goes on for a long time as the main or a principal theme of my Facebook timeline: April 27 Dad is spending the night in the hospital tonight. They are treating him for symptoms of blood loss.  This was a readmission after he had already come home from the last of quite a few different surgeries and procedures. Thus on April 24: My father is home. He is not exactly well but hopefully is recovering. I am off to run some errands and to drop a boiler, spices and a tank of propane off with my sister Susanna and her hubbie Mike and their family. Having done some cleanup this morning and returned another tank unused I am finishing up the holiday weekend. We had all gone crabbing at Rockefeller Refuge on a day when Dad was most recovered from one recent surgery and going in for another one.  So, I could not even get set up for Obamacare before the deadline and my life is largely interrupted by other people’s healthcare and medical needs but although I am alienated from DC and its solutions and protests I am thinking about them. Why  if I am so far from fully engaged now and yet not doing what I need to do  then one asks why am I thinking of elections in November of a future year?

I have a foreign policy principle that I also apply to the politics of healthcare. I hope there will be some good  recognition of the principle in the next reace for the White House:

Never use a hammer to kill the mosquito on your friends forehead  and never seek to be seen as the cowardly bully … 

8. Maximum concentration of force is always bad policy. One want to use exactly the smallest force in any war which will achieve all desired objectives. The secret is not to have so many ideas based on false optimism and bad applications when estimating what is needed.

This week has already been a double feast week. Mom made the Mexican chicken tacos for lunch we seldom eat anymore in honor of the  Cinco de Mayo and after numerous failed collaborations to achieve the goal she bought and treated the rest of us to boiled crawfish on the weekend of the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival yesterday to raise funds for the speech team at the school where my niece and godchild Anika  attends which is Abbeville High School. Both the crawfish and the tacos were very good. I have had the chance to think about education and opportunity and family and foreign relations with many of America’s most significant foreign partners including Mexico.

In this region a good number of us eat frozen crawfish tails all through the year and  eat boiled crawfish throughout an ever expanding season. But this first weekend in May is a special time for crawfish among other things. In any given year for those in the region or who could get here the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival and VC-Carmel May Festival in Abbeville are held on the first weekend in May, which was this past weekend. Both different and both worth attending. I will not be getting to either one I suppose. I have been to the May Festival more often to support two local Catholic schools and associates of various kinds who go there but I would have to say the BBCF is one of the premiere product-related festivals in the state and the country. King Crawfish is a good documentary for people from far away to access all that BBCF celebrates. This link is for the school I attended for the longest time in my life although not by as large a margin as some former classmates who were quicker through undergraduate and stayed all nine available years at MCES or those who just did those nine years and high school.  The May Festival as far as I know has had crwfish for sale as well as other items like steak and burgers for most of the most recent decades. As I wrote earlier,  I enjoyed some crawfish to benefit the Abbeville High Speech team and Anika’s trip to two national league championships (CFL and NFL) but once again did not get to promote the sale in advance as I was not sure about the time and location etc. The last few weeks and the next few weeks are certainly challenging in unusual ways and yet many Americans equally busy or busier are starting to think of politics.

Alongside school fundraiser and church sponsored events the festivals are important to all aspects of society in this state and region. On the last evening of April I was involved in buying flowers, dressing up and  listening to Anika and the AHS speech team. I attended Anika Claire’s final speech team performance in the Abbeville High School auditorium and also the rest of the Speech Team extravaganza. I also saw the distribution of recognition and other things. I was very pleased to be there and happy with all she has accomplished.  This month already crammed with distractions also had Star Wars Day on the Fourth of May. “May the Fourth be with you!” and the same day was Audrey Hepburn’s 85th birthday. Audrey Hepburn what a movie star she was.An old acquaintance and former colleague, supervisor and  urged the greatness of her comeback movie as Robin Hood’s (Sean Connery’s) lost love in Robin and Marian. Personally, I missed that film and do not doubt that it was very good. But I know  “Gigi“, “Roman Holiday“, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“, “Funny Face“, “The Nun’s Story“, “Sabrina“, “Wait Until Dark“, “My Fair Lady“, “War and Peace” and “Charade” are well worth watching largely because of stellar performances by this actress. In addition she has the distinction of  being discovered by a novelist when this young Belgian girl was selected to play the title role  Gigi in the film adaptation of the novella of the same name by a  Francophone female writer. She was to become deeply attached to America and Hollywood.



But from the French speaking Hepburn to the  next day flips the table on French connections in my calendar. Surely almost no Americans are unaware of the historic significance of the Mexican victory over the French forces at the Third Battle of Puebla in 1862 where French Empire acted with the support and authority of the Spanish and British and the Tripartite Alliance formed by these powers. Zaragoza’s Republican army defeated a larger European invasion force despite the economic crisis, civil war and fiscal problems that encouraged the enemy to invade in the first place.Oh wait a minute — some Americans might be fuzzy about a few details. I spent some time in Puebla which is most famous in Mexico for having 365 churches where one could go to mass at a different church each day of the year. It is a pretty place with good food music and scenery.
This holiday is barely celebrated in most of Mexico except in bars that cater to Americans and more generally in or around Pueblo itself and in a few other circles. Mexico had achieved independence long before the battle remembered today but was possibly going to lose it in one of many wars in the history of our southern neighbor. It makes virtually no sense that we remember this day so much in the USA except for reasons I will not get into. However, If I had the chance to eat lots of Mexican food and drink a few to many margaritas on any Fifth of May  I suppose I would. Feliz Cinco de Mayo . . . All of this seems like a lot doesn’t it? There are a lot days in my life worth marking that are not election days at all. I have a political principle related to those facts that will be on my mind when I vote in the nest election.  It is a foreign policy principle but it also has applications for politics itself and has to do with remembering who and what people are:

Those who always speak  in serious absolutes seldom say worthwhile things …

 9. If war is not a game then do not expect anyone to win, don’t expect time out, rule discussions or referees. If war is not a game it is just slaughter and it is hard to understand what that really means — but I do.

Of course my life is not only celebrations and calendar based events even this month. I work a great deal many days to keep this house and make this yard presentable and functional. Work outside is harder when I do in the mild drought we are having than it would be with more rain. Sometimes this dry weather which diminishes what I would do means that I am here at home half glad that the lack of rain served as an excuse not to do things I had planned to do after some small rain first predicted for a recent day and the previous night. I often turn to blogging, may wide reading and correspondence. But my life is neither very lucrative or satisfying and I often  hope to end my evening in the same slower than usual pattern occasioned by the forced semi-idleness brought my the dry weather and the lack of resilience it brings to soils and plants.

I also have spent a lot of time with small children and I keep thinking about them and those who care for them. I also take care of horses in the winter as well as the lawn and garden. All of these things matter to me and I have a political principle related to these connections that I will bring to the polls in 2016:

 “Let the little children come unto me. For of such is the Kingdom of God…”

 10.  Many people do not ever want to be reasonable — not ever. However, none of those people are children.

 So far I do not know who will be running and I will have a lot more to say over time. But this is my first look in this blog at the 2016 elections. So if I am so far from fully engaged now and yet not doing what I need to do why am I thinking of elections in November of a future year?

Maybe because there is a lot on my mind to consider and I want to see that it all forms part of the process for me at least.


Columbus Day Musings

Today is Columbus Day. Banks and Post Offices are closed here in the United States. We are in the Major League Baseball pennant race, Football Season and all sorts of hunting seasons. However, today we observe a holiday that commemorates the man who in 1492 sailed the ocean blue.

The memory of this man and his ideals is not a hard thing for me to honor. He did help to bring about the end of many worlds but he also represented powers less destructive, corrupt an evil than some on the stage. In addition the man’s sense of adventure, exploration, faith and courage are admirable.

There is a great deal that happened in the years leading up to and following hard upon 1492. First of all there was the recovery of the Classical and other Greek Culture from the Muslim States in Spain which led to the Renaissance. Today we use Arabic numerals and there certainly is much that Arabic and Islamic culture can claim to have contributed. However the destruction of Hellenic Christian culture in Egypt and all of North Africa, in what is now Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Armenia and farther afield mostly was a transfer of a far superior civilization to the inferior and backwards Arab Muslim culture. The West was triply backward. Rome had never equalled the sophistication of the Alexandria, Jerusalem and Athens in their different ways. It surpassed them in some things but not overall socio-technical development. Then the relatively narrow and militaristic Romans were conquered by the more narrow and militaristic German Barbarians. The Greek influence from the East had helped to lead towards a new civilization untill the Muslims cut off those well springs as they destroyed what was a left of the great Greek civilization of the Eastern Roman Empire based in Byzantium. The conquest of the Muslims in Spain brought this scholarship back to the shriveled remnant of Christendom we would come to call Christendom. Many Jews converted because those who would not convert were required to leave Spain. There was a Spanish Christian King with a Jewish mistress who opposed forced conversions and was known as Pedro the Cruel and he was defeated at about this time by another Spanish Christian King. The good of this forcing of a single Spanish identity in formal religion that these Jews did refresh Christianity in the West from its Hebrew roots. The tragedy is the suffering of the nonconverting Sephardic Jews. The experience of Spanish Moslems mirrored that of Spanish Jews to some degree. The possibly Italo-Spanish Columbus of mixed Jewish and Latin descent came from all this to bring forth a new world off opportunity. The modern world is probably much better than it would have been had he not succeeded. Had he not succeeded then a much more violent, paranoid and desperate Muslim or Christian civilization would have succeeded decades later. Latin America remains a mix of Aboriginal American cultures and Latin Cultures as well as a genetic mix. Without Columbus and his ideals there would have been a more destructive approach in a few years I feel certain. I am not uncritical of his legacy but I still believe in civilization and he was a man committed to civilization. Never was mere selfishness, cowardice nor greed enough to shape his life. He was an imperfect man struggling to do good in an imperfect world. He sometimes struggled to do things less clearly good. However, he never fell away from seeking after true greatness.

We need people of the caliber of Columbus today. We need quests pursued to spectacular results. However, we have to have the Isabellas who will relive the legacy of the Spanish Queen who supported him…

Peace, War and the Future in Israel & Elsewhere

I am writing this blog post about the peace process in Israel and the larger issues related to it in so many ways. That topic will be challenging and my little blog post is not likely to be so very influential either. We face many challenges  in the world and I am weary and sometimes weak in the face of the many challenges we face considering the  time that has passed since I have known. I am going to lay out a  plan for Peace in Israel that I do not believe can be implemented right now. All I can really do is say that I will not call something else acceptable right now my self.

I first want to quote from an earlier blog post which in turn reproduced a Facebook Note from my Facebook profile. To see the blog post itself see this link:  The most pertinent passage appears below.

” I. I suggest that reparations be paid for the Holocaust by many parties which benefitted or inherited from beneficiaries. I suggest that a large part of these funds be paid to purchase the Sinai from Egypt and then a separate portion be set up as a development fund. This fund would also include a fund for concessions to be paid for in which those paying in to the fund would be preferred. This Sinai would be a State of a greater Federal Great Israel. The other States would be the Principal State of the Republic of Israel, the Capital Sate of Jerusalem, and the State of Palestine. The Republic would receive slightly more land than it yielded to form the Capital State of Jerusalem in the from of five state military reservations in the Sinai. Palestine would receive a concession the size of Gaza which would be one of three districts in that federal state. The remainder of Sinai would be composed of several federalized districts and it would form the fourth and last state.”

In time I will return to pursuing this argument  a bit further and explaining and clarifying it a bit. Life is indeed a constant source of interruptions to our hobbies, hopes and avocations. I am going to write a bit about my life and how my life gets in the way of reshaping the world. This will be one of my more rambling and indirect posts I think.

I think Israel is too small even with the occupied territories. My plan does not call for enslaving, deporting or exterminating the Palestinians. However, it is clear to me that I must support the expansion of the State of Israel above all considerations that can be used to distract from it. Further, I must demand reparations for the Holocaust. I do not demand a truly adequate compensation but a very significant gesture. I was thinking in the neighborhood of forty-five billion dollars.

The Holocaust Reparation Fund

I. Amount Collected and Release of Claims

 I would propose collecting a total of forty-five billion dollars for this fund. So that it is a cohesive fund from all sources and that Israel would sign a release saying that all claims of the Hebrew Nation which can be discharges with money related to the Holocaust would be discharged with this payment.

  II. Structure Of Expenditures and Disbursement of Funds

1. Thirteen Billion Dollars would be paid to Egypt  for full and total cession of all lands on the Sinai Peninsula to which it has any claim which are more that fifteen kilometers from the banks of the Suez Canal and are not an effective part of the existing city of Al Qantarah. This would be a permanent and complete cession to the new Federal Great Israel brokered by  a treaty bound current State and Republic of Israel.

2. The Zone along the Canal in Sinai would become a permanent Canal Condominium Territory governed by the Suez Corporate Territorial Government. Egypt would retain twenty of a hundred seats in the upper house of the legislature which would also be  the corporate board and would receive one billion dollars from the Holocaust Reparation Fund for which the new Israeli State of Sinai would receive fifteen of these same hundred states. Egypt would also receive one billion and formal release of all claims resulting from seizure of its rights from GDF Suez which in return would receive twenty seats of these same hundred and the Royal Pretender to throne of Egypt would pay nothing except formal release of all other family claims to the canal but would receive five seats of these same one hundred seats.  Israel would pay one billion dollars to Egypt and would receive for  the New First State of the Republic of Israel  twenty seats and for the Federal Great Israel’s national government twenty seats. Thus 20+ 15+20+5+20+20 = 100. Egypt would retain a share of these assets and gain three billion dollars in cash and release of all competing claims. The lower house of the legislature of the Canal Condominium Territory would be democratic and represent inhabitants of the zone.  The Holocaust Reparation Fund will only be reduced by a billion dollars.

3. One billion would be paid to a fund for Egyptians living in the Sinai to either resettle in Egypt or else accommodate to the new situation taking an oath and signing papers of loyalty to Israel.

5. Five Billion Dollars would be paid to an endowed trust to use only in resettling descendants of the Holocaust within the boundaries of the new Israeli State of Sinai.     

6. Three Billion Dollars would be paid to the Israel general Treasury to develop the basic infrastructure of its new  five military bases in Sinai.

7. Three Billion dollars would be set up as the initial treasury of the new Israeli Capital State of Jerusalem.

8. Three billion would be given to a jointly administered fund for the Palestinian Authority and Israel to develop the third of the three federal districts in the Israeli State of Palestine which will be located in the new lands in the Sinai.

9. One Billion Dollars would be paid to the Palestinian Authority to  develope the initial treasury of the Israeli Federated State of Palestine. Its state legislature will have an upper house with seats by the three great district and a lower house with seats elected in electoral district by population.

10. These initial  thirty  billions will be the unrecoverable portion of the payment. 13+1+1+5+3+3+3+1= 30 billion.

11. The remaining fifteen billion dollars will be kept in an internationally administered trust until exhausted. Its sole use will be to buy goods and services for the development of the Israeli State of Sinai from the donors to the Holocaust Reparation Fund. Only Austrian and German companies and any other not of those countries that contributed to the fund will be eligible vendors.  However, the international board will assure that market prices are charged and that orders are relatively widely distributed among the pool of donors.

III. Skewing the Collection of Reparations

West German Lander should pay a somewhat discounted portion of the totality of the reparations because they have paid early and in a structure as part of the West German government. However they would still pay but Swiss banks, Austrian and Czech governments, the Eastern Lander governments, major corporations and estates of rich individuals would pay. In return for their contributions and disclosure to a Truth and Reconciliation Committee they would also be entitled to a  UN authorized agreement releasing them from criminal and civil claims for genocide and crimes against humanity. Individuals could still complain for murder and other ordinary crimes but all ethnic, racial and war crimes would be settled. Confessions made along with payments would be sealed for a period of twenty years except for a vague sort of eummary which would be published as a book. Payments made by others would vary by degree of guilt off-set by other factors.   It would also be true that individuals claiming benefits under the fund would agree that in the future thay would allow those who paid in to be held free of punitve damages for  holding stolen property and would allow some portion less than a third of recovered property value to go to a structure to compensate partially even parties with guilty title but not direct thieves who have collected stolen assets. In a ddition it would be clear that those clearly not part of the paying pool who paid nothing and were later found implicated directly in harm whether coroporations or governments would never receive any of these benefits. On the other hand even criminal cartels should they come into the structure should still qualify for these specific protections even if they do not receive recognition by the law in any other good way. Despite saying Germany and Austria if by some miracle some Norse governments were to admit principal and activist guilt they could pay into the structure and make the deal as well. If organized crime in Western China were to come forward and admit its active role in the policy then it too would qualify. Forty-Five billion is a minimal amount. In my view Germany ought to be made to feel that they are the guarantor help collect or pay it all despite previous agreements. However, somehow pressure must be exerted to make them work to deliver other guilty parties to pay instead of shielding them. Clearly however Italy, Poland, Vichy France, Spain, Turkey and many other countries cannot be held responsible the moral lines are too unclear in dealing with the Nazi monstrosity. I would be a better broker and proponent of this deal if I was a big bad guy all these scary people feared. However, I am a fairly weak player not likely to live to be an old man whether they do anything or not. But if rage and contempt count for anything then I am a factor to be reckoned with anyway. I can fight a little but I am no anti-Hitler to throw my weight around.

II. Constitution of  the Israeli Federated State of Sinai

1. The Federated State of Sinai should have one of the most complex constitutions of any new polity in the world’s history. People have grown unused to civilization but civilized solutions are often complicated. The Upper House of the State Legislature should itself be federal by Seven Districts and the lower house elected by population.  The Districts themselves will have relatively strong  local near state governments and some of them will also be federal. 

 2. There will be a reservation of five percent of the lands as an Egyptian Ethnarchy of which the Royal Pretender to the Throne of Egypt will be the Head of State and appoint several members of the District Upper House and will have his own Ward of which he is Head of State and populated by Egyptian royalists who wish to live there including up to one-third of the population coming in new from Egypt and the others from  the current population of Sinai and Palestine. The second ward will be the Constitutional Patriarchate of Alexandria and will recognize the Christian Coptic Patriarch of Alexander as Ward Head of State under a Sinai and Israel Constitution . Up to two-thirds of the population can be Christian refugees from Muslim countries so long as one half of them  are from Egypt and the other third must be currently residents from within Israel, Palestine and Sinai. The last ward will be the Sinai Republican Ward made up of old residents of the peninsula and Palestinian and Israeli Arabs wishing to start such a polity.

3.The Second District will consist of ten percent of all lands and be an North  American Jewish Ethnarchy for Hebrews practicing  some form of Judaism and seeking to maintain dual citizenship culture for families who participate in the USA, Mexico and Canada as well as Israel.

4. The Third District will the District of Federated Israeli Military Hinterland Communities and consist of five civilian settlement belts for residents of the Republic of Israel which measure four kilometer wide bands around the five military bases that will be part of the Israeli First State of the Republic of Israel.

5. The Fourth District will be a one hundred Kilometer State Capital District.

6. The Fifth District will be made up of fifty percent of all the lands in the Israeli Federal State of Sinai and will be made be  dedicated to the Right of Return and permanent priority will be given to the resettlement of direct descendants of Holocaust victims currently in Israel and returning from other places.

7. The Sixth and Seventh districts will be equal in size. Together they will occupy all remaining lands which will be substantially less than thirty-five percent but I will not work out the exact numbers.  The Sixth District will be the Federated Christian District  of which the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem will be head of State, appoint members to the District Upper House and be head of State of a Ward under an Israeli and Sinai Constitution.  This District will have another ward of equal size under the Ward Head of State who will be the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.  Each of these district should receive as part of Sinai state territory and as part of their respective ward’s rule a land concession of one square mile each divided between Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth.  The Third Ward will be a Ward for Sinai and Israeli Christians.  The Fourth  Ward will be a Ward for ethnic Palestinian Christians who want to resettle there. The Seventh District should be the Hebrew Royalist District  of the State of Sinai. Here there will be a Ward which is the Barony of Rothschild and two other Baronies. Since I am fantasizing anyway I may as well say that I think the largest ward should be a Duchy and I would name my nominee for founding Duke or Duchess if this ever came close to reality and it was necessary to do so.              

BP Oil Spill, The World Cup & The Better Chances

I am not going to take a complete break from the Posts about the BP oil spill to discuss the World Cup. But I do want to discuss the World Cup nonetheless. I have been a sportswriter. As a sportswriter and as a feature writer for newspapers I have often written about soccer. As a world traveler I have often called it football or Futbol. As the games begin with South Africa and Mexico battling it out in the new Soccer City near Soweto, South Africa  I am watching and thinking of the US versus England which airs in the early afternoon Saturday my time.  England is a tough team and brings a great deal of respect to the event and commands it from us.

BP did not bring that same level of respect to its task here and does not command such respect. I have read and heard from many sources that their disaster response plan for this well dealt with walruses and sea lions (which do not live here) while ignoring most of the hundreds of species they threatened. What a horrible grotesque group of people for us to have to deal with who love and depend on these unique wetlands. Such vile minds inflict themselves on us all in a way unimaginable among the World Cup contenders. Maybe BP should hire some of the England staff and players to give them a basic orientation lecture about preparation.

 To be so hostile in fact to South Louisiana  and other areas in preparing this venture is beyond the parameters of mere greed and laziness. I am hopeful that somehow the story will end better than it has begun. In a few years I may finally leave this region for good but it will always be home. I will simply not be living at home any more. That is something I have done for years at a time before, leave here and live abroad. However, I used to hope a life would come together for me here but I have reached a point where it just seems impossible. The oil spill is the last great horror in a lifetime of reasons to give up on being here. Yet still it will always be home.   I do not think it would be right to discuss best case scenarios of recovery from the oil spill yet. However, it may be permissible to discuss some better case scenarios. Despite all the ongoing destruction and suffering it may be possible to behave in a moral way and discuss the possible better-rather-than-worst  results of the oil spill. For me there is a certain sense that in the small niche this blog occupies in the big world of cyber space there is little room to speculate on the good that may come out of this tragedy. But nonetheless, whatever good may come of this is part of  the event and its consequences. Since I am blogging so much about this I might as well blog about those good consequences as well. Just as every qualified country  from the more than thirty participants can at the time I write this at least fantasize about winning it all so I can fantasize about some good results.

1. Maybe the whole Oil Pollution Act regime will be improved.

2. Maybe a really sound coastal policy will have a better chance moving forward.

3. Maybe after the purifying trials of the present the reservoir of oil will fund a dynamic economy in the region  and nation.

4. Maybe state revenue sharing will work out sooner and more rather than later and less.

5. Maybe Gulf of Mexico oil will help the Arab world to sober up in its addiction to bad policy and fanaticism in religion among other things. If there is a large US oil find then all sides will have to adjust geopolitical positions. This could be the start of a large enough find.

I am not counting on any of these things happening. I am tired, discouraged and depressed. But in the spirit of the World Cup’s start I am focusing on the path to glory. Although few reasons for confidence may present themselves.

Biggest US Spill: Living in the Age of Liquidation

This BP — Transocean spill  is not just another mess. This spill is historic and calls for a response in historic terms. It also must be seen in context. That context and response is what this post is about.  The liquid nature of the spill goes with the crisis of unstructured flow of migrants who are joined by the desire to make money flow around for no real reason. This joins with the government forcing racial groups to flow together in no structured way. This goes with an economy designed to liquidate all wealth and punish the kinds of wealth that does not flow quickly. In may ways this spill symbolizes our whole set of social disorders. 

We are facing the largest oil spill in US history. We had the failed Times Square bombing, the underwear bomber, the Fort Hood shooting and we have hundreds of thousands of people protesting  forcefully to proclaim that one should be able to stay here as long as one wants without documentation. Not all the Arizona law protesters want to say that but hundreds of thousands do. We have people in our congress advocating an unconstitutional ex post facto law against BP. Here again the nuance is that if Congress were saying they would issue letters of Marque and Reprisal against BP if they do not adequately deal with the spill I would not object (Britain would but not I). Our debt to revenue ratio is outrageously high and people largely believe we should all spend more to stimulate the economy.  We are still involved in two foreign wars. In my opinions all the things I mentioned above are only minor symptoms of the disease afflicting our society. We are a country in crisis, deep and serious crisis.

I am different from  most of those who are likely to read this blog as American citizens in that I support and advocate radical constitutional change. I advocate change which is revolutionary  — although I am willing to see that change come in the following Constitutional form: “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; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” This quote makes up most of Article V (Article Five) of the Constitution.

The part I did not include is the first few words reproduced here and now ” 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)” the words in parentheses are the words at the start of my quote above. All amendments in US history have been passed through the houses of congress and then ratified by the States. However, a constitutional convention summoned by  two-thirds of the States  and ratified by three-fourths of the States could effect total transformation of the country as long as every State retains equal votes in the Senate and the entirely new Constitution would be a formal and legal continuity of our current regime. The only role of Congress in this second path would be to choose whether State legislatures or State conventions should ratify the larger convention.  In the real world if a convention had been called then force of arms would be justified if (by no means certain) a Congress refused to act to make this one choice. Thus if three-fourths of the states can be convinced of the need for radical change then we can have it. And we do need radical change. It is time for our society to evolve. I have outlined the ideas for a new regime elsewhere in this blog.

We need to create a system which will value conservation, preservation, familial wealth, nature, honor and recognize that neither big business nor bureaucracy has all the answers and yet both have a role to play. The risks these spills and other things like the war on terror relate to or not adequately addressed in an eight year presidential administration. We need the kinds of changes we are very far from adopting so far.  The total destruction of our society is what is likely if we continue to follow the path we have been following .  As our society becomes more dysfunctional the rate of decay will increase. Making the right changes now will be very hard but making them later will be much harder.

We are partly destroying and may be largely destroying an estuary which is the product of processes ranging in millions, thousands and hundreds of years. We are doing this in days and months. We need a government with a loner term view of things. However, not just any old thing will do. We need to make  the right changes. I have tried to outline those changes elsewhere in this blog. But we will not have many more chances for good change. It will not be long before any effort we make will be the kind of desperate and frenzied reaction that seldom works out well — to say the least.  This may be our last chance to create change that is rational, wise and measured. 

So let us consider really  changing the government. We have a choice now. That will not be true forever.

BP Has Failed to Stop the Gusher: A Catalogue of My Blog’s Coverage


British Petroleum has announced that the “Top Kill” or dynamic kill option has not  worked and is being abandoned. They claim only 38 acres of Marsh have been damaged severely and that only 107 miles of coastline has been hit. However I live in distant Vermilion Parish and we have verified small amounts of oil contamination on our own coasts. There is so much we do not know. Everything is in flux and under a strain and pressure.

I want to give you the list of my blog posts on the subject of this spill in reverse chronological order. Perhaps there are some you have missed that would be of use to you in understanding this crisis. We are ready see this struggle continue indefinitely but I am using we in the broadest sense. I myself am not very involved in the struggle itself in the way that some other parties are involved. 











The Largest Spill in US History more links…

The United States is likely in the midst of its largest oil spill ever recorded. The United States Geological Survey has estimated that the release is closer to a million gallons or over 20,000 barrels of oil per day than to the 5,000 barrel per day estimate recently used. The original 1,000 barrel or 42,000 gallon idea is completely forgotten.So the Exxon Valdez spill was 11,000,000 gallons and this spill has possibly been 30,000,000 already. Can anybody say wow!

Nobody has ever convinced all parties of the effects of any spill. Did the Valdez wipe out the herring fisheries in the Alaskan sound where the spill occurred?  We do not know but do know herring have greatly declined or disappeared in nearby areas.

There was a 140 million gallon spill in the Bay of Campeche in Mexico’s section of the Gulf of Mexico. This Ixtoc 1 spill ran on for a long time like this one may and occurred in the 1970s.  Many disagree on how much the nearby fisheries and eco-systems were affected. Some even say it led to a boom in shrimp catches somehow and then there are those who say it created instability in the shrimp populations that really reached it peak several years later.

Here is a link to the basic of the Ixtoc 1 incident. It is not very detailed.

For some idea of how commercial seafood industries and fishing businesses work in the modern world I recommend Urner Barry. Their Price Current is the premiere business publication of this industries hard-working and busy small offices in ver expensive and not very fancy buildings all over the world.  See this link.

Mexico definitely is among the parties fearing that this spill may be  disastrous for them. Please check this link especially if you read Spanish.

For a chance to see what BP has to say for itself check this link:  There is also the site for BP as a whole. Check it out and contact them there if you wish. I am in the same spirit providing a link to Transocean: It is worth noting that these links and any link can go dead over time if you are accessing this long after I wrote the post.

There are many government entities responding to this crisis. Among the most interesting is Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana in the USA.  However, the link content may change a great deal over time. Here is that link:

I am settling in for a lot more pain and misery.  I will probably post on this spill several more times.

Monarchy and Royalist Culture in America: Past, Present and Future/ Part One

I wish to outline the subject of monarchy and royalism in the United States of America. It has to be a significant part of the total discussion of the changes I am advocating in this long series of posts advocating an American Revolution. This time returning to mixed government from something which is tyrannical derivation of republican democracy whereas before we returned to mixed government from a corrupt royalist monarchy. In both cases seeking an equilibrium of the three forms of good governance which are monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. However, in this case moving from a republican to a royalist context. In a world where very long but entirely simplistic analysis is common we would need a bit of concise but complex analysis.In these brief posts I have tried to provide some of that.  We had a republican mixed government at the federal level with the President as the republican Monarch, the Senate and the Supreme Court  represent the republican Aristocracy and the House of Representatives  comprising the Democracy. That is the ideal government of many old forms of government. The President was elected by electors variously chosen, the Senators were elected by  the States legislatures. We now live in a dictatorship of the masses which is tyranny modified and complicated but still a majority tyranny at heart. The mixed government equilibrium is lost. I have proposed restoring mixed government this time Revolving into a royalist system.

This is not an easy thing to discuss and in fact is an entirely enticing thing to flee from discussing as rapidly as one possibly can and never look at again.  Yet I feel that I should discuss these issues here. I am afraid some of my dreadful lists may be coming up soon in an effort to address these matters. The changing of a from of government is always difficult and a bit traumatic under any circumstances but is even more difficult if on ie trying to establish a royalist regime like this one in this country. That is because the specifics of this case are altogether very challenging. It is important to make clear that this is not being proposed in abject blindness and disregard as concerns the strong factors related to the frustration of these plans.

We do have some royalist cultural elements so lets list some of them in no particular order:

1. Many of the Mardi Gras traditions of the Gulf Coast

2.The Kingdom of Hawaii and the role of Royal Hawaiian culture

3.The little known and appreciated but not inconsequential Acadian royal tradition.

4. The many ties with the Bourbon monarchy and aristocracy in the Revolution and Louisiana.

5. The heritage of the Napoleonic Empire  and its aristocrats with Louisiana, the Louisiana Purchase and the Confederacy.

6. The British ,French, Spanish, Dutch and Russian colonial heritage of many and varied regions of the USA.

7. Mexico’s failed European based  empire launched under Napoleon and ending in the execution of Emperor Maximilian is tied to our history.

8.Mexico’s Aborignal  American Empire of the Aztecs and the Mayan kingdoms (much less so) have ties towards our land’s populations and history.

9. The Bible and many of our religions which are influential have a strong royalist component and affect people’s thoughts and lives.

This is not nearly an exhaustive list. Also if (and that is nearly inevitable) there are some of these models that you particularly despise and reject for some reason  remember that Hitler’s Third Reich, the French Reign of Terror andmore than  half the failed states you ever heard of were republican systems. Yet surely we do not believe that everyone who founds a republic is going to end up where they were in those republics. Our examples given would be the sort of supermarket from which we could shop for precedents and patterns with the greatest legitimacy.

My posts are being written in a sense of just doing something that cannot be said to make an enormous amount of sense in terms of political logic.  I am doing what seems right more than what seems expedient. That is something many people do, attempt to do or think they are doing. However, when it comes to promoting a royalist revolution in the twenty-first century United States the improbabilities are so great that all other aspects of the quest are overshadowed by the low probability of success.

What  about the very heart of the matter. If there were an Emperor and Supreme President what would that accomplish and what would that be worth? Well first let’s consider the context of our situation. There are other forces out there seeking to create an empire in this area in the near future.

The Premiere of Libya addressed the United nations for the first time in many years after President Obama was elected. He also go the terrorist mastermind who took down the flight over Lockerbie Scotland released at about the same time. His speech did not get very good analysis and it got marginal coverage. Libya’s President Qadhafi attempted to simultaneously adopt the President, proclaim him President-for-Life  and President forever of the United States and to collect over seven trillion dollars in reparations. Obama may not have been ready at that time to support the idea of proclaiming himself African Emperor of the USA or even the moderate step proposed by Libya. The folks at Harvard might not like the way it came across, I do not know.  I am sure many honest people could argue that he had been teasing about the Emperor although Qadhafi did seem to suggest the nonroyalist dictatorship known  to have replaced the Republic of Rome before it adopted some royalist traditions as an Empire. Libya was part of the Roman Empire and the Premiere of Libya seemed eager to bring those facts to light. So all other possibilities should be interpreted in the light of the fact there may be real machinations going on to establish an African Emperor of America.  A primary value in making the Arcadian-Acadian Basileus Emperor is that he would take up that space and answer its calls and threats directly.

I have posted a great deal on royalism and its implications in this blog.  I have posted agreat deal about Acadian and American political, cultural and social traditions as well. Anyone reading this post who is really interested could search the blog and find parts of the subject discussed or ask me a question in the comments and have me direct them to those passages which discuss much of this.

But Obama is getting rid of our nuclear arsenal wholesale, committing us to use Russian capacity to get to space, spending us into oblivion and doing all he can do to raise every suspicion that he will utterly destroy this country. He is part of a deeply sick and disordered social context. We are running quickly out of time.

There are differences between dynasty and dynasty, king and king, regime and regime but any royalist monarch has the effect of joining the interest of an entire society into one personal interest. Part of being a royalist monarch is to be selfish and deprive others of certain kinds of selfishness. Commonly under many different religions and cultures a good king will allow individuals in the realm to accumulate power and wealth in many ways but still to be ruthless in denying them the powers and economic opportunities which are most likely to endanger the realm.

I will go into more details later but the structure of the proposed Royal and Imperial House will be essential to the other aspects of the Empire fitting together properly and the type of monarch here envisioned. However, it will be disturbing to the rest of the society to some substantial degree.  The next post may have to be longer. The point of this first post is simply to show that creating such a regime as I have described more or less right now is not impossible or unthinkable. It would simply have to be done — that is all.