Tag Archives: Congress

How Lame are these Ducks?

I am eager to make up a round-up of sorts and get to Christmas errands and  Christmas related blog posts. But this is not exactly a typical rounding up of facts from current events in the world and my life. This is about the acts of the USA in these days and what they might mean. Winter following late autumn or fall is always the season after our federal elections and before the new Congresses and White House administrations take office.  It is often very appropriate to the tone of the institutions. However, the current situation in Washington D. C.  does not seem frozen, inactive  and bleak to me this is perhaps a different face of winter.

The icons of our country are precious as are our diverse people.  But changes of interpretation have been continuous.

The icons of our country are precious as are our diverse people. But changes of interpretation have been continuous.

America is facing a crisis and the US Congress seems to realize that this is the case and seems to be seeking to act responsibly. The trillion dollar agreement the Congress has achieved and which now goes to the vote is one sign of the real work, real effort and real politics going on there. In addition, the Healthcare.gov website at the heart of Obamacare seems to be working much better this year.  Washington has hosted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and real meetings have been going on all over the town to prepare for the new Congress. Overall, this is a bit more like the Winter Olympics than it is  like a blizzard caught up in smog of a big city’s early winter in many years gone by. The ducks that are the Congress and the White House do not seem so blind. In addition, the new report on torture during the Bush Administration shows that these two institutions can still inflict some  political pain and are willing to do so. This seems like a serious group of important institutions about their business. But is that the whole story?  If not the whole story then how much of the story is it?

 

Julia Mancuso skied for two silvers to add to her Gold from Turino's 2006 games.

American Julia Mancuso skied for two silvers in Russia to add to her Gold from Turino’s 2006 games.

In addition to the facts I mentioned above there are other factors to consider.  Among these facts are the fact that the Democrats suffered the most severe partisan battering in their history of 225 years in Congress with only two possible exceptions. Both of those exceptions occurred long before the age of radio and television — much less this evolving period of social networking. Further, America has been able to lend very little real support to the Democracy movement in Hong Kong in recent weeks which have been crucial weeks for that group. By “support” I mean also the kind of mature advice and critical diplomatic triangulation that  an old democracy and China’s largest single trading partner might be expected to provide. Despite the role the United Kingdom must play in such matters and despite the varied views of Americans toward all things Chinese this is an area of substantial interest to the United States. It is also true that things have not gone all that badly so far and many Americans have been engaged under varied guises and in many capacities. Nonetheless, America is once again more flat-footed and out of sync in the world of foreign affairs in part because of the degree of flux and transition and in part because of the policies which drove people to vote for change and transition.

This is me acting as faculty advisor and guest speaker to an English Corner meeting in China.

This is me acting as faculty advisor and guest speaker to an English Corner meeting in China.

In addition to these events in China there is the rise of ISIS, the failed rescue raid and the less failed on an Al Qaeda camp including the death of Luke Somers and the South African humanitarian. There is the death sentence of a Christian woman in Pakistan for blasphemy and all the horrors associated with that situation. The world is spinning on and Russo-Ukrainian situation, the Syrian crises, the Egyptian crises, the brewing political turmoil in  Britain and much more so in other parts of Europe are not suggestive of a time in which there is room for a lot of error and indecision. In addition we have school shootings that are certainly a real disaster and crisis despite our disagreements about how they ought to be addressed. Then we have the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever whose story combines school shootings and religious extremism in Pakistan. Our President is a Nobel Prize winner and Hillary Clinton is one of the world’s most prominent feminists but our support for Malala’s cause in these days has been more muddied and muted than not.  That is because of failed policies and the electoral judgment on those polices. One can imagine a neo-con  WHite House being more engaged.

So, on longer look the Lame Ducks are not so lame as they could be but they are showing signs of lameness nonetheless. America’s challenges never sleep. The transitions we make have to be made in realistic terms and in awareness of all that is going on. Stagnation is deadly but believing that change is without cost can lead to disasters as well.

Discussion on the Model Constitution (5th in a Series): Congress

Why and How I am a Committed Radical (5th in Series): Congress
by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 11:23am ·
In the current Constitution the first Article is about and empowers Congress. Here it is the Second Article which does such things.

This Note will be about the numberless preamble type section 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:

https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/major-themes-of-this-blog/new-model-constitution-of-the-united-states-of-america/

Congress has some resemblance to the Parliaments of Westminster and elsewhere. It has resemblances to the legislatures of all sort of places but it is different from Europe’s Parilaments in it strong direct influence from Classical Greek and Roman examples and fromthe Chiefs Council of Iroquoia in those days. It is also a partial product othe Acadian influences which trickled and were fed into its founding members and their advisors. Then it formed itself in a revolutionary process.

As for the Acadian element in all of this it is particularly important because of the proposal at the core of the this proposed constitutional transformation. That portion of the Acadian tradition which is similar to the Parliament or Congress of other regimes is of great imporatance and still functions in an irregular and somewhat impaired and decayed state. That is significant because the idea of having a royal monarch always involves having a particular royal monarch. The House of Saxe-Coburg was vcery successful in filling out much of the royal dynastic needs of Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. That House brought week ties to what might loosely be called the legislative or conciliar aspects of governance. This is a constitution which proposes a particular Monarchy not just a monarchy the fusing of an Imperial title to the existing particular royal title proposed. This is the moarch Basileus Kai Basilissa Arkadios. The word which begins the title is Basileus A Latin lettering for the Greek word for King. Used to describe and identify the king of the secret Acadian government of the Ethnos Arkadios. The next big important word is Basilissa A Latin lettering for the Greek word for Queen. Used to describe and identify the queen of the secret Acadian government of the Ethnos Arkadios. The influence of these higher Kings and Queens whose titles come from before the Archons who give use our word for Monarchy is so great as to bend the scales of modern rank and protocol. Among the facts of this general title are that it appears in the New Testament and on the Rosetta Stone. However, there are so
many things owed that one cannot exhaust them all. While it is a truly Pre-Christian title it has countless ties to the founding and formation of Christianity which continue to this day. That includes buildings in the Vatican and Mexico City which are important to millions today. The word I am suggesting is basilica which means a building based on the format of ancient Greek “pre-archonic” kings and queens and built for a public or ceremonial use. This term has been most used by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches for special Houses of Worship. The Roman Catholic Church has a set of requirements mostly not architectural in nature which a church must meet to achieve this designation. The Basileues Arkadios is under the proposed constitution entitled to many titles more often used but his highest and in a sense most correct Title of Announcement would be “His Imperial Majesty America President and Emperor the Basileus Arkadios First and Father in Title of All Earthly Kings” or in Louisiana in French with the final formulation being “Roi Premiere et Pere en Titre de Tout les Rois de Terre”. Many Americans accept the importance in one form or another of the Bibile and often the Proposed Imperial House will have reason to cite it which are not populist. While most Bible-loving Americans know Nimrod as a King in Genesis 10: 8-12 they believe the Bible says he was personally the first King in human history. However, the Bible makes it clear he was a mighty woarrior and hunter who drew his primacy from a series of Primary cities he more or less conquered. the chief of those cities was Accad and he married and Acccdian Princess to secure his title and submitted to its rites of kingship and thus gained not only Accad but Babel and Erech which were cities federated with Accad. From this title as king of Accad he was entitled to be styled “the first King and Potentate on Earth”. Despite the very demeaned and pinched circumstances of Acadian royalty if the regime proposed were to occur there could be a risk of greatly imbalancing the system of politics here in favor of the One, the Royal and the Executive principles. That danger is not real because the Acadians also bring a counterweight to the proposed role as Imperial Tribe. They have an institution which can be weighed in reverence against any king and hold its own in dignity. That institution is the Bouletherion, a very large and sacred council of the Ethnos Arkadios which alone has constitutional dignity and importance equal to the Basileus and Basilissa. In myth or legends nearly forgotten even in Acadiana it is the first and most of ancient of all legislatures. It is presided over by five Presidents on nominated by the Grand Famille des Boulets, one by the Grand Famille des Theriot, one by theother Princely and the High Chiefly Families acting as one group of the High Chiefly Families, one by the mid and Low Chiefly Families and the last appointed by the Basileus. The Greek Boleutheria of ancient times were all descended from this council. Because it can be held in abbreviated forms and because it is so senior and sacred it endures in right even when disused. While the ties of the Bouletherion to the COngress and State Legislatures and the proposed regime will be minimal compared to that of the Emperor who is Basileus there is still a real set of ties. In addition, the example of the Bouletherion’s function in the Imperial tribe will strengthen Congress in our society.

We need a very strong and vigorous Congress. We will be empowered under this new regime to say it represents all Maerican Citizens which it does not now. It will be in many ways more effective as a democracy even as it denounces democratic demagoguery in favor of a much better constitutional model. We are a country with a history and a set of geographical and cultural parameters that are distinctly ours. We are also a country of certain racial and ethnic components. We have never intended to be a pure democracy when we were sane. We must build not only for the present but for the foreseeable future. We need a basic framework that is familiar but which will see us into the future. Our ancestors used many ancient elements that had fallen into disuse to refashion these lands into our union. We will also have to look into the past for some of the elements of our future. But it must be a real forward- looking future. We need a vigorous and evolving NASA right away and not to evolve towrd the programs of Kenya in the Kennedy years. We need a Congress rooted enough to deal with realities and constituencies in all that is America whioch can also be wise and expert enough as well as romantic enough to spark vast new industries of space colonization and desert and seamount colonization. We need a Congress which even when it is not directly responsible will be able to deal with Imperial and Jurisdictional efforts to grant awards , contracts and licenses for companies to engage in extreme environmental rescue for practical profitable use. We need a Congress practical enough to act for right now, to right the wrongs of the past and to prepare for the next few centuries. That is not a fantasy it is just what we need.

I have been to several town hall meetings with Senator David Vitter and another one with Congressman Charles Boustany recently. I am not in favor of abolishing Congress and though I am one of the few voices both truly radical and truly American voices they ever here there I correspond politiely and in limited fashion with them with Senator Landrieu and with others there when the occasion suggests it, Those of you with more money and influence should do more not less for the causes you believe in. I am not eager to abolish very many institutions within the larger institution of Congress even as we experience radical constitutional change. We mostly need to reform some of these procedures and groups and create some new ones. Government itself under the new regime will recognize more of its competitors, will be limited but address the totality of forces for anarchy of various kinds on this planet. More rights for families, guilds and religious institutions will be secured which are competitors with the game of a governed and civilized society. Congress will play a vital role in the messy world in which government must be efficient and limitedbut it must not be slaughtered for the pirates who favor a dictatorship of the market. We must expect government to grow but grow very differently.

Somehow we have to get into a position where we can make wise decisions. Congress must be the main place where those ideas and plans can be discussed. Those kinds of decisions can be more difficult and costly at first than changes that come from yelled invective, apathy or fear. One reason for the most dangerous kinds of apathy arising is that a people has wasted its energy on spasms of ill-conceived response. America is in a crisis and there are serious consquences looming if we shirk our duty. there are no guaranties of success if we do our duty. But we are a great country and America has been built by taking daring informed risk backed up by well-directed hard work. But we have the makings of a major crisis.

Congress is among other the things America’s Great Conversation — Conversation Topics Include:
1. America has a nearly negative or negative personal savings rate.
2. America is at not having a satisfactory outcome from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in a worldwide struggle in which instability is increasing.
3. America has as many as 20,000,000 people in its land without documentation.
4. America has very little public transportation in a world with soaring transport fuel costs and other compelling reasons to add public transit.
5. America has ties to a Europe in which church attendance, marriage and personal freedom all seem to be declining at the same time.
6. America has ties to an Africa in which a series of crises leave wastelands and corpses abounding.
7.America is part of a world which has generally abandoned traditional ideas like chivalry, honor and sacred truce which used to limit violence in crises even across religions and nationalities.
8.Multinational corporations, global terrorism and the rise of other non-national forces is putting more pressure on all countries than I think our leaders realize. America can become just another failed state more easily than in any other century in her short political history.
9. America has many lingering problems that have not yet been resolved. They are source of conflict which can bubble up to the surface at any time.
10. The environmental problems in the world are a long way from being solved.
11. America’s coastral wetlands, seafood spawning grounds, levees and harbors are all in sub-par condition at the same time.
12. An entire generation of below adequate staffing of intelligence, diplomatic and Peace Corps positions has left us poorly equipped to deal with a world in crisis.
13. There are huge numbers of very capable people in the world determined to bring civilization to the ground and the leaders of civilization only know about the loud and obvious ones.

America would not reach perfect stability in this new regime. Nor do we seek a kind of passive stasis. But the struggle to have more productive politcal conflict in a Congress which is also a community that cooperates would be the ideal under the new regime. More of this trouble should be in Congress and less should be outside of it as general political unrest.
I think that we can look at our history and possibly reach some conclusions that we are happy about and some we are not happy about. We may find that there are quite a few where honest people can agree that America is constitutionally a certain way without too much regard to whether that is the way we like things to be arranged. In the Revolutionary Era there was armed force and civil disobedience involved, the Civil War was exquisitley violent, the Prohibition Crisis, The Depression and other eras were marked in part by violence. All of them were grave crises. We can expect that there will be a great deal of violence and chaos if we do not resolve some of the underlying problems in our society. Therefore we must persuade citizens to support the new consensus with arms, governors to organize home guards and national commanders to remain open to changes in the chain of command. We time when it is clear what the current quasi- legitimate government is not working well and we must be prepared to do all we can to ease the transition to a new status quo. America has been a place of struggle. It is a place worth struggling for and, sadly, I have not yet struggled very hard for my future America. However, it has been acostly and hard life dealing with America as it is — “You betcha” I am aggrieved and wronged. Not a mere victim however I will willingly go down fighting against the piratical interest that have stolen my country.

While I am eager to distinguish Congressional principles from Europe’s Status Quo and Westminster’s direct influence I do not do this as one hiding from Europe and the UK. One of the most sustained and developed public correspondences of my life has been with Philip Lord Norton Baron of Louth. A created Peer and a prominent Conservative in the UK’s House of Lords, he is the author of many books including the British Polity and others that deal with issues of Parliament governance and civil society. He is a professor at Hull University and leads a Parliamentary academic internship program as well as being active in varied fora in Europe and the Commonwealth. He is the blogger on Lords of the Blog with whom I became most involved in dialog and later followed to the newer The Norton View. I have been a commenter and have twice won the quiz on the website called the Lords of the Blog which is a collection of blogs united and inteactive to some varying degree over time which relate to the life and work of the House of Lords. This collection allows comments with a moderators doorkeeping function.

America’s Congress can and must both evolve and be itself and as it does so it can communicate more effectively with other legislative and conciliar portions of government. The new regime will allow this to happen. Here then is the passage from the Model Constitution in discussion in this note.

***** *********** *********
Article Two: Congress
The functions of Legislation, Representation and Scrutiny are among the most significant functions of the United States Congress. All constitutional Ammendments begun in Congress must be approved by a two-thirds majority of each chamber and then be certified for the Circuit Approval stage by sixty percent of the Grand Senatorial Council. All Apropriation bills must be initiated in the House of Representatives unless they fall into a class known and certified to be minimal and incidental spending bills linked to other objectives of law. In the ordinary course of things the Congress has the power to subpoena the Executive of the ministerial and Cabinet ranks and below but no higher. Bills must pass by a majority in both Houses of Congress. The two chambers or Houses are however quite different.
***** ******* *********

So if you have the energy to discuss this with friends that would be great. But the basic point here in this Article Two untitled preamble is that for our system to work there must be a great respect for a Congress which is at the heart of that political life which we all share. This is not now nor ever has been a democratic republic but rather is a mixed government Constitutional Union of mixed government republics. Under this Model Constitution the society has evolved into an Empire and Union uniting various kinds of polities and with a royal monarchy in an Imperial framework. The House of Representatives and the Senate were always different but are more different in the Model Constitution than under the one currently in force. The functions of the Congress are delineated in such a way that one can see that although they are a legislature their functions are broader than legislation proper.

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.

Congresswoman’s shooting

Yesterday 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 has been a 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. 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.”

Community Food Bank
3003 S Country Club Rd # 221
Tucson, AZ 85713-4084
(520) 622-0525

American Red Cross, Southern Arizona Chapter
2916 East Broadway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 318-6740

 

I do not know if I will comment directly on this event again in one of my major posts.  However, I do believe that I have needed to do this little thing. I think there are issues of gun control, armed security ot political gatherings, space policy, marriage and child welfare as well as political climate. However, my instinct here is not to politicize this event too much. It is horrible but less political than the Fort Hood shooting. This was not on government property, by a government employee, and with many other governance issues.  We have profoundly ignored the Fort Hood shooting as a political issue and so here we must triply ignore the politics to be balanced. But this is of course in the big picture another sign of stress in our politics. 

In all of this I wish the Congresswoman a swift recovery.

A Chance to Build Bridges?

I think that it is possible to discuss the opportunities to build new political coalitions at a different level than before after yesterday’s election.  Here are a few points that are worth considering:

1. We have a class of Members of Congress both in the House and in the Senate who are more willing to consider Constitutional reform than has been the case in any other Congress.

2. Sarah Palin has established herself as a real power broker and Sarah Palin is the living symbol of State’s rights, localism, rural values and family feminism that many Americans have been waiting for in one way or another for a long time.

3. Obama and Michael Steele are in a position to broker a Constitutional compromise that is not hostile to America’s future is not color-blind and is not destruction African-American political influence (depending on how things go there may not be others). Eric Cantor is in a position to help broker a compromise that protects Jewish interests, likewise we have Jindal and Haley who can represent the situation of  Indian-Americans.  While my own predominant ethnicity is less represented than often as we have neither a US Senator nor a Louisiana Governor who is an Acadian (Landrieu probably has some Acadian ancestors but her heritage is Creole, a group that has white and black sections one might say). Mark Rubio is in a position to represent Latinos and realize that even if he does not look Norwegian Hispanic and Mestizo identity are separate if not unrelated things.  I do not think any of this will lead to the changes we need to see but there are places where on could begin to discuss the future of a more realistic constitutional view than we have had.

4. People have discussed the possible repeal of the 17th  amendment and the direct election of Senators.  People have discussed the possibility of a Balanced Budget amendment. People have discussed addressing how States create districts. People are discussing “Constitutional Government” like it is a good thing.

Now, for me this is probably much too little much too late to make a difference. I am still more inclined to look for a way out of the country than to change it as for as I am concerned.  I am divorced for decades and ever more detached and childless. I hate living here in many real ways. But whether I leave or not I am eager to see the trends better for the nieces, nephews and communities I am planning to leave behind. For me this may be entirely not the country Rand Paul described but I have paid enough dues to hope to  be able to see his class of new leaders help to make things a little better. I am just too tired to work hard for things to get worse even if they get worse more slowly (maybe).

The Mental Ferment for Men (and Women) who Might Foment an American Revolution: Part Two

The question that supersedes and eclipses all other questions in this kind of discussion is whether or not it is really possible that the United States of America will enter a period of constitutional transformation. That sort of change which falls into the largest definition of the word “revolution”. Then (and I admit that there may be revolution at all any time soon) one can come to the question of whether or not such a change will be occasioned by the relatively sane, patriotic and productive citizens of which the Tea party is one major grouping or whether change will come from forces which are more destructive, opportunistic and perhaps more largely foreign as well. Hunger and the threat of  large-scale killing of citizens by the government are the most common reasons history shows us for people to seek to change their government. It may be that we need change but is there much chance of making real change. I think there is a less than fifty percent chance. However, Americans have a sense of creeping tyranny and a desire to react to it that is real. This is also rooted in their history.  “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson — even republican democracies in form can be tyrannical. That is both true and a truth which the Founders believed. Jefferson was the most democratic in philosophy of the first rank of Founding Fathers and he certainly had a distrust for democracy and did not ever use it as a synonym for good government as we often see being done today. 

In this four part posting I am exploring what an American Revolution might mean.  I am looking at what it could come out of and where it might bring us.  Here, in this post I focus more on our Revolutionary Heritage. By the fourth part I should be more focused on the Revolutionary future. 

Other founders such as Adams were much 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 there 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.  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.” 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. 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. 

 Nor was this constitution designed to consider all  starting positions as equal. It was not 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. Some lands from the State and the federal government should be surrendered both to compact and a central government with small needs and specialized missions but a larger part (totalling as much as two or more percent of all lands) should be put into a “pot” together with Guam, American Samoa, part of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as well as all Indian Reservations to create a series of really viable Territories and Possessions which are represented in the House of Representatives and not in the US Senate.   Part of Puerto Rico should be admitted as our final state and part as one of these new Territories, these two jurisdictions will have a compact. The relationship will be repeated in Hawaii and Alaska where close relations between distinct jurisdictions will be the norm. This will new order need to include a substantial Kingdom of Hawaii, Negro Possessions in the Southern States (as well as Creole of Color territories in some places) and two Mestizo territories in old settlements of the Spanish Borderlands Compact. These ethnic groups would have lands and governments to use and elect,  they would have seats in the House and could have simple tribunes with limited vetoes and subpoenas in the Senate. Some funds and contracts would be reserved for their development in the new constitution. Poverty and prison programs would be replaced with innovation in many states. Schools would improve and the State universities would reserve a small percentage of their seats for the best qualified of their neighbors. However, most  jurisdictions would service their own peoples needs and employ their own police and teachers. This would not be for all colored people as under Jim Crow but jurisdictions favoring specific raci0-ethnic groups with districts and rights for their own minorities. Real racial purity laws per se would be forbidden federally everywhere. The family associations would define the reace of there members for most purposes and the acts to deny racial identitry would be limited in effect and require due process.  But America would not pretend to racial indifference any more. In the States there would be  both colored districts where those not  related to nearby districts would elect parties to the state legislature and have some kind of municipal governance but also be less than equal in many rights of the state citizen while protected as US Citizen. Northeast Asian Communities such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Sino-Filipino peoples would be  assured equal representation for drawn minority majority districts in all states where they have a traditional population.  In addition they would participate as full state citizens. Likewise Filipinos and Micronesians would be given special federal assistance in settling here because of the ties of their countries to ours.  Family associations would work with these new laws and jurisdictions. But there would be an end to varied forms of racial madness in this country. All future immigrants would have to be admitted by both the United States and a lesser Jurisdiction State or otherwise.  Each jurisdiction should elect one elector for life who will sit with the popular election electors for the President and also have other legislative roles. Such a person would be able to hold multiple offices.

Likewise, America has never been founded on any principle that allowed for weakness as a national ideal.  “If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War. ” George Washington.  War, I would argue is not merely murder. Modern societies do not always fight wars quite frequently they just murder people. War involves, discipline, declarations, chains of command and a known return address  ( to at least some degree) for the violence. I have often been critical of the US military but it is still the military founded by that tall Virginian quoted above. It is still one of the institutions that works in our society.   The people have a right and a need for militias, hunting clubs and I think in a society like ours they need more differentiated groups along the lines of orders of chivalry where the most privileged speak a more refined language of violence. America is in danger of losing all that it is in this simple regard.  “Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.” George Washington.  On this and some other issues I will focus my third and last portion of this posting. 

We must also have a society where the federal and state governments are openly concerned with the moral development of these constituent armed groups and their members. No value neutral governance is possible part of our culture of defense and security. “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” George Washington. My last portion will also relate to this moral aspect of governance.

So, next time expect to see me discuss morals, arms and how to effect real change as well as other issues relevant to this subject not yet addressed. So far you can see that for me revolution is a word I take seriously.

Healthcare Bill Passed by the Senate Finance Committee

Senators Snowe and Baucus shake on the Americans Healthy Futures Bill

Senators Snowe and Baucus shake on the Americans Healthy Futures Bill

Today the last of the five healthcare reform bills in the US Congress was passed from committee to the floor of one of the two chambers. The Senate will have two bills endorsed by committees to consider and there will be three committee endorsed bills in the House of Representatives. Of course each of these bills will have a certain amount of powerful institutional endorsement and each will have been written so that there is something to be negotiated away. I have used this blog to promote my own ideas of a healthcare reform plan.

So, for no particular reason, instead of going over these five bills I am reprinting my plan in today’s blog post. If you like it talk to someone about it send a copy to the Congress, print it out and mail it to a friend in a relevant industry.  We could still see a plan like this plan become the law of the land.

A Dozen Policy Points on Healthcare:

1.Medicare and S-CHIP programs should be mostly preserved.  Medicaid should be reformed but not abolished.

2.  Americans should each be allowed to join three  or fewer family associations and pay in one percent of their taxable income tax with the amount of the family association deductible from the amount of each Americans tax liability. Donations to each and all of these funds should be able entitled to FDIC protection in a special class of funds and authorized to buy health insurance, get loans and make investments in a structure of options designed by the government to address the Healthcare situation. One investment which would qualify for some Federal support would be a Community Clinic.

My nieces and nephews at my  maternal grandparents home

My nieces and nephews at my maternal grandparents home

3. A National Wellness Agency should be established. One mil of all FICA revenues and  small fee of say $1.00  collected from everyone entering the United States would be devoted exclusively to this NWA. The NWA would have various chartering regimes for Community Clinics being especially generous to those already existing in getting Agency approval.

4. The NWA would have a subagency devoted to collecting, inspecting and dating unused medicines from institutions and deceased persons and would distribute them to Community Clinics.

5. Every physician who received federal financial aid would be required to spend one day for every thousand dollars of Federal loans and five days for every thousand dollars of Federal grants working for an approved Community Clinic after basic medical school graduation and before any extended residency or specialty training. The National Wellness Agency would oversee this program. 

6.  The National Wellness Agency would receive a dedicated tax of one mil of every health and life insurance premium collected in the United States. This money would largely (but not exclusively) pay for a  coordination program linking Community Clinics to  school nurses, fitness centers, foodbanks,  shelters, eldercare and daycare facilitites as well as other community institutions.

7. The Community Clinics would have hours reserved for only those invested in the clinic or owning cheap Community Clinic Insurance which would be available to all including fugitive felons and illegal aliens on confidential basis. The Community Clinics would also charge a visit fee of five dollars and a file fee of twenty dollars per year to any one able to pay and not insured. Half of one percent of the revenues of each clinic would be paid to the National Wellness Agency. Insurance would be about ten dollars per household per month and would cover clinic fees if current. 

8. The National Wellness Agency would also receive a small dedicated of perhaps one percent on all imported alcohol, tobacco, firearms and high performance recreational vehicles.   These funds would be largely dedicated to the Volunteer Support Program.  Meals and seminars would be provided where possible for Health and Medical Professionals volunteering at  Community Clinics. The Clinics would keep track of hours and the volunteers would receive a check at the end of each year for the federal minimum wage or one fifth of their normal hourly rate of pay — whichever was less.

9. The National Wellness Agency would offer a  lottery for tests, specialists and referrals for all those holding  Community Clinic Insurance.    The NWA would also interface with research institutions, charity hospitals and other players. These agencies would also be required to dedicate at least one percent of the value of Federal funds received to the network of deserving cases.

10. The National Wellness Agency would train community workers in churches, clubs and sports leagues and sponsor nutrition, hygiene and other programs. This  activity would be paid for in large part by a one mil tax on the wholesale  and a one percent tax on the retail of all  prescribed pharmaceuticals. These community workers would be trained to transport persons needing care to the Community Clinics. Clinics would work with other nonprofit organizations of all types to create medical transport with donated vehicles and other assets.

11.  Emergency Rooms and Ambulances would be required to give some triage preference to those coming from Community Clinics over those coming from the open street.

12. Corporations which sponsored a Community Clinic would receive a Wellness Program Support Package from the NWA tied to their level of support.

That is about half the operative language which I have devoted to this program. The other half of the language is just coming up below (to use an odd turn of phrase). The rest is about risk, torts, conflict and problems not with health but with the system itself.

So while I presumed to use a dozen principles to change everything in terms of laying out the new scheme I will allow myself twelve principles just for dealing with legal conflicts which arise. I propose a DOZEN LEGAL PRINCIPLES FOR THE NEW REGIME:

1. All malpractice policies and automobile liability policies and any other policies which insure against tort liability must cover any activity generally or usually  covered when it is performed by a Community Clinic or the National Wellness Agency or in collaboration with them.

2. All users of the Community Clinics will sign a liability waiver when using the program and will be limited to the maximum level of benefits on a set program of awards and benefits unless a plaintiff can show intentional tort or criminal malfeasance.

3. Workers Compensation Programs which assist in administering this liability program will qualify for discounts and special services as investors in the clinic system.

4. The National Wellness Agency shall have standing to defend any claim against a licensed Community Clinic

5. All law students receiving federal grants and loans will be required to contribute one day for every thousand dollars in loans and five days for every thousand dollars in grants after the end of their second year and before beginning a regular practice to the National Wellness Agency.  These students will assist in malpractice defense. They shall also assist the NWA in suing those who create a narrowly defined new federal Threat to Public Health. A sizable portion of the funds collected in each of these cases shall go into two dedicated funds. One shall be used to compensate those injured and the other to assist in all aspects of liability management including defense of malpractice.

6. All liability insurers for companies where the NWA maintains a wellness support program must contribute half of one percent of all premiums collected to the total liability management fund of the National Wellness Agency.

7. The National Wellness Agency shall assist in the development of safety standards and seminars for all Community Clinics.

8.  Emergency Rooms and Ambulances shall have National Wellness Agency liaison subagency that interacts them in providing quick emergency support to clinics and using clinics to better mange crises.

9. The NWA will have as part of its mission to increase the effectiveness of its partners in providing safe low level health  services as school nurses, fitness trainers and others who enhance health outside of sickcare.

10. The US military will have protocols for crisis management support with the NWA and clinics so that hospitals and other providers will not be as quickly overwhelmed by crises which arise in cities and regions. This will be secondary to their purely military missions but still mandated.

11. Hospitals shall be required to acknowledge and not undermine the work of those providing a less defensive standard of care in the Community Clinics than is to be the standard in hospitals and other institutions.

12.   All medical records of community clinics are to be capable of transmission to all other clinics through the NWA to minimize errors and risk.

San Francisco Mayor Newsom in an unrelated appearance with Former Pres. Clinton

San Francisco Mayor Newsom in an unrelated appearance with Former Pres. Clinton

 Recently on television news, I think it was on CBS Sunday Morning, I saw a special report on Mayor Newsome and the City of San Francisco and their program called Healthy San Francisco. I really felt when I watched the show that this program would be a tremendous assistance to them in trying to make their system work. It would be a real boost if it could be made to interface well with what is good in their system.They would give this national structure the right shape and flavor for San Francisco. I am sure that the members of the Senate Finance Committee also feel that their bill would assist  the best programs and initiatives in states and communities but I am skeptical about the likelihood that this will happen.

Healthcare and the Human Body….

 Last night I listened to President Barry Soetero — Barak Hussein Obama present his address to the Joint Session of Congress gathered to hear him adress the need and his pertinent plans for healthcare reform.  I also listened to Representative Charles Boustany M.D. who delivered the Republican response.  It was a worthwhile way to spend a little time as they left me more informed than I was before. I certainly have a clearer idea of what the parties are out to achieve and what they are   most opposed to at this time.
Representative Boustany is the member of Congress for my own Seventh Louisiana Congressional District. We do not really know eachother but we also have several close indirect personal connections. I think he is a fairly good and serious man.  He did discuss wellness and health which is very important in my proposal. The values of wellness and health have not gotten much attention in many other plans. Not in my view anyway.
I think an understanding of the body as more than a vehicle for disease and medical bills is essential to formulating good policy. So I am attaching an old Facebook post on the subject.  
This post first appeared on my Facebook page on
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 3:52pm
My physical health this week has been pretty bad while not being too bad for me to write a Facebook Note. It is probably mostly because of this kind of physical illness that I am writing about the body. My parents have each had some kind of cancer scare recently. I have no health insurance. A life time of adventures leaves my body mapped with scars and if I look around I can find lots of reasons to wonder how long my body will hold together. I worry too about others and take an interest both in sports and in many other forms of physical activity. So I am writing a rambling and incomplete note about the body.

Humanity and the human body have been discussed at very great length by a very great number of writers. I am writing this series of Facebook notes not so much becuase I am confident that my doing so will add greatly to the total dialog or body of knowledge but more because I must do all I can for reasons not always easy to explain. Although 44 is hardly ancient, I have reached a stopping place in a very long and arduous journey. This is drawing upon a year of writing these Facebook notes. About the time my birthday rolls around it will be a good time to have completed this series of My Thoughts about a good number of topics. In one year one can map out a good bit of one’s mental and spiritual landscape. My own journey through this year has been aided by writing these notes which have been more personal than anything else which I have treated as much like a publication.

One aspect of the human body which is among the most important I have addressed a bit in an earlier note adressing the subject of Manhood. I hope that I am soon able to address the subject of Womanhood in another note similarly devoted to the subject. It seems abundantly clear to me that among the most important things about the human body is that it comes in two types we call sexes which cut across or organize all other types very significantly. We call this pair of types the sexes. But in this note I am dealing with sexual differentiation only very incidentaly.

The human body is of course at the very personal level of things one can discuss. The problems and concerns of society are more removed from our most personal concerns and feelings. Life impinges upon us very distinctly when it is made physical. Most people, if they are honest even with themselves find rape a much more certain and definable crime than sexual harassment. They find battery more easily pictured and more likely to be fairly punished than “intentional infliction of emotional distress”. The fabulous wedding ceremony and public anouncement are all well and good but it is sexual intercourse that consumates a marriage in most societies. Sickness is recognized as an excuse for absence from work far more often than most excuses not involving bodily impairment. We live in an age of movies, the internet, telephones, faceless bureaucracies and corporations that deal with hundreds of millions of strangers and we still recognize how real things become when they affect our bodies. It seems very likely that people living through all of the many other human generations were far more tied to the significance of the body than most of us are today.

Any experienced proclaimer of the Christian faith knows that– while many Christians disagree on how to express what Christ was doing in the Crucifixion, why he was doing what he did and what it meant to God and Man– all are agreed that it is intrinsic and essential to the story that Jesus was in great physical pain and that he laid down his bodily life and was executed after being sentenced to death. Both death and a very physical suffering are essential to the redemptive mystery of Jesus Christ. Jesus who fed and healed so many bodies in the course of his ministry of teaching and preaching was subjected to the grim arts and sciences of those devoted to destroying bodily health and integrity. Had Jesus simply been humanely poisoned like Socrates then Christianity would be very different indeed. Perhaps it would be nearly unrecognizable.The horrific violence of his death and his ministry of peace and healing are so poetic a contrast that they can be somehow distorted and exagerated. We can and indeed have lost sight of the other violence on Jesus’s side of the picture and the violence of third parties. But the physical violence he suffered is indeed essential to the whole story.

Michel Foucault, who was among other things a French Philiospher and cultural critic of some note, has given us a number of books which show the bodily aspect of social and cultural development and of political history. One of his books “Sex, Power and the Politics of Identity” focuses on how sexual understandings of the person and the body create a set of connections between political power and sexuality. Two of the other books are “Discipline and Punish” and “Madness and Civilization”. Foucault takes care to show how power over bodies is a vital part of the development of all real power structures. I think that I am aware of my own body slipping away from its maximum and best capacities and uses in very many ways. I am just so very far from feeling good even at times when I do not feel bad. But I do relish the times and ways in which I do feel well. For me and for many of us the body provides a sort of counter which like an odometer in a car records the mileage put on the vehicle. On the other hand, like a counter to a space launch it counts down minutes of vitality. We may have fortunate times when we are not so aware of trhe aging process but mostly we are aware of it. Life gets harder and less comfortable and the potential for doing any good dimiishes. This is not everyone’s experience. Although all who survive age, not all perceive it the same way. “Life is hell” may be a sincere exclamation for many but certainly not all. If one is happy in other ways the small inconveniences of aging are not such serious detriments. If one is fully engaged then life seems to go on tolerably apace.

I am wrting part of this having no room that is an office of my own and lying across the bed in a room which has ankle braces, a variety of nonprescription medication, reading glasses and other things remind me of how much goes into the small and somewhat shabby production that is getting me into each day and through its list of demands. I am grateful for these helps and for the decent mattress which is better than some I have had over the years. I would love to live near a practically swimmable body of water every day (and if the water is right then swimming is more or less the only exercise I can do daily). But I do some walking on the days when my feet are not excessively swollen or otherwise out of form. Of course the more I am able to walk and do so the fewer times these feet are out of commission. With ear canals damaged by years of altitude changes, firearms, infections, loud music and loud cities I cannot swim in our fish pond. Only the salt seas and swimming pools will work for me.

I have felt a lot better than I do today. Today I am in a good amount of pain. When I can, I often take Glucosamine for my joints, saw palmetto for my prostate, at least one decongestant, sometimes cough syrup, aspirin and ibuprofen for pain, an herbal mix for weight loss, a coenzyme for cardio-vascular health and a mutli-vitamin. This routine of pill taking joins with my ankle braces and reading glasses as a daily reminder of how much I am struggling to maintain what is not a great level of health and fitness in the first place. I have had years when I was in better condition and years when I was in worse condition. However, the function and development and idea of the human body have long been of interest to me. I am much better for the time I devoted to athletic and fitness pursuits. However, I am not even average in a variety of ways. working out for me has always been something that produced mixed results. One of the fascinating things about having some distinct physical limitations throughout one’s life is that one is able to see the world through a separate lense.

I will probably mess up the classic formulation, but in China a scholar was expected to be able to play chess, master calligraphy, create brush drawings of hard to reach sites and master the martial arts. While such a classic Imperial formulation may have been cruel to those genuinely gifted in some areas but challenged in others it did produce a great deal of the beauty, balance and productivity of several of China’s golden ages. As with the Western Renaissance I think we need to re awaken those balanced forces as values. There have been times when I at least approached these ideals — perversely as I write this bit of advocacy I am very far from such wholeness. My body is on the whole a bit run down and it has never met everyone’s standards although it has proiven satisfactory to me and many others on many occasions and in various measures.

When Jesus healed people it is mentioned sevderal times that those around him asked whether the person was sick or injured because of the injured person’s own sin or because of the sin of their parents. It seems to have been one of Jesus’s principal preoccupations as a teacher to distinguish physical infirmity from moral turpitude. Jesus’s own stance and examle is scandalous at times to a world which in so many ways is medically defined and dominated. He did order people to receieve the certified medical examoinations, did encourage exercise, warmth and full stomachs for many who would not have had them. However, there is no doubt that the historical Jesus was aware and a bit defensive about the fact that in someways he encouraged lower standards of hygiene than other religious leaders in his tradition. Despite exigent circumstances this is the one part of his legacy where I in good conscience have found something to agree with in the claims and criticisms of his critics and even enemies. I believe Jesus brought a lot of clean order to a messy world but he also exposed many to meesy and filthy parts of the world they might otherwise have been able to avoid. Jesus was far beyond almost anyone else’s courage and engagement with the wastes of the world in many senses. He must be portrayed as someone who rejoiced in and understood the body. He lived a life in the world of feasts, the desert, the seashore, grain felds, capentry, fishing boats, The Great Temple, woman and children. His body was engaged in his life, work, thought and ministry. It was not by turning off the body and the brain that he would find his way to heaven and lead his flock to heaven. Rather he said to those living active lives, the kingdom of heaven is within you.

His cousin John he often praised and John may well have spent some of his life as an Essene Monk. These wouldbe among the very few Jewish Monks in the history of Judaism. Jesus himself would often slip off alone to pray. But just as Jesus does manifest some of the qualities and experiences of the type of king who lives all his life in a palace and yet he is nothing like them in many ways so it is with monasticism. Jesus is the monk-like seeker of prayer and solitude who endures fasting. But Jesus integrates this with much more of his life’s many assets and aspects. He is in the world but not of it. But he is no less in the world. Jesus is no libertine but is sometimes thought to be one, he is very much one committed to living his life through physical experience. I myself was once very attracted to the life of Christian monasticism and I respect many teachings learned from Buddhist monks. The great Kung Fu and Zen traditions of Buudhist Monks in China and Japan respectively are powerful examples of the Body being magnificently developed even as it is constrained and disciplined.

When I taught in China I often tried to discuss the connections, contrasts and similarities between China’s ancient martial arts regimes and the Olympic Games which had just been played in Greece and would next be played in China. Watching the Olympics in Beijing was a powerful eperience even though I watched on television from the United States. I saw China struggling to find the fullness of what it can be in the future drawing on what it has been and what it can see as possible. I still love the Olympic tradition. As much as I enjoyed the recent NCAA Men’s basketball championships we call March Madness the Olympics is so much more. Amid so many idealistic and varied stroies we are bound to find one that inspires us.

Today my foot pain and fatigue and the last edges of some respiratory illness nag at me. I wonder if the nails, dog’s teeth, exotic insects, snake’s venomed fangs or crushing wheels which have injured my already imperfect feet during my life have left some additional microbial or neurological injuries or conditions which are going to show forth in new and mysterious ways. Few people succumb to rare diseases picked up long ago and forgotten but if one were to create a likely candidate for such a death it would be I. From world record setting drmant rabies, to tetanus to parasites with long and obscure names I could always be surprised within the realm of medical possibility. What is certain is that I hurt and feel poorly now. So I seek in memory and in other places for Olympic types of inspiration. Whatever shall be shall be. I may not be Michael Phelps but I can rush out to meet whatever challenges my life holds. At least I hope that I can.

Christians are the only existing great religious community whose sacred scriptures refer repeatedly to the Olympics. The Olympics celebrate all of humanity  human nature but do so through celbrating the body. China’s recent olympics connected with its monastic martial arts tradition but saw the body celebrated openly and publicly in a different Olympics tradition. The New Testament discusses winning prizes, racing, boxing, the training of athletes in themselves and more strongly as metaphors for the spitiual life. Today I drag my body along a bit. Sometimes my body fuels my race through life. I wish all of you good and appreciated health.

The End