Tag Archives: us politics

Pathway To A Better State

The recent 2012 campaign season has highlighted once again the stark and irreparable divisions within the US.   Those divisions have been manifest for decades now and river of discord runs deep and  wide.  They transcend simple explanations over one or two contentious issues.  The divide separates along core values for each constituent group.  We still compose a single nation-state but clearly are two separate societies within that framework.   Like identical twins originating from a single miraculous event but then pulling apart to become distinct individuals even though from a common bond.  We now must deal with that reality and the current organization of the US political system ill serves each of those societies denying to both their own vision of the future.

Most of us share a common pride in what the US was.  Many on the Left do not.  We are now confined to a nation that no longer gives expression to our values.  Certainly the Democrats and Left want a radically different set of values from those in common use today.  It is beliefs, values and social abstractions that bind a people not political divisions on a map.  It is the coalescing of those common values that gives life and energy to the political divisions that result in different states.  It cannot be gainsaid that we have two sets of value oriented views of the world.   They don’t mesh and never shall the twain meet.   The tensions and conflicts between these approaches to self-governance of a free people will escalate as the tides of advantage to one side or the other ebb and wane.    Many of us believe this is not the US the Greatest Generation fought so hard to preserve.   We abhor the direction we are taking and those of the Left wish to accelerate that direction.

This fact of divide and polarization has been brought to light in the recent movement for secession that has cropped up since our most recent election.   A peaceful and orderly re-organization of the US over the next generation is a much better path for the future of all regardless of Right or Left.  Our current path is one that will ultimately lead to true civil unrest, societal pain and divisions brought about by violence or near war-like discord.   These pages have previously mentioned the best path for this alternative approach.  We need to begin the process of calling a Constitutional Convention to give voice and reality to the two separate visions of the US.  Article V permits this approach.  The last time it was seriously considered was during the ’70’s and early ’80’s by those advocating the passage of the ERA amendment to the Constitution.  When their effort was falling short some of the Left mulled over the idea in public of trying the Convention as an alternative method to assure its passage.  That Amendment and the effort failed.   Are our current divisions so fundamental and endemic as to require such a step?   A realistic assessment says that the divide cannot be breached in our current political structure.

We have two very opposing views of the role of our Federal government and it is at that level where almost all the contentions collide.   The Democrats and Left believe in a large and almost omnipotent federal authority.  They view the Federal government as the helping hand encased in the velvet glove lifting up those in “need”.   They define need broadly and want everyone else to accept their definition.  To even disagree with their definition makes you an enemy.   Others believe the Federal government is the boot on the neck of the people.   That it intrudes into areas best left to the States and into the personal and economic lives of everyone.  There is a dramatic and irreconcilable chasm regarding the concept of Federalism.  The Democrats view it as a quaint and outdated concept from another era.  The rest view it as the bulwark of our freedoms.  The Democrats really would prefer that States be merely provinces of the nation with all control emanating from Washington.  TV talk show hosts and others love to make their cute little jokes about “fly over country” but sadly there is great truth to that comment and it reveals the true attitude of the Democrats.  They would prefer States be  administrative districts like they have in Metropolitan France or had in ancient Rome following the directives and edicts of
Washington.  They want power, power concentrated in Washington and obeisance from the populace.  Please review carefully your Solzhenitsyn, read lots of history of the Communists regimes around the world.  Stalin thought of himself as a champion of the little guy.  As an elite though he also believed he knew better than they want was good for them and certainly knew what the societal mores should be.   Opposition was not brooked.   But whether we of the Right  like it or not there are millions in the US that desire that kind of government.   Why not let them have their Eden commune on earth as long as we all don’t have to bow down to their Baal.

This has been building for decades.  It had its core with FDR and then was accelerated with LBJ and is reaching a zenith with the election of the current occupant of the White House.  But when they are gone there will others in their mold to step forward and continue the  road left.   If those on the Right could prevail it would not bring peace because the Left would ratchet up their venom and fight to tear down opposition to their forward march to a larger more powerful and ultimately more socialist government.  If we are going to become a Socialist European style government then what are the advantages to being in the US for those who believe that is so wrong on a moral level and destructive to individual freedom.   Why not live in Switzerland, Sweden, Scotland or Germany?

We’ve had a wonderful history even with our bumps along the way.  Mostly we have been a force for good in the world, at least the Right believes that we have, the Left not so much.   But things do change eventually as they have from the beginning of recorded time.  Rome didn’t last forever, neither did the British hegemony, nor the Kublai Khan.  It is not necessary to destroy the ideal of the US as envisaged by each political segment.  Left and Right can each have their domain without the opposition of the other.  But that destruction is assured if we don’t address our differences and divisions intelligently and forthrightly.  Many have said in times past that there is more than unites us than divides.  Only the hopeless optimist or foolhardy could possibly believe that today.  The fact is that there is far more that divides us than unites us today.  Pride of nation is deeply split along values.  Many take no pride whatsoever in the current actions of the Federal government, others cheer all its actions and want even more.   We can both be happy  if we each have a Federal government more in tune with our beliefs, values and aspirations.  In coming posts we shall explore specifics of some of the major differences and how each element in on nation can pursue its own course without so much interference  and outright obstruction by the other.   Yes, there would be problems but none any greater to solve that living in a nation divided and heading to civil disharmony and dysfunction.  There is a better way and a better place for all of us.  The Democrats should love this change.  Yes, they will lose some minions and slavish robots to the Federal government but truly they will rejoice in getting rid of most of those gun-toting, Bible- thumping rednecks and yahoos.   We of the Right do not respect or trust them and they disdain us.  Do you really think that will change?

Come again for details and the guide map that Pathway to Coastal America and Middle America where each pursues its own vision of governance and each allows the freedoms demanded from only its own citizens.  (Central power, Taxes, Supreme Court, environment, role of military, Rule of Law, social issues, size of government, economic system, capitalism.)

“A House divided shall not stand”…..stated in several places in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

If you don’t think these are worth the price we offer a refundable scrip for the next edition at twice the price and all for only 19.99.  Otherwise enjoy your investment for today.

On the renewable energy/green front there is no one more “green” than the Germans.  They have the world’s largest users of solar panels and the like.  They also announced last year they are closing all their nuclear plants within a decade partially as a result of the Japanese disaster.   However if you read the fine print in the news lately they have sharply cut back on their subsidies for solar and just last week a second solar panel facility filed for bankruptcy.  Hmmm, they will figure it out, they are Germans after all, but one wonders if they have really picked the right horse for the future ride.  You want a preview of our solar future, watch the Germans for the tell.

Speaking 0f green, we notice that the Labor dept. stats list a bus driver driving a hybrid bus as a “green” job for their estimate of th total jobs in the category.  One would think the bus driver would drive whatever type bus they gave him.   Delve into the report yourself and see how well your tax dollars are spent by bureaucrats probing all aspects of the economy and then counting as green jobs everything they in their infinite wisdom perceive to be connected to that movement.  Even if you believe every categorization they make do we really need to pay someone to come up with those numbers?  How does that info add to our economic output?

You can sleep easier now.  Those particles sent from Switzerland to Rome didn’t travel faster than the speed of light after all.  Seems the machines weren’t properly calibrated and the readings were false.  Whew, otherwise a lot of what we trust in like gravity would have been in question.  We already have enough questions about life as it is.

In the earliest days of our Republic we still had a fairly primitive economy compared to the English.  Yes, we had a currency but its value was still in doubt and the merchants of the day had to be pretty darn good with their math and up on world affairs and the different values of foreign currency.  At that time it was still very common for commercial transactions to be consummated with foreign currency.  Spanish doubloons, English pounds sterling, Dutch Guilders and Italian ducats were still pretty common currency all along the eastern seaboard and the ports there.  The merchants had to determine how to make the conversions for many different currencies and what currency would be accepted by their counterparties, especially those overseas.  Foreign merchants were reluctant to accept payment in US funds.  But our paying off our state bonds, as promoted by Hamilton, greatly helped the value of our money.

The Egyptians built truly remarkable structures in the ancients times–the Pyramids, the Sphinx and all those buildings at Assam and Memphis.   Interesting that they never could figure out the engineering or muster the will to build the Suez canal.  That had to wait for millenia and the Europeans.  It was the French who built the canal to great fanfare but lukewarm financial support in the mid 19th century.  It took about ten years to complete and the British were constantly carping about it.  After all they were the world’s leading economic power then and controlled most international trade.    The Brits even provoked turmoil among the workers on the canal who they touted as slave labor.  After completion there was one other problem the engineers and businessmen involved hadn’t paid enough regard.  The early days of the canal were less than successful because most ships still were moved by sail.  The prevailing winds in that region move west to east and thus passage was long and sometimes not possible at all for days at a time.  It took the steam engines and ironclads to make it a success.  They maybe should have consulted more with the seafaring men before they started they venture.  Amazing how overlooking the obvious happens over and over.  The original company that built the canal went bust.  There is a lesson there for all of us.

The reports say that there are 25 Secret Service agents with the Obama kid on her vacation.  That is probably and sadly  correct,  I suspect.  As stated here before that protection for Presidents and others has reached ridiculous proportions. Yes, we need some protection for Presidents and those in succession and maybe a very minimal amount for ex-Presidents but that is it.   As late as Harry Truman’s term and Ike, they just left the White House as private citizens and went home.  Twenty-five agents for a child of a President is absurd regardless of who is President and regardless of Party.  We need to regain some sense of balance and responsible use of taxpayer money.  If we are that worried about the President’s safety then just use a company of Marines around the White House, they are already being paid.  Just asking for some common  sense in all this. 

If under Obamacare the individual mandate is upheld we will  have lost most of our traditional freedoms to a central government that can run rough-shod over our State’s historical role of being in charge of police powers.  Next to regulate “interstate commerce” the Feds could require that all future IRS payments be made with US Treasury notes or bills.  They would force you to loan money to the government then take those same notes you hold as payment for your taxes.  Multiply that over millions of tax payers and you are talking real money.   If they can make you buy insurance what makes you think they couldn’t require you to loan them money?   Regardless of the need for health care reform such alleged reform is not worth allowing unfettered power to the Federal government.   That is why we only gave them enumerated powers and have a Bill of Rights. 

“History teaches that among the men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants” A. Hamilton.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Do Over Revolution

The centrifugal forces of politics are pulling our nation farther and farther away from each other.  It is a bit sad but realistic.  We have always had our divisions from the beginning with different visions for our nation’s future.  Today that gulf between left and right has widen to such an extent that closing that breach appears impossible.  Those on the right despise for the most part Pelosi, Schumer, Frank, Reid and Obama because they believe they are stealing their freedoms.  The left denigrates and has no regard for those on the right who they believe are neanderthals bent on suppressing the masses.   Rather than bullets and blood in the streets it is time to seriously consider a “reset” (the popular phrase of the day) of our political functions and functioning.

We have written before of the distinct possibility of calling a Constitutional convention which is authorizes by the Constitution and doing a serious rewrite of our organizational structure to try and please most of us at least most of the time.  The nation could be divided into two segments with the liberals getting essentially the east and west coasts and the middle America taking the rest.  Each could be free to set its own policies regarding all the contentious issues of the day without the constant acrimony we have now.  Immigration, taxes and method of taxation, interpretation of the Commerce Clause, health care, foreign policy, power of the courts, trade issues, affirmative action, the power of unions,  socialism  and the host of other bitter struggles could be resolved be each segment to its liking.  The armed forces would be divided and then compacts entered into to for free trade and mutual support from foreign threats.  There are a host of matters not covered here but they could be dealt with by law, not government fiat.   It would work and we could even allow an extensive period for people to choose which America they wanted as theirs.   It is either that or a coming revolution.  The two visions of America for the future simply don’t mesh and never will.  We should at least be honest about that.  Not to recognize that truth is to stick your head in the sand and extend and pretend that all will be well.   Our forefathers took the bold approach and acknowledged that separation from England was the only course.  At least this would be the peaceful method.

If we don’t do something like that then we face a certain revolution somewhere in our future.   That would mean winner take all and somebody would be very unhappy with that outcome.  The Right and center right probably outnumber the left by 2 to 1 but that one-third is still a significant group of people.   They have an inordinate amount of power now through their control of government.  Government is seen by many now as the enemy, the problem; the intellectual plutocrats see it as the end all and be all because they now best.

If we don’t head toward the Convention route then there is still one half way house to perhaps reign in the over reaching power of the central government and that is a taxpayer strike.  That would be our last best hope of taking the country in the direction we want.   If successful it would permanently trim the sails of the left and de-fang the beast in Washington.  That beast needs us to supply it the money it needs to keep its boot on our necks.   As much as Washington vilifies business and the “rich” they are essential because they are what pays for everything DC wants to do.  To redistribute the wealth there has to be wealth in the first place that you can take. 

What if one fine day say only 10 million of us who actually pay federal income taxes filed our tax returns completely accurately but didn’t forward a check with it.  No tax fraud would be committed you just don’t have the money to pay.   The lost revenue in one fell swoop would be enormous.  They couldn’t jail us all or shoot us all.  They need us anyway in spite of the fact that they hate us.   The fact is they would have to make a deal with us.  Maybe that would give us the chance to seriously re -work some of the most egregious of their actions of the past few decades.   We don’t need to riot in the streets but we could  do it in the privacy of our own homes.  The impact of a taxpayer revolt would be overwhelming and effective. 

These are thoughts to ponder as you sit in traffic today.  We can’t continue the way we are now without drastic and very negative effects down the road.  The current political environment and system simply will not allow the sea change the nation needs in its middle age; especially is this true with the current very liberal federal courts.  You contemplate our current dilemmas and direction and you come up with a scenario with a happy ending without some drastic action, if you can.  Love to hear it.

Much is being made of the heat wave in Moscow this summer.  Quite true, but if you look at the rest of Europe i.e., London, Berlin, Paris, etc, you will see they are very comfortable and normal.  Mother Nature always has its way whether we approve or not.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Divide To Unite–Constitutional Convention To Redraw US

There is obvious political discord in the nation at the moment.  It is very intense.   It has been intense before and the battle lines have been stark for some time.  There is a significant portion of the nation led by the Democratic party that strongly believes in a large and expanding federal government role and an unending search for “social justice” as they define it.  They largely believe that the wealth of society should be redistributed for the betterment of society.  Many are outright socialist and others while maybe not in that camp do believe in a government so large and intrusive as to not make much difference.  There are others who have a very different vision for the country and its future.   They believe in a lean government that controls with a light touch and allows for mostly local control of most issues. Those two views are not compatible now or in the future.

These clashing desires for the future direction of the country are the root cause of the current discord and conflict within the country.  Some have said we are heading toward a civil war.  That is not a ridiculous thought.  It has happened before not only in our country but in others around the world.   If either respective group was only a very small percentage of the population it wouldn’t be much of a problem because the small minority would have to conform.  But the Demos and the Left do have a substantial portion of the population with them and they are endeavoring to enhance that portion with expanding government programs to make more people dependent on their largess and therefore inclined to support them because they provide for their welfare by handing out the bread and circuses to them.  These contrary views are irreconcilable and as long as we butt heads the greater the prospects for a destructive Balkan type clash in our future.  There is a better way to make most of us happier.  There are no Utopias on earth but we can improve matters by allowing each faction to pursue its own course without having to constantly be at odds with the other.

The Constitution provides for Constitutional convention to amend the Constitution.  One should be called and we should divide the nation into two segments for most political purposes.  The division would be pretty obvious to anyone.  The two coasts, east and west would become one segment and most of the mid section would become the other.   Michigan and Illinois would have to petition in all likelihood to gain admittance to either one.  It would be an open question as to who would want them.  This is using the ballot box to resolve our differences and to provide for much greater stability for each new America as we move into the 21st century.  Things change.

The Left group could do as they pleased and not have to be concerned with any significant opposition.  The could allow Washington to dominant everything in their country. They could totally ignore the federal system as they have wanted to do for decades.  Each state would merely be an administrative province of Washington.  They could have a national health care system.  They could allow unions to form on the request of 10% of workers.  Heck they can socialize utilities, take over all the banks, insurance companies, railroads, airlines, agriculture and all professions.  They can legalize drugs and put up a neon sign on their border saying welcome to all who are completely destitute and illiterate and let them become citizens upon entry by filling out a simple form.   They can regulate to their hearts content and have wage-price controls on everything and everyone.   They can have expanded affirmative action programs so that no one is denied a position they think they deserve and they could offer free education so that anyone could stay in school without tuition until they got their PHd.   They can tax their rich into oblivion with 95% tax rates if they like and impose all they new taxes they want to redistribute the wealth.  They can obliterate capitalism.   They wouldn’t have to worry about obstructionists or Tea Parties.   They would be happy as pigs in a mud hole on a hot day.

The other America could tighten its borders, allow as much regulation as they thought necessary on industries and promote economic growth and a low taxes.  It would have the same bill of rights as exist now but would restrict the commerce clause to actions, events, or endeavors that have a “direct and material” effect on interstate commerce.   It’s new capital could be anywhere in the mid section of the country.  The military would be divided equally so that each could protect the security of its citizens and we would have a very strong joint military treaty to aid one another.   There could be a provision to allow a long period of adjustment, say ten years for citizens to make up their mind which country they preferred and then move if that is their choice to the other segment.  But once made that is it.  Trade and commerce would flow between the two countries freely for the clear reason it would benefit both, but political direction and governmental policies would stop at the border of each.

Let each go its on way without the conflict and discord we have now.   Those desired directions are very different and each side now views the other with extreme hostility, in many cases as the “enemy” and with good reason.  Each side’s views and efforts do thwart the ambitions and desires of the other.  Let’s be honest about matters–we do have two visions of America and they don’t jibe; they are in direct opposition to each other.  We would probably be pretty good allies down the road and even if that is not true it would be better than being enemies within the same borders and having  brother against brother.  Each would have a much more stable society and happier people. 

Those 16,500 new IRS agents could all go to the Coastal America.  They would need them to enforce their tax collections and it would provide government jobs which they all love anyway.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Victory Is Possible In War on Terror And Recession

History for those willing to take a look offers some real hope for our ultimate victory over the Islamist terrorists and even the current recession and intrusion of the government into our freedoms to choose our path in life.  Hannibal was the famous Carthaginian leader who led his army from Spain over the Alps and into the heart of the Roman Empire.  We had to deal with our tremendous loss on 9/11 and the Romans had to deal with a similarly devastating circumstance when Hannibal entered their territory.  He not only entered he delivered a blow that makes our loss on 9/11 pale in comparison.

As Hannibal ventured throughout the Roman lands in Italy he avoided the Roman armies for the most part and had one very good victory in the north of Italy but that was merely the warm up for worse to come.  Like the first attack on the Twin Towers in ’93 was a harbinger of 9/11.   The Romans massed a huge army for that day with 80,000 troops and cornered Hannibal in southeastern Italy at a little place called Cannae.  There the Romans were not only defeated but slaughtered.  The entire army for all intents and purposes was killed.  R0me was temporarily defenseless and felt incredibly vulnerable.  But after the usual finger pointing and blame game they regrouped and continued the battle.  Hannibal roamed about the Roman countryside for nigh on 20 years before the Romans finally were able to extract him.  They attacked his allies more than they attacked him and his army directly.  At length it became obvious to Hannibal that he could not prevail and he returned to Carthage.  But as Paul Harvey used to say we need to know the rest of the story.   Rome was not done with Hannibal.

Great peoples and great nations or empires have tenacity and realize the importance of perceptions.  The impetus for removing Hannibal was an attack against Carthage itself.  That caused Hannibal to return there.   A great Roman general called Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal outside Carthage but Hannibal was allowed to live and was even appointed the leader of Carthage and paid tribute to Rome for several years.  Hannibal followed his true light and the pressure mounted against him by those in Rome who thought it wrong to allow him to remain in power.  He conspired with the Syrian King against Rome and was declared an outlaw by Rome. He went to Syria as a mercenary general to “advise” the Syrian King.  Rome defeated the Syrians even with Hannibal aid and he fled to Crete.  His alliance with the Cretans didn’t last long as they tired of him and the constant pressure from Rome as they knew the Romans would continue to pursue him and they did.

He fled next to the northern border of modern day Turkey across from Istanbul. The local king there employed him to lead his armies against Rome.  Again the Romans came and defeated the Bithynian King.  Hannibal fled again into the remote regions of Turkey but was finally tracked down.  Surrounded by the Romans he took his own life.  Roman tenacity ultimately paid off.  They realized also that a great power most not only be strong but give the appearance of being strong.  They were willing to chase Hannibal to the ends of the earth to prove their point.  You can be assured that the rest of the civilized world around the Mediterranean Sea also took notice.  It was the same motivation that caused the British two thousand years later to pursue the mutineers from the Bounty more than half way around the world.  It was a huge undertaking for the British but it was important for the world to know that they did not suffer fools lightly and would demand justice regardless of the inconvenience or costs.   Some of those mutineers eventually hung from the yardarms of the British fleet back home.

The US faces several difficulties at the moment but if we can buckle up and saddle up we can get through this dark valley.  The best days of the Roman Empire were still in the future when Rome had to deal with Hannibal.  There were dissenters at home saying the costs were too high.  The Empire had its bad moments and even evil over its history and it endured some truly bad leaders.  But at the core they preserved the basics of a democracy.  Even the most despotic of their Emperors had to acknowledge and respect the mood and voice of the people.  The Empire for all its shortcomings did allow and afford the hope for everyone that they could move up.  Even the lowliest slaves could hope for freedom as many did obtain that and some became citizens of Rome. 

Our future is still to be written.  It is still within our control what our destiny will be.  If the people insist that government be their servant and not become their master then we will prevail.  If too many of us view government as our keeper then we will begin the slide to deterioration.  We will get what we demand from our government and our leaders.  It is they who should wear the yoke of public service to do the people’s will rather than the people who should be yoked to the dictates and whims of government.

Interesting and concerning that China is using substantial portions of its profits from foreign trade to expand and upgrade its military might.  This has been occurring for some time.  Recently a Chinese general even wrote a book about the Chinese goal of becoming a world force.  He didn’t write that without approval from the Politburo of the Communist party.  Who will be the target of that increased military might?  Even those on the back row of class can figure that one out.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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It is hard to believe but the election season if already fast approaching.  We are only about one year from the next election cycle.  We get a sneak preview in only 6 weeks with the governor elections in New Jersey and Virginia.  Things change and remain the same.  The Voting Rights Act covers Virginia but not New Jersey.  Virginia has elected a black as governor, New Jersey never has in spite of a very substantial black population.  The Voting Rights Act had nothing to do with the Virginia election rather it was the quality of the candidates and the changing demographics of Virginia with so many Yankees moving there to take those plum Governmnet, Inc. jobs.  Surely you have noticed over the last 50 years that DC never has a recession.  No matter what is going on in the rest of the nation the Feds have not cut back, ever, on spending for their favored programs and they have never cut back on adding new programs and federal workers and bureaucrats.   Thus the growth in northern Virginia over the last 50 years. All those new residents are dependent directly or indirectly on the Federal government and its continued expansion for their own economic well being (think lobbyists and contractors doing government work) and thus will vote for the party who favors government growth and expansion.

Next year will also be tense politically because it is the time for the census and the re allocation of Congressional seats throughout the States and the drawing of Congressional district boundaries.  It appears at least that we will not have to endure the ignominy of having an organization like ACORN being involved in the census process and thus the Congressional district selection process.  Teen age prostitution was enough to embarrass the Democrats this time around.  They aren’t as tough as the old days when Huey Long said he could be re elected as long as he wasn’t caught with a dead boy in his bed. 

Those boundaries make for the most intense of political fights even though most of them are more or less done behind the curtain like the man in the Wizard of Oz.  Those gyrations and manipulations d0n’t garner much public attention but they do consume the politicians because those outcomes affect their very existence and livelihood.    It has been so for over 200 years.  You recall the expression “Gerrymander” and that it came from the earliest days of our nation when the good folks and politicians in Mass. decided to shoe horn a Congressional district to assure the re election of the good mister Gerry.  Things have not changed since that time to this.  At least we can be happy that the manipulation is limited to boundaries and counting bodies as opposed to really arcane voting rights and rules like they had in Britain for several centuries before the reforms of the 19th century.

England had a crazy history of electoral districts based on a variety of factors that were not based on population distribution or really any particularly logical system.   The members of Parliament were selected from different districts around the country based on ancient noble rights, church influence from long ago and special grants by varioius Kings of England over the years.  By the time of the American Revolution there even a name for this method, or lack of method, and the electoral districts that came from this system–they were called “Rotten Borroughs”.  They were mostly in the southern portion of the country.  That also was the result of historical accident and happenstance as much as anything. That was the area closest to Europe.  That is the area most heavily settled by the Romans and then the Normans after the invasion by William the Conqueror, or Bastard.  (They weren’t as timid in those days about being politically correct and called a spade a spade.)   The southern half of England had the most population for a very long time but as the industrial revolution grew the population exploded in the midlands and they were terribly under represented in Parliament as a result of the Rottend Borroughs in the south.  It took a couple of generations for this in balance to be corrected.  It did happen, peacefully and democratically and without a punishing statute like our Voting Rights Act.   Many in Britain would question whether they have really improved all that much with  a more equal distribution of members of Parliament.  The are after all still politicians whatever their origination geographically.

“Every soldier carries a Marshall’s baton in his knapsack”–Napoleon.  I like the optimistism of this one and the belief in the cream always finding a way to rise to the top.   www.olcranky.wordpress.clom

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Congressional Oversight

You can’t watch the news or read the paper these days without hearing about some Senator or Congressman calling for an investigation of this or that.   They do conduct those hearings all the time and then there is a “report” prepared ostensibly for purposes of drafting legislation to right another wrong found by Congress.   You are reminded that under our Constitution that is the only way the Congress can conduct an investigation–in preparation for new legislation.  They are not the FBI but legislators.  Of course that power of investigation has been abused so often over the years that it is to the shame of Congress mostly, not to its credit.  The most notorious example was the McCarthy hearings, but the annals of Congress are filled with so many more than just that one.   The hearings are usually used for “one-upmanship” by the party controlling the Congress.

Those hearings are completely controlled by the party in power and they are not free flowing debates or real investigations but a platform for pontificating and making propaganda for the agenda of that prevailing party.  As soon as any issue becomes politically “hot” you can rest assured there will be investigative hearings with subpoenas and testimony under oath.  Do some investigation of you own.  Look into the record of these proceedings and reach your own conclusion.  It is my opinion that the majority of them are abusive, not constructive forums to consider and draft needed legislation.   The shame of it all cuts across party lines.

Besides we need fewer laws anyway not more.  I can’t wait for a politician to come along and make it his campaign pledge that he will introduce legislation to remove laws from the books.  Just think about the Internal Revenue Code.  It should be 10 pages long at the most but it is thousands and you know why.  It is filled with “goodies” for special interests groups.  Those special interests groups are not merely different businesses or industries but environmental, charitable and union groups.  Everyone has their finger in that pie and all that money raised gives enormous power to the politicians which they crave.

These investigative hearings are nothing new by the way.  I have a few volumes from the hearings conducted in the 42nd Congress after the War Between the States. It is called the report on the Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States and is followed by a report by the committee.  Makes very fascinating reading.  The hearing were by the winners of course and all the data and evidence taken was to support the draconian effects of Reconstruction.  But it is real history and one more example that there is nothing new under the sun.   The hearings would no doubt have been televised if they had had the technology.  Of course if they had had that technology the war would have ended much sooner if people saw the destruction and death nightly around the dinner table.  Rather than an investigation by Congress I would prefer a debate between representatives of each party with such experts as either of them wanted to assist them during the debate about the real issues and concerns of the day, like energy.  Make them reveal the details.   Talk to the people honestly and intelligently without the pandering from Capital Hill steps or hearing room daises.

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