Friday, April 15, 2011

A proposal to amend the Constitution

Last week the Democrats and Republicans negotiated a budget. In that budget was a rider that prevented the 24th largest city in the U.S. from using locally collected taxes for a needle exchange, against the will of the city council provided a voucher program to fund students going to private schools, and restricted elective abortions. This was only possible because of a clause in the Constitution that give congress "exclusive legislation" over the District of Columbia.

This is an excerpt form Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

It is outrageous and immoral that the Republicans used the budget of the D.C. as a pawn in the negotiations, and it is immoral that the Democrats allowed it. There is only one way to permanently protect the citizens for this abuse in the future; to amend the Constitution. Washington D.C. needs to be granted statehood. There are other reasons to take this action.

1. The original purpose of this clause in no longer valid. It was created to permit the federal government the power to provide their own protection from attack. In 1783 a mob of angry soldier attacked the Congress at Philadelphia leading James Madison to argue for this separate district.
2. The people of Washington D.C. are to a great extent disenfranchised, going against the very principal of the establishment of our government. The 23rd amendment gives them 3 electoral votes, but still do not have anyone in the congress.
3. They want statehood.
These first reasons are moral reasons. There are political reasons also.
4. In recent elections the district has voted overwhelmingly democratic.
5. Washington D.C. is similar to many inner cities, and as such tend to support progressive social issues. This is exemplified by the very items that our government took away from them. The Progressive Caucus is the largest caucus in the House of Representatives with 18.4% of all representatives belonging. There is a good chance that a representative from D.C. would join.

Some of the the arguments against allowing D.C. representation are these.
It is contrary to the Constitution. This argument ironically was used by G. W. Bush who clearly violated the constitution. But, this is why I propose the change be made to the Constitution.
It is too small to be given the full representation of statehood. This ignores that Wyoming has a smaller population, and no one suggests it is too small.
The Democratic party is accused of supporting this for self interest reasons. My short answer is "So?" This is clearly a self interest argument and suggesting it, especially after what was done in the budget, is hypocritical.

For both moral and political reasons, the Progressive Caucus and the Democratic Party should make the statehood of Washington D.C. an issue.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Restore Democracy

The title of the post is the name of the blog. I originated this blog because our democracy was under attack from within. I am writing this post because our democracy is under attack from within.

In my last post I questioned our action in Libya based only on Libya. I thought hard before I wrote"Was what we did better than doing nothing? I can't answer this question. " I have decided that I should explain that statement. I am personally unable to make a judgment that violence against one set of people is better than violence against another set of people. I believe in nonviolent action, even when opposing violence. Gandhi, Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., the Egyptian uprising all did. I believe there was an action that was better than nothing, but I can't judge if our violent act was better.

I could go on, but this is about our country.

This is from our Constitution.

Article 1 - The Legislative Branch
Section 8 - Powers of Congress

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;


Obama did not consult with congress when he attacked Libya, yet very few people in congress are taking him to task for exceeding his constitutionally granted rights.

"This president has assumed power that no president, not even President Bush, has assumed." Rep. Kucinich

"... assumed power ... not even President Bush ..." We now have had a Republican and Democratic administration that have blatantly exceeded their granted powers with little opposition. We are losing, or have already lost the checks and balances built into the Constitution.

How did we get here!

"... we don’t hang on to the past. We always move forward ..." Pres. Obama

To paraphrase, don't look at how we got here. Don't investigate war crimes committed by the previous administration. Don't recognize how we got entangle in Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. Don't do anything that could hinder his goal of raising over $750,000,000 for his presidential reelection. Don't alienate big business. Don't represent the people, but rather represent the corporate interests.

I am using only one example of how we have already lost our representative government. I could have used many examples of our governments at all levels going against the wishes of the people. I could have used the efforts, some successful to completely privatize local governments. I could have used the laws being passed that remove the right of unions to collect campaign money from members. I could have used the arbitrary arrest of reporters during the last presidential campaign, later to have charges dropped. I could have used the criminal system where blacks are arrested for loitering and then become the new slaves. I used the author of Audacity of Hope who has had the audacity to raise our hope and expectation with flowery words, then crush them while expecting the perfume of the words to hide his deceit.

When the village idiot tried to act like Emperor Bush he surrounded himself with clever crooks, and I knew that much of our democracy was pawned to the rich. Emperor Obama has now institutionalized lawless government and I question the very existence of government controlled by the Constitution.

I don't question the ability of the people to take back our constitutional government. But, it takes the will of the people, something I just don't see in great enough numbers. Therefore it takes each of us educating those around us, especially those that want to remain ignorant as to what is happening. Personally, for the most part I don't challenge their misconceptions. It will start a possibly fun debate, but it will not change their mind. I just provide them with facts they were unaware of. I show them that they have been getting poorer since "trickle down economics" started. I show them that the rich have been getting richer during the same time period. At another time I will tell them that only 10% of the money pledged to Haiti has been released for reconstruction.

Again I could go on. The point is a democracy works with an educated public, and if you want democracy you need to do your part to educate.