Gone For… World Cup 2022!

And gone for several lunches too I’m sure! 😉

This is a WPPSA for all my blog-followers and any visitors stopping by here between Nov. 20th thru Dec. 18th, 2022. What is a WPPSA you ask? Well, it is a WordPress Public Service Announcement, of course! And it is telling all of you that I will be very unavailable here during all the FIFA World Cup games for the next 4-plus weeks. Most of the televised games here in the U.S. are between 4am to 4pm CST until the Round of 16 then later in the day with the quarter-finals beginning Dec. 3rd.

Khalifa International Stadium – Doha, Qatar

Real quickly, here are the U.S.A.’s first three games, Central Standard Time (UTC offset: -6 hours)…

  • USA vs Wales — 1:00pm CST, Nov. 21
  • England vs USA — 1:00pm CST, Nov. 25
  • Iran vs USA — 1:00PM CST, Nov. 29

Best of luck to your nation or favorite national team, if your native country didn’t qualify this year. My second country, my home away from home in world football/soccer, or futebol as it’s called in Brasil, is… well, you guessed it: Brasil. I will be cheering passionately for both teams! Meanwhile, for a teaser-appetizer of the planet’s most greatest sporting spectacle only every four-years when about 7/8th’s of the planet’s population watch obsessively every match, here are some of the Top 35 Goals of all World Cups since 1958. Enjoy.

See you all here after Dec. 18th and the Final. GO USA!!! Then Brasil!!!

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Learn Always

Part 2: A New U.S. Constitution

In an 1849 speech to the Massachusetts Bible Society and at that time a twice elected member to Congress’ House of Representatives and later appointed House Speaker, his following words echoed several of the newly formed United States government charters and their Founding Fathers:

“All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them…”

robert charles winthrop

We continue now from Part 1, A New U.S. Constitution

Our 18th Century Constitution Nurtures Political & Economic Inequality Today

Mr. R.C. Winthrop, a respected lawyer and descendant of Governor John Winthrop from the original 1630 Massachusetts Bay Colony, in his speech essentially repeated what several U.S. Founding Fathers and Constitutional framers believed, designed, and ratified six decades earlier in Philadelphia at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. It was the widely held belief that people, especially men and their innate predisposition toward unbecoming vices and selfish misconduct (sin?), had to be governed one way or another. Or they at least required protections, supervision against unfair and partial laws which might oppress particular segments of society, and vice versa.

One of those Founding Fathers was Alexander Hamilton. At the Philadelphia Convention he told its members:

Give all power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all power to the few, they will oppress the many. Both therefore ought to have power that each may defend itself agst. [sic] the other.

And Hamilton was not the only one advocating for fair laws, supervisions, and protections for all classes of society. But it’s worth noting here too that human slavery and trafficking in America had been thriving for many, many decades and oddly enough, Hamilton’s words, his colleagues’ words, and even Winthrop’s words had little or no meaning whatsoever for non-whites or women. Nevertheless, what these great men sought was the promotion of maximum economic opportunity inside a dynamic and growing nation with some protections for legitimate wealth.

Signing of the Constitution, 1787 Philadelphia Convention — oil painting by Howard Chandler Christy, 1940

What was meant by legitimate wealth in the minds of our 18th and 19th century Founders? Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Paine, and a host of secondary Founders all agreed that hereditary wealth accumulation like what existed in Great Britain’s society and Parliament, was in fact a heavily corrupting factor on a Republic’s governing body which would inevitably cheat and oppress “the many.” As recent history had shown them with the collapse and/or overthrows of several imperial European kingdoms and monarchies in the 16th–18th centuries, to deter such tyrants or wild blood-thirsty mobs from seizing power, our Founding Fathers wrote Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of our U.S. Constitution, which states:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

But here is the astonishing irony between what our Founding Fathers feared then, and what many Americans fear today and see has already happened.

In 1787’s Pennsylvania Convention and forward up to Winthrop’s 1849 speech, it wasn’t so much a foreign power’s aristocracy they saw as a serious threat. It was the potential for a powerful domestic oligarchy being created that they really feared. Several Founding Fathers were uneasy about the capability of private wealth, legitimate or not, to merge with government authority and legislation, thus destroying true republicanism. On this risk, the Constitutional framers vigorously looked to insulate government policy away from private wealth and its self-interests that, like Great Britain, had corrupted her and several other European imperial monarchies and aristocracies for several centuries or more.

One of these troubled framers was oddly enough Elbridge Gerry (left), born into a very wealthy American merchant family, of which the political practice of gerrymandering was named after, Gerry opposed the union of a central bank and a national army/navy. Why did he?

Because as had been shown in Europe, e.g. Ivan IV (the Terrible) and Oliver Cromwell to name the well-known tyrants of the time, the enormous amount of both could be used to seize total power. But the irony gets even better!

The Constitution that Congressman Gerry and the many Founding Fathers wrote in 1787, today protects a domestic oligarchy against the greater good, “We the People,” or the majority will, and does so in basic ways. A closer look at the Constitution’s original wealth protections will contrast what was meant in 1787 versus what has happened now in the 20th and 21st centuries in America. From Dr. Van Cleve and our Constitution:

The 1787 Constitution (and the Bill of Rights) protected the existing distribution of wealth in America using both legal and political means.  The Constitution contained various legal protections for private property.  For example, its “Contracts Clause” protected creditors against widespread efforts during hard times in the 1780s by debtors to reduce or escape their debts.

Van Cleve, George WilliamMaking a New American Constitution. Maroon Bells Press, 2020. Kindle Edition.

However, many other Founding Constitutional framers, mostly in the agricultural South, felt those protections did not go far enough, particularly with their mass wealth in private slaveholdings and its free labor. Southern plantation owners feared that northern interests might use their federal powers to divest or cripple their unpopular “property values,” or to be perfectly transparent, their slaves and free slave-labor. This one controversial debate over “property values” bled over into other heated arguments about fair taxation and state representation and therefore how much authority a federal government should or shouldn’t have over member states.

Main house, Destrehan Sugar Plantation, Louisiana, built in 1787-1790 — Credit: FlickrDestrehan Plantation | prayitno

Some Political-Wealth Protections Afforded by the 18th Century Constitution

  • Rigorous Limitations on Federal Taxation Powers — these prohibit taxes of “Capitation or other direct” taxes unless made by the states according to the decennial Census.
  • Indirect Wealth Protections — this is done so by rigidly fashioning large aspects of earlier generational hierarchal power, long established and in existence, thus significantly limiting its redistribution. By freezing these it greatly undermines the federal government’s sensible ability to tailor the distribution of resources and wealth fairly.

Under the 1777 Articles of Confederation—America’s first constitution—each colony or state had one equal vote in a one-house Congress. By 1786 all the Constitutional framers knew some states were substantially larger in population and wealthier than other states. As one might imagine then, this caused heated debate over fair, equal representation and how that would be defined! Even today this is a controversial topic.

Controversy aside, consider this… and study closely the following four data-tables. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey of 2021, these are the ten wealthiest states (💵) in America:

StateMedian Hsehld IncomeStateMedian Hsehld Income
10. Virginia$80,9635. California$84,907
9. Colorado$82,2544. New Hampshire$88,465
8. Connecticut$83,7713. New Jersey$89,296
7. Washington$84,2472. Massachusetts$89,645
6. Hawaii$84,8571. Maryland$90,203
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s ACS at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs (accessed Oct. 19, 2022)

According to World Population Review, here are the ten most populated states (🏘️) in the U.S. in 2022:

statePopulationstatepopulation
10. Michigan10,116,0695. Pennsylvania13,062,764
9. North Carolina10,620,1684. New York20,365,879
8. Georgia10,916,7603. Florida22,085,563
7. Ohio11,852,0362. Texas29,945,493
6. Illinois12,808,8841. California39,995,077
Source: World Population Review at https://worldpopulationreview.com/states (accessed Oct. 19, 2022)

Notice that of the two data-tables above, only one (1) state with the largest population is a Top 10 Wealthiest state: California. And here are the U.S.’s least populated states or smallest states:

statePopulationstatepopulation
31. Nevada3,143,99141. Maine1,354,522
32. Arkansas3,025,89142. Montana1,085,004
33. Mississippi2,961,27943. Rhode Island1,061,509
34. Kansas2,934,58244. Delaware990,334
35. New Mexico2,115,87745. South Dakota896,581
36. Nebraska1,963,69246. North Dakota770,026
37. Idaho1,900,92347. Alaska724,357
38. W. Virginia1,782,95948. D.C.714,153
39. Hawaii1,441,55349. Vermont623,251
40. New Hampshire1,388,99250. Wyoming581,075
Source: World Population Review at https://worldpopulationreview.com/states (accessed Oct. 19, 2022)

Now, in light of the three tables above, consider this data-table of the U.S. states with the most households of millionaires, billionaires, or trillionaires in 2021:

state% of Millionaire
households
state% of bill-trill
households
10. Alaska ⚛️➡️8.18%11. Georgia 🏘️1.28%
9. Virginia 💵8.31%10. Connecticut 💵3.88%
8. New Hampshire ⚛️ 💵➡️8.47%9. Pennsylvania 🏘️1.30%
7. California 🏘️8.51%8. Nevada ⚛️➡️5.41%
6. D.C. ⚛️➡️9.12%7. Washington 💵2.71%
5. Hawaii ⚛️ 💵➡️9.20%6. Illinois 🏘️1.72%
4. Massachusetts 💵9.38%5. Massachusetts 💵3.44%
3. Connecticut 💵9.44%4. Texas 🏘️2.14%
2. Maryland 💵9.72%3. Florida 🏘️3.17%
1. New Jersey 💵9.76%2. New York 🏘️6.19%
1. California 💵4.73%
Millionaires Source: https://www.gobankingrates.com/money/wealth/states-with-the-most-millionaires/Billionaires Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/krisztiansandor/2021/04/06/the-states-with-the-most-billionaires/?sh=79796e5a39ee

Did you notice how many least populated states or tiny states (⚛️) are listed in the Top 10 Wealthiest states and those with the most millionaires, billionaires/trillionaires (💵)? Look again. Do you see a 20th and 21st century pattern or imbalance between wealth vs. population, and therefore between fair, proportional federal representation from “We the People”?

In light of those questions, let’s consider what a core Founding Father, John Adams, had to say along with several other Founders in July 1776 at the Continental Congress. These are the archived, later handwritten notes of Thomas Jefferson recorded for posterity (emphasis mine):

John Adams advocated the voting in proportion to numbers. He said that we stand here as the representatives of the people. That in some states the people are many, in others they are few; that therefore their vote here should be proportioned to the numbers from whom it comes. Reason, justice, & equity never had weight enough on the face of the earth to govern the councils of men. It is interest alone which does it, and it is interest alone which can be trusted. That therefore the interests within doors should be the mathematical representatives of the interests without doors. That the individuality of the colonies is a mere sound. Does the individuality of a colony increase it’s wealth or numbers. If it does, pay equally. If it does not add weight in the scale of the confederacy, it cannot add to their rights, nor weigh in argument. A. has £50. B. £500. C. £1000. in partnership. Is it just they should equally dispose of the monies of the partnership? It has been said we are independent individuals making a bargain together. The question is not what we are now, but what we ought to be when our bargain shall be made. The confederacy is to make us one individual only; it is to form us, like separate parcels of metal, into one common mass. We shall no longer retain our separate individuality, but become a single individual as to all questions submitted to the confederacy. Therefore all those reasons which prove the justice & expediency of equal representation in other assemblies, hold good here. It has been objected that a proportional vote will endanger the smaller states. We answer that an equal vote will endanger the larger. Virginia, Pennsylvania, & Massachusetts are the three greater colonies. Consider their distance, their difference of produce, of interests & of manners, & it is apparent they can never have an interest or inclination to combine for the oppression of the smaller. That the smaller will naturally divide on all questions with the larger. Rhode isld, from it’s relation, similarity & intercourse will generally pursue the same objects with Massachusetts; Jersey, Delaware & Maryland, with Pennsylvania.

Jefferson, Thomas. The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779). New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905, at https://oll.libertyfund.org/title/jefferson-the-works-vol-2-1771-1779

John Adams and several other Founders were clearly arguing in 1776 that it was exceedingly unwise and hazardous politically to have smaller tinier states be treated like the larger states, as economic equals and representative equals! More often than not the largest states will have different or opposing interests, let alone their voices unheard, drowned-out or disregarded, by the minority states, and thus by default, policies would be enacted against their state’s better, and possible long-term interests.

By the time of the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention in 1787 numerous delegates, both publicly and privately, had agreed with Adams’ mathematical logic, especially regarding state-equality. In fact, many of them viewed individual, smaller states as far too powerful to represent accurately or fairly the federal whole, or the supermajority or even the simple majority! James Madison was one such prominent delegate. He basically felt that if the infant United States were ever going to seriously join and influence the rest of the world’s major powers, they had to work as one nation rather than two, three, or four opposing, and hence weaker sub-nations. Other world powers just would NOT take America serious if we repeatedly behaved as several bickering, defiant children (states). Or to put it another way, mostly rural agricultural states pitted equally against urban, heavily populated states.

As a consequence and a massive compromise reached, the 1787 Constitutional Convention established one of the untenable core principles for our nation to this day: a major redistribution of governmental power between all states but far fewer people.

[The Convention] based states’ relative voting strengths in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College heavily on their populations.  (In the era’s predominantly agricultural economy, states’ populations correlated very strongly to their wealth).  Many of the most important new federal powers granted by the Constitution including taxation could be exercised by majority vote, not by a supermajority as the Articles [of Confederation] had required.  Unfortunately, at the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, obtaining essential federal powers became politically possible only after very substantial concessions were made to protect powerful vested economic and political interests.

VAN CLEVE, GEORGE WILLIAMMAKING A NEW AMERICAN CONSTITUTION. MAROON BELLS PRESS, 2020. KINDLE EDITION.

Anyone who still argues today that our U.S. federal government has the same equal power and representation as a group of tiny states, e.g. Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Nevada, Wyoming, and both Dakotas, as well as representing the simple majority of the American people is deranged. The data-tables above and the 246-year history of this nation simply does not bear out this notion.

Plain and simple, the 1787 Constitution did not establish a perfectly level playing field for a representative republic. On the contrary, delegates from the more rural colonies/states in the agricultural South with their generally smaller populations of white free-men forced two (2) enormous compromises, as described by Dr. Van Cleve:

[First], The Convention gave two Senate votes to each state, thus giving greatly disproportionate power to small states.  The Senate’s structure disregarded entirely the great disparities in states’ population and wealth. (At the time, for example, Virginia’s free population was roughly nine times the size of Delaware’s).  That meant that the six smallest of the original thirteen states, which at the time together had about 20 percent of the total free population, received 46 percent of the total Senate votes.

In a second major compromise, the Philadelphia Convention agreed to give the five major slave states exaggerated political power through the “Three-Fifths Clause.”  That provision artificially increased the slave states’ populations in allocating House of Representatives seats and Electoral College voting strength. As of 1820, slave states received a premium of about eighteen seats in the House, or 8 percent of its total seats, due to the Three-Fifths Clause. That premium substantially influenced national policies in their favor by protecting both their agricultural export economies and their persistent efforts to expand slavery westward.

VAN CLEVE, GEORGE WILLIAMMAKING A NEW AMERICAN CONSTITUTION. MAROON BELLS PRESS, 2020. KINDLE EDITION.

This political advantage of ‘the few’ lasted for 81-years until the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in July of 1868 after victory two-years earlier by the Union Army at Appomattox, Virginia, ending the American Civil War. However, the tiny states’ enormous voting premium in the Senate chamber still exists to this day.

Small State Influence Today Aids Republicans, Protecting Wealth Inequality

Over the last 154-years due to socioeconomic progress and change, these tiny states’ impact on our federal republic have actually grown even bigger since 1787 and 1868. As of 2021, the twenty-eight smallest states of the Union together have only approximately 20% of America’s total population. But they have at least 56% of the total Senate votes! And it is common knowledge that for Congress to make beneficial policies and pass laws for the betterment of the country, these actions require support from BOTH Congressional Chambers. Our ten largest states by population, meanwhile, where over half of the U.S.’s total population resides, possess only about 20% of the Senate votes.

The Last 6 Elections – cartoon from the National Popular Vote website

The Senate has become the tiny states’ fortress for protecting and maintaining wealth inequality and political power. For the last 2-3 decades or more the Republican Party has not only recognized this huge amount of leverage, but has fiercely strengthened its impact on federal policies which favor their political and economic advantage of ‘the few’. Their voting advantage also seriously influences the Electoral College during elections as seen by eighteen total unpopular Presidents winning the White House, i.e. they did not win a majority of the popular/general vote by the American people, but won the Electoral College votes. I will examine this Senate affect on the E.C. later in the series.

You may have heard at some point during your adult life or in your high school or college classroom that the United States was formed as a Constitutional democracy. True, but not entirely. The United States was also designed to function (in theory?) as a democratic republic. The two concepts are similar, but not identical nor are they any longer interchangeable in the 20th and 21st centuries as they were in the 18th and early 19th centuries. As shown earlier, the Core Founding Fathers of our nation, six of them, eventually aligned with John Adams’ definition of our new nation:

“ No determinations are carried, it is true, in a simple or representative democracy, but by consent of the majority or their representatives.”

Adams, john – 1784

This mixed concept of a democratic republic can also be inferred from Benjamin Franklin and James Madison on the Bill of Rights Institute’s website. However, what we have in the United States today is not what Adams, Madison, Franklin, and several other Fathers envisioned nor drafted; not at all.

Due to the Constitution’s small state biases it hands one party a systematic advantage in federal elections and legislation, and to most corporate and mega-corporate interests who, since the 2010 Landmark Supreme Court decision of Citizens United vs. FEC, now wield massive, unfettered funding to political campaigns of specific candidates or political party of their own legislative corporate interests instead of individual Americans within a representative republic.

Furthermore, both this one party and the mega-wealthy corporations are generally opposed to increased economic fairness and to limiting too much wealth (and thus, huge political power) concentrated in one ideology of ‘a few’ private American executives—which ironically is exactly what happened to 16th thru 17th century Great Britain. In those two centuries all the wealth and power rested only in Britain’s elite aristocracy (oligarchy), not the voiceless commoners.

One final observation. In 235-years not much has changed with the Constitution’s provisions. However, the essence of American society certainly has changed and drastically. In 2021–2022 greater than 80% of Americans live in urban areas. Let me repeat that: more than 80%! In 1787 though, 95% of Americans lived in rural areas. This colossal change is still not reflected today in our Bicameral Congress. Clearly, the modern United States is not a representative democracy by John Adams’ and the Founding Fathers’ definitions.

The Constitution’s “Separation of Powers Has Become Defunct

At the heart of our Constitution and its framers was the deep fear of too much centralized authority with one body or one tyrant, king, or queen, as was manifested in King George III and Britain’s Parliament between 1760 and 1820. Therefore, they created three different types or branches of equal power: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches. These three equal powers balanced the national government as well as making each monitor or check and balance the other two branches for appropriate and legal conduct. As noted, the framers did this for two primary reasons:

  1. Protection against tyranny (e.g. Richard M. Nixon and Donald J. Trump). Separation of powers was intended to divide the federal government’s lawmaking and law-enforcement powers and prevent them from becoming overcentralized and tyrannical.
  2. To Prevent Aggrandizement of Power by any one branch. In other words, these Separation of powers were intended to prevent any one branch from abusing its designated powers by equally empowering the other two branches to check-up on their competitor’s exercises of authority.

But this original Constitutional design depended heavily on one single factor: whatever the authority given on paper, they can only remain equal when federal leaders of all three branches seek equally to uphold the distinctive powers of their own institution or branch. This is part of their sworn vows when taking office. Over the last three decades or more this has not been happening. In fact, it has gotten worse, lopsided in power toward two branches, if not one branch. In 1788 James Madison explicitly warned about this very risk:

“ The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Madison, jamesFederalist paper no. 47, feb. 1788

The fact that over approximately the last sixty-to-seventy sessions of Congress—dating back to Ronald Reagan—Congress has “passed the buck” of legislative political responsibility over to the Executive Branch or the Judicial Branch far far too often! Case and point. If Congress was originally given the authority of investigation, a form of checks-and-balances like the current January 6th Committee Hearings, but never exercises this power or only does so when it benefits their own party’s ideals, then those leaders are not protecting, much less validating their own institution/branch. What then, will incentivize these leaders to do their under oath, sworn jobs? What will light a fire under their asses? Dr. Van Cleve wisely asks several questions about the intent and purpose of the Constitution’s “Separation of Powers” to show why it is integral to protect against too much centralized authority—or more bluntly, against dictatorship and tyranny—while simultaneously providing unified power and authority when needed. These are his questions:

Why is it desirable for a president to have authority to send troops into a distant country such as North Korea, and ask Congress for approval only after they invade?
Why should members of Congress be able to serve for an unlimited number of terms, particularly if they are elected from districts or states in which there is no political competition?
Why is it desirable for Senators to be eligible to run for president after one six-year term in the Senate (or an even shorter time), if that damages the Senate as an institution?
Why should Supreme Court justices be able to serve for more than twenty-five years?
Why should the Supreme Court have the power to decide presidential elections, or to decide whether the United States can have a national healthcare insurance system?

VAN CLEVE, GEORGE WILLIAMMAKING A NEW AMERICAN CONSTITUTION. MAROON BELLS PRESS, 2020. KINDLE EDITION.

Should any one branch or one man/woman have all of those above powers? Should one branch or one man/woman not have at least one of those above powers? Of course, in Constitutional theory these are rhetorical questions. Imagine the indecisive chaos and internal bickering that would exist during hard, challenging times demanding swift action if these above conditions were not spread out evenly, equally among our three different (opposing) branches. But today this power balance no longer exists in its pure original form. Why or why not?

An Imperial U.S. Presidency

In his personal notations called Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison wrote that remarkably the delegate’s discussions or debates about the office and function of the President were quick, timid, and made with broad strokes.

That timidness was odd and quite contrary to several Founders and delegates who had often voiced their deep fears of giving too much centralized power to one office or branch. Part of the reason for their timidness was the undeniable large presence of presiding officer of the Convention, 6-ft 2-in George Washington (above, next to his Arabian horse Magnolia). Even when quiet, Washington’s demeanor demanded utter respect and caution before speaking up. Very few Convention delegates dared to go up against the tall authoritative presence of General Washington. He was quite literally the walking, living standard of military and political leadership seemingly equal to Moses in the Old Testament.

As a result of this generally unspoken fear of George Washington, the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention of 1787 gave the Executive Branch more power than even individual state governors of the time AND total command of the entire U.S. military forces. They gave the office the power to veto Congressional legislation unless two-thirds of both the Senate and the House of Representatives overrode the President’s veto. They gave to the Executive Office the authority to virtually nominate ALL major federal officials and judges, though subject to Senate confirmation. And lastly, the President could only be impeached from office by a supermajority vote of Congress, something near impossible to achieve today.

This level of power and authority for the President deeply troubled Madison, Franklin, Mason, Adams, Wilson, and other delegates. Its power thrilled Alexander Hamilton though. After all, Hamilton promoted the idea that the U.S. President should serve in office for his entire life, name Cabinet members without any Senate approval, have absolute veto on Congressional legislation, and choose when and how to wage war on foreign nations.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

I will stop here for now because Part 2 has become somewhat lengthy; lengthier than I had intended. In Part 3 I will finish this section about how imperial the U.S. Presidency has increasingly become starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, and more so, with the presidents of the 21st century. How did this happen, then culminate on January 6th, 2021? Secondly, I will examine how Congress has essentially become a dysfunctional institution, enabling members of Congress to be inactive or near non-existent, yet paid to be millionaires by our taxpayer dollars. This is unfortunately caused by our bicameral system and congress members being grossly overpaid for doing too little. And finally, due to our broken Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court has by default filled the power vacuum created by our dysfunctional Congress. Furthermore, later in the series I will also explore how a sizable American conservative population actually believe that our Charters of Freedom—particularly the Declaration of Independence and our Bill of Rights (or the first 10 Amendments) of the Constitution—are somehow, by some paranormal superstition, “divinely inspired” on the level of the Greco-Roman Judeo-Christian gospels or Greek New Testament! Yes, though there is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim, they really do believe this. 😖

I hope you will stay tuned for the next installment of how badly we, the U.S., need a 21st century Constitution, not an antiquated 18th century one. Until then, please feel free to join in the discussions below.

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Learn Always

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A New U.S. Constitution

The Framers intended our U.S. Constitution to be a fundamental framework of law. They did not want the Constitution to be changed in response to transient whims. However, they also recognized that American society and conditions would change over time in ways they could not predict in 1787.

George Mason said “Amendments, therefore will be necessary and it would be better to provide for them in an easy, regular, and Constitutional way than to trust in chance and violence.” Article 5 of the Constitution lays out the Amendment process, and since 1787 more than 10,000 proposed Amendments have been introduced to Congress. Only 33 Amendments have gained enough votes to be submitted to the States for ratification and just 27 have been ratified.

Roy Young – President/CEO, James Madison’s Montpelier

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

What exactly no longer works in our 18th century Constitution? For many Americans today that would be a shocking, disturbing question. Some would be appalled that it was even suggested. While on the other hand, for many other Americans the question would illicit just the opposite reaction, frustration perhaps, but not shock. Yet, today the chasm of heated emotions within our split and splitting, polarized politics is quite real. It is undeniable by any foreign observer. Like it or not, in today’s U.S. of A., the battle-lines are rapidly drawn and battle-cries shouted “you’re either with us or against us” as President George W. Bush once proclaimed to the world in the wake of 9/11. Only today, that line drawn in the sand describes acutely our current prognosis of U.S. society: it’s American against American. It’s do or die to the bitter end for our two political parties, nothing less. How on Earth did we arrive here?

Oldest known photo of the restored U.S. Capitol Bldg, 1846 – Library of Congress; photo by John Plumbe

Our 18th century federal and state governments can no longer keep pace with our ever fast-moving, evolving 21st century nation, with its people, its industry, or the ever-changing world. This has become ever clearer over the last two decades. Consequently, does this ailing condition mean after 240-years it is too difficult to amend our Constitution, and if so, can we change that? Can necessary reforms be achieved to fix our lethargic, indecisive, incumbered, often grid-locked bicameral Congress so that another January 6th Assault on our Capitol and democracy—by seditious American insurrectionists—never happens again? We came very close to losing everything this nation was built upon those 3-4 weeks leading up to January 6th, 2021. We were a lot closer than most realize. More importantly, in a post-Jan 6th America do the qualified lovers and protectors of a lawful Constitutional democracy still have a choice? This is what I want to explore and examine in this multi-part series.

The Best of Times, Now the Worst of Times

Throughout all of human history the records of civilizations, from the Bronze Age through the Classical Age and up to the current Modern Age, have all shown one consistent, repeating pattern: Ignore your subjects, the peasants, the working masses and their fair and reasonable well-being, then by doing so those leaders, nobility, or the Sharif/Ashraf do so at their own peril. Whether leadership is morally just or not, time and time again throughout human history, civil revolutions by fed-up commoners do rise up and often overthrow their snobbishly isolated, unfit tyrannical rulers. This is the final chapter of many an ancient empire or modern nation the Ages of history always bear out.

What are a few of the malignant cancers manifested by our nation’s declining health? What are the signs and diagnosis of a sickly United States? What is our actual and honest State of the Union over the last 3-4 decades? Here’s a brief summary:

  • Economic Inequality is the worst it has been since the post-WW2 years.
  • Growing Political Inequality – that is, much less republic representation for all individual voters as opposed to corporate business-owners and their personal special interest groups.
  • Continued Collapse of America’s Middle Class.
  • Failing Public Education, particularly beyond a high school diploma.
  • Chronic Racial and Income Segregation.
  • Ever Emerging Technologies Causing Declines in Social Cohesion – i.e. social-media addiction.
  • A Failing Retirement System – Social Security benefits for retirees under persistent threat.
  • America’s Middle Class Facing Heavier Taxes, particularly for social programs and domestic infrastructure.
  • The Burden of Increased Taxes Are Not Shared Fairly by the Wealthy.

And these are just nine (9) of the nation’s biggest chronic problems over the last 3-4 decades. I will be exploring and examining these nine U.S. festering ailments throughout this series. What is apparent these past several decades is that the final demise of our precious republic democracy cannot be solved through “politics as usual.” Why not?

The general yet correct answer is that our antiquated 18th century Constitution and the 21st century Supreme Court’s interpretations of it are the primary infections sources of our dire illness. Period. But it isn’t enough to simply generalize the obvious, is it?

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In my next installment of the series I will address how 1) our outdated Constitution has been continually misinterpreted and thus extrapolated by politicians and the Supreme Court to unfairly protect America’s wealthy oligarchs and their corporations, as well as their special interest groups and favored political campaigns. And 2) how our once basic foundation of Separation of Powers no longer functions. Also, I will be referencing an outstanding expert in U.S. Constitutional history and law, PhD graduate of the University of Virginia and JD from Harvard Law School, Dr. George William Van Cleve and his recent book: Making A New American Constitution. I will also be referencing and citing other related sources.

A heads up. I must also beg your patience for the timely, or untimely delivery of these installments. If you are unaware, my life took a major turn or setback (in August 2021) from my previous ability to publish blog-posts on a regular basis due to my Mom’s progressing severe dementia. Therefore, I most likely won’t be able to publish each installment in a normal time-frame. That said, please watch this space and your WordPress notifications for the latest continuation. It would be greatly appreciated! I very much look forward to your participation in discussions below in comments. Thank you. ❤️

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Learn Always

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Fecal Pushers

In July of 2013 I published this post. Given all that has happened in the U.S. and the world since then, especially the last 3-5 years politically, I thought this would be so very apropos to repost today. 😁 I hope you enjoy it (again?) as much as I did; good for a chuckle or two.

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After many years of practice, there are certain types who have mastered the art of shit-pushing and some who have not.  A quick menagerie of the art…


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One of my favorite caught-in-the-act corrections:  I wasn’t kissing your wife Sir.  I was whispering in her mouth!  Then find the nearest exit.

Two industries that most everyone would agree shovel out “pretty” bullshit on a regular basis have to be financial investment companies and sales personnel.  Hello Ma’am, you will be amazed by this latest iPhone…a must have!  Just $299 or $39 for 48 months for FAST 4G speeds and a ba-jillion apps you’ll probably never use!  Or Sir, you are going to be blown away by our new-fangled Hedge-that-Risk-Away fund with a simple monthly direct-debit from your checking account, plus initiation fees, handling, commission, and risk-management fees!

Sound familiar?

I could never be an aggressive sales rep and survive, unless I was selling donated organs to terminally ill patients and their families.  But there are some who can make the stinkiest bullshit smell like a rose garden.  And then there are those whose art is necessary, beneficial yet tragic.

The Clean-up Crew

Imagine living in a community that has no trash pickup and disposal, running indoor water/plumbing, no dishwashers, and no washing machines.  Would you cleanup after yourself, in every manner?  Would you cleanup after others, in every way?

Clean-up crew hard at work
Clean-up crew hard at work

Next time you are served a meal you cringe over, think twice about it because there are insects that would have a feast on your waste.  Actually, they do feast…and not just after humans.  Wherever there is fecal waste, there are most likely dung beetles.  They are life’s natural cleanup crew and they are remarkably resourceful.  They are tumblers, they are spelunkers, and they are dwellers.  They make the most of human or animal waste.

Dung beetles are a critical part of nature’s biocycle.  By eating and burying feces, dung beetles recycle vital nutrients into the soil and bury waste that otherwise attracts disease-carrying pests such as flies.  They also help new trees grow.  For example, in the rain forest, monkeys eat fruit where seeds are sometimes undigested.  When the dung beetle arrives at the aftermath, it packs up the feces into a ball, seeds and all, rolls it away and buries it.  Soon after up sprouts a new tree!  On a given night, one dung beetle can roll and bury up to 250 times its own weight in shit!  Imagine that workout.

But these hardworking necessary beetles don’t have it easy.

Shit-pushing Is No Walk in the Park

Every morning as part of my workout, I briskly walk 2-miles; one mile down, one mile up.  The hilltop I live on has about a 23-degree steep grade up or down for about 70-80 yards.  As I’m heading down the hill one morning, I notice in the middle of the drive a dung beetle perilously rolling his dung-ball across the cement.  Every so often he struggled to keep his dung-ball from turning down the steep hill.  Watching this beetle toil for his hard-earned shit, I couldn’t help but sympathize with his adversity.  I watched in amazement and suspense.  What would come of this beetle’s precarious effort?  Would he succeed and beat the odds?  Or would I be witness to horrific shit and beetle carnage?  The cliff-hanger moment was building with every revolution of his dung-ball.

The hill of dung carnage; blood & beetle parts edited out to protect the weak-stomachs.
The hill of dung carnage; blood & beetle parts blacked out to protect the weak-stomachs.

He crossed the midway point of the drive still pumping those hind-legs over his neatly packed shit.  Five more feet to go.  Can he do it?  Four feet.  I find myself cheering him on.  Three and a half.  Then he and his shit-ball hit a bump.  Should I intervene like the hand-of-God, showing mercy and compassion for the shit this beetle has put up with?  NO FRICKING WAY!  And then as my questions of shit-miracle-ing lingered, everything went south….literally.  I began laughing my ass off.  Everything was out of control.  The “wheels came off” but the rolling kept going, and going, and going!  If Herbert Morrison of the Hindenburg disaster had been there he would have screamed Oh the Bee-manity!

Sorry.  I should be more compassionate.  I should pay homage to this epic dung-beetle’s demise.  Let us bow our heads.

He was a brave shit artist.  The bravest I had ever seen.  He hung on to his shit-ball for five, maybe six revolutions down that hill-of-no-return!  Finally, the cruel speed and momentum….perhaps a killer, dizzying headache too, separated this warrior from his meal.  He tumbled two or three times behind that ball before coming to a most abrupt end.  In his never-say-die attitude, he scrambled to gain his senses, and immediately went searching for his runaway shit-ball.  But it was too late.  I watched that ball roll down the hill…way down the hill about 50 yards – two state lines in beetle distance I think – before bouncing off the drive into the ditch and disappearing in the grass.  It was gone.  Done.  This dung-expert had lost his shit.

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As utterly hilarious as I found this dung-beetle carnage to be, I had to find the teaching moment:  what is the moral of this story?

No matter how good or pretty smelling it is…don’t push your shit up hill.  You might lose it and it will come rolling back on you.

What moral of the story can you apply?  Let me hear them all, again.

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Footnote – on a cool entomological note, it has been recently discovered that these dung-beetles navigate their dung-balls by the stars in the Milky Way galaxy; their GPS if you will.  Click here.

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A Bright Future for Our USMNT

For my handful of fellow footballing/soccer enthusiasts on WordPress like Ark (South Africa & England) of A Tale Unfolds, John Z (Australia & Brazil) of The Superstitious Naked Ape, Brian (England) of Butterflies to Dragsters, Hariod (England) at Contentedness who has unfortunately been absent for some time now, Swarn (Canadian) of Cloak Unfurled also absent from here quite awhile, and any others who are passionate about the world’s Most Beautiful Game, I wanted to post a precursor of U.S. Men’s footballing hopes leading up to the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Africa, this November. Also, to start a bit of chatter and fun banter back-n-forth of our various national teams and favorite players.

USA vs N. Ireland – March 2021 – L to R back row: Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, Matt Miazga, Aaron Long, Theoson Siebatcheu, Zack Steffan; front row L to R: Yunus Musah, Kellyn Acosta, Sergiño Dest, Christian Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna

If the U.S.A. starting lineup can remain healthy between now and Nov. 20th when the Cup begins and during their individual club seasons, the Yanks can show very well. Plus, the U.S. is in a decent Group B and should advance to the next round either as the runner-up team of the Group or possibly the winner, if… and this is a huge ask, IF we can beat Iran and Wales, and perhaps draw with England to move on to the Round of 16.

But I must reiterate, if our first-team starters can stay injury-free between now and Nov. 3rd or 4th, then we have a decent-to-good chance of doing well in the Round of 16 and possibly advancing to the Quarter-finals! The Quarters are the farthest the USMNT has ever advanced in recent modern times. The last time we went that far was with our historically best national team roster ever: the FIFA WC 2002 in Japan/S. Korea. We lost to Germany by a score of 0 — 1, but competed pretty well.

Why do we American fans have much to be excited about? Because we have at least seven (7) great starters by any world-footballing measurements. From exceptional-to-very-good, in my professional opinion, best to last, here are our top 7, Tier One U.S. players:

  1. Christian Pulisic (23y/o) – Forward, Chelsea FC
  2. Weston McKennie (23y/o) – Midfielder, Juventus
  3. Giovanni Reyna (19y/o) – Forward, Borussia Dortmund
  4. Zack Steffen (27y/o) – Goalkeeper, now Middlesbrough FC
  5. Sergiño Dest (21y/o) – Defender, AC Milan
  6. Tim Weah (22y/o) – Forward, Lille
  7. Tyler Adams (23y/o) – Midfielder, Leeds United
  8. Brenden Aaronson (21y/o) – Forward, Leeds United

One of our brightest upcoming stars on the world stage of football is by far and away Gio Reyna. Giovanni has recently endured an injury-prone last 12-14 months with a nagging hamstring. But once he is fully healthy and back to full-strength, watch out! Enjoy these highlights of our 19-y/o phenom:

For us to have a good chance of advancing out of the Group stage and out of the Round of 16, these seven players must remain healthy and playing their A-game. Without our big three—Pulisic, Reyna, and McKennie—we stand no chance of going deep into the tournament. If they fall, we could be or will be coming home early. World Cup fans, keep your eyes on these U.S. players. Because if they perform at their very best and link-up, then the U.S. will be a threat for any national team in the tournament.

Moving on to our good potential Tier Two squad players to watch, they are as follows:

  1. Paul Arriola (27y/o) – Forward, FC Dallas
  2. Matt Turner (28y/o) – Goalkeeper, Arsenal
  3. Christian Roldan (27y/o) – Midfielder, Seattle Sounders
  4. Walker Zimmerman (29y/o) – Defender, Nashville SC
  5. Jesus Ferreira (21y/o) – Forward, FC Dallas
  6. Antonee Robinson (25y/o) – Defender, Fulham FC
  7. Luca de la Torre (24y/o) – Midfielder, Celta de Vigo
  8. Yunus Musah (19y/o) – Midfielder, Valencia
  9. Kellyn Acosta (27y/o) – Midfielder, L.A. FC

And finally our Tier Three squad players:

  1. DeAndre Yedlin (29y/o) – Defender, Inter Miami
  2. Reggie Cannon (24y/o) – Defender, Boavista
  3. Ricardo Pepi (19y/o) – Forward, FC Augsburg
  4. Sean Johnson (33y/o) – Goalkeeper, NYC FC
  5. Ethan Horvath (27y/o) – Goalkeeper, Luton Town FC
  6. John Brooks (29y/o) – Defender, Hertha BSC
  7. Cameron Carter-Vickers (24y/o) – Defender, Celtic
  8. Haji Wright (24y/o) – Forward, Antalyaspor
  9. Djordje Mihailovic (23y/o) – Midfielder, CF Montréal
  10. Aaron Long (29y/o) – Defender, NY Red Bulls
  11. George Bello (20y/o) – Defender, Arminia Bielefeld
  12. Chris Richards (22y/o) – Defender, Crystal Palace FC
  13. Malik Tillman (20y/o) – Midfielder, Rangers/Bayern Munich

As you may have noticed, as of this date the USMNT is noticeably weakest in defense, particularly center defense with the exception of Zimmerman. Walker is reliably consistent, but he is not prolific with his pace or ball-technique. He is fairly strong in the air. And Sergiño Dest (Left Back) is our best attacking wing-fullback followed by Antonee Robinson (Right Back). However, Antonee is known to be inconsistent with his attacking decisions and he sometimes is too direct and shows reckless abandon with the ball in those moments. This recklessness gets him into yellow-card trouble.

USMNT – Champions of 2021 CONCACAF Nations League, 3 – 2 over Mexico

Our older veterans in the squad, such as Steffen, Yedlin and Brooks, do offer good European footballing intelligence in very competitive European leagues, however, with perhaps the exception of Steffen, none of them are of Tier One quality to impact games significantly.

Despite our rather shallow bench of little elite European experience, I am personally super thrilled about our likely USMNT potential in Qatar this World Cup, as well as our future eight years. So Ark, John Z, Brian, and any other chatty footballing fanatics, what do your Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti minds think? Tell me about your national teams and favorite players. What are your expectations for the sporting world’s biggest spectacle on Earth since 1930? Any predictions on who will be in the Final?

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Play Football!

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