Yes, I know. A hopeless hope.
But maybe not.
The day came when the French military would not protect Louis XVI. The day came when the Russian military would not protect the czar. The day came when the Italian military would not protect Mussolini. The day may come when the US military will not protect Bush. The military seems increasingly aware that Bush and Cheney have used them to betray the American people and used them to subvert the constitution they have sworn to protect. They seem increasingly tired of being used, tired of being the torturers, of being the bad guys, of being set up for torture themselves. And all they would have to do is… nothing. Just a couple of days of…nothing. Of looking outward, guarding the nation, and not the monster.
The Bush Junta knows this. They have spent more time and effort courting the military than they have even in manipulating the American people, though this courtship has evolved into capture when it comes to the Air Force. The plutocracy has looked across the world and seen how severe fundamentalist creeds have been used, are used to keep a small number of corrupt individuals, a small number of greedy families in power through the decades, through the centuries. They have seen it and envied it. Now they wish to do the same thing here. You need the Army to hold a country, the Marines and Navy to take it, but you only need the Air Force to destroy it. Thus the Air Force Academy is riddled with fundies and Christian Nationalists trying to convert young officers into warriors for this creed. They expect when these young soldiers swear to defend and protect the constitution, which will not be meaningless words for most of them, being young and full of concepts like “honor” and “patriotism”, that even then they will allow their religious beliefs to trump their oath to defend the constitution.
But… come the revolution…
There is thought and there is action. Do not confuse the two. When the time comes to act, your thought must already be complete. There will be no room for it when the action begins.
Quellcrist in Richard K. Morgan’s Woken Furies
So as we wait/work/hope for that day we must think. A movement without goals, a movement without an ideology, is like a car without steering. It can only crash into things. It can only produce destruction, not progress. We need to develop our goals now, develop our ideology now. We must think how to stop this from ever happening again.
First, come the revolution, we must keep the constitution both because we love it, have been taught to love it and because it has served us well until the present dictatorship learned how to subvert it. We will keep our oaths to defend it.
But we will need to amend it.
Here are some of the amendments I would like to propose:
Presidential Power: We need a clear amendment stating that it is the Congress, not the president, that makes all laws and that Congress has the ultimate power. It must be clear that the president is never above the law, that he is not the law’s master, he is its servant. His job, his only job, is to execute the laws passed by Congress. Not shape them. Not ignore them.
For a start presidential signing statements will be forbidden. Executive orders will be limited. The United States must have rule of law and not rule by decree. It is by transferring power to the executive that we have lost much of our representative government. We must debate how we can further weaken the office of the presidency so it cannot be exploited and its power abused.
Recess Appointments: Limitations should be place on recess appointments since Bush has used them to appoint unqualified political cronies to office. Occasionally the executive will need to fill offices while Congress is not in session so recess appointments will be allowed but such appointments should last only one month after congress returns to session, not the up to two years they might at present. For instance, if the president made a recess appointment on December 20th while Congress is adjourned and Congress returns to session on January 20th of the next year, then unless the appointment is confirmed by Febuary 20th of that year, the appointee will be removed from office and the next person in the chain of command will be temporarily appointed.
Qualifications for High Office: All but a very few federal offices must be filled based on exams and merit, not based on cronyism. The Department of Homeland Security especially must be brought under Civil Service. Even political appointees will have to prove they have training and experience in their area. No more Michael Browns. No more political appointees over departments that are scientifically oriented like the Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency. The heads of those departments must be civil service appointees from within those agencies and must have training and experience. No dual citizens will be allowed to be appointed to any office. A dual citizens would have dual loyalty. Since we cannot read minds we cannot know where their primary loyalty lies therefore those with dual citizenship should not be appointed to any high or strategic office.
·The constitution should be amended to mandate that all elections will be held using paper ballots counted by hand and that the first counts will be at local precincts. Such counts must be done with people watching, not just pollwatchers but also citizens. No mechanism will be used.
· Totals for each precinct will be posted on the precinct door, on the internet and published in government records. This will allow the people of each precinct to evaluate if the totals for their neighborhood are credible. They may challenge them if they are not or if there is any significant discrepancy in the vote totals.
· All counts must be taped, filmed, or recorded in some way (technology changes). Ballots and count records must be secured and be available in case of challenges. Any credible challenge will result in a new election for that precinct within 10 days.
· Elections will not be run by private entities.
· The penalty for trying or succeeding in fixing a national election will be 10 years minimum up to 100 years, without parole.
· All state Secretaries of State and other election officials must nonpartisan. They must never be part of any campaign apparatus. How this can be done must be debated. Honest elections are the most important part of any democracy. We have lost that. Perhaps state Secretaries of State could be chosen by sortation (chosen by lots) from among a group of qualified candidates nominated by different groups. Citizens could challenge any nominee if they can show that he/she has a history of partisan activities. All election officials should be watched closely. Election officials should be legally and financially liable for any partisan behavior, personally liable and criminally liable.
The Election of Senators: The election of Senators would be changed so that states with small populations will not have disproportionate power. It was by gaining control of such states that the present administration was able to gain power disproportionate to their popular support. Each Senator would represent an approximately equal number of people. The citizens of small states might chaff at losing a perceived power but that power was only transferred to the wealthy and powerful and was not used to serve the interest of the average citizen. These areas could be called “Senatorial Districts.” Since they would change with each new census, they would not replace states as governmental entities.
Proportional Representation: Proportional representation must be considered. This would mean if the democrats received 49% of the popular vote, the republicans received 40% of the vote, the Greens received 8% and the libertarians received 3%, each party would get that proportion of representatives in the House. (The Senate would remain Winner-Takes-All.) At present we have a winner-takes-all system. There is good and bad about each system. The winner-takes-all system keeps third parties from developing and limits progressive change. A proportional representation system can sometimes mean that small extremist parties get disproportional power, like the religious extremist parties in Israel. This should be debated. We do need to open up power to additional parties. I am not sure how this can be done.
Torture: The constitution must be amended to state that all torture and abuse is illegal, period. Torture shall be illegal for any employee of the government, for any contractor hired by the government and any entity to which the government renders any prisoner. Any attempt to deliberately cause pain, suffering or humiliation is defined as torture. No prisoner could be extradited or rendered to any country that is seen, known or suspected to engage in torture.
The Elimination of the Plutocracy: Past a certain point money ceases to be money and becomes power. People with great wealth have power over the American people, power they hold without being elected by the people, power that does not end with their term of office, power that cannot be stripped from them for bad behavior. No one can be allowed to have that much unelected power. We can use progressive income taxes and estate taxes to strip power, a.k.a., money from such individuals and families. This will be done to keep the superwealthy from using unelected power for greedy or evil purposes. We need an amendment that mandates progressive income taxes with a top rate of 90%. (The top rate in our most prosperous progressive period, which was during the 40s and 50s, was 91-94%) Very few people would be subject to this rate.
Any money made in the United States, even by a foreign corporation, would be subject to such taxes. Any entity or individual that wished to make money in our nation they would have to accept paying such taxes.
There are few things better for a nation or a group of nations than the elimination of an entrenched plutocracy. The plagues of the middle ages with their equal opportunity death opened up social and economic opportunities all across Europe and there was a surge in innovation, invention and scholarship by those able to move up from the lower classes. This produced the Renaissance.
After the French Revolution they attempted to bring to justice those who had exploited and abused those weaker than themselves. This wiped out most of the hereditary classes and the result energized the entire nation. Within a dozen years France had conquered most of Europe.
Russia did much the same and became powerful despite having an incompetent and brutal leader and despite suffering terrible losses during WWII. Before that Russia had only been an unimportant backwater nation. After that it was one of the two most important nations on earth.
The American Revolution and the huge amount of land left vacant after the plagues that devastated the native American population made it possible for people (usually white men, it is true, since women and blacks were still subjugated) of ability to achieve their potential and to enrich the nation and make most people’s lives of better.
After the civil war the entrenched plutocracy of the north grew in power until the depression. In the 1930’s when progressive income and estate taxes were enacted (instead of the guillotine), the power of this plutocracy was brought under control, leading to a surge of innovation and inventions that still continues. Sadly, this movement is slowing as such taxes have all but been eliminated. Innovations are now likely to come from outside the US as the plutocracy tightens its grip on the American population and makes it harder to get a good education or to profit from your own training or inventions. The plutocracy understands that change frequently displaces them and they meant to stop change by limiting education and innovation. Progressive income and estate taxes can reduce their wealth and therefore their power and energize the rest of the American public.
Women: Equal rights, education and employment for women including the right to control their own bodies.
Equal Rights: Equal rights, education and employment for those of all ethnic, racial and sexual orientation. (This will have to be carefully phrased so it cannot be interpreted to include rights for those whose sexual orientation includes a desire for children or to harm others in sexual activities. Giving equal rights to those who are not traditional heterosexuals must not be used to grant a small number of malevolent people the right to harm others.)
Funding of Religion: The state shall not establish or fund any religious institution directly or indirectly. This means no grants, loans or vouchers to attend any religious school or college. Grants to religious social or proselytizing groups will also be forbidden even if such groups claim to be trying to help people. Their idea of help is to often force desperate people to espouse their religion. They also have a history of discrimination based on religion and the state shall not fund such discrimination and cannot trust religious organizations to not discriminate in hiring or services so they will ineligible for government funds.
What would you include?
© Alllie 2006
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