Friday, April 21, 2017

The Long Goodbye

"...(A)nd when I see the blood, I will pass over you...."  (Exodus 12:13, KJV)

"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered." ~ Thomas Paine

ONCE UPON A TIME there was the call and response of the campaign.

     "We are going to dig a hole.  And who is going to pay for it?"

     "Tinker Bell!"

     Now, that they are "tired of winning," their former hero has issued an Executive Order banning a Sammy Davis, Jr. number on the radio.  But--shazam!--the tune appeared online, boomed on vinyl from open windows, and blared on old cassettes and eight-tracks in vintage automobiles.

       Why can't I fall in love
       Till I don't give a damn?
       And maybe then I'll know
       What kind of fool I am*          

     You can sense them, feel the pounding from afar, as close as a beating heart.

     "Lock him up!"

     With the speed of the cheetah and the skill of the pride, the prey has become the predator.  The growl is frightening.

     "Lock him up!  Lock him up!"

     They smell the fear.

     "Lock him!  Lock him!  Lock him up!"

     In the aftermath of the march of matching bracelets with silver chains, the celebration temptation will follow.  THE SYSTEM WORKED, so pats on the back and shots of Old Self-Satisfaction all around.

     The bait and switch and the old soft shoe will not do.  The radio announcer voice of the gentleman from Indiana, who may take the Chief Traitor's place, cannot and will not provide reassurance.  For there can be no "pussyfooting" or namby-pamby response.

     "A foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an existential threat to our way life," said Michael J. Morell, former Acting Director of Central Intelligence.  "To me, and this is to me not an overstatement, this is the political equivalent of 9/11."

     I. Reassessment 

     The Constitution, law, precedent, and sound policy are intellectual infrastructure, and they must never be taken for granted.  But what can be done to support and defend the supreme law of the land "against all enemies, foreign and domestic"?

     A comprehensive review requires a return to basics.

     "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

     A lofty principle must be put into practice.  And Thomas Paine seconds the country's birth certificate regarding the consent of the governed by noting its significance.

     "The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.  To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case."

II. Reform

      "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government...."  Article IV, Section 4 is clarified through brief remarks by James Madison.  "A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place...."  (The Federalist Papers, No. 10)  And then he goes into more detail.

       ...(W)e may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government
       which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and
       is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or
       during good behavior.  It is ESSENTIAL to such a government that it be derived from the
       great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it;
       otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of
       their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the
       honorable title of republic.  It is SUFFICIENT for such a government that the persons
       administering it be appointed, either directly or indirectly, by the people; and that they
       hold their appointments by either of the tenures just specified; otherwise every government
       in the United States, as well as every other popular government that has been or can be 
       well organized or well executed, would be degraded from the republican character.  
       (The Federalist Papers, No. 39; CAPITAL emphasis Madison's; italics added)
     Relying on the Constitution itself is a powerful response beyond the remains of the Voting Rights Act.  The Executive can go to a District Court and couple Article IV, Section 4 with Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Fusion that is the true nuclear option.  But the time has come to threaten recalcitrant States with loss of representation in the House, which simply adheres to the old adage--Where there is a right, there is a remedy.  And cries of "States' rights" can be greeted with the words of Madison.

       In a confederacy founded on republican principles, and composed of republicans members,
       the superintending government ought clearly to possess authority to defend the system
       against aristocratic or monarchial innovations.  The more intimate the nature of such a 
       union may be, the greater interest have the members in the political institutions of each        
       other; and the greater right to insist that the forms of government under which the compact
       was entered into should be substantially maintained.  But a right implies a remedy; and
       where else could the remedy be deposited, than where it is deposited by the Constitution? 
       Governments of dissimilar principles and forms have been found less adapted to a federal
       coalition of any sort, than those of a kindred nature.  (The Federalist Papers, No. 43;
       emphasis Madison's)

     The District Court may make an exception, as in Baker v. Carr, or, more likely, say that the matter is a political question; and that is fine because an appeal can be made to the court of public opinion.  In fact, that would be an opportunity to attack the Supreme Court's reasoning in Shelby v. Holder.

       Section 5 of the Act required States to obtain federal permission before enacting any law
       related to voting--a drastic departure from basic principles of federalism.  And Section 4
       of the Act applied that requirement only to some States--an equally dramatic departure
       from the principle that all States enjoy equal sovereignty....  As we explained in upholding
       the law, "exceptional conditions can justify legislative measures not otherwise appropriate."

Madison's words make Swiss cheese of the Court's.  The opinion notes "that all States enjoy equal sovereignty," as if the Articles of Confederation applied.  But apparently the Civil War, Jim Crow, purging voter rolls, and requiring Photo ID as another version of the poll tax are a figment of the imagination instead of "exceptional conditions."

     "Governments of dissimilar principles and forms," Madison observed, "have been found less adapted to a federal coalition of any sort, than those of a kindred nature."  And a pervasive pattern of contrary conduct raises questions:  How committed are certain Sates to a republican form of government?  Is it just coincidence that a majority of the former Confederacy--Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia--are Section 5 covered jurisdictions?  Had officials in Shelby County read these words by the Father of the Constitution--The more intimate the nature of such a union may be, the greater interest have the members in the political institutions of each other--would those self-styled "strict constructionists" still have objected to Section 5?  Or would they have seen that legislative provision as consistent with the supreme of the land?      

     An appendix is a useless organ until needed.^  Such is the state of the equivalent organ of the body politic--the Electoral College, an idea whose time is now--for reasons of national security.  A warning from a founder of the Republic, in that regard, is validated by recent events.

     "Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.  These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.  How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the Chief Magistracy of the Union?"  (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 68)

     Two Framers pointed out the benefit of having an appendix as a safeguard.

     "With all infirmities incident to a popular election, corrected by the particular mode of conducting it, as directed under the present system, I think we may fairly calculate," said James Madison in the House, "that the instances will be very rare in which an unworthy man will receive that mark of the public confidence which is required to designate the President of the United States."

     "Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity," Alexander Hamilton noted in support of the proposed Constitution, "may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or so of considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States."  (The Federalist Papers, No. 68)

     Many who desire an appendicitis have been fed fears of independent or faithless Electors.  But the demands for surgery are based on misunderstanding.

     "One advantage of Electors is," according to Madison, "although generally the mere mouths of their constituents, they may be intentionally left sometimes to their own judgment, guided by further information that may be acquired by them; and finally, what is of material importance, they will be able, when ascertaining, which may not be till a late hour, that the first choice of their constituents is utterly hopeless, to substitute in the electoral vote the name known to be their second choice."  (The Electoral College by Lucius Wilmerding, Jr., 180-181)

     There was a problem at the Federal Convention with popular election.  The States had different voting standards.  The solution was the Electoral College, which today is considered the problem.

     The original intention cannot be mistaken.

     "The President is now to be elected by the people," said Madison when the plan was approved.  (The Electoral College by Lucius Wilmerding, Jr., 19)

     Hamilton seconded the motion during ratification.

     "The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for FOUR years...." (The Federalist Papers, No. 68)

     Now, with uniform standards, the original intention can be realized through the National Popular Vote.~  The Electors can then insure that the candidate with the most votes wins, and they can prevent foreign powers from "raising a creature of their own to the Chief Magistracy of the Union."             

     With Citizens United, we see how "a favored class," of which Madison spoke, can become an impediment.  To overcome such a stumbling block, reform is necessary.  And Secretary of War Henry Knox addressed the problem in a report President Washington had him send to Congress in support of Universal National Service:  "If wealth be admitted as a principle of exemption, the plan cannot be executed.  It is the wisdom of political establishments to make the wealth of individuals subservient to the general good, and not to suffer it to corrupt or attain undue indulgence...."  (Emphasis added.)

     National security is about survival, and the ability to adapt involves playing to one's strengths.  The nation that masters the interplay between domestic and foreign affairs--with the economy on the cusp--commands the future.  And, in the nature of things, a republic has a better chance of getting the right balance and blend.  But first one has to exist beyond pro forma.

     A lofty principle must be put into practice.  An Open Government Act moves beyond the narrow band and offers opportunity to all.

     First, separate Federal paper ballots are needed to insure the integrity of the voting booth, which shall be maintained by a simple rule:  Count--by hand--where cast before the public, the press, and the parties.**

     Second, public financing of campaigns and free air time will secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity through a government deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed and that is derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it.

     Third, a strong conflict of interest provision would require officeholders to invest solely in Government securities.

     Fourth, anti-trust action must be taken against the handful of companies that control the print and broadcast press and, therefore, the flow of information in this country.

     Fifth, the fairness doctrine must be restored.

     Sixth, Election Day must be a holiday.

     Seventh, severe penalties must be imposed for violation of these provisions.

     Thought, word, and deed are indivisible.  Thus, an evocative national security policy resonates with our way of life by recognizing and respecting the correlation between existence through involvement and the unceasing effort to close the gap between our ideals and reality.  For the side that cycles through observation, orientation, decision, and action the fastest wins.  But as a nation the effort to apply Colonel John Boyd's insights--and multiply the effect as a whole--has been lacking.  How much longer are we going to be oblivious to the obvious?

     Originally, the common defense was to be a common experience, a constant reminder that citizenship consists of rights and duties.  And those who aspired to leadership were expected to answer the call.

     "Therefore, it ought to be a permanent rule, that those who in youth decline or refuse to subject themselves to the course of military education, established by the laws, should be considered as unworthy of public trust or public honors, and be excluded therefrom accordingly."

     Universal National Service, as envisioned by President Washington and set forth in the Knox Report, dealt with more than an order of battle.

       If the United States possess the vigor of mind to establish the first institution, it may
       reasonably be expected to produce the most unequivocal advantages.  A glorious national
       spirit will be introduced, with its extensive train of political consequences.  The youth will
       imbibe of a love of their country; reverence and obedience to its laws; courage and elevation
       of mind; openness and liberality of character, accompanied by a just spirit of honor.  In
       addition to which their bodies will acquire a robustness, greatly conducive to their personal
       happiness, as well as the defense of their country.  While habit, with its silent, but efficacious
       operations, will durably cement the system....

Universal National Service separates patriots from pretenders and places the concerns of citizens over the convenience of consumers.

     America was born in the times that try men's souls.  Now we live in the days that try one's patience.  And the destiny of the Republic depends upon answers to simple questions:  What do you actually believe, as a matter of conviction?  Is the United States of America a country or a country club?

     Character--the union of thought, word, and deed directed toward a noble end--matters.  And if the Bangles can walk like an Egyptian, we can talk like Americans.*^  H_ _ _land fails to advance the Preamble's first goal--"a more perfect Union"--and its variants, Fatherland and Motherland, are in conflict with the eagle's motto on the Great Seal, E PLURIBUS UNUM--Out of many, one.  By definition, a nation of immigrants cannot be an H_ _ _land--a place for a particular ethnic or racial group.  "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer" belongs elsewhere.  Thus, a constitutional phrase provides the proper name for the most recent Cabinet post--the Department of Public Safety--a phrase also used nine times in the commentaries on the Constitution.  (Article I, Section 1, Clause 2 and The Federalist Papers, Nos. 19, 20, 22, 23, 26, 30, 50, 84 & 85)
III. Retaliation

     At present, a remembrance of things past works as a guide to the future.  The relationship between rights and duties, or the diastolic and systolic pressures--life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor--determines the strength of the American heart and the health of the circulatory system.  Then the Preamble provides the standard by which our progress is measured.  But Day 92 of the gentleman from New York being in violation of the Fundamental Charter undermines our efforts.

     Americans play checkers and Russians play chess.  That was supposed to be the message of "the demonstration effect."  But this is embarrassing and insulting, international diplomacy at the level of Dumb and Dumber featuring the gentleman from New York and his friend, N.D. Gremlin, as Harry and Lloyd.  And they pulled off a junior high school prank--a pat on the back to place a sign that says, KICK ME.

     Trust is a national security issue; and the New Three R's--reassessment, reform, and retaliation--are interrelated.  Therefore much of retaliation is internal and, if coordinated with the Allies, can be devastating.

     When the days of whine and poses are at an end, our adversary can begin to learn that a well-ordered republic is a Hydra.  And the American Republic, in particular, is a phoenix with the memory of an elephant and the disposition of a donkey, capable of waging "a long twilight struggle"--a creature one does not want to arouse.

     "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."  (JFK's Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961)

     A brazen act--a direct threat to our national security--is an affront that will not go unanswered.  Comrade, you have made a serious mistake.  And you are about to learn why Americans invented jazz.

     "The most important six inches on the battlefield is," as General James Mattis said, "between your ears."

     A leader that steals from the people does the work of his chief competitor by undermining himself, which tends to be the way of tyrants.  A free state can take advantage of an opening by not trying to cause any trouble.

     Clean energy is an internal improvement that creates jobs and weans the nation off a Nineteenth Century fuel source.  A grid upgrade makes what were considered alternative sources--solar, wind, geothermal, wave--more efficient and secure.  Thorium reactors are safer because there is no radioactive waste.  And after exercising such climate change leadership, the United States can set up the Organization of Clean Energy Countries with the Allies, and together they can offer assistance to other cooperative nations.  Sanctions then become more effective as the revenue crucial to one who likes practical jokes is reduced.

     The gentleman in the Kremlin makes our case by acting imprudently.  He has claimed there are no Russian troops in Crimea, and that he is only protecting ethnic or language minorities.  Imagine the United States doing the same.  After all, America is made up of people from everywhere on Earth.  But does anyone seriously believe Russia and China would support us in the Security Council, if the roles were reversed? 

     Facts are more frequently our friend than foe.  Khrushchev gave Crimea as a gift to Ukraine.  After the Cold War, the four power nuclear agreement, which Russia signed, recognized the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.  Neither was forced upon Russia.  Certainly Khrushchev's action was not dictated by the West.  Moreover, the choice between the European Union and Russia was a matter of negotiation, not an ultimatum.  And so, how does that excuse a Russian invasion and annexation?

     Day after day after day, the West would be wise to emphasize the gift, the agreement, and the negotiations.  The purpose of such repetition is to be effective--to remind the world of the resolution of condemnation by the United Nations General Assembly, exposing the gentleman's argument for what it is.

     The President of the Federation has pushed many former Soviet "republics" toward the West.  He has opened the door to expanded NATO membership.  So beyond expanded sanctions, missile defense may have another rogue state--his.  Furthermore, troops shall be deployed as deemed necessary by the Allies.  And henceforth, election interference against one shall be considered intervention against all, an event which triggers Article V.  Such are the other options available besides what kind of fuel. 
     An abundance of clean energy makes possible a change in shipping lanes--to avoid those intent upon conflict.  For by the reasoning of some, if Atlantis had not sunk, the world would need their King's permission to cross the Atlantic Ocean.  But all nations shall know who has moral authority and sees war as the last resort-- a nice thing to have in the diplomatic pouch--by our taking steps away from the brink.

     A President of the United States does not shrink in times of crisis but rises to the occasion.  Tally-ho!

(c)2017 Marvin D. Jones.  All rights reserved.