. . . it’s that time again, time to ignore tweaks in the Constitution

[note: Every five years or so, I try going back to basics. It won’t take long and you can quote most of it yourself. . .so bear with me.]

For a minute, anyway. Because they are afterthoughts. Compromises. Tweaks. In fact, that’s what the whole Constitution is, along with laws and legalisms generated over the past two hundred plus years. All of it, from Article I to the latest piece of recondite jargon snaking its way through subcommittees, all of it is fine-tuning, filigree, and fretwork.

You don’t need the First Article, or Citizens United, or anything in between, to figure out where we are and see how far that is from where the Founders meant us to be. All you need is the introduction to the Constitution. It’s the Preamble, where they introduced their goals, their rationale, their hopes. And they did it in just over fifty words

“We the people of the United States, in order to

  • form a more perfect union,
  • establish justice,
  • insure domestic tranquility,
  • provide for the common defense,
  • promote the general welfare, and
  • secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,

do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Six bullet-point clauses. You’d have thought they had PowerPoint. Stack that up against news of the day. We’re in shit up to our knees, and the answer is to buy more boots? Hock your grandchildren’s patrimony to money-grubbing rubber merchants?
What are we, crazy or stupid?

Go back and look at the Preamble again. Focus on a few key words. Words like justice, tranquility, welfare, liberty. Where did they go? How did they get lost between the Preamble and today?

Don’t ignore the Constitution, don’t challenge it; don’t even bother to amend it. All I suggest is that, for a couple minutes, we not get bogged down in minutiae, that we look back, and down, and up, at the basics. The framework. The essential ideas and ideals which were designed hold everything together.

To hold us together, not apart.


The right man for the job

An old Lincoln tale says the President refused to appoint a friend’s supporter as a local postmaster because he did not like the looks of the man. The man’s friends argued it was not fair to judge a man by his face. Lincoln said that, until forty, it might be unfair, but that after forty, a man was responsible for his own face.

With that in mind, I present Andrew Wheeler, nominated to the Environmental Protection Agency. What say you? Does the man Wheeler get your vote as Deputy Administrator of the EDF?

coal guy

It might influence your decision, so I hesitate a moment before adding Mr. Wheeler’s background in environmental issues.

OK, the moment is up. Mr. Wheeler

“Since 2009, Wheeler has represented the interests of some of the largest fossil fuel companies in the U.S. as a consultant and lobbyist, and national environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club oppose his nomination. According to an analysis of public documents by ProPublica, Wheeler has worked as a registered lobbyist for, among others, a major uranium mining company, one of the largest coal companies in the country and a refrigerant manufacturer.
Each of the companies has worked to shape EPA regulations in their favor….”

Where we are

All these years we’ve been… no, wait, it’s been little more than one year. Anyhow, for some unreal period of time, we have been living in a world, living in a time, living in a situation (yes, that’s the word, a situation) for which we have had no assured title.

That is to say, is this fragile and once-lovely domain a billionaire’s party, a Grand Wizard’s playground, a high-stakes sex party, a pre-paid tour of Purgatory, maybe the recurring dream of an aging SF writer?

It is, my friends, none of those. We now inhabit — and I have figured this out only after noting the false-hope promise and last-minute slamming of FBI Director Andrew McCabe — a high school fraternity.

Yes, boys and girls, this is a high-school fraternity, And not one of the fancy ones.

The latest outbreak of gun-rights machismo…

The NRA has asked a federal judge to block a newly-enacted Florida gun-control law. The law affects several aspects of gun sales and ownership — a waiting period to buy, a ban on bump stocks — but what most upset the NRA apparently was raising the legal age to buy a gun, from 18 to 21.

Same old same old, you may say. Yet the phrasing of one objection caught my attention. It was a quote from Chris Cox of the NRA. “Securing our schools and protecting the constitutional rights of Americans are not mutually exclusive….”

So. Safe schools and gun ownership are not mutually exclusive. They are of equal value, equal importance in a rational society.

In other words, his right to own a gun is just as important as my grandchildren’s right to a safe school. And, as we are in a federal court, the law of the land prevents even trying to control gun ownership in order to save children’s lives.

Frankly, I believe that is what the gun lobby has been saying all along, but not until now have I heard it quite so specifically spelled out.


Pay no attention to…

Stories of interest/amusement/distress associated with the day’s news.

l/ President Trump — in person and through his aidess — has tried to downplay or deny news items about his alleged encounter with a porn star.

2/ A glance at news-stand headlines or TV features suggests the denial tactic has not and apparently will not produce number 1 above.

3/ President Trump’s standard strategy when confronted with negative items is, first, an outright and outraged denial. That failing, he resorts to distraction. Get people — and the press — to look at something else for a while.

4/ Thursday, the President had a White House meeting with a delegation from North Korea.

5/ During that meeting, President Trump at least twice left the briefing room to put the press on the alert for a major item.

6/ After that meeting, the North Korean delegation, standing on the White House steps, announced that the President had agree to meet with President Kim-jong Il.

7/ As a consequence of number 6, item number 1 appears to be getting far less attention.

8/ As a consequence of numbers 1-7 above, administration officials — some named, some not — are walking back announced features of the proposed meeting.

  • It probably will not come as soon as May of this year
  • Several new pre-conditions are being developed
  • It may not happen at all.

9/ With no apparent direct connection to any of the above, plans are still underway for a military parade in the nation’s capital.

Our nation, that is.

Could be…

You probably heard the news.

The White House said that President Trump would meet with Mr. Kim “at a place and time to be determined.”


Look, I am all in favor of reducing international tension, increasing safety and well-being for all people, and developing for my children and grandchildren a world which is not merely tolerable but is comfortable. If these two men can get together and in any way work toward those goals, hurray for them and a sigh of relief for me.