February 2008Most of the time when I can take a moment to write about how we might fix this country, I get overwhelmed; flooded with too many thoughts at once. Political, environmental and economic changes are moving at an incomprehensible pace.
Maybe the crux is this:
We are knee deep in an economic crisis: (wall street has the jitters, because the heart and soul; the workers, consumers and home buyers in the middle class, are beginning to hit the wall.) We have to do something substantial soon.
We are also knee deep in an ecological crisis:
The level of pollutants, the destruction of critical ecosystems, habitats, and species vital to the survival of the food chain, are now threatened all over the world. On top of that, the planet is warming. And the warming of the earth's water, as well as the air, increases the rate at which habitat, ecosystem and species extinctions occur. Rising global temperatures will also continue to increase the unpredictability and severity of weather events. We have to do something substantial soon.
In addition we have a boat load of domestic, foreign and moral issues. Far more than half the people in America believe that those at the helm in Washington have not only mishandled this ship, but have been heading, almost entirely in the wrong direction for at least seven years.
If you were driving, and it took you seven years to realize you were going the wrong way; when you finally woke up, you'd think to yourself, "Holy Crap, what do I do now?" If you were not alone you'd say, "What do we do now?" Well, what do we do now? We can't Just go back. There is no going back: The roads we took to get here have been forever altered.
Since we cannot continue on the path we’re on, and we cannot go back, we need to establish a new destination. We can then set a course to try and get there. I think the destination should be a sustainable society. (one that uses resources no faster than they can regenerate) Every day there are more individuals and businesses advocating sustainable (green) principles. This is all to the good, but large scale change will require that the federal government and big business not hinder the process. Just one example of a subtle, yet dangerous, subversion of green principles is the expansion of corn-based ethanol production. This is a very bad idea—it is water inefficient and conflicts directly with the food supply. It's much more energy and resource efficient to eat the corn and elevate our conservation efforts. We need a national and, ultimately, an international focus on sustainable economics.
It is not possible to change our economic matrix overnight. What is possible, is to make some simple, yet fundamental, changes to our Constitution that can facilitate the shift to a sustainable economic matrix. I refer to this as “Overthrowing the Farce by Government.”
Some specific areas where precise Constitutional change could have an enormous effect on our ability to create and then maintain a sustainable economic system:
- Campaign Finance: NEEDS to be public: Goal of ZERO private funds. Someone wants to put up their money; it gets shared equally with everyone. Face it, More than half the people and corporations that buy influence in Washington are involved in some form of piracy. They are making money on all forms of insider trading. If they hadn't gone so damned far, we wouldn't have to kick them all out. But they did, and we have to. Besides, if Congressmen have to raise money every single day, then they’re not really working for us anyway.
- We have to change the lobbying structure, with the goal of eliminating all private access to elected, and appointed officials. If they hadn't gone so damned far, we wouldn't have to kick them all out. But they did, and we have to.
- We have to change the remuneration for all government officials, up to and including the president. Their pensions have to be a function of their duration and quality of service. And their health plans need to be connected with some "National Average". If they're going to serve the people, they need to be "of the people”.
Step one of getting the lobbyists' hands out of our collective pants, is to close the revolving doors in Washington ASAP. Elected officials should Never work for a lobby; Period. If they do, they should forfeit their pensions, and it should just be "illegal". In a functioning system you cannot "serve the people", find the back doors, and then walk through those back doors as a lobbyist.
I’ve offered some suggestions regarding the tax code before. It’s very clear that the top 10% of the population needs to give back a lot more—especially the top 1%. We need to get real on the capital gains tax. Nobody need go from the penthouse to the poor house, but it’s time for the most fortunate to take the stairs down a flight or two closer to the rest of the working folks.
Also, to initiate and then maintain a sustainable political / economic system, we need a functional system of justice. For that, we absolutely must prosecute George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, the CEO of Exxon Mobil and ALL who have been complicit in defrauding The American People regarding the reasons for invading Iraq, and for the disinformation campaigns regarding environmental concerns. This may have sounded a little crazy in the recent past, but it’s growing more support everyday. California may have already initiated a law suit. It has to happen. But this also can’t just lock up our country in a legal and journalistic fiasco. These guys don’t have to hang, they just have to tell something close to the truth and pay some form of restitution. Speaking only of dollars and cents, the past, present and future costs of the insider, environmental disinformation campaigns and the unfounded Iraq War will cost the US taxpayers several trillion dollars. It would behoove all those that conspired or directly profited from these fraudulent, and in some cases, treasonous acts to come forward and offer up an amnesty settlement.
–A side note here regarding the troop surge: Our increased security presence in Iraq appears to have coincided with some Iraqi tribal efforts, potentially creating a window for meaningful diplomatic efforts to commence. Included in these diplomatic efforts should be an assurance to the international community that we will pursue justice regarding the conduct of our commander in chief and his co-conspirators. Also, that the oil companies, while facing up to their part in this disastrous misadventure, will “allow” the Iraqi’s to get their fair share of the oil profits (although the world needs to drastically reduce burning oil ASAP). – If we let this window close without doing something “real”, then we may waste the tremendous opportunity the US troops have helped create there.
The Constitution should also be revised to make certain that “Executive Privilege” clearly does not include criminal behavior, treason and obstruction of justice.
Maybe all we have to do to save civilization from itself is to legislate government pay and benefits, campaign financing, realistic taxation, parameterize lobbies and prosecute the executive criminals
What I have hoped to create for sometime is an interactive Constitutional Initiative. An internet forum where We, the American Citizens, create, edit and prepare legislation for presentation in Congress. This is a step in that direction. If you have any suggestions you care to offer, please do so. I’ll respond as quickly as I can.
Peace through intelligence and application,
PS. What I have to offer is far more compelling in person than in print. I am available for Live presentations and discussions. See my resume / letter of introduction.
We also make available several documentary films produced through the Independent Media Center of Atlanta regarding social, political, economic and environmental issues. Contact us for more information.