Constitution Day

Closing Thought–17Sep20

It is 17 September and the day set aside as Constitution Day……if ever there should be a federal holiday to celebrate our independence it should be 17 September….for it is when the United States stepped out of confusion and presented the republic to the nation.

Of course that is just my opinion….but since it is Constitution Day I would like to write about the document that is so cherished by us Americans.

First the day we are celebrating…..

Constitution Day is observed every year on September 17 to commemorate the signing and adoption of the constitution of the United States of America by the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.

Constitution Day is also known as Citizenship Day, which was the name of the holiday until 2004, as its purpose was to “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens”. Citizenship Day in turn was inspired by “I am an American Day”, created in the 1940s to celebrate citizenship. The official name of the holiday is now “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day”.

Celebrations are held on this day, and schools hold instruction sessions on the founding principles and the significance of the US constitution and the constitutional rights contained in it. When the day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, schools and other institutions observe Constitution Day on a nearby weekday.

Further reading: Constitution Day on Wikipedia

Do yourself a favor and read the document…..

https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/United_States_of_America_1992

https://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm

Click to access CDOC-110hdoc50.pdf

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Vietnam–The Mistakes

Old Professor’s History Class.

I study conflict, war if you will, and have found a couple of events around the war in Vietnam that can be labelled as arrogant mistakes….first by France and then by the US.

I realize there have been volumes written about this conflict….but few by people that actually fought that war.

As a veteran of this war I have studied and made my thoughts known….but there were more mistakes than just those of the US….France for instance was just as arrogant as the US and it cost them the territory and the war….a war that the US had to pick up and carry on (more on that further into this post)……

First thing to do is to throw all the Hollywood adaptations of this war down the toilet (TP not needed)……most of that stuff was total bullshit…….

France’s biggest screw up was arrogantly thinking they had a force, the Viet Minh, that was backward and incapable of carry on a proper war…..that was true and Giap decided that a guerilla war would accomplish the desires of throwing the French from Vietnamese soil.

The final nail in the coffin of the French in Vietnam was the battle of Dien Bien Phu……

It is 1954 in Southeast Asia….the French have been fighting for years against the Viet Minh under Ho and Giap and the French decided to make one final push to destroy opposition and be done with this war.  Sadly it did not work out as brilliantly as the French had promised……in fact a band of guerillas with no technology, aircraft, etc. handed the French their asses…..

The most consequential military engagement in Southeast Asia in the 20th century is the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu. It was fought ostensibly between the French and the communist-led Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu, an obscure valley bordering China, in the remote northwestern part of what was then French Indochina. The battle ended with a humiliating defeat for the French, which brought down the French government, ended French colonial rule in Asia, ushered in America’s epic military involvement in the region for decades to come, and fundamentally changed the global geostrategic landscape.

How the French lost this pivotal battle is just as telling as how significant the French defeat became.

https://www.hoover.org/research/lessons-dien-bien-phu

This conflict is seldom taught classes these days….and I think it should be mandatory…..this conflict illustrates just how very brilliant of a guerilla war can be…..and could have prevented mistakes.

Not all the mistakes we by the French in the Southeast Asian wars…..the US was just as arrogant as the French.

That brings me to the Tet Offensive…..

I was fortunate enough to live through those days of constant fighting….

I was a member of a LRRP team (long range recon) and for days we were watching a NVA troop movement we identified the unit as the 174th NVA Regitment…..we made our way back to base and reported what we had found and were basically called liars for they had info that they were camped 100 km northwest of the position we reported….in other words they believed signal intel over human intel and it bit them in the ass for the 174th was one of the units that did a lot of damage.

Finally someone has written about the lack of any good human intel in Vietnam……

The intelligence failings fall into three broad categories. In Vietnam, the US military possessed a lack of foresight, neglected fundamental intelligence-gathering principles, and suffered from an absence of strategy and direction.

On a fundamental level, US military intelligence was unable to gauge the level of communist infiltration in the South of the country. This meant the US forces had almost no idea of the size of the enemy’s forces

https://parlia.com/a/Pb7sF3gPgNp5NmfJLP7FzZj/why-did-the-us-lose-the-vietnam-war/us-strategic-failures/intelligence-failures

It was a lie then and it is a lie now!

The officials were told what was coming and everyone decide to believe a pile of mumbo jumbo from the electronics instead of those that had witnessed the movements.

For those interested this is the declassified reports……

https://www.intelligence.gov/tet-declassified/tet-declassified-documents

Further Reading:

https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/the-vietnam-war-tet-offensive/

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Tet-Offensive

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is Trump What America Needs?

I know some readers will say yes he is….and others will scoff at the idea.

But is he?

That’s look at the country as a whole and not your personal beliefs.

In 2016, Americans were asked to pick their poison.

On the one hand a highly competent, highly qualified mainstream pro-Wall Street pro-corporate candidate who would in most regards hold the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama trajectory—while entirely missing the desperation working Americans were feeling.

On the other hand a corrupt businessman calling bullshit on the entire system, willing to burn everything down to Make America Great Again—meaning give working people back the dignity (and manufacturing jobs) that had been stolen from them by the evil cabal of globalist elites. The fact that he was lying was entirely beside the point for his supporters.

And many Americans were willing to live with his exploiting of resentments and divisions to get anything that wasn’t business as usual.

What was business as usual?

What If Donald Trump Is What America Needed?

An interesting article by a publication started by “Never Trumpers”……..

This question makes me think of a political theory…that being the theory of the unitary executive…..

To what extent can presidential power be restricted by Congress?

Some believe the president holds broad power, citing this passage from Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution:

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.

And from Section 3:

[H]e shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.The view that the president holds total control over the executive branch is called the unitary executive theory.

Under the George W. Bush administration’s interpretation of the unitary executive theory, the president has authority over members of the executive branch.

 

He functions as a CEO or Commander-in-Chief, and his power is restricted only by the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the judiciary.

Congress can hold the president accountable only by censure, impeachment or constitutional amendment. Legislation restricting the executive branch has no power.

https://www.thoughtco.com/unitary-executive-theory-the-imperial-presidency-721716

SCOTUS is making the case for a “Unitary Executive”…..

On June 29, Chief Justice John Roberts relied heavily on something called the “Decision of 1789” to expand presidential removal powers. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that the structure of the CFPB was unconstitutional as an independent agency, because Congress required the president to have good cause to remove its single director.

Roberts held that such a requirement interfered with a president’s power to supervise the executive branch, because a sole director with for-cause protection would have held too much concentrated power independent from presidential control. Roberts limited this decision to principal officers as singular heads of agencies, as opposed to commissions. However, his expansion of the “unitary executive” theory could continue expanding presidential power and thwart potential reforms to address recent abuses.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/imaginary-unitary-executive

That said…now I ask is there a pragmatic cvases for a unitary executive?

The theory of the unitary executive is gaining traction in American law. That view of the Constitution asserts that the president controls whatever power is given to the executive branch of the federal government. As a result, the president must be able to dismiss his subordinate executives at will. Otherwise, these officials will be responsive to others or to themselves, not to the chief executive.

The unitary executive is persistently, sometimes willfully, confused with the notion that the president enjoys large residual constitutional powers. But the scope of presidential powers is distinct from the control over whatever those powers are. As Justice Samuel Alito said at his confirmation hearing, the first question “is the scope of Executive power: [W]e might think of that as how big is this table, the extent of the Executive powers.” That was distinct from a different question, “[W]hen you have a power that is within the prerogative of the Executive, who controls [it]?” The unitary executive is concerned only with the second question

The Pragmatic Case for a Unitary Executive

After the ruling by SCOTUS and the chance for a pragmatic reason for the unitary executive…..are there any risks?

Of course there is!

PHH Corporation involves a challenge to the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a powerful financial regulatory agency headed by a single director appointed by the president for a five‐​year term, during which he or she can only be removed “for cause.” As Kavanaugh explains, the Constitution lodges all “executive” power in the hands of the president. Independent agencies such as the CFPB, he says, are “a headless fourth branch of the U.S. Government” that poses “a significant threat to individual liberty and to the constitutional system of separation of powers.”

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/risks-unitary-executive

My thought is that when it comes to governing the US….the 3 branch system is by far superior than any system that has one all powerful demagogue at the head.

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Picking That President

Paper #2 of 2

2020 and we are in the process of picking our next president……all of which does not in the least represent what the people actually want or need.

Is there a better way to pick the leader of the free world?

Of course there is…..the quickest way in my opinion is to eliminate the Electoral College…..

Americans are understandably disillusioned with how the Electoral College picks presidential winners. The system arguably functions contrary to expectations of how a democracy should work, and inconsistently with the purpose the founders intended.

There are some bold reform proposals on the table that deserve consideration in the long run—ideas that would solve the problem that presidents can be elected despite the majority of voters opposing them, an outcome unthinkable in any democracycommitted to majority rule. The problem is that most of these proposals either aren’t going to be feasible by 2020, if ever, or, on close inspection, would actually worsen the problems they’re intended to solve.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/05/04/electoral-college-reform-2020-226792

But are Americans truly wanting to eliminate the stupidity?

The Electoral College, which allowed the past two Republican presidents to win office with fewer votes than their opponents, has officially become a joke.

In a skit last week, Saturday Night Live lampooned how the US is picking its leaders by highlighting the fact that most voters have no say in who will become president. But the Electoral College is no laughing matter. 

As long as the same person won the popular vote and the Electoral College, this wasn’t a problem. But with the last two Republicans owing their election to an antiquated system and not the support of a majority of voters, it has dawned on many Americans that something is amiss — especially because things seem to be getting worse.

If recent history is any indication, this is not just a problem for the loser but also for the winner. The former will miss out on being president despite getting more votes, while the latter has to live with questions about their mandate — or even their legitimacy.

Are Americans Ready to Junk the Electoral College?

There is yet another possibility that needs discussion……on the Electoral College and their voting for president….

Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging state laws that bind Electoral College electors to vote for the presidential candidate they are selected to support. The case was brought in response to four 2016 electors — three from Washington and one from Colorado — who tried to vote against their state’s popular vote winner, and, in the case of the Washington electors, faced fines for having broken their pledges.

These so-called “faithless electors” have long been a feature of American presidential elections, but it’s possible that the Supreme Court could shake up the Electoral College system, striking down state laws that try to guarantee electors’ votes by replacing or punishing those who don’t vote as they promised to. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the overall lack of enforcement of electors’ pledge to vote for the winner of their state troubled her, saying, “I made a promise to do something, but that promise is unenforceable.” But Justice Samuel Alito said that overturning the state laws could “lead to chaos where the popular vote is close.”

If The Supreme Court Lets The Electoral College Vote However It Wants, Will Chaos Ensue?

There are a wealth of ideas to fix the stupidity of the picking of the president/nominee….personally I kinda like the national primary thing…….Let people nationwide cast their primary ballots all at once.

There are others as well…here are 6 ideas….

Every four years, Iowans are deluged with the talking points, the stump speeches, the polls and, of course, the ads.

They also hear that they shouldn’t be first. Iowans are too white, too old and too few to merit first-in-the-nation status, say the critics.

But if Iowa shouldn’t be first, who should be? For more than a century, reformers have been proposing ideas for how to change the primary system. And they’ve been failing. And they’ll probably continue to fail.

No one is going to persuade state and party machinery to change the current primary system anytime soon. However, these ideas can at least help show what works (and what doesn’t) about the way things are now.

Here are just a few of the ideas people have proposed over the years:

https://www.npr.org/2016/01/26/463870736/no-way-to-pick-a-president-here-are-6-other-ways-to-do-it

One last thought on the presidency……a little historic rambling…..

If the prospect of the Trump – Biden presidential election fills you with horror and despair, you might give some thought to not just replacing both candidates but the presidency as well, at least as we now conceive it.

For some time now, but maybe since the Kennedy administration (which ended in a hail of voter-suppressed gunfire), I have been thinking that one of the biggest problems with American democracy is the presidency itself, the idea that the chief magistrate of the country should be one person elected every four years by a few swing voters in Ohio, North Carolina, or Florida.

Get Rid of the Presidency

Any thoughts on this topic?

One closing cartoon…..

Image

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”