Sisyphus – Play in Progress

APXH


SISYPHUS:

My name is Sisyphus.
If it were not for me,
Mortals would have nothing
To talk about at all.
I am responsible
For the apparent rise
Of the Sun –
They give me no credit
For its fall!

I am not deaf to the gossip
About me,
And my shameless stone.
An author said of late
That I lead
An entirely futile life,
A life of one absurd revolution
After another,
Instead of doing
What any man
In his right mind
Would surely do,
If only he knew
What was rolling
Down the mountain –
Free himself,
Forthwith and forever,
From Fate!

Not that he would
If he could.

WE:

To what do we
Owe your appearance?

SISYPHUS:

People barely know themselves –
I periodically enlighten them.

WE:

Why?

SISYPHUS:

Why?
Because people
Must be stoned –
They have rocks for heads.
And I am duty bound
By obedience to myself,
As president of myself,
To trick the inmates
Of this perverse,
Rolling round house,
Into shattering their stones,
To free themselves
From the concatenations
Of their foolhardiness.

Wherefore I am named Sisyphus,
Or Se-sophos,
Meaning, Very Wise,

WE:

Tell us Sisyphus,
Where did you get
Your shining stone?

SISYPHUS:

Dragonessa Medusa,
Supreme female wisdom,
Made my marvelous mirror.

WE:

We see the light,
But are not enlightened.
Pray tell, then,
What have you done
For us lately?

SISYPHUS:

I so loved the world
That I created the gods.

WE:

Blasphemy!
Vanity!
Impiety!
Perjury!
Absurdity!

Will Sisyphus,
Who surpasses
All mortals
In intelligence,
Who is shrewdest
In contrivances,
Like a god,
Never learn
From the gods,
That he is merely
A mortal man?

Blasphemy!
He uses god’s power to destroy god.
Vanity!
He names god to flatter himself.
Impiety!
He exalts ungodly over godly.
Perjury!
He lies against his own law.
Absurdity!
What could be more absurd?

CRITIAS:

Will you stand by silently, Sisyphus,
Confronted here as you are
By these capital charges?

SISYPHUS:

I have already said quite enough
To sufficiently incriminate myself.

CRITIAS:

And I, Critias,
Am duty bound
To rid the community
Of deception,
Whether the community
Likes lucidity or not.

SISYPHUS:

Then you have
Multitudes to condemn.
So many heads must roll.
Streets must run red
With blood gushing forth
From necks gaping
On every corner.
Few are left standing
In the end,
When people thirst
For higher power.

WE:

Be gone, Critias!
We need no bloody tyrant
To slake our thirst
For aristocratic blood.
We are equal under our law,
By, for, and of the people.

CRITIAS:

What greater tyranny can there be
Than democracy over noble virtue?
A noble character is more credible
Than any law commonly considered,
For no mere talker may overcome it.
Many severed heads of big talkers
Are duly attached to our rostrum.

WE:

Aristocratic heads,
For the most part,
Hang from your rostrum!
We each are cattle
Humbled by our numbers.
Noble virtue shall not overcome
The dignity of our laws,
Or the grace of our god,
Nor shall big talkers!

Now this sophisticate, Sisyphus.
Claims to have so loved the world
That he created even the One God,
Thus he vainly puts his cause
Before the First Cause.
Would you plead his case?

CRITIAS:

If Sisyphus speaks truly,
That he created the gods,
He created tyrants over fools –
I prefer several to one –
And you should thank him
For exposing the truth
About your divine idiocy.

Gods,
States,
Laws,
All tyrants,
Yet you call me tyrant!

I fear not democracy,
For if gods, states, and laws
Are human creations,
They are no match
For the learned man.

WE:

A tyrant and a sophist!
What more could we ask for
In a big talker
Who claims nobility
Instead of divinity?

If only he were a demagogue,
We might call ourselves free!

CRITIAS:

Your political order is your true religion,
And your demagogue its talking idol.

SISYPHUS:

I created the gods
Then the one and only god –
And that was a restoration.

CRITIAS:

Thus you speak
To further incriminate yourself,
The self-created god,
To whom I put this question,
If you dare to answer:
Why were the gods created?

SISYPHUS:

There was a time when the life of all men
Was unordered, bestial, the slave of force:
There was no reward for the virtuous;
There was no punishment for the wicked.
So men devised laws of retribution,
That Justice might be their great dictator,
Having arrogance as its servile slave,
And if anyone sinned, he was punished.

Since the laws now forbade them to commit
Their usual crimes out in the open,
They began to commit them secretly.
A very wise and clever man appeared,
And for love of man he invented fear
Of the gods, that mortals might have on hand
Useful means of frightening the wicked
If in secret they did or thought of some
Evil deed. And therefore he introduced
The Divine, saying that there is a god
Flourishing with immortal life, hearing,
And seeing with his mind, and thinking of
Everything and caring about these things,
And having divine nature, who will hear
Everything said among mortals, and will
Be able to see well all that is done.
If one secretly plans something evil,
He will never escape the gods in this,
For they have surpassing intelligence.

Together with these words he introduced
The most pleasant of teachings heard by men,
Covering up the truth with false theory,
He said the gods dwelt in remote places,
Out of reach of the understanding of
Mere earthly mortals, where he could therefore
Use gods to frighten men out of their wits,
And convince them hard life has its rewards
And its punishments in a hereafter,
As dictated from those upper regions,
Where they saw lightning and heard dread thunder,
Beheld the star-faced body of heaven,
The beautiful embroidery of Time –
The skilled craftsman who brought forth the bright mass
Of Sun, and wet shower upon the Earth.

With many fears did he surround mankind,
Through which he established the deity
In a fitting place with his argument,
And thus he quenched lawlessness among men.
For the first time mortals were persuaded,
To believe in a high race of deities.

CRITIAS:

May I presume that this man
Is none other than you, Sisyphus,
Who have laid claim to creating the gods?

SISYPHUS:

You may so presume.

CRITIAS:

I cannot say that I blame you,
At least not for the tyranny,
But I question your devices,
For gods created by men are deceptions
Which can be destroyed by wise men.

SISYPHUS:

But I am the wisest of all men,
Surpassing all mortals in intelligence,
Shrewdest in contrivances,
Like a god, as it were.

CRITIAS:

It is best that a real tyrant rule directly,
By virtue of truth,
Than for people to be deceived
By false representation.

WE:

Death to Critias! Death to Critias! Death to Critias!

As for you Sisyphus,
Your sophistry rolls over our heads,
Day by day,
Just to sink into night,
Again and again.
Why raise our hopes so highly?
To cruelly let us down?
What have we done
To deserve this stoning
Unto death?
Have you no shame?

Death to Sisyphus! Death to Sisyphus! Death to Sisyphus!

SISYPHUS:

Your death sentence is most condign,
For without the light of Day,
You would have no Apollo
Attending your far-flung future.

WE:

But what of Night?
And all that Darkness implies?

SISYPHUS:

A living thing that needs the light
Must rest at night,
Lest its yearning
give it cause for burning.

WE:

But we are afraid of the dark.

SISYPHUS:

Wherefore I gave you gods
To mask Chaos with Cosmos,
That you might understand
One another and be secure
In your numbers, as One.
Have you forgotten so soon?

WE:

Threefold Goddess
Rose from Chaos,
Dressed in Earth,
Sea, and Night.

Black-winged Night,
Mother of Mystery,
Courted by Wind,
Laid a Silver Egg
In the Womb of Darkness,
Hence Love was hatched.
To move the Cosmos.

Now Darkness lives
Under Earth,
And Night resides
In the West.

When Day retires,
Night appears
In her chariot,
Drawn by steeds
Good and Evil,
With Starry Court in train.

She leads the Twins,
Death and Sleep –
Night saved Sleep from Death,
And Mighty Zeus,
In awe of Night,
Dared not intervene.

Ambivalent Night,
Frightening friend,
Hides guilt and innocence,
Conceals stolen valuables,
Covers lover’s charms,
Fosters fear and hope,
Turns sticks into snakes,
Logs into monsters,
Monsters into gods.

Mother’s introspection,
Provokes vigilance,
And prepares us for
The surprises of
The Enlightening Dawn.

SISYPHUS:

Hence my cue,
The Crowing Cock.
What of the Fateful Sisters
Dwelling well in the cave
Nearby the Moon?

WE:

Clotho who spins,
Lachesis who draws,
Atropos who cuts,
By the light
Of the Silvery Moon,
Tell us please,
Whose face among us all
Is the most beautiful?

processing….

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Alice Packer’s Shadow

 

 

Sharon Stone (1983) would be perfect for the double roles

 

ALICE PACKER’S SHADOW 

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS 

Location: 

S&M Art Studios, Ltd.

Cast: 

Alice Packer: Art Director
Walter Davidson: Senior Vice President
Harry Heckler: Computer Graphics Designer
Sheri Sands: Head Photographer
Susan Sockwith: Fashion Director
Angela Songerson: Human Resources Director

[It was time for lunch. Walter Davidson is about to adjourn the regular Monday staff meeting. Alice Packer had seemed distracted throughout the meeting. She suddenly proceeds to laugh hysterically]

ANGELA SONGERSON: Good heavens! Alice, get a grip. What’s so funny? What are you laughing about?

ALICE PACKER: I’m laughing because I saw my shadow this morning at Raven’s Nest. [She bursts into tears. Angela, stupefied, blinking characteristically, leans over and hugs Alice.

ANGELA SONGERSON: Holy Moses, Alice, I’m sorry. What are you talking about? [ She continues to bat her eyelashes.

ALICE PACKER: My shadow is dying to be me and she’s been shadowing me for weeks now. So I go into Raven’s Nest Cafe this morning for coffee and a bagel, and there she is, standing in line right in front of me, chit chatting with people, pretending to be me…”

ANGELA SONGERSON: Pretending to be you?” 

ALICE PACKER [angrily brushing away her tears]: Yes, trying to look like a professional art director without even giving me credit. Professional liar, that’s what that hussy really is. 

HARRY HECKLER [snickering]: Now, now, sweetheart, you’re just imagining… 

ANGELA SONGERSON: Lay off, Harry, and if you say sweetheart one more time I’ll file a harassment complaint. Go on, Alice.

WALTER DAVIDSON: This staff meeting is adjourned. [to Alice, jokingly.] When you said you saw your shadow, I thought you meant you needed a shave. I saw my beard this morning…[Nobody pays attention to him – everyone is gathered around Alice Packer]

ALICE PACKER: I was livid. I tapped her on the back and asked her for her name. “Moana,” she said. I looked the lying hussy up and down, and said, “I don’t know how long you’ve been lurking around the art business, Moana, but you should get a real life. The only person you’re fooling is yourself. You don’t even know what an art director is. Quit being such a wannabe.” Well, she doesn’t say a word, reaches into her fake leather briefcase, takes out and hands me a copy of her portfolio, picks up her coffee and struts out as if her tail doesn’t stink just because men stare at it. So I look at the trash she gave me – it’s a cheap knock-off of my own portfolio, she copied all my ideas!

ANGELA SONGERSON: Even your bio’s are alike?

ALICE PACKER:  Absolutely. And my logo too!

ANGELA SONGERSON [blinking furiously]: I feel for you, Angela, that’s really scary. There’s gotta be something you can do? That is outrageous. Oh, let me give you another hug… [Alice backs away.]

SUSAN SOCKWITH [nodding her head sagely]: I know her. She used to shadow me when I was shopping on Fifth Avenue. I’d see her reflected in the window, wearing the same dress as me. Moana is the worst nightmare a woman can have. She will copy your every gesture for years. Just keep in mind that everything this person says is a lie. Would you believe she started taking Qi Gong classes when I did? – there she was, trying to mirror my every move.  

SHERI SANDS: I’ve seen her too. She is a pretty but pathetic young woman.  

WALTER DAVIDSON:  I think I know your shadow too. Some forger was using my name and style at several studios. I filed suit and got an injunction.  

SHERI SANDS: Well done! That’ll teach them!

HARRY HECKLER: C’mon, Walter, we know what was up with that. You signed your name to blank sheets, gave them to your students and forgot about it, for crying out loud!

ANGELA SONGERSON:[grasping Alice’s hand.] She’s not worth thinking about any more, Alice. Frankly, she’s a human leech. The best thing one can do with her is ignore her and smack her down when she comes around. There’s nothing she can do, really. She’s just your shadow and can never be an true art director like you. Come now, let’s have a long lunch together – Walter won’t mind – it’s on me. [all file out of the meeting room except Walter, who stays behind to write up the Minutes.]

 

-Curtain-

 

 

Repetition Compulsion of a Successful Loser

OM in person moi

THE REPETITION COMPULSION OF A SUCCESSFUL LOSER

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

When I am on the verge of material success I am compelled to ruin my chances. I learned to control this virtually suicidal urge somewhat over the years. I succeeded in not ruining my opportunity until it was enormous and certain. And then unbearable anxiety would set in, and I would blow my top, blow everybody off.

Realizing that I had just done what I had sworn to never do again as long as I lived, I lived regretfully for some time thereafter.

And then I did it again: I made the worst career mistake in my life. Three months later an even greater opportunity arose because of that mistake, and then I blew that one. I was in a state of shock that I can only describe as utter panic. I had chosen penury over being somebody for millions of dollars.

The only thing I could salvage was my greed for knowledge in hopes of being wise one day, a foolish endeavor according to the Oriental sages. I retreated into the stacks of the library to be what I always wanted to be, and that was not an enormously powerful and wealthy person.

In fact, my phobia was the fear of owning property, of being burdened down with things, so I gave my last few things away and spent my life savings on my abstract pursuits. Of course my one and only goal was rather grandiose: Saving the world with me in it. My version of World Salvation included saving stuff people need and also stuff they want if that makes them happy and does not harm others.

My behavior was not unique. I have heard of the “fear of success” and the psychology thereof. I have tried some of the therapies to relieve myself of the condition. Sigmund Freud referred to the syndrome as repetition compulsion. He associated the habit with a so-called death instinct, and surmised that habit itself is a sort of petrifaction or deadness. I must add that habit is the biggest help we have.

Maybe my repetition compulsion was not suicidal after all. Could it be that I somehow did not want the material success at hand because I wanted some other kind of success, a success that seemed like failure to others?

Perhaps my two major failures, the biggest mistakes in my life, the ones that apparently ruined my chances of fame and fortune or at least considerable financial security in my maturity, were actually the best mistakes I had ever made in terms of being the so-called Nobody of the classics, the freelancer who lances the eye of the single-minded Cyclops so that he and his comrades can get away with the sheep.

Perhaps so-called failure was my success. I had stranded myself in an ark of civilization, a great library in the middle of nowhere. I was a complete failure, but I believed I was the richest man on Earth. I had no personal hope for success except to be one of the greatest authors the world would ever or never know, and I cared not which.

Well, now, having been taught by the works of the greatest authors I found in the stacks, I know I am not that great, but I stay on track, and I am happy with my small progress.

Ludwig Gumplowicz made me mad along the way because he said by the time one finds out what is really going on it is too late.

This all might seem to be “sour grapes” to those in want of other things, but the fruit is sweet to me. It is an escape from the pathetic little man that I was, into intercourse with the greatest minds, and for brief moments, the Mind.

My career is writing. I ask nothing for my work and expect nothing useful from it. I do appreciate everything I get, which over the last sixteen years is a few compliments, 16 Likes, and $50 from a Catholic magazine.

That’s just how I am. I can’t help it because I don’t want to help it. I know people can understand how I feel, for we have some things in common.

Lately I have experienced some regret, almost enough to make a grumpy old man out of a happy-go-lucky fool. I need to get out and around, meet some people. Liz took me to Wal-Mart on the I-95. I got some badly needed shoes and two pairs of trousers. That adventure convinced me that I need to expand my horizons materially, find the means somehow to travel to those places in Europe I dreamed of visiting on a train. Maybe I can save the world with me in it after all.

XYX

.

Call For Extirpation of Senate from Body Politic

Appendix

CALL FOR THE EXTIRPATION OF THE INFLAMED UNITED STATES SENATE FROM THE BODY POLITIC

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

AS  DEVIL’S ADVOCATE

The United States Senate should be abolished in favor of unicameral system of government or emasculated and a cabinet form of government established because its present structure is conducive to corruption and fatally flawed by the upper house of the legislature as is evident in the chaotic degeneration of government now figuratively headed by an utterly confused president who would himself agree with this proposition.

The United States Senate was fashioned after the House of Lords that evolved from the ancient English royal court, the king as font of law in council with his peers. The great council separated into an assembly of nobles and clergy, on the one hand, and an assembly of local representatives about 1341. A long struggle for power between lords and representatives ensued, with the lords dominating except for a brief period after a military coup resulted in the beheading of Charles I and the abolition of the upper house, which was restored after the civil war, albeit the influence of the crown was diminished by the turmoil, and even the more so during the Glorious Revolution when James II was deposed and the Bill of Rights enacted.

The progress of humankind, if by ‘progress’ one means historical advancement instead of decline, is in the freedom of all people from the unwanted domination of minorities known in Roman times as the few nobles or “known” ones, as was argued eloquently in France by Victor Cousin, a great friend of liberals in the fledgling United States. According to this view, the end of history is in a liberal democracy where people consent to government by their elected representatives.

Wherefore this progress of freedom from the arbitrary rule of an established minority favors a single assembly, a unicameral legislature, of a rational people free from irrational tyranny, and the constitutional right of the people to directly initiate legislation and to approve by referendum legislation proffered by their representatives when direct democracy is tenable given the size of the electorate—now the electronic age can accommodate the direct participation of large populations.

In fact direct democracy in unicameral council is an ancient device and an even prehistoric one where chiefs presided with the consent of their tribes without which they were conveniently assassinated if not deposed by a person who had that duty, most often a matriarch in civilized North American tribes.

So the notion of a unicameral legislature is nothing new, and is only revolutionary in the sense that a people are returning to the radical root of government by the people in overthrowing tyrants and reestablishing the priority of the majority over the minority whose policies they find most objectionable.

We are familiar with unicameral government in many cities of the United States as well as in the State of Nebraska, which is not only unicameral but happens to also be nonpartisan, not to mention the many unicameral legislatures throughout the world.

Unicameral governments are ideally suitable for conducting the people’s affairs in a businesslike fashion to everyone’s profit, while bicameral governments are vestiges of the struggle for domination of the war of all against all, conquest for self-enrichment, a contest of the rich for more riches at everyone’s expense, where true democracy is limited to and owned by the few power elite and vested interests.

Unicameral government suffered a major setback in Europe with the Revolutionary Terror in France. The outrages were in fact relatively few compared to the population, but they were horrible enough upon publication to frighten the wits out of nobility in neighboring countries, and even converted Hegel to a more conservative dialectic.

The Bourbon Restoration was moderated by political philosophers and activists known as Doctrinaires, who advocated “nationalizing” the monarchy by tempering its powers according to the general will of the people. Benjamin Constant, a French-Swiss Doctrinaire, took up in Principles of Politics (1815) the nebulous notion of the general will for which Rousseau is famous and deemed a totalitarian by archconservatives.

Arguably, there is really no such thing as the General Will, but the phrase is still meaningful to nominalists.

“The world knows only two kinds of power,” claims romantic Constant. “There is force, the illegitimate kind; and there is the legitimate kind, the general will.”

What we mean by “general will” is not a willful spirit in common but rather a general consent to be governed. The vast majority of people would rather be governed by experts so they may themselves engage in private pursuits. A revolution that returns us to our radical roots or primitive platform may be advocated by anarchists, who propose utopia without government, but the real anarchists among the soapbox teapots would use murderous means to replace the despots and become tyrants themselves.

“There are only two forms of government, if we may even give them that title at all, which are essentially and eternally illegitimate, because no society could want them: anarchy and despotism…. Despotism and anarchy are more alike than people think. In our era, people gave the name “anarchy,” meaning the absence of government, to a government which was the most despotic that has ever existed on earth: a committee of a few men, who endowed their functionaries with boundless power, with courts tolerating no appeal, with laws based on mere suspicions, with judgments without due process, with numberless incarcerations and a hundred judicial murders a day…. The Revolutionary government was most certainly not an absence of government….Government is the use of public force against individuals. When it is used to stop them hurting each other, it is a good government. When it is used to oppress them, it is a frightful government, but in no sense is it anarchic. The Committee of Public Safety was government; so was the Revolutionary Tribunal. The law of suspects embodied government too. This was detestable, but certainly not anarchic. It was not for lack of government that the French people were butchered by executioners. On the contrary, it happened only because executioners were doing the governing.”

Nobility everywhere, at least those who did not side with the people and assist the progress to freedom, considered majority rule by consent of the supermajority if not all people to be an anarchic rule by the rabble, which by all means should be constitutionally thwarted or at least tempered by a “first” or noble house of parliament. The fallacy, however, is in the association of the commons with anarchy and nobility with wisdom and order, for there is even more wisdom in the crowd than in the few; and the crowd is, sometimes to its misfortune, far more conservative than revolutionary.

Indeed, if what was in actually a changing of the guard in North America may be called a revolution, less than ten percent of the population that enjoyed the traditional English liberties initially wanted revolutionary independence from the mother country, and the rest were careful to demand that the Constitution be amended to include those English liberties in writing lest they be derived of them despite the assurances of leaders that the statement of those liberties would be redundant. Most of the revolutionary leaders were wealthy in comparison to the “rabble,” and were in want of more property free of British legal restraints. Taxes were not really onerous, so the cry of taxation without representation was raised. They wanted to be a law unto themselves.

Furthermore, since the representatives in a congress should be representing the people of one nation, the notion that the congress should be divided in two to protect the nation from an impetuous mob is absurd and constitutes the alienation of the governing power from the people to a foreign institution. And if one house is there merely to check the other, why not have three or four houses or houses ad infinitum until each citizen is a house to himself? The U.S. Senate no more protects the nation from itself as a mob, if that the poeple may be called, than the Electoral College protects the nation from the popular election of a madman as its head, which was its original intention.

As for France, no less than Jeremy Bentham warned his French “fellow-citizens” (‘On Houses of Peers and Senates’) of the liberal cosmos against having an upper house in their legislature. Bentham is a difficult read yet entertaining and enlightening if one is patient enough to delve into his voluminous work for his influences and to find that everything boils down to pain and pleasure and the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people, a utilitarian notion that may render people in sparsely populated areas quite unhappy in comparison to city dwellers.

That does not mean, however, that we need a Senate with two senators from each state. The popular representation in the House of Representatives is proportional to the populations of the states, and the states are protected from federal legislative intrusion by the Thirteenth Amendment. Our senators are few in number compared to representatives in the “lower” house, hence are better known (noble) and factitiously dignified by that recognition, and enjoy the power to kill or obstruct legislation proposed by the people’s assembly in order to bend the general will to the minority will. The tabling and delays and negotiations of modifications and amendments creates an illusion of rational deliberation as the real business is done in back rooms and in campaign calls for contributions from vested and moneyed special interests, thus do senators grow long in tooth in the senate, and wealthy to boot, with the cost of a seat in this modern day house of lords running into the millions of dollars.

Bentham identified the “influence” of notables with “corruption” and warned France not to be deluded by the trappings of the crown, the vestiges of which were established in the United States Senate but which are now being rightfully dragged in the mud with the unadulterated exposure of political prostitution.

The “influence” of the Senate in Benthamite terms would be a corrupt influence, and would be better spoken of as the “corruption” of the Senate.

To come home to your Chamber of Peers. — Part and parcel of the matter of corruption would be, every atom of honour, every atom of dignity, meaning always, factitious honour and factitious dignity, manufactured as above, – every spark of lustre, and every spark of splendour, possessed by the chamber of peers, or by any member of it, as such. Let it be called influence — influence simply, or legitimate influence—would it— now, at any rate, – be the less clearly seen to be the corruption that it is? Would not the speaking of it, as necessary, or even contributory, to the support of good government, be, by all lovers of good government, regarded as an endeavour to produce illusion?— maleficent illusion?

He speaks of “dignity” as a “sort of ignus fatuus,” a foolish fire or ghostly will-of-the-wisp light seen over marshes at night in the form of luminous balls that retreat when approached. These are unlike the gas street lamps that illuminate reality. Dignity “requires lustre and splendour for the support of it. Itself it is a necessary support to the throne: but then, this same self requires supports; and these are splendour and lustre, or lustre and splendour: one or both, which you please. ‘This that you are writing (I thinkI hear you, my children, saying) is stark nonsense.’ Yes: so it is, indeed: but nonsense cannot be appropriately represented without nonsense.”

The last sentence reminds us of the rabbi who replied to his students when they asked him to teach them the cabala that he could not teach nonsense, but he could teach them the history of nonsense.

We are disillusioned of the factitious exaltation of the U.S. Senate. Its virtue is exposed as vice. The U.S. Constitution needs amendment. We should witness the evolving wisdom of the mother country. Commons rules: the House of Lords has been emasculated. It is no longer the highest court in the land, and it can only temporarily delay legislation.

The people of the United States suffered long enough special interests who have amassed wealth and with it the ability to purchase legislation and corrupt the government, especially efficiently in the Senate, whose members are few in number.

The United States Senate should be abolished in favor of a unicameral legislature or at least emasculated. This nation of great common people needs to adopt the cabinet sort of government. We no longer have kings and should not worship temporarily elected kings as presidents. The president would not be elected but would be a chief executive chosen by the majority in Congress, where minorities would be protected as they are in the British Parliament.

The chaos today, if at all possible under that system, and any irresolvable dissonance tomorrow, would be resolved by a vote of no confidence, and elections would then be held for a new government, and not at an enormous waste of campaign funds that amount to legal bribery with big money at an enormous advantage.

xYx

August 4, 2017

Video Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

The Unhealthy United States Government

The Return of the Goddess Reason by Darwin Leon

THE UNHEALTHY UNITED STATES CONGRESS

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

17 July 2017 Miami Beach


The well has been poisoned. The present government is unhealthy. It is an enemy of the people at large and a friend to the power elite. Measures can be taken to restore it to health.

The struggle by a minority of Republican Congressmen to build a slim partisan majority to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act legislated by Democrats, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority or supermajority of the people oppose repeal, and also adamantly oppose replacement in the mean form proposed, exposes the naked truth about the current government, that it and its president is unpopular and therefore unstable, and is not a government by and for the people at large although they are theoretically responsible for it.

Fashions in politics can be as fickle as in clothes. Popularity is not always wonderful, for power does corrupt, wherefore majorities may be tyrannical and foster totalitarian governments.

Supermajorities protect the people against political whims in government, especially where basic human needs are at stake. The most fundamental need is health, and for that we need mutual care from birth to death.

Without health, life and liberty and property, not to mention happiness, whatever that may be, is at risk. We love our freedoms, as if we were all kings and queens in private domains. Yet those domains are by no means isolate.

Freedom is not an empty concept: We want freedom from impediments like tyranny, poverty, disease, and so on. Health care legislation is, as it were, a treaty that we as individuals have with each other, that we will come to the aid of one other when attacked by diseases, injuries, and old age.

Health is therefore not only a personal matter but is a vital collective concern. And it is so personal for everyone that the success of humanity depends on the personal health of every person. Legislation in that regard is so important that both the whole and the part should be secured by a healthy consensus so that simple slim majorities do not give things one day and take them away the next.

The United States is presently subject to a minority government that would be dismissed and a new election called for if its Constitution were amended to invoke a cabinet system of government led by a prime minister selected by the majority party or a risky coalition. That amendment would have to be proposed by either two-thirds of both houses of Congress or two-thirds of the states, and then be ratified by the legislatures or constitutional conventions of three-fourths of the states.

The drafters of the U.S. Constitution were wise to require a supermajority for fundamental acts, in this case to change the framework of the architecture for government. The Constitution also calls for a two-thirds supermajority for treaty ratification, expulsion from Congress, forgiveness of rebellions, impeachment conviction, restoration of authority to a president suspended for inability to perform his duties, and the override of a Presidential veto.

The American electorate has not been wise, however, to retain the vestiges of the tyranny against which the founders revolted, in the form of a temporary king in the president and the House of Lords in the Senate.

The mother country with its unwritten constitution has advanced since the invention of steam engines and automobiles. The Queen and Lords are respected, and at least two-thirds of subjects must have them to be British, yet Commons rules, and royalty and nobility is not an impediment to the people’s will or a check on the Commons except for the influence of respected opinions.

The United States does not need the Senate, whose members represent state elites and not the popular electorate, to check the famous madness of the members of the House of Representatives, who are supposed to represent the crowd the best they can. Under the present system they must do their best to keep the crowed deceived to maintain their seats. They too have been sickened by the poison flowing into the well from special interests.

The Senate loves to think of itself as a deliberative body of One Hundred Dignitaries, who slow things down by careful consideration based on reasoned debate, stall for amendments, or kill bills submitted by the House. That well has been polluted, not only by the almighty dollar they must constantly hustle for, but by mean partisanship sponsored by naturally selfish donors who have lots of money to invest in politics. It was thought that corruption would be more obvious in that noble house given fewer members, and it certainly is, but what are they to do for money until people can vote online so that votes and not dollars are the only political currency?

Wait a minute! What about the supermajority tradition of the Senate? What about the 60% needed to stifle the opposition from blocking bills and motions to even consider them? Forget about that. It is not yet in the Constitution or a statute. The Constitution says each house of Congress can make its own rules; they can do that at any time no matter what academics say.

The key word is “reconciliation.” There is a statute that allows for a simple majority to reconcile differences between the House and Senate in fiscal legislation. Why not stick anything which has to do with money, which is everything, into a reconciliation bill? The Byrd amendment to the statute provides that reconciliation bill may not include provisions that increase deficits ten years after the reconciliation. Senator Byrd sponsored the amendment because President Clinton wanted to rely on budget reconciliation to pass a 1993 health care plan.

Now the sponsors of the 2017 Better Care Reconciliation Act to replace the 2010 Health Care and Reconciliation Act, which was tacked onto the 2009 Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009 passed by the House 416-0 and approved 219-212 by the Senate after its health care amendment, do not want the nonpartisan budget office to review the half-baked repeal and quasi-amendment bill before voting on it—the House also skipped that input before voting on the bill it passed, and passed the buck to the Senate.

No, the Senate prefers to rely upon White House agencies for fiscal analysis including predictions of deficits. The President is pushing repeal and replace, and will be delighted to vindictively sign the legislation, cast by Democrats and some Republicans as a handout to the rich at the cost of the sick, poor, not to mention the middle class.

Many are those who are not in a charitable mood. The extent of our selfishness depends on how much we have; that is, the margin we have above our needs, and we think many of our wants are needs, say, that beer money if not the two cars in the garage. The extension of Medicare is quite frankly unpopular except among those who need it and the likes of Warren Buffet and other welfare capitalists.

To support relief to the wealthy during the currently prosperous time for them, the White House claims that the Congressional Budget Office was all wrong in its assessment of the consequences of Obamacare, that not enough have signed up for insurance under the Individual Mandate to spread the risk, so the insurance companies, to protect their vast coffers, are jacking up premiums or dropping out of the market.

The truth of the matter is that people, especially young and healthy ones, do not like to pay the fines required if they choose not to buy insurance. They would rather take the risk of an unexpected accident or illness, which might drive them into bankruptcy and force the public to pick up the medical tab anyway. Thus is the risk spread anyhow.

It is more than obvious to every logical person that the solution to this squabble, in terms of replacement, is a single-payer, Medicare-like plan, with benefits similar to those enjoyed by the Senators in their government plan. Then the United States could join other civilized countries with national health care plans. But reason goes down the drain with big deductions from earned income.

Whatever is done on the issue so vital not only to the survival of the nation but to the people should not be done lightly. That is, it should be done with their consent, and with a consensus.

Do you trust a simple majority in Congress and the President of the United States with your life in this vital matter? Only 30% do at this juncture.

Major health care legislation should be submitted to the people in a referendum that requires a supermajority. Let the people be a check on Congress in advance so they do not have to show up in the halls of Congress, as in this case, to demonstrate on crutches and in wheelchairs. Amendments to that legislation should require a 60% majority in Congress.

Why not just a simple majority in a referendum? The crowd is wise but only with experience, and we should be more certain of ourselves before getting it, because then it might be too painful for everyone concerned.

Take, for example, Great Britain’s popular 1975 decision to remain in, and then the 2017 popular decision to exit, the European commonality.

The House of Commons had voted 395-170 to continue in Common Market under new terms; that action was confirmed by a nonbinding referendum, the nation’s first ever, held 5 June 1975, with turnout of 64% and huge majority of Yeas over Nays of 8,908,508. The Question put was, “Do you think that the United Kingdom should stay in the European Community (the Common Market)?” Labour split on the issue, breaching collective Cabinet responsibility, so votes in Commons were carried only with opposition support, i.e. the issue was nonpartisan. There was a 64% turnout, with a huge majority of 8,908,508 Yeas over Nays, wherefore the referendum was hailed as the biggest support for government ever, hence popular.

Critics, however, said the nation was dead, that it had relinquished its sovereignty. A document on the discussion of sovereignty in parliament, kept secret for thirty years under the Thirty Year Rule, disclosed that Parliament thought it advisable to put consideration of Power before Sovereignty.

That makes sense. Would the people rather have the sovereignty of North Korea, or even Switzerland, or the political and economic power of the United States? After all, with or without the power, they shall still have sovereignty over their culture, still be Americans or Cosmopolitans.

The governing House of Commons considered the EU matter settled for 40 years, and then the BREXIT movement, narrowly approved in a referendum by a margin of 52% in 2016 to exit, as compared to 67% or two-thirds to remain in 1975. The turnout was 72% in 2016, considerable more than the 64% to remain in 1975, but the margin of Yeas over Nays was very slim to exit in 2016, only 1,291,501, whereas the margin to remain in 1975 was 8,908,508.

Now, then, before the feat has been fully accomplished, the British have had second thoughts due to bad experiences, foreboding even worse to come as the rest of Europe goes merrily on its way, so BREXIT may be reversed despite the strong nationalist feelings.

It is high time that the people of the United States take legislation into their own hands, purge Congress of its poison, and provide preventative, structural measures for their own sake. As it stands, almost everyone agrees that it is sick, and doom must be prophesied to invoke a cure. The cure can only come from people at large, who must themselves be healed, because the disease in their representatives begins with them.

xYx

The Revolutionary French Macron

macron

THE REVOLUTIONARY MACRÕN

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

July 14, 2017

‘Macron’ now means something more than a diacritical mark elongating vowels. The term presently purports revolution, the long-awaited revolution fomented by Immanuel Macron, the newly elected President of France, who convened Parliament at Versailles for a grandiloquent proclamation of reactionary principles for France: Efficiency, Representivity, and Responsibility.

Consequently Macron is ridiculed as a pretender to the throne of France as well as the revolutionary antidote to monarchy. But insiders who liken him to counter-revolutionary Napoleon Bonaparte draw a better likening.

Nevertheless, there is a whiff of liberal revolution, the overthrow of The System, a razing of a labyrinthine, Kafkaesque superstructure, and a return to primitive foundations, the retrograde movement towards radical roots that gave Hegel cause to revamp his dialectical musings as he feared the spread of the Revolution of revolutions, the French Revolution, to his native country.

True, Macron eschews violent overthrows of government, and he is not yet a dictator, but radical reform may gather momentum and go too far, for we know that the most efficient way to hold humans responsible is to cart them off to the scaffold for humane disposition.

In any case, he would export his counter-revolution to the world. He called upon Citizens to change their cynical attitudes so that France can be “the center of a new humanist project for the world.”

The United States of America, which has suffered the dialectic of the French Revolution within the American Revolution since the Declaration of Independence, is no longer the Beacon on the Hill that it once was. Yes, Americans, like the French, are “divided,” yet that is really nothing new since every in-dividual is theoretically divided from birth by the radical Me/We antagonism from which organizational conflicts evolve. The collective secures us so we love it, and that love is often based on the fear therefore hatred of others, for other collectives are a threat. We will wage war with France or other nations if they take the wrong side. So what is the global or catholic solution?

Macron believes inefficient organization is the obstacle to Life, Liberty, and Property—the last term was changed to Happiness in America. He does not preach Love as the solution, but material reorganization on scientific principles, as if politics, economics, sociology, and so on are really sciences the study of which can produce predictable outcomes. No less than Thomas Jefferson was swayed by that attitude on his visit to France during the Revolution there, which he blamed on Marie Antoinette. Jefferson fell in with the Ideologues, and became so enthused by the ideology of social science borrowed from physics that he replaced Theology with Ideology at his beloved university in Virginia upon his return to the states.

That being said, Macron is certainly not a materialist, for he exerts mind over matter, with thoughts “too complex for journalists” to understand, he said, when explaining why he would not make a traditional Bastille Day speech. We cannot read his mind, but we think a counter-revolutionary prejudice dissuaded him. We suppose he had contemplated the popular storming of the Bastille, a prison where the monarchy kept its political prisoners, although there were only seven inmates at the time. Upwards of two hundred revolutionaries were killed, and the superintendant of the jail was beheaded—one story claims his heart was ripped out and eaten. The recent terrorist attack in Nice on Bastille Day will never be forgotten. Such terrifying events tend to unify France, but for a sophisticate like Macron, they are in themselves repugnant.

Indeed, his thoughts are so complex that his approach to unity was described as “mystical.” His Versailles speech was short on details, as is typical with inspiring, high-flown rhetoric. The nation would realize the principles of Efficiency, Representation, and Responsibility by virtue of a social contract with the people.

That contract would apparently be in the underlying spirit of Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s Du contrat social of 1762, which differs somewhat from John Locke’s The Second Treatise of Government, claimed to be a foundational document for political theory in the fledgling United States, which really did not have much of a theory because its history was virtually new, and reading the Bible and the biographies of its founding fathers sufficed for knowing what to do.

According to Locke, people would be moved by natural law to form a government to defend life, liberty and property, and their freedom would be guaranteed the constitutional contract for representative government. Locke puts the state over the individuals consenting to it as “one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and determination of the majority; for that which acts any community being only the consent of the individuals of it, and it being necessary to that which is one body to move one way, it is necessary the body should move that way whither the greater force carries it, which is the consent of the majority.”

With Locke we have an overwhelming power of numbers, and, since a great number of people may not consent to the acts of a majority, the possibility of the tyranny of the majority of representatives beholden not to the people at large but to factions and special interests. The solution as always is the right of people to overthrow “their” government, and good luck to them with that project.

Rousseau would have the people directly represent themselves with the guidance of a charismatic leader in accordance with the impetus of the universal ‘We’ of all individuals, namely, the mystical General Will. That man must be Macron, and presumably the General Will would be done even if his reforms are obstructed because he will call for a referendum to effect them.

Macron declared to the Parliament order to Versailles that from efficiency, representivity, and responsibility he wants a “contractual republic” to emerge, a contract between citizens and the republic, a direct relationship that has been destroyed by the mechanical exercises of parliament. For one thing, he would reduce the number of representatives in both houses, which now number well over 900, by a third. Simple laws could be made by parliamentary commissions instead of in full sessions.

Legislation must be streamlined to address pressing issues and suit the changing needs of the people. Lawmakers should draft laws more quickly and legislate less. We might add that, if a contradiction lies therein, never mind, for it is, as Luther once famously said of self-contradictory theology, one of God’s mysteries.

Rather than debate over whether or not merely changing an organizational form can save people of different cultures from themselves, let us presume that our present constitution or architecture of government, which we believe is better than the Constitution of France although there are archaic similarities, is not the best at present because times have changed.

Taking the cue from Macron in France, we have known for some time that the members of the United States Congress have lost touch with the people of the United States. There is no real or mystical bond between the government and the people. The people are represented well only intermittently, and then by a minority able to persuade special interests to go along. The Congress has been poisoned. It has become the enemy of the people. It is the de facto cabinet of the privileged elite, a small minority that has sway over the vast multitude whose freedom has become an institutional prison.

So where is our charismatic efficiency expert, and what would he recommend to amend our constitution? He is no Macron, for he would enjoy consorting with workers in their dining establishments and union halls, and attend well to the welfare of the disadvantaged, hopefully investing in Louis Blanc’s national workshops. If they are to be responsible, they must have the means. He has already said he would free people from the straightjackets of their cultural origins, but he had better watch his step there, and observe how many revolutions Chinese culture has survived.

Our own long-awaited Macron would recommend, for example, abolishing the United States Senate as a “check” upon the so-called democratic House of Representatives. The nobles should get down off their high horses and sit with the people. If a check is needed, that check should be the people in an electronic referendum.

Modest cabinet amendments to the wording of our Constitution would render the legislature and the president immediately responsible to the majority of representatives, who could with a vote of no confidence dismiss the cabinet with its president and call for a new election. In fact, that might be done today if we had the amendment, but then again, perhaps not, for the representatives might really represent us with a two-thirds consensus in major matters.

xYx

Rights of Man 1789  – 2. The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression

Healthcare is Poisoned

THE WELL HAS BEEN POISONED

BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

The Well. The town may be changed,
But the well cannot be changed,
It neither decreases nor increases.
They come and go and draw from the well.
If one gets down almost to the water
And the rope does not go all the way,
Or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.

The founders of the United States were not saints. They warned us that factions would spoil the nation with tyranny, and that has become especially true with the culmination of the continuous effort of a minority political faction to repeal or replace instead of improve the hard-won Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 despite the wishes of an overwhelming majority of constituents.

What folly! How such fools were elected in the first place except by fools is a wonder. It is a bitter pill to swallow that we deserve the leaders we elect.

Health is the most vital concern one can have, essential to life therefore liberty and happiness, yet the American version of the House of Lords, in collusion with an uncommon version of the House of Commons, would, by taking away what was previously given as a privilege although it should be a right to live, condemn millions of people to poverty disease and untimely death, all for the sake of more money in the pockets of the wealthy factions whom they serve.

Ironically, Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest old men living, says he does not need the money, that he is quite satisfied living in the same old house on a hundred-grand or so a year, and contributing his good fortune to charity.

We have in mind an image, water over wood, the image of The Well, and the Superior Man encouraging the people at their work, exhorting them to help one another. But the image may not materialize under the Inferior Man, and it is prophesied that neither people nor animals can drink from this old well. The jug breaks as we try to pull it from the mud. There are a few fish in the well hole, so we may shoot at them in vain, hence the old adage that shooting fish in a barrel is not easy. Note that arrows were meant in those days, for today the repercussions from a bullet fired into a barrel would kill all the fish therein after hitting only ten-percent of them.

The tragedy here is that a clean healthcare well, a national health care program such as those enjoyed in civilized countries, was proposed before it was contaminated by greed. It is called here a single-payer or Medicare-like plan. Everyone would have major medical insurance at least. There might be co-pays for people who could afford them. And people could buy supplemental insurance. Yes, of course, individuals would be mandated to chip into the fund as part of their social security contribution, and the deduction based on their earnings would show on their paychecks or tax returns. Let them complain if the deduction is too high, and rid the system of fraud, greed, and waste.

But even the Democrats would not drink from a clean well because our political system is inherently corrupt. They were too busy spending most of the day raising funds from the special interests to remain in power.

But wait! It is not too late to line the well to protect it from leaking and poisons. We imagine a clear, cold stream replenishing the well, from which everyone can now drink.

Perhaps then we may not blame the politicians for poisoning our well. Do we realize how difficult it is for a politician to raise money for a factitious campaign platform and walk a high wire with thousands of people pushing one way or another for something or the other? No less than Carl Schmidt noted that, given the conflicting interests, the only way politicians could get anything done is to lie.

Sure, some politicians can get away with integrity from time to time, but the system is damned. Why revere systematic corruption because it is traditional? The Constitution has served us well at times, but times have radically changed and it needs amendment or replacement. No? Then why not go back to horses and buggies and death at 35-years of age or less?

If we are interested in our health as a nation, we need to reform not only the healthcare system and morality of our people; we need to radically reform the architecture of our government. That much has become increasingly clear.

Yes, our forefathers were wise, even wiser than we are, blinded as we have become by our institutions. There has been little or no progress in fundamental morality per se and the basic motives of our kind for thousands of years, so people still hold the original texts sacred. What has changed is technology, and that presents an immense possibility for ethical improvement, so that we may in all ways go where no man has gone before in our approach to the good of humankind.

Making those improvements we may draw from The Well without hindrance because it is once again dependable. Supreme Good Fortune.