Repeal of Presidentail Two Term Limits

The other day i was listening to the radio and heard an ad that said that “Obama and his cronies” were planning on destroying the constitution by throwing out the 22nd amendment, limiting presidents to two terms. My immediate reaction was “oh god, here they go again”. Couldn’t accept the the fact that he was re-elected and now they are deathly afraid that he is all set to start a dictatorship.

I did a little research and lo and behold, to my surprise there actually IS a joint house resolution proposing an amendment to abolish presidential term limits.

This bill was introduced by Representative Jose Serrano (D NY-15) on January 4, 2013 and was sent to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, which has jurisdiction on constitutional amendments.  This subcommittee is headed by Representative Trent Franks (R AZ-08) and consists of 12 members, 7 Republicans and 5 Democrats.  The current make up is shown below.

What is interesting is that this is not the first time this type of bill has been introduced, and not even the first time by this particular Representative. Representative Serrano has introduced this resolution during every session of congress since 1997. What is more interesting is that this has been during the tenure of presidents from both parties. Every time he has introduced this resolution, it has never made it passed the committee stage to reach a floor vote. I went to his website to see if he stated why is is so fascinated by repealing term limits for presidents but i could not find anything on this topic. I even searched for the resolution number in his site, and it came up with nothing.

According to Govtrack.us, the first legislation submitted to remove the term limits was sponsored by Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R MI) in 1986 that would have allowd President Regan to run for a third term. He sponsored similar resolutions in 1987, 1989, and 1991. Other congressmen did the same as well. A history of legislation repealing the 22nd amendment is listed below.

As can be seen, both parties of guilty of trying to “create dictatorships”. Why do they do this? I wish I knew.but my guess is that it may be their way of a pat on the back for a president the individual congressman (or senator) happens to particularly like or it may just be something to pad their “look what i have sponsored” list to his constituents. I mean, I took a look at Rep Serrano’s list of sponsorships, and found among others, a bill to allow members fo congress to administer the oath of allegiance to immigrants, a General Slocum Memorial Study Act, ( come on, this was a steamboat that blew up) I don’t mean to single him out, but he is the one who is sponsoring this these bills. I’m sure others are doing the same thing. The point is, though, is that this isn’t a first time attempt to repeal this amendment. So when these panic merchants come out with that Obama and his cronies are attempting to create a dictatorship, look at the number of times “dictatorships” have been attempted to be created, and how successful they have been, It is just part of a normal pattern of bills submitted. The 22nd amendment is still in force.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, since this legislation is to repeal and add an amendment to the constitution, the president would not sign the bill, even if it passed both houses. It would be submitted to the states for approval; a very difficult task. Secondly, this current bill is in a subcommittee controlled by Republicans. What are the chances of a bill that would be advantageous to arguably the most vilified (by his enemies) president in the history of the country, getting through this committee? Zilch.

The prognosis for this bill is obviously not good. According again to Govtrack.us, In 2011-2013 12 % of joint resolutions made it past committee and of that only 5% were enacted or passed from the period 2011-2013. It’s prognosis for this legislation is 0% getting through the committee and 0% being enacted or passed.

How do I feel about it personally? I am against repealing the 22nd. Two terms is enough for anybody. it’s good to get some fresh blood in there periodically.

I’m just convinced now that these people who are screeching and howling “coup de tat”, and a fascist is in office, a dictatorship is coming, etc are just telling the world that for whatever reason, they couldn’t (and can’t) accept the fact that Obama is president. To be against Obama is fine, but don’t question the legitimacy of his presidency.

SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION AND CIVIL JUSTICE

Mr. Chabot (R OH) Mr. Nadler (D NY)
Mr. Forbes (R VA) Mr. Conyers (D MI)
Mr. King (R IA) Mr. Scott (D VA)
Mr. Gohmert (R TX) Mr. Cohen (D TN)
Mr. DeSantis(R FL) Mr. Deutch (D FL)

HISTORY OF LEGISLATION TO REPEAL 22nd AMENDMENT

HOUSE

Sponsor: Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R-MI)

1986 (99th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/99/hjres687(Pres. Ronald Reagan (R))

1987 (100th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/100/hjres156(Pres. Ronald Reagan (R))

1989 (101st Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/101/hr404(Pres. George H. W. Bush (R))

1989 (101st Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/101/hjres84(Pres. George H. W. Bush (R))

1991 (102nd Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/102/hjres61(Pres. George H. W. Bush (R))

Sponsor: Rep. Michael McNulty (D-NY)

1993 (103rd Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/103/hjres107(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1995 (104th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/104/hjres71(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres39(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

Sponsor: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

1995 (104th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/104/hjres68(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres38(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1999 (106th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/106/hjres24(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

Sponsor: Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres88(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

2005 (109th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/hjres24(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

Sponsor: Rep. David Dreier (R-CA)

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres51(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

Sponsor: Rep. José Serrano (D-NY)

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres19(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1999 (106th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/106/hjres17(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

2001 (107th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/107/hjres4(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

2003 (108th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/108/hjres11(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

2005 (109th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/hjres9(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

2007 (110th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/hjres8(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

2009 (111th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hjres5(Pres. Barack Obama (D))

2011 (112th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hjres17(Pres. Barack Obama (D))

2013 (113th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hjres15(Pres. Barack Obama (D))

SENATE

Sponsor: Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

1989 (101st Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/101/sjres36(Pres. George H. W. Bush (R))

Sponsor: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

1995 (104th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/104/sjres23(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

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My Paranormal Interest and Experience

ImageOne of my favorite pastimes is the reading and watching articles and programs about the paranormal. I think it’s fun to look into the possibility about what happens after death. I follow the “news from the spirit world” on WordPress, plus New England Ghost Chronicles and Jeff Belanger’s Ghost Village newsletter, just to name a few. On TV, I watch Ghost Adventures on a regular basis, and used to watch Haunted Highways. Whenever the History Channel has a “haunted xxxx” on, I watch that too. I also used to watch “Most Haunted” from England. I really like these shows because not only was the Paranormal elements interesting and visible both visually and aurally, but the always go to interesting places so I also look at them as travelogues. I also watch “Dead Files” but I am becoming less convinced of the validity of that show because it seems like every episode something new weird happens that I’ve never seen on other shows or blogs, such as shape shifting, an entity putting together things to create a poltergeist, etc. Maybe it is me, but it just is starting to sound too far fetched for me. I also used to watch Ghost Hunters and it’s cousin, Ghost Hunters International. However, it became clear to me that I wasn’t hearing or seeing what the hosts and team said they were hearing or saying. In fact, it seems to me that it has come the point where they tell their clients and the viewers what to hear and see. I’m sorry, but during the reveals, when they are playing the EVPs, all I hear most of the time is static. Then the hosts say “doesn’t it sound like they are saying <xxx>? ” The client, of course agrees. Same with visual reveals. In my opinion, they suggest to the client and viewers what they want them to see. Am I missing something? Maybe. But that is what I get from that show.

Anyway, one day awhile ago, the family was out of town so i decided to got take some pictures at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in (you got it) Hollywood, Ca. Now, not only is this cemetery just downright beautiful, but it is the story of Hollywood and the motion picture industry. All the early people and later power players are resting there. Florence Lawrence,(The Biograph Girl) is there, along with Rudolph Valentino, C, B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr., Bugsy Siegel, and a whole slew of others. It is truly a trip back in time.

So there I was, doing my thing, taking pictures with my cell phone camera, and at one point I happen to stumble on the grave of Anna Maria De Carrascosa, the “Lady in Black” who dropImageped off flowers annually at Valentino’s crypt. I decided to take a picture of the headstone, just for the heck of it. When I snapped the picture, the phone went completely dead. Nothing. I came in with a full charge and even had it on Airplane Mode until I got to the cemetery, so the battery couldn’t have been the problem. And it wasn’t. I was able to turn the phone back on and have it boot up. As soon as it did this, I tried to take another picture of the headstone. Same thing. Power went completely dead. Turned the phone back on, no problem, it rebooted and the battery was still at full charge. Tried a picture again. Once more, the power went off. Turned it back on, tried to take a picture once more. Again, the power went off. So this time, I turned the phone back on and waited for it to boot up. Once it did this, I turned around (at the grave) and took a picture of the other side of the park. The picture came out perfectly. So then I turned around and tried to take the picture of the headstone, and -BAM- out went the power. It really seemed that Anna was determined to prevent me from taking a picture of her headstone. I don’t know why, I wasn’t doing any harm to it or anything. I didn’t even touch it But at that point I was getting really frustrated so I  just looked at the headstone and said ” Listen Anna, I’m here to take pictures, and pictures are what I am going to get. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is if you let me have the two seconds I need to take the picture, after which I promise I will go away and not bother you anymore. The hard way is for me to stay here and keep trying to take the pictures until I either get one or the park closes and they kick me out. You obviously don’t want me here, so what would you rather have? Me here for just a few more seconds, or eight more hours? And don’t think I’m bluffing about the eight hours; I have nothing else to do today. So which is it? The ball is in your court.”  I waited a few seconds, turned on the phone, let it boot up, and tried once more to take the picture. Lo and Behold! The picture came out beautifully. So I faced the headstone and said ” Thank you Anna, I sincerely appreciate it”. And then I kept my word and left her, went to another section of the park and never even came close to her section the rest of the day.

Was this a paranormal experience? I like to think it is. Given the number of times the phone went dead, then worked when i wasn’t pointing it at Anna, then fails again, then works when I have a talk with her, makes me feel that this was more than just a series of coincidences
. Again, it sure seemed like Anna didn’t want any pictures taken. But I am thankful to her for listening to my what was frankly, a threat, not reasoning(let’s be honest here) and letting me get the picture. And I have kept my word to her. Whenever I have gone back there, I have left her alone to be in peace.

So there you have it. I had a previous experience while in college, but I think this one is the most interesting. Again, if you can, go visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I am sure that Anna is not the only ghost there.

Image

The New Pope and his Immediate International Dilema

I truly feel sorry for the new Pope Francis. He is hardly into his reign when he is being immediately confronted by an international crisis that he cannot possibly win either way. I am talking about the Falkland Islands, the archipelago east of Patagonia, Argentina which is claimed by that nation to be their territory, but is actually under British rule.

The rhetoric between Argentina and the UK has been heating up of late. The Argentinian olympic team filmed an ad there and said that “to compete on british soil we practice on argentine soil”. In January Argentine president Christina Kirchner sent an open letter to the UN and British Prime Minister David Cameron calling on the UK to hand the Islands back.

Both Cameron and the Foreign Office flatly rejected those claims, saying that it should be left up to the Islanders. And, they decided. They had the referendum, and only 3 votes were cast that said they should not be British.

What is going to happen, i am afraid, is that the new pope will be caught between his motherland and keeping diplomatic relations with England on an even keel. When the white smoke first started puffing out, I could see a situation where the Argentine government would start putting pressure on the pope to use his influence to get what they want. And sure enough, today, March 18, Kirchner became the first head of state to meet with the pope, and she raised the issue with him.

Last week, Cameron raised the fact that as Cardinal, the pope had frequently claimed that the Falklands did belong to Argentina. And in fact,  at a mass last year, the future pope did say in front of  Argentine veterans of the 1982 war that they were there to “reclaim what is theirs”, and that the UK had usurped the islands. In the same breath, Cameron pointed out that the referendum was pretty clear as to the desires of the population.

Now, this may or may not mean that the pope will automatically side the Argentina. As Cardinal Bergoglio, he and Kirchner had clashes, primarily over gay marriage and gay adoptions. But who is to say that his previously documented attitudes towards the Falklands may change?

Now, it is obvious that things have not always been fine between the Vatican and the UK ever since Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church and founded the Church of England. Diplomatic relations were established to the Ambassadorial level only in 1982, ironically, the year of the Falklands war.  Any outward signs of favoritism towards Argentina in this issue will only harm the Vatican diplomatic standing to the Court of St James. In my opinion, this issue and where he goes with it could very well undo the legacy of reconcilliation with the UK that John Paul II’s visit accomplished.

Either way, he is going to feel it from both sides. And there is just no way he can come out a winner on this. If he sides with the UK, Argentina will undoubtedly brand him a traitor,  and if he sides with Argentina, he will alienate not only the government of the UK, but the Catholics residing there as well.  This pressure will not be going anywhere soon, what with the level of rhetoric being what it currently is.

I wonder if the Cardinals in the conclave that elected him had this controversy in mind. They have heard and read the news; i guess they just chose to ignore it. Well, whatever. They elected this pope, and they cant undo it. Either way, the potential for damage to the church is very real. This pope, I am sure, realizes that there is going to be one very unhappy group of people out  there, and he will have to be very skillful at damage control to repair the hurt feelings that are sure to arise from this global issue.

Podcasts! Podcasts! Podcasts!

podcastsBoy, do I ever like podcasts! I originally got my Ipod to listen to music and videos, but I use it more now to listen to podcasts. There is so much information out there to listen to, from news and sports to culture to hobbies and even many lectures from universities are now in podcast form. I am finding myself watching less TV and listening more to the ipod. It is almost like the days before TV, when families gathered ’round the radio.

I have so many that i just dont have time to listen to all of them. I sometimes takes a couple of months for me to get around to all of them. At last count, I subscribe to 30 podcasts, and have several episodes of each on my ipod. If I categorize them, I would have a couple on coffee, several on the paranormal, at least two on history, (including a great on on the history of WWII)  a couple from c-span to cover the days’ happenings in Washington, plus various ones on different topics such as watches, folk music etc.

Most of the ‘casts i subscribe too, though are from the BBC, with a grand total of 9, ranging from talk shows, to documentaries, history to politics; even my favorite Sunday night activity, Prime Ministers Questions. The BBC has podcasts on just about every topic. They have taken the format of podcasting to best advantage. The Atlantic Monthly used to have pretty good ones, but I cant find them anymore. Bob Edwards from NPR had a great interview podcast, but he stopped those, which is a real shame.

For me podcasts offer an infinite world of knowledge, information and entertainment. The range of topics is unlimited,you can lean and improve yourself in so many ways, and the best part is that all of mine have been free! Just get Itunes or other sites on the web, and there you go! It’s just like having Mark Twain read one his stories to you in person. God help me, but how I do love podcasts!

Hugo Chavez and Evita/(Juan) Peron

A few days ago I posted on Facebook that I was wondering when a musical called “Hugo” would come out similar to “Evita” . I did this in a pseudo sarcastic/joking way, but in actuality it could happen. The Perons and Chavez legacies are almost parallel.

Chavez came from the military as did Juan Peron. Both were part of military coups that overthrew their existing governments. Evita, however, became the voice for Peron during his administration, while Chavez did his own speaking.

They were both extremely charasmatic populists, focusing their attention on the poor of their nations, espousing an “us against them” agenda, For Chavez it was primarily the USA, George Bush, democracy in general and other “historical enemies”.  For Evita was the the very rich of Argentina.  They both made the poor feel that they were important; that the leadership was on their side, that they were the champions of their lot. And they both nurtured and enhanced that image. Never mind that Chavez traveled in a personal Airbus worth $65 million and wore clothes by one of the top fashion designers in Caracas, and the Evita lived a life of high fashion and luxury.

Taking advantage of commodity booms, (Argentina beef and grain, Venezuela, oil) They both did some good for their countries. Evita for instance pushed for the legalization of voting rights for women, raised worker wages,built schools and hospitals, and put a time limit on daily working hours. Chavez raised the literacy rate in Venezuela to 93% , 96% of the population now has access to clean water, and there has been a a massive drop in infant mortality, from 25/1000 in 1990 to 13/1000 in 2010.

And yet in Venezuela,Caracas has one of world’s highest murder rates, the infrastructure, (roads, bridges, power grids, food shortages) are falling apart. And in Argentina, the economy started to slow down, the opposition got braver in terms of publicly opposing him, which eventually led to his overthrow. In both of these cases, the issues were swept under the rug by the populist method of blaming outside entities, such as Bush and the US in the case of Chavez, and any foreigners (especially the UK) in Argentina.

In short, they both used a populist method of statesmanship where they appealed to the emotions of the down-trodden, where responsibility and blame for the nations ills were thrown on not the governing, but on external, non-controllable forces that they would be sure would always be convenient scapegoats.

Will the political philosophy of Chavez still remain in Venezuela 60 years after his death much like Peronism is in Argentina today?  I think that is a very real possibility, as his supporters will pass on his legacy to their kids and grandkids to the point where he will become a legend. Even today, Argentina is sabre rattling about the Falkland Islands, again, using that populist mentality against the UK, even though they lost a war about it not too long ago. Get those emotions stirred against outside parties! Same thing could be happening in Venezuela for decades to come.

Was Chavez brilliant politician? Absolutely. To get the level of affection and loyalty that his people have shown and to have stayed in power for so long he would have to be. An interesting personality? Again, you bet. A cross between a demagogue and a father figure. A perfect model for a musical. But before “Hugo the Musical” comes out, I would like to see if one can be written for the American politician who, like Evita and Chavez was every inch a populist and brilliant politician as those two were. I am referring to, of course, Huey P. Long of Louisiana.

Prime Minister’s Questions

british_houses_of_parliamentI like to close out my weekend every Sunday night at 9PM by turning on CSPAN and watching the UK  Prime Ministers Questions session in the House of Commons. I really enjoy the passion and the exchange of barbs between the PM and leader of the opposition, in addition to the members of the house. I have always thought that we here in the US are wrong by not having a similar event each week in the house of representatives, with the President and his cabinet.  In my mind, it lets the politicians blow off steam at each other, which is always fun to watch, please it keeps them on their tows by having constituents keep in touch with their congressmen in the hope that whatever issue, however trivial it may seem, may get raised and addressed. Secondly, with the President, his cabinet, and the representatives all there, it would, it seems to me make them more accountable for policies; to correct any failures, defend any positions, and who knows, maybe even a fresh idea or two may come out of it. One thing I am almost positive would come out of it; people would get a greater interest in their government, and start more active participation in it.

Something struck me last night as I was watching it. During one part, a remark was made regarding the number of candidates running for office in a particular district. The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, made a joke that “Sara Palin….at least she is not a candidate for…” as a response to yelling from one of the back benchers Now lets face it; with the exception of when she was candidate for VP, she really hasn’t been a major world political player; looked on sometimes as something of a joke domestically (of which i have views on that, but later) but internationally, no. It impressed me to no end that those across the pond are familiar with political players and issues  in the US, but we here have much less of an idea of what is happening in Europe, Canada and the rest of the world. (and i would gather that a good portion of the population here dont know who their congressional representatives and senators are, not to mention their representatives at the state level)  That is just plain sad. I wish that our domestic news organizations and schools would pay closer attention to what is happening in the rest of the world. The BBC is a perfect model. On their website they have links for the US and Canada, Asia, Europe, the Middle East etc. You go to CNN world edition and they are not even close. The BBC covers issues and goes into depth on them as if they were local issues. At the very least, I would hope that the schools would use the BBC as a basis for lesson for current events. In this world economy and shrinking globe due to social networking, we cant afford not to be in touch with what is happening.

I realize that this turned into a two-pronged blog, but I do feel passionately about both of them. If we had a US version of Questions/Answers, it could only improve things with our trust and maintaining accountability of the government, and we need to dump our isolationist world view, as it were.