Castor And Pollux:
Two proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States.


Cassiel C. MacAvity



One of two of a pair of proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States:
A presidential line item veto.


All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.

The President of the United States may reduce or eliminate one or more items of appropriation while approving other portions of Any Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate. The President of the United States shall append to the bill a statement of the items reduced or eliminated with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.

If after such Reconsideration of veto or partial veto two thirds of that House shall agree to pass that which was vetoed, such shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which such vetoed items shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, such shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill and its parts shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.



Two of two of a pair of proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States:
The uninfringed right of arms for individual and also national self defense.


Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, and as a militia and standing armed forces are best formed by the extremely practiced and able, regular and uninfringed enhancement of such skill and preparation are particularly encouraged of all individuals.


The procedure for amending the Constitution of the United States.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

   

    Castor and Pollux are a pair of legendary twins, siblings, almost mirror images, a pair where each has features that the other does not have. While each functions well alone, the pair, together, lead to so much more.

    Of the history of Castor and Pollux, I have found the website of the scientific education oriented Clark Foundation, at http://www.clarkfoundation.org/astro-utah/vondel/gemini.html

"In classical Greece the stars were named Castor and Pollux, legendary twins born of immortal Zeus and the mortal Leda, wife of the king of Sparta. Thus, Pollux was immortal and Castor mortal. They were brothers of beautiful Helen of Troy, for whom the Trojan War was fought. The Twins were known as well educated, strong and daring, yet gentle lads, who became healers, physicians and protectors of humankind. They were among Jason's crew of argonauts in quest of the Golden Fleece. On that voyage, a fierce storm threatened the mission, but abated as a pair of stars appeared over the heads of Castor and Pollux. Since that time seamen have called upon the brothers for protection from peril, and the erie lightning phenomenon, sometimes called St. Elmo's Fire, has been thought of as the spirits of the twins playing in the sails, a good omen for sailors. Castor, a horseman, and Pollux, a boxer, fell in love with beautiful sisters who were already betrothed to suitors. The Twins challenged and slew their rivals, but Castor was mortally wounded. Overcome with grief, the immortal Pollux would have committed suicide in order to be with his brother, but this was impossible. In the end, Zeus placed both their immortal souls together in the sky as symbols of brotherly love, the precept they had so gallantly demonstrated throughout their lives on earth.

"Romans called the stars the "Twin Brethren" and associated them with the principle of brotherhood considered to lie at the foundation of their empire. In Egypt they became Horus the Elder and Horus the Younger. In Babylon they were the "Great Twins," and they were viewed as twins in Arabia as well. In China they were Yin and Yang, representing eternal dualism, the two halves of a circle, and contrasting principles of existence.

"Statues and temples have been erected to Castor and Pollux and they have been carved as figureheads of ships. Indeed, the Apostle Paul sailed on such a ship from the Isle of Melita on his journey to Rome. In Acts 28:11 we read: "And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux." Images representing these stars have been placed on Greek and Roman coins and Babylonian boundary stones as well as on charts of the sky. Most recently, they have been engraved again in history as a critical part of our journey into space. Project Gemini placed two men aboard one spacecraft into Earth orbit. Like argonauts of old, our astronauts went in quest of experience leading to new capability at the cutting edge of exploration."

    Just as Castor and Pollux are a pair of discrete, different individuals also emphatically linked, then likewise the concepts of budgetary fine tuning and general individual enhancement and capability also remain linked. This applies anywhere and at any time, but currently in the early 21st century, this particularly applies here in the United States.

    Here in the US, political occurrences of the last several years have had governmental decisions yawing back and forth across the political spectrum, within the framework of the US electoral system. One recurring feature has been regularly bloated federal budgets accompanied by howls regarding particularly focused appropriations. In particular, even as such budgets have tended to appear more at the behest of the Republicans than the Democrats, the greatest claims to financial capability have still been made by the former, particularly while slashing taxes, but not budgets. On a different scale, more individual and less economic, personal and national defense have continued to involve claims of uncertainty regarding the ownership of firearms, among other personal tools, as well as the placement of commas in the Second Amendment to the US constitution.

    On the financial side, the current national budget involves a massive deficit as the national and world economies continue into a major recession. On the personal defense side, a recent Supreme Court decision has reinforced the fact that individual personal defense is a guaranteed right of all, particularly as firearms and other weapons remain entirely and easily accessible by the general public regardless of various attempts to deny such open possession. In both of these paired occurrences, both concerns can be addressed with the pair of amendments here proposed, and recent developments have arranged that exactly these two amendments can have the support they need.

    In the 2008 US national elections, the results included the election of Barak Obama to the presidency, and the control of both the Congressional House of Representatives and Senate by the Democrats. In the House, the Democrats hold at least 255 votes, and in the Senate at least 58 votes, counting two independents who regularly caucus with the Democrats. For a Constitutional amendment to pass either chamber of Congress, the minimum numbers are 290 in the House, and 67 in the Senate. With these numbers, while the Democrats have the great majority, support of both parties is needed for any amendment to pass, which means that the features and advantages of each of these amendments must be looked at to coordinate such completion.

    Of the line item veto, granting the President of the United States this capability adds a degree of control to a process that was placed in the Constitution from the beginning. Currently, just any old thing can be tossed into an appropriation bill, and often is. When such a bill reaches the President, the bill can be signed in its entirely, or vetoed, also in its entirety. If the latter, when two thirds of each house agree, that veto can be overturned and the bill then becomes a law.

    With a line item veto, particular items can be stripped out of a bill, leaving the rest, where the same controls remain as with an all or nothing veto. If two thirds of both houses still support any or all of the vetoed items, then the veto is overridden, whether the President likes it or not. In turn, with the line item veto, particular budget items such as emergency relief can pass Congress and the President, even as unnecessary items such as an entire large sports facility in a small town can get vetoed. The money for the vetoed item can be saved for genuine concerns; the extra taxes needed for that sports facility can be left in the pockets of the citizens who may have otherwise had their taxes go up because of it.

    Of the self defense amendment, the individual rights that it emphasizes have themselves been in the Constitution since the passing of the bill of rights. Furthermore, aside from reinforcing and reminding of a basic right of all individuals, the amendment also provides another reminder of the futility of attempting to prohibit any action of an individual that only another individual can seek to prevent.

    Examples of this futility have included, over time, the blatantly unsuccessful attempts to ban the following; Individual thought and expression. The creation, sale, and use of particular books. The creation, sale, and use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The personal ownership, ongoing immediate possession, and use of firearms and other weapons. The marriage of any two or more consenting human adults. Abortion. Various forms of physical manipulation and mutilation. Assorted social practices.

    Over time and with reason, there have been arguments against many of these, but all of these have remained within the capability of human action, even in the midst of totalitarian hatred and wholesale imprisonment of entire populaces. In turn, of this particular amendment, not only does it work against futile attempts to constrict the unstoppable, it also acts to reinforce a basic human right that provides the essential foundation of just about every other human right. No, Ben Franklin did not state that Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch and that Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote, but the fact does still apply.

    The Congress which successfully passes this pair of amendments is the one which will have all the immediate benefits of such passage. In turn, of those in the next Congress who follow, these who pass these amendments will be able to give this benefit to their heirs, and not to the heirs of someone else. Currently, the 2009-2010 President and Congress share in the same general philosophy. This shared situation did not exist following the 1994 Congressional elections. The 1994 Congressional elections featured the continuation of President Bill Clinton, but also brought in Newt Gingrich and his Contract On America. In 2010 will be the first electoral assessment of the preceding two years and anything to assist those who are now incumbent will be of very definite interest in these next two years, as well as beyond.

    Of the states and their part in the amendment passage, 43 governors already have the line item veto. Details and advantages are already known, thus enhancing awareness for a decision. Various states do have different approaches to the already established rights of self defense but consideration of an enhancing self defense amendment brings up some very interesting possibilities which are discussed below.

    With early and speedy passage of the line item veto amendment, a President of the United States who is beginning a four year term thus very quickly benefits all the allies in Congress, as well as the nation as a whole.

    With early and speedy passage of the self defense amendment, the political landscape can change as rapidly as the economic one. As already noted, universal choice of self protection continues to exist as it always has, and all attempts to arrange otherwise continue to follow in the wake of the prohibition of alcohol. Such futility springs partly from the impossibility of curtailing the basic rights of individuals, and also partly the fact that such free choice is already a feature of the constitution, in the form of the second amendment.

    However, such opposition to these facts can take still the form of a demand, usually from the direction of the political left wing, that firearms and other weapons must intrinsically be considered dangerous, that private possession can therefore be banned, as a matter of public safety. Aside from the humor of the argument that inanimate objects have their own will, this argument also provides ongoing and willing support to their identical but opposite numbers in the political right wing. With such left wing support, the only effort required by the right wing is to point out that the left wing arguments have no validity, thus the left wing has no validity, thus making the right wing the ongoing and natural leadership.

    This right wing argument for leadership seems to have some weaknesses, as shown by the 2008 US Presidential and Congressional election results. However, the left wing keeps willingly giving the right wing the tactical wedge to start the argument with, and that left wing supplied wedge will continue to let the right wing in, unless that wedge ceases to exist. With passage of the self defense amendment, the left wing is relieved of a failing fatuity that weakens and discredits, and the right wing is left to argue on their own strengths alone, or weaknesses, as the case may be, and this last overview of tactics brings us back to the pairing of these two amendments.

    Individually, each amendment remains a valuable enhancement to the practice of American government and the support given to the American people. Individually, each has to get passed by at least two thirds of each house of Congress, and then by at least 38 states. In early 2009, the Democrats will be the majority party in all of Congress, having at least 255 seats in the House of Representatives, and at least 58 seats in the Senate. For relatively pain free passage of any amendment, they will need 290 votes in the former and 67 votes in the latter.

    If the incumbent, mostly Democratic, Congress passes the line item veto amendment, they get to have a Democratic president who can immediately use it. However, having only the majority and not the massive number needed to pass any amendments, they must bargain with the Republicans. The Republicans, in turn, would face the prospect of a non-Republican president with a line item veto. On one hand, such an item of great appropriational restraint is indeed straight from the Conservative Republican rallying cries regarding such restraint, the cleanup of budgets, and other Conservative concerns. However, as the 2008 elections proved to the Republicans and everyone else, claiming to be Conservative is of no use whatsoever when the repeated statement, albeit the blatantly incorrect statement, is that being Conservative also means being a tactically useless and inherently crippling right wing extremist fanatic.

    Following this thought, particularly for the benefit of the non right wing and therefore Conservative Republicans, and also for the great benefit of all Americans, perhaps something could be included with the line item veto amendment that would meet with immense Conservative support as well as providing a definite tactical advantage in the years ahead. With the passage of the line item veto amendment linked to the passage of the self defense amendment, passing the line item veto amendment gives a Democratic President a line item veto, even as passing the self defense amendment will leave the non Conservative extreme right wing without any tactical advantage. The Conservative Republicans will favor this as the line item veto is a Conservative attraction, and the stripping of self defense from the right wing will let the Conservatives return to supporting the people instead of having to pander to the extremes. Of the other extremes, on the part of the Democrats who have to deal with the equally rabid left wing, the wing that so repeatedly cost elections until G W Bush and his coterie finally showed up, the self defense amendment merely enhances the second amendment which has been in place since before either party ever existed.

    Right now the Democrats already have a superior position. With these amendments joined together, and with an extremely clear awareness of the impending 2010 elections, the passing of the self defense amendment linked to the passing of the line item veto amendment thus enhances that superior position.

    Castor and Pollux are singular, distinct, discrete individuals, but they are a joined pair of such distinct individuals. As that joined pair and not as individuals they are noted, known, and remembered. A presidential line item veto amendment and a self defense amendment are also so distinct and also so linked. Each of these have been called for in one form or another for many years, and at one time or another the required support has increased, but never yet quite enough.

    Each of these on its own will remain a valued addition and enhancement to the American government following whatever time is needed to bring either one of these to pass. However, when these two siblings are joined together, and when these two are joined together now, as we approach the beginning of the 2009 United States Congressional Session, and the swearing in of Barack Obama as President of the United States, this one joining of amendments will refine and and add and extend far more starting now than just the one of these alone, at some cloudy point in the general future.

   
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Cassiel C. MacAvity