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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Cesspool from Literal to Virtual

   Pierre Charles L'Enfant (August 2, 1754 – June 14, 1825) while living in the United States, was a French-American military engineer who designed the basic plan for Washington, DC. 
   L'Enfant described the city as a contemptible hamlet, but not for the same reasons that it could be called that today. Back in his day a lot of the city didn’t exist. For example, west of the Washington Monument was under water...the land was filled in later. The area of today’s World War II Memorial and Lincoln Memorial were once known as the Potomac Flats and were more like a cesspool than anything else. 
     It was known for mosquitoes and infectious diseases and was the outlet of Washington City Canal, which is now Constitution Avenue. The city canal was an open sewer that ran right by the Capitol...through the middle of town. 
     George Washington is supposed to have asked L'Enfant, a French-American architect and Revolutionary War veteran, to design the capital city. L'Enfant laid out a plan where important buildings were strategically placed by waterways and broad boulevards.
     When, in 1800, the Capitol was moved 150 miles from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, D.C. elected officials took a total of 12 boxes! In 1800, the budget was one million dollars – about $100 million in today’s dollars and there were 3,000 government employees. 
     Our population has grown one hundred fold, but Federal employees have increased 1,000 percent and the number of Federal employees exceeds the entire country’s population in 1787. 
     Today the city has changed from being a literal cesspool to a virtual one. Congress knows no limits and spends time making laws that are way outside the scope of their authority...stuff such as the amount of sugar that goes into ketchup and how much vitamins and minerals have to be in breakfast cereal. 
     And, these days we have seen a Congress that is hell bent on overthrowing the duly elected President of the United States…whether they like it or not, a man who was legally voted into office by the majority of the people they are supposed to represent. In foreign countries this would be considered a coup attempt. 
     Here is what I don’t get. If the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the Vice President becomes President for the rest of the term. That man is Mark Pence. Would not Mark Pence continue the policies of the President and the Republican party? Yes, he would. 

   But, wait! If you could then get Mark Pence out of office, who’d be next in line for the Presidency? Why, none other than Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House. Interesting thought. 
     Where are the men and women of principle who take their oath seriously? The Constitution is supposed to be the rule book with powers that are few and defined, but today politicians see their power as unlimited. 
     In 1827, Representative Davy Crockett rejected a proposal for a $10,000 relief for the widow of a naval officer. He said, “We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.” 
     In 1854, President Franklin Pierce vetoed a bill intended to help the mentally ill because he could not find any authority in the Constitution for public charity.
     President Grover Cleveland vetoed hundreds of congressional spending bills because he could find nothing in the Constitution that authorized such appropriations.
     Today, who looks at the Constitution, and when they do, it’s often overturned or ignored. Washington DC is a cesspool of corruption where the government doesn't function in the interests of the people, but rather it serves either their own interest or the interests of whoever can pay the most to the lobbyists who then find creative ways to get it into the hands of corrupt officials. 
     Of course, there has always been corruption in the government, but in 1958, the National Election Survey found out that 73 percent of Americans trusted the government to do the right thing most of the time. In 2019, that number is just 17 percent...five out of six Americans do not trust the government to do the right thing.
     Which is the biggest cesspool? Hollywood or Washington.

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