Your Right to a Lifetime
To be born means little, to live a full life is the dream. Time extends our reach. It brings maturity and allows depth of thought. I puzzle about this when I read the Declaration of Independence wherein the oft-mentioned Right to Life is asserted. Was a Right to Life posited to mean that you have a Right to conception, or was it to assert that you have a Right to a Lifetime? Both were thought to be part of "Life" in the 18th century. Jefferson went on to mention Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, both of which take time, so he obviously saw a Life as extending over some time. Clearly Thomas Jefferson intended you have a Right to a Lifetime. He meant that citizens of the United States of America have a Right to Longevity, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
We are born into this lifetime dazzled by light and noise, and are largely carried along by others until we have words in our mind and have sufficient self-reliance to walk out into the night sky. There we discover the Moon and stars. We cannot help but take the daylight for granted, the Sun is there everyday, while the phases of the Moon set us to wondering about ourselves in time and space. The Moon seems a friend with each Full Moon somehow special. This is a shared appreciation, one common to every human who has ever lived. It is as common as pondering how long we will live.
What is the Earthly allotment in years? Is our longevity tied to influences outside our own individual genetic makeup? Some magic of prime numbers perhaps, or maybe some nuance of the stars. Astrology would say yes, and that does make a certain sense, albeit not of a stellar sort, because if there is a celestrial metric, it is the Moon whose cycle is a shared chronometer, a timeless timepiece. It came to me that the span of a lifetime can be seen as one thousand Full Moons. There are 12.37 lunar cycles per year. Rounding up to whole numbers, 13 Full Moons a year allows us to calculate a thousand Full Moons with prime numbers: 7 x 11 x 13 = 1001 Full Moons over 77 years. I like the poetry of the primes, especially because their result is so close to contemporary fact. Currently, priviledged American life expectancy is right there. Calculating with fractions it takes 80 years for 1000 Full Moons to pass. Whichever, looking around, 77-80 years would seem a rational life expectancy.
The Longevity Amendment asserts this anticipation should be the same for every citizen.
While trying to substantiate these lines of thought, I consulted Dr. Samuel Johnson's famous Dictionary of the English Language published in 1756. I did this to apprise myself of the meaning of Life, Liberty, and Happiness in Jeffersonian times. Those citations are included at the very bottom of this page because they are important to see for yourself. They do support my assertions. I have also created a database of 114 "FAMOUS PEOPLE" who came to mind as those who had shaped the Second Millennium, Lady Murasaki Shikibu to Michael Jackson, so to speak. These are the ingenious people who both conjured something meaningful and were clever enough to establish a reputation. They if any of us would know how to stay alive. Over those ten centuries, these well-connected few lived an average of something like 68 years.
The Right to Longevity needs to be raised to a Constitutional issue by means of an amendment to the United States Constitution because only then will public health and environmental concern be accorded due consideration. The entwined issues of health and environment need to enjoy a Constitutional parity with Free Speech, a Free Press, Free Religious Choice, Women’s rights, voting Rights, the Right to Own Guns, and the other topics clarified through Amendments. Hence, The Longevity Amendment. The USA is a work-in-progress. Twenty-seven Amendments have been needed to keep the United States of America abreast with changing times. This proposed refinement is now required. Below is an abstract of the concept and the entire text of The Longevity Amendment itself. These are followed by a concise description of the Constitutional amendment process from the National Archive. I then bring everything into focus with an expanded explanation of the second clause of the proposed amendment which will show how this amendment can be implemented cost effectively to the overall benefit of every day of every American life:
Only a very specific legislative effort can raise the entwined issues of American health and the American environment to a Constitutional level and thereby establish the basis for compassionate governance. There is only one path to sustainability, yet no one is beating the drum for the required Constitutional Amendment. I have included this proposed Constitutional Amendment below. It is, of course, a work in progress. At the moment I am trying to bring concerned politicians and thoughtful organizations up to speed on my intention to get this rolling. Please be advised that I am not seeking financial support from 501(c)3 organizations; I am seeking to build an effective voice for this crucial advocacy by making engaged citizens aware of the possibility. I have added a snippet from the National Archive to support my assertion that only this Constitutional approach cannot be trumped.
proposed: USA CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
title: THE LONGEVITY AMENDMENT:
FYI according to the National Archives at www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution
The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention. The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution. Since the President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, the joint resolution does not go to the White House for signature or approval. The original document is forwarded directly to NARA's Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for processing and publication. The OFR adds legislative history notes to the joint resolution and publishes it in slip law format. The OFR also assembles an information package for the States which includes formal "red-line" copies of the joint resolution, copies of the joint resolution in slip law format, and the statutory procedure for ratification under 1 U.S.C. 106b.
The Archivist submits the proposed amendment to the States for their consideration by sending a letter of notification to each Governor along with the informational material prepared by the OFR.
The Machinery of The Longevity Amendment:
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation to recover demonstrable cost-of-use inherent to industrial processes and to discretionary consumption.
The second paragraph of The Longevity Amendment is only one sentence, but it carries a big stick. It allows compassion like universal health care to be funded by the concept that every corporate option and every public appetite with a downside must pay its own way. This is not a penalty. Your drinking and smoking are your business, just expect to pay in advance for known consequences by way of a user fee assessed as a compensatory tax. The Longevity Amendment implements value recovery via a value-lost-tax (VLT). For example, Mexican beer flowing into the USA would be assessed a value-lost-tax per serving imported. This would be due upon import. This proposed user-fee would pay for the environmental damage caused by Mexican beer, but it will not rectify the entirely separate issue of our trade imbalances.*
If you are a corporation and want to know how this value-lost compensatory tax will impact your bottom line, simply substitute “drinking and smoking” in the above equation with your intended “mining, burning, drilling, fracking, pumping, cracking, distilling, brewing, over-sweetening, over-salting” and run the numbers. As a producer you already know what the liabilities are with any one recipe. Just figure on doing as you please, and factor in that cost. If you still want that business, no problem. Almost everything is legal if it pays its way. Coal, for instance: You can mine coal and burn coal to create energy without damaging the environment, if you are willing to capitalize the methods.
Social and environmental sustainability can only be achieved when every action carries its own weight. Tobacco users, for instance, are asked to pay for the social cost of smoking when they buy these products. So too should beverage alcohol pay for the social cost of its distribution. This is not the case at the moment, beverage alcohol is hardly taxed by the US government or the states. You know this is true because you can buy a fifth of vodka for less that $10 that will make 17 cocktails! Beverage alcohol consumption is, in fact, subsidized at the expense of other options. The CDC, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta Georgia, publishes a cost-of-drinking assessment. The most recent report pegged the value-lost to the economy at $2.05 for every serving of beverage alcohol sold in the United States. This is a huge number, simply because Americans drink 120-150 BILLION servings of beer, wine and spirits every year. Clearly, beverage alcohol is not paying its way.
The Mexican beer mentioned above would be paying $2.05/can or bottle as it comes marching over the border into the USA! This is not a penalty. Every American brewer and distiller would be paying the same VLT.
When an action has a known cost of use yet government does not impose a value lost tax, that becomes a de facto subsidy. Obviously money lost one place cannot be spent elsewhere. Following are two emails which I have sent around to forward a MoveOn.org petition to make-beverage-alcohol-pay-its-way. After committing a lot of time to this advocacy, I came to realize that no matter how I worded it any attempt to single-out beverage alcohol will be seen as a prohibition. Any such effort will thereby fail until the Right to Longevity and the entwined issues of health and environment are put on a Constitutional par with the right to speak your mind, to believe as you will, to own guns, to vote, to be female, etcetera.
* Clearly the USA needs to adopt a Value-Added-Tax strategy to allow us to enter into international trade agreements. Every one of our significant trading partners imposes a VAT assessed on products shipped their way. Adopting a VAT would allow the USA to lower both income tax rates and corporate tax rates.
News Desk Alert,
I am pushing a new national petition to make beverage alcohol pay its way. I contend that America must End Subsidized Intoxication to End Gun Violence. I hope you will consider giving this civil action some ink, maybe even sign on to the petition, or at least will pass it along to an appropriate editor, or chat about this environmental petition through your network. My rationale is below the *** while the link to sign onto this petition at MoveOn.org is right here http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/end-subsidized-intoxication?source=c.em.mt&r_by=5371768 .Charles Wehrenberg
What Is So Hard To Understand?
Distributed Beverage Alcohol is simply not paying the social cost incurred by its distribution. This is a key social-environmental issue. There will be plenty of money to fund universal health care, public schools, judicial matters, police, parks, and infrastructure maintenance if the USA makes beverage alcohol pay its way in real dollars. This is no more to ask of drinkers and of the beverage alcohol industry than what voters have insisted smokers and tobacco companies pay for the damage caused by distributed tobacco products. The CDC estimates the real cost of drinking beverage alcohol to be $2.05 per serving. [see http://www.cdc.gov/features/costsofdrinking/ ] . To know this cost of use exists and yet to not tax it commensurately constitutes a de facto subsidy for public intoxication. This cruel absurdity is fostering violence, including gun violence. The States and the Federal Government share equally in this blind duplicity.
A majority of gun violence in America, including domestic violence, is caused by alcohol intoxication. Consequently, taxing beverage alcohol use is gun control. This petition calls for the Federal Government to institute a $2 per serving excise tax on distributed beverage alcohol to be shared equally by the States and the Federal Government, and includes this caveat: If convicted of Driving Under the Influence, one loses their right to keep guns in their possession during that correctional period. Clearly, if you cannot be trusted to drive a car, you cannot be trusted with a arsenal.
Sex & alcohol are likewise a recipe for tragedy because intoxicated sex produces so many unintended pregnancies which lead to abortion.
Americans have the right to drink alcohol and the right to use tobacco just as they have a Constitutional right to own guns. These options can co-exist if and only if each pays its own way. The governments do not have any obligation to subsidize these activities. However, any government concerned with public wellbeing and sustainability is obligated to hold in check choices known to have a negative impact.
Keep a simple fact in mind: A distributed beverage alcohol excise tax would be a tax no one has to pay because you have the right to make your own beverage alcohol or you can simply abstain.
email 2: subject End Subsidized Intoxication to End Gun Violence
You are needed here: Please help End Subsidized Intoxication to End Gun Violence by Making Beverage Alcohol Pay Its Way.
LIFE, LIBERTY, HAPPINESS, LONGEVITY in 1776:
as defined by Dr. Samuel Johnson in his 1756 Dictionary. This is the most likely dictionary to have been consulted by Thomas Jefferson in the 1770s. The resource is www.whichenglish.com. OCR sometimes leaves a placeholder "?" or a wrong letter "f" where "s" is intended. Or sees a "]" as a ";". I have corrected obvious errors, and tagged any puzzles with [sic].
HAPPINESS. s. [from hapty.]
1. Felicity; state in which the desires are satisfied. Hooker.
2. Good luck; good fortune.
3. Fortuitous elegance. Denham.
LIBERTY. s. [l'berte', French; libertas, Latin.]
1. Freedom as opposed to slavery, Addison.
2. Freedom as opposed to necessity, Locke.
3. Privilege; exemption; immunity, Dai;iet.[sic]
4. Relaxation of restraint.
5. Leave; permission. Locke.
LIFE,/. plural //T/fi. [Iipun, to live. Sax.]
1. Union and co-operation of soul with body. Genesis.
2. Present state. Cowley.
3. Enjoyment, or perfection of terrestrial existence. Prior.
4. Blood, the supposed vehicle of life. Pope.
5. Conduct; manner of living with respect to virtue or vice. Pope.
6. Condition; manner of living with respect to happiness and misery. Dryden.
7. Continuance of our present state. Locke.
8. The living form; resemblance exactly copied. Brown.
9. Exact resemblance. Denham.
10. General state of man. Milan,
11. Common occurrences; human affairs; the course of things. y^fcjjam. [sic]
12. Living person. Shakspeare.
13. Narrative of a life past. Pope.
14. Spirit; briflcness [sic]; vivacity; resolution. Sidney.
15. Animated existence; animal being. Thomson.
LONGEVITY. s. [longavus, Latin.]
Length of life. Arbuthnot