Posts Tagged ‘Constitutional Convention’
* Community is back March 15, but NBC still hates you; they’re putting Parks & Rec on hiatus instead.
* Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries of World War II. I feel certain Indiana Jones was involved in each of these.
* ‘I exist wholly for you. I will never reject you. You cannot disappoint me.’ A brief history of the money shot.
FLOGGING CULLY. A debilitated lecher, commonly an old one.
COLD PIG. To give cold pig is a punishment inflicted on sluggards who lie too long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the bed clothes from them, and throwing cold water upon them.
TWIDDLE POOP. An effeminate looking fellow.
At CNN: If the forces of wealth and finance have come to dominate supposedly democratic constitutions, including the U.S. Constitution, is it not possible and even necessary today to propose and construct new constitutional figures that can open avenues to again take up the project of the pursuit of collective happiness?
None of the Many Other Functioning Liberal Democratic Systems in the World Uses This System at Any Level, and That Includes All 50 States
I would add that I completely reject the idea that the burden of proof rests on opponents of the electoral college. It’s not as if abandoning the electoral college would entail entering some terrifying void. Direct popular voting is a system that works perfectly well in many different contexts. When it comes to departures from majority rule in voting the burden of proof should rest squarely on the opponents. None of the many other functioning liberal democratic systems in the world uses this system at any level, and that includes all 50 states. Nobody would consider using it. The key assumptions that it was based on — an opposition to political parties and a distrust of the excessive democracy inherent allowing the electorate to directly choose its representatives — were anti-democratic anachronisms in 1804, let alone 2011. All of this might be OK if the system was reliable, but not only did it fail in 2000, it was 120,000 votes in Ohio from an even worse failure in 2004. The fact that the system has been able to roughly resemble a democratic election in most cases is no reason to be complacent. I can understand why Macatonis would want to shift the burden of proof — a Burkeanism-for-dummies “this is the way we’ve always done it” is essentially the only thing the electoral college has going for it — but I don’t agree that it’s appropriate, and even if it was there’s no burden of proof high enough to save the it.
More on the Transparent Indefensibility of the Electoral College. For what it’s worth this is one of the reasons why I’ve come around to the idea of agitating for a Constitutional Convention; many of the worst institutions in U.S. government are simply impossible to justify outside of “tradition.” We could hardly do worse just starting over.
“Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?” said one senior House Republican aide who requested anonymity to discuss the matter freely. “I just don’t want to co-own the economy by having to tout that we passed a jobs bill that won’t work or at least won’t do enough.”
Putting aside the spectacle of top Republicans once again admitting (in private) that they’re deliberately sabotaging the economy just to hurt Obama, there’s an even bigger issue at stake here. One of the things Matt Yglesias has had right for a long time is the growing institutional crisis in Congress, which increasingly has the lockstep partisan logic of a parliamentary system coupled with the procedures and myriad veto points of a presidential system. The worst-of-both-worlds result is a situation in which the minority party not only benefits from the failure of the majority party’s agenda but has the power to ensure that failure by preventing any legislation from being passed at all.
You just can’t run a government this way—at least, not for very long.
In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt. The IMF immediately froze its loan. But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis. Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.
But Icelanders didn’t stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money. (The one in use had been written when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, in 1918, the only difference with the Danish constitution being that the word ‘president’ replaced the word ‘king’.)
To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituent’s meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.
Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not. Via Facebook.
Between the pipeline (1, 2, 3) and the ozone standards (4, 5, 6) the Obama stickers are coming off the car tonight. I don’t know how long I’ll stick with the utopian fantasy of a new constitutional convention (as announced on Twitter just moments ago), but it’s clear what’s left of the Left in the U.S. needs some new approach.
John Nichols in The Nation on the possibility of a Constitutional convention.
I’d been meaning to link to Matt Yglesias’s post a few days ago about executive power, simply to note that he identifies one of the more pressing flaws in the American system, the fixed four-year presidential term (for which even impeachment is no longer a practical limit). If Bush has taught us nothing else, he’s taught us that democracy requires a recall function, ideally one that can be initiated by the people directly without the intervention of the legislature. (Not that he hasn’t taught us other things; for instance, it’s also quite clear that the Electoral College needs to be scrapped altogether.) I propose a Constitutional Convention, next Friday in the Lit grad student lounge.
Matt is also scrapping a bit with Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolutions over his “Angry Ape” theory of electoral politics, and I think Matt gets this absolutely right too, not that the Clinton camp will notice:
Yesterday, Tyler Cowen revealed his Angry Ape Theory of American politics: “Under this theory foreign policy disasters, no matter who caused them, will help the Republican candidate. We will demand An Angrier Ape.” That theory may or may not be correct, but the last thing you need is for Democratic political strategy to be framed by people who think it’s correct. That just guarantees loss. You need to find people who think they can persuade the public that an Angry Ape isn’t the way to go and let those people have a crack at it.
Elsewhere in Left Blogistan, Kevin Drum links to The Nation’s investigation into the source of all those right-wing chain-emails. My family knows me well enough not to send these along, so I’ve never really gotten them, except for the few months after 9/11 when they briefly went mainstream—but everyone I’ve ever seen has been painfully, painfully stupid.