Changing the Constitution

If I had the power to magically rewrite the Constitution, and I wanted to keep it simple, I’d only offer a few amendments:

  1. Overturn Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo and implement a system of public financing for all Federal elections;
  2. Mandate non-partisan redistricting for the US House of Representatives;
  3. An explicit Constitutional Right to Vote. This should already exist via the Fifteenth Amendment, but apparently it’s vague enough to allow SCOTUS to sign off on all manner of restrictions;
  4. Term limits for Federal judges, probably 12 years with the possibility of re-appointment;
  5. Explicitly overturn Corporate personhood;
  6. Explicitly recognize tribal sovereignty.

If I had the chance to go radical, I would change us to a Federal Semi-Presidential System, based on Germany and France.

  1. The President would be responsible for national security and foreign policy, would still serve as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and would have the power to appoint the head of government (with the consent of a majority of the House) and dismiss the House of Representatives to call new elections. His only significant role in domestic policy would be the veto.
  2. Domestic policy would be the responsibility of the head of government (the Chief Executive Officer) who would hold power as long as s/he commanded the confidence of the House.
  3. The House of Representatives would be expanded so that each Member of Congress would represent 500,000 people (making 638 members), elected via single transferable vote proportional representation. Their terms would last no longer than four years.
  4. The Senate would still be elected from each state, but with each Senator representing 2,000,000 people (which would make for 160 Senators at the present), to allow some rough proportionality between the states. Every state would have at least one senator. States would have the power to directly elect Senators or have them chosen by their legislature. The Senate would have the same power to ratify treaties and advise and consent on appointments (except for the Cabinet, which would be chosen by the House) but the filibuster would only enable the Senate to delay passage of legislation for a full debate, not kill it. Former presidents and CEOs would automatically serve as non-voting Senators for life.
  5. The judiciary would remain the same, but with 12 year terms. I would expand the Supreme Court to 15 members, to allow for more diversity.
  6. Rather than “reserve powers,” the states would have explicit powers over areas like policing and education. Federal powers would be explicitly listed and include areas like the environment.

What do you think?

Published in: on March 1, 2015 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Does Size Really Matter?

In honor of the upcoming vote on Scottish Independence (long live King Francis II!), a thought occurs to me: the last 30 years or so have seen a distinct trend towards smaller nation-states. The breakup of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, the Velvet Divorce of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the independence of Eritrea and South Sudan, all led to a devolution of power and geography. And is that necessarily a bad thing? We’ve been taught in political science for the last 100 years or so that balkanization leads to unrest, war, etc., but was that just the worried leaders of empires talking? Would the world be better off with many small, militarily weak, and necessarily economically interdependent countries as opposed to large blocs or empires?
Discuss amongst yourselves…

Published in: on September 10, 2014 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Another One Bites The Dust

Hard to summon up much sympathy for Eric Cantor, the smarmy little prick.

Also hard to disagree with this analysis about what his defeat means in the larger political context, especially the night sweats John Boehner must be experiencing right about now. He has to be asking himself, “Is this shit really worth it anymore?”

Published in: on June 10, 2014 at 8:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Suppose They Gave An Uprising And Nobody Came?

Operation: American Spring fell just a LITTLE short of their goal of 10-30 million “patriots” to overthrow Obama. I thought I’d help out by creating #americanspringexcuses to come up with legitimate reasons why True Patriots couldn’t make it, like “kids had soccer” or “mom said I had to clean the basement, er The Patriot Bunker.” Little did I realize my humble offer of help would explode across the twitter verse, as people rushed to pitch in.


Sadly, though, some of the tweets demonstrated the ugly level of class consciousness that exists in American politics, even among progressives, mocking the sunshine patriots as ignorant rednecks or hillbillies. They aren’t. They are white people terrified of the future.

All Free Speech is Created Equal…

...but some is more equal than others.

Here’s a modest proposal: obviously, the effects of the Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions can only be completely overturned with a Constitutional amendment. Either that, or a dramatically reconstituted Supreme Court (which most Americans now see, correctly, as just another political branch of government). In the meantime, I suggest we pass a law in state legislatures and Congress stating that lawmakers must recuse themselves from any vote on any piece of legislation that will directly benefit any person or organization which donated more than, say $500, to them in the last two election cycles. Whore yourself out to the oligarchs all you want, in other words, but you can’t do their bidding. This would necessarily require a strong and independent ethics commission to enforce, but even that is less difficult than amending the Constitution. You could require than each bill be accompanied by an Ethical Impact Statement that lists all donors who would directly benefit from its passage. It’s not a perfect solution, of course; for one thing, SCOTUS may well be on the verge of completely throwing out all disclosure requirements as a violation of the right to anonymous speech. For another, it wouldn’t effect governors or presidents. Still, it’s a start. Progressive states might even add scuh a provision to their constitutions, thus making it harder to water-down or throw out as the political winds shift. That’s my contribution to the debate.

The Tale of Brave Sir Ryan

Brave Sir Paul Ryan protects his hearing on poverty from the contaminating presence of any actual poors.

Published in: on April 30, 2014 at 3:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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So Much for “Free” Ways…

Obama Administration sells out, will allow tolls to be collected for driving on interstate highways that have ALREADY been paid for by tax dollars.

Published in: on April 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Armed Anti-Government Militias Set Up Roadblocks, Demand IDs

Crimea? Somalia? Guess again…

Published in: on April 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm  Comments (1)  
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Yet More Tales from the Oligarchy

Income inequality is not a natural phenomenon. It didn’t hit America like a hurricane or an earthquake. It is rather the direct and deliberate result of policies implemented by the government at the behest of its owners, the oligarchs. For example, average income taxpayers now subsidize the exorbitant salaries of billionaire CEOs, even at supposedly “liberal” companies like Starbucks. There’s a solution, of course; we have to stop rewarding economic serfdom.  A bill recently introduced in the California Legislature would peg CEO taxes to the ratio between their salaries and the salaries of their company’s typical worker. It’s a good start and needs to be considered by Congress; of course, we have to pry Congress from the fingers of the oligarchs first.

Published in: on April 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Gospel According to Ayn Rand

American Christianity, and in particular Evangelical Protestantism and especially the blasphemous “Health and Wealth Gospel,” has long been used as a figleaf for an economic system that is utterly at odds with actual, Biblical Christianity. You cannot serve two masters, to paraphrase Scriptures, you cannot love both Christ and Ayn Rand. Pope Francis gets it; why can’t Paul Ryan?


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