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  •  our system was designed by the founders (18+ / 0-)

    to protect the propertied at the expense of the bulk of the population. maybe we should try democracy rather than republic. put the little "d" into the Democrats.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:54:16 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  That's precisely right (4+ / 0-)

      But they used the spirit of a democratic revolution to justify themselves.  When you read Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, it's a study in deeply profound contradictory thinking, hoping that the French have the right sort of "revolutionary spirit," that they acknowledge the right and responsibility of the People to govern themselves, and in nearly the next breath explaining how they should never be allowed to do so because they're too stupid and greedy.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:00:04 PM PDT

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      •  the best single book (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevej, Nellebracht, 3goldens, lotlizard

        i've ever read on the revolutionary era is americn aurora. it should be required reading.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:09:33 PM PDT

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        •  At the end of the day (6+ / 0-)

          I'm not that interested in assigning blame for the current broken system of governance we've got to a bunch of guys who've been dead for more than 200 years.

          I think maybe it's time we start seriously thinking about a system of demarchy, selecting our Representatives by lot, and appointing our Senators from those who distinguish themselves within our States.  The overall structure of our government is sound, the tripartite division, the division of the Legislature into House and Senate and the assignment of responsibilities between those Houses and between the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary is all good.  But the House was never allowed to be what it was advertised to be: the House of the People, truly representative of them.

          And you can't tell me that picking someone at random from Michelle Bachman's district would result in selecting someone any dumber or less qualified to be a Representative than she is 99% of the time.  Maybe less qualified at being a mendacious liar.

          From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

          by Nellebracht on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:24:47 PM PDT

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          •  "the overall structure of our government is sound" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis

            I'm not so sure.  I had an American history professor who claimed that the seeds of US destruction were planted in its governmental structure--that by separating the executive branch from the legislative, a time would come when political polarization would create broken government at a time and in circumstances when that would prove fatal.  That appears to be the case now.  There's a reason why no new democracies emerging over the past 60 years have chosen the American system of government as their model.  What that history professor said made sense to us since we lived in a parliamentary democracy.  To Americans, however, there is very little reflection--only an assumption that "our system is the best"

    •  I don't think that's happening (0+ / 0-)

      Unless you are willing to really embrace democracy and permit it to select outcomes you think are bad with respect to areas such as race or religion that you would currently expect the courts to rule unconstitutional.

      •  i think democracy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nellebracht, marty marty, MeToo

        would challenge some presumptions on what democracy would do, on both race and religion.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:29:21 PM PDT

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        •  Also, that's sort of why we have a Judiciary (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Duckman GR, dinotrac, Laurence Lewis

          Yes, the Legislature and the Executive will sometimes choose to do bad things that infringe on minority rights in unconstitutional ways.  That's why we have a Judiciary, to call foul on those attempts.

          The problem we have now is that our government is insufficiently representative of the People, neither what we really think or feel about issues, nor what's really best for us.

          We could definitely use some more democracy in our democratic republic.

          From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

          by Nellebracht on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:32:29 PM PDT

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          •  I think there is a trade-off (0+ / 0-)

            I've suggested in the past that a good way to get more democracy into the system is to convince social conservatives that their best hope for success against a Republican establishment that holds them back is to get on board with certain process reform ideas, such as instant run-off voting.

            One of my ideas would be to make it possible to amend the Constitution via either a national referendum (with some sort of super-majority requirement) or through a referendum in each state.  I think this makes it easier for good reforms, but also makes it easier for bad amendments to be attached to the Constitution.

          •  The problem is that we now have (0+ / 0-)

            a legislature and an executive that are choosing "to do bad things that infringe on" majority rights . . .

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:18:53 AM PDT

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        •  I think there's a sucker born every minute (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MeToo

          and no one every went broke underestimating the American capacity for intolerance and rash reactionary response.

          Look at the forces on the loose today, then give people the chance to change rights at the whim of a ballot box?

          I get the same sense of unease when people propose electronic voting and citizen initiative.  Powerful forces sway the masses rapidly. Fervently. The nation would have run off to war against the first "whoever" was suspected after 9/11 at the drop of a hat.  The vengence exacted by "d" democracy would have been ugly and counter-productive.

          At least, those are the sorts of things I fear.

          But more than that, how does a country go from oligarchy with a tightly-knit security state and militarized police departments to a "d" democracy?   I don't see any reasonable path.  

          The unreasonable one is blood in the streets and I don't see that either.  The people are controlled by their fear of losing a job (partly why we cannot have complete health care reform even under a supposedly "D" president) and lulled into passivity by their HBO and Showtime.

          Close the garage door, settle back in the easy chair and ignore the community at large.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:07:50 PM PDT

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          •  Here's the path... You look at Sweden, Norway (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YucatanMan, RJDixon74135

            Denmark, a few other places that have great social systems and little corruption. You borrow their constitutions for a while (just read them through a hundred thousand times) and infuse that vision into our zeitgeist... and you change our limiting constitution, and its malfunctioning parts into something that looks more and more workable.

            Tunisia did it. Yes! We! maybe can too! heh.

            The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

            by MeToo on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:27:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I honestly want that to be possible. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MeToo, blueoasis

              I just don't see "how."  

              As soon as you start trying to get other people to look at other ideas, there is a mighty machine ready to drown it out by calling upon their unthinking ditto-heads and mindless followers to shout it down in bitter scorn.

              And that's outside the powerful overbearingly controlling money forces tied directly into government.

              How?

              "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

              by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:57:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  A general strike might work, but only if everyone (0+ / 0-)

              could be certain that business wouldn't immediately outsource their jobs.  There are right-wingers at my work -- hundreds in fact -- who'd still come to work, making any effort on my part to walk off the job for a day or a week completely irrelevant.

              And a right-winger or outsourced contractor would simply take my job.  I'm not in a union. I'm in lower "management" which is what they call people who do their bidding at any hour of the day or night without overtime and without any representation or negotiating capacity over job conditions.

              "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

              by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:00:16 PM PDT

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              •  You think that's the general strike (0+ / 0-)

                that would work?  Stop working for a day, or a week?  Big money barely needs us as it is.

                The general strike that would work is to get everybody to stop paying their bills.  Stop paying their utility bills and their credit and loan payments.  TPTB will sit up and take notice of that in a hurry.

                From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

                by Nellebracht on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:19:44 PM PDT

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              •  JMO (0+ / 0-)

                You don't strike because the only person that hurts are those willing to take that stand. What you do is cut off the pennies we spend to the fuckers and force them to survive on the dollars they already get from the masters. The trick is the masters don't have that many votes.

                Elect people that aren't looking for status tell me when you find one

                There are no sacred cows.

                by LaEscapee on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:31:10 PM PDT

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              •  I understand (0+ / 0-)

                But let me try to say this in a different frame: Knowing the "How" is not important. Knowing the "Why", or the imagination- that's the important thing.

                This might be fun for you.  http://bigthink.com/...

                It's like having an open minded approach. You wish for things, and you let them manifest. We do this all the time, but sometimes we are too cynical to see just how they manifested without allowing that they did because the imagination was the driving force, not real, hard, practical things like "work" and "situation" because those things are only real in our minds (and generally as prisons, although they might actually be nice places... given a different perspective.)

                So, we just need to know the Why- we want to be like Blank... So, we start looking at Blank, and then learning about Blank, and then insisting we we treated like Blank, and things start going in Blank's direction. If we wait to figure out "How", we will just get twisted in the work of it, or the rescue of it, or the... blah, it will be someone else's vision- and that won't work as well.

                This will give you some ideas:
                http://gigaom.com/...

                Click on the link in the fist paragraph to connect with the draft of this new constitution.

                The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

                by MeToo on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:31:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Link at he bottom of my post is about Iceland's (0+ / 0-)

                  new constitution. Didn't see that the link description was cut off before posting!

                  The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

                  by MeToo on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:33:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It wasn't crowdsourced, and it's still just a bill (0+ / 0-)

                    And even the bill won't necessarily give us a constitution the same as the proposal.

                    That said, it's a nice draft.  Not happy about the lack of change in the church and state issue, but apart from that, quite nice.

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