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At The Atlantic, Alex Seitz-Wald writes The U.S. Needs a Constitution—Here's How to Write It:

America, we've got some bad news: Our Constitution isn't going to make it. It's had 224 years of commendable, often glorious service, but there's a time for everything, and the government shutdown and permanent-crisis governance signal that it's time to think about moving on. "No society can make a perpetual constitution," Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison in 1789, the year ours took effect. "The earth belongs always to the living generation and not to the dead .… Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years." By that calculation, we're more than two centuries behind schedule for a long, hard look at our most sacred of cows. And what it reveals isn't pretty.

If men (and, finally, women) as wise as Jefferson and Madison set about the task of writing a constitution in 2013, it would look little like the one we have now. Americans today can't agree on anything about Washington except that they want to "blow up the place," in the words of former Republican Senator George Voinovich as he left Congress, and maybe that thought isn't so radical.

Alex Seitz-Wald
Clocking in at some 4,500 words—about the same length as the screenplay for an episode of Two and a Half Men—and without serious modification since 18-year-olds got the vote in 1971, the Constitution simply isn't cut out for 21st-century governance. It's full of holes, only some of which have been patched; it guarantees gridlock; and it's virtually impossible to change. "It gets close to a failing grade in terms of 21st-century notions on democratic theory," says University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson, part of the growing cadre of legal scholars who say the time has come for a new constitutional convention.

Put simply, we've learned a lot since 1787. What was for the Founders a kind of providential revelation—designing, from scratch, a written charter and democratic system at a time when the entire history of life on this planet contained scant examples of either—has been worked into science. More than 700 constitutions have been composed since World War II alone, and other countries have solved the very problems that cripple us today. It seems un-American to look abroad for ways to change our sacred text, but the world's nations copied us, so why not learn from them?

You can blame today's actors all you want, but they're just the product of the system, and honestly it's a wonder we've survived this long: The presidential election of 1800, a nasty campaign of smears and hyper-partisan attacks just a decade after ratification, caused a deadlock in the House over whether John Adams or Thomas Jefferson should be president. The impasse grew so tense that state militias opposed to Adams's Federalist Party prepared to march on Washington before lawmakers finally elected Jefferson on the 36th vote in the House. It's a near miracle we haven't seen more partisan violence, but it seems like tempting fate to stick with the status quo for much longer.

How would a parliamentary system handle a shutdown? It wouldn't have one. In Canada a few years ago, around the same time Washington was gripped in yet another debt-ceiling crisis, a budget impasse in Ottawa led to new elections, where the parties fought to win over voters to their fiscal plan. One side won, then enacted its plan—problem solved. Most parliamentary systems, which unify the executive and legislative branches, have this sort of fail-safe mechanism. If a budget or other must-pass bill can't get passed, or a prime minister can't be chosen, then funding levels are placed on autopilot and new elections are called to resolve things. The people decide. […]

If Americans managed to convoke [an Article V] constitutional convention, they could draw on hundreds of possible tweaks with text already written, available online thanks to the Google-funded Comparative Constitutions Project. After hundreds of tries, we (humans) have gotten so good at chartering governments that we've developed a set of best practices. Our Constitution violates many of them.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2004Don't Mourn, Organize:

Why were we in this fight in the first place? Because terrible leaders are doing terrible things to our country and calling this wonderful. Because radical reactionaries are trying to impose their imperialist schemes on whoever they wish and calling this just. Because amoral oligarchs are determined to enhance their slice of the economic pie and calling this the natural order. Because flag-wrapped ideologues want to chop up civil liberties and call this security. Because myopians are in charge of America’s future.

We lost on 11/2. Came in second place in a crucial battle whose damage may still be felt decades from now. The despicable record of our foes makes our defeat good reason for disappointment and fear. Even without a mandate over the past four years, they have behaved ruthlessly at home and abroad, failing to listen to objections even from members of their own party. With the mandate of a 3.6-million vote margin, one can only imagine how far their arrogance will take them in their efforts to dismantle 70 years of social legislation and 50+ years of diplomacy.

Still, Tuesday was only one round in the struggle. It’s only the end if we let it be. I am not speaking solely of challenging the votes in Ohio or elsewhere – indeed, I think even successful challenges are unlikely to change the ultimate outcome, which is not to say I don’t think the Democrats should make the attempt. And I’m not just talking about evaluating in depth what went wrong, then building on what was started in the Dean campaign to reinvigorate the grassroots of the Democratic Party, although I also think we must do that. I’m talking about the broader political realm, the realm outside of electoral politics that has always pushed America to live up to its best ideals and overcome its most grotesque contradictions. […]

It's tough on the psyche to be beaten.Throughout our country's history, abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, anti-racists, antiwarriors, civil libertarians, feminists and gay rights activists have challenged the majority of Americans to take off their blinders.
Each succeeded one way or another, but not overnight, and certainly not without serious setbacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  983,798 registered users on dKos now. (25+ / 0-)

    Here are the 10 newest registered users on dKos.  Hope to see their comments and diaries here soon!  (If they're not spammers.)

    leonine50 (user #983,790: already banned)
    malucfoy (user #983,792: spammer)
    annasketlon (user #983,793: spammer)

    And since our society is obsessed with numbers that end in a lot of zeros as milestones, here's a special shoutout to users:
    #983,500: fightoppression
    #983,600: BenShoemaker
    #983,700: LydiaJSilver (spammer)

    We've added 363 more users in the last three days.  We're no longer being flooded with all those fake users.

    And for your Diary Rescue music pleasure, here's Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning".

    •  The Morning Will Come (11+ / 0-)

      I had this cued up before I even got here, perfect segue though:


      “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” ― Paulo Freire

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:36:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey thanks. I had almost forgotton them! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Saw them open for Bloodrock in Manhattan in about '70. I hated Bloodrock, but loved Spirit so much that I followed them out to the Island for their gig the next day.

        Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

        by emmasnacker on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 05:01:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Juice Newton (7+ / 0-)

      was the opening act of one of the best outdoor concerts that I ever went to. BTW, Juice in no way made any impression on my, she was just there with her one song.

      But....John Prine and Hoyt Axton! OMG it was soooo good. Hoyt was fantastic and of course I love John Prine and that was the first time I had ever seen him live. Because of that I have a tiny, very small, little soft spot for Ms Newton.

      And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

      by high uintas on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:02:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Soooo.... let's get back to insane politics. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pelagicray, rebel ga, JeffW, QuoVadis

        Ron Johnson. The xsshxle who applied the "Natalie's Memes" strategy in Wisconsin -- copied from the first Scott Brown campaign in Massachusetts -- to steal a Senate seat in Blue Wisconsin.

        He hates democracy. At least the form where everybody gets to vote, legislatures compromise, and bureaucracies carry out all the mundane social functions that are better addressed communally:

        "The federal government is not particularly effective or efficient at doing just about anything."
        Really ??? What utter lying bxllshxt.

        From NASA to CDC to NIH to the Agriculture Dept. to State to damn near anything, Federal offices have experienced trained workforce. Same old, same old... yeah. Routine jobs, sure.

        Competent and cost effective -- oh, yeah.

        What Johnson doesn't like is democracy. He doesn't know jack about the federal government.

        •  Constitutional Convention: Worst Idea EVER! (9+ / 0-)

          Just Great! So we get a constitutional convention in which all the Southern rural whites have a large number of delegates who will then insist on inserting mass insanity into our constitution -- like abolishing abortion rights and insisting on a union of church and state, forbidding federal deficits and stem cell research. That and every other single imbecilic right wing idea they've come up with since the 18th century. Just exactly what America needs right now! A runaway constitutional convention full of full blown lunatics at war with the modern age and hankering for a lost past when rural white men ran everything.

          What could go wrong?

          The Constitution we have may be old and creaky, but at least it wasn't written by Joe the Plummer, Sarah Palin or the Koch Brothers!

          •  Large populated areas would need majority say (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pariah Dog, JeffW, waterstreet2013

            That would need to be the basic requirement to start. Actually, this is a big part of the problem as it is. While I'd like to see some revisions to the constitution, even as it stands minority opinions in the Senate for instance, as mentioned in the article, have far more influence than they should. But you have a bit of a chicken and egg problem because that almost seems to require changing the constitution to fix problems like that. Nor will I be part of an America which is no longer secular. Most of the principles of the constitution are valid and must be held, if not strengthened.

            I would be interested in seeing how other countries allow the minority voice to potentially rise to the top if they can sway the majority that they are wrong on something. I hold a minority view on a couple things and I'd want to know that there would be a path towards making my case and giving it time to be fairly considered. But otherwise, majority rules.

            One other requirement I see is to have is that we would need to require some extensive civics and historical educational requirement for anyone who participates in the process and a straightforward logical regimen in place for them to work under. We'd even need the masses to be somewhat educated on facts and proposals which they may need to vote on. We cannot have a bunch of know-nothing yahoos who couldn't cite credible evidence if their lives depended on it being part of the conversation.

          •  Agree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW, waterstreet2013

            And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

            by high uintas on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:12:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I share your fears, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but a CC would require two thirds of the state legislatures to allow it to happen, and there would surely be some pre-conditions on the CC to getting those states to sign on. And the CC's proposed changes would have to be approved by three fourths of the states.

            So, it seems like a CC would have to stay clear of any hot button issues, and concentrate on procedural reform to have any chance to suceed.

            Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

            by RhodeIslandAspie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:29:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            A constitutional convention wouldn't do much at this stage for our country, especially with half of the states still being controlled by the GOP/Tea Party.

            As bad as things are, many of our problems could easily be fixed with a few amendments to the constitution. Here's my list:

            Amendment 1: Eliminate gerrymandering by appointing a non-partisian commission to do the redistricting process for the entire country. That would give us a House that is more representative of the country as a whole vs just whichever party was able to gerrymander the best.

            Amendment 2: Term limits for judges. Go home Scalia, you're drunk (on power).

            Amendment 3: Campaign finance reform. Go home Koch brothers, no one likes you. And take your money with you.

            That's just the start. But that would go a long way to fixing a lot of problems in this country. You're welcome America. :-)

            Wendy Davis for TX Governor, 2014!

            by GleninCA on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:57:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Federal Government (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pariah Dog, JeffW, waterstreet2013

          "has never done anything". Nothing, starting with opening up the Cumberland Road (1790's, just after the Constitution passed), planning the Erie Canal (1820's), passing the Homestead Act, subsidizing the Transcontinental Railroads, establishing the National Parks (1900's), creating the TVA and Columbia River Projects (1930's)--just to mention older (and, for the right, non-controversial [I hope]) initiatives.

    •  Is it the Constitution, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 04:58:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This really pissed me off. (18+ / 0-)

    UCLA Parents Weekend had set up an event for yesterday for the families of underprivileged students who didn't want to go to Pasadena for our Homecoming game against Colorado at the Rose Bowl.  And it was to be in the special Pavilion Club inside our basketball arena Pauley Pavilion, not the entire arena.  It was only for at most 350 people.  You know, like grandparents who were visiting for Parents Weekend and didn't want to make the trek out to the Rose Bowl.

    But thanks to BruinsNation's unhinged angry e-mails, they got it cancelled.  Because they thought it was so horrible that UCLA wasn't trying to get everyone out there, so holding any viewing party at all on our campus must've been a bad thing to do.

    Also, it wasn't Homecoming Committee that set it up, it was Parents Weekend.  These are actually different groups on campus.  So the angry e-mails the head of the Homecoming Committee got were all misdirected at the wrong person as well.

    Great job, guys.  Great job.  All those families could've just maybe crowded into the student union to watch the game, I guess.  Much better than giving them a nice tour of Pauley and the Pavilion Club.

    (Basically, that site BruinsNation is to UCLA what the Tea Party is to America.  They think they're being "patriotic" and stuff.  And yet..............)

    Oh, they also tried to get a petition going to new UC President Janet Napolitano to have her monitor the UCLA Athletic Department because they didn't like how it was being run.  Because that's supposed to be the job of a UC President??  So as you can see, just as delusional as Tea Partiers.

    •  It's not that they're being patriotic (11+ / 0-)

      Or worried about getting everyone out to Pasadena.

      You said it yourself:

      UCLA Parents Weekend had set up an event for yesterday for the families of underprivileged students
      They didn't want any resources being used for underprivileged people. Doesn't matter who set it up, coordinated it, volunteered or donated every single thing the group used to pull it off.

      These students consider themselves taxpayers (whether they actually pay taxes is irrelevant in their minds).  

      Pauley Pavillion belongs to them.. It doesn't matter that the very parents and grandparents who would have attended ARE taxpayers... They don't matter.

      That's the thing with RWNJs. They always talk about OUR resources when they want to deny another group from using them.

      (My favorite was the  "OUR parks and monuments" rhetoric  --by the people who despise National Park service -- during the shutdown).

      I should introduce you to my puppy. If another dog has a toy, she'll run up and steal it, and put it in her crate. She'll do it over and over again, until she has quite a collection. She guards them as ferociously as a beagle pup can guard anything. She doesn't play with the toys. She just doesn't want anyone else to have them.

      My older dogs eventually want their stuff back, ignore her and take their things; sometimes they'll even snark at her if they're really tired of her annoying ways.  Theyre teaching her that to live with others, there are rules, and as she matures, she's expected to follow more of them.  I don't ever have to intervene. The dogs all want a civil society between them, so the manage the young selfish brat with firmness but patience.

      The problem with the Teaparty, is no one ignores them, much less snaps at them. No one expects these young Teapartiers to mature; no one expects them to be people that will follow the rules of civil society- or the Homecoming committee would not have given in. It was just easier to let the growling puppies keep their bone.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:05:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right ON! (9+ / 0-)
        The problem with the Teaparty, is no one ignores them, much less snaps at them. No one expects these young Teapartiers to mature; no one expects them to be people that will follow the rules of civil society....
        "The BIG Problem" with Moronic Media - as I see it - is that they reported on these fringe elements with rhetoric that made them sound like a huuuuge national political movement when, in fact, the Teahadists are just a few racist, narcissistic, misogynistic, reichwingnuts who claim to be religious and who use spoiled brat tactics to get attention because their ability to garner negative attention WORKS for them.  They got their 15 minutes of fame..., and a whole lot more time because they really are as obnoxious as they sound.

        Well, it worked for the whiny little Tundra Tramp..., and she allied herself with them..., and that seems like a sure way to garner success because she's an aging beauty queen who still looks good.  The fact that she has poisoned mushrooms for brains and only unintelligent word salad issues from her mouth is totally ignored.  It's all about appearances because the rest of it lacks substance.

        So, what started out as something to laugh at has morphed into something serious because Moronic Media doesn't know when to ignore the unintelligible or use ridicule to silence stupidity.

        The surest way to get back to some sort of civil discourse in the political arena is to IGNORE the spoiled brats throwing temper tantrums in the middle of the store aisle.  When their temper tantrums don't achieve the desired effect of cameras and microphones in their faces, they have to stfu and think of something more positive and more mature than screaming and kicking the floor.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:23:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's difficult to ignore a group who have (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          managed to get their members elected to public office all over the U.S.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 05:11:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I almost laughed/grimaced at how this single.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ..comment, whether sympathetic with teabaggers or not..

            It's difficult to ignore a group who have managed to get their members elected to public office all over the U.S.
            ..manages to encapsulate the reason for asking the question tonight's Open Thread for Night Owls article is about.

            Some of the issues in question were:

             • gerrymandering

             • unequal representation in the senate (2 senators regardless of population)

             • filibuster as the new normal (60 vote threshold subjugating majority rule)

             • secret holds

             • campaign financing/Citizens United

            Just a few things.

             Most reasonable people recognize  that bad actors can fuck up the functioning of even the most carefully organized arrangement.

            That includes the Constitution.

            Republicans have degraded government. Incompetence, greed, shilling for profit, whatever, they made it their goal, even if unwittingly following the blueprint of a "corpo conservative movement" they ( the Gohmerts or Vivian Fox, Bachmann idiots & freshman teabags in the house et al.) have limited understanding of beyond the juicy rhetoric.

            The old guard who do understand the larger "conservative movement" have made the decision to support (even as they publicly denounce the fringe baggers) to use the delusional fringe as it is the only group that can be fooled into voting against there own interests in meaningful numbers.

            So yes, how a group of individuals so unqualified in every way that matters and with zero interest in actually, admittedly working to make government less responsive to the needs of the people and country can take hold of that government, milk it for profit, disenfranchise groups of people from access, and shut it down if they otherwise fail in their destruction, is a real mess.

            We must stand firm and vote these misguided reactionary racist fearful people out of any postion of power; and since they are easily attracted to conventions and free deep fried butter sticks, the idea of having conventions full of these types sounds like a whole lot of trouble

      •  FWIW... (0+ / 0-)

        the darndest thing is that most of the people on that site lean to the left.  The head of the site, in fact, works for a well-known progressive organization that you've probably gotten e-mails from.

        Initially, it seems they didn't know the event was for underprivileged students and their families.  But even after a UCLA official wrote back letting them know, it didn't diminish their fervor in wanting to get rid of the event.  Something about, well, they can just make the game free for them.  I mean, what a brilliant idea.  Why not just make EVERYTHING free ALL the time?  That would shoot attendance levels through the roof then!  /sarcasm

  •  Going to pimp it one more time... (23+ / 0-)

    No one knows what it's like, To be the bad man, To be the sad man, behind blue eyes....

    by blueyedace2 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:42:09 PM PST

  •  The Constitutional Accountability Center (11+ / 0-)

    I've just become familiar with their work, thanks to a link to this article, The Gem of the Constitution, in one of Adam B's diaries on McDonald v. City of Chicago.

    Their recent articles look interesting too.

    SCOTUS Term Shapes Up To Be A Battle Over Constitutional Originalism
    Talking Points Memo
    October 7, 2013
    Doug Kendall, Tom Donnelly

    For decades, debates over the Constitution divided along familiar lines. Progressives professed faith in a "living Constitution," while conservatives claimed fidelity to originalism. In recent Terms, however, this dynamic has changed. The Court's progressive wing - led first by Justice John Paul Stevens and, since his retirement, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and aided by leading academics and practitioners - have begun to stake their own claim to the Constitution's text and history.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:42:40 PM PST

  •  The ALEC diary from earlier (33+ / 0-)

    and Tea Party/RW political behavior in general illustrate that a certain segment thinks many of our Governmental functions and traditions are obsolete and should be changed (read: rolled back).

    Our political environment being regressive as it is, I don't think tampering with things at this point in time would be a constructive exercise.

    •  Indeed, I'm picturing a "grand bargain"... (17+ / 0-)

      which ends up codifying a lot of the things progressives have been fighting against.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

      by richardak on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:00:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just picture the battle over... (12+ / 0-)

      "Christian Nation"

      The FF's got that one right, but I'm not so sure that battle could be won today...

      Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

      by GreenPA on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:14:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It wouldn't... (6+ / 0-)

        The radical reichwingnut religionists are on the ascendancy and I think they may get worse before Moronic Media (which promotes their crap and gives them unearned and unwarranted attention) and the rest of this nation figures out they're grifters out to get as much money from gullible people as they can.  [e.g. Jim Bakker and his ilk]

        I think the radical reichwingnuts are probably a minority number - but they're loud, obnoxious, and they're not satisfied with having their freedom of religion but want to force others to believe as they do.

        I think it is likely more religious people are just average nice people who live their religion rather than preach it, and they respect the rights of others to live their lives with ears unmolested by radical interpretations of the Bible.  They're rarely (or never) heard from.

        As long as the loudmouthed, crass radical reichwingnuts are on the ascendancy and getting all the attention in political arenas, this would not be an auspicious time to have calm, level-headed, logical discussions about the constitution or any potential changes thereof.

        FIRST we have to get our Cretinous Congress Critters to give us back our rights they took away from us and repeal, IN FULL, AUMFs, Patriot Acts, MCA '06, FISA fiasco '08, and MCA '09 (the latter passed after Obama came into power).  No amending or changing a paragraph here or there, but these unconstitutional and illegal laws came with expiration dates and so far the "threat of ter'rists" have kept Cretinous Congress Critters scared enough to extend the "temporary" denial of our rights and habeas corpus which was in effect since June, 1215, and MCA '06 just took it away.

        If any sitting president does not use a countermanding executive order to dissolve one of Dumbya's first executive orders to set up the 'office of faith-based initiatives' which is run through the White House (and gives religion a foot in the door to instituting a state religion!!!), then Congress must step in and dissolve it as violating the First Amendment's separation of church and state.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:55:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You think we have gridlock now? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GleninCA, QuoVadis

      Just wait until we end up with 25 political parties and Chris Christie leading a coalition gov'mnt of tea-partiers, gun-nuts, and flat-earthers........

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 02:21:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As it should and this is why....they've already (0+ / 0-)

      got it rewritten for us.

      Funded by the Ford & Rockefeller foundations in the early 60's.

      Buy the book below or download the PDF (google search it) , it was published in 1974 and starting on page 592 is the rewrite linked above.

      What is truly frightening, the "regional governance" parts, they're already doing it.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 05:21:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Elyn Saks - MacArthur Genius... Rewrite (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, high uintas, LinSea

    Elyn Saks - MacArthur Genius Award Recipient & Expert in Mental Health Law (Open Thread - Updated)
    NOTE: This diary has been significantly expanded to highlight the connection between Elyn Saks's work and issues of medical privacy and discrimination in the context of gun policy and law. The original diary was published on Wednesday Oct. 30, 2013.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:51:15 PM PST

  •  A Constitutional Convention now... (15+ / 0-)

    would be a complete waste of time. There's no way that any  agreement that would be genuinely beneficial to the country could be reached given the current political landscape.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:53:27 PM PST

  •  Even if it was possible to write a new one (19+ / 0-)

    (and I don't believe that it is right now for some pretty obvious reasons), it would be a political disaster as nearly half the country would reject it and refuse to accept its legitimacy. We're not at a point where it's either possible or prudent to try replace our constitution. One side has to decisively win under the current constitution and much time has to pass where the other side comes to accept the new status quo, and only then could a new constitution be passed and be accepted. The political and ideological climate just isn't there right now. It won't be for at least 20-30 years, I believe.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:55:16 PM PST

  •  The Poll (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So why is it that I am able to vote in the Poll multiple times? I discovered this yesterday and was able to even while not logged in. Surely this is a bug and not a feature!?

    •  Polls aren't anything significant here in terms (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, DRo, PresentMoment

      Of content. They draw readers in. But anyone who drops by can vote, including unregistered readers. We do want to be a site for people who drop by and not just a club for members, after all.

      I think they're just kind of a lark to get conversation going.

      The general consensus (that I've gathered from years of comments) is that pretty much everyone knows you can't infer anything from them.

      Probably the programming required to make them more  functional isn't worth the effort, especially given that even more "serious" polls (like at news sites) are easily cheated by simply cleaning out cookies.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:25:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  But...but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...if we get a new constitution, what's to prevent the gubmint from taking all the guns and quartering soldiers in our homes??

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:55:38 PM PST

    •  Do quartered soldiers do housework? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, DRo

      Or will they help walk the dogs?

      I might be willing to consider this idea, as long as they do chores...

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:28:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Warren Buffett's Berkshire funding Ted Cruz? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, blueoasis, DRo, wayoutinthestix

    How the Koch Brothers Orchestrated the Shutdown
    The two chief contributors to Cruz's political career donated over a million dollars to it (and no other entity donated as much as $100,000 to it). As one of my earlier posts had noted, shows that the top sources of contributions to Mr. Cruz's political career were Club For Growth, and Senate Conservatives Fund, which together donated over a million dollars to it. Open Secrets also explained that the #5 contributor, Goldman Sachs, additionally managed his money and provided his health insurance, and that his wife is a vice president of GS. Moreover, the #17 contributor to Cruz, Berkshire Hathaway (headed by a "Democrat," Warren Buffett, who prominently mouths against Republican policies), hired Baker Botts as their law firm, and BB was the #8 Cruz donor. So, as this example (BH) shows, Cruz actually had bipartisan support among the aristocracy.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:57:00 PM PST

  •  Can you imagine the Republican demands (8+ / 0-)

    For a new Constitution? Blacks would go back to being 3/5ths of a person, women of course would lose the vote, along with the under 21 crowd (probably the under 65 crowd) - actually probably no voting at all for representatives, the Party would choose them. No worker organization, Corporations would become citizens... its a never-ending list of infamy.

    There are really only 10 kinds of people in this world; those who understand Binary, and those who don't.

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:59:46 PM PST

  •  If they won't honor existing law ... (9+ / 0-)

    ... why will they honor new law?

    Constitutional convention talk is BULLSHIT, as is secession.

    Millions of us – the majority – must come together to insist that President Obama and the Democrats stand up and fight for the things we sent them there to do ... Michael Moore

    by MT Spaces on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:00:23 PM PST

  •  One comment it was not adams vs Jefferson that (6+ / 0-)

    deadlocked, it was Jefferson and Burr. back then both Presidents and VPs got electoral votes on separate lines, rather than being part of the same line as they are today.  both burr and jefferson finished with 73 electoral votes and there was no guidelines for counting vp votes separate from presidential ones. so burrs 73 counted the same as jeffersons 73. in the end after 36 votes, where the possibility that burr could win the vote and become the president despite not running for that office existed, jefferson won.this  deadlock was prevented from happening again in the future by passing the 12th amendment.

  •  Constitution? What constitution? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Situational Lefty, blueoasis, a2nite

    Our constitutional rights have been rendered defunct years ago. Basically the President has all the perceived power, and it's the Congress job to basically whine and obstruct the President, except when a war's on.

    Monsanto and Alec and the "Free-trade" globalists are basically already in charge. A constitutional convention would raise public awareness that the cow left the barn decades ago.

  •  Seriously? (10+ / 0-)
    If men (and, finally, women) as wise as Jefferson and Madison set about the task of writing a constitution in 2013, it would look little like the one we have now.
    Jefferson was unique in his own time, and I think the number of men and women alive today "as wise as Jefferson" is vanishingly small.  Further, the Constitution was drafted at a blessed time when religious fervor was at a minimum.  As a nation, we are so divided that I can't imagine a majority of 3/4 of the states being able to vote in favor of a single document, which is what would be required to replace the current Constitution.  And the fact that the Evangelicals are as loud and influential as they currently are would mean a serious push to establish a national religion.

    As far as I can see, any attempt to replace the current Constitution would end in either failure or disaster.  Seitz-Wald's arguments are perfectly valid and reasonable, but in case you haven't noticed, there are an awful lot of Americans these days who are impervious to reason.

    -5.13,-5.64; GOP thinking: A 13 year path to citizenship is too easy, and a 5 minute background check is too burdensome. -- 1audreyrenee

    by gizmo59 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:03:44 PM PST

    •   remember that the first Great Awakening happened (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, SouthernLeveller, eztempo

      in the 1750s, so religious fervor was not at all at a low point back then. many of the founders were deeply religious, while many of the founders were deists, that simply means they believed in a god, but not in christs divinity. religious fervor has a deep basis in american history, dating from the puritans and finding expression throughout this country's history.

      •  Perhaps I am mistaken, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO, eztempo, blueoasis, ChemBob

        but I have been under the impression that the period between the First and the Second Great Awakenings was a time of relatively low religiosity;  at least that's what I've read.  Of course a number of the Founders were religious men.  Some of them were ministers and preachers.  However, an uncommon number of them were, as you have pointed out, not orthodox Christians.  I doubt either John Adams or Thomas Jefferson could be elected President in the present day because their religious views run so far afield from the standard forms of Christianity.  I suppose my point is that, at the time of the drafting of the Constitution, the Founders had a diversity of religious views, and a clear view of the sorts of atrocities that had occurred because under regimes with established religions.  As such, even the religious among the Founders believed it was best to keep religion out of the government.  And there was (apparently) no backlash from the populace.

        -5.13,-5.64; GOP thinking: A 13 year path to citizenship is too easy, and a 5 minute background check is too burdensome. -- 1audreyrenee

        by gizmo59 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:45:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  it was a combination (0+ / 0-)

          the people could worship as they pleased- or not at all, but that the government was secular- it would not favor one religion over the other. remember than several of the colonies had differing religious foundings- Maryland was catholic, Pennslvania was founded by quakers, and Rhode Island was built on dissidents from massachusetts.

        •  Also, many evangelicals (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eztempo, gizmo59, Nisi Prius

          at that time made a "grand bargain" with the Deists for religious liberty and separation of church and state. (Especially the Baptists with Jefferson.) Why? Because, at the time, they weren't united as a cooperative "Religious Right," but divided against each other and fearful of being oppressed by a religious establishment. If bumper stickers had existed at the time, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and others would've sported ones saying "Vote for the Heretic Jefferson: It's Important!"

          "I was not born for myself alone, but for my neighbor as well as myself."--Richard Overton, leader of the Levellers, a17th C. movement for democracy and equality during the English Civil War. for healthcare coverage in Kentucky

          by SouthernLeveller on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:37:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, yes, that's the great irony (0+ / 0-)

            about the situation today.  When they were religious minorities, the Evangelicals were all about religious freedom.  Now that they're on top?  Not so much.

            -5.13,-5.64; GOP thinking: A 13 year path to citizenship is too easy, and a 5 minute background check is too burdensome. -- 1audreyrenee

            by gizmo59 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 03:42:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  At this time? (10+ / 0-)


    Seriously.  Just no.  

    For better or worse, we are going to have to deal with our crappy politics and change things through very significant consensus.

    We may be here a while.  Squabbling.  

    We may be here a while because the cost of being here isn't high enough to warrant having most people prioritize a better process over other things.

    And that's the problem.  Until we resolve that priority problem, we are stuck with what we have now.

    If we were actually capable of a new convention, I would hate to see the document it produced...

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***

    by potatohead on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:05:56 PM PST

  •  The Constitution's constitution is fine. (7+ / 0-)

    It's the Republican constitution that needs an enema.

    We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

    by franklyn on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:08:10 PM PST

  •  I think I'm about ready (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas

    for super computers to govern us, with a very Liberal
    program, of course.
    It's plain to see that we cannot govern ourselves in a way that is fair to all.

    Severely Socialist 47283

    by ichibon on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:11:20 PM PST

  •  a peace and reconciliation commission for the (4+ / 0-)

    centuries of official and unofficial racism and our illegal, imperial, and neo-colonial wars might be a better alternative to a Constitutional Convention.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:14:12 PM PST

  •  Obsolete When it Was Published (6+ / 0-)

    The threats posed by wealth concentration, speculation and such had been known to civilization well over a century when the framers convened. Even as late as Bill of Rights efforts, Madison and Jefferson who envisioned a society more primitive than that understood enough to have wanted a fundamental freedom from economic monopoly, which never made the cut.

    So we were born with a system that was perfectly ignorant of its unfolding future, one that had 3 of 4 limbs tied behind its back for governing its own present. As a result we the people have experienced a cycle of bubbles and depressions with increasing wealth concentration for our entire history, except for the 50 year mid 20th century anomaly.

    We did get in the Bill of Rights a freedom for corporations that are sponsored by corporations, from any check or balance on their core activity, so long as they are in the business of informing the people and hosting our civic discourse.

    If I had to choose between government without corporations- sponsored- by- corporations educating the people, and corporations- sponsored- by- corporations educating the people without government, I wouldn't hesitate to choose the latter" - Thomas Jefferson translated into 21st century economics.
    Congratulations Mr. Jefferson, your ideal is accelerating toward becoming our destiny.

    We also have in the Constitution credible brakes against the arising of an imperial presidency by dividing war powers, with no analogue to prevent a criminal presidency by analogously dividing enforcement powers. And so we've had numerous criminal presidencies, and arguably 1 or more demonstrations that the path to an imperial presidency is via the uncheckable criminal presidency.

    And our legislature is empowered to create rules for consensus that empower tiny minorities of our population to crash the global economy.

    Not ready for prime time.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:30:15 PM PST

  •  JFK is really dead. (0+ / 0-)

    But I do miss the pictures of the gray-headed guy in the wheel-chair in Argentina that I used to see at the super market.
    We need all the laughs we can get.

    We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

    by franklyn on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:37:27 PM PST

  •  Question is... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, eztempo, NonnyO, blueoasis, ChemBob

    ....can we keep it from being a Tea Bagger document?

    You know ALEC will pour everything it's got into this.
    The majority may still be apathetic.
    The Tea Baggers will see this is their chance for ultimate victory.

    How do we ensure that the document is written by people who have the best interests of the country in mind and who are also not insane?

  •  Const. Convention=Playing with fire. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LihTox, JeffW, NonnyO, ChemBob

    Conservatives love this because they can rewrite the constitution. Personally, I would love to see a sea change and get left candidates elected, and then they could rewrite the constitution. (Punk, Technology, politics-my blog)

    by greenpunx on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:42:02 PM PST

  •  Rewrite. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover, eztempo

    "We the people that count..."

    We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

    by franklyn on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:47:40 PM PST

    •  That's kind of how the original was written. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      franklyn, blueoasis, JeffW

      White dudes, slavery was protected, no rights for women,  not a lot of faith given to the rabble Average American Citizen; thus the electoral college, senate, etc.

      Gosh it's almost like most of the Founding Fathers were all rich white dudes...

      Funny that..

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:41:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "All rich," would be a stretch. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        White men would be a part of the times, along with the woman point. But, yes, it wasn't perfect.
        These were people that were trying to do the best they could for humanity. It might seem silly, but as they say on the street, " I wouldn't kick 'em outta bed."

        We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

        by franklyn on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:57:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Many were very rich. (0+ / 0-)

          The others were just unfortunate they didn't create Wshington DC and K street yet.

          © grover

          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:31:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Reddit Politics Forum Publication Blacklist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, blueoasis

    Hey, I wrote a diary six days ago on a publications blacklist at the reddit Politics forum. One of those publications on that list is Dailykos. The diary has garnered 421 rec votes so far.

    Anyway, I've put together a video. But I'm not sure if writing a followup diary for a video is OK. So, is there interest here in the vid and should I do that?

  •  Robert Parry of consortiumnews asked almost .. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, grover, blueoasis, mimi

    ..the same same question earlier this year. He has some possible fixes:
    Is the Constitution Still Relevant? - January 5, 2013

    Exclusive: The U.S. Constitution has become part of today’s political battlefield, with the Right claiming to be its true defender and the Left questioning why the old parchment should undercut democratic choices in the modern age. But neither side seems very interested in what the document actually did, says Robert Parry.

     - By Robert Parry

    There are two major schools of thought about the U.S. Constitution. One from the Left argues that it’s an outdated structure that should not be allowed to inhibit actions necessary to meet the needs of a modern society.
    example of how the left is dissatisfied:  Since ratification in 1788 the constitution countenanced slavery. Two Senators per state regardless of population
    And one from the Right, that only a “strict constructionist” reading of the Constitution and respect for the Framers’ “original intent” should be allowed.
    Strict constructionist? Today's SCOTUS proves this to be completely subjective, even whimsical (Scalia) at best - imo

    The piece is very informative and I couldn't begin to do justice to it. So I'll just cheat and skip to the end

    Then concludes with:

    The best path to firmer ground would seem to be, twofold: a serious effort to reclaim the real history of the Constitution from the charlatans on the Right and a recognition that the Constitution, as amended, creates an imperfect but still workable framework for democratic change, a rebuff to some on the Left.

    The reality is that the Framers did include broad and flexible powers in the Constitution, so future elected representatives could work their will on matters important to the “general Welfare.” As already noted, the Commerce Clause was not limited by the Framers; it was restricted by the current majority of right-wing ideologues who sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    And as for the Left, it should recognize that – with some political changes, such as the expanded use of primaries and caucuses to select Democratic and Republican candidates, filibuster reform and some more public financing of campaigns – the Constitution allows for a reasonably vibrant, though clearly imperfect, democratic process.

    Today’s political crisis can more accurately be blamed on the Right’s well-funded propaganda machine which has succeeded in supplanting history and science with propaganda and disinformation – and the failure of the Left and the Center to fight as hard for the truth as the Right fights for its fallacies.
    So Robert Parry is more optimistic about the future

     - emphasis added

    •  Although, Larry Sabato has an interesting idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ..on the senate make-up and on curing the rot caused by gerrymandering that sounds reasonable. Two of the suggestions are in line with Robert Parrys' ideas of what needs fixing:


      Larry Sabato, the ubiquitous and mild-mannered political prognosticator by day, is a radical constitution-rewriter by night. In his 2008 book, A More Perfect Constitution: Why the Constitution Must Be Revised, Sabato offers a number of pragmatic ideas:
      The Senate, he says, should be expanded to give more populous states at least a bit more representation,
      and it should also include "national senators"—all former presidents and vice presidents, maybe others—whose job it is to guard national interests over parochial ones.
      Sabato's plan would also double the size of the House (to make representatives closer to the people) and enforces a nonpartisan redistricting process to end gerrymandering
      And campaign financing reform:
      Regardless of how you feel about Citizens United, something needs to be done about campaign finance. No one thinks lawmakers should spend several hours every day raising money (some estimates say lawmakers spend 25 percent to 50 percent of their time "dialing for dollars"). No one prefers that a tiny fraction of wealthy Americans provide the vast majority of the money needed to supply our democracy with leaders. (Only about one-half of 1 percent of Americans have given more than $200 to a candidate, PAC, or party, while just under 10 percent report donating at all.)
      But how this is implemented in todays climate especially with todays SCOTUS that ruled in favor of Ctizens United is hard to imagine coming out benefitting real people over corporations.

      I guess a conversation if it brought these problems out in the open for a closer look is a good thing.  

    •  reclaim the real history of the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

      In other words, Originalism.

  •  As long as the Constitution is as is, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Rich in PA, Peace Missile

    no one will ever be able to take over anything. I often wonder if that wasn't the point from the git-go. No matter what happens, they keep having to go back to the people.
    Frustrating, ain't it?

    We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

    by franklyn on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:57:41 PM PST

  •  While we are on this subject (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    I would encourage everyone to purchase a copy of How Democratic is the American Constitution? by Robert Dahl. I had to read it for a history class, and it's a very fascinating book that raises a lot of questions about the way the Constitution was written. :)

  •  If we're amending the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

    I want to put in for sortition to select House membership.

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

    by Nellebracht on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:06:07 PM PST

  •  The GOP loons believe.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..the Constitution was divinely written. Jesus would have to intervene.

    The nation is finished. The chaos we're living through are just the symptoms. We're living history.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:19:27 PM PST

  •  Nonsense. The Soviet Constitution (6+ / 0-)

    established in the 1930s was far better than ours. Then the KGB came and hauled you away at night because you put a hat on a statue of Stalin for fun one day.

    Politics is psychology. If the character of the power-holders is weak, corrupt, and even crazy, there's nothing written anywhere that's going to stop them from being such. Conversely, if rule by Law and not mortals is respected, then most any government can work, while that's so.

    Knowing that each generation would have something they'd want different, the Founders made provision to enact Amendments. It ain't like we're stuck forever with what they wrote, like it or not.

    When the 1% hold all the cards and way too many can be bought... that's not the time you start messing around with fundamental statements.

    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:20:19 PM PST

    •  comparing Stalin and Washington... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, hmi, JeffW like comparing meat grinders and microwaves.

      Stalins personally ordered the deaths of, and sent millions of Russians to slave labor camps. "No man = No Problem" were the words he lived by.

      George Washington turned down a King's Crown not once, but TWICE!
       photo 423375_2808534527465_1244137528_n_zpsada48a47.jpg

      Stalin would have you summarily shot for violating any law. We still have a Jury system. True, thanks to a post-9/11 world-like Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales told Bush about the Geneva Conventions- it's fast becoming "quaint and obsolete".
       photo 734347_144283085737269_877501005_n_zpse5f1ed7b.jpg

      "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

      by ImpeachKingBushII on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:34:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't compare Stalin and Washington. (0+ / 0-)

        I was talking about what laws say and whether messing around with them has any purpose, when it's the character of people in power which determines things.

        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:12:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  in a sense you did... (0+ / 0-)

          "The Soviet Constitution established in the 1930s was far better than ours".

          Stalin was the USSR and the USSR was Stalin, every bit as much as Washington was the personal embodiment of our Constitution. Without Stalin there is no USSR. Without Washington, the rebellion that resulted in this experiment in democratic republicanism would have died in its infancy.

          But we do agree when you say: "it's the character of people in power which determines things".

          Stalin's authoritarian daddy groomed him into the merciless dictator he became. His quick-tempered, abusive, drunken father nearly beat the young, frail Joe Stalin to a pulp. We are indeed a product of our environment. However, an abused childhood is no excuse for committing cold-blooded murder.

          Hitler ironically, had the same upbringing. He worshipped his doting, over-protective mother and they both feared and reviled their father. Hitler, like Stalin suffered from many physhological problems and the world was made to suffer along with them.

          Now George Washington proved his mettle in the French and Indian Wars, having two horses shot out from under him. He proved it again, when he turned down the Crown of King, not just once, but TWICE. Stalin had his entire cadre of officers and generals summarily shot to secure his hold on, and to remove any poential threats to his dictatorial powers.

          "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

          by ImpeachKingBushII on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 12:01:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Rec'd and double-rec'd n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Jim P

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 04:16:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mike Michaud, ME-Gov., comes out as gay (4+ / 0-)

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)
    This message will self-destruct upon arrival in the NSA archives in Utah.

    by MTmofo on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:33:47 PM PST

  •  Need another TU... (4+ / 0-) drop a donut in a spam dairy at the top of the Recent list.


  •  Not a good idea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, blueoasis, JeffW

    the wingnuts and Tea Partiers could put all sorts of shit in a new constitution.

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:43:27 PM PST

  •  A new constitutional convention? YES!!!!!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Situational Lefty, a2nite

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:56:07 PM PST

  •  You don't need to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, JeffW

    change the constitution to get rid of the gridlock. Rediculous rules rules, like the filibuster and the Hastert rule, are causing the gridlock.

  •  Unfettered capitalism and theocratic ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, JeffW

    excesses can put a strain on any decent governing constitution. Our Constitution needs to have the tools to push back against those forces that would certainly skew the rights and protections of such a document in their favor.

    You stand in the way of all you should be. Let your fears make you invisible. - 16382

    by glb3 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:15:46 PM PST

  •  A new constitution wouldn't matter (5+ / 0-)

    they'd disregard that one too.

    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013

    by TheMomCat on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:20:58 PM PST

  •  I can come up with innumerable snarks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JeffW, Nisi Prius

    about Ted Cruz, but, in the end, is there anyone else as pathological to the health of the country?
    I once said that after 9-11 I finally understood my parent's reaction to Pearl Harbor. Ted Cruz is my connection to Joe McCarthy.
    Is there really anything humorous about a plague of wanton evil?

    We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

    by franklyn on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:29:23 PM PST

    •  the major differences between the 1st... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, blueoasis, a2nite, JeffW

      ...Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the 2nd one on September 11, 2001:

      Japan attcked us. Iraq and Afghanistan did not. And all the hijackers died on 9/11. Most of the Japanese forces that attacked Pearl Harbor didn't die until the Battle of Midway. FDR didn't commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bush and his gang  in defending us from those "terrorists who hate us for our freedom" did. Truman held the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal for the Nazis and Tojo had his day in court, too. And the other day we were told the prisoners at Guantanamo were going to have their own "Nuremberg". Nowhere is Bush and Cheney's name mentioned.

      FDR didn't have 35 Articles of Impeachment filed against him. Bush did. And Kucinich also filed three against "Mr Fourth Branch"(Cheney) himself.

      FDR didn't write his Declaration of War until hostilities actually began. Professor John Yoo and former Asst. Attorney General Viet Dinh co-wrote The USA Patriot Act (which arguably declared war on the Bill of Rights) months before 9/11. FDR didn't make fighting Japan and Germany his #1 priority from his first week in office. Bush's then Sec. Treasury Paul O'Neill told CBS News, Bush planned the Iraq war as early as January 25, 2001, almost 9 whole months before 9/11.

      And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

      "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

      by ImpeachKingBushII on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:14:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Monday cannot unfollow Sunday. (0+ / 0-)

    You stand in the way of all you should be. Let your fears make you invisible. - 16382

    by glb3 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:35:42 PM PST

    •  Ok, we all made it to Monday. (0+ / 0-)

      It wasn't all that bad, was it?
      Someone was kind enough to give Sunday an extra hour this weekend. I hope Sunday shared a little of it with Monday. Sunday, Monday, do you want to be friends again?

      You stand in the way of all you should be. Let your fears make you invisible. - 16382

      by glb3 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 05:30:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tube Cash invades the recent diary list ... (0+ / 0-)

    is it gritty, and spicy ?
    will there be a prequel to the sequel ?

    "Don't But It !!"

    okay. i won't.

    Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes. @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.

    by greenbird on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:30:45 AM PST

  •  Deer crossing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    Last night I was walking on the bike path near my house when as the path turned to the base of a pedestrian bridge I was startled to see a deer standing in front of me. The deer, who seemed just as startled to see me as I was to see him stood there for a very long seeming 5 or 10 seconds. Unfortunately I didn't have my cell phone with me at the time, so I couldn't take a picture of it. As you can see in the pic below I've placed a yellow X where the deer was standing.

    There's a street light directly above that provides more than enough light for a photo, though not a high quality photo.

    The 2nd photo shows the reverse angle. The X on the left is where the deer was standing, the X on the right is the place where I stopped and could do nothing but stare at the animal and shout words that I hoped would encourage him to leave, which he did. But before he left he stood there long enough for me to try to read his facial expression. He seemed to be thinking, "But why should I leave, I was here first!??!" He then pivoted and ran into the trees on the left side of the photo below and the right side of the picture above.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    It puzzled me at first as to why the deer stood there for so long. It finally occurred to me that the bright street light above blinded him. He could hear me but probably not see me well enough to identify what it was he was hearing. After the delay he must have decided that what ever it was he'd better make a hasty retreat and cross the bridge later on.

    "Ain't no blade can protect you from the True-True." - Old Georgie, Cloud Atlas.

    by klingman on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:32:37 AM PST

    •  Its mating season (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They lose their situational awareness enraptured by  pheromones. Lots of cars hit deer here on my island this time of year, a friend of mine hit a deer just last week.  

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:23:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "you died for nothing"... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nisi Prius what are we going to tell the millions of Americans who defended this Constitution and ouir way of life from tyranny--to the death? "You died for nothing"? So George W. Bush was right all along when he said, "I'm the president. Stop throwing the Constitution in my face; it's nothing but a goddam piece of paper!"

    I'm all for a Article V Constitutional Convention to discuss the salient issues of the day.. .We can't even get this Congress to agree on anything at all, whether or not to "bury Grant in Grant's tomb"-much less a balanced budget. And the people? As long as the "trains still run on time", torture and rendition and droning (and lots of other bad things our government is doing behind the curtain that the powers that be don't want us to find out about) happens only to the "other guy", you'd have better luck selling a condo timeshare subscription to people on Mars than participating in a CC.

    Hell, if you ask most people how many members are there in Congress don't know. And they wouldn't recognize their own congress critter or senators by name or face, if they were standing right in front of them.

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:46:32 AM PST

    •  Piece of paper (0+ / 0-)

      Good grief—are there still people credulous enough to believe this old foolishness?

      •  I was one of the first ones on this site... (0+ / 0-)

        ...who posted those words years ago verbatim right after Bush spoke them. Believe what you like. What do you expect from fact check dot org? They seem to have a reputation for conveniently debunking inconvenient truths. No, I don't like them or believe them and it sounds exactly like something Bush would say when he didn't think anybody was listening.

        He flouted the law, disrespected the Constitution, and moved heaven and earth to get Chief US Weapons Inspector David Kay to contradict--and got pissed because he wouldn't lie for him to give him political cover-- UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix, who told him and the rest of the world 15 days before he attacked Iraq there was no WMDs there. I know what I read. And I don't post anything here that's rumor or inuendo-or that can't be proven or corroborated.

        "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 05:53:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Proven/corroborated (0+ / 0-)

          And where are they proven or corroborated by someone who actually heard him say this and then went on record? For something this outrageous, I'd want to see something pretty solid. And Richard Sutherland sure ain't it.

          •  not going to look it up again pal... (0+ / 0-)

            ...if my word isn't good enough for you for as you say "something this outrageous" just google it yourself. I trust google as a search engine a lot more than I do fact check dot org. I'm done. We're done. Enjoy the rest of your day.

            "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

            by ImpeachKingBushII on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:21:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did the work (0+ / 0-)

              I Googled it, and found several "debunking" sites that classed the quote as spurious. Found one book that claimed, without footnotes or checkable attributions, that he had interviewed people who heard Bush say it. So, no, I have no particular reason to take your word for it. At best, you should stick a caution on your use of the quote.

              So, you're right—you're done. And now so am I.
              You, too, enjoy your day.

    •  Oddly enough, I agree with hmi. (0+ / 0-)

      The Constitution is a piece of paper, even though oaths are written proclaiming that you're 'Defending the Constitution'.

      What you're defending is not that paper, but the rights of the people banded together under it to self-government.  Changes to the Constitution do not invalidate previous oaths, not even if you ended up changing every single line therein.

      Where George W Bush went wrong was not in calling it a piece of paper, but in believing that the people did not deserve self-rule, but that his power and will should simply be supreme.

  •  New Post (0+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:17:56 AM PST

  •  Quick correction to Seitz-Wald (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Theodore J Pickle, blueoasis

    The 1800 presidential Election horror story did not involve a stand-off between Adams and Jefferson but between Jefferson and the vice-Presidential candidate from Jefferson's own party. Under the rules of the time both got the same number of electoral votes, no separate Electoral College ballot being taken for the vice-presidency.. Aaron Burr nearly became US President..

    Sombre thought. In the mud-slinging 1800 Presidential election one candidate was President of the US Academy of Sciences, the other of the US Academy of the Arts. Is it more depressing to think that no modern election is likely to see two such intellectually eminent candidates as Jefferson and Adams, or that nevertheless the campaign was a dry run for Fox News level misrepresentations?

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

    by saugatojas on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 02:43:01 AM PST

  •  With the likes of Ted Cruz and Obama? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA

    Big risk to open the constitution.   There's a handful of people that actually care about civilization, and they don't stand a chance at being heard.   The constitution will end up with corporations as people and money and guns as speech.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Warren 2016

    by dkmich on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 03:56:53 AM PST

  •  I am giving up on Americans ... /nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  There's nothing wrong with our Constitution. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I consider the US progressive fascination with the parliamentary system one of those funny stereotypes conservatives have about us, based on a substantial grain of truth. It's the arugula of governance.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 04:15:18 AM PST

    •  On the other hand, replacing it with the Qu'ran... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...would be totally worth it just to see Republican reactions.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 04:35:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In this political and social climate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JeffW

    I wouldn't try to get a consensus to order a hamburger at a drive-through.

  •  I oppose this because right wingers may (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    dominate it.  And if they do, heaven help us!

    I don't see the problem as re-writing the constitution.  There is one amendment that would help - campaign financing.  That's about all I would do to it.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 04:50:39 AM PST

  •  Yes the Constitution is obsolete; this is why (0+ / 0-)

    Things are so crappy. It's a document for slave owners & other property owners. Minority rights are a joke &'there is very little mention of human rights other than some people were property & the majority of humans in N. America has XERO rights.

    It's a document that has enforced evil oppression & genocide & thug evil majority could vote on whether others could have rights......authoritarian & evil.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 04:58:52 AM PST

  •  Yes, it's obsolete, but there are too many (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JeffW

    total idiots who would love to get a chance to completely rewrite it into a complete nightmare if we were to hold a new Convention today.  I hope that maybe sometime, in another 50 or 100 years, we might be mature enough as a people to do so, but to do so now would be too dangerous.

  •  I call on every surviving (0+ / 0-)

    high school class valedictorian to be invited to a week long retreat in their state of current residence.  From that pool, each state's retreat would elect and send 20 representatives the new constitutional convention.  The convention would then write a set of proposed constitutional amendments, by committee, but each amendment only to be recommended to the congress if it passes the entire group by 3/5 majority vote.

    In every deliberation we must consider the impact on the seventh generation... even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine. -The Great Law of the Iroquois

    by BrianCricketRakita on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 05:43:57 AM PST

  •  The 3/5ths rule, fugitive clause are gone. (0+ / 0-)

    The Civil War amendments make it a new document. But after Lincoln, the Madisonian separation of powers imploded. What happened in Dred Scott was a Supreme Court coup d'etat. Lincoln was elected on a promise to correct it by ignoring the Court. Constitutional critics step over what the Civil War was about. The solid south seceded on the argument that Lincoln was a tyrant, and that the states, not the people, were sovereign. Court sovereignty was never checked by Congress as it watched legislation get struck down and amendments ignored to the point where after Citizens United Congress doesn't exist independently of its straw boss Court. The electorate is out of the picture. Criticism of the Constitution is a professional left theme to keep the lid on the electorate, without attacking judicial supremacy. The Constitution provides for stripping the Court of appellate jurisdiction, but the cult of lawyers would sooner live with a parliament than see the Court checked and balanced as the Constitution intends. Not that another civil war would be risked in checking and balancing the Court, today's plutocracy, protected by the Court, is far less popular than was the slaveocracy. But the resort to a parliament does state the problem, parliamentary sovereignty means that the constitution is in the hands of the legislative body. Preventing the Court from usurping Congress's lawmaking powers, as Madison designed it, would restore the sovereignty of the electorate.

  •  No, no, no, no and no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Peace Missile, JeffW

    This nation is divided roughly in half politically.  To even consider trying to agree upon a new form of government under such circumstances would be insane, and would probably lead us down the road of dissolution, which might not be pretty.

    We're flawed because we're people, but our system works about as well as can be expected of any human institution.

    Tinker, change, adjust, keep working for justice; but don't burn the house down because it needs a remodel.

    Romae in die non combureretur.

    by Not A Bot on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 06:06:27 AM PST

  •  With respect to changes to the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

    following the amending process specified in the Constitution is the only acceptable way to change it IMHO. The Constitution is SUPPOSED to be difficult to amend.

    Also, gridlock in government can be a very good thing. The role of the Federal government per the Constitution is limited by design.

  •  It would be the Kock&Friends Convention (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry, but any attempt to rewrite the constitution would turn into a corporate money fest.  With each state having an more or less equal say in the outcome, all you have to do is look at the 2012 election map to see why this would be a bad idea.

    Better to fix what we got.  Start with the primary causes of the gridlock - gerrymandering and the filibuster.   Without these the House would look a lot different and the Senate would get stuff done.  Next  deal with the Citizens United case, either by changing the composition of the Supreme Court as judges retire or by Constitutional amendment.  

    The reason there is such imbalance is not the design of the government, but the implementation.  Fix those things and we are good for another 100 years.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:55:45 AM PST

  •  We should keep what is good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    and remedy what is bad.

    The Bill of Rights, plus amendments 13 - 15 should be made nearly impossible to change. A full-blown Constitutional Convention would put all these rights up for grabs, so I wouldn't be in favor of that.

    Still, the people have virtually no say in how they are governed, despite the first three words of the Preamble. I made a proposal last January that would enable the people to amend the Constitution (but not the Bill of Rights and other key amendments).

    Basically, a group of Constitutional scholars would propose amendments and the people, in a general election, would vote on them. Matters of policy would not be allowed. For example, it would not be possible to put income tax rates to a popular vote. Matters of governance -- the machinery of government -- would the sole subject allowed.

    Examples of possible amendments:

    Popular vote for president
    Eliminate gerrymandering [lots of possibilities]
    Sensible rules for Congress [Filibuster? Hastert rule?]
    Election campaign guidelines [Spending limits? Public financing?]
    Eliminate Lobbying as we know it [While not treading on free speech]

    Well, you get the idea. While the framework of the Constitution would remain fundamentally intact, the ability of the people to govern themselves would be enhanced.

    Republicans proved in October that they are UNFIT TO GOVERN. Don't let the voter forget it. (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:00:09 AM PST

    •  "No religious test" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tim DeLaney, Eric Nelson, JeffW

      The word "ever" or "never" appears only once in the Constitution--Article VI, Paragraph 3: "but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States".

      Even though it doesn't say so in the Amendment article, I would argue this is an absolute prohibition, even prior to the Bill of Rights, and must be immune from amendment.

  •  I wrote on this a few weeks back. (0+ / 0-)

    I'd love to think that Alex Seitz-Wald was inspired by me, but I doubt very much he even knows who I am, or was one of the few people who noticed my diary. I'll chalk it up to great minds think alike principal. :-)

    My previous take on the issue.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:38:03 AM PST

  •  Canada (0+ / 0-)

    The scenario described can happen in Canada, although it hasn't happened recently at the Federal level.

    In 2011 the Conservative government lost a non-confidence motion in the House of Commons due to some scandals. Not a dispute over the budget.

    The 2008 Coalition Crisis could have lead to the replacement of the government without an election over a fiscal update, but in a very controversial decision, Parliament was suspended and it didn't turn out that way.

  •  The Constitution isn't the problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libera nos, JeffW

    The author (at least in this snippet, I didn't follow the link and read the whole thing) identifies the problem we face now as "the shutdown" and "permanent crisis governance".  But none of the veto points that allow the Rs to takes hostages and force us to lurch from crisis to crisis, are actually dictated by the Constitution.

    The filibuster and hold are mere rules of the Senate.  The Senate majority, which is D at the moment, all by itself, could make the hold and the filibuster mere memories stored in the archives of bad governance.

    The debt ceiling is a completely vestigial feature of the way the US govt funds its activities.  It could be repealed by a simple legislative majority of both chambers, or 2/3 majorities if the president vetoes.  This president wouldn't veto, so all our side has to do is win an election, retake the House, and we could send the debt ceiling to the same archives of bad governance.

    The reconciliation of appropriations isn't really vestigial or dispensable.  But the process does not have to give the majority in only one chamber, or the president, the ability to hold all govt spending hostage.  We can keep the same process, only add this provision, that failure to complete reconciliation and pass new appropriations simply continues last years' funding, with an inflation allowance automatically added in.  That also can be done with simple majorities, by law, no need to change the Constitution.

    I am second to no one in my skepticism about the utility of constitutions in general, and the US Constitution in particular.  They're enormously overrated.

    So why would anyone expect a new constitution to save us from our present political sloth and stupidity?

    We can get rid of the fake (para-Constitutional) veto points we have allowed to put our politics into permanent crisis mode simply by winning an election and passing a law or two.  We don't even have to wait on that to get rid of some of them.

    The problem isn't our Constitution, it's that sane people have let bathroom idiots loose in the pilothouse of the ship of state.  We need to stop doing that.  If we can't even do that, I don't see how it makes any sense to imagine that we could get a new and improved constitution past the bathroom idiots.  Winning an election is a lot easier than changing a constitution.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:02:37 AM PST

  •  Not the worth risk anytime soon (0+ / 0-)

    I think that the outcome of such a convention would be far too likely to be a  Kochstitution.

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