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New Constitutional Amendments Needed


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Initial post: Aug 18, 2010 12:11:10 PM PDT
Constitutional amendments: it's time to ratify at the individual and State levels & take back our country: Balanced federal budgets that do not exceed eighteen percent of GDP; Rapid elimination of all federal debt and loans; All federal borrowing approved by 2/3 vote by the States; All current and future programs and mandates will either be fully funded or eliminated; Ensure that individual and States rights supersede federal laws; Elimination of the current progressive income tax, replaced by either a flat income tax or a consumption tax; Repeal the seventeenth amendment; Congressional term limits; End contributions and all influences of money in politics; Caps on Congressional and Federal employee salaries and benefits; Congressional legislation reform; Establishment of a panel of nonpartisan Constitutional scholars; Move the date of all National elections to April 16.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2010 12:33:35 AM PDT
what about the regulation of business? does the government need to protect people?

Posted on Sep 8, 2010 1:11:01 PM PDT
Random says:
How about an amendment that requires the Federal Government to abide by the Constitution?

Not that the government would pay any attention to it...

Posted on Sep 11, 2010 1:26:49 PM PDT
Book Lover says:
"Establishment of a panel of nonpartisan Constitutional scholars;" Hilarious! Please. There's no such thing. We'd end up with someone like Ann Coulter, the supposed "Constitutional Scholar." Please spare me. The American people aren't stupid. They know what you're doing. Teabaggers/Republicans aren't fooling anyone.

"All current and future programs and mandates will either be fully funded or eliminated;" Riiiight! Social Security and Medicare would be bankrupted by the Teabaggers/Republicans so fast your head would spin. LOL....do you REALLY think people don't know what you're trying to do?

And I love how the Teabaggers/Republicans come up with all this "take back our country" malarkey AFTER the shrub aka, the idiot-in-chief, has left the building and destroyed our country. Where were you people for the 8 LONG years the shrub was shredding that oh-so-precious-to-you-now Constitution? Nowhere in sight, that's where. remember the shrub's quote about the Constitution? ""Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," "It's just a go**amned piece of paper!"

Where's the Constitutional amendment for regulating the corporations that now own this country, thanks to the idiot-in-chief? How about the Constitutional amendment for BIG OIL and how much money they can make???? They DID have the largest profits IN THEIR HISTORIES when the idiot-in-chief was reigning. We need a Constitutional amendment that states whenever BIG OIL pollutes our waters/land....they pay IN FULL the damage costs and to the families they put out of work. Perhaps we should have a Constitutional amendment that states no Vice President can retain stocks/holdings in a company HE gives no-bid contracts to in a war HE starts? I could go on and on and on with the list you forgot to include. I'm sure it was just a slight oversight though and you will include that list later.. :(

Posted on Sep 13, 2010 1:57:58 PM PDT
Random says:
^^^

Great example of why it's practically impossible to have intelligent debate anymore. So much anger & hate, so little rational argument.

BTW, where, exactly, is the Constitutional authority for Social Security and Medicare?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2010 10:04:53 AM PDT
Social Security and Medicare are already seriously close to bankruptcy. And, where in Article 1 of the Constitution is the authority for Social Security and Medicare?
Oil companies, just like anyone else, are entitled to profits, as much as they can amass. Do you work? I'm sure that you work (if you do) for a profitable company, otherwise you wouldn't have a job. As for BP, there is already a federal statute limiting damages to polluters. Obama did nothing but extort $20 Billion from BP
I suggest you head for an anger management class and a reading class so that you can actually discuss issues instead of spewing hate.

Posted on Oct 4, 2010 3:05:21 PM PDT
I propose this amendment to the Constitution:

"The right to vote in the United States and its territories shall be limited to those with an intelligence quotient of 120 points, or higher (Stanford-Binet scale)."

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2010 9:56:10 AM PDT
HistoryMan65 says:
How about "promote the general welfare"

Posted on Oct 19, 2010 10:11:05 AM PDT
JMB1014 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Oct 24, 2010 4:56:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 24, 2010 5:29:09 AM PDT
T. Paige says:
We haver plenty of amendments and government constraints in the Constitution today. What we have is all three branches have come to together which consolidates power, the very thing the framers wanted to avoid. We can have all of the amendments we want, heck we have the 10th amendment and article 1 section 8, but the people, who are the final check, aren't aroused enough to do anything about it. I don't have a lot of faith in the GOP and I have zero faith in the Democrats to get us closer to the constitution. Of course part of the problem too is few people know what is in the Constitution. They know what Constitutional law is such as "Separation of Church and State" but how many know that separation of church and state is not in the Constitution? The first amendment says nothing about separation of church and state. The first amendment prohibits the federal government from creating a "Religion of the United States" much like the Anglican Church of England of the 17th & 18th century. A little American History would show why that amendment came about.

Where have "we the people demanded" to have politicians, crooked CEOs, crooked union bosses and crooked government workers put in jail. There is nothing like putting someone in jail or letting them fail, such as going from riches to rags, to serve notice to those who are supposed to serve "We the people."

Posted on Oct 24, 2010 5:07:10 PM PDT
B. Aubin says:
"How about "promote the general welfare" "

If the preamble was meant to serve as an authorization to anything, then why bother with the rest of the document?

The best way the government can "promote the general welfare" is by leaving people alone to pursue their own general welfare. Laissez-nous faire!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2010 8:28:10 AM PDT
JMB1014 says:
The preamble has been given legal effect by the Supreme Court, perhaps most notably in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton in 1995.

It is absurd to pretend any party or faction wants to weaken the central government. As Tocqueville observed as far back as 1840, the central government will inevitably increase in size and power because everyone wants it to help them. They don't necessarily want it to help anyone else, but they certainly want it to help them. That is undeniably true.

Amid all the posturing by the Tea Party-ists, there is always the poorly-hidden hidden premise that they really want the federal government to do their bidding. And that only means more of the ultra-huge and overbearing, pro-religious government that we saw during the failed administration of George W. Bush.

Where was the concern about large deficits when we launched a needless and destructive war based on fraud, in Iraq? Where is the concern about deficits when the rich are getting a tax break? And everyone loves the free market except when they get big, fat government subsidies, as Cheney did, and Ross Perot, and Blackwater, Halliburton, KBR, and on and on ad nauseam. The U.S. has always had "Socialism" for the rich. We only honor free enterprise if you are poor.

With the Right, always believe what they do. Never believe what they say.

Posted on Oct 25, 2010 8:54:17 AM PDT
JMB1014 says:
T. Paige: You go on about people who don't know the Constitution but you make the same error as many who want a state religion. You cite only the First Amendment when it comes to separation of church and state, and erroneously suggest it says nothing about separation. Sorry. You are way off base. If you were being honest, or if you actually knew what the Constitution says, you would also have had to cite Article VI of the Constitution concerning separation of church and state. Yes, there's more than the First Amendment. Why did you fail to mention it? Are you just as ignorant as the people you complain about, or are you just being disingenuous? You choose.

You claim that separation of church and state is not in the Constitution. The literal words - "separation of church and state" - are not in the Constitution but the principle is clearly there.

The provision you miss - like most of the disingenuous pro-theocracy advocates - is "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." This language is in Article VI, in the main body of the Constitution itself, fresh from the framers in Philadelphia. It was not tacked on later, as an afterthought or an amendment. The framers were obviously more concerned about the government being protected from religion than they were about the churches being protected from the government. That is why they put this strong provision in the main Constitution. And it is strong: where else do you see categorical language like "No," "ever" and "any"? You talk about a little history. Well, maybe you just need a little more history.

Article VI is always omitted by people who try to take advantage of public ignorance of our Constitution. The Religious Right for years has dishonestly claimed that the "wall of separation" is a "one-way wall" - showing their usual lack of respect for English, for common sense, and for the Constitution. They try to pretend - as you seem to -that the First Amendment is the only constitutional provision that deals with separation. They just leave out the language in Article VI - as you did. And you - like them- are wrong. I am heartily sick of people claiming the Constitution is on their side, when they have never read it. Now stop posting and go read it, or make a public apology for misleading people.

Posted on Oct 25, 2010 12:36:39 PM PDT
T. Paige says:
JBM1014

I'm not quite sure how Article VI which says "...but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States..." is proof of separation of church and state. All it says is you can't be made to take a religion test. How is not being made to take a test equivalent to congress being forbidden to create a state religion or favor one religion over another? The whole separation of church & state came from the letter Jefferson wrote to Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.

A little bit of history shows how you had to be Puritan to get into government during the 17th century in Massachusetts Bay. It helped to be Anglican in the South. Basically Article VI says I don't have to be a member of any religion to take office and I cannot be forced to prove anything where religion is concerned. I can be Agnostic, Atheist, Christian, Buddhist etc and I cannot be tested to make sure I'm a member of any of them. Is that your whole basis for separation of church and state?

Posted on Oct 25, 2010 1:24:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2010 1:24:47 PM PDT
JMB1014 says:
T. Paige: Well, you can show someone proof and they can still refuse to look. It's called denial.

The Article VI language I quoted establishes beyond doubt that separation of church and state was hugely important to the framers of the Constitution. What about this eludes you? They made plain that religion was not a qualification and could not be a qualification for any office or public trust. In other words, they opposed an official state religion, of the kind that had prevailed in Europe. All over the country, enthusiasts of the Religious Right have brayed about the "one-way" wall of separation, without recognizing the existence of this clause. It is not true that religion was meant to be free to function as it wished, free of government interference. Inevitably, some religious groups demand religious orthodoxy as a precondition for holding office. Just last week, the Pew Foundation reported that most Americans think legislators should profess some religious faith. That sort of silliness flies directly in the face of this constitutional provision. This clause establishes that our government was meant to be secular - not operating under the power of some religious group. Even in the last decade, legal scholars have argued that the fact that 6 of 9 justices on the Supreme Court are Catholics violates this provision.

Needless to say, Article VI - which you neglected to mention until I brought it up - and the First Amendment are complementary constitutional components that mandate church-state separation. I suppose it is easy for someone who ignores the history of the United States to look at the literal language of these provisions and suggest they must be taken only at face value. Since they do not use the exact words separation of church and state, then the concept is not enshrined in the Constitution. That sort of literal-mindedness simply shows a lack of higher intelligence or an intent to mislead. It is ludicrous to claim, as you do, that "The whole separation of church & state came from the letter Jefferson wrote to Danbury Baptist Association in 1802." That may be where the phrase "wall of separation" was coined but the concept of separation is in the Constitution and has been applied to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment. A very sizable body of law has developed since 1791 that supports the separation of church and state. Every state in the union also has its own constitution that mandates separation of church and state. I am sorry the context appears to have eluded you but how else, apart from entering into terminal denial, could you expect to have any argument at all?

It is not "my" basis for separation. It is all there in the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, state constitutions, Supreme Court decisions and countless decisions of lower courts, scholarly writings, and on and on. Really, you apparently missed the memo of the last 200+ years. The fact that you appear oblivious to the implications of the language of the First Amendment and Article VI is sad but it really only reflects on the extent of your lack of familiarity with our legal history and traditions, or an intent to mislead.

Posted on Oct 25, 2010 5:37:00 PM PDT
T. Paige says:
JMB1041

Agreed there has been a good deal of law enacted to drive separation of church and state but I don't think that is what we are discussing here. We're discussing what's in the Constitution not case law or precedent set by the Supreme Court. I'm more than happy to read suggested reading. I've read the usual documents (Federalist Papers, State Debates, Madison's notes). While there was concern for the role religion played not having religious tests still does not constitute separation of church and state.

Since I participate on this and various boards to have discourse and exchange of ideas I'm open to suggested reading which is just sticks to the facts. I can do without the rest of the other gibberish, it adds nothing to the conversation.

The Congress is forbidden from sponsoring a state religion and is forbidden from using religion as a test for office. Still all people of all faiths and religions can run for and hold office.

I have enjoyed the conversation and look forward to more.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2010 6:39:28 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 21, 2011 9:25:55 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2010 6:41:40 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 21, 2011 9:25:55 AM PDT]

Posted on Oct 27, 2010 12:12:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2010 12:14:54 PM PDT
JMB1014 says:
T. Paige: Well, thanks for your very courteous response. I will reply in kind. I suppose I am perplexed by why you feel (if you do) that the separation of church and state is not called for by the First Amendment and the provision in Article VI. Of course the literal words "separation of church and state" are not found in the Constitution itself. One has to draw inferences from the actual text and whatever extraneous materials you find credible. That is always the tricky part.

I think the literal text of those two provisions in the Constitution strongly suggests that the government is to be neutral with respect to institutions of religion. That in itself contemplates separation of church and state. Many people feel that the government should be neutral and exercise a laissez-faire attitude toward commerce (though after the economic debacles of the 1930's and the recent recession, it is plain to others of us that government must sometimes act to save capitalism from itself). What I do not understand is why a laissez-faire attitude on the part of the government toward religion is so offensive to some religious people. There seems to be an assumption among them that some religion must enjoy government's support. But in respect to religion, the government's neutrality has been a boon. Nowhere else on Earth has religion thrived to the extent it currently does in the U.S. Never before in human history have so many faiths been so vibrantly alive and active in one nation. The evidence is overwhelming that governmental neutrality toward religion is a vast benefit to religion.

Why people therefore complain about separation of church and state is inexplicable to me unless they really are seeking worldly power for their particular religious denomination. But as we have seen, that sort of power never comes without heavy social costs. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor asked why we should give up our system that has worked so well in order to risk the kind of religious strife and contention that plagued Europe for centuries.

Further, one would think religious people would be more faithful to their creeds and realize that worldly power is not the proper concern of religion. Jesus, for instance, supposedly said his kingdom is not of this Earth, and to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's. Sounds to me like Jesus was in favor of separation of church and state. So why many so-called Christians insist on trying to obtain and exercise power in this world, when Jesus himself eschewed it, is beyond me. They would seem more sensible and consistent with their supposed beliefs if they simply did what he did: taught what he said and concerned themselves with healing the sick. But one sees few people if any following his admonitions to love your neighbor as yourself and to give all you have to the poor and follow him. And as for caring for the sick, when the subject comes up, many in this country just become rabid and scream about socialism. Did Jesus measure out his healing according to those who could pay him money? Ridiculous. He always said it was their faith that had saved them - not their money. It's a pretty poor batch of Christians who can't even make the feeblest effort to do as Jesus taught, but who openly flaunt their SUV's and make their religion a matter of conspicuous consumption - like the people he disparaged as loving the greetings in the marketplace and the long prayers in the synagogues.

It is no accident that Karl Marx and the Book of Acts both adopted the slogan "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." But this "Christian" nation revolts from that sentiment, with many preferring the ethic of selfishness purveyed by the unhappy and decidedly un-Christian Ayn Rand. As Jesus said, Woe unto you hypocrites.

In fact, the argument can be made that religion is proving inimical to democracy. People insist on justifying ignorance on religious grounds, when an educated populace is essential to the proper functioning of a democratic republic like ours. We also need people who are trained in science to practice medicine and otherwise keep us competitive among the nations of the world.

Thomas Friedman's column in the New York Times today (October 27, 2010) cited Charles M. Vest, the former M.I.T. president, who "noted in a speech recently that "Gathering Storm," together with work by the Council on Competitiveness, led to the America Competes Act of 2007, which increased funding for the basic science research that underlies our industrial economy. Other recommendations, like improving K-12 science education, were not substantively addressed.

So, on Sept. 23, the same group released a follow-up report: "Rising Above the Gathering Storm Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5." "The subtitle, `Rapidly Approaching Category 5,' says it all," noted Vest. "The committee's conclusion is that `in spite of the efforts of both those in government and the private sector, the outlook for America to compete for quality jobs has further deteriorated over the past five years.' "

But I thought: "We're number 1!"

"Here is a little dose of reality about where we actually rank today," says Vest: sixth in global innovation-based competitiveness, but 40th in rate of change over the last decade; 11th among industrialized nations in the fraction of 25- to 34-year-olds who have graduated from high school; 16th in college completion rate; 22nd in broadband Internet access; 24th in life expectancy at birth; 27th among developed nations in the proportion of college students receiving degrees in science or engineering; 48th in quality of K-12 math and science education; and 29th in the number of mobile phones per 100 people."

I think Friedman and Vest make the point well. America is falling way behind. One prominent reason is popular ignorance of science and math. Much of the antipathy toward adequate science instruction is based in religious prejudice against evolution and other teachings of science. The state sponsors public education. We cannot afford to hold the minds of children and the future of the republic hostage to the subjective religious prejudices of people who disagree with science. This in itself is a strong argument for separation.

I appreciate I have passed well beyond textual bases for asserting that the Constitution calls for separation of church and state, to making policy arguments. It is inevitable that people seeking a lot of specific textual support for many propositions about government from the Constitution will be frustrated, since the Constitution was never intended to be a code that spells out legal rules for all occasions. It is a framework for government, not a definitive set of rules. Thus we can ask what does Article IV, Sec. 4 really mean when it says each state is guaranteed a republican form of government? What is "necessary and proper"? We simply cannot get all our answers from the text. But it was never meant that we should do so; otherwise the Constitution would be way too long and many of its provisions doomed to obsolescence. Amending the Constitution, moreover, is too cumbersome and slow to permit the government to deal effectively with the problems it faces. In that regard, I discuss some of the problems with textualism, and explain why a "living Constitution" is essential, in my review on this website of the excellent book "The Living Constitution" by Professor David Strauss.

I am not sure all this is responsive to what you are talking about but I have gone on way too long regardless. Sorry about that.

Best regards,

JMB

Posted on Oct 30, 2010 12:01:21 AM PDT
E. B. says:
Constitutional scholars? If you put a progressive in there they may know what the Constitution means but they hate it and would prefer to see our government replaced by the U.N. Charter and run by 2 bit third world tyrants.

Posted on Nov 1, 2010 3:39:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2010 11:57:22 AM PST
JMB1014 says:
E.B: I have never met any "progressive" who hates the Constitution or who wants the government run under the U.N. Charter or by third world tyrants. That is one of the pathetic canards invented and repeated ad nauseam by the paranoid right ever since the John Birch Society and Joe McCarthy decided that America needed a black eye. These losers have been thoroughly discredited but there are always those who, like Rip Van Winkle, missed out and have spent the last 60 years or so either non compos mentis or spewing the same old garbage. Name one progressive who wants America run by third world tyrants. You can sputter and avoid the subject but you cannot name any. That is because progressives have had more influence on the Constitution than the paranoid right. If you had ever read the Constitution and its 27 amendments, you would know that.

The loonies from the Tea Party are the ones who hate the Constitution: that's why they are the clueless morons calling for repeal of the 14th, 16th and 17th Amendments.

In fact, the leading advocates of third world government for the U.S. are the Tea Party and other Republicans who can't wait to see us become the world's biggest banana republic. As we have seen the wealthiest 2% grow richer and richer, while everyone else gets poorer and poorer, the dupes will continue to clamor for freedom - that is, their perverse idea of freedom to exploit everyone. Freedom to starve is what the rest of us get. When the jobs all dry up and we are left to squabble among ourselves for the remaining tiny handful of pathetic jobs that pay less than nothing, perhaps then people will wake up. But in America, that's doubtful. Here, many people are too anesthetized by sports, inane TV shows and drugs to realize how very backward and ignorant they are, and how close we are to the desperate squalor of a banana republic.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2010 9:17:10 PM PST
riverdave says:
Plenty? Really more than I feel are called for. I do not consider the first ten as 'amendments' in the truest sense of the word as they {in my mind} are inextricably linked to the body of our nations foundation, the Constitution of these United States.

Of the remaining 17 two {18 and 21} cancel each other out, that leaves 15.

Of these 13,14,15 and 19 were needed to adjust for the awareness of all people as being equally protected and represented as citizens of this country, this 'idea' that is America. {14 being much abused}

Now what of the other 11?

Well the 111th Congress has pretty much repealed the 20th, a lesson in the foolishness of cavalierly tampering with a document painstakingly crafted over thirteen years by some of the greatest minds we have yet to see, so it goes.

The 17th not only counters much of the founders intent but truly imposes on the 10th and to a degree the ninth. A perfect example of the danger inherent in tampering with this document, there will always be those that want to change the rules in order to win.

There is a school of thought that the 16th was never ratified but we don't need to go there just now. It is good to note that the ratification process set out by the founders offers certain protections.

22? How many presidents besides say Ronald Reagan could have gotten a third term? Term limits are in the hands of the people. {well assuming intelligent involvement by the people}

23? Not intended, and while our founders could not have envisioned the current population of the District of Columbia, it has certain merit.

24? Could have been handled without an amendment.

25,26 and 27? While I have met many 18-20 year old voters that I trusted more than many of my contemporaries; well let's leave that one. Mainly fluff that could have been better handled by other means.

So whether you count 27,25 or 17 amendments it is not a thing to take lightly. The Constitution is a great document and be treated as such. Most everything that needs to be addressed is taken care of by that beautiful charter.

When all else fails, read the instructions.

Yours in liberty, David

Posted on Dec 1, 2010 8:47:58 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2010 10:20:01 AM PST
JMB1014 says:
David,

I am not sure I understand why you say "let's leave that one" (sic) when you are discussing Amendments 25, 26 and 27. I realize you specifically refer to the 18-year-old-vote, covered by the 26th Amendment. You might have listed it with Amendments 13, 14, 15, and 19, according to your own highly subjective criteria. But why leave just "that one"? What about Amendments 25 and 27, which you mention, then neglect? They have nothing to do with letting young people vote.

Inexplicably, you attack the 17th Amendment on the grounds that "there will always be those that [sic: who] want to change the rules in order to win."

So you oppose letting the people in each state choose their own senators? That's called democracy. At least 9 of the 17 amendments adopted since the Bill of Rights concern, at least in part, increasing the people's role in government - increasing democracy. Those include the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23d, 24th and 26th Amendments. Apparently, you have some problem with that.

The 17th Amendment was the response of an exasperated super-majority when state after state delayed choosing U.S. senators, sometimes for years, because their legislatures were so corrupt they deadlocked - just like Congress now - and could not even select senators. Some of those states, notably Delaware, went for years without having any senators in Washington to support their interests. Incredibly, this is the very same undemocratic system you want to bring back!

(This history is well-documented, by the way. See, to name just one example, "Explicit and Authentic Acts," a serious and sizable book by David Kyvig, published by The University of Kansas press, which is a history of amending the Constitution.)

The only people who opposed the 17th Amendment were the corrupt bosses in the states who acted as king-makers. That's precisely how Rod Blagojevich got to be a household word! Remember him? He was one of those would-be king-makers out in the states - the same corrupt politicians you want to put back in control. Why? If you want to buy a U.S. Senator, it's much easier and cheaper to pay off a handful of state legislators than to risk letting the peple vote. But history has proved that the old system, where legislators choose the Senate, is fatally corrupt and does not work. Hence the 17th Amendment.

You claim the founders did not intend for the people to choose their own senators. That argument proves far too much. The founders did not "intend" to do away with slavery either, or to let women vote, and on and on. So where are you now? In fact, the founders made a similar but more egregious error - later corrected by the 12th Amendment - in assuming that as a nation, we would not be divided by partisan considerations. So they provided that the President would be the candidate who got the most electoral votes and the Vice-President would be the candidate who got the second highest number of electoral votes. Imagine Al Gore as George W. Bush's Vice-President! But that was the founders' intent and it was carried out till 1800 when it proved to be completely disastrous.

The problem was the President and the Vice-President were always at odds because they were rivals, not allies. The founders were naive in assuming that after a fiercely contested campaign against each other, the new President and the Vice-President would just put aside their differences, magically unite together, and govern happily and harmoniously in the best interests of the republic. That enormous problem caused a debacle in the election of 1800, which led in turn to the adoption of the 12th Amendment. (The election of 1800 is the subject of many books, like Professor Bruce Ackerman's aptly titled "The Failure of the Founding Fathers.") The founders' naive but idealistic error had to be corrected by the 12th Amendment, just as their naive and idealistic error in letting state legislatures choose U.S. Senators had to be corrected by the 17th Amendment. So why are you not advocating repeal of the 12th Amendment as well - since you seem so stuck on (selectively) adhering to the intent of the founders?

And all the Amendments - including the 17th - had to be approved by super majorities (2/3 vote) in both houses of Congress and ratified by 3/4 of the states. It's not like some small nest of insurgents out in the wilds of Idaho passed the 17th Amendment "in order to win," as you imply. The overwhelming majority of Americans were thoroughly disgusted with a system that did not even select senators, as it was supposed to, but instead fostered massive corruption in the statehouses of America. It took work to change that system because the corruption was very entrenched but ultimately, the people were so fed up that even the corrupt members of the Senate, and the good ol' boys and fat cats who chose them, had to give way to the will of the people.

Again, when you say "there will always be those that want to change the rules in order to win," are you pretending that is not true of the 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 22d, 26th (and on and on) Amendments? The people wanted to win some battle or other, which is precisely why they amended the Constitution ("changed the rules," in your misleading phrase).

In fact, your argument is unreasonable precisely because the founders themselves included the provisions for amending the Constitution - in the Constitution itself. They actually MEANT for us to be able to amend the Constitution - they intended for us to be able to "change the rules"! Hello!

For you to score a point you would have to show that somehow, amending the Constitution violates the Constitution. That would be too huge a lie even for the Tea Party. In fact, the founders even provided (again in Article V) that we could call a whole new constitutional convention. Did you miss that little tidbit? Talk about "changing the rules"! Really, you need to think about the implications of your arguments.

The problems with the Tea Partiers are that they do not understand the Constitution, they do not know any history, and they are just dupes of the very rich. That is exactly why they want to repeal the 17th Amendment. Fat cats rejoice!

You have demonstrated a flawed understanding of the points you argue. Please spare us the arguments now and go home and think about why it is that you feel the very rich should control everything. Really. That ain't democracy. No way, no how.

Yours in liberty and equality and democracy,

JMB

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2010 8:27:45 AM PST
Search on Google or Amazon for the book 'Reason & Tolerance' which includes ten amendments to save American

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2011 9:46:52 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2011 9:50:05 PM PST
Mark Huth says:
JMB1014:

While David's arguments are far from compelling, the 17th Amendment has had the effect of concentrating ever more power at the federal level rather than leaving it distributed. True, such concentrations are often more efficient, either to respond to emergencies or to implement tyranny. But that single change profoundly altered the framework.

Not only were there checks and balances among the three branches, but also in the various interests represented. Frankly, I have little interest in being in a democracy, which inevetivably turns into the oppression of the minority by the majority. That's why we were guaranteed a republican form of government.

The Federal government was limited to specific powers, at least according to Madison and others, the 10th Amendmentment was intended to make that clear.

The 17th Amendment was indeed a step closer to democracy, and was done in response to corruption in the various state legislatures, but the 17th Amendment has done little for controlling corruption, and has rather resulted in both halves of the Congress being elected by what might as well be a circus act. We now have Circus, Circus, and Circus Maximus, and never ending corruption by corporations and special interests who by themselves the laws they want.

The problem with democracy is that it is easily turned into an oligarchy, as the masses are far too easily distracted by petty concerns while the looting continues. We have a spectacle of a two party system when in reality we have a single party, with two factions taking turns getting the loot and taking the blame.

Those who argue for the 17th, or argue to do away with the Electoral College, misunderstand part of the genius of the Constitution, which was to admit that there are always factions, and attempt to pit the factions against each other rather than against the people. The President is the President of the United States, not the Pesident of the people. Perhaps it is easier to understand if you say the President of the States United. The office is the servant of the State in collective actions such as treaties and war. The Federal government had little to do with our day to day lives, and I prefer it that way. The current concentration of power, should it continue for long, will come to an ignoble, and probably, bloody end. Of course, the corporations like that concentration, since they are the puppet masters. It has ever been when the money powers are allowed to hold sway in the government.

I'm not sure how you figure that the Tea Party is after a third world government, unless you see the reduction in Federal power as a boone to the corporations. But I have no love for the corporations, but would very much want to see the Federal power over individuals greatly reduced.

Since the corporations are chartered by the state, and are nothing more than property, I see nothing inherently wrong with putting the screws on them so long as the individuals are left alone. To me that is the difference between monoploy capitalism and free enterprise. Unfortunately, every time the government wants to regulate or subsidize a corportaion, the same regulations end up applying over time to all of the individuals. And that is something that will destroy the fabric of the US.
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Initial post:  Aug 18, 2010
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