US To Convene a Constitutional Convention

  1. Suppose they threw a Constitutional Convention Party and all of PF came as delegates. What rights, powers, or limitations on government, the market, or the People, (if any) would you espouse. In submitting your ideas, please don’t just say “the US Constitution – it’s perfect!” Specify a single aspect of the Constitution.

    That’s not very helpful.

    In submitting your ideas, explain (hopefully rationally) why it should be included (or not included), and what the consequences would be if your idea is not adopted. Please be realistic (no “everyone is entitled to $1000 a day, adjusted for inflation, even if they do nothing” type stuff). You don’t have to provide the specific language, just the idea.

    I’ll start by allowing a national referendum, but referenda don’t pass unless it is approved by a 4/5 majority of those eligible to vote. The dangers inherent in such a process is that public opinion can be swayed such that the rights of the minority opinion can be suppressed easily by a simple majority or even a large majority of those who vote. However, a referendum is a first line of defense against a government that does not have the best interests of the people at heart.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. i would abolish the ability for a private bank to create the nation's money supply. the federal reserve would be outlawed, and only the government allowed to create money, and only the government be allowed to control the amount of money available in the economy. basically, Lincoln's greenback currency.
     
  4. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,536
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    And how would it be valued, the gold standard, GDP?
     
  5. SixNein

    SixNein 224
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    The very first amendment I would bring up for adoption would be to include a separation between church and state. Unless the amendment was passed, the clergy would almost certainly return to power.
     
  6. SixNein

    SixNein 224
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    The federal reserve is the government, and it does have tools to control money supply.
     
  7. Dotini

    Dotini 759
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    I'm a retired Boeing employee. One of my former tasks was to ensure that our manufacturing designs, materials and processes as documented matched those actually used to make the airplane.

    So it seriously bugs me that so much of what is accepted today as business-as-usual does not accord with what's in the Constitution. We are currently afflicted with problems of war and debt that seemingly just won't go away. So the first thing that needs fixing is Article 1, Section 8, which provides Congress with the right to declare war. Not since WWII has this power been used, yet our country has been almost continuously at war. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 is just as dead a letter as the Constitution itself. We have been let down by our representatives, and our system of government is compromised as a result.

    We should say what we do, and do what we say.

    Unfortunately, to convene a Constitutional Convention in today's polarized political hothouse could result in an outcome that could makes things far worse, so no responsible public official has the stomach to begin such an open-ended process.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  8. I would propose that all real estate and businesses within our borders can only be owned by US citizens. Foreign entities can only own 49% of a corp or biz. I believe Mexico already does this, in fact.
     
  9. OmCheeto

    OmCheeto 2,153
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    I would address the modern roots of corruption in America. The world has changed a lot since 1787, and much of the wording and ideas of the constitution, although anachronistic, are still considered sacred.

    I just read the first 20 pages of Zephyr Teachout's "THE ANTI-CORRUPTION PRINCIPLE". I do not recommend it to anyone other than lawyers or someone who needs to fall asleep. But there are some jewels of thought in there:

    I also watched her and Monica Youn on Bill Moyers, in an interview regarding the personification of corporations by the SCOTUS. They both made some good points.

    The people of America should overrule the Supreme Court in this matter. The Ford Motor Company should not be allowed to run for president.

    And although one of Zephyr's comments was imbedded in a larger frame, it struck me as the crux of what our constitution should establish:

    And that my friends, is the question I believe we should be answering, at the next Constitutional Convention! Yippie!
     
  10. SixNein

    SixNein 224
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    I got into a very long argument once with some conservatives over the corporate ruling effectively granting citizenship to corporations. They believed it was perfectly acceptable. They framed their arguments around the idea that citizens are acting through corporations; therefore, they are exercising their rights.
     
  11. OmCheeto

    OmCheeto 2,153
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    I didn't read the court's blurb after the ruling, so I can't say for sure that I know what it was about. Russ posted something quite a while back about a Supreme Court ruling. I, like most everyone else, read the press account of the whole thing, and sided with the liberal side. But after reading what the trial was actually about, I sided with the ruling. It was a no brainer. It wasn't even about what the press had said it was about.

    I will have to find the blurb on the above ruling by the court in the morning after my dental appointment. I will let you know what I have decided.

    Until then, "Decide what we want this country to be!"
     
  12. I would continue to emphasise the 10th Amendment regarding seperation of powers between States and the Federal Government. The actual enumeration of powers for the federal government may neccessarilly change with a 'new constitution', but I feel that is a major source of policy overlap currently esspecially in cases of Federal Mandates for state-managed policies (or 'encouragements' - Welfare, Education funding, etc).


    On corruption: I don't have a good solution. Everyone says 'term limits for congress!' (it seems) but that doesn't sit well with me. The Senate is supposed to be the 'professional' law makers, while the House is the everyman. I think something would need to change, neccessarilly, with the House, but term limits doesn't seem like it solves the right problem of 'being in campaign mode' the whole time. In fact, term limits creates lame duck situations with the house and could add to corruption.

    I think the referendum idea may be a start to anti-corruption measures, but... look at California. Their referendum system is a mess to the point that they have laws constantly contradicting. Then there's the problem of court interference in both the CA Same-sex union case and MI with Affirmative action - those were both referendums which were 'overturned' by the courts. A new system would need to have a more stringent control in place to prevent that type of judicial activism.
     
  13. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 7,118
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    How is that a good thing? Can you actually show that such a concept would encourage economic growth as opposed to discourage foreign investment that inevitably create American jobs?

    People should realize this is no longer the 18th century. We live in a global economy. Look at China and how Google interact. When China tries to be overlord and censor Google, we complain that China isn't encouraging free interaction with the world. Then in the next breath we want to push foreigners out of our country.

    Corporations are taxed. Why should they get no voice in our government? They actually have a bigger right to a voice then say unions or the NRA or AMA or AARP in my mind.

    Californias referendum system is indeed a joke. I remember a few years back, a series of around 7 measures were put to vote in order to save money in certain areas. What happens? Every measure is shot down. And of course, the election offices certainly didn't say "Well since nothing got passed, the election didn't cost any money"!
     
  14. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,536
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    If I buy stock, do I implicitly agree to allow that company to speak on my behalf politically? No! When I buy stock, I am making a financial bet, not a political statement. I didn't sign away my rights to speak and vote for myself. They are allowed to protect my direct investment interests. That's it. This does not include landscaping the country to fit their political objectives in my name.

    This notion that corporate actions are freedom of speech for stockholders is ludicrous and typifies the nonsensical right-wing brainwashing that made me turn on my own party; and now with a vengence! To me, this entire business is a betrayal of the Constitution - We the people - and requires a new amendment. Other countries have already addressed this issue and defined the difference between real people and virtual persons.

    It may be that SCOTUS did their job and ruled according to the letter of the law. I can accept that. But that is a far cry from saying it shouldn't be changed. And it should. Problems like this are why we can amend the Constitution.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  15. SixNein

    SixNein 224
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    In addition, it allows foreign entities to influence our political system via corporations.

    I agree that an amendment is required to correct this problem. But there exists zero chance of that happening given the current political environment.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  16. It is a good thing because it protects the US by not allowing outside entities to influence our industries and politics.

    Encouraging economic growth by favoring our own industries without outside interests being an influence. No longer feeding on our lack of national self preservation.

    Foreign investment will still be encouraged because we will continue to be the largest consumer of high end products.
     
  17. Where do you draw the line?

    The motives of corporations, for their best interest, often align with a 'political' ideology. You don't think that GE lobbied for some of the green-subsidies 15 years ago knowing full well that they were already in a position to benefit from them? That was definitely in their best interest, and it was a political cause. What political motivations aren't going to affect a company's bottom line? The only instance I can think of is the ammount of money that gets funneled in the name of 'non-profits' (which I feel that many are too political to be given 'non-profit' status). But again those type of contributions are often tax shelters, and the tax code encourages that type of donation (which I feel is wrong) - which affects the bottom line. Finally, what makes unions exempt from your proposed type of lobbying restrictions? They're basically super-corporations with a non-profit stamp.

    Something that I am in favor of (not neccessarilly at a constitutional level, however) is that individuals aren't shielded just because of a corporation. I don't know how it'd look at a policy level, but being an actor for a company needs to carry some personal responsibility. I feel that too many people make unethical decisions just because their justification is 'for the company' without any personal recourse. Allowing an individual to be singled out, as an actor, of a corporation may increase the morals that many feel are lacking in the business world. It may cause more problems than it's worth, but still something I've always liked the idea of prima facia.

    Combining my two previous points is something that's already a bit of a legal tangle - 'CEO donations' are being threatened to be made public. Are you going to eliminate an individual's right to financial and political privacy because they belong to a particular company? I own stock in GD and Google (two large government contractors), and work for the federal government - should my political donations be made public as well? I argue for more direct responsibility in my previous paragraph, but that doesn't equate to losing rights and privacy (which is why I think corporations are given certain protections that are personifications).

    Lastly, I do agree that something needs to be done to combat political corruption. Decisions should be done with the best interests of the country, as a whole, in mind. However, I've never really heard of a good way to do it that both preserves the privacy of individuals and the integrity of our elected officials. Any proposal seems to harm the status quo by stripping liberties. While it may appear to be 'bad' maybe this is the best we can come up with.

    (PS: I also caution against labelling Republicans as being the 'corporate party' esspecially since many of the nu-tech companies have very progressive ideals and lots of money to back them up. How much did the Democrat candidates spend in 2008 and 2010? I've seen a variety of numbers ranging from 1.5-2x the ammount that Republicans did over that time span. Granted, most of that difference was the almost 2x that President Obama spend on his campaign compared to McCain. President Obama has even been the top political recipient from BP over the last 20 years, what bigger corporate devil is there?!? Who's really getting the politically driven money thrown at them?)
     
  18. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    I don't quite understand the "Corporate Entity" thing or whatever. If I own a business, and want to donate 10 million dollars to someone fund, that is my choice. How is that any different from a Corporation? Don't the people in charge have the right to use their money the way they want to?

    Perhaps I don't know the details, so forgive me and educate me if I am wrong. Aren't the corporations controlled by the owners, or major shareholders, or whoever? Whenever the company has profit, isn't it they who are in direct control over it? As long as dividends and employees are paid, what is the problem with those people using their money?
     
  19. Dotini

    Dotini 759
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    If corporate interests influence government through corruptions made possible by wide open spending, then that delivers government into the hands of corporations. This is one of several definitions of fascism, and is, or was, too authoritarian for most Americans.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve
     
  20. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Umm, that didn't answer anything I asked.
     
  21. SixNein

    SixNein 224
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    A shareholder has limited ownership of a company, and he or she does not manage the company. In addition, he or she may not be aware of the political activities of the company.
     
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