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07:02 AM on 06/15/2010
No piece of paper will solve the fundamental problem that faces us.

No change you can make to the Constitution would solve this problem.

What IS the problem?

Not corporate lobbyists (though that is certainly a big problem).

The fundamental problem is that a sizable minority of our people have been manipulated into behaviors that will destroy the country. Who did this? Social Dominator Right Wing Authoritarians, a.k.a, the Republican Right. Don't believe me? It's right there in front of you every day. Pick up any paper. Watch any news show.

If you want historical perspective, read the John Dean book, "Broken Government."

And weep.
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
07:29 AM on 06/15/2010
The Democratic Left is equally responsible.
09:11 AM on 06/15/2010
Corruption in government has always existed throughout history and will always exist. The only adjustment that can be made is to increase or decrease the power of government. If you grow government to titanic proportions (as we have now) the corruption of government is amplified. If you shrink government too much, the corrupt titans of industry begin to take over directly. The irony is that the corrupt titans of industry influence the government even when it is gigantic, thus amplifying their power anyway. So to limit the effects of corruption: shrink the government to at least 1/2 it's current size and power, and eliminate the liability protection of corporations (and their personhood). Of course the side effects of this would be cataclysmic, but you gots to choose your poison.
06:31 AM on 06/15/2010
Even Thomas Jefferson said we need a "revolution" every so often!
I think Jefferson would think we need the const con!!!
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
06:36 AM on 06/15/2010
Revolutions lead to bloodshed. Are you prepared for that? Are your children?
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tosc
06:49 AM on 06/15/2010
god forbid that somebody gets hurt....change hurts!
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WashingtonDCsucks
DC... Give them rope & they will try to hang you.
10:58 AM on 06/15/2010
Hmm... you prefer serfdom? indentured servitude perhaps?

Greedopaths don't care about you or your children ever!
Their only interest in you is what they can steal from you and how much you can make them when they enslave you.
07:02 AM on 06/15/2010
Any revolution in this country will lead directly to right wing dictatorship.

Bet your life on it.
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LatteLiberals
05:31 AM on 06/15/2010
Do the America people have the will to do this? I personally think its a great idea. Our democracy is broken. No matter who we elect the system itself is flawed.

America has four options.
1. Constitutional Convention
2. Pass Constitutional amendments at the State level
3. Violent Revolution
4. Continue down the same path towards more fascism

I'm willing to try 1 and 2 first. I'll make sure to spread the word.
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
06:33 AM on 06/15/2010
To compare our government even to a lite version of fascism says mountains about the folks that elect these "fascists" every couple years. I would say that trying to get a Constitutional Convention together to support a minorities views on the rest of the nation sounds more fascist. Just because you cannot get the people you want elected does not mean you can shred our founding document.

I cannot state the Tea Party, but at least they are working within the system to get their issues out. What is your excuse?
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tosc
06:51 AM on 06/15/2010
he is working within the system by calling for a Constitutional Convention that is outlined in the constitution....
07:05 AM on 06/15/2010
Just exactly WHAT Constitutional change do YOU think will provide a magic bullet? Tell us!

You are right that we are going down the path to fascism. The right wing in this country is dragging us down EXACTLY down the path that was travelled in the late 20's, early 30's, which destroyed the democratic Weimar Republic.

Look where that led.
lastpost
see biography
05:22 AM on 06/15/2010
The Brown Stuff?
“Steve Brown told the committee: I'm not sure it's in the best interest of this country to be spending hours, days, weeks, and months discussing some of the most controversial issues in this country as to whether they should be part of our constitution.”
Gordon Brown told himself: Even though all the other nations concerned in this constitutional modification, have been permitted a referendum. This nation does not deserve to be granted one. Despite the existence of a Monarch, who is supposed to serve as a safety feature to prevent treasonous acts being perpetrated against the people. I unilaterally assume authority to determine their fate.
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Ishmael1
A Man Born To Hang Ain't Gonna Die Of Drowning
04:52 AM on 06/15/2010
Well, MY idea is to abolish federal elective offices altogether in favor of random computer selection from IRS tax rolls according to existing Constitutional requirements for office. Turn it into Jury Duty. While I wouldn't outlaw lobbying altogether, I WOULD restrict it to the people of a Congressman's district or a Senator's State. That would end permanently the entire money machine of electoral politics, or as I like to call it, Corporate Welfare for Media Companies.

I've actually fleshed out the idea a bit more here:

http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/?s=jury+duty+for+all
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
05:12 AM on 06/15/2010
I have a better plan. Get the 45% of people that do not vote to the polls. That way, when the government does something the people do not like, they do not have the right to complain about it.
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ThePeoplesKey
Writer/General Disreputable Rogue
07:03 AM on 06/15/2010
People who don't vote don't have the right to complain now. Here's an even better idea; How about we make voting selections public? That way we can all see who was right and who was wrong. Of course, it would still be a crime to kill your neighbor over their voting selections . . .
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WashingtonDCsucks
DC... Give them rope & they will try to hang you.
11:02 AM on 06/15/2010
More civilized nations realize the importance of voting and make it compulsory, sometimes people do have to be forced to do what is best for them.
04:03 AM on 06/15/2010
In my opinion, Dr. Lawrence Lessig has identified “Achille’s Heel” of the current state of the US – The reason why daily decisions of late by our governing body seem to place interest of big corporations and campaign financiers ahead of those of the American public. Some of my own personal observations that I think most Americans can generally agree with,

1- Unprecedented lobbying and corruption resulting in unparalleled special interest groups and officials in power.

2- General decline in ethics and values clearly evident in daily decisions being made by US government officials.

3- Out of control foreign and domestic spending resulting in an exploding National Debt.

4- Wars started and extended under clouds of disinformation and lies.

5- Loosely governed financial system with executive realizing unprecedented and unwarranted financial gains.

6- Recent Supreme Court decisions placing interest of big business above those of the American public.

7- Negative campaigning and lies becoming the norm in our Presidential and Congressional elections.

8- Cozy relationships between government agencies and big corporations resulting in mega financial and ecological disasters.

9- Foreign policy predominantly dictated by foreign lobby and often supportive of rogue governments.

The American figure of speech “Money is the root of all evil” might be a good prognosis for the evil that has taken root in our beloved democracy. The time has come to the fundamental change that Mr. Lessig advocates. After all, the US constitution was intended by our Founding Fathers to be a “Living Document”.
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04:50 AM on 06/15/2010
Well stated. To the point!
06:00 AM on 06/15/2010
Well, well, another early riser. Hitting licks early is good but only for me after the caffeine kicks in and the brain cells start firing on all cylinders. Will try to give you some ideas about prison system here in Miss. and some complaints about how they harm the taxpayers economically.
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
05:10 AM on 06/15/2010
Our generation does not have the quality of politicians equal to the Founding Fathers. If you think the government is corrupt now, wait until a Constitutional Convention. Since this country is pretty evenly divided, you are going to end up with changes that you cannot swallow.

If a Constitutional Convention becomes only a progressive event, conservatives in this country will revolt in a heartbeat. Be careful what you wish for.
02:43 PM on 06/15/2010
Good Point - Garbage in.....Garbage out....

Given that the US government is already infiltrated by special interest groups, it is arguable that nothing good could come out of such an event.

Conservatives in the US are, however, currently outnumbered as we are still riding on the failures of George W. Bush. This is not going to hold for long should Obama hold his course - which is more of a reason to act now.
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CollectiveNotIndividual
03:21 AM on 06/15/2010
Should my Home Owner's association (group of 20 individuals) have a right to free speech? Should the PTA (group of 60 parents) have a right to free speech? Should a union (group of 100 workers ) have a right to free speech? Should a corporation (group of 75 shareholders) have a right to free speech? Should twins (group of 2 sisters) have a right to free speech?
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
05:01 AM on 06/15/2010
Once you start restricting free speech, it starts getting messy.
06:42 AM on 06/15/2010
The right to speak, yes. The right to give money to a candidate and call it free speech, no.
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thirdcloud
03:15 AM on 06/15/2010
I agree with Lessig, I too am suprised that the ACLU would take a stand against openning a convention and forum for discussions on Election Reform. I also agree that there was nothing in the original Constitution that said anything about the liberty of corporations which is a grave disappointment in the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United.
On the other hand, I do understand that it is the knee jerk reaction of all attorney's who actually consider constitutional issues daily to avoid constitutional amendment at almost any cost. This is reflected by the fact that there are relatively few contitutional amendments in our history. All be it some are very very significant.
Perhaps we could work to better define and understand the nature and scope of the proposed Convention, why changes are need, and a dialogue about why public confidence in our political system make apathy seam a justified and reasonable.
I support Lessig's quest for a dialogue on these subjects. I don't purport to know the answers, but I do believe that this dialogue is worth the effort which apparently again puts me at odds with the ACLU. Again another suprise!
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thirdcloud
09:57 PM on 08/02/2010
I support Lessig's quest for a dialogue on these subjects. I don't purport to know the answers, but I do believe that this dialogue is worth the effort which apparently again puts me at odds with the ACLU. Again another suprise
03:01 AM on 06/15/2010
George Washington is turning over in his grave! Our founding fathers could never have imagined a century like ours or they would have written a very different Constitution. It should be updated to reflect our rapidly changing times, with provisions to update centennially.

Laws are temporary until the next administration decides to repeal them and change the rules. Changing the Constitution makes laws permanent. The language must be precise so there is no wiggle room for interpretation by the judicial system which needs reformation as much as the banking system and Wall Street.

If SCOTUS struck down laws because certain "protections" violate constitutional rights of corporations, then they violate the rights of all Americans.

A corporation consists of people. By extension, a country is a corporation, and a family is a corporation. Maybe all families should get legally incorporated so they can have the same "benefits" as corporations for paying lower taxes.

We have a double standard in which laws are interpreted differently depending on whether you are wealthy or not, a corporation or an individual. It is an attempt by the wealthy to manipulate and control the middle class for their own benefit and pleasure. Laws are made with specific loopholes for the wealthy so they can circumvent the laws when it is advantageous or convenient to do so.
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ThePeoplesKey
Writer/General Disreputable Rogue
07:08 AM on 06/15/2010
That's by design. Read about the American revolution . . .
03:01 AM on 06/15/2010
There needs to be a paradigm shift in thinking from the insatiable, obscene lust for money, material things and power, toward a profound desire to better the human condition and provide better stewardship of Spaceship Earth.

1) Outlaw lobbying

2) Congressional terms limits - 3 or 4 4 year terms. No more career politicians.

3) President - one six year term instead of 2 4 year terms. He works 6 years in a row instead of working for 2, running for re-election for 2, and then working for 4 more.

4) Require politicians to use their own money to run for office and do so only on the Internet instead of squandering money running around the states or country.

5) Eliminate earmarks and pork. Bills should never have totally unrelated amendments attached for so-called consensus. Stick to the point of the bill.

6) Limit campaign donations to a maximum of $1,000. Don’t allow private industry to contribute, only individual citizens.

7) Cap amount of money candidates can raise. In this electronic age, candidates should not have to raise millions of dollars and travel constantly from city to city or state to state. They can have on-line advertising, on-line town halls, on-line voting, on-line videos, on-line everything to get their message out at a fraction of the cost.
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
05:07 AM on 06/15/2010
1) One person's lobbyist is another person's advocate.
2) We have term limits, they are called elections.
3) We already have 3 amendments concerning the presidental term and you want to add another.
4) Requiring that politicians only use their own money means only the rich will be elected. The internet is nice but no one has gotten elected by the internet.
5) One person's earmark is another person's essential local improvement.
6) I am ok with a limit on donations but if you going to silence business, you need to silence labor unions and news media as well.
7) Again, if you allow a candiate to do only online campaigning, you are disenfrancising anyone that does not use the internet as their primary source of news. Also, if you allow candiates to campaign online, the prices of doing so are going to skyrocket.
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ThePeoplesKey
Writer/General Disreputable Rogue
07:10 AM on 06/15/2010
I agree for the most part. OTOH legislating to the lowest common denominator is a recipe for failure . . .
02:50 AM on 06/15/2010
In my lifetime, I've seen the first artificial satellites and first humans go into space. I've seen a presidential assassination and the first presidential resignation. I've seen airplanes bring down the World Trade Center. I've seen the first president of color; when I began first grade, the only people of color who could legally be in my public school room were the janitors. Lots of things have changed in my lifetime, some good, some bad, and some just "Oh, my GOD!" I don't think a Constitutiona Convention will be the end of the Republic, and it might just be able to make the necessary changes our Congress seems unable to do.
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
05:13 AM on 06/15/2010
We have regular elections. If you want a change, vote for a representative that supports your views. Otherwise, you are trying to force your views on the rest of the country.
06:44 AM on 06/15/2010
Someone who represents my views can't get elected because they get outspent by people who represent the views of big corporations and lobbies, which then force their views on the rest of the country.
02:46 AM on 06/15/2010
The whole system is rotten to the core, and there is no incentive for those in power to change it. Quite the contrary, they benefit enormously from the status quo. That includes maintaining all the existing policies vis-a-vis the military, financial institutions, tax policy, energy policy, elections, etc. They will throw us peons a few crumbs now and then, to make us think we still have a functioning democracy, but there won't be any major change. Watch out, though!...the next war will be coming around the bend.
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
05:16 AM on 06/15/2010
So, the entire government is rotten to the core? Since we are the folks that votes in this government, that has a profound statement about the American people. It is easily to call a system broken from the outside.
06:45 AM on 06/15/2010
The profound statement is the way in which the American people have limited access to their political system, since access is now based on money.
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iblogleft
Certifiable
02:46 AM on 06/15/2010
We should be suing to define a "person" as a living, breathing human.
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04:54 AM on 06/15/2010
Yes. First things first!
02:14 AM on 06/15/2010
A constitutional convention would be the end of the United States of America .
California ,Texas, and New York plus more will leave the union or demand more power.
Some of the smaller states will lose Federal funds taken from the big states
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Turukano
In 20 years, everyone will say they voted Obama
05:16 AM on 06/15/2010
They do not think that far ahead.
06:47 AM on 06/15/2010
Not likely. All it would do is refine the laws regarding campaign finance, marriage, etc.
02:08 AM on 06/15/2010
I want the Supreme Court abomination that effectively eliminates democracy over turned as well but I'm not sure a constitutional converntion would do that nor am I too keen on messing around with the constitution especially in the current political climate. It would be like if all the framers were Hamiltonian and there are no Jeffersonians. We could end up worse off. Besides the constittion was preceded (sort of) by a revolution. And if we ever needed a revolution we need one now. A constitutional convention would only allow the the powers that be to legitimatize their corruption and distortions of democracy. They would buy it like they do everything else now. Maybe we should first establish a democracy before we design to protect it. You only have to look as far back as the Gore/Bush election to know we don't have democracy barring everything else that's happened since. The only way I'd want a constitutional convention is if were to resolve to actually have a democracy. That would change a great deal of things. The lawyers of the corporate oligarchy would have a hay day designing a new constitution to better fit their needs. Who would stop them ? The Supreme Court passed a law essentially banning democracy and no one has stepped forward to stop that. There are many who give lip service to democracy to gain political ground but few who would champion True Democracy.