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  1. #11
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    State lines have little relevance in the interests of Americans nowadays. You think the interests of someone in Hackensack, NJ are all that different than someone in New York City? How about Liberal, KS and Guymon, OK?
    Not really, but neither were the interests of someone in Marcus Hook, PA and Wilmington, DE in 1860, but one state had slaves and the other did not. I'd say that was a HUGE difference between one state and the other. And now, Delaware has no sales tax, but Pennsylvania's is 6%. Again, a big difference in actions. I think that the lines between states may be arbitrary, but the relevance of them to the Union is still very important. State power is an important check in our system of government.


    Given that I'm a 15 minute train ride away from that building, it isn't all that different either... except for the skyscrapers, highways, rail lines and other forms of development that have transformed the Delaware Valley. Rights absolutely are transitory - they depend on what society agrees they are. Otherwise, we wouldn't have had to act to extend those rights to African-Americans and Native Americans.
    That is where you and I disagree fundamentally. I believe African-Americans and Native Americans ALWAYS HAD claims to those rights, but they were denied them. That doesn't make their claims to them any less legitimate. If 51% of society decided that gay people should have to wear rainbow tattoos, would that negate the right of gay people not to be tattooed or identified? Of course not.


    It's difficult to understand because you're asserting an opinion as God-given fact. Rights are an abstract concept, bound by none of the laws of science (unless you are a hard materialist, and then, it's iffy). What happens when we decide that solving some of those problems are part of the duty of the federal government? What prevents the population from doing such a thing?
    Decide how? Amending the Constitution? That would be one thing. Not by ceding power and money all the time, thereby ignoring the supreme law of the land.


    If the system does not prevent a given harm from occurring, then the system is at fault. You can't just say that because of shenanigans, that we should absolve the system's role in it - part of its purpose is to correct such errors and flaws.
    The shenanigans in 1960 were the result of corrupt local machine politics, which can't really be remedied by reforming the Electoral College. More vigorous federal oversight and harsher punishment might work, though.


    The big issue in Bush v. Gore was that there had been a federal injunction prior to the state deadline, and that the court ruled there to no applicable remedy, since that deadline passed. In essence, state law trumped federal law, in clear violation of the Supremacy Clause, after the court ruled that the state law violated the 14th. That's a terrible miscarriage of justice. It may have been the right result, but the way it was done was horribly wrong.
    And I believe in both procedural and substantive due process, so I am sensitive to your argument. I also believe, though, that the end result was "correct" given our election laws. I don't believe that about 1876.


    If you believe that's the purpose of government, which is not a question of practicality, but of ideological belief. I'd prefer not to debate ideology, because it's as pointless as debating the validity of one's religion.
    I would disagree with that parallel, but OK.


    If anything, why is it the MOST compatible system with these goals? Can you not think of anything that would be a better way of doing this?
    Restraining the power of the government and the people whilst still protecting individual rights? Well, it hasn't been perfect at that in the past 200+ years, clearly. It still has worked pretty damn well compared to other forms of government, if you ask me. In the end, a system is a slave to the humans that employ it. I think our system has suffered as our quality of those in power has declined and the power they wield has increased.
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  2. #12
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Not really, but neither were the interests of someone in Marcus Hook, PA and Wilmington, DE in 1860, but one state had slaves and the other did not. I'd say that was a HUGE difference between one state and the other.
    And we fought a huge war to end that difference, amongst many other things. Besides, Delaware is the most BS state that exists in this country - it only formed because PA was too lazy/cash strapped to administer it.

    And now, Delaware has no sales tax, but Pennsylvania's is 6%. Again, a big difference in actions. I think that the lines between states may be arbitrary, but the relevance of them to the Union is still very important. State power is an important check in our system of government.
    I'm not against the idea of federalism in as large a country as we live in; a unitary government would be simply infeasible. However, that's the point of federalism - to make administering a large area practical. With the growth of communications, centralizing some functions of government makes more sense.

    Eventually, we need to redraw state lines to represent modern realities. This is unlikely, because of a general resistance to such change, and the sense of state chauvinism that exists in some parts of the country. Rhode Island may not mind joining with Massachusetts, but Texas joining with Oklahoma? Not bloody likely.


    That is where you and I disagree fundamentally. I believe African-Americans and Native Americans ALWAYS HAD claims to those rights, but they were denied them. That doesn't make their claims to them any less legitimate. If 51% of society decided that gay people should have to wear rainbow tattoos, would that negate the right of gay people not to be tattooed or identified? Of course not.
    And to that I will always respond - it doesn't matter if someone says you have them, if you don't have them. Taiwan may claim it's the rightful government of mainland China, but let's face it - they're not. I may claim that the government has no right to tax me, but let's face it, I'm going to jail for that one. Rights don't exist without the men with guns to back them up.


    Decide how? Amending the Constitution? That would be one thing. Not by ceding power and money all the time, thereby ignoring the supreme law of the land.
    That's the issue though - the Constitution is a document that can be interpreted in many ways. If we believe it says one thing, and have the power to effect that policy, then it says that one thing. If we believe it says another, and have the power to effect that policy, then it says the other thing. That's just reality.


    The shenanigans in 1960 were the result of corrupt local machine politics, which can't really be remedied by reforming the Electoral College. More vigorous federal oversight and harsher punishment might work, though.
    The machine politics which would have had less impact on the election if Illinois didn't have so many EVs to swing the election. Where does the federal government get this power, though? Constitutionally, the presidential elections are solely a state-administered event. That too was reasserted in Bush v. Gore.


    And I believe in both procedural and substantive due process, so I am sensitive to your argument. I also believe, though, that the end result was "correct" given our election laws. I don't believe that about 1876.
    At least you're honest about that one. Would you then agree with the role of the federal judiciary as guarantor of rights, then?

    I think Bush would have ended up winning. However, I do believe that they should have come up with a procedure to recount in the three days after the District Court made its ruling, and recounted statewide.

    I would disagree with that parallel, but OK.
    Why's that? Ideology ultimately relies on some statement of ultimate right or good, just the same as religion does.

    Restraining the power of the government and the people whilst still protecting individual rights? Well, it hasn't been perfect at that in the past 200+ years, clearly. It still has worked pretty damn well compared to other forms of government, if you ask me. In the end, a system is a slave to the humans that employ it. I think our system has suffered as our quality of those in power has declined and the power they wield has increased.
    So the answer's no, you can't think of anything better?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    And we fought a huge war to end that difference, amongst many other things. Besides, Delaware is the most BS state that exists in this country - it only formed because PA was too lazy/cash strapped to administer it.
    And New Castle County is basically Delaware County South (I am a Delco native). Still, that state boundary in particular (and the PA-MD) one were maybe the most important in American history.


    I'm not against the idea of federalism in as large a country as we live in; a unitary government would be simply infeasible. However, that's the point of federalism - to make administering a large area practical. With the growth of communications, centralizing some functions of government makes more sense.
    I think part of federalism isn't just to make things practical; I think part of it is to make certain negative things impossible.


    Eventually, we need to redraw state lines to represent modern realities. This is unlikely, because of a general resistance to such change, and the sense of state chauvinism that exists in some parts of the country. Rhode Island may not mind joining with Massachusetts, but Texas joining with Oklahoma? Not bloody likely.
    Have you ever been to Rhode Island? Proud people up there. At one time, I was living with someone from Warwick, RI and Springfield, MA. They couldn't stop talking about the differences between those two states. They only agreed on the Patriots. :rolli:


    And to that I will always respond - it doesn't matter if someone says you have them, if you don't have them. Taiwan may claim it's the rightful government of mainland China, but let's face it - they're not. I may claim that the government has no right to tax me, but let's face it, I'm going to jail for that one. Rights don't exist without the men with guns to back them up.
    We're talking past one another. I am saying that rights are concepts, not conditions. Slaves had the right to be free. That they weren't free means that someone was violating their rights. Just because what is does not equate with what should be doesn't make what should be any less correct (I apologize for sentence, by the way).


    That's the issue though - the Constitution is a document that can be interpreted in many ways. If we believe it says one thing, and have the power to effect that policy, then it says that one thing. If we believe it says another, and have the power to effect that policy, then it says the other thing. That's just reality.
    I disagree there, as well, but I lean toward textualist/original meaning legal theory.


    [QUOTE]The machine politics which would have had less impact on the election if Illinois didn't have so many EVs to swing the election. Where does the federal government get this power, though? Constitutionally, the presidential elections are solely a state-administered event. That too was reasserted in Bush v. Gore.

    Sure, and it would also have mattered less if federal power hadn't grown to the point that winning is such a HUGE deal for one side or the other. It could conceivably be just as bad if a small state were the fulcrum in a tight race.


    At least you're honest about that one. Would you then agree with the role of the federal judiciary as guarantor of rights, then?
    I believe the federal judiciary should be the interpreters of the Constitution. That should, in theory, mean they'd guarantee our rights. Obviously, that hasn't happened every time in history. I also mean "correct" in the sense of Bush would have won under most recount procedures. I will say nothing as to whether the right man won. I didn't vote for either of those two, so I didn't have much of a horse in that race. I didn't like Al Gore, but I also have lived long enough to see that things usually get demonstrably worse when one party controls both the White House and Congress.


    I think Bush would have ended up winning. However, I do believe that they should have come up with a procedure to recount in the three days after the District Court made its ruling, and recounted statewide.
    Agreed. If anything, a massive undertaking might have spurred a serious look at intrastate reform.


    Why's that? Ideology ultimately relies on some statement of ultimate right or good, just the same as religion does.

    And that is why it's fun to debate. Religion and politics are important and interesting. It's pretty hard to debate baseball statistics.


    [QUOTESo the answer's no, you can't think of anything better?
    Not as long as human beings are flawed. I think that, if something is REALLY needed, it would eventually get through a constitutional amendment process. One improvement I could see would be needing a 2/3rds majority to pass laws, and a 1/3rd minority to repeal old ones, but that is a personal belief based on the surfeit of laws I feel we suffer under now.
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  4. #14
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    And New Castle County is basically Delaware County South (I am a Delco native). Still, that state boundary in particular (and the PA-MD) one were maybe the most important in American history.
    Perhaps, but it's still pointless, and a historical accident.

    I think part of federalism isn't just to make things practical; I think part of it is to make certain negative things impossible.
    Ahh, but they certainly are possible - just on the state level.

    Have you ever been to Rhode Island? Proud people up there. At one time, I was living with someone from Warwick, RI and Springfield, MA. They couldn't stop talking about the differences between those two states. They only agreed on the Patriots. :rolli:
    That makes one thing more than Texans and Oklahomans.

    We're talking past one another. I am saying that rights are concepts, not conditions. Slaves had the right to be free. That they weren't free means that someone was violating their rights. Just because what is does not equate with what should be doesn't make what should be any less correct (I apologize for sentence, by the way).
    I understand what you're saying. However, I don't ascribe to the philosophy of Platonic ideals. In my mind, what you've got is what reality is. If I were a black man in Jim Crow South, it doesn't matter that I had the "right" to vote... I couldn't vote. It doesn't matter if I lived my entire life with that "right", rights unexercised are dead.

    I disagree there, as well, but I lean toward textualist/original meaning legal theory.
    Careful - textualism isn't a constitutional theory, but a statutory one. Even Scalia dislikes strict constructionism.

    Sure, and it would also have mattered less if federal power hadn't grown to the point that winning is such a HUGE deal for one side or the other. It could conceivably be just as bad if a small state were the fulcrum in a tight race.
    Even in 1800, a hotly-disputed presidential election created a constitutional crisis. It's just the nature of the beast... and it would be worse if it were a small state, because the influence of money in that situation would be even more disproportionate.

    I believe the federal judiciary should be the interpreters of the Constitution. That should, in theory, mean they'd guarantee our rights. Obviously, that hasn't happened every time in history. I also mean "correct" in the sense of Bush would have won under most recount procedures. I will say nothing as to whether the right man won. I didn't vote for either of those two, so I didn't have much of a horse in that race. I didn't like Al Gore, but I also have lived long enough to see that things usually get demonstrably worse when one party controls both the White House and Congress.
    OK. I don't disagree as to the results; there's simply no way we can know.

    Agreed. If anything, a massive undertaking might have spurred a serious look at intrastate reform.
    That's the thing though - the current power structure simply does not want this to happen. Too many people would lose cushy jobs.

    The problem with this country is largely on the state level, and not on the federal level. Voters still get motivated about federal issues. Apathy at the state level is absolutely epidemic.

    Not as long as human beings are flawed. I think that, if something is REALLY needed, it would eventually get through a constitutional amendment process. One improvement I could see would be needing a 2/3rds majority to pass laws, and a 1/3rd minority to repeal old ones, but that is a personal belief based on the surfeit of laws I feel we suffer under now.
    How do you define a law?

  5. #15
    Senior Member Pixelholic's Avatar
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    I'm a fan of the electoral college going away. The constitution is a living document afterall, and should be adjusted to account for the issues of a modern society. And society today has more of a national identity than the colonial states at the beginning of the nation.

    And last I checked states are still represented by their senators who give low population states an incredible amount of power, and also last I checked the legislature was still equal to the president. The electoral college just doesn't make sense in an integrated nation that we have now.
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Nietzsche

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelholic View Post
    I'm a fan of the electoral college going away. The constitution is a living document afterall, and should be adjusted to account for the issues of a modern society.
    :steam:


    And society today has more of a national identity than the colonial states at the beginning of the nation.
    And people have more of a local identity, too. And individual identities. I don't think your point stands.


    And last I checked states are still represented by their senators who give low population states an incredible amount of power, and also last I checked the legislature was still equal to the president. The electoral college just doesn't make sense in an integrated nation that we have now.
    That's the idea, though. The Senate being equally represented is a feature, not a bug. In fact, as I stated earlier, I would like to see the 17th Amendment repealed. I think we should go back to the Senate being elected by the state legislatures.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member Pixelholic's Avatar
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    are you bothered by the fact that the electoral system of the nation has moved more towards national representation rather than an electoral system? The 17th amendment afterall allowed the people of a state to elect senators rather than the (often controlled by a single party) state legislatures. More people end up having a voice with the amendment (especially when you factor in that more people vote for senators than legislators at the state level.) I guess it comes down to if you think there should be fewer steps between the people and their representatives. (hell, if I had my way we'd only have a house of representatives since the senate is basically a house of lords without the titles, but that's just me.)

    And what's wrong with a living document? The constitution was made a living document to protect individual and state rights to begin with. And if enough people want the 17th amendment to be stricken down then it will happen, so why the vitriol?
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Nietzsche

  8. #18
    Senior Member Pixelholic's Avatar
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    and I'm not tryign to be an ass or a federalist. I actually think it is better for individual people if there are fewer hoops between them and their elected representatives. The ideal would be representatives that are held accountable by the people themselves and not whatever special interest paid them a boatload of money.
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Nietzsche

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelholic View Post
    are you bothered by the fact that the electoral system of the nation has moved more towards national representation rather than an electoral system? The 17th amendment afterall allowed the people of a state to elect senators rather than the (often controlled by a single party) state legislatures. More people end up having a voice with the amendment (especially when you factor in that more people vote for senators than legislators at the state level.) I guess it comes down to if you think there should be fewer steps between the people and their representatives. (hell, if I had my way we'd only have a house of representatives since the senate is basically a house of lords without the titles, but that's just me.)
    I think that's madness. There are supposed to be multiple and competing levels and branches of government. That helps to prevent concentrations of power (not guarantee, as we can see). Even concentrations of power in the people themselves can be negative for society. "More people having a voice" is a means as far as I (and, I would argue, the Founders) am concerned. It's not a end in and of itself.


    And what's wrong with a living document? The constitution was made a living document to protect individual and state rights to begin with. And if enough people want the 17th amendment to be stricken down then it will happen, so why the vitriol?
    WAS the Constitution made to be a "living document?" It seems to me that it was made to be the supreme law of the land, and it was also made intentionally difficult to amend.
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelholic View Post
    and I'm not tryign to be an ass or a federalist. I actually think it is better for individual people if there are fewer hoops between them and their elected representatives. The ideal would be representatives that are held accountable by the people themselves and not whatever special interest paid them a boatload of money.
    And I don't think it's as big a deal. I think the big deal is that elected representatives wield SO much power now that special interests know that the money they "donate" is an investment in protection or privileges.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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