robertogreco + constitution   52

David Graeber on a Fair Future Economy - YouTube
"David Graeber is an anthropologist, a leading figure in the Occupy movement, and one of our most original and influential public thinkers.

He comes to the RSA to address our current age of ‘total bureaucratization’, in which public and private power has gradually fused into a single entity, rife with rules and regulations, whose ultimate purpose is the extraction of wealth in the form of profits.

David will consider what it would take, in terms of intellectual clarity, political will and imaginative power – to conceive and build a flourishing and fair future economy, which would maximise the scope for individual and collective creativity, and would be sustainable and just."
democracy  liberalism  directdemocracy  borders  us  finance  globalization  bureaucracy  2015  ows  occupywallstreet  governance  government  economics  politics  policy  unschooling  unlearning  schooliness  technology  paperwork  future  utopianism  capitalism  constitution  rules  regulation  wealth  power  communism  authority  authoritarianism  creativity  neoliberalism  austerity  justice  socialjustice  society  ideology  inequality  revolution  global  international  history  law  legal  debt  freedom  money  monetarypolicy  worldbank  imf  markets  banks  banking  certification  credentials  lobbying  collusion  corruption  privatization  credentialization  deschooling  canon  firstamendment 
january 2019 by robertogreco
max berger🔥🌹 on Twitter: "I think it's time we started talking about this.… "
"I think it's time we started talking about this.

[image: "Maybe a bunch of white slave owners from the 1700s did not come up with the best government ever" with map showing 40 million (23 small states highlighted in gold) people 46 senators, 40 million (California highlighted in purple) people 2 senators]

The US is one of the only countries in the world with a bicameral legislature and a separately elected executive. There are better (more representative and responsive) systems!

Ours was amazing for 1776, but we have 200+ years of lessons since then.

My suggestion to make the US government more representative and responsive:

- Make the House into multi-member districts with instant run off voting (see @fairvote for more)
- Abolish the electoral college
- Reform the senate to make it much more proportional and less powerful

I have a piece on this forthcoming, but I’ll just briefly say: the survival of the republic depends on reforming our electoral system.

Trump will not be the last authoritarian president if we don’t deal with gridlock, corruption and lack of representation.

There is nothing more American than deciding your system of government is insufficiently democratic and resolving to change it.

The revolutionary spirit of the founders is based on the radical idea that we can remake our world to better reflect the needs of regular people.

Lots of conservatives jumping in to say the founders made a compromise to allow small states to be overly represented. It's true!

They also agreed to a compromises that said slaves counted as 3/5ths of a person, and only men who owned land could vote.

We can do better.

The constitution represented the best thinking on how to create a functional republic at the time it was written. It was also a political compromise that reflected the realities of power at the time.

Much has changed since then. If we rewrote it today, it'd look very different.

The American constitution is outdated; when Americans advise other newly democratized nations on writing their constitutions, we no longer use our own as the basis.

We should learn from the past 200 years and make our system more representative.
Almost nobody uses the U.S. Constitution as a model—not even Americans. When 24 military officers and civilians were given a single week to craft a constitution for occupied Japan in 1946, they turned to England. The Westminster-style parliament they installed in Tokyo, like its British forebear, has two houses. But unlike Congress, one is clearly more powerful than the other and can override the less powerful one during an impasse.

The story was largely the same in defeated Nazi Germany, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, which all emerged from American occupation with constitutions that look little like the one Madison and the other framers wrote. They have the same democratic values, sure, but different ways of realizing them. According to researchers who analyzed all 729 constitutions adopted between 1946 and 2006, the U.S. Constitution is rarely used as a model. What's more, "the American example is being rejected to an even greater extent by America's allies than by the global community at large," write David Law of Washington University and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.

That's a not a fluke. The American system was designed with plenty of checks and balances, but the Founders assumed the elites elected to Congress would sort things out. They didn't plan for the political parties that emerged almost immediately after ratification, and they certainly didn't plan for Ted Cruz. And factionalism isn't the only problem. Belgium, a country whose ethnic divisions make our partisan sparring look like a thumb war, was unable to form a governing coalition for 589 days in 2010 and 2011. Nevertheless, the government stayed open and fulfilled its duties almost without interruption, thanks to a smarter institutional arrangement.

America is the only presidentialist system (I.e. a separately elected legislature and executive) that hasn't lapsed into dictatorship.

Literally every single other presidentialist system in the world has failed.

It's only a matter of time before ours fails as well.
"There are about 30 countries, mostly in Latin America, that have adopted American-style systems. All of them, without exception, have succumbed to the Linzian nightmare at one time or another, often repeatedly," according to Yale constitutional law professor Bruce Ackerman, who calls for a transition to a parliamentary system. By "Linzian nightmare," Ackerman means constitutional crisis—your full range of political violence, revolution, coup, and worse. But well short of war, you can end up in a state of "crisis governance," he writes. "President and house may merely indulge a taste for endless backbiting, mutual recrimination, and partisan deadlock. Worse yet, the contending powers may use the constitutional tools at their disposal to make life miserable for each other: The house will harass the executive, and the president will engage in unilateral action whenever he can get away with it." He wrote that almost a decade and a half ago, long before anyone had heard of Barack Obama, let alone the Tea Party.

Lots of conservatives asking if I know about the house of representatives or the Connecticut compromise.


Have you heard about the perils of presidentialism?

Or how our constitution is inherently undemocratic?

You should!

The point isn't what the founders intended: the point is that if we started out writing a new constitution today, no one would suggest we create two houses, including one that disproportionally empowers people from small states.

We'd create a government that looks like America.

The founders do not have a monopoly on wisdom, knowledge or experience. Their constitution was designed for wealthy land owning white men.

We need an electoral system that's designed to represent the American people - all of us - for the first time in our history."
us  government  presidency  constitution  law  democracy  presidentialism  2018  maxberger  governance  donaldtrump  elections  constitutionalcrisis  representation  elcectoralsystems 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The U.S. Needs a New Constitution—Here's How to Write It - The Atlantic
"Almost nobody uses the U.S. Constitution as a model—not even Americans. When 24 military officers and civilians were given a single week to craft a constitution for occupied Japan in 1946, they turned to England. The Westminster-style parliament they installed in Tokyo, like its British forebear, has two houses. But unlike Congress, one is clearly more powerful than the other and can override the less powerful one during an impasse.

The story was largely the same in defeated Nazi Germany, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, which all emerged from American occupation with constitutions that look little like the one Madison and the other framers wrote. They have the same democratic values, sure, but different ways of realizing them. According to researchers who analyzed all 729 constitutions adopted between 1946 and 2006, the U.S. Constitution is rarely used as a model. What's more, "the American example is being rejected to an even greater extent by America's allies than by the global community at large," write David Law of Washington University and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.

That's a not a fluke. The American system was designed with plenty of checks and balances, but the Founders assumed the elites elected to Congress would sort things out. They didn't plan for the political parties that emerged almost immediately after ratification, and they certainly didn't plan for Ted Cruz. And factionalism isn't the only problem. Belgium, a country whose ethnic divisions make our partisan sparring look like a thumb war, was unable to form a governing coalition for 589 days in 2010 and 2011. Nevertheless, the government stayed open and fulfilled its duties almost without interruption, thanks to a smarter institutional arrangement.

As the famed Spanish political scientist Juan Linz wrote in an influential 1990 essay, dysfunction, trending toward constitutional breakdown, is baked into our DNA. Any system that gives equally strong claims of democratic legitimacy to both the legislature and the president, while also allowing each to be controlled by people with fundamentally different agendas, is doomed to fail. America has muddled through thus far by compromise, but what happens when the sides no longer wish to compromise? "No democratic principle exists to resolve disputes between the executive and the legislature about which of the two actually represents the will of the people," Linz wrote.

There are about 30 countries, mostly in Latin America, that have adopted American-style systems. All of them, without exception, have succumbed to the Linzian nightmare at one time or another, often repeatedly," according to Yale constitutional law professor Bruce Ackerman, who calls for a transition to a parliamentary system. By "Linzian nightmare," Ackerman means constitutional crisis—your full range of political violence, revolution, coup, and worse. But well short of war, you can end up in a state of "crisis governance," he writes. "President and house may merely indulge a taste for endless backbiting, mutual recrimination, and partisan deadlock. Worse yet, the contending powers may use the constitutional tools at their disposal to make life miserable for each other: The house will harass the executive, and the president will engage in unilateral action whenever he can get away with it." He wrote that almost a decade and a half ago, long before anyone had heard of Barack Obama, let alone the Tea Party.

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

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

Arend Lijphart is a political scientist who has spent much of his career trying to answer the fundamental question, "What works best?" and he thinks he knows the answer. "Democracies work best if they are consensus instead of majoritarian democracies. The most important constitutional provisions that help in this direction is to have a parliamentary system and elections by [proportional representation]. The U.S. is the opposite system, with a presidential system and plurality single-member-district elections," he said an email, drawing on complex quantitative analysis he's done to compare economic and political outcomes across dozens of democratic countries with different systems.

If he had to pick any country whose system we might like to try on for size, he'd pick Germany. "Some aspects of it do need to change, of course," he says. Yet it's a nice bicameral federal system for a large country, like ours, but it has a proportional representation parliamentary system."


"America is the only presidentialist system (I.e. a separately elected legislature and executive) that hasn't lapsed into dictatorship.

Literally every single other presidentialist system in the world has failed.

It's only a matter of time before ours fails as well."
us  constitution  government  2013  alexseitz-ald  presidency  latinamerica  bruceackerman  parliamentarysystem  politics  governance  authoritarianism  constitutionalcrisis  barackobama  teaparty  canada  consensus  juanlinz  democracy 
november 2018 by robertogreco
America's founders screwed up when they designed the presidency. Donald Trump is exhibit A. - Vox
[See also:
"Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It)"

"The U.S. Needs a New Constitution—Here's How to Write It
Let's face it: What worked well 224 years ago is no longer the best we can do." ]

"The presidential system makes outsider candidates, and messianic candidates, possible

Sen. Sanders, as we know, was ultimately unsuccessful, not least because the Democratic race quickly turned into a two-candidate contest, giving the better-known, party-approved candidate an advantage.

Donald Trump was far luckier: He began in an unprecedented 17-candidate race with unparalleled name recognition and the ability to play to the media and to the Fox Television audience. As CBS executive Leslie Moonves said, Donald Trump "may not be good for America, but [he’s] good for CBS" — in terms of ratings and advertising revenue. And Trump, whose approximately 14 million total primary votes represented only 44.9 percent of the total Republican primary vote, was able to prevail against a notably disorganized and maladroit team of rivals.

Trump is almost certainly the most ominous major party candidate in our history. But one should note that his campaign could be viewed as its own version of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, which was organized around the theme of "the audacity of hope." Obama, too, pledged a transformative politics, often short on details and long on charisma. Not surprisingly, he did not achieve the kind of transformation many of his supporters were hoping for.

Today, many of Trump’s supporters, including at least some who voted for Obama in 2008 and possibly even in 2012 (against a Republican candidate who exhibited no concern at all for the plight of the working class), are tempted by a new "disrupter." Their alienation from a gridlocked status quo has made them all too willing to overlook some of the obvious problems with Trump as an actual president."

"Presidents have no incentives to cooperate with an oppositional Congress (and vice versa)
Benjamin Wittes, of the Brookings Institution, has suggested that Secretary Clinton commit herself to a "government of national unity" by pledging to appoint a significant number or Republicans to her Cabinet. Such calls from the would-be sensible center are a quadrennial tradition. But even were she to do so — and pay whatever attendant costs might be imposed by an ever-more-liberal Democratic Party eager to govern again (especially if the Senate and House should turn Democratic) — such a government might well founder on the unwillingness of House or Senate Republicans to join in the warm glow of unity. This would be an especially important problem, to say the least, if the House should remain Republican, as is still predicted.

There is a relatively simple structural explanation for the unlikelihood of a genuine kumbaya moment even if a President-elect Clinton wanted one. Our constitutional system focuses attention on a single individual, the president, who is, correctly or not, praised or blamed for what occurs in the wider polity during his or her term in office. A first-term incumbent who presides over (and gets credit for) what is thought to be progress will be rewarded by reelection. Perceived failure, on the other hand, is likely to lead to ouster.

An opposition party that contributes to genuine achievements may find itself, in effect, helping to reelect the incumbent. Thus, in 1996, it was Newt Gingrich who immeasurably aided Bill Clinton’s reelection efforts by giving him a "welfare reform" bill that he in fact signed; Bill Clinton then immediately took credit for "ending welfare" as we had known it."

"The potency of the veto power is overlooked
And what if Clinton — currently at least a 90 percent favorite in most presidential polls — wins but both the Senate and House remain Republican? One might well expect the first act of the Republican Congress to be the passage of legislation repealing Obamacare, and the first act of the Democratic president to be vetoing the legislation.

Clinton will win that battle for the simple reason that it takes a two-thirds vote of each house of Congress to override a presidential veto. For that reason, it’s not surprising that presidents have won approximately 95 percent of all veto battles — not to mention the fact that the very threat of a veto can be very important in molding legislation while in Congress.

Taking the veto power into consideration, it could be argued that in important ways we have a tricameral legislature, and not merely a bicameral legislature. Will a President Clinton be able to gain her nominees seats on the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, should the Senate remain Republican? Who knows, given that a Republican Senate wouldn’t even have to filibuster. They may, in the case of Judge Merrick Garland, refuse to hold hearings or, following perfunctory hearings, simply vote to reject any of Clinton’s nominees.

The twin problems of presidential overreach and political gridlock have structural roots. Yet it is virtually taboo to bring up, in mainstream discourse, any of the distorting aspects of our governmental structure. No one has asked either of the candidates, for example, if they think the United States might be better off with a parliamentary system of government. Most people — and certainly all mainstream journalists — would regard it as bizarre to waste valuable time during a debate to discuss such a hypothetical.

It is quite easy to portray Trump as an "anti-constitutional" candidate. It can well be doubted that he has ever seriously read or thought about the document, and he exhibits dangerously dictatorial tendencies that we hope are precluded by the Constitution. But we should realize that his candidacy also tells us things we might not wish to hear about the Constitution and its political order in the 21st century. In his own way, he may be the canary in the coal mine, and the question is whether we will draw the right lessons from his improbable candidacy and his apparent ability to garner the votes of at least 40 percent of the American public."
us  government  constitution  politics  presidency  donaldtrump  barackobama  2008  2016  elections  sanfordlevinson  democracy 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Shannon Sharpe on NFL Protest: ‘I’m Disappointed, and I’m Unimpressed’ 
"Shannon Sharpe, the Hall of Fame former NFL tight end-turned-the most woke sports analyst to ever to do it, is back at it again dropping straight gems. Sharpe wasn’t feeling the show of NFL locked-arm unity after President Donald Trump came out and declared that any player who protested during the national anthem should be fired.

“I’m disappointed. And I’m unimpressed,” Sharpe said during Fox Sports’ Undisputed. “Because this is the tipping point. Of the 7,537 things that President Trump has said in the last 50 years, him calling an NFL player an SOB is what brought the NFL, the owners and its players, together. And while some might be moved by the conscience of these NFL owners, it wasn’t their conscience that moved them. It was the cash.”

Sharpe then went on to explain that if the NFL owners were really standing up against injustice, they could’ve done so long ago, like when Trump declared that Mexico was sending nothing but murderers and rapists to the United States. Or they could’ve stood up when he blasted the Gold Star Muslim family who lost their son in war. Or when he called Rosie O’Donnell a pig, or was caught on tape talking casually about how he sexually assaults random women.

“That did not shock the very conscience of seven NFL owners. Skip, allow me a second to name those guys: one, Daniel Snyder; Jerry Jones; Bob, Mr. Bob Kraft; McNair, Houston Texans; Woody Johnson; Shahid Khan,” Sharpe said. “They gave a million dollars for the inauguration of President Trump. And now they seem to be shocked. Every author that’s written a book about President Trump, and they started writing books about him in the 1980s, they say he is exactly today as he was then. So that is all I want to say about him, Skip. Now what has happened?”

You can watch the whole clip below, but I implore you not to watch this at work so you won’t be liable for telling a co-worker that he or she can get these hands."

[via: ]
shannonsharpe  2017  nfl  race  racism  donaldtrump  flag  nationalanthem  military  sports  politics  us  colinkaepernick  dalehansen  protest  freedomofspeech  constitution  inequality  socialjustice  policebrutality 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Hansen Unplugged: Anthem protests not about disrespecting the flag |
"Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the national anthem in San Francisco last year. We noticed, but very few players joined him.

He can’t get a job in the NFL now, and very few have said much about that, either.

But the president says he wants that peaceful protest to stop… He says those players should be fired if they take a knee during the anthem, and calls those players a name I never thought I’d live long enough to hear a president say.

Now, everybody cares.

Donald Trump has said he supports a peaceful protest because it's an American's right… But not this protest, and there's the problem: The opinion that any protest you don't agree with is a protest that should be stopped.

Martin Luther King should have marched across a different bridge. Young, black Americans should have gone to a different college and found a different lunch counter. And college kids in the 60's had no right to protest an immoral war.

I served in the military during the Vietnam War... and my foot hurt, too. But I served anyway.

My best friend in high school was killed in Vietnam. Carroll Meir will be 18 years old forever. And he did not die so that you can decide who is a patriot and who loves America more.

The young, black athletes are not disrespecting America or the military by taking a knee during the anthem. They are respecting the best thing about America. It's a dog whistle to the racists among us to say otherwise.

They, and all of us, should protest how black Americans are treated in this country. And if you don't think white privilege is a fact, you don't understand America.

The comedian Chris Rock said it best: There's not a white man in America who would trade places with him, and he's rich.

It has not gone unnoticed that President Trump has spoken out against the Mexicans who want to come to America for a better life against the Muslims and now against the black athlete. Ht he says nothing for days ... about the white men who marched under a Nazi flag in Charlottesville except to remind us there were good people there. And when he finally tried to say the right thing not 1 of them was called an s-o-b, nor did he say anyone should be fired.

Maybe we all need to read our Constitution again. There has never been a better use of pen to paper. Our forefathers made freedom of speech the First Amendment. They listed 10, and not one of them says you have to stand during the national anthem.

And I think those men respected the country they fought for and founded -- a great deal more than the self-proclaimed patriots who are simply hypocrites -- because they want to deny the basic freedom of this great country…

A country they supposedly value, and cherish so much."

[via: ]
flag  us  colinkaepernick  2017  nfl  donaldtrump  race  racism  dalehansen  military  protest  freedomofspeech  politics  constitution  inequality  socialjustice  policebrutality  nationalanthem 
september 2017 by robertogreco
An American Utopia: Fredric Jameson in Conversation with Stanley Aronowitz - YouTube
"Eminent literary and political theorist Fredric Jameson, of Duke University, gives a new address, followed by a conversation with noted cultural critic Stanely Aronowitz, of the Graduate Center. Jameson, author of Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism and The Political Unconscious, will consider the practicality of the Utopian tradition and its broader implications for cultural production and political institutions. Co-sponsored by the Writers' Institute and the Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature."

[via: "@timmaughan saw a semi-serious proposal talk from Frederic Jameson a few years ago about just that; the army as social utopia."

"@timmaughan this looks to be a version of it here, in fact: …" ]
fredricjameson  utopia  change  constitution  2014  us  military  education  capitalism  history  culture  society  politics  policy  ecology  williamjames  war  collectivism  crisis  dictators  dictatorship  publicworks  manufacturing  labor  work  unions  postmodernism  revolution  occupywallstreet  ows  systemschange  modernity  cynicism  will  antoniogramsci  revolutionaries  radicals  socialism  imagination  desire  stanelyaronowitz  army  armycorpsofengineers  deleuze&guattari  theory  politicaltheory  gillesdeleuze  anti-intellectualism  radicalism  utopianism  félixguattari  collectivereality  individuals  latecapitalism  collectivity  rousseau  otherness  thestate  population  plurality  multiplicity  anarchism  anarchy  tribes  clans  culturewars  class  inequality  solidarity  economics  karlmarx  marxism  deleuze 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Iceland's 'pots and pans revolution': Lessons from a nation that people power helped to emerge from its 2008 crisis all the stronger - Europe - World - The Independent
"In the long run then, what may turn out to be a more significant outcome of the revolution is the cluster of citizens’ initiatives that emerged, dedicated to improving the way democracy works. Rather than focusing on banking reform, the post-revolution push from Icelandic civil society has been on fundamental democratic reform. The logic runs: why treat the symptoms of a system that has become corrupt when you can tackle the disease itself?"

"In 2010 the country did something remarkable. The parliament initiated a process whereby ordinary citizens could take part in writing a new constitution for the country. The resulting document, if implemented, would put human rights at the heart of their democracy, recognise the rights of nature and give citizens the right to call referendums, block legislation, table bills and present issues for consideration providing they can get enough support.

The process started with a peoples’ assembly of 950 citizens chosen at random which formulated some guiding principles. Next, a handful of experts on constitutional law wrote a 700-page guidance document. The constitution was then drafted over four months by an elected group of 25 citizens who decided to use consensus decision-making. The committee’s work was transparently communicated via the internet, with comments and contributions from the wider public taken on board as the writing unfolded. Afterwards, 67 per cent of people in a national referendum voted for the document to act as the basis of a new constitution for the country.

Researchers from the Comparative Constitutions Project found the crowd-sourced draft to be “squarely grounded in Iceland’s constitutional tradition”, yet at the same time “one of the most inclusive documents in history in terms of the extent to which citizens are incorporated into decision-making… Iceland’s constitution-making process has been tremendously innovative and participatory, which we predict will enhance its endurance.”

Katrin Oddsdottir was a law student when she put herself forward to be one of the 25 people who drafted the new constitution for Iceland. “At the same time as the protests there was this very wide dialogue within Iceland where people were trying to diagnose how they could make a better and fairer society,” she recalls. “The constitution became part of the dialogue about how we can fix this so we don’t have the same disaster repeating itself after a few more years.” Oddsdottir believes that the clauses in the constitution around access to information, transparency and separation of powers could help avoid a repeat of the 2008 crash by helping keep corruption in check.

A belief in the power of transparency is also behind a more recent initiative that seeks to give Iceland the strongest set of media protection laws in the world. The International Modern Media Institute (IMMI) was a proposal of Birgitta Jonsdottir and the Pirate Party. Jonsdottir is keenly aware of the power of information through her work as a volunteer with Wiki-Leaks. She was involved in bringing the world’s attention to the Collateral Murder video which showed US troops opening fire on civilians, including a Reuters journalist.

IMMI wants a clarification in law so that people “inside the system” have a duty to report irregularities, Jonsdottir tells me. But its overarching aim is to support truth-telling in the media by providing protections for whistleblowers, journalists and sources who take the risks to produce the news on the one hand, to protections for the media organisations that publish their revelations on the other. Rather than invent a new rulebook from scratch, Jonsdottir and her IMMI team have scoured the globe for the strongest existing legislation in these areas.

Although parliament unanimously supported Jonsdottir’s IMMI proposal, implementation has been partial and slow. But with the Pirate Party’s new-found popularity, change could be just around the corner. “Now there is a really awesome, very focused steering group in the ministry that is writing up the IMMI laws, which means that in the next couple of years, if we have a government that understands their importance, these can be processed very quickly.”"

"A Gallup poll in March showed that trust in parliament had dropped six per cent since 2014, to just 18 per cent. Protests outside parliament are starting up again. Just two weeks ago thousands gathered on Independence Day and last month saw another major protest. Is a second revolution brewing?

“I think I’ve been to nearly 85 per cent of all protests after the collapse and I’ve never seen so many cops,” says Jonsdottir. “I really sense the same dynamics as there were prior to the protests in 2009. The people in power are very scared. I would be surprised if we could get rid of this current government but the interesting thing about all revolutions and uprisings is you never know what the tipping point is.”

Torfason was at the protests, too. “I think the majority of people are saying that now is our chance. We will get a new constitution. It’s a modern constitution created by people we trusted. The system has become corrupt. We need to restart our system and I believe we should restart it every 20 years.”

Could we do something similar here in the UK? Anthony Barnett, founder of the Open Democracy website, believes that the lesson from Iceland is that we can and should trust citizens to determine how we are governed. “Iceland shows that regular people have the wisdom to do this just as juries have the wisdom to come to views in trials. You cannot leave it to parliament on its own to rewrite a system in which it has this enormous vested interest.”

Political players like the Green Party and Occupy demonstrate there’s an increasing awareness that many single-issue campaigns – whether it’s the privatisation of public services or the failure to adequately address climate change – are symptoms of a democratic system that no longer serves ordinary people and therefore tackling them requires deeper, structural reform.

It’s a problem that Oddsdottir believes is common to many rich countries and one we need to wake up to if we are to deal effectively with multiple environmental threats. “Western democracies don’t really provide security for the citizens. They are really ancient in their way. This whole system of political parties and their interests being taken before the interests of the people, it has to change. We have such global problems at the moment that if we don’t fundamentally change the way we run nation states we will terminate ourselves.”"
2015  icleand  politics  economics  piaretaprty  birgittajonsdottir  reset  restart  crashonly  constitution  katrinoddsdottir 
july 2015 by robertogreco
more than 95 theses - frequently unobserved distinctions
"(a) Approving the outcome of a judicial decision
(b) Accepting as valid the legal reasoning in support of that outcome

(a) Believing in the need to enshrine in law a great social good
(b) Believing that that social good is already enshrined in the Constitution

(a) Believing in traditional Christian teaching on a given subject
(b) Believing that that teaching needs to be enshrined in secular law

(a) Wishing to commend to the whole society the excellence of Christian teaching
(b) Believing that legislation is the best way to do that"

[See also:“The Six Axioms of Politico-Judicial Logic”

"These six axioms provide all you need to know to navigate the landscape of current debates about judicial decisions:

1) The heart wants what it wants.

2) The heart has a right to what it wants—as long as the harm principle isn’t violated.

3) A political or social outcome that is greatly desirable is also ipso facto constitutional.

4) A political or social outcome that is greatly undesirable is also ipso facto unconstitutional.

5) A judicial decision that produces a desirable outcome is (regardless of the legal reasoning involved) proof of the wisdom of the Founders in liberating the Supreme Court from the vagaries of partisan politics so that they can think freely and without bias. The system works!

6) A judicial decision that produces an undesirable outcome is (regardless of the legal reasoning involved) proof that the system is broken, because it allows five unelected old farts to determine the course of society.

From these six axioms virtually every opinion stated on social media about Supreme Court decisions can be clearly derived. You’re welcome."]
alanjacobs  law  legal  constitution  courts  christianity  belief  religion  society  legislation  2015 
june 2015 by robertogreco
How Common Core serves white folks a sliver of the black experience - The Hechinger Report
"The sky hasn’t fallen and the Constitution is still in place, even though most children are taking Common Core tests.

But it’s not a moment to celebrate either.

In Louisiana, administering the first phase of tests aligned with the new state standards to 99 percent of eligible students isn’t exactly like the Freedmen’s Bureau coming to save formerly enslaved blacks. It’s not even saving students from the Tea Party (they’re still complaining about the tests).

Relax. Take it from black and brown children who are used to being tested. Students will overcome. However, privileged adults who aren’t used to being tested may never stop crying.

This curriculum debate will soon taper off, chiefly because Common Core isn’t what’s failing students or teachers. Standards do not threaten the Constitution. However, something radical is happening. Common Core is serving white folks a sliver of the black experience.

I simply can’t manufacture the passion for or against curricula reboots or changes that eventually must happen. I’m sure there’s someone still lobbying for Home Economics as a required course, but gladly most have progressed. The researcher in me can’t argue against wanting a better means to measure educational performance nationwide. However, having the ability to compare performances among groups hasn’t brought educational justice to black and brown students. Still, I know that kids overcome.

I didn’t like how the usual suspects profited politically and financially from the development of the tests – someone other than poor folk usually do. I got a bigger chuckle from ideas of a federal overreach than money-grab claims – but only slightly bigger. I’m trying to remember a time when a cabal of individuals and companies didn’t profit from education reform.

"Black, brown and poor people take tests every single day. Confrontations with police, hunger, unemployment and biased teachers overshadow the feelings of taking computerized tests. Low expectations, a lack of inclusion, a leaky teacher pipeline for communities of color, and punishing disciplinary policies all threaten authentic learning and teaching more than PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests ever will.

For good reason, people in the ’hood have always been more worried with how test results are used.

Consequently, the battle around accountability is real and extremely complex. But it’s easier to shout down Common Core than battle for a viable solution to our accountability problem.
As Sen. Lamar Alexander-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. rewrite No Child Left Behind, they must consider giving teachers the freedom to teach while providing consequences to those districts and schools that don’t provide the education all students deserve.

Hopefully, Sens. Alexander and Murray can wipe away privilege from the bill the way Common Core did."
commoncore  2015  andreperry  testing  assessment  standardizedtesting  edreform  curriculum  us  constitution  policy  parcc  testresults  school  race  accountability 
march 2015 by robertogreco
This is how the American system of government will die - Vox
"The United States' system of government is a nightmare. The Constitution requires levels of consensus between branches of government that are not realistic in a modern country with ideologically polarized parties. The result is near-total policy stasis and gridlock that in some cases, like the debt ceiling crisis of 2011, risks stopping measures from taking effect that are necessary to prevent total calamity. As the saying goes, things that can't last forever don't, and it's reasonable to predict, as Matthew Yglesias does, that America's untenable system of government will fall apart, probably in our lifetimes.

But Yglesias is vague as to how that will happen. While he's careful to say that past democratic collapses — such as the Honduran constitutional crisis of 2009 — aren't necessarily models for what will happen here, he does seem to presume some kind of crisis. At some point, an impasse between the executive and legislature will create a state of exception, a point at which disaster cannot be averted through normal legal channels.

But it's hard for me to imagine a crisis whose resolution would involve an all-out coup or dissolution of democratic institutions. What's much likelier is a continuation of the executive's gradual consolidation of power until the presidency is something like an elective dictatorship. It won't happen in a big bang, and no individual step in the process will feel like a massive leap into tyranny. But compared to today, the president's powers will be almost unrecognizable."

[See also “American democracy is doomed” (Matthew Yglesias): ]
2015  us  government  dylanmatthews  matthewyglesias  politics  democracy  constitution  thegreatreset  juanlinz  checkandbalances  parliamentarydemocracy  presidentialgovernment  polarization  gridlock 
march 2015 by robertogreco
American democracy is doomed - Vox
"To understand the looming crisis in American politics, it's useful to think about Germany, Japan, Italy, and Austria. These are countries that were defeated by American military forces during the Second World War and given constitutions written by local leaders operating in close collaboration with occupation authorities. It's striking that even though the US Constitution is treated as a sacred text in America's political culture, we did not push any of these countries to adopt our basic framework of government.

This wasn't an oversight.

In a 1990 essay, the late Yale political scientist Juan Linz observed that "aside from the United States, only Chile has managed a century and a half of relatively undisturbed constitutional continuity under presidential government — but Chilean democracy broke down in the 1970s."

The exact reasons for why are disputed among scholars — in part because you can't just randomly assign different governments to people. One issue here is that American-style systems are much more common in the Western Hemisphere and parliamentary ones are more common elsewhere. Latin-American countries have experienced many episodes of democratic breakdown, so distinguishing Latin-American cultural attributes from institutional characteristics is difficult.

Still, Linz offered several reasons why presidential systems are so prone to crisis. One particularly important one is the nature of the checks and balances system. Since both the president and the Congress are directly elected by the people, they can both claim to speak for the people. When they have a serious disagreement, according to Linz, "there is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved." The constitution offers no help in these cases, he wrote: "the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate."

In a parliamentary system, deadlocks get resolved. A prime minister who lacks the backing of a parliamentary majority is replaced by a new one who has it. If no such majority can be found, a new election is held and the new parliament picks a leader. It can get a little messy for a period of weeks, but there's simply no possibility of a years-long spell in which the legislative and executive branches glare at each other unproductively.

But within a presidential system, gridlock leads to a constitutional trainwreck with no resolution. The United States's recent government shutdowns and executive action on immigration are small examples of the kind of dynamic that's led to coups and putsches abroad."

"The idea that America's constitutional system might be fundamentally flawed cuts deeply against the grain of our political culture. But the reality is that despite its durability, it has rarely functioned well by the standards of a modern democracy. The party system of the Gilded Age operated through systematic corruption. The less polarized era that followed was built on the systematic disenfranchisement of African-Americans. The newer system of more ideological politics has solved those problems and seems in many ways more attractive. But over the past 25 years, it's set America on a course of paralysis and crisis — government shutdowns, impeachment, debt ceiling crises, and constitutional hardball. Voters, understandably, are increasingly dissatisfied with the results and confidence in American institutions has been generally low and falling. But rather than leading to change, the dissatisfaction has tended to yield wild electoral swings that exacerbate the sense of permanent crisis.

As dysfunctional as American government may seem today, we've actually been lucky. No other presidential system has gone as long as ours without a major breakdown of the constitutional order. But the factors underlying that stability — first non-ideological parties and then non-disciplined ones — are gone. And it's worth considering the possibility that with them, so too has gone the American exception to the rule of presidential breakdown. If we seem to be unsustainably lurching from crisis to crisis, it's because we are unsustainably lurching from crisis to crisis. The breakdown may not be next year or even in the next five years, but over the next 20 or 30 years, will we really be able to resolve every one of these high-stakes showdowns without making any major mistakes? Do you really trust Congress that much?

The best we can hope for is that when the crisis does come, Americans will have the wisdom to do for ourselves what we did in the past for Germany and Japan and put a better system in place."

[See also: “This is how the American system of government will die” (Dylan Matthews ) ]
2015  us  government  politics  constitution  thegreatreset  democracy  juanlinz  checkandbalances  parliamentarydemocracy  presidentialgovernment  polarization  gridlock  dylanmatthews  matthewyglesias 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Gay Marriage Vs. the First Amendment - The Daily Beast
"To begin with, the First Amendment is flagrantly biased in favor of religion. As we all know, it requires Congress not to make any law “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” What this means in practice is profound: If the beliefs you are exercising are not religious, your freedom to exercise them is not as protected by the Constitution as religious beliefs. If you like to trip on peyote because it is fun for you, or because you believe it makes you a better person, you will not receive the same legal protection as someone who trips on peyote because it is an integral part of long-standing religious beliefs to which they subscribe.

For irreligious people, this is a potential outrage of the first order. How dare the government extend special protections to religions for no better reason than that they are religions?

But for civil libertarians, whatever their degree of faith, there is cause for anxiety as well. The First Amendment implicitly requires government itself to make official determinations about what is and what isn’t a religion. No matter how necessary that may be to our constitutional framework, there is always a possibility for abuse, and in times of intense culture war, that possibility is magnified.

Unfortunately, the problem is even worse than that. The First Amendment is also biased against religion in an unexpected way. As we are all familiar, Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Sorry, theocrats! But think more deeply: Congress could make all kinds of laws that aggressively establish an ideology that is not a religion."
politics  religion  jamespoulos  2014  freedom  us  constitution  rights  freedomofreligion  firstamendment  government  fait  belief  via:ayjay  marriageequality 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Unbuilding — Lined & Unlined
[now here: ]

Here's another something that's too large to unpack in a quote or two or three or more, so just one, then read and view (many images) the rest.

"Unlike the thesis, Antithesis was an optional class. Instead of a constant, year-long process, it was interstitial, happening during a “down time” in the year. We didn’t really have class meetings — instead, I spent my time hanging out in the studio. Everyone loosened up. After thinking intensively about the thesis for 12 weeks, it was time to stop thinking about it — at least, consciously. The goal was not to keep pushing forward on the thesis but to get new projects started in parallel."

[video: ]
completeness  sourcecode  viewsource  critique  susansontag  webdesign  aestheticpractice  criticalautonomy  canon  andrewblauvelt  billmoggridge  khoivinh  community  communities  livingdocuments  constitution  usconstitution  metaphors  metaphor  borges  telescopictext  joedavis  language  culturalsourcecode  cooper-hewitt  sebchan  github  johngnorman  recycling  interboropartners  kiva  pennandteller  jakedow-smith  pointerpointer  davidmacaulay  stevejobs  tednelson  humanconsciousness  consciousness  literacy  walterong  pipa  sopa  wikipedia  robertrauschenberg  willemdekooning  humor  garfieldminusgarfield  garfield  danwalsh  ruderripps  okfocus  bolognadeclaration  pedagogy  mariamontessori  freeuniversityofbozen-bolzano  openstudioproject  lcproject  tcsnmy  howweteach  cv  anti-hierarchy  hierarchy  autonomy  anti-autonomy  anti-isolation  anti-specialization  avant-garde  vanabbemuseum  charlesesche  understanding  knowing  socialsignaling  anyahindmarch  thinking  making  inquiry  random  informality  informal  interstitial  antithesis  action  non-action  anikaschwarzlose  jona 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Hullabaloo: California's supermajority: use it or lose it, by Robert Cruickshank
"Political reality, then, makes it absolutely clear that Democrats need to deliver meaningful improvements to people's daily lives if they are going to keep their supermajority. However, that doesn't mean they should just pass whatever they want. Legislators should assume any tax increase or substantial policy action will be put on the ballot for a referendum by wealthy conservatives. Democratic leaders will need to work hand-in-hand with California's progressive movement to determine and then implement a reform agenda over the next two years. Only by a coordinated effort will that reform agenda withstand the certain counterrevolution from the rich that would come at the November 2014 ballot.

What should that agenda look like? Here are just a few ideas:

Make it even easier to vote…
Bring even more revenue to the schools…
Make sure every Californian gets good health care…
Do something to create jobs…
Fix the Constitution…"
elections  referendums  legistlature  progressivism  democrats  mandate  texes  education  schools  singlepayerhealthsystem  singlepayer  healthcare  jobs  proposition13  government  supermajority  constitution  california  2012  robertcruickshank  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
The Reykjavik Grapevine - Life, Travel and Entertainment in Iceland / Please, Please, Please Stop Calling It "Crowdsourced"
"Calling Iceland's constitutional draft "crowdsourced" is wrong. As in, not right, factually inaccurate, and untrue. The draft of Iceland's new constitution was not "crowdsourced". It was not essentially written by average folks through Facebook and Twitter and then translated into legalese by a team of experts. It just wasn't, no matter how much you yearn to throw around these buzzwords and catchphrases. Really.

So let me attempt to set the record straight, here, once and for all, about where Iceland's constitutional draft came from and how the average Icelander participated in it…

First of all, there's the Constitutional Council…a group of 25 people…appointed by the Prime Minister…for the task of writing a draft of a new constitution…

Second, we have the drafting process. This is probably where the "crowdsource" meme arose…

Third, the draft has been handed over to parliament…go over it…likely make even more changes… It's democratic, certainly, but crowdsourcing it ain’t."
exaggeration  government  constitution  crowdsourcing  2012  iceland  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Building Our Community: The Constitution
"Our first step in coming together as a middle school community required everyone involved. As an entire middle school of fifth, sixth, eighth graders, and teachers, we gathered together and developed a constitution where every student had the opportunity to contribute their ideas to what they believed the middle school experience should look and feel like. Over the course of two weeks, we met in mixed groups, grade-levels, and lunch hours. Students came together to discuss their values within their learning environments, and what they seek out from their peers on a daily basis in the name of quality learning. Students were not always in agreement, and there were arguments and frustrations shared. It was overwhelming. How simple it could have been to just decide upon rules as adults and make kids follow them. It certainly was not what works best for our students, regardless of the community they belong to…"
2012  empowerment  howwelearn  cv  community  philosophy  education  rules  constitution  schools  learning  teaching  tcsnmy  elizabethkowba  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Mass Incarceration and Criminal Justice in America : The New Yorker
In a society where Constitution worship is still a requisite…Stuntz startlingly suggests…Bill of Rights is a terrible document w/ which to start justice system—much inferior to…French Declaration of the Rights of Man, which Jefferson…may have helped shape while…Madison was writing ours.

…trouble w/…Bill of Rights…is that it emphasizes process & procedure rather than principles…Declaration of Rights of Man says, Be just!…Bill of Rights says, Be fair! Instead of announcing general principles—no one should be accused of something that wasn’t a crime when he did it; cruel punishments are always wrong; the goal of justice is, above all, that justice be done—it talks procedurally. You can’t search someone without a reason…can’t accuse him w/out allowing him to see evidence…& so on… has led to the current mess, where accused criminals get laboriously articulated protection against procedural errors & no protection at all against outrageous & obvious violations of simple justice."
constitution  justice  process  procedure  policy  2012  criminaljusticesystem  us  jails  race  reform  legal  prisons  law  politics  crime  prison  williamjstuntz  adamgopnik 
february 2012 by robertogreco » Justice, and the Problem with the Bill of Rights
"I am reading about the work of the late William J. Stuntz, a law professor at Harvard, who wrote about the criminal justice system, in The Caging of America (recommended!) and Stuntz looks for the reasons why we arrived at this impasse, finding it, ultimately, in the Constitution, particularly in the Bill of Rights. And I was hard struck by how right he was in what was wrong. The problem, as he sees it, is that the Bill of Rights is about process and procedure, rather than principles. Compare, he says, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen with our Bill of Rights — Bills 4-8 establish our judicial system, and are how we end up with more black men in prison than were slaves in 1850, and more than six million people under “correctional supervision”. Gopnik writes:


I’d always been uneasy with Constitution-worship, particularly uneasy about the Bill of Rights, and certainly the justice system, but didn’t have the least idea why. This is why."
values  thingsthatarebroken  thingsthatsuck  whatswrongwithamerica  correctionalsupervision  criminaljusticesystem  2012  principles  procedure  process  justice  rights  frenchdeclarationofrightsofmanandthecitizen  adamgopnik  billofrights  france  us  constitution  williamjstuntz 
february 2012 by robertogreco
After September 11: What We Still Don’t Know by David Cole | The New York Review of Books
"How much are we spending on counterterrorism efforts? According to Admiral (Ret.) Dennis Blair, who served as director of national intelligence under both Bush and Obama, the United States today spends about $80 billion a year, not including expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan (which of course dwarf that sum).1 Generous estimates of the strength of al-Qaeda and its affiliates, Blair reports, put them at between three thousand and five thousand men. That means we are spending between $16 million and $27 million per year on each potential terrorist. As several administration officials have told me, one consequence is that in government meetings, the people representing security interests vastly outnumber those who might speak for protecting individual liberties. As a result, civil liberties will continue to be at risk for a long time to come…"

"The rule of law may be tenacious when it is supported, but violations of it that go unaccounted corrode its very foundation."
9/11  waronterror  priorities  policy  civilliberties  us  georgewbush  politics  economics  money  spending  barackobama  torture  democracy  constitution  resistance  ruleoflaw  liberty  law  freedom  citizenship  equality  dueprocess  fairprocess  justice  margaretmead  history  dignity  terrorism  learnedhand  guantanamo  security  military  patriotact  nsa  cia  lawenforcement  lawlessness  war  iraq  afghanistan  alqaeda  2011  via:preoccupations  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
"Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became 'People' and How You Can Fight Back" | Truthout
"Truthout is proud to bring you an exclusive series from America's No. 1 progressive radio host, Thom Hartmann. We'll be publishing weekly installments of Hartmann's much-lauded book, "Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became 'People' and How You Can Fight Back." Join us as, chapter by chapter, we delve into issues of corporate power, popular resistance and the nature of democracy itself."

[Chapter Twelve: Unequal Uses for the Bill of Rights: ]
thomhartmann  corporatism  corporations  history  us  economics  law  constitution  corporatepersonhood  corruption  government  influence  power  control  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Iceland's On-Going Revolution | Mostly Water
"…refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum…

…93% voted against repayment of the debt. The IMF immediately froze its loan. But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated…launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis…

Icelanders didn't stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money…

To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet."
iceland  collapse  debt  finance  2008  2010  2011  constitution  citizenry  power  capitalism  corporatism  politics  policy  history  sovereignty  collaboration  banking  justice  via:bettyannsloan  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Message to American Atheists - Christopher Hitchens - AA Conference, via Pharyngula -
"The cheap name for this lethal delusion is religion, & we must learn new ways of combating it in the public sphere, just as we have learned to free ourselves of it in private.<br />
Our weapons are the ironic mind against the literal: the open mind against the credulous; the courageous pursuit of truth against the fearful & abject forces who would set limits to investigation…Perhaps above all, we affirm life over the cults of death & human sacrifice & are afraid, not of inevitable death, but rather of a human life that is cramped & distorted by the pathetic need to offer mindless adulation, or the dismal belief that the laws of nature respond to wailings & incantations.<br />
As the heirs of a secular revolution, American atheists have a special responsibility to defend & uphold the Constitution that patrols the boundary btwn Church & State. This, too, is an honor and a privilege…"
atheism  christopherhitchens  death  religion  secularism  us  policy  jefferson  belief  2011  constitution  law  separationofchurchandstate  church  state  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
President Obama speaks on Manning and the rule of law - Glenn Greenwald -
"But even more fascinating is Obama's invocation of America's status as a "nation of laws" to justify why Manning must be punished. That would be a very moving homage to the sanctity of the rule of law -- if not for the fact that the person invoking it is the same one who has repeatedly engaged in the most extraordinary efforts to shield Bush officials from judicial scrutiny, investigation, and prosecution of every kind for their war crimes and surveillance felonies. Indeed, the Orwellian platitude used by Obama to justify that immunity -- Look Forward, Not Backward -- is one of the greatest expressions of presidential lawlessness since Richard Nixon told David Frost that "it's not illegal if the President does it.""
barackobama  2011  law  constitution  hypocrisy  bradleymanning  us  policy  politics  justice  richardnixon  charlesmanson  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
The battle over the Constitution : The New Yorker
"Ours is one of the oldest written constitutions in the world & the first to be submitted to the people for their approval. As Madison explained, the Constitution is “of no more consequence than the paper on which it is written, unless it be stamped with the approbation of those to whom it is addressed…THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES.” Lately, some say, it’s been thrown in the trash. “Stop Shredding Our Constitution!” Tea Party signs read. “FOUND in a DUMPSTER behind the Capitol,” read another, on which was pasted the kind of faux-parchment Constitution you can buy in the souvenir shop at any history-for-profit heritage site. I bought mine at Bunker Hill years back. It is printed on a single sheet of foolscap, & the writing is so small that it’s illegible; then again, the knickknack Constitution isn’t meant to be read. The National Archives sells a poster-size scroll, 22 inches by 29 inches, that is a readable facsimile of the first page, for $12.95. This item is currently out of stock."
constitution  politics  history  government  us  classideas  civics  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
iCivics | The Democracy Lab
"iCivics (formerly Our Courts) is a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy. iCivics is the vision of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is concerned that students are not getting the information and tools they need for civic participation, and that civics teachers need better materials and support."
civics  us  history  government  democracy  constitution  socialstudies  politics  games  gaming  education  elearning  icivics  interactive  courts  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Standards, Curriculum, Constitutions, Laws...
"One good analogy is that standards are like a constitution whereas curricula is like laws. There may be no objective dividing line between what can go in an constitutional amendment and a law, but at some point if you pile too much stuff (or not enough) into the constitution, your system stops working well. And if you put the national speed limit in the constitution and the right to free speech in a law, you're really screwed up. Especially if when people point out that the speed limit doesn't belong in the constitution they are accused of not wanting what's best for kids."
curriculum  tomhoffman  constitution  law  laws  control  specificity  localcontrol  education  policy  government  2010  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Philip K. Howard: Four ways to fix a broken legal system | Video on
"The land of the free has become a legal minefield, says Philip K. Howard -- especially for teachers and doctors, whose work has been paralyzed by fear of suits. What's the answer? A lawyer himself, Howard has four propositions for simplifying US law."
broken  innovation  reform  health  law  simplicity  risk  authority  us  schools  medicine  teaching  learning  education  philiphoward  trust  constitution  values  principles  rules  ted  fear  freedom  lawsuits  gamechanging  fairness  playgrounds  passion  care  waste  money  productivity  decisionmaking  hiring  judgement  paralysis  dueprocess  rights  threats  government  litigation  recess  warnings  warninglabels  labels  psychology  society 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Call a Convention
"Our Congress is broken. Even at a moment of extraordinary crisis, Members spend an endless amount of time simply raising campaign cash. We need Congress to focus; to address the problems that burden America; to do its job.

The first step to fixing Congress would be to enact Citizen Funded Elections. Every supporter of reform should be working as hard as possible to get the Fair Elections Now Act passed.

But we can’t rely upon Congress alone. We must begin taking the steps necessary to secure to Congress the power to protect its own independence. To that end, we are launching a process today to get state legislatures to call for a Convention. Learn more about the path to a Constitutional Convention

This is a movement to restore our democracy. Join us."
politics  activism  reform  government  2010  larrylessig  elections  campaignfinance  constitution  change  us  democracy 
february 2010 by robertogreco
The Supreme Court's gift to big business [corporations can no longer be banned by Congress from spending whatever they wanted on advertisements on political candidates] - Jan. 22, 2010
The Court makes its own rules. It chooses which appeals to hear from the thousands brought to it a year (it takes fewer than a hundred). It decides what the relevant questions are. In this case the Court went far out of its way to address a question nobody had asked -- and to create a constitutional right where none is indicated. "Essentially," Justice Stevens noted, "five justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law." When liberals do such a thing -- and they did so repeatedly in the 1960s and '70s on issues like abortion -- conservatives hollered "judicial activism!" When conservatives do it now, they squeal about "vindicating constitutional rights." By any other name, that's hypocrisy -- and it allows the public to cynically conclude the court is just another political branch of government, except one that's unelected and unaccountable.
politics  us  government  supremecourt  campaignfinance  constitution  2010  corporatism  corporations  overreaching 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributor - Mr. Smith Rewrites the Constitution -
"But the Senate, as it now operates, really has become unconstitutional: as we saw during the recent health care debacle, a 60-vote majority is required to overcome a filibuster and pass any contested bill. The founders, though, were dead set against supermajorities as a general rule, and the ever-present filibuster threat has made the Senate a more extreme check on the popular will than they ever intended. ... In Federalist No. 75, Hamilton denounced the use of supermajority rule in these prophetic words: “The history of every political establishment in which this principle has prevailed is a history of impotence, perplexity and disorder.” That is a suitable epitaph for what has happened to the Senate."
filibuster  us  law  rules  politics  constitution  congress  senate 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The Housing Bubble Blog » Should California “Succeed” From the Union?
"It’s pretty simple to figure out when a news story has jumped from the wire services to the Popular Press. Just reading through the online comments will tell you, minute by minute, when an article has crossed over from journalism into the murky realm of The Mainstream Media.

The first few responses to any posted article will usually be tame, even thoughtful, perhaps arguing some relevant citation, or maybe complimenting the author on a well-written piece. Soon the talking-head brigade starts posting and the comments rhetoric begins to parrot the same talking points over and over –usually noted in the same order, and all with the same wording and catch phrases.

By the time you start to see the deleted-by-administrator flags popping up willy nilly you know the tablogs have picked it up. And when the story hits Drudge, they just give up and close comments altogether."
internet  california  constitution  commenting  mainstream  2009  failure  web  online  society 
october 2009 by robertogreco
"We’re Californians. We’ve come together to reclaim our power as citizens and make our government work again. Our goal is fundamental change: government that’s small enough to listen, big enough to tackle real problems, smart enough to spend our money wisely in good times and bad, and honest enough to be held accountable for results."
california  government  reform  policy  politics  citizenship  constitution  law 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Repair California - Californians for a Constitutional Convention
"Day by day, evidence piles up demonstrating that California government is not only broken, it has become destructive to our future. The recent failure of the Legislature to negotiate a budget, in the direst of circumstances, is just another straw on the camel’s already-broken back.
constitution  california  elections  law  government  action  activism  politics  convention 
september 2009 by robertogreco
The States We’re In : The New Yorker
"The genius of Repair California’s approach is twofold. First, it steers clear of “social issues”: no gay marriage, no abortion, no affirmative action. Second, the delegates would be chosen randomly from the adult population. (Appointed delegates, Repair California reasons, would be beholden to whoever appointed them; and if the delegates were elected, the elections would inevitably be low-turnout affairs dominated by money and the organized clout of special interests.) The convention itself would be an exercise in what is called “deliberative democracy.” The delegates would spend months studying the issues, consulting experts, debating among themselves, and forging a consensus. The result would be put to a vote of the people, yes or no, in November of 2012."
education  politics  government  california  democracy  law  budget  recession  reform  constitution 
september 2009 by robertogreco
California's golden dream has turned sour. Only a great reform can revive it | Timothy Garton Ash | Comment is free | The Guardian
"A group called California Forward proposes piecemeal repairs; another, though called Repair California, aims to build a whole new bike. In the next fortnight, Repair California is due to announce the proposed wording of two initiatives: one to change the state's constitution to allow the people to call a constitutional convention, the other to have the people actually call that convention. According to its own polling, 71% of Californians support the idea. Once the attorney general has formally agreed the wording, it will have until next April to get 1.6 million signatures – which it aims to do by Obama-style volunteer organising.
california  constitution  economics  crisis  politics  recession  government  via:javierarbona 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Cool Tools: The United States Constitution
"This lively graphic novel adaptation of the Constitution is by far the best aid I've found to deciphering its code. It is the comic book version, but rather than dumbing it down, it smartens it up. The graphic novel goes through the Constitution article by article, and explains what each bit means, why it is there, and how it came to be. Like the Bible, the Constitution doesn't say what you thought it did. I was surprised what was not there as well as what was. I learned tons from this annotation, despite studying it in high school. It renewed my respect for it, and in a way, also makes clear its limitation. I feel I can be a slightly better citizen. Best of all, this book does all that with pictures, which makes it a page-turner."
us  constitution  law  government  books  reference  history  comics 
september 2009 by robertogreco
The Henry Louis Gates "Teaching Moment": Put the race talk aside: the issue here is abuse of police power, and misplaced deference to authority - Reason Magazine
"Police officers deserve the same courtesy we afford anyone else we encounter in public life—basic respect and civility. If they're investigating a crime, they deserve cooperation as required by law, and beyond that only to the extent to which the person with whom they're speaking is comfortable. Verbally disrespecting a cop may well be rude, but in a free society we can't allow it to become a crime, any more than we can criminalize criticism of the president, a senator, or the city council. There's no excuse for the harassment or arrest of those who merely inquire about their rights, who ask for an explanation of what laws they're breaking, or who photograph or otherwise document police officers on the job.
constitution  lawenforcement  rights  racism  henrylouisgates  police  abuse  liberty  humanrights  civilrights  politics  law  policy  race 
july 2009 by robertogreco
A man's home is his constitutional castle. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine
"It is the U.S. Constitution, and not some competitive agglomeration of communities or constituencies, that makes a citizen the sovereign of his own home and privacy. There is absolutely no legal requirement to be polite in the defense of this right."
christopherhitchens  constitution  law  henrylouisgates  race  racism  rights  politics  freedom  civilrights 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Snarkmarket: A California Constitutional Convention
"It’s not without problems, of course — but to me they seem like better problems than the ones you get with appointed or elected bodies. And keep in mind, a randomly-selected group would be generating policy options which would then be voted on by everyone else in California, so it’s not like we would, er, skip democracy entirely."
california  government  politics  policy  constitution  random 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Trying to govern California | The ungovernable state | The Economist
"As California ceases to function like a sensible state, a new constitution looks both necessary and likely" via: who summarizes "Los Angeles, and the infrastructural state of California are exacerbated conditions of neoliberal government, virtually incapacitated by the local interests, individualism, and extremism that rules politics today."
california  constitution  government  politics  change  reform  broken 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Columnist - ROGER COHEN - A Command of the Law -
"“An Administrative Review Board has reviewed the information about you that was talked about at the meeting on 02 Dec 2005 & the deciding official in the US has made a decision about what will happen to you. You will be sent to the country of Afghanistan. Your departure will occur as soon as possible.” That’s it, the one & only record on paper of protracted U.S. incarceration: 3 sentences for 4 years of a young Afghan’s life, written in language Orwell would have recognized. We have “the deciding official,” not an officer, general or judge...“the information about you,” not allegations, or accusations, let alone charges... “a decision about what will happen to you,” not a judgment, ruling or verdict. This is the lexicon of totalitarianism. It is acutely embarrassing to the US. That is why I am thankful above all that next U.S. commander in chief is a constitutional lawyer. Nothing has been more damaging to the US than the violation of the legal principles at heart of American idea."
us  guantanamo  constitution  law  legal  georgewbush 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Obama's Fascinating Interview with Cathleen Falsani - Steven Waldman
"I retain from my childhood & experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma...I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others...[on praying] Its' not formal...I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it...Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God & man, in the Christian faith & one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher...I find it hard to believe that my God would consign 4/5 of world to hell...would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with Christian faith to...burn for all eternity. That's just not part of my religious makeup...[sin is] Being out of alignment with my values...when I'm not true to [myself], it's its own punishment"

[via: ]
barackobama  religion  interviews  politics  life  spirituality  belief  constitution  truth  faith  government  christianity 
november 2008 by robertogreco
McCain: I'd Spy on Americans Secretly, Too | Threat Level from
"McCain's new position plainly contradicts statements he made in a December 20, 2007 interview with the Boston Globe where he implicitly criticized Bush's five-year secret end-run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."
johnmccain  politics  elections  2008  georgewbush  civilrights  constitution  privacy 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Teach the First Amendment and Constitution Day
"If you need a reason to bring the First Amendment into classrooms for Constitution Day …here are three"
activism  civics  democracy  freedom  government  education  teaching  learning  schools  reference  media  liberty  rights  freespeech  speech  constitution 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Change Congress
"movement to build support for basic reform in how our government functions. Using our tools, both candidates and citizens can pledge their support for basic changes to reduce the distorting influence of money in Washington. Our community will link candid
activism  larrylessig  corruption  constitution  democracy  freedom  money  policy  politics  progressive  reform  change  government  congress  transparency  us 
march 2008 by robertogreco
THOMAS (Library of Congress)
"In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, legislative information from the Library of Congress"
democracy  us  politics  law  legislation  transparency  databases  database  constitution  courts  tracking  voting  publicdomain  government  Congress  reference 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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