After the Pinochet coup in Chile, the Chilean constitution was rewritten to far-right desires - and amending it was made extremely difficult. Please read Nancy MacLean’s ‘Democracy in Chains’ for details and contact your state legislators. If you don’t have much time, just read the chapter on Chile. This is important!!!
The Chilean economy was influenced and encouraged by the “Chicago School” of economists that included Milton Friedman. The Chicago School was an influence on James Buchanan, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who is the central figure in MacLean’s book. Buchanan in turn inspired the Kochs with his theories on “public choice,” which are anything but–he meant reducing the tax burden on the wealthy, which Mitch McConnell’s and Paul Ryan’s Koch whores enacted with the sweeping tax cuts that TrumPutin dutifully signed.
Another crucial point MacLean makes is that Buchanan, the Kochs et al. knew that their policies were not going to be popular with the majority and that they would have to enact them with minority support and lots of hand-waving and misdirection to fool/convince/hoodwink the public. Enter TrumPutin and his reality-TV/pro wrestling government-by-stunt . . .
Without an income tax, who would pay for the military? America does have its very own Praetorian Guard----so where would the money come from without income taxes?
I don’t seem to have as bad a feeling about Putin as some have. After being razed to the ground, Russia’s economy with Putin did seem to repair itself more quickly than America is doing with this economy — and in dealing with the loss of the Middle Class.
And if America doesn’t deal with the Climate Crisis----then what nation will have the time and resources to play Trump games with the Constitution?
If the Climate Crisis is bad enough, I just see the idea of the ancient city states of Athens returning— Of course, if it ended like Athens we would just have states preying upon each other. : (
Yes! As you say, misdirection is key. The right wingers talk about ‘public option’, ‘tax cuts’, and ‘freedom’ - all of which sound good to most Americans - but those right wingers really mean ‘no taxes on the rich’. Hoodwinking indeed! People gotta read this book and pass it along to their friends.
After eliminating the income tax, how will we fund or biggest, baddest military in the history of the world?
Maybe they’ll have a bake sale, and those cookies are going to have to be really tasty.
In order for Democracy to end in the United States of America, it will have needed a beginning. I am not sure when that was as those that framed the Constituion were explicit. They did not want a Democracy.
“Democracy, will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes, and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure and every one of these will soon mold itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues, and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.”
“The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots.”
It is one of the evils of democratical governments, that the people, not always seeing and frequently misled, must often feel before they can act right; but then evil of this nature seldom fail to work their own cure."
“Where a majority are united by a common sentiment, and have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure.”
In forming a Republic those “founding fathers” felt the masses could not properly Govern themselves and that the elite of society would be that Countries natural rulers. In forming the Constitution they ensured that their rights and privileges would be protected by the Constitution as that document was in essence a property rights document designed to protect the assets of all that they had stolen. This included peoples stolen from their Countries in Africa.
I suggest the United States of America long overdue for a Constitutional rewrite , but rather then one that comes from the 1 percent as did that first one in 1776 , but one that formulated by the people. Maybe then they will not confuse “Freedom and liberty” with Capitalism.
Going by what passes for political discourse in mainstream America a constitutional convention would be a disaster either way, so it probably would not change much really.
It is not even remotely likely that Trump will win in 2020. To think that way you have to ignore all the elections that have taken place since 2016. Democrats overperfomed in special elections by an average of 10 percentage points, and the 2018 midterms, widely regarded as a referendum on Trump, were a wipeout for Republicans, who lost 40 seats in the House and were held to a gain of two seats in the Senate on their most favorable map imaginable.
Trump is polling at 42% against all the leading Democratic contenders, and with 100% name recognition has little room to grow. He has lost half of the moderate Republicans who voted for him in 2016 and doesn’t appear interested in reaching out to them.
This nightmare scenario is a fantasy from the right wing fever swamps.
And I believe you have to have 2/3 of the states to set up a constitutional convention. I’ve been watching since the thirty mark was reached.
The Koch brothers have been pushing for a constitutional convention for well over a decade now, it is one of the reasons they formed ALEC.
For obvious reasons they wanted control of the legislature first, which they now have thanks in large part to ALEC, so i would expect the constitution to become a very frequent topic on mainstream media and “political debates” going forward.
A good article by Hartmann, and he certainly raises a valid point. I have long opposed a constitutional convention for all the reasons he mentions and more.
But to keep things in perspective, the Constitution today is hollowed out and beaten badly. Our elected representatives, in too many cases the domestic enemies of the document, have successfully assaulted the 4th Amendment and Habeas Corpus, and that “last bulwark” SCOTUS has remained silent.
I respectfully disagree with the idea of ‘perspective’. The Chilean experience shows that things can get much, much, much worse. The list in the article is bad enough - states will be able to abrogate any federal law, rule, or regulation for example. The agencies that now do a lousy job once did a decent job - FDA, EPA, etc. - and under Bernie might be revived. Yes, the Constitution has been hollowed out and it has flaws that go back to its origin, but a Koch bros constitution will be a thousand times worse - and almost impossible to fix. Putting things in ‘perspective’ is often used to mean ‘Let’s not get worried’, but a convention is right around the corner. If you haven’t read MacLean’s book, or at least the chapter on Chile, please do. (Sorry for sounding pushy!)
I’d like to read a treatise (or expose) on our supposedly great economy. The economic collapse of 2007-08 turned voters against electing McCain’s republican party. Sure, jobs are being created - police state security guards everywhere, arms manufacturing, naval vessels, air force equipment, detention center jobs; oil well drilling, refinery and export terminal jobs. Money is everything to those who’ll do anything for a buck. Lots of more respectable jobs are in construction these days, a large portion in hotels and rental high rise - a boon for the jet set and landlord class who can raise rents and gentrify neighborhoods. Uber/Lyft taxi jobs in service to the upper class. Wall Street stock market highs are a measurement of the filthy rich with money to gamble on various WMD stocks, etc.
Effective political strategy should hit hardest where economic collapse can be predicted better than I can put in words. My focus as a transportation planner is on the Green New Deal, but no democratic candidate has a plan that to me makes sense. It’s the main reason I’m supporting Tim Ryan of Ohio. He’s not making ridiculously empty promises.
Thanks for the comforting statistics, but the republican party likewise thought they’d take back the White House in 2012. As stated in my previous post, economic collapse and recovery had a lot to do with Obama winning both terms. If we’re not facing an impending or predictable economic crash, republican wage-slaves will vote based on their incomes. Let’s say some expert fairly predicts an economic crash in 2021. The 2007-08 crash was predicted to occur on the due date of balloon payments for sub-prime mortgages. The timing was off; the Great Recession was meant to happen in 2009, after the election.
Standing back, I see the natural evolution of an Empire. We are in the declining stage, and those in power are desperately trying to hold on to their share and their meaning. The ongoing reality show of the duopoly prevents us from joining together. A new Con-Con(ah, the wordplay there would amuse the author of Fantasyland!)will send the decline into warp speed. I foresee a return to city-states as well. In the meantime, Gaia will have her way. An ignored or forgotten god is an angry god. Blessed be.
Oh, Thom, Thom… you got yer knickers in a knot. This is a huge reach and is extremely unlikely to fly.
And if it did? If Big Capital, Libertarian shit-heads, and Imperial ruling elite captured the process, changed the document to suit themselves, and ratified it with the votes of 3/4 of the States assenting…? What then?
How different would it be than how we function now under our Holy Writ? As it turns out, the Constitution is not worth shit. It’s a joke. It doesn’t constrain anything. It doesn’t defend us from anything. It isn’t followed and obeyed by those who have the power in The Empire today. It is speciously and theatrically revered by the constellation of inferior, degraded, throwback criminals who “represent” us in Congress. Mitch McC. worships it. So does Lindsay Graham. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, Cruz, Rubio… Our entire Supreme Court venerates it, passionately “upholds” it.
Why should tyranny bother to change in letter what it rules already in fact?
I can’t muster any interest in this. Sorry 'bout that, Thom. But if you get out into the streets, risking life and limb for what you believe you believe in, let me know. I’ll join you, just for the camaraderie.
Serge, this is one of the best responses. Folks like TH speak about this subject as if they have no brain. The Article V Convention (a proper noun) is nothing more than formal discussion about change. I’ve spoke with TH personally about it more than once over the years. Not sure how he could be writing the above with a straight face.
This is fear-mongering. We already have a corporate-run oligarchy. All the Article V Convention does is allow for the formal discussion of change.
Are you afraid to formally discuss and debate the merits of amendments with your fellow Americans? I’m not. Please read FOAVC for in-depth analysis of the subject.