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About Veloknight

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    Landed Knight

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  1. Many speculate that Ashara Dayne was the mother, even with the Stark look. Ned wouldn't have to say anything, just let people continue to believe it.
  2. I think you're misunderstanding what I'm saying. The second part was my description of how the system works right now - if the dems retook Congress under current rules, I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of really liberal legislation, because what reason do they have to moderate?
  3. Yup! If the term lengths are not fixed, only capped, a ton of problems (including non-crisis political issues) can be resolved more easily, because the government is more directly accountable. I wonder if we couldn't reform some of this on a state basis - basically create an automatic recall election of the entire delegation if certain things happen in Congress. One other issue: fixed terms can promote immoderation, which ostensibly is what the Constitution is supposed to love. If I'm elected as a Democratic house rep in 2016 in a purple/red district, and somehow we regain control of Congress (maybe due to a Trump nomination), I know two things: I'm safe to legislate for 2 years I will probably lose my seat in 2018 no matter what happens, based on turnout patterns and the lack of Trump on the ballot Given those 2 things, I have exactly zero incentive to moderate my positions at all, but I do have an incentive to push through as many and as aggressive liberal legislation as I can, and try and set myself up for some other run after my defeat. If I got elected to a house seat with no fixed term, but an election at least every, idk, 4 years, I'd have a much better reason to hope my fellow Democrats and I can moderate to remain appealing to the electorate as long as possible.
  4. Oh, I need to reread that, then. I knew the second bit, obviously, but frankly that's still much to high a bar, especially after getting through Congress or a Convention. Thanks!
  5. Building off of my earlier post about structural issues, there's also just a lot of modernizing to do in the document, which is understandable due to the age of the system. Beyond that, there are things the Founders may have considered, but chose to punt on. Things we could clarify: Do states have a right to secede, ever? If so, what process should be used? Scotland almost left the U.K. with a simple majority vote in a referendum - if we believe the people have a right to self-determination, shouldn't we have clear procedures for independence? What powers to Congress have to broadly regulate and subsidize the economy? I'd also love to see this made clearer - I don't mind the court interjecting, but a more explicit restatement along Necessary and Proper and Interstate Commerce lines might settle a lot of longstanding disputes about the power of the federal government. Ideally, we can resolve the seeming tension with the 10th Amendment's reserving power to the states and people. How, exactly, can constitutional conventions be invoked? The only way we could get these amendments is via some miraculous moment of consensus (or a temporary landslide that makes an amendment push possible), but sooner or later we could be back here again. If there is another way to amend the document, what are the precise steps necessary, so that the legitimacy of the process is accepted by all? What congressional rights should possessions of the United States have? Perhaps some sort of catchall quasi-state district can be created, giving all areas under U.S. jurisdiction at least some representation in government. DC should get voting representation in Congress equal to a state of the same size, or else be entitled to vote as if it was a district of Maryland. (This would lose them 2 senators, but they'd get a house seat or two). This could be folded into the U.S. possessions issue. These are issues on which our system has made many awkward and controversial compromises. It's obvious that the Framers either didn't think about it - D.C. is probably one such area - or simply couldn't come up with an answer at the time (I think secession was probably an issue nobody wanted to touch, since the pro-ratification faction was already terrified of states leaving over minor issues, and the pro-secession faction probably didn't want to ratify in the first place.) These aren't existential threats to the Republic by any means, and could be addressed through a more conventional process if the country was less polarized and/or the amendment process was made easier, as I suggested in my government structure piece. If we somehow got a Constitutional Convention convened, I think they'd be worth taking a look at anyways - but that's just because we're already in town, so why not. Finally, the right to arms is an obvious example of how the world has changed in the two centuries since the Constitution was ratified. I doubt we'll ever be able to touch it, but if we could, I'd like to rephrase it. First, we can make it absolutely clear that heavy arms and ordinance are not for private individuals to own, and second, we can clarify things like automatic and semi-automatic light arms are subject to Congressional regulation. A literalist reading of the 2nd amendment applies to all arms - which obviously is unacceptable in the nuclear age - and we can, if we want, enshrine an individual right while using a phrase like "limited right" or "regulated right". None of this would never actually be on the table, but hey, I can dream, right?
  6. Well, there are a couple of categories. I'll ignore the changes that I personally want and think are due*, but which aren't related to the functioning of the government (such as a repeal or revision of the 2nd amendment, or to strengthen campaign-finance laws), and just focus on governmental structure issues. When we focus on government function, we find a lot of little problems that have come to light recently in controversies over things like the debt ceiling and now Garland's confirmation, which all stem from a common structural flaw: there's no way for either branch to legally trump the other. They're co-equal and separate by design, but there is no mechanism ensuring they are co-operative as well, and this creates very serious risks to the wellbeing of the people and the Republic. In fact, I'm pretty sure that presidential republics don't have a great worldwide track record overall, and that bad record is at least partially attributable to this division problem. I can think of a few ways to fix this. One is by directly strengthening either Congress or the Presidency, making it more clearly the first among equals. This might get messy, because you'd want to specifically enumerate the new powers or responsibilities - so an amendment, or article in an amendment, saying that Congress is assumed to consent to appointments unless it acts within a certain time; and another such amendment or article clarifying that line about the President "ensur[ing] the full faith and credit of the United States". I don't even really care which branch gets the power, but I do think that Congress should be required to acknowledge that the national debt is ultimately a result of budgets they themselves pass, and should have to offer some kind of concrete solution. We could invert this process, by instead taking it entirely out of the hands of the executive, but I think that would be a very awkward arrangement - people tend to naturally look to a singular executive for leadership, and neutering the Presidency could make the "leader" into even more of a scapegoat than it is now. Another way to fix the problem is to restructure the republic, which would probably make this the most significant reform of the system yet. We could get rid of fixed terms for legislators, for example, instead setting a maximum interval between elections and making things like budgets into confidence votes. Separation of powers is a much smaller issue when at least one branch is no longer given a fixed minimum tenure, because a crisis will trigger a no-confidence vote, and we get to "let the people decide" immediately, and not 1-2 years later. We also could try abolishing the Presidency entirely and going with a full-on parliamentary republic ruled by the Speaker, or perhaps by a President and Cabinet elected directly by Congress. I personally don't think this one is necessary, but for the "screw it, let's start over" folks, this might be an interesting option. It's worth noting that I'm a big fan of the President, and don't know how my preferred political party would fare in this type of scheme - I'd definitely spend a lot of time pushing states to award their House seats proportionally in this particular world - but it might be healthier for the republic itself. So those are my three different approaches to the issue: strengthen the Presidency slightly, make the legislature (and maybe executive) subject to confidence votes and non-fixed-length terms, or merge the branches entirely. Either way, we can have the level of separation of powers we think best, while making clearer the responsibilities of each branch, and making them more accountable so nobody has an incentive to play chicken with our future. I see the fewest problems with the judiciary itself, honestly, though I'd probably add a line explicitly validating judicial review, if only to end that eternally obnoxious line of rhetoric. I might make it easier to amend the Constitution in the future, which would have the side effect of making it easier for the political organs to correct truly egregious court decisions, without making it regular enough to render the judiciary meaningless. *they're in my next post!
  7. The concern for me is, since there's not a really well-defined way to call a constitutional convention, and the Congress is too polarized to amend the Constitution the traditional way, we have no mechanism to fix it. This could lead to escalation at some point - it usually does in other presidential republics.
  8. Honestly, we're already experiencing a crisis, just a lesser one. The Obama years have begun to reveal a fundamental problem with the Constitution: it tends to assume good-faith cooperation from all of our political actors. It literally didn't occur to the Founders that they were writing in a problem where the Senate could simply let the government not function. Given their fear of an authoritarian government, it's understandable, but the instability remains, and could grow. What's worse, the Constitution is very difficult to amend, yet in our nightmare scenario, the legislature and the executive may remain locked in a fight where each acts within legitimate constitutional powers yet refuses to cooperate with the others, and actively subverts the government itself. This type of scenario typically does not end well for presidential republics, which is why it's such a dangerous precedent.
  9. I've been pondering this myself. Question: if the President uses his power to call an Extraordinary Session during a full recess, what happens? Can the executive make the legislators physically come back. If they simply vote to adjourn, can he immediately call a new one, and compel them to return again? I can't imagine - and hope this would never happen - past or current Presidents doing this, but if the Senate is willing to engage in this kind of legalistic brinksmanship, it's not hard to conceive of some future executive doing the same. Likewise, can a court order the Senate to comply? If they refuse, can it have it's officers jail members for contempt, or lock them in the chamber? All of this really does underscores how fragile democratic norms are, to me.
  10. If this article is correct (and at least the MA parts are true, as far as this Massachusetts native knows), the reason there isn't a more explicit power for the President to make the Senate consider the nominee is because the Founders simply never considered this scenario. It just didn't happen in the bodies they were studying: people would get rejected, but not out of hand and not without going through a process. Frankly, I think this is one in a series of Constitutional issues that will come to light in our newly ideologically consistent party system. It's sort of a constitutional equivalent to an unfunded mandate: the President and Senate are supposed to work together on something, but neither really has appropriate powers for the job, and no way to force a resolution without an intervening election. Given how low-profile process issues can be, that strikes me as very dangerous.
  11. I agree that the laws are too tough on 3rd parties, but I also feel like all of this is a nonissue unless we move constitutions away from models where Duverger's Law is relevant. Assuming you can get it by the federal Constitution's Guaranty Clause, I see no reason why we can't have states try out legislatures that are proportionally elected in multi-member districts. I'd also love to see what a parliamentary executive might look like at the state level in the US, but I suspect that would be an inevitable outcome of a proportionally elected legislature, which would now have far more democratic legitimacy.
  12. One thing to keep in mind, not just for you: in a proportional system, your vote always matters. For all the attention to Bernie winning this or Hillary wining that, the really important thing is how many people voted for each, because under a proportional system, that's where their delegate share will go. That means that a state could go for Hillary, and yet additional votes for her might still increase her delegate total (and likewise with Bernie). In a fully proportional system of representation, there's really no such thing as a wasted vote. Based on the other commenters, it sound like NY might not be fully proportional, so your mileage may vary. Absolutely. I also have a problem with "jungle primaries" - just about the worst election reform I can think of. Why should a major party have a standard bearer forced on them in a mixed election with other parties? Beyond that, why go to such lengths in service of single-member first-past-the-post races, when multi-member districts let you have proportional representation and all sorts of other alternatives? The state has a vested interest in democracy by nature, though. If the major parties can choose their candidates however they want, they could (in theory) just decide not to bother with primaries, and instead have conventions that decide their candidates, as was done in the past. Depending on how good they were at politics, they might not even suffer any consequences for it if the opposition was sufficiently unpalatable. I certainly think the current system is more preferable to the days of state party power brokers and smoky backrooms.
  13. Excellent point on all these issues. That's the big flaw with "outsider" candidates - the most visible ones are Presidential candidates, but often they have no organization and thus no ability to push through their goals. I think this might even be a flaw of Presidential systems in general - since the highest office is directly elected independent of the regional or national legislatures, people will gravitate towards candidates that don't have a show of meaningful reform. It's definitely my biggest issue with Bernie Sanders: I see no evidence of the down-ticket coalition he claims will "make Republicans an offer they can't refuse", and if 2010 and 2014 are any indication, progressive voters simply aren't motivated by lower-ticket races no matter how significant they might be or how egregiously the opposition acts. What is the point of electing a social democrat President who hasn't still isn't helping to elect social democrats?
  14. A drumbeat of moderately liberal policies like paid parental leave and immigration reform (which, in bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows, will likely raise their wages, putting an upward pressure on wages still). The Obama administration's new overtime rules for salaried workers will stay and have more time to sink in. She may be forced to require - which she can do executively, I believe - that companies that do business with the federal government have a high minimum wage. This would affect millions, even if it wasn't as comprehensive as a federal wage increase. If her victory is accompanied by more statewide wins from liberal-leaning politicians, we could see a lot of momentum in various parts of the country, too. Health care is one of the largest and most expensive problems for the middle class. Hillary's election - and the certainty that Obamacare will survive - may bring House Republicans to the table to reform the program, which can address some of the outstanding issues, including cost mitigation and the medicaid/subsidy gap. Okay, but why did Democrats do these things? Why did the U.K.'s Labour party move to their own "New Labour" platform at the same time? Because they were getting their butts kicked! So they moderated their economic policies, because that is what the people wanted. The idea that they would've somehow been just as corporatist otherwise never made any sense to me. I also think that the fact that neoliberal policies have squeezed the middle class shouldn't be considered without context. Neoliberalism arose due to big structural problems with the world economy in the 70s and 80s, it's not just that "the system is corrupt" (though it may well be). I sympathize with the desire to look to anti-neoliberal politicians for answers, but that doesn't mean that mainstream ones like Clinton don't recognize the problems, and have ideas to address them. Very true! And social justice issues are not entirely economic, but they certainly impact our national wellbeing in many ways. I do think we're seeing unprecedented levels of government dysfunction, but that's really not something that simply electing a radical President would solve.
  15. I'm an ardent and total death penalty abolitionist, and I still saw Clinton's take on the Death Penalty and her handling of the question as a fantastic sign. It's hardly news that a far-left New Englander opposes the death penalty - but for someone as integral to the Democratic Party as Hillary Clinton to be saying that it should be abolished at the state level is a positive sign to me that the establishment is at least sympathetic, and that her judicial appointees will likely be generally hostile to the death penalty as well. Hardly a profile in courage for her - but a great sign for abolitionists.