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Barry Palmer

TEDCRED 100+

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Use the scientific method to improve democracy.

When the USA was invented, it was a great experiment in democracy. Democracy is considered the best form of government.on Earth. I think we can do better, much better. The wisest aspect of the USA Constitution is the ability to amend it. Let us amend it to continue the experiment.

I would like some suggestions for a method, a process, for improving democracy. I am not so much interested in discussing specific improvements, but a PROCESS whereby improvements could be proposed, tried and evaluated. This process might take years or centuries.

I think one simple method would be a constitutional amendment that would allow localities to try different forms of government. Then people could choose by moving to the jurisdiction of their choice, or moving away. This might cause serious problems, with the the rich moving together and other areas left with no tax base. To some extent, this is already happening anyway.

What are your ideas?

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    Nov 25 2012: It is tough to avoid mentioning specific improvements. Perhaps we should get a tune-up before we replace the whole drive train. With apology here are 12 specific improvements that might make a constitutional correction unnecessary:
    1) Repeal Obamacare; Pursue Patient-Centered Care
    2) Stop the Tax Hikes
    3) Reverse Obama’s Spending Increases
    4) Scrap the Code; Replace It with a Flat Tax
    5) Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment
    6) Reject Cap and Trade
    7) Rein in the EPA
    8 ) Unleash America’s Vast Energy Potential
    9) Eliminate the Department of Education
    10) Reduce the Bloated Federal Workforce
    11) Curtail Excessive Federal Regulation
    12) Audit the Fed
    (Some TEDsters might recognize the list which I borrowed.)
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      Nov 26 2012: Fast Eddy again with the ignoring what the OP requested?

      13) Repeal the 17th amendment
      14) Repeal the 13th amendment
      15)
      16) Real the provision in the 14th amendment that makes anchor babies legal citizens
      17) Repeal the Federal Reserve
      18) Render illegal any executive orders that circumvent congress
      19) Make all the alphabet soup agencies state responsibilities and curtail all the funding associated with them
      20) Return to the gold standard
      21) NO one can vote without passing a test to demonstrate core competancy about economic and political issues or they have to have skin in the game your choice.
      22) Start a national campaign to educate the public on economics
      23) The United States is not a democracy, if you don't know this the first thing you need to do is to find out that the United States is a Republic, a special kind of Republic, before you can say anything about changes, including that as per the Constitution the States have the right to Secede.
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        Nov 26 2012: I already apologized.
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        Nov 26 2012: "...per the Constitution the States have the right to Secede."

        Sorry, but that's just not true. Otherwise please quote the Article and Section.
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          Nov 26 2012: The 10th amendment.
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          Nov 26 2012: Lawren - if you will go to the Avalon Project and look at the articles of ratification of the constitution - by VA, NY, NH, MA, RI, and CT - you will see that the constitution's ratification was conditional. Had it not been for a guarantee of the Bill of Rights - including the 10th amendment - there would have been no Constitution. We would still be operating under the Articles of Confederation. You are unaware of this country's actual history. This is not surprising given the outright lies that Americans are taught in their compulsory educations.

          Begin here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/ratva.asp
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        Nov 26 2012: Most legal opinions I've read do not allow secession rights according to the 10th amendment, and you can hardly claim that such is obvious in the text.
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          Nov 26 2012: The legal opinions you have read are based on British Common Law that became the law of the land during a SOTUS-initiated coup d'etat. (Mc Culloch v. Maryland). Until then, states DID have the right to secede and until that dark day, states were sovereign nations.

          March 7, 1819 is the day that we lost our Constitutional Republic and "These United States" (a treaty organization) became "The United States" (a nation established and ruled by SOTUS). March 7, 1819 should be a day of mourning for all Americans until we are heard.
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        Nov 26 2012: Pat,
        Are you aware that the congressional record shows that the 14th amendment specifically excludes anchor babies from claiming citizenship? It was discussed in detail. The Supreme Court changed its known and intended meaning.

        You could fix most of what you want fixed if you were to re-ratify the 10 amendment as I stated above, so that any interpretation will be according to the intent of the ratifiers.

        As to the 15th -- I am aware of Republican's desire for voter suppression, but I am astounded that anyone would suggest repealing this important amendment that prevents the fed or the states from denying blacks the right to vote . WOW! I mean, really, WOW!!!!! I'm surprised to find you here at TED. Wouldn't you feel more comfortable in the Aryan Nations sites?
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          Nov 26 2012: Regarding the 14th amendment I'm not aware. Do you have a link?

          I did not mean the 15th amendment, I edited the post.
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        Nov 27 2012: The Congressional record is shown in image form, and takes extreme patience to sift through unsearchable pages of verbiage. You can search for this yourself. Otherwise, I offer only a quote from the one who proposed the amendment in the first place, and who assured congress that limits were built in.

        Before its ratification in 1868, Michigan's Senator Jacob Howard, author of the citizenship clause, made the intent crystal clear to the Senate:

        "Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country." ."

        People are quick to read "born in the US", but are just as quick to ignore "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof". The example used in the Congressional Record uses an indian woman who leaves her reservation (which was a foreign nation) and gives birth. The child is not a citizen because the mother is subject to the jurisdiction of her tribe, thus is her infant.

        Even if this were still accepted today, congress does have the right to modify the terms of naturallization - even to the point of simply establishing residency in the US - which can be as little as 1 day in some states. Still, Congress, not the supreme court, should be legislating terms of citizenship because The Constitution states that ALL legislative power is rested in the Congress.
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          Nov 27 2012: Senator Howard's intent is not part of the text of the amendment.

          It is extremely ambiguous what the antecedent of thereof is.

          The background is that the amendment's purpose was to grant citizenship to former slaves.
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        Nov 27 2012: If the ambiguity that you mention is true, why did indians not achieve citizenship until congress granted it - even when the Indian was born on American soil? The amendment was UNDERSTOOD to exclude them, even though it did not explicitly do so.

        Senator Howard is the author of the amendment as well as the explanation of intent in the congressional record, as he was being questioned about it at the time. Clear intent is known. It is only with some justices that intent is rendered meaningless (Scalia, for example)
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          Nov 27 2012: Scalia is a textualist for the very reason you mention earlier in this thread regarding the SCOTUS making policy rather than interpreting it.

          Why not just make the amendment clear in the first place?

          Why does it get interpreted to allow the opposite of what you are saying as with the ruling of United States v. Wong Kim Ark?

          BTW the United States is lucky to have Scalia.

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