Bruce Bartlett posted a link to this article by Alex Seitz-wald in the Atlantic magazine about the reasons we need a new U.S. Constitution, how we would go about it, and how we should change it.
I take things a step further and argue we need not simply a new constitution but a brand new set of countries made up of the current union we have. (My commentary is in block quotes below.)
I’ve long argued the U.S. Constitution is a long-dead document which has far too many holes and has always been broken. Nobody considers our government a functional government anymore. Not even WE think it’s a functioning government. It is one of the most dysfunctional governments in the entire world and it’s becoming even MORE dysfunctional because our Constitution is flawed and because we are not the same nation we used to be.
Our country has become more than just one country; we’re more than two countries. We are three countries separated by a glowing political and socio-economic divide. If we are to create a new Constitution, we need to create three new countries out of what we have. If we attempt to salvage this sinking ship with a Constitutional Convention with the political forces we have today, it won’t work. It will never work – because we are no longer brothers and sisters under one union.
Darius: That’s bullshit Edwin. Our diversity is our greatest strength and as such we should leverage that to our fullest advantage.
Our diversity is exactly why we have Ted Cruz in office. He doesn’t want to govern the United States of America. He wants to govern a completely different country. And we’re going to create even more Ted Cruzes as the years come along.
Hell, no. This country has LONG been divided. We are still waging the Civil War today. It’s time we cut our losses and move the hell on.
D: I am not willing to give up.
Good for you.
Jonathan: Darius, the diversity that is the United States can be used as a strength, but it can also be used as a weakness. Right now, it IS a weakness, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be turned around. Thing is, people need to want to turn it around. It’s THAT desire that doesn’t seem to be existing.
People don’t want it to turn around. Hell, I don’t want it to turn around.
D: I thought Democrats cared about America. What happened!
These attempts to turn things around are nothing more than charitable attempts at prolonging a problem. We’ve been on life support for more than 100 years. We should have pulled that plug a long time ago.
I care about people. Fuck America. I don’t worship a farce.
D: Now the truth comes out.
Here comes Darius using me as an example of all Democrats.
I’m sure of it.
D: No I am just wondering why. Why don’t people care more about their country?!
J: Darius, interesting that many people talk about caring more for their country, yet at the same time espousing libertarian principles and absolute individualism.
D: What?! I am a socialist! I want to help people be better and to show them that helping people is good!
I do care about country, but not for the same mythical reasons others do. I care about country because we need certain barriers for economic reasons. Beyond that, there is no reason whatsoever for the geographic delineations we have.But the United States is a SUBOPTIMAL economic area. The policies that are beneficial for one part of the country (population centers) are very damaging to other giant geographical areas (rustic/agrarian areas). This is actually one of the main reasons we have such stark differences in our economic beliefs in the U.S. – and, in turn, political differences. It’s not merely culture, it’s economic as well.
We should have been separated into at least three different optimal economic areas a long time ago. These areas would have been more politically reasonable as well.
D: I love my country, even with all the shit it has, too much to see it fall into oblivion. I don’t like what has been happening now and I want a change and will get that change or die trying.
You’ll be long dead before this country is back together. Hell, I’ll be one of those fighting to keep it broken.
D: But you came here. Why?
I was brought here when I was 4 years old. That’s not “coming here.”
And besides, who else came here and changed the local government?
Immigrants are the best input to social, economic and political change for any country.
Immigrants bring new ideas to natives who are too stuck in their patriotic, nationalist interests to look at better options.
D: It is, actually, though not by volition, but by fate. I asked that because you’re an example of people who came and decided to start something. I want everyone who wants to contribute anything that they can give to come HERE and grow this country! I am not some jingoistic nativist, but an open-world human.
Darius Smith And that starts by building US up by OUR own hands.
“I want everyone who wants to contribute anything that they can give to come HERE and grow this country!”
This country has a ton of potential to grow further but it’s being hamstrung by the fact it’s constitutionally flawed and crippled by the diversity you espouse as a good thing.
Diversity is a great thing, but the makeup of this country’s diversity isn’t so much diversity as it is the beginnings of another revolution. Instead of continuing this downward slide toward a violent revolution as both sides become more and more antagonistic of each other, it’s best to cut your losses and move on.
“And that starts by building US up by OUR own hands.”
That doesn’t mean we have to build on top of a pile of shit.
D: So we should start kicking people out? That’s not fair for them.
Where the heck are you getting that?
D: You see the polarization of both sides as bad (as I agree), but cutting our losses could mean people being deported.
No one needs to be deported. The country has already done a great job of segregating itself into the different political and economic philosophies. We just need a few more decades and the south and midwest will be almost 100% red and the northeast and west will be almost 100% blue.
There are your three new economically and politically optimal areas.
D: What will happen to our military? What happens to all the connections that bond us?
Three different nations, they can do whatever the heck they want.
What bonds connect us, Darius?
A flawed constitution which half the country believes is legitimate and the other half believes the other half of the constitution is legitimate?
Please, the bonds were in tatters in 1861. They’re all but completely torn.
D: Highways and airports and bridges and trains, what will become of them?
Why do you think the Tea Party is so much like the neo-Confederate? Why do you think there’s such a thing as the Southern National Congress?
You think there’s nothing connecting the countries in Europe?
D: But they’re the EU! And the EU is the largest economy in the world!
The EU is completely flawed as well.
The EU is one singular central bank that is supposed to watch out for the economies of a bunch of different types of countries.
What’s good for Germany is bad for Italy, Greece, and other countries.
What’s good for New York and Massachusetts and California is bad for states like Wyoming, Missouri, Georgia, and almost every other red state.
We don’t need a single country representing all these different types of economies. We are screwed because of it
The only – THE ONLY – good thing that can come out of staying a unified country as we have now is we’d save money on designing new flags.
D: Fine! Let the whole damn thing collapse. It won’t be pretty!
It ain’t pretty now.
Just give me a few minutes to move out of Indiana and back northeast. Ick.
It’s a shame journalism in the U.S. is the way it is. As a journalist, you find a “specialist” to explain gobbledygook to you to make your column sound as well-informed as possible but you end up finding a moron who doesn’t kow what he’s talking about just because it’s easy. Instead of getting an actual software developer to explain a software development problem, you get someone who doesn’t develop jack.
The sources are not programmers, because programmers would not speak in terms of lines of code with no further context (Auerbach, David; “5 Million Lines of Obfuscation;” http://slate.me/16uMjKq).
But all you keep hearing is how the White House is totally to blame for bungling the rollout of the health care website. Yes, ultimately the buck stops somewhere, but at the end of the day, the website was legally required to go live on a given day, bugs and deeply entrenched problems and all.
But the White House isn’t filled with programmers. The problem isn’t so much the White House or the Democrats as it is both the federal (and usually also the state) procurement process and certain specific software development organizations who won bids to develop for the government back in 2007.
CGI Federal’s winning bid stretches back to 2007, when it was one of 16 companies to get certified on a $4 billion “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity” contract for upgrading Medicare and Medicaid’s systems (DePillis, Lydia; “Meet CGI Federal, the company behind the botched launch of HealthCare.gov;” http://wapo.st/16uMeqc).
What does CGI Federal have to do with all this shit?
The sources also say that CGI Federal, which won the $90 million contract to develop healthcare.gov’s back end, was asked to replace the data hub, though this approach was abandoned as “too risky.” That’s a hint that the article’s sources seem eager to shift the blame to CMS, to the White House, and to QSSI, and away from CGI. The Times claims that CGI was not responsible for healthcare.gov’s “integration,” but the Washington Post’s Lydia DePillis reports that CGI Federal was in fact responsible for “knitting all the pieces together, making Quality Software Services’ data hub work seamlessly with Development Seed’s sleek user interface and Oracle’s identity management software.”
I have no idea who the Times’ sources were, but they sure sound like employees of CGI Federal. Because they almost certainly aren’t programmers, I’d guess they are probably mid- or high-level managers who are trying to salvage CGI Federal’s reputation. They may well be “specialists,” but their specialty is more likely the art of procuring government contracts.
This is to be expected. What’s less expected is that such anonymous sources would be treated with this degree of credulity by national reporters who lack technical understanding of their subject matter and are thus more likely to parrot whatever a “specialist” tells them (Auerbach).
Hate the site and lay the blame on the White House all you want, at the end of the day, the problem is much, much bigger than the mere White House. Why the hell are companies who have a terrible track record on software development (“Its performance on Ontario, Canada’s health-care medical registry for diabetes sufferers was so poor that officials ditched the $46.2 million contract after three years of missed deadlines [DePillis].) getting government contracts to develop its health care systems?
Good god, man. The problem isn’t so much the White House, this is yet another example of lobbyists lobbying for government contracts they don’t deserve.
For more on what’s wrong with the procurement process, check out this video:
Giving money to charity is a farce.
It makes you feel good, but in the long run, you’re actually a part of the problem that perpetuates the horrors which charity is attempting to alleviate.
It’s horrible to see a child whose life is ruined because of an operation that costs $20.
But in the long term, as Oscar Wilde would have said, if you just operate the the child, then they will live a little bit better but in the same situation which produced them [and their inability to sustain themselves.
It’s much like the ancient proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Unless you change the system which made the man needy for the fish, you’re not really helping them: you’re prolonging their perpetual state of starvation.
Oscar Wilde wrote:
The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism – are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease.
They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor.
But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim. Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good; and at last we have had the spectacle of men who have really studied the problem and know the life – educated men who live in the East End – coming forward and imploring the community to restrain its altruistic impulses of charity, benevolence, and the like. They do so on the ground that such charity degrades and demoralises. They are perfectly right. Charity creates a multitude of sins.
There is also this to be said. It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.
So it is therefore necessary, to truly help someone or a people, to change the underlying causes of poverty and need. It is not good enough to give people a coin to buy a sandwich if they’re still going to be homeless. It’s not good enough to give them a home, either; if they cannot keep the home paid for, he will be in the streets.
The most effective way to help fight poverty is to be productive and marginally redistributive.
You want to continue the cycle of production by encouraging a reasonable level of wealth but also allow for some reasonable level of redistribution of that wealth in order to aide those who are needy to participate in that cycle of production.
In order to do that, society needs to not only foster business creation, but also foster technological and scientific research so that those businesses have something to sell. Society needs to foster better, more plentiful education from beginning to end so that society has the scientists and engineers to research and design those technologies which future businesses will produce. At the same time, society must allow for an economic and social safety net for those in need of it while encouraging that education so they have the strength of body and mental faculties to be scholastically successful.
Society must not just aide in housing and feeding those in need, but society must also educate those in poverty to become productive workers, scientists, mathematicians, technologists, mathematicians, and designers and that cycle of production continues.
As Wilde wrote, “They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this.”
But he also wrote that people are more readily moved with the heart than with the mind. Charity is a wonderful thing and everyone should be encouraged to give charity to others, but it is not a useful nor effective proxy for social change which is the only way to truly help people in the long-run.
This is why I’m a liberal.
Is it racism?
Probably not the kind we’re used to.
There’s a clear difference between overt racism – the type the KKK display – and aversive racism – the kind in grand display whenever we see Tea Party people say Obama is a foreigner they cannot trust.
Aversive racism is the kind of racism that generally egalitarian people still practice whenever they see a black person and treat them with some level of suspicion.
Averse racism is subconscious. You don’t recognize yourself as being racist, but you still display low level prejudicial treatment to “others.”
See a young black man in a hoodie walking down the street and try to avoid him and feel compelled to walk toward the white guy walking on the other side of the road?
That’s aversive racism.
If you see two families in a grocery line, one black with little kids wearing hand-me-down clothes in front of a white family with kids wearing hand-me-down clothes and you assume the black family is on food stamps but don’t even consider that the white family is?
That’s aversive racism.
So when you see Tea Party Republicans say that they feel Obama is a foreigner to them and cannot be trusted – and they don’t consider Bill Clinton, someone whose presidency is arguably to the left of Obama’s presidency, to be as untrustworthy, you’ve just witnessed a boatload of aversive racism.
It’s common to hear conservatives say things like Paul Ryan did during the campaign: “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.” Liberals shrug most of the time when they hear such rhetoric. It sounds like an empty platitude, much like praising the troops or waving the flag, that makes audiences feel good but doesn’t actually have any real-world importance. What liberals don’t understand, however, is that what sounds like an empty platitude actually signifies an elaborate, paranoid theory on the right about sneaky liberals trying to destroy America, a theory that is being used to justify all manner of incursions against religious freedom and separation of church and state.
It’s always disappointing to see people discuss the Tea Party Republicans as an uneducated mass of blithering idiots.
Don’t get me wrong: they are blithering idiots. They’re “stupid people (the actual definition of an ‘idiot’).” They’re simply not uneducated.
Educated? These are the same people that deny Global Climate Change, no?
The Tea Party Republican mindset is the best example of what cognitive psychologists term “intuitive cognitive thinkers.”
People with an intuitive cognitive thinking style tend to be more religious than the primary alternative: reflective cognitive style.
Cognitive style — that is, the way people think and solve problems.
The difference between them, in simple terms:
Intuitive thinking means going with one’s first instinct and reaching decisions quickly based on automatic cognitive processes.
As a contrast, reflective thinking involves the questioning of first instinct and consideration of other possibilities, thus allowing for counterintuitive decisions.
People who have an intuitive thinking style are less likely to reflect on their beliefs when their beliefs are challenged. They are more likely to rely on faith and their gut feeling and are more likely to cherry pick what they read to protect their intuitive notions.
They are also more likely to shrink back against any challenges to their beliefs because their beliefs are so closely tied to their very being – they’re more closely married to their beliefs. Facts attacking their easily falsified beliefs are an attack on their very being.
So when people say that the Tea Party people are uneducated, you have to take a nuanced approach to understanding where the problem lies.
They’re educated. It was correctly said when the Tea Party was exploding in 2008 that most of them were college educated.
The problem is that far too many people, when they are being educated or educate themselves, seek out information and ideas/opinions that validate their preconceived notions. They’re educated on these things, but they come to the same conclusion they started with because they cherry pick what they validates their beliefs and throw out the rest.
So when they read that “tax cuts can boost the economy under certain conditions,” they only like the part that sounds good to them: “tax cuts boost the economy.”
And that’s why, while they may sound like they know what they’re talking about and are passionate about what they believe, they’re missing vital components of what they’re talking about. They don’t take the nuanced, full-bodied lot of information because they find some of it offensive to their sensibilities. It violates their intuitive thinking. It is an offense against what amounts to their religious conviction.
And they become zealots when the facts try to break them.
The problem with blaming the shutdown on Congressional partisans is that the partisans on either side know exactly what they want. When there are specific things you want, compromise is usually possible.
The public in the middle, however, don’t understand politics, only emotions given to them by TV, and so their beliefs are cobbled together in real time, improvised, as they get “more information.” One trending topic at a time, each vacuum sealed to prevent cross contamination. They don’t look at things historically, culturally, humanistically, or even selfishly, there exists no system for interpreting “the facts.” Compromise becomes impossible, as a simple example, when a “moderate” “thinks” there should be more restrictions on guns, they want gun owners to give up something they want very much– in exchange for nothing. “But it’s the right thing to do!” And the yelling starts, in HD.
The entire post is excellent and is actually about the TV news media and propaganda.
Yesterday I wrote a quick post about how the Tea Party wants us to default:
Defaulting on our debt would make it much, much harder for the government to borrow in the future because investors would be much less reluctant to hold U.S. Treasuries.
Making it harder to borrow would make it harder for the government to spend money which, in turn, would require lower taxation.
A part of me thinks this is the logic behind the Tea Party Republicans. It makes sense in their twisted, anti-taxation minds.
What I don’t think they understand is that there has been a movement under way for some years among right-wing economists and activists not merely to default on the debt, but even to repudiate it.
There are still many in the South, where the Republican Party is now based, whose hostility to the national debt traces back to those days.
In his 1987 essay, “The Ethics of Debt Default,” Buchanan made an argument often repeated by libertarians and Tea Party members: if the Treasury were to default, no one would ever lend it money again, thus imposing a balanced budget; the government could only spend as much as tax revenue permitted.
This entire comment by an old school male feminist Frumkin on a post by the always short-sighted E. J. Dickson, Salon’s resident feminist blogger, says pretty much everything honest that needs to be said about the subject. There’s even a Tootsie reference at the end.
This is yet another essay about sex and relationships by a female writer who starts from the utterly false premise that male and female sexuality and desire are equal, mirror-images of each other. To put that another way, she writes from the female perspective and, because she takes it as axiomatic that male and female are essentially identical and that the female perspective can be taken therefore as the paradigm “human” perspective, one can then safely extrapolate what the male perspective is. Well, perhaps that’s only fair: after all, we’ve had several thousand years of affirmative-action for men in which the male was considered the paradigm human, and female, a variation (and in medicine, a “defective case”) on that theme. It seems a pity, though, that so much of what passes for feminist thought these days, as in the present piece, is really just a superficial attempt to arrive at equality by pretending that there are no differences between the sexes whatsoever.
To wit, Dickson writes that the term “fiend zone” is inherently sexist because it disproportionally encompasses the phenomenon of men being consigned to the friend zone by women rather than both sexes being represented in both categories equally and in proportion to their numbers. But the reality is that, in our species, the model of sexual reproduction that obtains (as in many mammalian species) is that of “female choice,” in which the sex drive is much stronger in the male and in which the male must compete with many other males for a a female, who ultimately chooses from among her many suitors. Thus, the disproportionate number of men who are consigned to the friend zone, and comparatively few number of women who are, do not reflect a sexist “social construct” so much as a simple biologically determined reality: men generally are much more interested in having sex with women and with as many women as possible than the reverse, and this creates a “seller’s market” for sex which places men at a considerable numerical disadvantage. This results in far more men wanting to have sex with a given woman than will actually get to have sex with her. If all of these men are friends with her – let us suppose, for argument’s sake, that there are 15 of them – and if the woman is interested in having a monogamous relationship with only one of them, that means that the other 14 men, by definition, will be in the friend zone.
Another false assertion that Dickson makes is that the concept of the friend zone “perpetuates the myth that being nice can’t get you laid” and that “the idea that women are only into ‘jerks’ or ‘assholes’ and not ‘nice guys’ is one of the most insidious dating myths of the past 50 years.” But here again her femaleness (as opposed to feminism) skews her thinking. Being female, she assumes that the point of dating is to find someone with whom to establish a long-term, monogamous relationship, whereas from the male point of view, the point of dating is, as Dickson would express it, “to get laid.” Those are two fundamentally different and often irreconcilable objectives. To be sure, I think that when it comes to establishing a long-term, monogamous relationship, women are interested in “nice guys.” But if that “nice guy” wants to have lots of sex with lots of women, being that nice guy will get him nowhere fast. In contrast to Dickson’s romantic fantasy, the reality is that the more sexist and misogynistic a man is, the more women he will be able to get to have sex with him. That’s simply because deception and dishonesty are, sadly, essential tools in getting large numbers women into bed, which is what most men want to do. That is not, in my experience, what most women want men to do, nor what they themselves want to do in their relations with men.
Speaking from my own experience as a male feminist who came of age in the 70s during the height of the renaissance of western feminism, I can assure you that there is no quicker way to being consigned to the “friend zone” than to treat women as human beings first and not as “meat.” Boy was I idealistic. The fact is, if you try to establish a relationship with a woman on the basis of friendship and mutual respect, when you then try to transition the relationship to a sexual one, it’s always – and I mean always – “I don’t like you in ‘that way,’ I like you as a friend.” Of course, if I could do it all over again, I would abandon my principles and study up on the techniques of “pick-up artists,” and I am certain that I would have much more and much more satisfying sex. I would say that this is one of the great disappointments of feminism and the so-called sexual revolution of the 60’s (which I’m still waiting for). There was a notion once upon a time that progressive- and feminist-men like me bought hook, line, and sinker, to our great regret, namely, that feminism would liberate both men and women from their socially constructed gender roles, allowing for the sexes to meet on an equal footing in the spirit of mutual respect and interest, in other words, as friends. Presumably, this would also entail liberating women’s sexuality, all of which would, as an added benefit for men, result in making women more sexually available. Gender and sex equality and more sex for everyone: who could argue with that? One could, in such a world, be honest and frank, and a friend. But, of course, that world never came into being Honesty and frankness – and being a true friend – never got a man laid.
The predicament of men in the dating world who don’t want to stoop to deception is best expressed by that great bit in the movie “Tootsie”: In one scene, Julie (Jessica Lange) confides to “Tootsie” (Michael disguised as a woman [Dustin Hoffman]) that she wishes men could simply be honest and tell women whom they are interested in that they just want to sleep with them, without all the bullshit. When Michael, now as Michael (and not in drag as Tootsie), takes exactly that approach with Julie, and says almost verbatim what Julie said men ought to say, she throws a drink in his face.
As a bonus here’s Dustin Hoffman tearing up about his experience on the film Tootsie:
I posit that Americans suffer business-wise from the same delusion that inflicts men and women’s body image thanks to Barbie, women’s magazines and depictions of the better men of the world being big, muscular and athletic.
We put so much emphasis and praise to those entrepreneurs who succeed beyond belief that people think you’re not successful unless you can become one of those people. This small handful doesn’t come close to what the typical entrepreneurs’ success story looks like, but we concentrate more on these rare, exceptional success stories.
The problem that arises is we tend to fashion our politics around these people. So instead of supporting the typical, median entrepreneurs in our country, we tailor our economic policies around the top 1% and, worse, the top .1%.
The immigrant who starts a business is the entrepreneur we want to foster. The geek with the terrible glasses who doesn’t have a trust fund to get him through college or get the connections to start a mega-corporation from Step 1 is the entrepreneur we want to foster.
Instead, to protect and pander to the top 1%, we concentrate on lowering top marginal taxes (forget the little people who will never reach that top marginal rate) as much as possible and craft policies to protect established businesses instead of pushing for more competition and investing in education, science and technology.
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