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A Message from the President

sangha

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First thing, I'd like to thank everyone who has participated in this convention. IMO, the fact that we have 60 people voting bodes well for this experiment.


I'd also like to thank PirateMk1, Paleocon and our new Secretary, vasudatorrent for all of the time and hard work they've put into this effort so far.


I suspect that the biggest concern all of us have is the possibility that this convention will either devolve into just another of DP's many shouting matches, or die from lack of interest. IMO, the fact that 82 posters have joined the effort demonstrates that there is no lack of interest and as President, it is my goal to ensure that this interest does not dwindle due to a lack of progress.


And so, I am eager to get to work, but that raises the question of "Where do we start?" There have been a number of suggestions and several have stated their preference, but since this convention operates on consensus and democratic principles, I will be starting a poll listing the suggestions that have been made and we will all vote. Whichever choice gets the most votes will be our first priority, and the 2nd most popular choice will be our 2nd priority...rinse and repeat.


I'd like to note that just because one option has received the most votes, that does not mean we can not work on or discuss any of the other options. It merely means that we, as a group, have agreed that the first priority is to put our main focus on that option and by "main focus" I do not mean "single minded". We can multi-task. However, I am concerned about the possibility of the conference dividing its' time into too many issues at once, so I would like to ask (this is a request, not a command) that we limit ourselves to the #1 priority for the first 7 days. I think that will give us enough time to get enough of a handle of where we're going with that issue after which, it should not be disruptive or chaotic to begin discussing and dealing with the 2nd priority


Finally, I would like to present my thoughts about the nature of what we are setting out to do, in the hopes that it will contribute to making this a productive effort. Let me know what you think about it


What we are trying to do here is very different from what we usually do here at Debate Politics (ie "debate"). In a debate, the object is to "win" by presenting the strongest arguments and undercutting your opponents arguments, preferably including some wit in the process. Now I have nothing against wit but in this convention, merely presenting strong arguments or undercutting the arguments of others is not how "winning" is defined, no matter how witty one is. Winning means "offering a motion that wins a majority (or possibly super-majority) of the vote". If your motion doesn't get passed, all you have accomplished is merely what we do here every day - you've engaged in a debate and said your piece.


We have a different goal here than the goal we have in other threads, and different objectives require different tactics. Telling another member of the convention that their idea is "stupid" or that they've been brainwashed by FoxNews, MSNBC, etc will not win any votes for your motion. If your motion is unable to get enough votes, the normal mode of discourse for DP is unlikely to get a member who disagrees with you to support and vote for your motion, but compromise might work.


If your motion is unable to get enough votes, ask others what their concerns are and then consider if your motion might be altered in a manner that would address their concerns without undoing the good you think your motion would achieve. It may require you to accept less than what you consider optimal, but this is a political exercise and it requires consensus. As rightous as your position may be, it is worthless if it can't be put into the constitution and that won't happen unless it passes in a vote.


In addition to making it more likely that your motion will pass, I think it will also help us maintain a productive tone in the convention. We have a choice in front of us - we can engage in the same old back and forth we've seen in all the other threads, or we can exercise some restraint and work together to produce a constitution that will be supported by the consensus of this convention. In the end, it is up to all of us to make that happen. I believe we all do want that to happen, so I ask that you all, at the very least, consider what I've just said


And let me know what you think about this idea of mine or any other idea you think might contribute to a productive convention. I'd like this thread to be an open discussion about what direction we should take, how to promote a productive "environment" and any concerns you may have about the direction the convention has taken so far. Once the members have had a chance to make their opinions and concerns known, we can begin to set an agenda and start working.

Thank you all.
 
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sookster

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This is my opinion...just start the vote on the various priorities. Let's get started.
 

joG

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If I may propose something at this point, I think it would be helpful to create a mechanism to alert everyone on the list, that a new entry has been made.
 

vasuderatorrent

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If I may propose something at this point, I think it would be helpful to create a mechanism to alert everyone on the list, that a new entry has been made.
Paleocon, PirateMk1 and I were using that tactic earlier. It was annoying to some members. I think it is safe to assume that if Sangha starts a thread in the Constitution forum then it is related to the Debate Politics Constitutional Convention. There are search options for finding threads posted by a particular member. A person can also scan the Constitution forum to find new threads.

If people were interested enough to participate then they will be interested enough to search out the information. The president is also working with mods to create a sub-forum for our project. I personally see no need for a system for alerting members until we notice a sharp drop in participation during the votes whenever they are held.

Your input is helpful. If adjustments need to be made we can certainly establish a mechanism for alerting all members of new posts. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

sangha

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This is my opinion...just start the vote on the various priorities. Let's get started.
Tomorrow I will start a poll on prioritizing our next step. Like you, I'd like to get to work quickly. I only held off this long because I wanted to give others the chance to post suggestions to be included in the poll, but I can't wait forever.
 

sangha

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If I may propose something at this point, I think it would be helpful to create a mechanism to alert everyone on the list, that a new entry has been made.
I had an idea about that. I was thinking we can have a thread where the only people who post are officers. Whenever an official thread that all members should be made aware of is created (such as a poll thread, etc) an officer will post the notification list in a post that includes a link to that thread and a brief description. As a result all members will receive a notification that they've been quoted. When they click on the link to their quote in the "Who quoted me" portion of their User Control Panel, it will bring them to this thread where they will see the link and description and then they can click on that

If any member does not want to receive these notifications, they can inform the Sec'y and he will remove their name from the notification list.

What do you think?
 

joG

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I had an idea about that. I was thinking we can have a thread where the only people who post are officers. Whenever an official thread that all members should be made aware of is created (such as a poll thread, etc) an officer will post the notification list in a post that includes a link to that thread and a brief description. As a result all members will receive a notification that they've been quoted. When they click on the link to their quote in the "Who quoted me" portion of their User Control Panel, it will bring them to this thread where they will see the link and description and then they can click on that

If any member does not want to receive these notifications, they can inform the Sec'y and he will remove their name from the notification list.

What do you think?
That sounds like a good idea and I would second it.
 

NeverTrump

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Very Presidential Speech. This idea should be implemented throughout the whole forum TBH
 

Jesse Booth

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I say we cover marriage first; it's arguably the most controversial issue facing this convention, so we should try to get it out of the way first. Besides, if we start out with something easy, we run the risk of losing inertia, and by extent, interest. No matter what, we have to keep this convention from crawling to a standstill.
 

APACHERAT

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Tomorrow I will start a poll on prioritizing our next step. Like you, I'd like to get to work quickly. I only held off this long because I wanted to give others the chance to post suggestions to be included in the poll, but I can't wait forever.
I object, I suggest that you observe Thanksgiving instead.
 

paddymcdougall

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I say we cover marriage first; it's arguably the most controversial issue facing this convention, so we should try to get it out of the way first. Besides, if we start out with something easy, we run the risk of losing inertia, and by extent, interest. No matter what, we have to keep this convention from crawling to a standstill.
Interesting. There are so many issues that will be controversial that I would not have thought marriage would jump to the top
> representation - do we want to keep the same thing we have now, where in the Senate the smaller states have an unusual amount of power? Heck, do we even want states? (probably, but worth discussing)
> guns
> abortion/privacy laws
> do we want more of a parliamentary setup so it's not just a two-party system?
> what things fall into the purview of the federal govt vs. belong to the states?
> freedom of speech vs. hate speech
> habeus corpus; protection of civil liberties; all the issues around the Patriot Act


I'm sure others can list more....

Sangha, very nice message from you; thanks for starting us off on the right "tone".
 
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joG

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I say we cover marriage first; it's arguably the most controversial issue facing this convention, so we should try to get it out of the way first. Besides, if we start out with something easy, we run the risk of losing inertia, and by extent, interest. No matter what, we have to keep this convention from crawling to a standstill.
If we do a good constitution, we might not need to discuss marriage here.
 

joG

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Interesting. There are so many issues that will be controversial that I would not have thought marriage would jump to the top
> representation - do we want to keep the same thing we have now, where in the Senate the smaller states have an unusual amount of power? Heck, do we even want states? (probably, but worth discussing)
> guns
> abortion/privacy laws
> do we want more of a parliamentary setup so it's not just a two-party system?
> what things fall into the purview of the federal govt vs. belong to the states?
> freedom of speech vs. hate speech
> habeus corpus; protection of civil liberties; all the issues around the Patriot Act


I'm sure others can list more....

Sangha, very nice message from you; thanks for starting us off on the right "tone".
Should any government level be allowed to do anything other than public goods (economic definition says those are the only ones government does better than private sector players) and regulate externalities. After all, anything else will make the community less well off.
 

sangha

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Should any government level be allowed to do anything other than public goods (economic definition says those are the only ones government does better than private sector players) and regulate externalities. After all, anything else will make the community less well off.
Your post raises the issue of "What is the proper role of govt?". Some people believe that its' role is to merely protect rights and that things like "public goods" and "the regulation of externalities" are not legitimate interests. This makes me wonder if maybe setting some "First Principles" might be the first thing we should think of doing (though I voted differently in the poll I created to set priorities)

By determining what exactly are the legitimate interests of govt, we can then decide on the powers such a govt would need to pursue those interests

Just thinking out loud.


PS: I noticed you haven't voted in the poll (*hint*) yet

http://www.debatepolitics.com/dp-constitutional-convention/210546-poll-setting-priorities.html
 
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paddymcdougall

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Should any government level be allowed to do anything other than public goods (economic definition says those are the only ones government does better than private sector players) and regulate externalities. After all, anything else will make the community less well off.
I'm a federalist, mostly, as it turns out. I think one should be able to move to a different state and still have one's marriage recognized. I think if gun laws were uniform across the country we would have fewer problems with guns from a "loose" state being shipped to a "tight" state. I think voting rules should be set at the federal level because a lot of states are really doing a bad job at voting.

On the other hand, I'm cool with states being able to use the federal laws as a floor or a ceiling. So, for example - California wants tougher car emission standards than federal? cool. Ditto with gun laws.

So I'm a little hypocritical, I admit.

But there have been so many bad results from states having different laws - schools, voting, liquor - that I tend toward federal regulation.

In terms of what govt does better than public sector - many govt. agencies have to "bid" on their work, and they only get it if they do it better/cheaper. I think the outsourcing of our fighting to private contractors - at a much higher expense - is disastrous.

The USPS is actually a very good organization although it has had problems; Fed Ex won't deliver mail for just under 50 cents an item, and its CEO is paid a lot more than the postmaster general.

I think certain things - good electricity, clean water, decent internet, good phone service - should be uniform across the country, not just in urban areas. Rural areas subsidize urban highway systems; urban areas can subsidize things for the rural areas (and guess which is more expensive? not the rural stuff)

So sorry, I'm ranting here - but yes, this is one of those issues that needs to be decided, and I think it's a LOT more controversial than marriage!

(and yes, I've voted in the poll!)
 

Lovebug

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If I may propose something at this point, I think it would be helpful to create a mechanism to alert everyone on the list, that a new entry has been made.
Aside from being alerted to new entries via quote option, you have the option to subscribe to this very sub-forum for daily....notifications.


Forum Tools
 

joG

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Your post raises the issue of "What is the proper role of govt?". Some people believe that its' role is to merely protect rights and that things like "public goods" and "the regulation of externalities" are not legitimate interests. This makes me wonder if maybe setting some "First Principles" might be the first thing we should think of doing (though I voted differently in the poll I created to set priorities)

By determining what exactly are the legitimate interests of govt, we can then decide on the powers such a govt would need to pursue those interests

Just thinking out loud.


PS: I noticed you haven't voted in the poll (*hint*) yet

http://www.debatepolitics.com/dp-constitutional-convention/210546-poll-setting-priorities.html
Sorry, I was travelling and missed the poll.

Yes to the other point. IT seems to make sense that the group tries to find legitimizing basis for government and a framework for what it is for. What is its mission?
 

joG

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Aside from being alerted to new entries via quote option, you have the option to subscribe to this very sub-forum for daily....notifications.


Forum Tools
thank you. Good point.
 

joG

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I'm a federalist, mostly, as it turns out. I think one should be able to move to a different state and still have one's marriage recognized. I think if gun laws were uniform across the country we would have fewer problems with guns from a "loose" state being shipped to a "tight" state. I think voting rules should be set at the federal level because a lot of states are really doing a bad job at voting.

On the other hand, I'm cool with states being able to use the federal laws as a floor or a ceiling. So, for example - California wants tougher car emission standards than federal? cool. Ditto with gun laws.

So I'm a little hypocritical, I admit.

But there have been so many bad results from states having different laws - schools, voting, liquor - that I tend toward federal regulation.

In terms of what govt does better than public sector - many govt. agencies have to "bid" on their work, and they only get it if they do it better/cheaper. I think the outsourcing of our fighting to private contractors - at a much higher expense - is disastrous.

The USPS is actually a very good organization although it has had problems; Fed Ex won't deliver mail for just under 50 cents an item, and its CEO is paid a lot more than the postmaster general.

I think certain things - good electricity, clean water, decent internet, good phone service - should be uniform across the country, not just in urban areas. Rural areas subsidize urban highway systems; urban areas can subsidize things for the rural areas (and guess which is more expensive? not the rural stuff)

So sorry, I'm ranting here - but yes, this is one of those issues that needs to be decided, and I think it's a LOT more controversial than marriage!

(and yes, I've voted in the poll!)
No question that you are right that centralization makes many things smoother. It tends to have two problems we might want to think about.

- A center has more reach than a federal system does in that more people startdoing the same thing. That is fine, if they are doing the right thing. As centralized organization tend to have more resources and thus staying power the people continue doing the wrong things longer and the disequilibria will grow larger than in federal systems. The damage can be much larger, therefore. In federal systems on State can experimentally try something and others can watch. This contains the danger from change.

- In democratic systems we must delegate power over ourselves so that the persons we delegate it to are able to do the jobs required of governments. This has a major drawback in that the power can be used against the citizens that a have lent the power to those governing. The danger of this happening is real and always present. In this respect it makes very good sense for the citizens to install institutional control mechanisms of which federalization is one of the more effective.

It seems to me, that the constitution is, among other things, about getting the right balance in this structure and allowing enough flexibility to adapt, while limiting the flexibility so dictators are prevented.
 

paddymcdougall

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No question that you are right that centralization makes many things smoother. It tends to have two problems we might want to think about.

- A center has more reach than a federal system does in that more people startdoing the same thing. That is fine, if they are doing the right thing. As centralized organization tend to have more resources and thus staying power the people continue doing the wrong things longer and the disequilibria will grow larger than in federal systems. The damage can be much larger, therefore. In federal systems on State can experimentally try something and others can watch. This contains the danger from change.

- In democratic systems we must delegate power over ourselves so that the persons we delegate it to are able to do the jobs required of governments. This has a major drawback in that the power can be used against the citizens that a have lent the power to those governing. The danger of this happening is real and always present. In this respect it makes very good sense for the citizens to install institutional control mechanisms of which federalization is one of the more effective.

It seems to me, that the constitution is, among other things, about getting the right balance in this structure and allowing enough flexibility to adapt, while limiting the flexibility so dictators are prevented.
Well said. And of course the larger the number of people involved are, the harder it is to get the delegates set up right so we're truly represented. Hopefully that's easier in these days of mass communication tools...
 

American

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The Founders used committees, didn't they?
 

paddymcdougall

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The Founders used committees, didn't they?
Yeppers! pretty interesting reading if you search on them. I love the idea of a "leftovers" committee - except they are the ones that came up with the electoral college!
 

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Yeppers! pretty interesting reading if you search on them. I love the idea of a "leftovers" committee - except they are the ones that came up with the electoral college!
Very snide, the Committee of Unfinished Parts:

With this, the Convention has concluded its discussion of the Committee of Detail Report. To deal with those questions still outstanding, a new committee was formed will consisting of one delegate from each state. This group entitled “The Committee on Unfinished Parts,” would become known as the Brearly Committee after its New Jersey representative, and would deal with those issues that had been postponed. These would include Congress’s power to spend for the general welfare, creation of the Electoral College method of electing the President, and the President’s role in treaty-making and in appointment of officers.

It appears they had a more important role than you expressed.
 

paddymcdougall

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Very snide, the Committee of Unfinished Parts:

With this, the Convention has concluded its discussion of the Committee of Detail Report. To deal with those questions still outstanding, a new committee was formed will consisting of one delegate from each state. This group entitled “The Committee on Unfinished Parts,” would become known as the Brearly Committee after its New Jersey representative, and would deal with those issues that had been postponed. These would include Congress’s power to spend for the general welfare, creation of the Electoral College method of electing the President, and the President’s role in treaty-making and in appointment of officers.

It appears they had a more important role than you expressed.
The source I read called the Brearly Committee the "Leftovers Committee" - and then said it was later called the Brearly Committee.

Guess we have different sources.

I wasn't saying it wasn't important; I really do think it's cool
 

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