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I am a constitutional lawyer who happened to have discovered something quite remarkable: Namely, that our constitution can be easily amended and that we could end our current oligarchy. This was lost to academia, but has been recently rediscovered by constitutional scholars. The activist community is completely unaware that this mechanism for constitutional amendment exists. Our Founding Fathers referred to constitutional amendment by popular sovereignty as a means for peaceful, legal revolution. Based on this, I too have been openly using the word revolution. What popular sovereignty means is that we can alter or abolish the constitution at any time by simple, majority vote. Installing a new constitution is a revolution. The word is simply accurate based on the fact that what I am proposing is a thorough modernization of our Constitution.

I have detailed several substantive and/or tactical issues with this mechanism. But what I find when I can start to convince people shows that the American public is terrorized. What I am advocating is perfectly legal. I advocate no violence or illegality. Nonetheless, I am being told - forcefully - that if I pursue this, I will be crushed. I am calling for peaceful, legal constitutional amendment and almost everyone I encounter informs me that my life will be ruined or ended.

How can a democracy function in that environment? People do not feel they can openly discuss peaceful, legal constitutional amendment? THAT is our biggest obstacle to organizing. Not money; not organization; not even a corporate-owned media. Our biggest obstacle towards organizing is a terrorized American public.

My family and friends are terrified for me. A friend told me that he paused before responding to an email of mine, wondering if he would end up on a list. Two separate friends have said "hi NSA" during skype conversations. I have repeatedly been told that I would be smeared in corporate media. I have been told I would be taken to offshore prisons, unlawfully detained and tortured. I have been told I would be extra-judicially assassinated. Two friends have told me not to use the word revolution - even though I'm talking about revolution through constitutional amendment which is perfectly lawful. I have been told that the fact that I would openly use the word revolution is proof that I am mentally unstable. When I told my mother and one of my best friends that I felt obligated to try to get this information to the world, I was told: "I don't care about the world, I don't want YOU hurt." My own decision to do this resulted in a breakdown because I too understand the nature of the power that would oppose me.

Think of that. Think of the fact that this is occurring in the United States of America. When presented with something that could actually work, people spewed forth to me their absolute, unbridled terror. What I offer is completely legal; it is in every way protected speech. People assure me this does not matter in the slightest. People know - in their hearts - that there is no rule of law in America. We are no longer a nation of laws; we are a nation of men.

And everybody knows.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows that the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich

That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

You can find evidence of this terror in my twitter exchange (plutocracyfiles) as well as in the comments of my recent Daily Kos diaries (also plutocracyfiles). Go read it; witness a terrified American public.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    juca, mookins
  •  Suppose there were a constitutional convention. (7+ / 0-)

    What are the odds that there would be an improvement, as opposed to a process driven by same combination of corporate dollars and paranoid bigotry that have already captured so many of the levers of power.

    Color me terrorized.

  •  No. (0+ / 0-)

    Update the diary with the information.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:16:13 AM PST

    •  He links the article (3+ / 0-)

      his claim is based on in the first paragraph.

      It was good enough to be accepted into the Faculty Scholarship Series at Yale Law School.

      So we can hold a Constitutional Convention. But as Sandino points out above, what assurance do we have that the results of this process won't be manipulated by the same entities that manipulate our current legal system? Do we really want a wholesale revision of our Constitution?

      In my mind, I'm pretty happy with the Constitution we have. I'd prefer to focus on getting our government to follow it.

      •  I don't see how we can, though. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And I don't think that's really the point of the article--the point is the fear, and what that fear means.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:52:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tell you what. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Musial, Miniaussiefan, DerAmi

    Write up a new Constitution. Publish it here. We'll give you feedback.

    I have to warn, you, though, that the original is kind of awesome and might be difficult to improve upon.

    Oh, there is one thing, however. The Second Amendment? Yeah, the wording of that bugger has caused us nothing but grief for a long time.

    You might want to start there.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:22:06 AM PST

    •  Get rid of federalism (0+ / 0-)

      I would start by getting rid of the 50 states and federalism.  Anachronism based on colonial settlements by European powers and corporate/trade interests aligned with them.  Most of history of federalism is ugly history of "states' rights" used to justify slavery, Jim Crow, voting limitations, etc.
      Nearly all our major challenges are national or global: climate, poverty, health care, education standards, you name it.  Only a truly national government can solve them without having to cater to 50 governors and state legislatures, thousands of smaller entities, etc.  
      Maybe folks would take voting more seriously if they were not constantly facing elections for everything from town selectpeople to President.

      •  Well, you do realize, then (0+ / 0-)

        that your suggested approach kills marijuana legalization that has begun to take hold in several states, as well as ending gay marriage in the states that have legalized it? No way those two issues are getting a majority vote from representatives elected nationally at the moment.

  •  I can see it now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dallasdunlap, rb608

    The Tea Party Second Amendment. All Citizens are required to own and carry a gun at all times. You will use that gun every time someone looks at you in a manner that you consider to be threatening. Under no circumstance will anyone be prosecuted for the use of a gun against a non white person.  Just think of all the other great ideas the Tea Party would have . Like the death penalty for joining a union or for not going to the church of there choice. As much as I would like to get big money out of our government The havoc the right-wing nuts might to be able to cause is enough for me to say leave it alone and work to end big moneys influence another way!

    Dogs and Philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards (Diogenes)

    by Out There on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:48:02 AM PST

  •  Just because the people you happen to know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, FG

    are terrorized by imaginary threats doesn't mean everyone in America is also terrorized by imaginary threats.

    You can reassure your mom that "they" (whoever she imagines "they" to be) are going to come for Larry Lessig, Sanford Levinson, Larry Sabato, Jonathan Turley, Mark Levin  and other high profile people who have been publicly calling for such a convention before they come for her offspring. And those folks seem to be doing fine right now.

    Personally, I wouldn't call it "easy" to get 2/3 of the state legislatures to call for such a convention, manage to get the convention to produce amendments that improve the Constitution, then get 3/4 of the states to approve those amendments.

    •  Well I also cited DKos comments and twitter (0+ / 0-)

      Personally, I wouldn't call it "easy" to get 2/3 of the state legislatures to call for such a convention, manage to get the convention to produce amendments that improve the Constitution, then get 3/4 of the states to approve those amendments.

      That is amendment by Article V. I'm calling for amendment by popular sovereignty. All that requires is a simple, majority vote. Constitutional scholars have only recently rediscovered this. The activist community is entirely unaware it exists. It's a very long, very difficult article. But it is very convincing and Professor Amar is a very distinguished constitutional scholar.

      •  Go to the source (0+ / 0-)
        The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, also as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
        Article V.

  •  Here's where that "easy mechanism" breaks... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, rb608, elmo

    From the article you linked:

    Majority rule popular sovereignty presupposes a deliberate majority of the collective "people," not a mere mathematical concatenation of atomized "persons."
    However, he then states that even the much smaller population of 1787 couldn't make this happen:
    Because the requisite convocations and deliberations could not occur en masse in 1787 among all voters,  the Founders relied on  smaller conventions to speak as and for the People.
    So, that's obviously problematic when scaled to today's hundreds of millions of people, but the author goes pie-in-the-sky to find a means by which it might work:
    Today, because of vast improvements in communication and transportation technology--radio, television, cable, fiber-optics, electronic town meetings, etc.-there may be ways to retain the deliberation of the convention while providing for even more direct popular participation, akin to referenda.
    He goes on to suggest technologically linked local caucuses leading to a popular vote - basically, Constitutional amendment by chat room.

    This is an interesting exercise in legal theory, but it founders on the rocks of the real world.  Consider, for instance, how the Religious Right views the "higher law of God" to which both the author and various Founders alluded; is this something that should be left to majority vote?  Consider, as well, the results of popular sovereignty on matter such as ballot propositions in California (and their consequences), the various state-level constitutional amendments on taxation and same-sex marriage, etc.

    After reading the arguments, I have to say that I prefer the 'deliberate majority' mechanism provided for in the Constitution.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:15:55 AM PST

    •  They sort of did it in Iceland but it's a much (0+ / 0-)

      smaller country.

      •  What do you mean? (0+ / 0-)

        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

        by Rei on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 11:13:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  When they tried to crowdsource the constitution (0+ / 0-)

          a few years ago. It eventually failed though, right?

          •  They never really (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the constitution". It's true that the committee set up to draft the first constitution was largely not politicians (even Björk's dad was on it), and they did have a Facebook page that took suggestions, but that's about the extent of it, there was no true crowdsourcing process. The committee was under no obligation to listen to anything that was written on the Facebook page. Their work, in turn, was non-binding on the final bill, it was just to be used as a basis for the bill. And yes, Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn derailed the bill right at the end of the last parliamentary session with a filibuster, and now they're in the government coalition, so even the biggest optimists accept that it's dead at least for now.

            When / if it gets taken up again, who knows what they'll use as a basis for it. Hopefully the draft constitution bill - I was rather fond of it, and quite annoyed when it was successfully derailed.  :Þ It had some quite cool features, like a total ban on private ownership of natural resources (the government can rent natual resources for a fixed-length term depending on the type of resources, but never sell them), guarantees of all sorts of government services as basic human rights, and all sorts of anti-discrimination and pro-diversity stuff. The only thing I didn't like was that didn't change the status of the national church - but then again, that's in accordance with the last non-binding poll on the issue, so I'm not going to argue that they should go against the will of the people (and the draft didn't try to ban addressing the church-state issue in the future).

            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

            by Rei on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 03:13:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I remember my Norwegian friend explaining (0+ / 0-)

              the attitude to Lutheran church in Norway: 'Everyone belongs to it, almost no one goes there'. I guess smth similar is the case in Iceland.

              •  My boss is an atheist (0+ / 0-)

                And even he voted to retain it.

                I'd be fine with there being a national church if at least they'd just stay the f*** out of the schools.  :Þ

                The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 05:40:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Right! (0+ / 0-)

      I remember what a zoo it was in the caucus of my precinct for the Democratic primary of 2008! And that was only about 130 people, essentially like minded.

      Really, when you consider the behavioral tendencies of human beings when we gather in groups of more than two, it really amazes me how we as a species have ever accomplished anything.

    •  I happen to be in Eureka, MT right now (0+ / 0-)

      These people are fine. The thing is, no one is fixing their problem. EVERYONE'S problem is the global oligarchy. When we can actually fix that, it will unite many, many groups.

      Political scientists have shown that economic inequality CREATES political divisiveness. If we can solve THAT problem, it will not be complete unification, but you can get 51%. Have you seen the numbers on how many people think we should reduce inequality? I think it was in the 90 percent range.

      There are a host of problems with the constitution. Fixing those problems ACTUALLY helps people. Actually, it helps everyone except the 1%.

  •  I sure the corporations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Free Jazz at High Noon

    ...are itching for a constitutional convention that could formalize their coup.

    Not until the political culture, the media, and the power relations required to get a referendum would this make sense.

    One can see the Pete Peterson stampede that would ensue to push this idea capitalizing on public frustration with Washington.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:17:44 AM PST

  •  Sure, everybody's terrified. (0+ / 0-)

    The American public is not as stupid as people think.

    We have an administration that gleefully admits to having an extrajudicial kill list which it uses every Tuesday to kill somebody who's been selected by an unknown process involving the president and his security advisors.

    We also have indefinite detention without trial.

    There aren't many questions left to ask. If I still act like an American, it's out of loyalty and love, not out of any idea that they wouldn't pick me up, hurt me, imprison me, or kill me if they thought that was convenient for them (and worth the trouble).

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:52:09 AM PST

    •  I think there are two big problems (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      First, no one can fix the REAL problem (global oligarchy).

      Second, people are being oppressed because no one can fix the real problem.

      This is how oligarchy works - over time, inequality gets worse and worse, politics gets more and more divisive and the state gets more and more oppressive. Oligarchy creates vast inequalities, which - in turn - creates more political divisions and more oppression.

      We have to fix the global oligarchy problem. THAT is what needs to be fixed.

  •  wouldn't change a thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Even if a clear majority of Americans think the the government is broken and country is spiraling down the drain, they don't think that for the same reasons.

    Half the country thinks we're in a bad place because we're not racist enough, not fundie enough, not warmongery enough, and don't have enough people starving to death under bridges while rich people party.

    The first constitutional convention between a small number of wealthy and well-educated plantation owners and merchant princes was acrimonious enough, because even fellow elites had very different ideas about what kind of government could be and should be.  And the best they could do is what caused all our country's problems.

    Imagine putting teabaggers and Kossacks in the same room to hammer out a constitution acceptable to both.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:23:53 AM PST

    •  Imagine putting just Kossacks (0+ / 0-)

      in a room to do the same thing.  That would be plenty ugly in and of itself, and I am certain no consensus would be reached on anything.

      •  arguing policy vs. arguing problems (0+ / 0-)

        A room full of Kossacks and teabaggers would be arguing heatedly about whether the sky is blue or orange with lime green polka dots.  A room full of just Kossacks would be pulling out the paint chips to argue heatedly about which shade of blue it is.

        In other words, no comparison.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 01:10:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They don't think that for the same reasons (0+ / 0-)

      Because nobody can fix the REAL problem. The real problem is the global oligarchy. Ending that - which a constitutional modernization could do - fixes everyone's problem. If you're not fixing everyone's problem, you're dividing people (by definition). You are advantaging one group at the expense of another. But if you fix the REAL problem, no one is divided.

      •  Americans don't agree the plutocracy is a problem (0+ / 0-)

        Only we think that.

        The right thinks its totally awesome that some people are insanely rich and have enormous power to shape the world as they please because it's important to encourage and reward "success".

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 01:16:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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