18 May

Liberal attempts to abolish Electoral College takes back door route thru State Legislatures

                                       

Just as every Christmas brings the same tired argument over nativity scenes, Christmas trees and Santa Claus, every election cycle brings forth a fresh attempt to ignore the Constitutional establishment of the Electoral College, and allow the city centers to run roughshod over rural Americans. The 2012 election is no different, but it does bring a fresh approach to the age old problem of a “popular vote” Presidential election… by having the state legislators pass a law, obligating their EC votes to the national popular vote winners.

Under this scheme, state legislatures would pass legislation that would bind them to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote—even if the candidate that got the most votes nationally did not carry that individual state. In short, this would be a de facto popular vote for President—and done without amending the Constitution.

So far, seven states and the District of Columbia (with a combined 77 electoral votes) have enacted laws that do precisely this. Should similar laws be enacted in states with an additional 193 electoral votes, de facto popular election of the President will be achieved.

The California legislature, firmly in Democratic hands, was poised to pass similar legislation this week, but with opponents raising fierce objections, the vote was delayed. In Delaware, newly elected state GOP Chairman John Sigler told us, “Liberal Democrats in the state legislature have offered HB 55, and all the Republicans are against it. Republicans here are strongly opposed because it would repeal the Electoral College by implication. And in basically writing off many states, rural areas, and people, it would lead to rule by tyranny.”

As of the end of April 2011, Vermont – Bernie Sanders territory – became the eighth voting arena to enact such legislation. The others are New Jersey, Maryland, Massachussetts, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington State and Washington DC.

This is a completely different concept than the more common winner-takes-all method used by 48 states. In this case, a state’s vote is cast per their electors, but can be changed by national popular vote after the fact. Who in the world could think that a popularity contest should be a state’s deciding factor? And what state legislator thinks this is appropriate representation for his/her constituents?

This back door movement traces it’s roots back to the Al Gore disgruntled in 2001. The Wikipedia history of the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact” cites the 2006 created non-profit to advocate for this “compact” hit the ground running, and had it introduced into 42 state legislative sessions by 2007. To date, only 8 of them have been enacted into law, translating to 77 guaranteed “popular vote” electoral votes for a US President.

All of those states with this passage are strongly leaning liberal/progressives states by tradition. What becomes more dangerous is if swing states manage to join this “compact” during a favorable political climate with their legislative make up.

Various lawsuits have been mounted… pro and con… on the concept of EC vs it’s reflection of a popular vote. In 2008, Washington DC Green Party member, Asa Gordon, mounted a legal challenge, which met the same fate as many legal arguments for more lofty causes… dismissed for lack of standing. Gordon’s lawsuit, targeting then Veep, Dick Cheney, was in fear of Cheney’s power, presiding over the Senate, and how his power would affect certification of the 2008 election results.

Gordon’s lawsuit is the favored legal template for progressives, seeking to reform the EC into a popular vote movement. Apparently, when the cause is near and dear to a progressive’s heart, they see a “lack of standing” – or a non ruling on the merits – as a bonus. Other cases with dismissals for the same standing reason, and with less popular causes, have not enjoyed the dismissal’s elevation in stature.

But the ruling on Gordon v. Cheney, now Gordon v. Biden, provides a blueprint for future progressive civil actions to reform the Electoral College to reflect the popular vote in presidential elections.

“I am very pleased with the ruling, but unsatisfied to the extent that I plan to appeal what I deem to be the court’s error to deny me personal standing,” said Asa Gordon. “The civil action was not only motivated by my personal standing as an injured voter, but the main objective was to determine the legal viability of the 14th Amendment’s Mal-Apportionment Penalty clause pleaded before the court that would democratize the Electoral College. The court granted the dismissal order predicated on a memorandum opinion that did not reject the constitutional arguments I pleaded before the court.”

The District Court, citing case law precedents, ruled that “a pro se plaintiff… cannot adequately represent the interests of other class members.” The court granted the dismissal motion, stating: “Because Gordon’s alleged injury is not ‘fairly traceable’ to the Vice President’s actions, which in fact are purely ministerial, but rather is attributable to the actions of third-party states and state officials, he fails to satisfy the causation element of standing. Therefore, he is unable to prosecute this action.”

What a bonus…. if they can talk the majority of high EC vote states into passing similar “national popular vote changes the state EC votes” legislation, there is no need to “reform” the Constitutional system set down by our Founding Fathers. They’ve found the back door…

As long as there are active progressives in our nation, bent on changing the Founders “Republic” to their desired “Democracy”, the push for voter and state inequity will continue. A quest that I’ve always found ironic. A liberal/progressive community is so all fired for “democracy” in our republic, but don’t recognize the overt lack of “democracy” when the few states with high population control political power over all 50 states. i.e. just how “democratic” is it for 5-8 states to dictate to 50?

But the same concept of the Electoral College, designed to prohibit that imbalance of voter power, also extends to the Senate. If we abolish the EC, why wouldn’t we then abolish the Senate where all states… regardless of population… have equal representation, and act as a balance to the House who’s membership is dictated by population? For that matter, using the same theory these state bills do, why doesn’t the Senate now have to automatically pass anything the House does, since they are more reflective of the nation’s population in membership?

This entire business of changing a state’s EC votes based on national popular vote makes me queasy… The fact that no one in any of these eight affected states has mounted a high profile challenge in the courts makes me even more queasy.

In fact, while some are quick to pronounce such a roundabout method to usurp what was clearly not the intent of the Founders – aka a President elected by national popular vote – as easily Constitutional, that is not necessarily the case. This would have to be scrutinized by a court, and determined whether it was the type of interstate pact that required Congressional approval.

Not all compacts require congressional consent under the Compact Clause. The Supreme Court has allowed interstate compacts to stand without congressional consent if they are non-political and fall outside the scope of the Compact Clause (Seattle Master Builders Ass’n v. Pacific Northwest Elec. Power and Conservation Planning Council, 786 F. 2d 1359 (9th Cir. 1986)).

To date, every case arising under the Compact Clause has concerned boundary, commercial, or regulatory compacts (Robert W. Bennett, State Coordination in Popular Election of the President Without a Constitutional Amendment, 5 Green Bag 2d 141, 141 n. 2 (2002)). Because no compacts challenged for want of congressional consent have ever been found to touch upon “political” matters, by treading either on federal interests or non-compacting states’ interests, the Supreme Court has never invalidated a compact under the Compact Clause (David E. Engdahl, Characterization of Interstate Arrangements: When Is a Compact Not a Compact?, 64 Mich. L. Rev. 63, 81 (1965)). Thus, it is unclear how a court would decide this issue.

Political Consent Theory. The Supreme Court would likely consider the compact under the “Political Consent” Compact Clause theory. This reasoning evaluates whether the compact contains a political subject affecting federal interests or the interests of non-compacting sister states, in which case congressional consent is required (U. S. Steel Corp. v. Multistate Tax Comm’n, 434 U. S. 452, 477 (1978)).

Proponents of the Interstate Compact argue that the compact does not actually interfere with non-compacting states and therefore may be formed without congressional approval. Opponents argue that the Interstate Compact impairs the effectiveness of non-compacting states’ electoral votes, and thus requires congressional consent (Derek T. Muller, The Compact Clause and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, 6 Election L. J. 372 (2007)).

An excerpt from a working paper by Derek T. Miller at Penn State U is of the opinion this quasi-interstate compact would fail the Constitutional sniff test.

In Part III, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is examined and found constitutionally deficient. The Compact is actually a compact under the Compact Clause of the Constitution, because the Court has broadly construed what makes a compact. In particular, because the Compact is not effective until a critical mass of States have enacted it, and because States are constrained from withdrawing from the Compact too close to a presidential election, the Compact falls under constitutional scrutiny. Additionally, the Compact addresses a political matter that affects the interests of non-compacting sister States, and the compacting States enhance their political power at the expense of other States. The Article examines the various defenses of the Compact but finds that none of them overcome the political interests of sister States. Therefore, barring congressional consent, the Interstate Compact would fail.

Considering that the eight states that have eagerly enacted such a Constitutional suicide pact for a Presidential election are serious left leaning states, such a challenge in the courts is unlikely to happen. But with Louisiana, California and Colorado already visiting such a concept, any one of those states would effectively tip any election into the Democrat laps.

But wait… this gets better. The bizarre attempts to hand more-than-equal voting power to a urban Americans – or as former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont called it, the “urban power grab” – brings even more “creative” analogies used by pundits to justify this movement. And WaPo’s Ezra Klein should be awarded a Most anti-Constitutionalist Pundit of the Day award for his “out of the box” analogy, suggesting that the EC is akin to giving more voting power to the young because they will be more affected by the election outcome.

WTF?

First he offers his “out of the box” idea for debate:

America should implement weighted voting to make voting more objective and fair, and give the young more power, because the consequences of political decisions will affect them the longest. Weighted voting would restore power to twenty and thirty year olds, where it resided before the advent of medical science. With the aid of computers, it would be easy to give everyone a Voting Score, just like we all have a credit score.

When he’s rightfully excoriated for such an absurd suggestion by emails and comments, he does an update, explaining his “idea” was to make a point…. that some states enjoy more voting power even tho they have smaller populations.

Some people seem to think I’m advocating reweighting votes by age. I’m not. I’m pointing out that weighting votes by state, which is what we currently do, doesn’t make any more sense. It was an important political compromise that helped coax concerned states into the union, but a lot of time has passed since then, and now it’s an anachronism that unwisely gives a resident of Montana a more powerful vote than a resident of Michigan. I’m for unweighting votes entirely, and anyone who feels themselves getting angry at the idea of tilting democracy toward the young or the college-educated other group should ask themselves whether they aren’t, also.

Below is the map of the states, and their allocated EC votes in the 2008 election.

I’m not sure just how math challenged Mr. Klein is, but I don’t see that 3 EC Montana votes is “a more powerful” voice than Michigan’s 17 EC votes.

The EC is a complex critter that has evolved over time. Congressional Research Service’s Thomas H. Neale
wrote an article in 1999,
briefly touching on the Constitional origins and it’s development thru the decades. The closest it ever came to effective abolishment was the failed The Bayh-Celler Amendment, which a disgruntled Congress attempted to pass after the 1968 election of Richard Nixon, when 3rd party candidate, George Wallace, siphoned off over 13% of the vote. Opposition was not divided along party lines, but size of states lines. Rightfully so. Anything that is decided by the whims of the nation’s population ushers smaller state populations to the back of the bus.

The single most important concept is that the Founding Fathers put the system in place specifically to preserve states as a Republic. To protect them from discrimination because of size of populations. And most important, to make sure the Presidential election did not become a national popular vote. They gave the power to the states to determine how their electors were chosen. But no where does it indicate Constitutional intent to negate the state elections in favor of a psuedo national election – all based on the results of a political beauty contest. Yet this is exactly what these state bills accomplish.

About MataHarley

Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.
This entry was posted in Constitution, Election Fraud, POWER GRAB!. Bookmark the permalink. Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 at 1:37 pm
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145 Responses to Liberal attempts to abolish Electoral College takes back door route thru State Legislatures

  1. GaffaUK says: 101

    @Mata

    Geez, Gaffa. I don’t even know if I feel sorry that you’ve outed yourself as such a dingbat. So all “republics” or “democracies” are identical in their Constitutional laws in your amoebic mind?

    I know it must be intellectually hard for you to debate with someone who has a different point of view – but your pointless ad hominen attacks really let you down. They seem to increase portionally to the amount you seem to lose the debate and unable to concentrate on making genuine insights, rebuttals etc. But now your unpleasantness has surpassed your normal gutter level and now you are making up lies. I never said that Republics and Democracies are identical. Please show me where I said that. John Galt is by far a superior more respectual person to have a debate with than you.

    Anyway here are some serious questions for you. See if you can answer them without being snide?

    Let me know how many democracies you believe there are in the world today?
    And is France not a republic because it doesn’t elect it’s President via an Electoral College?

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  2. @Gaffer: Talk about trying to be right just for the sake of saying, “See? I’m right!!”

    Your confused blathering aside Gaffer, saying that the United States of America is a Democracy is using that term as an umbrella term. It is a Democracy, but it is much, much more than that.

    Again, refer to johngalt’s post #98.

    You are very disingenuous in your debating tactics.

    On one hand you list quotes from prominent political figures in America that you think prop up your whole “America is a Democracy” argument and then on the other hand you dismiss quotes listed by johngalt that prove your argument wrong.

    Have you no integrity?

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  3. MataHarley says: 103

    Gaffa: Saying that something is a democracy generally but specifically simply doesn’t make sense. To use MataHarley’s example – imagine a blue Triumph TR-6. You say it’s a sports (Republic) car. And I agree but I also say it’s a blue (Democracy) car.

    Backasswards, Gaffa. Why does that not surprise me? The “generic sports car” is the democracy term you rest on as your selling point. The “specific Triumph TR-6″, using America’s definitive founding principles, is the republic. Dang… you can’t even get the analogy I mentioned correct. Let me repeat my #68 analogy… read slow, bubba.

    You’re standing beside your Triumph runabout, and I say “nice sports car”. Am I correct? Of course. Am I being specific on the actual vehicle, make, or model? Of course not.

    If I say “nice Triumph TR-6″, I’m identifying the item as to it’s actual structure, and not in a generic sense. I do believe that this is what the more patient @johngalt was attempting to explain to you.

    Our nation is founded as a “republic”… like that car is definitively described as a Triumph TR-6. When we are debating whether something in our country is conflicting with that more definitive description of our governmental structure – such as this abolition of the EC thru back door methods – the generalities of “sports car” do not suffice.

    yah… that’s like “sports car” = republic and “Triumph TR6 = blue”. LOL

    Gaffa: I know it must be intellectually hard for you to debate with someone who has a different point of view – but your pointless ad hominen attacks really let you down. They seem to increase portionally to the amount you seem to lose the debate and unable to concentrate on making genuine insights, rebuttals etc.

    One can only go so far in civil debate when continued responses from the intellecutal amoeba needs to be called onto the carpet, Gaffa. Just desserts for your hard headed refusal to be schooled.

    And speaking of lies, you said:

    But now your unpleasantness has surpassed your normal gutter level and now you are making up lies. I never said that Republics and Democracies are identical. Please show me where I said that.

    I’m sorry…. do show me where I accused you of saying that republics and democracies are identical? There are a quite a few “republics” in both nation states, and our country’s states. And what I said is that their Constitutional laws vary…. even tho they are “republics”. This is in direct response to your dingbat statement:

    Here you show your ignorance of the term Republic. A republic doesn’t not need a EC system for it to be a Republic.

    well, duh. Why don’t you show me where I said “a republic must have an electoral college”?

    But our *republic” does indeed have that creation for handling the individual state elections for the POTUS… not a national election… and how those state results are tallied for the POTUS. THus the reasoning for the debate between *we Americans* that the back door thru state legislation to abolish a constitutionally established voting method for POTUS is simply unconcionable. It’s called specifics for our nation’s structure, our nation’s law, our nation’s founding. Something you’ve demonstrated to know nothing of, and refuse to learn about because it’s inconvenient to your talking points.

    So your point?

    I repeat… get back to us when your EU nation states/republics are allowed to have their citizens popular vote pick your PM.

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  4. @Gaffer: You seriously think you won this debate with Mata??

    ROFLMAO!!

    Then you have the balls to say this to her:

    Anyway here are some serious questions for you. See if you can answer them without being snide?

    Snide? You mean like this?

    Imagine that – a President elected by popular vote! Pretty scandalous if everyone’s vote counted the same irrespective where they lived wouldn’t it? Sounds too much like democracy to me!

    Why do you even care how we elect our President? It really is none of your business.

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  5. MataHarley says: 105

    @GaffaUK, to your “serious” question, I have this to say.

    Who gives a flying fart how many democracies (or whatever that term means to you) there are, or are not, in the world. They are not my concern. My country is.

    Why you would consider that “serious”… who knows. Follow your own jelly bean trail. I’m not interested.

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  6. johngalt says: 106

    @GaffaUK:

    As you don’t quite understand my points, it is hard to have a reasonable debate, or discussion, with you on this. I have tried being patient, and have explained my points numerous times, many different ways, and you still have not gotten it. I am exhausted on this, and you haven’t made a valid point yet, but merely repeated, again and again, a belief that using the term democracy, in description of the type of government the U.S. has, is acceptable.

    I will just answer this comment from you, as it pertains to the original OP;

    By here’s the thing – having the President being elected by popular vote doesn’t stop it being a Republic!

    No, it doesn’t, you are right. However, our forefathers set up the EC system as one aspect of our Republic, as one part of the design of the whole. To take that away, from the original design, invites negative consequences, as written by Madison in Federalist Papers no. 10.

    One needs look no further than the 17th Amendment to see the negative consequences that can happen when the original design is changed. When the Senate became elected due to popular statewide vote, the states themselves lost their representation of their interests, replaced by the popular interests of it’s citizens, particularly the major urban centers within the particular state, which may, or may not, have the best interests of the state in mind when debating federal law. It was an ill-conceived move, and needs to be repealed, just as a National Popular Vote for president would be.

    To end though, go ahead and call it what you want. I’ll still call it a republic, and be right about it, as words matter, be they from back in the late 1700’s, or today in the 2000’s.

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  7. GaffaUK says: 107

    @John Galt

    As you don’t quite understand my points, it is hard to have a reasonable debate, or discussion, with you on this. I have tried being patient, and have explained my points numerous times, many different ways, and you still have not gotten it

    Well it’s a shame you feel that way. You can disagree with something and still understand it. I disagree that women and blacks were unable to vote when the US was originally formed. That does mean I don’t undertand the context of those times. Similarly I understand the EC system and reasons the Founding Fathers chose that – but I don’t agree that it is the best system particularly today.

    I am exhausted on this, and you haven’t made a valid point yet, but merely repeated, again and again, a belief that using the term democracy, in description of the type of government the U.S. has, is acceptable.

    I think we both made valid points and it seems odd and dismissive that you believe I have made no valid points particularly when you have agreed (to a degree) with some of them. I haven’t merely repeated. I have expanded and gone into depth. I believe I have answered all your points. However you have failed to answer quite a few of mine – even though I have asked several times. I even put the last set of questions in bold. And yet they remain unanswered.

    No, it doesn’t, you are right. However, our forefathers set up the EC system as one aspect of our Republic, as one part of the design of the whole. To take that away, from the original design, invites negative consequences, as written by Madison in Federalist Papers no. 10

    Although the post is originally about whether the EC system should be changed to a popular vote or not – I have focused in a tangent (which is fine as they happen all the time) on Mata’s ascertion that the US is not a democracy. That is what I have attempted to address – because if we create false definitions and misunderstandings about the terms Republic and Democracy that how do we hope to debate EC. The use of EC has nothing to do with the term Republic – is does not define whether something is a Republic or not. I am more than happy to use the term Republic but it is also accurate to say that the US is a democracy or that it is a captialist society. If it not acceptable then why do so many Presidents specifically refer to the US as a democracy. And as I say, and will repeat – saying something in general is correct but specifically is wrong does not make sense.

    One needs look no further than the 17th Amendment to see the negative consequences that can happen when the original design is changed. When the Senate became elected due to popular statewide vote, the states themselves lost their representation of their interests, replaced by the popular interests of it’s citizens, particularly the major urban centers within the particular state, which may, or may not, have the best interests of the state in mind when debating federal law. It was an ill-conceived move, and needs to be repealed, just as a National Popular Vote for president would be.

    Well thank God the original design did change – as I say otherwise women and blacks wouldn’t be able to vote. That doesn’t mean all change is good but that we shouldn’t fossilise our thinking to fall in line to what ever certain gentlemen of the late 17 century believed. The thing is that states are not living breathing entities – they are political and artifical boundaries. Give more votes proportionally to the small states so they don’t get dominated by the big states? So a vote by and individual carries more weight than in California! How does the weighting get decided – isn’t that gerrymandering? Wouldn’t be easier and fairer than every American has an equal vote? Or is it because Republicans know that they would do worst off if people more populated states had equal votes – so it’s self interest. What if they were more people living in the country than in the cities – how would you rebalance the EC then? And besides out of all the Presidential elections – how many results would change if there had been decided by popular vote. Would things really go to the dogs?

    To end though, go ahead and call it what you want. I’ll still call it a republic, and be right about it, as words matter, be they from back in the late 1700′s, or today in the 2000′s.

    Of course you would be right and I didn’t dispute that the US is a republic. You say I misunderstand you and yet you felt the need to show quotes where Presidents use the word republic. Which again I have never disputed! lol. What I have disputed and why I posted Presidents quotes who have use the word democracy is because some of you say the US is not a democracy. As well as being a republic the US is also a democracy. As I say the two words are not diametric. Again have a look at my questions on my last post which I have put in bold. I would be interested in your replies.

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  8. MataHarley says: 108

    Gaffa: The use of EC has nothing to do with the term Republic – is does not define whether something is a Republic or not. I am more than happy to use the term Republic but it is also accurate to say that the US is a democracy or that it is a captialist society.

    And no one said it did, Gaffa. Speaking again of lies… I pointed this out to you already. But considering how you didn’t even come close to my Triumph/sports car analogy in accuracy, I think it’s safe to say reading comprehension ain’t your forte.

    The EC and our republic status is central to the debate because of our republic structure, and the constitutional mandate that the POTUS election is individual state elections, voting for “the electors”‘ of the candidate. The electors then cast their votes in the electoral college. And they may be “unfaithful”, tho that is rare.

    So if you really want to get specific, the individual state citizens are not even casting votes for the candidates themselves, but the electoral appointees. That’s the way we work. Ergo, having a mandate for the electoral appointees to change their state’s results via other states’ voting results for their respective electoral appointees is unConstitutional.

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  9. MATA, I wonder how the military votes from those in warzone or other foreign COUNTRYS,
    AND also the CIVILIENS working for diverse COMPANYS, HOW those new changes will fit in
    their votes being legitimise by those STATES WHO APPROVED THAT IMPLEMETATION
    BYE

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  10. johngalt says: 110

    @GaffaUK:

    Mata has called me patient, and I am, although at a certain point, patience becomes a fault. I have explained, over and over, using different wordings, why applying the term ‘Democracy’ to the United States, within a discussion of specific government types, is unacceptable. I have given examples of statements, most notably, and most importantly, Madison’s from his Federalist Paper no. 10, of the term ‘Republic’ applied to the United States. James Madison is considered the principle author of our Constitution, and as he, in his essay, notes that the United States is not specifically a democracy, so it is that I believe as well.

    I believe I have answered all your points. However you have failed to answer quite a few of mine – even though I have asked several times. I even put the last set of questions in bold. And yet they remain unanswered.

    In the interest of rational discussion, I will answer them, however, I didn’t avoid them at the time. I merely didn’t choose to answer them, as they did not, and do not, matter, to the discussion at hand.

    Q: I don’t believe the Constitution refers to the US as being as capitialist society does that therefore mean the US isn’t a capitialist society?

    No, it doesn’t. However, the freedoms and liberties assumed, and enumerated, within the document lead one to consider that the United States was founded under the principles of a ‘Free Market’. That, perhaps, is a more accurate term than ‘Capitalism’, as that term was first observed in history in a novel published in 1854, by William Thackeray. To delve more into that question involves running off in a tangent that I do not wish to, and I won’t.

    Q: Is France not a Republic because it elects it President directly by popular vote?

    No, it doesn’t change their government type because it’s President is elected by popular vote. However, just as it is termed a republic, and as it has some of the same features as the U.S., it is also quite different, in that the Head of State, the President, is elected, while the Head of Government, the Prime Minister, is appointed, by the President. Their Senate has very limited capacity for influencing the affairs and laws of it’s government. I point these differences out because they are important distinctions, and particular to France, just as our specific system of government is particular to us, in the United States. I didn’t answer this question when you put it to us because it doesn’t matter. No one has stated that it would make the United States not a Republic, if the President were elected by popular vote. However, it removes an important instrument, of our specific government, that the founders gave us, to ensure that certain negative consequences from the general republican form of government would not arise.

    Q: So what countries do you believe are democracies today?

    Is this a specific question, or generalized? This is a hard question to answer by simple note of the sheer magnitude of countries in the world today. As well, it doesn’t matter what I believe of other countries’ governments, however, for the sake of argument, I’d say that in general terms, there are many countries that use democratic practices within their governments, but they aren’t all considered democracies, when concerned with specific terms. This is one of the important points that I am making. The two terms, democracy, and republic, are not mutually exclusive, and no one here has claimed that they are, but they are not interchangeable either, as you seem to believe. And as we are discussing the specific type of government that the United States has, using the term democracy, as I have stated, is unacceptable.

    Q: Which democracies today don’t have laws?

    It’s not whether or not they have laws. In democracies, the laws are not limited by a set of ‘supreme laws’, but rather, only limited by the whims of the majority. In those cases, the rights of the minorities are subject to the will of the majorities. This is one of the pitfalls of pure democracies, and is why our founders steered clear of that form of government to as much an extent as possible. Sure there are democratic principles behind much of the government of the United States, however, they are countered by more specific republican principles, intended to limit the influence, and possible tyranny, of the majority over the minority. Our presidential election, with the use of the EC, is one such example.

    In #107, and this is a continuation of the answer from directly above;

    The thing is that states are not living breathing entities – they are political and artifical boundaries.

    They are not political, nor artificial boundaries, just as they are not living, breathing entities. The states were meant to be their own, individual, sovereign entities, hence the term ‘United States’. I suggest a thorough reading of the Federalist Papers, and Anti-Federalist Papers, to gain a more clear understanding of what that means, however, this Amendment, from our Constitution, should suffice for now;

    Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    What that means is that the federal government has been granted limited powers, by the states, to engage in specific acts on their behalf, such as those defined within Article I, Section 8, and that any other action, or power, not specifically granted to the Federal government, is reserved by Constitutional authority, to the states themselves. This Amendment would not be possible, nor required, if the states were something other than their own sovereign entities, which have engaged in a mutual agreement to form a federal government, by their own choice.

    Give more votes proportionally to the small states so they don’t get dominated by the big states? So a vote by and individual carries more weight than in California!

    That is kind of the purpose, however, I think that you misunderstand the intent. The number of EC votes a state has is made up of it’s numbers of representatives(the people), and it’s senators(the states), so that the people have a voice, as well as the states, in their choosing of the President. Our Constitution leaves the manner of choosing a state’s electors, up to that individual state. Possibly the most accurate representation, although one not engaged in by but a very small number of states, would be that each individual district, within a state, choose their elector, and the statewide popular vote, choose the electoral representation of it’s senators, in order to disperse it’s electoral votes, and not solely by a statewide popular vote.

    Wouldn’t be easier and fairer than every American has an equal vote? Or is it because Republicans know that they would do worst off if people more populated states had equal votes – so it’s self interest. What if they were more people living in the country than in the cities – how would you rebalance the EC then?

    It isn’t based on which states are most populous, but rather geographic locations. Those within urban areas, tend to vote in much higher percentages than a national division of political party affiliation, than do the voters within suburban, and rural areas. In places like Chicago, for example, the democrats often receive greater than 80%, or even 90%, of the total votes, while those downstate, in more rural areas, tend to split fairly close to the national political party affiliations. As you can see, Chicago has a disproportionate weight, within a statewide vote within Illinois, than any other area in that state. Hence, their affinity for voting in Democrats to near exclusivity within statewide elections. The same is true, although not to as great an extent as Illinois, within New York, and California, and many of the NE states, such as Massachusetts, or the NW, such as Washington state.

    Now, our founding fathers realized this, as even in the late 18th century, the majority of populations were centered around urban areas, and that the representation of the lesser populated, more rural states, such as SC and Georgia, would be overwhelmed by those within NY, or Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania. Hence, the idea of the EC, with it’s divisions of votes, to weight more fairly, and equitably, the choosing votes for President. The ideas then, are just as valid today, and in certain areas, even more so, such as Illinois.

    Well thank God the original design did change – as I say otherwise women and blacks wouldn’t be able to vote.

    Yes, and I agree. Which is precisely why the founding fathers left a mechanism in place so as to make the possible change to the Constitution a reality. In choosing to do so, they had to balance making the amending of the Constitution not so difficult so as to preclude the possibility of doing so, but not so easy so as to make the original design only a mere formality, most likely to be changed by the whims of men at every opportunity. Unfortunately, our government has failed to execute in their amending of the Constitution a few times, most notably in the Prohibition of Alcohol, and the change to elections of the Senators. It is interesting that both of these were instituted roughly at a similar time, when progressives were gaining influence within the U.S. government. They abolished one of those, and we, the United States, needs to abolish the other, as well. The reasoning behind the 17th Amendment was sound, the execution was not. But that is another topic of discussion.

    And as I say, and will repeat – saying something in general is correct but specifically is wrong does not make sense.

    Allow me to try for another analogy, then. When asked, or in a discussion, about a particular species of bird, let’s say, a Wood Duck, it is not acceptable to state that it is a waterfowl, and expect that that answer will suffice. It would be more accurate, and completely acceptable, to call the bird a Wood Duck, which is what it is. Although the term ‘waterfowl’ would not necessarily be wrong, it would not be accurate, particularly within a specific discussion of the specific bird. Try telling a conservation officer that because you have a stamp for shooting Mallards, another waterfowl, that it should mean you can also shoot the Wood Duck too, since they are both waterfowl. While your terms may not be wrong, as you applied them to the birds, they would be completely unacceptable within those specifics.

    You can disagree with something and still understand it.

    The final point: I don’t think that you do understand it, as you continue to insist that our States are not individual, Sovereign entities, although that is exactly how our Constitution was set up, and what some of us still fight for. This is a major point, that leads to the understanding of virtually all of the others. Until you reach that understanding, it will be hard, if not impossible, to understand why the need to retain the EC is so important to us. It also, as it happens, to be the major point of contention between liberals and conservatives, although many of both of them do not realize it. The idea that the states have willingly entered into an agreement with one another, to form a union, for the sole purpose of division of labor of those things that are difficult, if not impossible, for individual states to accomplish by themselves, is one of the foundations of our particular form of government, for our country.

    Without understanding of that point, there can be no understanding of the succeeding points.

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  11. MataHarley says: 111

    Gaffa: Well thank God the original design did change – as I say otherwise women and blacks wouldn’t be able to vote.

    Another point of contention that bothers me about the uneducated. No where in the original Constitution were women and blacks prohibited from voting.

    The criteria for voting eligibility was a republican states’ right to set that criteria. And states guaranteed a “republican government” is stated unequivocally in Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution.

    Since the Constitution did not deny those rights, the “original design” did not have to be “changed”.

    Rather what was amended was clarification of constitutionally protected rights that could not be denied by the states. i.e. the abolishment of slavery (13th Amendment), followed by the 15th Amendment in 1869, that made it unConstitutional to deny voting rights based on race. Any race. The states continued to keep their standards, denying women the vote, until the 19th Amendment in 1919… which stated voter eligibility cannot be prohibited by the states based on gender either.

    Therefore the Constitution never had to be changed from it’s original design because the Constitition did not assume federal power for voting eligibility. The Constitutional amendments stepped in to prohibit the republican states’ from infringing on civil rights.

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  12. Steve Parker says: 112

    Lots of obscuring of the basic facts.

    America is the sum of its people.

    Not its buildings. Not its trees. Not its land.

    People.

    1 person, 1 vote. Make all votes equal.

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  13. MataHarley says: 113

    Thanks for that insight into your lack of civic knowledge of our founding documents and structure, Steve Parker.

    zzzzzzzzzz

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  14. johngalt says: 114

    @Steve Parker:

    1 person, 1 vote. Make all votes equal.

    If you understood the reasoning behind the Electoral College, by, perhaps, reading Madison’s Federalist Paper no. 10, then you would realize that a National Popular Vote for President nullifies your last sentence.

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  15. GaffaUK says: 115

    @John Galt

    If I said the Wood Duck was a waterfowl I would be absolutely correct. If I tried hunting Water Duck with a permit for Mallards because they are both waterfowl then yes that would be inappropriate. But that’s not what I doing. Why? Well let look at my general comments

    #5

    Sounds too much like democracy to me!

    Although I believe and later stated the US is a democracy in my first post I didn’t actually state that US was a democracy.

    However my sarcastic comment sparked some of you guys off including this…

    Mata #41

    You, on the other hand, suffer under the delusion that the US is a democracy.

    Imagine that – if I said to you that you are under the delusion that the Wood Duck is a waterfowl? lol

    GaffaUK #46

    It is a democracy – a flawed democracy like the UK but a democracy all the same and representative democracies are still democracies.

    So that’s me saying a Wood Duck is a waterfowl. I didn’t say the form of Government of the US is best described as a Constitutional-based Federal Republic now did I? Maybe this why you assumed incorrectly that I was hunting Mallards. Saying the US is a democracy is a true statement.

    John Galt #66

    The biggest difference between a democracy, and a republic, is that in a democracy, it is rule by the whims of the majority, while in a republic, it is rule by law, typically derived from a constitution, written to preserve rights for the people.

    Which isn’t true – as far I can see – Republics per se generally aren’t defined by having a constitution. And having laws doesn’t mean you automatically have a consistution. Almost all countries have constitutions. Of course a Constitutional Republic does have a constitution but that is a specification of a type of Republic.

    #John Galt #74

    We are a Representative Republic, not a Democracy. That is true no matter how you look at it, or spin it.

    False statement – the Wood Duck is still a waterfowl.

    My point, Gaffa, is that simply labeling the United States a ‘democracy’, in a discussion of specific political mechanism and theory, is wrong. Generally, the United States is considered a democracy, and yes, there is overlap between a democracy, and a republic, and yes, a republican form of government generally follows ideas from general democratic theory. However, the differences between the two are such that the United States should be considered a republic, and never a democracy.

    An even though I have called the US a democracy in general terms (which doesn’t become void if that statement is included in a discussion about EC) we have plenty of Presidents who refers to the US specifically as a democracy. Are they wrong? No. Would Constitutional-based Federal Republic be more specific? Yes. But remember just saying Republic (even though this is the preferred term by many including yourself) still covers over 120 countries so it is as common as muck and not very specific at all as those 120 Republics vary greatly in their specific government types. So if you said the US was a Republic you would be right. If I said it was a Democracy I would be right. And if anyone said it was a Constitutional-based Federal Republic they also would be right and would be the most specific. However you can the US a democracy anywhere – in a restaurant, in the park or in a discussion on EC and it would still be a true statement.

    The two terms, democracy, and republic, are not mutually exclusive, and no one here has claimed that they are, but they are not interchangeable either, as you seem to believe.

    Well this shows to me that yuo haven’t been reading my comments particulalry when I have stressed the Venn diagram, used the different dictionary definition of the terms Republic and Democracy, explained them and said the terms aren’t synonymous. If I said that the US doesn’t have a monarch therefore it is a democracy I would be incorrect. If I said that the US has a constitution, elects politicians and has an electoral system and therefore this makes it a Republic I would be incorrect. That’s context. My context saying the US is a democracy and a republic even within a debate on EC – is entirely correct and appropriate.

    The US constitution has has further amendments and stills remains a Republic. It could lose the EC system and scrap elections and it would still be a Republic. But for more than a century the term democracy as we understand today is appropriate to also call the US. And anyone today who claims the US isn’t a democracy as it is today – as we understand the term is delusional.

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  16. johngalt says: 116

    @GaffaUK:

    I fear that my patience is truly a fault at times. I have read, through various postings of yours, within this posted article, assertions that the United States is, indeed, both a democracy, and a republic. That presupposes that the terms are interchangeable. They are not. After doing some heavy reading on this, I come back around to my initial view, which is, that the United States is NOT a democracy, but rather, a Republic.

    Now, while we, the United States, do employ some democratic principles within our form of government, chiefly, that of the voting of laws, and our representation, those ideas are not prevalent throughout the entire structure of our government, and thus, we cannot be referred to as a democracy.

    Black’s Law Dictionary states, for definitions of democracy, and republic;

    Government; Republican government. One in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people, to whome those powers are specially delegated. In re Duncan, 139 U.S. 449, 11 S.Ct. 573, 35 L.Ed. 219; Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 162, 22 L.Ed. 627. [Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, p. 626]

    Democracy. That form of government in which the sovereign power resides in and is exercised by the whole body of free citizens directly or indirectly through a system of representation, as distinguished from a monarchy, aristocracy, or oligarchy. Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, pp. 388-389.

    Note the important distinction present. Within a Republican form of government, each individual is it’s own sovereign entity. Within a Democracy, the sovereign entity is the entire body of the people. Using those definitions, we then can look at the Constitution itself;

    Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    That is, perhaps, one of the most important Amendments to our Constitution, as it states, very explicitly, that the powers NOT GRANTED, to the federal government, within the Constitution, are reserved for the people, and the states. The people, as with the states themselves, are their own, individual, sovereign entities. Limited power is granted to the United States federal government, to act on their behalf.

    Within a democracy, their is no such idea present. Within a democracy, the rule is by the majority. Within a democracy, the minority have no rights, even if present within a listing of ‘civil rights’, as even those are present at the whim of the majority.

    Within a republic, the rule is by law. In our case, that of our Constitution, which is not present to delineate the individual’s rights, but to limit the power of the federal government, concerning our rights. Within our republic, we are not ruled by a majority. We grant power, to the federal government, to act on our behalf, for those actions which we, ourselves, cannot, or have difficulty, in doing. Our rights are supposed to be inviolate, unlike a democracy, in which their rights are granted to them. Ours are inalienable, meaning, they cannot be alienated from us, transferred from us, or surrendered by us.

    In California’s government code, sections 11120 and 54950 both state, “The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them.” The “agencies”, of course, being the government of the state of California, and the United States federal government, and “the people” being, of course, the individual citizens . Other states have similar wordings within their Constitutions, or governmental codes.

    A democracy, in truth, acts no different than a tyrant, other than by the number of tyrants present. With one’s rights, within a democracy, granted at the pleasure of the majority, those rights can be voted away by that majority, at their displeasure, be their intention ‘for the good of the people’, or not.

    Our form of government is not supposed to act in a similar manner as that. Our rights, even the multitude of unlisted, undefined rights, if we were to act in strict accordance with our Constitution, cannot be voted out by the majority, whatever their intention might be.

    Simply put, in a democracy, a citizen’s rights are granted by the government, which is the only sovereign entity present within that country. In a republic, a citizen’s rights are inherent by the mere fact of being a citizen.

    So, while we employ principles of democracy, in order to conduct governmental business and affairs, it is wrong, and unacceptable, to define our form of government as a democracy. Yes, I have changed my stance on this, becoming more hard line with the definitions. At one point, I was willing to concede that our form of government could be, in fact, described generally as a democracy. However, in light of my recent readings, and the knowledge I have ascertained, I choose to back away from that concession.

    In referring to our form of government as a democracy, and indeed, using that term almost exclusively, as many liberals and progressives are wont to do, they belie an intention of permanent change to our government, most notably, in the process by which we, the people, gain our rights, freedoms and liberties. They wish a form of government in which the majority grants those rights to it’s citizens, and use the benign phrase, “for the common good”, to obfuscate the fact that what they are really after is the power to reshape the country to fit within their image, or view, of what it should look like, according to their desires. An acceptance of those terms, starting with the acceptance that our government is a democracy, is to surrender that which makes our country, the United States, so unique, and great, within the established countries throughout history. I will not do so.

    I do not expect you to agree with any of this posting, and frankly, I don’t really care if you do, or not. You have never been a citizen of this country. I cannot expect you to understand the intentions of our founding fathers, whose views shaped our Constitution, and unique form of government, nor can I expect you to ever have experienced the moment upon realization that you have rights that the government cannot touch, or the anger that comes from the realization that they have attempted to do so. You are, as I understand it, an ex-pat from Great Britain. You had no inherent, God-given, inalienable rights as a British subject.

    So, state whatever you will. As in your previous postings, you will be wrong on this account. In general, or specifically, the United States is NOT a democracy. We are a Constitutional, Representative Republic.

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  17. GaffaUK says: 117

    @John Galt

    I have read, through various postings of yours, within this posted article, assertions that the United States is, indeed, both a democracy, and a republic. That presupposes that the terms are interchangeable.

    If I say a car is blue and a SUV do you therefore presuppose the terms blue and SUV are interchangeable?

    After doing some heavy reading on this, I come back around to my initial view, which is, that the United States is NOT a democracy, but rather, a Republic.

    So now according to you the US is not generally or specifically a democracy? So therefore the quotes I have used from John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Harrison, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, William G Harding, Herbert Hoover, FDR, Truman, Ronald Reagan and George Bush where they have refered to the US as a democracy shows that these Presidents don’t know what they are talking about?! Sorry but I think they would know.

    Note the important distinction present. Within a Republican form of government, each individual is it’s own sovereign entity. Within a Democracy, the sovereign entity is the entire body of the people. Using those definitions, we then can look at the Constitution itself;

    Where does it refer to individual sovereignity in the description of the Republic? Is that something else you presupposed? And where does that supposed importance distinction manifest in reality of today when comparing a Republic or Democracy. Can you even name one Democracy in the world? Or do really believe that there are no democracies in the world today especially now that you believe that US can’t even be called a Democracy in general? And what is the definition under Republic as opposed to Government; Republican government?

    If that’s Black’s definiton of a Republic then how many of these republics fits with their definition?

    Unitary republics
    Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (republic since 1973)
    Republic of Albania (since 1946)
    People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
    Republic of Armenia (1st: May 28, 1918; Current: December 25, 1991)
    Republic of Azerbaijan (1st: 28 May 1918; Re-established: 18 October 1991)
    People’s Republic of Bangladesh
    Republic of Benin
    Plurinational State of Bolivia
    Republic of Botswana
    Republic of Bulgaria (since 1946)
    Burkina Faso
    Republic of Burundi (since 1966)
    Republic of Cameroon (unitary republic 1960-1961 and 1972–present; federal republic 1961-1972)}
    Republic of Cape Verde
    Central African Republic (1958–1976; restored 1979)
    Republic of Chad
    Republic of Chile
    People’s Republic of China
    Republic of China
    Republic of Colombia (unitary republic since 1886)
    Republic of the Congo
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Republic of Costa Rica
    Republic of Côte d’Ivoire
    Republic of Croatia
    Republic of Cuba
    Republic of Cyprus
    Czech Republic
    Republic of Djibouti
    Commonwealth of Dominica
    Dominican Republic (1801–1861, 1844–present)
    Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
    Republic of Ecuador
    Arab Republic of Egypt (since 1953)
    Republic of El Salvador (1821–present)
    Republic of Equatorial Guinea
    State of Eritrea
    Republic of Estonia (1918-present)
    Republic of the Fiji Islands (since 1987)
    Finnish Democratic Republic (1 December 1939 to 12 March 1940)
    Republic of Finland (since 1919)
    French Republic
    Gabonese Republic
    Republic of The Gambia (since 1970)
    Georgia
    Republic of Ghana (since 1960)
    Goust (since 1648)
    Hellenic Republic (1st: 1822–1832; 2nd: 1924-1935; 3rd: since 1974)
    Republic of Guatemala
    Republic of Guinea
    Republic of Guinea-Bissau
    Co-operative Republic of Guyana (since 1970)
    Republic of Haiti (1806–1849; restored 1859)
    Republic of Honduras
    Republic of Hungary (since 1946)
    Republic of Iceland (republic since 1944)
    Republic of Indonesia (Unitary republic since August 1950)
    Islamic Republic of Iran (since 1979)
    Republic of Iraq (since 1958)
    Ireland (republic since 1949)
    Israel (since 1948)
    Italian Republic (since 1946)
    Republic of Kazakhstan
    Republic of Kenya (since 1964)
    Republic of Kiribati
    Kyrgyz Republic
    Lao People’s Democratic Republic (since 1975)
    Republic of Latvia
    Republic of Liberia
    Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (since 1969)
    Republic of Lithuania
    Republic of Macedonia (1991-)
    Republic of Madagascar
    Republic of Malaŵi (since 1966)
    Republic of Maldives (since 1968)
    Republic of Mali (since 1960)
    Republic of Malta (since 1974)
    Republic of the Marshall Islands
    Islamic Republic of Mauritania
    Republic of Mauritius (since 1992)
    Republic of Moldova
    Mongolia (since 1924)
    Republic of Montenegro (since 2006)
    Republic of Mozambique
    Republic of Namibia
    Republic of Nauru
    Republic of Nicaragua
    Republic of Niger
    Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (since 1948)
    Islamic Republic of Pakistan (since 1956)
    Republic of Palau
    Republic of Panama
    Republic of Paraguay
    Republic of Peru
    Commonwealth of the Philippines to the Fifth Republic of the Philippines (1934–present),
    Republic of Poland
    Portuguese Republic (since 1910)
    Romania (since 1947)
    Republic of Rwanda (since 1961)
    Russian Republic
    Independent State of Samoa (since 2007)
    Most Serene Republic of San Marino (since 301)
    Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
    Republic of Senegal
    Republic of Serbia
    Republic of Seychelles
    Republic of Sierra Leone (since 1971)
    Republic of Singapore (since 1965)
    Republic of Slovenia
    Republic of Somalia
    Republic of South Africa (since 1961)
    Republic of Korea (since 1948)
    Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (since 1972)
    Republic of the Sudan
    Republic of Suriname
    Syrian Arab Republic
    Republic of China (Taiwan) (established 1912, current Constitution since 1947)
    Republic of Tajikistan
    United Republic of Tanzania
    Togolese Republic
    Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (since 1976)
    Tunisian Republic (since 1957)
    Republic of Turkey (republic since 1923)
    Republic of Turkmenistan
    Republic of Uganda (since 1963)
    Ukraine
    Oriental Republic of Uruguay
    Republic of Uzbekistan
    Republic of Vanuatu
    Socialist Republic of Vietnam
    Republic of Yemen (former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen and Yemen Arab Republic)
    Republic of Zambia

    Federal republics
    Republic of Argentina (since 1852)
    Republic of Austria
    Federative Republic of Brazil (since November 15, 1889)
    Bosnia and Herzegovina (since 1995)
    Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (unitary republic 1974-1994; federal republic since 1994)
    Federal Republic of Germany (since 1918)
    Republic of India (since January 26, 1950)
    United Mexican States[17] (since 1917)
    Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal (since 2007)
    Federal Republic of Nigeria
    Islamic Republic of Pakistan (since 1956, Declaration of the Islamic Republic)
    Russian Federation (since November 7, 1917; up to 1991 it was named Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic[19])[20]
    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1922–1991)
    Swiss Confederation (since 1848)
    Union of Myanmar
    United Provinces of Central America (1823–1840)
    United States of America[21] (since 1789)
    Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

    etc, etc

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_republics

    You talk about that part of the definiton of a Republic is looking after minorities but this is plainly not the case when you examine the US (e.g. slavery) and of other republics .

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  18. MataHarley says: 118

    Gaffa: If I say a car is blue and a SUV do you therefore presuppose the terms blue and SUV are interchangeable?

    I don’t know about you, Gaffa. But I don’t consider an adjective and a noun interchangeable.

    Gaffa: Where does it refer to individual sovereignity in the description of the Republic?

    This is your inherent problem. We’re not talking about other republics or government’s. We’re talking about *our* republic… something you apparently can’t get thru your head. And I pointed out that republic and sovereignty is specifically referred to in Article IV, Section 4 of our Constitution, as I reprinted above.

    Can’t blame you for following butterflies. You’ve demonstrated you’re clueless to the structure of our nation, and it’s history. You got nothing left to redeem yourself save desperate anecdotes.

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  19. @Gaffer: The copy and paste king strikes again.

    Who in the blue hell gives a rat’s ass how big a list of “republics” that you can find on the internet. Let me let you in on a little secret – you can find ANYTHING on the internet. Especially on wikipedia.

    We have a Democratic Republic and you don’t like that. You ridiculed us and got your ass handed to you for your efforts.

    Imagine that – a President elected by popular vote! Pretty scandalous if everyone’s vote counted the same irrespective where they lived wouldn’t it? Sounds too much like democracy to me!

    Now you have painted yourself into a corner and continue to try and defend whatever latest argument that is flying around in that empty head of yours.

    You showed a list of American historical figures calling America a democracy. You crowed about it, actually.

    And here are Presidents of your country who believe the US is a democracy….are they delusional?

    And even in that list, which you copied and pasted, you got it wrong several times.

    In the Bush quote, he is speaking of the idea of democracy taking hold in other countries. In fact, none of those quotes you offered define us a democracy rather than a republic.

    Then when johngalt offers his own, CORRECT list, you dismiss it out of hand.

    As for your quote which mention Republic – they are all very interesting but miss the point…

    Even though he quotes some of the SAME historical figures YOU did!!

    You are pathetic, Gaffer. I have debated you before here at FA and your tactics never change. Once you are proven wrong you ridicule and/or try to change the debate.

    Pathetic –
    1: having a capacity to move one to either compassionate or contemptuous pity

    Pretty much sums it up, Gaffer.

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  20. johngalt says: 120

    @GaffaUK:

    If I say a car is blue and a SUV do you therefore presuppose the terms blue and SUV are interchangeable?

    Your analogy falls short in several ways, Gaffa. One, Mata has already mentioned the word usage. Two, the two terms you use are descriptive of two different aspects of a car. Not quite the same as using the terms ‘democracy’ and ‘republic’ to describe, or define, one aspect of a country, namely, it’s government.

    So now according to you the US is not generally or specifically a democracy?

    No, it is not. I have qualified my views thoroughly, using plenty of unimpeachable reasonings. I have stated that the United States government, in it’s functioning, uses democratic actions in some of it’s functioning, however, that does not make our government a democracy, in entirety, which is what we are discussing. As for your quotations from various figures, the ones who are referring to our country as a democracy are indeed wrong. Chances are they misunderstand the terms similarly to your misunderstandings about them.

    Where does it refer to individual sovereignity in the description of the Republic?

    Let’s just apply word usage and definitions to the argument, shall we?

    Definition of SOVEREIGNTY
    1 obsolete : supreme excellence or an example of it
    2 a : supreme power especially over a body politic
    b : freedom from external control : autonomy
    c : controlling influence

    And, from the definitions from Black’s Law Dictionary;

    Government; Republican government. One in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people,

    Democracy. That form of government in which the sovereign power resides in and is exercised by the whole body of free citizens

    Using those three definitions, the only conclusion to make is that in a republic, sovereign power resides in the individual entities, in our case, the individual citizen, and the individual states. I already gave you the example from California’s governmental code, as well. If you still fail to see the difference, which I have stated is of primary import to understanding the difference, then I cannot help you, nor can anyone, to understand why the U.S. is a republic, and not a democracy.

    If that’s Black’s definiton of a Republic then how many of these republics fits with their definition?

    I am only concerned with the United States, and none other.

    You talk about that part of the definiton of a Republic is looking after minorities but this is plainly not the case when you examine the US (e.g. slavery) and of other republics .

    Again, you misuse a term, in this case, minorities.

    Definition of MINORITY
    1 a : the period before attainment of majority b : the state of being a legal minor

    2 : the smaller in number of two groups constituting a whole; specifically : a group having less than the number of votes necessary for control

    3 a : a part of a population differing from others in some characteristics and often subjected to differential treatment b : a member of a minority group

    In the context of my usage, the second definition is the one that applies. For example, in whether to raise taxes, or lower them, the lesser number of people, on their side of that issue, is a minority. And I do not include it within a definition of Republic. I include it within statements and ideas, from the founding fathers, who were very concerned with upholding our inalienable rights, despite what the majority wants, and as such, they gave us a Constitutional Republic, instead of a democracy.

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  21. @johngalt: At the risk of sounding like your mini-me, I have to say that your last few comments here to Gaffer are thoughtful, concise and extremely well written. Your patience is incredible and I must ask, are you or have you ever been a teacher?

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  22. johngalt says: 122

    @anticsrocks:

    Nope, never been one. Unless you count being an instructor at Naval Nuclear Prototype Training Unit, Charleston.

    And thank you for the compliments. I appreciate it.

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  23. GaffaUK says: 123

    @John Galt

    Fact is the US doesn’t have any official description for it’s form or type of government. Is is Democratic Republic, Federal Republic, Federal Democracy, Federal Constitutional Republic, Constitutional Republic, Constitutional Democracy, Liberal Democracy, Liberal Republic, Representative Republic, Representative Democracy, Republican Democracy, Presidential Republic, Presidential Democracy, Confederated Representative Democracy, etc? Depends on who you ask you will get different answers.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_of_government

    The actual word ‘Republic’ is not officially part of the United States name and it does not appear it The Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution.

    This sums it up pretty well (shock horror a cut and paste – so turn away Mata and mini-me – as if you don’t cut & paste – lol )

    A distinct set of definitions for the word republic evolved in the United States. In common parlance a republic is a state that does not practice direct democracy but rather has a government indirectly controlled by the people. This is known as representative democracy. This understanding of the term was originally developed by James Madison, and notably employed in Federalist Paper No. 10. This meaning was widely adopted early in the history of the United States, including in Noah Webster’s dictionary of 1828. It was a novel meaning to the term, representative democracy was not an idea mentioned by Machiavelli and did not exist in the classical republics.[54]

    The term republic does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, but does appear in Article IV of the Constitution which “guarantee[s] to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government.” What exactly the writers of the constitution felt this should mean is uncertain. The Supreme Court, in Luther v. Borden (1849), declared that the definition of republic was a “political question” in which it would not intervene. In two later cases, it did establish a basic definition. In United States v. Cruikshank (1875), the court ruled that the “equal rights of citizens” were inherent to the idea of republic.

    However, the term republic is not synonymous with the republican form. The republican form is defined as one in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people, to whom those powers are specially delegated.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic

    As for the Federalist Papers…

    Madison himself believed not only that The Federalist Papers were not a direct expression of the ideas of the Founders, but that those ideas themselves, and the “debates and incidental decisions of the Convention,” should not be viewed as having any “authoritative character.” In short, “the legitimate meaning of the Instrument must be derived from the text itself; or if a key is to be sought elsewhere, it must be not in the opinions or intentions of the Body which planned & proposed the Constitution, but in the sense attached to it by the people in their respective State Conventions where it recd. all the Authority which it possesses.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_Papers

    I am only concerned with the United States, and none other

    How very weak. We are discussing what makes aRepublic and what makes a Democracy. Therefore it is important to look at other examples. As that weakens your argument I can see why you would want to dodge that. Obviously it is transparent that both terms aren’t very specific with various meanings which are somewhat confused even within the US itself. Both terms can be used and have been used.

    As for Article 4, Section 4, Clause 1

    The guarantee of a republican government has been asserted by many advocates to prohibit the use of direct democracy procedures in the states. The use of the initiative, referendum, and recall are all tools of “direct democracy,” that allow the electorate to exercise legislative power independently from their republican representatives. The Supreme Court faced a challenge to the use of statewide initiatives in Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Oregon, 223 U.S. 118 (1912). In that case, the Court held that challenges to a state’s republican character are non-justiciable political questions, and that the decision of whether a state is “republican” in conformance with the guarantee clause may be decided only by Congress. This doctrine remains valid today. Each time Congress accepts members to the House and Senate, Congress is implicitly acknowledging the legitimacy and republican nature of the state from which the representatives were elected.

    So if the States are sovereign then surely they should decide?

    However it reality the States aren’t sovereign entities as they can’t legally leave the Union!

    the court further held that the Constitution did not permit states to secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were “absolutely null”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._White

    As for the 17th Amendment – then this surely this couldn’t of been done with a whim and was Constitutional – so what’s the problem?

    Finally on the US Government website..
    Core documents on USDemocracy
    http://www.gpoaccess.gov/coredocs.html

    and here’s question 78 on the US. Citizenship and Immigration Services test question..

    What kind of government does the United States have?
    Democracy

    http://usgovinfo.about.com/blinstst.htm

    So just how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?;)

    ReplyReply
  24. @Gaffer: Wikipedia! What a rock solid source to cite…

    /sarcasm off

    You said:

    How very weak. We are discussing what makes aRepublic and what makes a Democracy.

    Uh, nope. We are correcting you when you called the United States a straight democracy. When you were called on it, you got your panties in a twist and started Googling your little heart out to grasp at ANYTHING you could throw on the screen that would, in your murky mind, allow you to jump up and down like a little kid and say, “See??!! I’m right, I’m right!!”

    Nan pegged you to wall with her reminder that you are not a citizen of the UK, rather you are a subject and it is obvious and understandable that you do not comprehend the nuances and intricacies of a truly free society.

    You really needn’t get defensive over the dressing down you received over this. Honestly, the only reason you got the harsh treatment you did was that you started this conversation off by insulting our way of governing ourselves. All you need to do is ask our forgiveness and I am sure all will be put behind us.

    It is sad that rather than offering a realistic, thoughtful comment you decided instead to resort to mockery. I guess that tells us a lot about the way you think of us as Americans.

    Have a nice day, Gaffer.

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  25. johngalt says: 125

    @GaffaUK:

    The Federalist Papers were not meant to be a guide to the Constitution. They were, in fact, a series of essays outlining the arguments for the Constitution, as written, and thus, we can gain from them the reasonings behind the forms of the federal government provided to us, within the Constitution. They have become the very guide they were not meant to be. It is essential, in any study of the Constitution, to avail oneself of the opportunity to study the Federalist Papers, in their entirety, in order to gain a clearer understanding of the contents within the Constitution. It is also essential, in any study of the Constitution, to delve into the Anti-Federalist Papers, so that one gains a clearer understanding of the arguments against Federalism that the Federalist Papers were arguing for, and thus, have a more complete understanding of why and how our Constitution was written, and adopted.

    Thomas Jefferson himself stated, in a letter to James Madison in 1788, that the Federalist Papers “as being, in my opinion, the best commentary on the principles of government, which ever was written.”

    Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist Paper no. 85 writes;

    Let us now pause and ask ourselves whether, in the course of these papers, the proposed Constitution has not been satisfactorily vindicated from the aspersions thrown upon it; and whether it has not been shown to be worthy of the public approbation, and necessary to the public safety and prosperity. Every man is bound to answer these questions to himself, according to the best of his conscience and understanding, and to act agreeably to the genuine and sober dictates of his judgment. This is a duty from which nothing can give him a dispensation.

    In short, the Federalist Papers are an excellent means of understanding the thoughts at the time, particularly of Madison, on the structure of the new government, as outlined by the Constitution.

    How very weak. We are discussing what makes aRepublic and what makes a Democracy.

    No, it is not, and we are not. The discussion revolves around whether the United States is a democracy, or a republic. And, that being the case, I commented that I am concerned with the United States, and no other country.

    However it reality the States aren’t sovereign entities as they can’t legally leave the Union!

    In the Declaration of Independence, it states;

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown…..

    The states retained their sovereign status under the Articles of Confederation, the forerunner to our Constitution.

    Article I of the Paris Peace Treaty states;

    His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.

    The ideas of state sovereignty are continued in the Constitution itself, under Article IV, Section 4, under the 9th and 10th Amendments, and the 11th Amendment, which in recent court cases has shown the validity of states’ sovereign immunity.

    All of these together provide a general consensus that the idea of the individual states retaining their own sovereign status. Your argument falls on the fact that a state has not been allowed to leave the union, however, it has been un-Constitutional action, force, by the federal government that has prevented it. Your assertion that we do not live in sovereign states, because we haven’t been allowed to leave the union, means very little, and is simply a product of a belief that our federal government has more power than they were meant to have. Nothing more.

    and here’s question 78 on the US. Citizenship and Immigration Services test question..

    That is actually kind of funny. You use a test question, from a test most likely written by an unnamed government employee, as proof of our government being a democracy.

    Hamilton again, on Federalist Paper no. 85, again;

    The additional securities to republican government, to liberty and to property, to be derived from the adoption of the plan under consideration,

    James Madison, Federalist Paper no. 55;

    “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government (that of a Republic) presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another.”

    And, again, there are numerous references to the form of government proposed within the Constitution, contained in the Federalist Papers, to it being republican.

    You are exercising a vast misunderstanding of certain terms and ideas essential to the framework of the United States, the most important of which, again, is the idea of individual sovereignty within each citizen, and the independent sovereignty of the states, both of which are of utmost import within the idea of a republican form of government, and that are not inclusive within a democracy.

    As for the 17th Amendment, I have stated that I agree their reasoning behind the change was sound. I understand why they passed, and ratified it. Their execution, however, is a dismal failure that removed an important construct of our Constitution from the checks and balances contained within it’s framework.

    I have presented the case, that the U.S. is a republic, and not a democracy, with various sources, and using logic and reason. That you fail to understand the distinction is not my failure, but yours. And yes, there is a distinctive difference, as outlined within Black’s Law Dictionary, that you have failed to counter with anything other than an opinion.

    ReplyReply
  26. Gaffa UK, DON’T ASK TO SEE THE POWER THAT THE PEOPLE POSESS IN THE REPUBLIC,
    if they would find the NEED to apply the power that has been delegated to them by the CONSTITUTION,
    AND THE BILL OF RIGHT, THIS GOVERNMENT WOULD TREMBLED OF FEAR,
    that is why they better do the right jobs they are required to do that is TO SERVE THE PEOPLE WITH IMPARTIALITY AND WISDOM FIRST BEFORE ANY OTHER WORLD POWER OR ORGANISATION.
    AMERICA IS A SUPER POWER NEVER HAVE BEEN MATCH BY ANY OTHER NATIONS,
    THEY HAVE SPILL THEIR BLOOD FOR THE FREEDOM OF IT’S PEOPLE AND FOR OTHER PEOPLE ABUSED BY CRIMINAL MINDS IN POWER.
    so you should treat them with most respect when you mingle with their core beliefs
    LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ,
    MADE UP WITH CONSERVATIVES TEAPARTYS REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS

    ReplyReply
  27. johngalt, hi, you have a abrain capacitya that outweIght a lot of people, and
    I feel that, to ask any one to read and understand those so important papers,
    is beyong demanding some brains to understand it. because there are diffrent stages of limitations on many, they could not possibly absorb. that is why most of those delegate their votes to another person which often is less able then they are to understand, but posess a strong speech power to elaborate any studied quotes some false and very dangerous doctrineS of destruction as the world outside has given already the outcome, but still they, ignorants, with the only skill is to harangue the crowd to follow them
    blindly on the road to precipice, like the BIGGEST AND GIANTLY STRONG MAMMOOTHS
    HAVE BEEN EXTERMINATED JUST BY FOLLOWING THE TOP ONE TO END UP ALL IN THE CREVACE UNABLE TO RECOVER , AND RISE AGAIN ON TOP; BUT HOW COME IT ENDED LIKE THIS BECAUSE YOU CANNOT FAIL IF YOU ARE AS STRONG AT THEM, IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE, THEY WHERE THE STRONGEST,

    YES YOU CAN. AND FAIL MISERABLY IN PAIN. TAKING ALL YOUR FOLLOWERS WHO DEPENDED ON YOU.

    ReplyReply
  28. johngalt says: 128

    @ilovebeeswarzone:

    YES YOU CAN. AND FAIL MISERABLY IN PAIN. TAKING ALL YOUR FOLLOWERS WHO DEPENDED ON YOU.

    I’d like to see a bumper sticker with that on it. Very funny, and very insightful, Ms. Bees.

    ReplyReply
  29. Steve Parker says: 129

    So funny watching all the spin. The only way that conservatives can hope to retain power is to suppress individual votes.

    Good luck!

    ReplyReply
  30. The only way Dems can win is to install phony Tea Party candidates, like they did in NY recently.

    ReplyReply
  31. anticsrocks, hi, yes they are not to be trust by the voter, they will use any sneaky stuff on
    triyin to deceive the people,
    but now the people are more aware, and wont go with the fooling around,
    AMERICA IS MARCHING TO CHANGE, WHAT EVER THEY DID.

    ReplyReply
  32. johngalt says: 132

    So funny watching all the spin. The only way that conservatives can hope to retain power is to suppress individual votes.

    This is what is known as an intellectually dishonest statement.

    Tell me, Mr. Parker, just what statements we have made that are ‘spin’. I’d also like to know why, exactly, you think that adherence to the EC suppresses individual votes.

    Drive-bys don’t cut it here, Mr. Parker. We tend to discuss issues in thoughtful, rational manners, using reason and supplying sources, as support for our views, or stances, on those issues. In reference, look at Gaffa’s postings, which, although I disagree with him on nearly everything he has stated, I am provided with links, quotes, and reasoned responses, in order to develop my counter-argument, if I have one, or agree, if I am so inclined. You have provided nothing along those lines. I will not be surprised by a lack of thoughtful response on your part.

    ReplyReply
  33. Steve Parker, you can keep the good luck for yourself,
    YOU’LL NEED A LOT OF IT

    ReplyReply
  34. Steve Parker says: 134

    johngalt, you crack me up.

    You’re a serious person. I can tell. You should be taken seriously. I can tell that you want that as well.

    That’s why this “message board” is so important to you. You believe that you will be taken seriously.

    And you are.

    It’s like the lunch table in high school where all the “slow” kids sit. There’s one of them there who is the “smartest” and he’s highly regarded among his peers.

    But he’s still a retard to the rest of the school.

    This is no different that a bunch of people getting together rehashing what they’ve heard on talk radio or on Fox News.

    And just to avoid surprising you, suck a dick. LOL

    ReplyReply
  35. STEVE PARKER, STOP BEING A SNAKE, you must be lonely down below

    ReplyReply
  36. johngalt says: 136

    Thank you, Mr. Parker. You have succeeded in providing the perfect example of why people like Obama and Pelosi get elected. The people who would vote for them do not have the intellect necessary to cut through the B.S. being spoonfed to them, but rather, lap it up like it was their favorite ice cream. Not surprising that you would end your post that way, and no, it wasn’t a surprise. Nor was it a surprise that you added nothing of meaningful value to the discussion. Joining a “message board”, simply to insult people, under the anonymity the internet provides, shows your character flaws.

    I’ll try not to make the mistake of trying to engage you in a discussion, or even note your posts anymore, as it is worth less in value than is scraping the mud off my boots after a day of working.

    ReplyReply
  37. @johngalt: Steve-O reminds me of that old saying –

    I wish I could buy him for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth…

    ReplyReply
  38. Sid says: 138

    Here in Louisiana the stealth bill to manipulate the EC votes in creeping along without making a sound. I have written my representative and senator asking them to help stop this bill. I have also written the sponsors of the senate bill and the house bill requesting information on the bill and reasons why they are trying to undermine the Constitution on a state level. Nothing but crickets chirping in the background. No responses. I spoke with the editor of the local paper. He knows nothing of the bill but personally feels like the EC is an antiquated mode of electing the President. Geez, this is scary.

    ReplyReply
  39. MataHarley says: 139

    Thanks for the update, Sid. I was wondering how it was going as I haven’t seen any news INRE LA’s bill either. Then again, the tabloid news is only full of Weinergate these days….

    Question… have you considered writing Gov. Jindal, the desk where the buck stops? He can veto, and is there veto proof support for this bill in your state legislature?

    ReplyReply
  40. Sid says: 140

    I will take your advice and write to Jindal. I had hoped that one of these so called public servants would have responded to my letters, but alas they’re probably glued to the TV trying to find ways to avoid weiner tweets.

    ReplyReply
  41. MataHarley says: 141

    Most definitely waiting to see if Jindal responds, Sid. No matter what the legislature does, Jindal can stop it, and then it will take veto proof majority to change it. Don’t know the make up your current legislature, but even that he would reject it with the veto pen would be most welcome. If LA doesn’t appreciate Jindal, then we’d appreciate him in the US Congress or in a POTUS bid. (many may not know he was born in Baton Rouge…). Personally, I’m sorry he’s not throwing his hat into the ring now, but suspect he has more work to do in LA.

    ReplyReply
  42. @Sid: What you need to do is write letters to the editor in your local newspapers. That will help to inform the public as well.

    ReplyReply
  43. Sid says: 143

    Finally got a reply from our local representative concerning the stealthy electoral college bill this morning. He stated that several of his collegues talked to the sponsors of the bill and convinced them that this was not a good bill. The did in fact pull it and the bill is dead for this session. He agreed that by changing the way the Electoral College works would in fact force us to award our 8 electors to a candidate who in the last election was overwhelmingly rejected by Louisiana voters.

    We never heard back from any other legislators nor did we hear from Governor Jindal on this issue. What was frustrating was that this bill was unanimously approved in committee but we never heard or read anything concerning this bill during the session. We are grateful that it was killed. Next week we will have the opportunity to ask one of the sponsors what in Hell’s name was he thinking. I can’t wait to hear his reasoning/excuses for trying an end around the amendment process.

    ReplyReply
  44. MataHarley says: 144

    Sid, thanks so much for the dutiful follow up! I’m certainly glad that the bill was pulled. But it sure looks like it tried to sneak in anyway. So apparently, you following up with your elected ones helped push that along. Congratulations!

    ReplyReply
  45. Pingback: A conservative's civil disobedience: flying the American flag | Tea Party Tribune - Tea Party & Political News

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