No Constitutional convention, no amendment

Discuss how we can hasten progress towards enlarging representation. There are two primary components to this: 1) educating others in order to gain the public support necessary; and, 2) ensuring implementation via a constitutional amendment.
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No Constitutional convention, no amendment

Postby oldfriend » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:04 pm

I am an annoying, fat, unrelenting promoter of enlarging the number of members in our House of Rep's. I offer this solution to regain our democracy to anyone willing to listen and a few that don't. I believe that the most important point that I stress is that this can (not too easily) be done just by repealing one law and replacing it with another. No convention, no amendment. And it can. We got into the 435 number with merely a law, we can change it.

I've tried to promote this, but no one will print my message. I called Thom Hartman, he led my astray and asked while we're at it, why not enlarge the Senate and then went off on a tangent, ending my call. I believe this was just a way to shut me down. I've written to every entity that I thought could help, Michael Moore, Moveon, WhatReallyHappened, etc. Even made the mistake of phoning my Congressman. What a ruckus I made! You should have heard his staff! Where did you hear about that! It would take an amendment to do that! (Which later he declared in person, that, of course, it wouldn't.)

If anyone promotes a convention, they risk all he__ to break loose. Once a convention is convened there is no way to limit the discussion to representation. We would get all sorts of crazy notions put up for consideration (all and/or any crazy insane ideas Glen Beck and the corporations that feed him can think up). That is much too dangerous of an approach.

An amendment takes forever. Take the ERA. Equal Rights Amendment. You would think that would be a no brainer, but it hasn't passed yet.

Yet, there has been people who I've spoken to that have embraced the idea, all intelligent, but that doesn't mean that all intelligent people can grasp or even want to grasp the seriousness of the problem and promote its solution, namely a repeal of the law that put it in place and a law that would replace it. My daughter brought home a date, a computer programmer who either had a Phd in his field or was a candidate, and he didn't even know how a bill was passed, although he could sing a little of "I'm just a Bill" cartoon. But with George Bush, I guess all you need are executive orders and signing statements.

I was really thrilled to read about the effort to push this using the courts. I can't see one man, one vote with a Montana resident representing only 1/1,000,000 of his Representative's constituency and a Wyoming resident representing 1/500,000. But we all know that one person cannot represent a constituency as large as either one.

My representative is arrogant beyond belief. He voted for the FISA bill, when the telecorporation that dominates his district refused to abide with the government's demands to easedrop and was financially punished for it. He promotes every "fair trade" bill that comes along. You know that nice design center that Secy of State Clinton visited in Russia, well, that's where my husband's job was outsourced, but my representative said that no white collar jobs were affected by outsourcing because the GAO report about outsourcing concerned only blue collar jobs. I asked him how many signatures it would take on a petition to back Kucinich in impeaching Bush, he laughed and said if I thought 100 was a lot (which is the exact number that a veterans group had just delivered to him, so in fact, he was laughing at veterans who wanted a change and had risked signing their names to whatever may befall them for doing so), and laughed that he represented over 700,000 people and of course, any efforts I would make would be paltry. In the end, he said his mind was made up and nothing could change it. Now that is representation!

Prior to this meeting, I had gone to a Democratic get together, meet up, a chance for representatives to meet their constituency in an casual setting. I was misled by the afterdowningstreet site that Pelosi would put impeachment back on the table if she received enough correspondence to warrant it, when I bought 25 prepaid postage postcards that had her address on it, a message saying thanking her for putting impeachment back on the table and had people write personal messages on them and sign them with their addresses, I then offered to mail them in for them. Although I didn't get all of them to mail myself, I used all my postcards that one night. I don't know if it would have taken me much time to get a tremendous amount of postcards or say, signatures on a petition to support the impeachment of this criminal.

I must say, I didn't form my ideas by coming to this page. I came to them after the horrendous election of 2004. I found all the population counts of all the states and then the number of representatives in each. I surmised (but I may be mistaken), that the electoral college count would remain the same whether this scheme comes to pass or not, but I figured that if in the minority districts that were in the recent past protected from gerrymandering, more progressive representation could be achieved, but that time frame has come and gone. I also found out that Alcee Hastings had promoted enlarging the House, along with George Will.

In my efforts to sway opinion, I've found the internet (save the site here) has not been of much use. Of all my blog entries, very few have ever been seen. Maybe some entertaining youtube videos could work (do any exists?). But perhaps, as with the postcards above, personal connections is the answer.

I have tried to keep my blog entries shorter since finding this site (I may have been the one promoting the additional Congressional meeting sites), by just referring people here, but I don't agree with a Constitutional convention or amendment. It's just a law. Let's just see if we can change it! Ask candidates as they run and bring the message back here! Try to get on local radio call ins! Maybe this site could create a legal petition that could be circulated. People need hope. This is the only one we have!

As for state governments, I would think that perhaps some see the state legislatures as the training grounds for federal positions in Congress and the largess that that provides. I don't think they would be interested in diluting the payoffs. We need to pressure those in Congress now.
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Re: No Constitutional convention, no amendment

Postby JEQuidam » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:18 pm

Welcome to our forum! We understand all of your frustration regarding the resistance encountered in promoting representational enlargement and we certainly need more "unrelenting promoters" (even those with a poor self image!).

oldfriend wrote:Once a convention is convened there is no way to limit the discussion to representation.
I respect your view, but I disagree. I've summarized my views here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=20 (feel free to respond there).

oldfriend wrote:My representative is arrogant beyond belief.
90%+ of them are.

oldfriend wrote:I surmised (but I may be mistaken), that the electoral college count would remain the same whether this scheme comes to pass or not,
The number of Electors equals the number of federal Representatives plus the number of Senators plus 3 (for DC). Therefore, if we had enough Reps, the Electoral College vote would always equal the popular vote. Please read these links:
http://www.thirty-thousand.org/pages/section_IX.htm
http://www.thirty-thousand.org/pages/Ne ... eitlin.htm

oldfriend wrote:Maybe some entertaining youtube videos could work (do any exists?).
That's exactly what I want to do. I have thought through the story those videos should tell, but I don't have the skills, time or budget to implement. TTO needs someone to donate their time & services in this area.

oldfriend wrote:...but I don't agree with a Constitutional convention or amendment. It's just a law. Let's just see if we can change it! Ask candidates as they run and bring the message back here! Try to get on local radio call ins! Maybe this site could create a legal petition that could be circulated.
Of course, changing the law would be wonderful and we can all agree on that. However, I do not believe that these Congressmen will ever agree to subdivide their massive fiefdoms. Should we try to persuade them? Yes! But consider all the resistance you've encountered with the Representatives on this issue. At best, they would increase their numbers by two or three, and tell you to be a good federal subject and go home.

Why do we need an amendment? We don't need an amendment to increase the number of Representatives; Congress could do that at any time. We need an amendment to force them to increase their numbers, and to ensure they continue to increase their numbers in the future as the population increases. They could pass a law today, and repeal it in the next Congress.

Petitions? The Congressmen laugh at petitions. Unless the petitions are signed by their true constituents (the Special Interests), they are merely junk mail to our "Representatives".

oldfriend wrote: People need hope. This is the only one we have!
That is exactly how I feel.

oldfriend wrote:As for state governments, I would think that perhaps some see the state legislatures as the training grounds for federal positions in Congress and the largess that that provides. I don't think they would be interested in diluting the payoffs. We need to pressure those in Congress now.
Agree!

Please read “Freedom and Legislative District Sizes”:
http://thirty-thousand-org.blogspot.com ... sizes.html
That article provides a compelling argument to use when attempting to explain representational enlargement.

BTW, we try to keep the discussions nonpartisan here. This is truly a big tent cause that attracts Right Wing Kooks, Left Wing Loons, and everyone in between!! One of the objectives of this forum is to encourage everyone to work together to advance the cause of representational enlargement and not be distracted (in this forum) by partisan issues.
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Re: No Constitutional convention, no amendment

Postby oldfriend » Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:44 am

Me again.

Well, I still stand by what I said before. I'm quite aware as to how the electoral college works, but didn't know about DC.

I sort of used my own math about the electoral college thing. I looked into what I would consider some pretty good democracies in Europe. They average about 200,000 constituents per representative. So I just divided the states populations by that number and I came out with about the same outcome as if I hadn't. But even if this is the case, the increase of ideas, voices of concern, elimination of campaign war chests, the increase scrutiny that a larger representative body of government would create deserves our deepest commitment to pursue.

The should and would of the behavior of the participants to a Constitutional convention is not convincing enough for me to give up my fear of run-away amendments that would be even more detrimental, although that is somewhat hard to conceive, to the general population.

Even an incremental increase as passed into law, say one representative to every 400,000, then to every 300,000, etc. could possibly alleviate the fears of a government too large to function, and then promote the Constitutional amendment that would lack those negatives that surely would come upon its proposal if the increments had not been tried first.

And again as I said, I doubt that even the state legislatures could be persuaded, for they see themselves as incubators for federal congressional positions.

Arundhati Roy, author of Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, writes about her native India and its democracy, that behaves like ours where our checks and balances have no longer an adversarial or watchful function, but acts in unison to promote a common agenda, that of the moneyed corporations to the detriment of the people and the environment. Also watch The Warning, from PBS Frontlines (a national treasure of programming).

India's ratio of constituents to representative is of course, much worse than ours.

We should act more strategically. The use of the courts is a superior idea. Hoorah!

I wish us all good luck in our endeavors.

By the way, in the preceding Voter's Pamphlet, that my state provides that allows the candidates or their supporters to write their positions on current and past issues and prints out any inititatives, etc., there was a bold fellow, a physicist, running for office, who knew he couldn't win, but by paying his fee, ran for a local office and used his position space to the address the cause. His view was 50,000 to one representative. Good job, don't ya think? Now that's strategy!
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