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Constitution Re-Write

Fix the Constitution
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(+6, -21)
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Well past the time for a Constitutional Convention, mates. If I were setting the agenda, here are some things I'd propose:

1. Repeal the Fourteenth Amendment. It has been the source of enormous mischief. 2. Change the word "person" to "citizen" everywhere in the document. Same reason: inordinate mischief. 3. Establish that the criterion for citizenship is not being born here but having at least one parent who is a citizen. Naturalization also. 4. Edit the Second Amendment. Remove the initial phrase, because it is misused by anti-gun fanatics. The new version to read: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED...and we REALLY, REALLY MEAN IT!"

That oughta be a good start.

boris, Oct 12 2000

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       PeterSealy, you obviously do not live in a border state.   

       Come to Los Angeles and I will show you how a once-great American city is being transformed into a suburb of Mexico City.   

       One-third of all prison beds in California are presently occupied by illegal aliens.   

       TWO thirds of the "live births to indigent mothers" (paid for by taxpayers) are to illegal immigrants who come here for the express purpose of ensuring their child is a U.S. citizen and instantly eligible for a vast outpouring of largesse from the public treasury.   

       Ask a public health official about the effect on disease of uncontrolled illegal immigration. Ask a cop about the crime impact.   

       Drive around with me and see dozens upon dozens of loitering men on streetcorners--ostensibly looking for work--urinating and defecating on lawns and sidewalks, committing crimes, etc.   

       You speak of things of which you have no knowledge.
boris, Oct 12 2000
  

       I'm afraid I'm with boris on this one. I just got back from San Diego and Houston myself, and the problem is as he describes.   

       We've got similar problems with Asian immigrants up here in Canada. There are areas in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and especially Banff that have shops with absolutely no English or French signage- only Japanese, Chinese, or Vietnamese, predominantly. Crime has soared in these areas due to the illegal drug traffic and the presence of Asian gangs, and the welfare rolls have swelled as well- which is doubly bad because there's already a large Native Canadian population on welfare anyway.   

       Ditto for the disease problem, and the prison and transient problems as well.   

       Unfortunately, Canada doesn't really have a Constitution, either, so we don't have the recourse Americans do. No Constitutional loopholes, however, so maybe that isn't so bad.   

       The citizenship criterion suggested above might be a problem for those of us well-educated workers who want to immigrate to the US to get a decent wage and fill the tremendous need for IT professionals in the States, though. Some provision for the immigration of highly-skilled professionals should be included.
BigThor, Oct 12 2000
  

       Spelling America with a K now, are we?
centauri, Oct 12 2000
  

       Peter does, as always, have a good point in comparison with other countries ...BUT... Were word{s} to be changed, it would have to be "person/people" to "citizen{s}". As indicated in boris' annotation, 1/3 OF PRI$ON BED$ are occupied by ILLEGAL ALIEN$. 2/3 OF LIVE BIRTH$ TO INDIGENT MOTHER$ are to ILLEGAL ALIEN$.
This does not include the individuals who came here illegally and got through the cracks in the system or who were allowed to remain here and get green cards [can you say Gazillion?<<<Only exaggeration] after the State bowed to pressure from Mexico.
The taxpayer bears the burden of this. I've made my home in Los Feliz/Hollywood Hills for 6 Years, lived in Central California for 33, Washington D.C. for 1. RUN OVER, STABBED, SHOT AT [missed my head by the length of a business card] by ILLEGAL ALIEN$. Easy to see why there's so many ILLEGAL ALIEN$ in PRI$ON.
The Hispanic population of California has existed for a very long time. I have no quarrel with those who were here before the dam burst. No different than my family, e.g. respect for selves, others and justice. Sadly the Hispanic Population of California has changed with the influx of ILLEGAL ALIENS. Go into ANY neighborhood in Lo$ Angele$ populated by Hispanics, and see the devastation and filth the ILLEGAL ALIEN$ create [and yes, it gets cleaned up daily/weekly]. Fact is, if any individual sides with boris on this one, it's because they know the truth. Not out of a prejudice a white/black/asian/hispanic made up. One the ILLEGAL ALIEN$ Created.
If this Country had stopped ILLEGAL ALIEN$ there would hardly be an unemployment problem or a drain on the taxpayers resources. What worked in Ellis Island doesn't work now-and yes, they turned people away who had come across the Atlantic. Simple as that. And believe me, I could write reams on this subject. Hey, here's a thought...Go to another Country illegally and try the same thing...anybody?
thumbwax, Oct 12 2000
  

       I can't pin it on any one ethnic group, but there are many people who damn well should be illegal. We are breeding a nation of idiots! Don't believe me? Just watch Jerry Springer.
BobStCul, Oct 12 2000
  

       "Breeding a nation of idiots" has nothing to do with immigration. In fact, you could say that the US has very succesfully passed on the costs and administration of its education system to third-world countries by taking the cream of the Indian and Chinese university systems and putting them to work in Silicon Valley.
hippo, Oct 12 2000
  

       ILLEGAL ALIEN=Without Papers. No Passport, Green Card, etc..
Laws already got changed to allow ILLEGAL ALIENS to reside in U.S. legally. Overloaded the Welfare System, etc..
Some of us work in the Entertainment Industry, which is why we live where we do.
Please take care in use of the term "Ethnocentrism". You see, Illegal immigration became widespread beginning @30 years ago. In my youth-60 classmates... 8 Japanese, 27 Caucasian, 25 Hispanic-No Hispanics spoke Spanish-All U.S. Born...Of the 25 Hispanics, Not one supports ILLEGAL ALIENS to this day. I taught some of my classmates Spanish before they took it in High School. They didn't have a passing interest in Russian which I also speak, and likely don't want to learn the Armenian dialect either. I've been the only Caucasian on a Soccer field with Hispanics...blah, blah
The facts which I am pointing out about Illegal Immigration pertain to the Personal and Financial loss of U.S.Citizenry due to the corruption of these individuals who do not have legal permission to enter the United States, but take advantage of the loopholes in the law. Try it in another Country.
thumbwax, Oct 12 2000, last modified Oct 13 2000
  

       Well, immigration policies are set by Congress, who are elected by the citizenry, so indeed that's what gives thumbwax (along with the other hundreds of millions of thumbwaxes) the right to decide who can legally immigrate and who can't.   

       That said, I'm with you all the way, Peter. Our current immigration policy is nonsensical and discriminatory. I'm deeply distrustful of anecdotes (ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT$ $HOT ME!), and I don't find it at all horrifying that there are districts of a city with signage in different languages.   

       If we want to erect barriers to immigration (and there are many fine reasons to do so), they should at least be vaguely equitable barriers, and they should be fairly enforced. The current situation just generates a sub-minimum-wage underclass.
egnor, Oct 13 2000
  

       Ah, my opportunity to join the Halfbakery's Great Floating Flamewar.   

       Although the U.S. policy of granting citizenship to anybody born within its borders is unusual, and a convincing case can be made of its shortcomings, the alternative is not without its shortcomings either. Japan, which has a very restrictive citizenship bar, has a substantial population of people with two-hundred-year roots in Japan who are nonetheless prohibited from voting and other features of modern participatory democracy because, however many centuries ago, their ancestors weren't Japanese citizens. Stateless disenfranchisement is not a way of life to encourage.   

       Secondly, the 14th Amendment has been the source of enormous good. It repealed the three-fifths compromise, provides the Constitutional basis for overturning "Jim Crow" laws, and is the grand-daddy concept of the "Equal rights for all, special rights for none" movement. It could maybe stand revision: Article 2 should reflect the expansion of suffrage to women and people in the 18-20 age range, and the anomalous condition of Indians earlier in the Article might be usefully addressed. But if you wanted to change the citizenship/immigration feature in the amendment, all you need to do is delete the first sentence of Article 1. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.   

       Third, perhaps we should adopt the original intent of the framers and go to the *original* language of the 2nd Amendment: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person." In other words, we should have a national guard, but religious conscientious objectors don't have to serve in it. The *original* amendment had nothing to do with private ownership of firearms *at* *all*.   

       If you *really* want to tinker with the Constitution, I recommend Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 17, which grants Congress exclusive legislative power over the District of Columbia, despite the District's nonrepresentation in Congress- a clear violation of the "no taxation without representation" principle.
Uncle Nutsy, Oct 13 2000
  

       now my head hurts...
AfroAssault, Oct 19 2000
  

       The first part of the Second Amendment exists to make abundantly clear that the latter part is not about "hunting or sporting purposes". Rather, it is about ensuring that people have the means of providing for their own individual and collective defense.   

       In states that respect the Second Amendment, armed protection is not reserved for the wealthy. While the wealthy still hire bodyguards to save themselves the trouble of having to be alert for those who might harm them, even ordinary people can still have armed protection--they just have to provide it themselves. As a result, many crooks have decided that robbery and violent crime are too dangerous to be worth pursuing.
supercat, Oct 21 2000
  

       Of course its easy to criticise from the outside, but since I have a passing knowledge of american history I thought it might be useful to chuck it in.   

       Firstly you have to look at the bill of rights from the standpoint of when it was written. The right to bear arms makes sense from an eighteenth century standpoint when you have a weak army but a powerful militia. It seems rather redundant for the worlds one remaining superpower.   

       As for immigration policy, the reason america was able to expand as quickly as it was its open immigration policy. It would have been impossible to grow as quickly just relying on natural population growth. Thus most americans arent american per sec but of scottish, irish, english, german, just about everywhere in eastern europe extraction.   

       It's not really suprising to see so many spanish speakers about either. Florida, Texas and California were all originally spanish held and taken (usually by war) by america later.   

       Your constitution is really old and is largely unaltered since its inception. Or: it hasnt had much of a chance to evolve. Most european states have underwent some form of revolution in the last century - thus getting modern constitutions. You really should stop ant take a look at your selves every so often   

       If it was me I would change the way the president gets elected: Get rid of all this delegate business and hold a direct election under single transferable vote - that way he (and it's always a he) gets voted by a majority.
imagooAJ, Oct 21 2000
  

       A Libertarian would probably say that the solution is to do away with welfare and other entitlement programs, and that will take care of the immigration problem becuase then the only people who will imigrate will be those who are interested in working.
PotatoStew, Oct 21 2000
  

       Then call me a Libertarian
Confucius say: It is considered unwise to invite thief into home.
thumbwax, Oct 21 2000
  

       Me too.   

       Anybody want to contribute to a fund to have the presidential candidates hit? All four of the main ones, not just Shrub and Bore...   

       <Note for the humor impaired and other government officials; This is a JOKE.>
StarChaser, Oct 21 2000
  

       So do mexican newspapers carry the latest ins and outs of US welfare policy? I rather suspect treating immigrants more harshly will not reduce their numbers, merely exacerbate any problems. I think it is ever so hypocritical to go on about how great your country is and be surprised if people want to live there.
imagooAJ, Oct 23 2000
  

       Actually, I thought it might be an idea to cite some particularly succesful immigrants, so:   

       Andrew Carnegie: Industrialist and philantropist. Born in Scotland, emmigrated to America where he built up an massive steel and construction empire.   

       Alexander Graham Bell: Born in Scotland, went to America and invented the telephone.
imagooAJ, Oct 24 2000
  

       Illegal Immigration, what do you think it is?
thumbwax, Oct 24 2000
  

       imagooAJ: Are you suggesting that if a woman is attacked by a knife-wielding rapist the U.S. armed services are instantly going to come to her rescue?   

       Note that I said **INDIVIDUAL** and collective defense. While police are needed to catch and prosecute criminals (the most common outcome of armed self-defense is that the crook runs away at the first sight of the weapon), armed self-defense is the only means of real protection which is available to those who can't afford armed bodyguards. Note that use of "non-lethal" things like pepper spray against an attacker increases the risk of harm to the victim compared with acquiescence (probably because if--as is likely--it fails to incapacitate the crook it will make him madder) but firearms decrease the risk (probably because crooks don't want to get shot or--if they have been shot--they don't want to be shot again).
supercat, Nov 04 2000
  

       So take the firearms that you're so worried about keeping in your home, and use them on the immigrants you're so worried about keeping out of the country. Of course, only do this if your moral system will support it. Mine certainly doesn't.   

       Please excuse the sarcasm.
badoingdoing, Nov 04 2000
  

       I'm not an American or anything, tragically, but can we re-write your constitution to incorporate all of my slavering xenophobia too, while we've got the inkpot open?   

       I'm getting sick of your mealy-mouthed elected leaders trampling all over my birthright to a hundred times the resources anyone weak-minded enough to live outside of one of the rich countries gets. Also of all those types destroying our children's minds with satanic messages written in languages we can't understand due to our purity of mind, and diluting the precious, precious genetic heritage from which springs the thoroughbred American Git. But, as always, the thing to do is to deal with the problems at home first -- perhaps BigThor and I can put our heads together with some crack nazi epidemiologists to tackle the problems of disease-spreading Asians in our own country.   

       Whoops, I inadvertantly said 'nazi'. Who wants to take the logical next step and finally stamp out Boris's roaring flamewar?
Monkfish, Nov 06 2000
  

       In reply to BigThor's annotation on Oct 11 (I know, that's a long time ago):   

       Asians' impact on Canada is more than what you described. In my opinion, there are more Natives wasting our budget on welfare than Asians. Canada's immigration policy is harsh enough - you have to _invest_ somewhere in Canada or otherwise bring in cash to earn resident status. I'm not going to go into the details about the restrictions on the businesses once they landed. Also, is there more Asians serving prison terms than Natives, or white Canadians?   

       It seems that many Canadian cities' economy have surged after Asian immigrant arrived, probably due to their required investments - although I don't know how many business startups have failed.   

       Well, enough about Canada. I suppose the majority here doesn't care about it...   

       I do agree that IT professionals should be exempt from the proposed immigration laws, though....BUT that will create a lot of discontent in non-IT groups.....
cIEL, Dec 09 2000
  

       Most people may not care about it, but that's never stopped anyone before...
StarChaser, Dec 09 2000
  

       Old thread!   

       I don't think the problem is so much with aliens as with illegal aliens. There is a difference.   

       There is also a matter of politeness when it comes to speaking the language of the country in which you live. If a foreigner _visits_ a country it's up to that person to be able to communicate to get by. If a person _moves_ to a country it only seems right that that person learn the local lingo so the locals aren't forced to learn his.   

       I know people of various ethnic backgrounds and don't have a problem with any of them, which only seems fair as they don't have a problem with mine.   

       [imagooAJ] I want the right to defend myself. Especially from "the worlds one remaining superpower". And, no, I don't own a gun, but I want the right to change my mind.   

       [PeterSealy] Refugees from Cuba are *not* met with open arms. Plenty of Cuban internment camps in Florida. And [boris] made his own point about parentage in regards to citizenship so you're on the same side there.   

       Since the subject was about changes to the constitution, I'd like to offer my own:   

       1) All laws will be written as to be understood by a public school graduate.   

       2) All laws will include a description as to the intent of the law with regards to part 1).   

       3) All laws will have a lifespan, to be decided upon ratification, not to exceed 100 years. Congress can renew a law, thus extending its lifespan, at anytime during the law's lifespan. Congress is required to review all laws whose lifespan is five years or less. Any law not renewed by Congress expires at the end of its lifespan.
phoenix, Jun 26 2001
  

       Confession: I haven't read this entire thread. Seems like a rant, though, and a rascist / xenophobic / ethnocentrist one at that. [mfd]?
snarfyguy, Jun 26 2001
  

       I think it started as a rant, got twisted into another rant, then everyone gave up.   

       The core idea (U.S. Constitution rewrite) isn't bad, but it'll never happen.
phoenix, Jun 27 2001
  

       [centauri] you missed out a double K.
Sounds like there is a perfectly good solution to Boris's problem - he can get all the anti-gun fanatics and illegal immigrants (and legal ones) and line them up in a room, and invite all the NRA nutters along with their 10 year old gun toting kids, and they mow them down with machine guns. Whilst wearing white hoods. That ought to get rid of them.
Meanwhile, those of us who live in a country where their is no right to bear arms, and the police don't carry guns, who have a murder rate which is at it's worst about a tenth of that of the US average, feel quite happy about mocking you from afar. We have the moral high ground on this one mate.
The late great Bill Hicks (who is about as non-pc as you can get, but oddly libertarian in his own inimitable style) used to do a fantastic stand-up rant on this subject.
And remember boris - your family were immigrants once (Unless, of course, you happen to be a native american, but somehow I doubt it). Where would you be if they had treated your antecedants the way you want to treat these people?
As is the case with the current 'race' riots in northern england, the main problem is not race or immigration at all. It's poverty. Hey, I know, why don't we shoot all the poor people too?
goff, Jun 27 2001
  

       p.s. [boris] please do not refer to the rest of us on half-bakery as your 'mates'.
goff, Jun 27 2001
  

       [goff]: The problem is *not* poverty, it's intolerance. Poverty does not cause people to start riots and destroy property. Poverty does not cause people to beat up on other people simply because they are, or are not <whatever>. Poverty does not cause people attack police and fire crews responding to emergency calls. People who start, or join in on, riots are thugs. End of story.
angel, Jun 27 2001
  

       [angel] May be it's the combination of the two that creates the worst kind of riots. You should realise from my post that I'm pretty anti any kind of intolerance. But depravation is also a major factor - it also tends to amplify tensions which may not bubble to the surface under other conditions.
goff, Jun 27 2001
  

       The problem lies with the "victim mentality" encouraged by Jackson et al. If people are made to believe that they are "victims" of someone else, then it becomes easy for them to strike out against their supposed "oppressor". What people don't realize is that the real "oppressors" are the poverty pimps who publicly complain about the life of the poor but who, in fact, can't afford to have their situation improve.
supercat, Jun 27 2001
  

       I take a lot of issue with your abusive focus on the 14th amendment. You have issues with immigration but don't understand just how incorporated the 14th amendment is in law.   

       The 14th amendment ensures that the police in any state can't search your house or person unreasonabily. The 14th amendment ensures your right to not allow states to have a elected religion, and not let them infringe on your essential right to free speech.   

       I really don't think you grasp the 'Incorporation Docrtine.' I suggest you read a little bit of common law surrounding the Constitution before trying to change it.
wix, Sep 23 2002
  

       wix: The Fourteenth Amendment may have been well-intentioned by its supporters, but it is unfortunately ambiguously-enough worded as to allow considerable mischief.   

       For example, although Congress may not have waited very long before blatantly violating it, the First Amendment's language is--and may be reasonably read as being--absolute. "**CONGRESS** shall make **NO LAW**...." This is not meant to imply that there may not be laws to restrict the yelling of "FIRE" in a crowded theater; rather, that any such laws may be passed only at the state and local level.   

       How, then, should one judge the "privileges and immunities" conferred by the First Amendment? Taken at face value, the only "privilege and immunity" it provides is that of being immune from congressional infringements on free speech etc. Indeed, other than by appointing anti-speech Senators, it's unclear how a state could infringe upon the privileges and immunities granted by the First, even if it wanted to.   

       The Second Amendment, unlike the first, does not specify merely that one branch of government shall not infringe upon people's rights; it specifies rather that the right **SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED**. This would, it seem, merit a higher degree of Fourteenth-Amendment protection than First-Amendment rights. Unfortunately, courts seem loath to acknowledge that the government is to be the servant of the people, rather than the other way round.
supercat, Sep 23 2002
  

       Half right but wholy for the wrong reasons I think. Inconsistent logic. Guess which half I agree with. I'll give you a 'hint' - it's not the guns.
thecat, Jul 11 2003
  

       I agree that the constitution needs a re-write, but this idea isn't new... it's been talked about a million times over by everyone that thinks 'while our system sucks, it's the best one out there.'. baked...
sheep, Nov 16 2003
  

       I'm fairly confident that if one parent has to be a citizen for a child to be a citizen, tracing back far enough, all but the native-americans would lose their citizenships.
hidden truths, Mar 19 2005
  

       Congress should only meet three months of the year - June, July, August. The rest of the time they should have to get real jobs and live in the real world.   

       We have more laws than anyone can comprehend or follow. Most should be allowed to expire.   

       Congreso sólo debe cumplir tres meses del año - junio, julio, agosto. El resto del tiempo que debe tener para conseguir puestos de trabajo reales y vivir en el mundo real.   

       Tenemos más leyes que nadie puede comprender o seguir. La mayor parte se debe permitir a expirar.
popbottle, Dec 21 2014
  
      
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