Tag Archives: Democracy

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Starting from Scratch: How Would a New America Solve the Tax Problem?

The brewing battle between Senator Paul Ryan and President Obama serves as a tragic reminder of just how impossible it is in this country, at least lately, to pass a responsible plan for controlling government costs. Sometimes we are precisely nowhere. I’ve come to the conclusion that the tax dilemma — convincing people that to […]

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The People as Limiting Principle

The Volokh Conspiracy notes Justice Breyer’s aspirational nod to the last, best limiting principle in constitutional law: And, of course, the greatest limiting principle of all, which not too many accept, so I’m not going to emphasize that, is the limiting principle derived from the fact that members of Congress are elected from States and […]

Still No Evidence Voter ID Laws Work

In other equally-shocking news, water is wet and the sky is blue. The National Review trots out a recent case of voter fraud to prove the urgent need for voter ID laws, but neglects a critical distinction. The fraud case involved absentee ballots, not ballots cast at a poll site in the ordinary course. Absentee ballots […]

What Can Presidents Do About Gas Prices?

Not a damn thing (and Republicans agree!). Even if Obama authorized companies, today, to drill anywhere they wanted to, market forces wouldn’t reflect the price drop (if any ever came) for months. Here’s a problem with democracy: voters expect leaders to change parts of the world over which they have no actual control, or somehow achieve directly contradictory […]

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Error Deflection

Because it’s come up a few times, and because I feel like a more life-based post is in order, I’d like to hit on a topic that’s come up before: even and especially when making especially important decisions in politics, or the law, how do we choose between two courses of action? The concept I […]

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The SOPA/PIPA Question as a Quintessentially American Debate

With apologies, again, for delays. Enjoy this picture of subzero skiing as compensation/explanation for my prolonged absence. How gratifying to see democracy work as well as it has during the SOPA debate. A cadre of lobbyists devise a plan to protect their interests inimical to both the people, and to the larger society; the people […]

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Indefinite Detention, and Our Unlikely Ally in the Fight

At the close of the last year, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, which includes language that commentators claim, not unfairly, would permit the indefinite detention of even American citizens by a willing administration. The operative sections permit “detention under the law of war without trial until the end […]

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American Empire

Andrew Sullivan collects commentators on American imperialism, such as it is, while Salon wonders why we can’t call a spade a spade. My own take is, it’s entirely proper to consider America an empire, in the sense that empires still exist in the modern world. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We […]

A Local’s Impression of the Wall Street “Occupation”

As some of you may know, I live on (and so have ostensibly been “occupying”) Wall Street for the past two years or so. Some thoughts, then, from the front lines. For those who live or work on Wall Street — a group increasingly composed of the former as opposed to the latter — the […]

Protests, Alienation, and the Underused Franchise

The Economist, per longtime reader Mike, argue that the noisy protests of a class that doesn’t even bother to vote ought to be written off as meaningless: Many of these aggrieved youth believe that the government has become unresponsive, that their voices have been silenced, and therefore protest is the only option. But this strikes […]

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