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03 July 2011


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"Oh, I thought when you said Federalism, you meant the Federal government would hold more power"

Patrick Lang


Who are yu quoting? Surely not me? pl

Nancy K

Perhaps in the future the country will be divided up. I can see the West Coast and East Coast forming seperate countries, and perhaps the South and Midwest also forming seperate countries. Our thinking is very different, however the problem is that within states there are also a big division between urban and rural areas, what could be done with that? There is a group in California, the central valley cities, that want to secede from Calif and make a 51 state. Either we have to learn to accept each other or there will be continuous mistrust and divsion.

Patrick Lang


"Either we have to learn to accept each other or there will be continuous mistrust and divsion"

Why should we be different from everyone else, the "U"K, belgium, etc.?

BTW, the Atlantic South IMO would not join a "country" made up of the Atlanitc North. Once was enough. pl

Margaret Imber

" I would be curious to know how much time he has spent with ordinary Americans out there in the "flyover"country."

Malarky - why does the experience of those in sparsely populated states qualify as "ordinary" and that of those in more densely populated states qualify as not?

Most Americans live in coastal urban or suburban corridors and share far more similar local cultures than that of Americans in isolated and distinct rural communities from Maine to Washington State or any other direction you want to draw the arrow in on the map.

It is true that the Constitution allows Americans who live in culturally isolated and thinly populated states to impose a tyranny of the minority on the rest of the country. This may or may not have been the founder's vision.

It is true, however that the real economic beneficiaries of the tyranny of this minority do not live in Kansas. They are the shareholder class and they largely live in urban coastal communities.

Ben Cronin

If we are going to go the dividing up of the federal empire route, I'm not sure my fellow New Englanders and I would be terribly happy to be in the same 'country' as Manhattan, Philadelphia, and DC. If we joined such an Atlantic North entity, we'd at least demand some sort of Home Rule provision to preserve our Town Meetings, our Commons, and our love of the natural world (against the NY/NJ 'build over everything' ethos).


If the continuing growth of central power in the EU is any guide, they think that the opinion of the actual residents of the states is at most a technical hurdle or annoying distraction from the real work of building institutions they like. I understand the technocratic urge to shape a government that will give the 'correct' answers to policy problems, but such institutions don't seem to bear up well under stress.

Nancy K

I visit relatives in Spain frequently and their situation is very similar to ours also. I guess it is the way of the world. Hopefully we can voice our differenes this time with words not bullets.
Col Lang have a wonderful Independence Day. I have criticisms at times, but I would not choose to live in any other country but ours, visit but not live.

Ken Hoop

To me there is nothing more disrespectable than a Muslim, cultural or religious, in the American "political class" who is essentially, and dependably during all "crises" a sycophant for broad elite of that political class.

Exhibit A from wiki.

"After the 9/11 attacks, in a Newsweek cover essay, "Why They Hate Us," Zakaria argued that Islamic extremism was not fundamentally rooted in Islam, nor could it be claimed a reaction to American foreign policy. It had its roots in the stagnation and dysfunctions of the Arab world.

Exhibit B same source.

"Zakaria initially supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[11] He said at the time, “The place is so dysfunctional... any stirring of the pot is good. America’s involvement in the region is for the good."

Lately he has been complaining about a resurgence of anti-immigrant nativism.

At least William Kristol is true to his own across the board politically.


A new constitutional convention? I might like to observe the opening of that Pandora's box...but only from Australia.

Patrick Lang


Then perhaps we should go our separate ways so that all can have their interests served. pl

Phil Giraldi

The elites in this country are blind to what is taking place. Secure in their high incomes, status, and excellent health insurance plans they never feel any pain. They are never unemployed, hopping from think tank to think tank. Their lives are consequence free as they can start wars in places like Iraq confident that their children will never have to hump a rifle or get shot at. To them the Constitution is truly an expendable piece of paper because they know that whatever political system emerges in the US they and their friends will wind up on top.



Grand Rapids is 158 miles from Detroit and there's quite a bit of difference between them even though they are in the same state.

"...real economic beneficiaries of the tyranny of this minority" Perhaps the billionaires of the Devos family in West Michigan can be counted as beneficiaries, but certainly not the people in Detroit or a dozen other cities I could name.


".... the Constutution of the United States is not to his liking and that it should be modified substantially by amendment to make the states administrative districts devoid of sovereignty..."

Fareed would love governor Snyder, his recently passed Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) legislation allows the governor to effectively remove elected representation from local governments- all in the name of solving a financial 'crisis' - by being able appoint an EFM to run a cities finances. The EFM's power includes the ability to change the terms of, or to void, contracts at will. I'm still waiting to see if this means bond contracts or just labor contracts and pensions.

As to the 'tyranny of the minority', the results of the recent census will change congressional representation. With 11.5 million illegal residents, of whom millions were probably counted, this brings up the same political power problem LIncoln brought up in the Lincoln - Douglas debates; namely non-citizens are counted and affect re-apportionment, just as slaves did previously.

Roy G.

First, I'm curious why ending the 'temporary' Bush tax cuts is not practical – is it because the benighted rich have grown accustomed to them?

Second, it's interesting to look at what states receive more in federal funding than they pay in federal taxes; many of them are ready to call 'states rights' at the drop of a hat if they don't agree with something DC does, but, boy, they sure wouldn't dream of giving up the money given to them by other states, nor does it dent their atavistic logic about 'no new taxes':


Third, while I agree that reformation of the electoral college is a nonstarter, there is something incredibly perverse where Senators from the likes of Alabama, South Carolina and Oklahoma wield far more power than they deserve, given the size of their constituencies – to the detriment of the nation.

Patrick Lang

Roy G

The "nation," the "nation," how boring. Who created this "nation" identical with the interests of the northeast, Katz's deli, Bachmann's Paul Revere, the tooth fairy? pl


with the EFM's you're pointing out a very disturbing authoritarian trend - a top down pro-corporate revolution imposed by, in this case, politicians who have completely sold out to business interests, and profess an ideology that maintains that's a good thing.

Most scary in this regard is the oft and rightfully maligned Walker of Wisconsin.


Dear Colonel,

As you have commented many times, many Americans make the mistake of believing the world wants to be just like us. I think the same exists within the union.

Would California (where I now live) be better off financially without the rest of the country? Probably, IMHO - here costs seem more closely aligned with Asia than the rest of the US, plus we have lots of oil.

So, would the south do better? I think probably, having spent 7 years living there-in. I relocated as an adult, yet somehow TV/movie actors (Tom Hanks comes to mind) poorly faking a southern accent really grates (and still does) my nerves.

If it all comes down to money, the US currency is to the liking of Goldman, not economies and industries in the South or the West or the flyover zone. Zakariya always struck me as following the buttered side of the bread.


Among the peculiar practices that distort our democracy, some notable ones could be remedied by the application of a little intelligence guided by a sense of fairness. One striking example is the scheduling of primaries and caucuses. As currently set up, the field has been drastically reduced and likely nominees determined by relatively few voters in a handful of small states - Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina et al. The rest of us are left with remains of the tawrdry season. The leaders of our two noble parties could restore sanity by agreeing that the first 5 primaries will be held in states with a major league sports team. As for the timing that now moves the first primaries forward to early January, another rule would be helpful. Stipulate that the first 2 primaries be held the same day in Hawaii and Alaska - thus allowing the peripatetic candidates to catch the flu before New Years and, thereby, give all of us a welcome break from their mindless posturing.


"In April another 60,533 Americans or one in seven needed government aid to simply eat."

Lord Curzon


A fascinating conversation, and your statement, " The United States is a federal union of the states, not a pure democracy and a lot of Americans who vote out there in the hinterland want it to remain such." has lifted the lid on a constitutional box hitherto undiscovered. Thank you and a Happy Independence Day.


@PL: Who created this "nation" identical with the interests of the northeast...

We did when we chose bondage to the FIRE sector. This condition crosses urban/rural, class, and regional divides, and includes those bigged up house slaves who like to think of themselves as "the shareholder class."


"One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"?

Meaning no offense, but "nation" does show up in some pretty universally exalted places. The Pledge was written in Boston by a socialist, though, so your northeast criticism applies. Virtually every US citizen frequently pledges to the "indivisible" part too.

"Nation" and "indivisible" were in there from the git go in 1891 but God got in in 1954 at the urging of the Catholics. I remember it, I was a Cub Scout then.

Hope you have a pleasant Independence Day.



A question vaguely related to this thread:

If the United States were not in some sense still "united" in 1941 what other entity was there with the raw horsepower to tip the balance toward victory for the Allies in WWII?

I wonder about this every time I think about the Civil War or hear modern talk of secession.


Patrick Lang


The "Pledge of Allegiance" is a nationalist exhortation, not sacred scripture. pl

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