limits on government power

anonymous asked:

What part of the US constitution allows Bernie Sander's programs? Why should we have a single payer system when the VA is a single payer system and lets down our veterans?

This is the age-old argument about the limits of the Constitution.Does the Constitution grant power to government or grant rights to people? 

In this case, I would argue that it does not matter, In the preamble of the constitution it reads:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (x)

We establish this Constitution to promote the general Welfare, it is explicit in the text. People may argue what general Welfare means. to better understand the framing of those words at the time, let’s look at Dictionary of the English language by Samuel Johnson (1768). To place some context of timing, The constitution was written in 1787 and would be ratified by 1788 and would be put into effect by 1789, making this the dictionary closest in time-period to the Constitution.

General: the whole, in totality

Welfare: happiness, prosperity

At the time the Constitution was written, those words would have been perceived to mean to promote happiness and prosperity of the whole of the People of the United States of America. 

Do those two things not promote the prosperity of the whole, if they are given to all equally?

On the VA, Republicans have consistently cut funding to Veterans programs, including the VA.

So it seems disingenuous to call into question why the VA is failing while there is a history of lack of support. It is also interesting how you do not bring up the largest single payer healthcare system in the US, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS).

This is likely because it is difficult to find a compelling argument for your side here:

It seems to me that a single payer system is still superior, especially since the Kaiser Family foundation concluded:
  • In most local markets, providers have monopoly power. Consequently, private insurers lack the bargaining power to contain prices.
  • In most areas, two or three dominant insurers dominate the regional market, limit competition and make it extremely difficult if not impossible for new insurers to enter the marketplace and stimulate price competition.
  • Medicare Advantage, which enrolls seniors in private health plans, has failed to deliver care more efficiently than traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Both the CBO and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the commission which advises congress on Medicare’s finances, have calculated that Medicare Advantage plans covering the same care as traditional Medicare cost 12 percent more
  • Karen Ignagni, who heads America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the insurance industry’s trade association, has admitted that private plans cannot bargain down provider costs and has asked Washington to intervene.

Even private insurers are looking for the government to step in and help them on their pricing, why not just cut the profit centers out of the deal and save that money?

- @theliberaltony

The cowardly belief that a person must stay in one place is too reminiscent of the unquestioning resignation of animals, beasts of burden stupefied by servitude and yet always willing to accept the slipping on of the harness. There are limits to every domain, and laws to govern every organized power. But the vagrant owns the whole vast earth that ends only at the non-existent horizon, and her empire is an intangible one, for her domination and enjoyment of it are things of the spirit.

ask-treats-sweets  asked:

question, who appointed TB as Governor of Crescentia, some sort of Trans Planetary Imperium, Galactic Empirical Alliance, maybe a Confederacy of Free Systems?

According to the questionable-canon video game follow-up, Crescentia and Montressor are part of the Terran Empire, ruled by Her Majesty, the Queen. So that’s one possibility. 

Another is that Crescentia and possibly Montressor are governed by a chartered company given limited sovereignty powers. Much like the East India Company back in the day, who could own a militia and appoint governors to perform the executive functions of their territory.

anonymous asked:

About the Cali commie ban- while I despise communism and what it does to people, I cannot be ok with the government limiting who holds office by party. That could be your ideology someday. Or mine. Y'know?

Not really, it probably will be my ideology one day because these pricks will outlaw it.  Any totalitarian ideologue shouldn’t be granted access to the levers of regulatory power.  Not in an ostensibly free society where limited government is supposedly a virtue with limitations on state power enshrining human rights.  A communist isn’t working to preserve your notions about equal access.  But like I said, there’s no use pretending in California anyway.  They can come on out.

Let’s not kid ourselves, commies are drawn to state power like wifebeaters to police work and flies to shit.  The freshly retired director of the CIA was one.  And when you mix these people and their motivations with state power they will have an effect.

Why *Josie And The Pussycats* Is The Best Movie Ever

Once in a generation a film comes along that so encapsulates its era, speaks to its audiences and permeates the collective cultural unconscious that it defies categorization. It is more than a masterpiece or classic, cult or otherwise. It lives beyond the reach of its creators, in the realm not just of art but of beauty itself, that distant dimension Plato spoke of where ideal forms exist. In April of 2001, such a film was released. It was called “Josie And The Pussycats”.

I would conservatively estimate that I have seen JATP between fifteen and twenty times, or, at least once a year since it hit theaters. And to put the following in context, I have also seen your favorite movie, okay? “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Annie Hall,” “Goodfellas,” “Rashomon*,” “500 Days of Summer,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Schindler’s List,” “Blue Velvet,” “La Dolce Vita”…anything that might reasonably be considered “required viewing,” I have viewed. So when I tell you that JATP is as well-made a film as there is, I don’t mean in comparison to schlocky TV specials. I mean it is flawless like “The Godfather” is flawless. At the very least, it deserves to be ranked alongside “Animal House,” and “Blazing Saddles” as one of the finest comedies ever produced for American audiences.

     Because this is not a widely-held opinion (for reasons I will get into later), I am forced to put my mostly-dormant BFA into practice and analyze JATP in terms of, well, every conceivable metric by which a film might be judged. I did not undertake this quest lightly; it took six whole hours and five long days for, well, read for yourself.

Part One: Craft

(Background: JATP was written and directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, the team behind “Can’t Hardly Wait” (Ms. Elfont later married Breckin Meyer, a point that is not pertinent to this discussion but is nonetheless adorable).)

     There are a number of theories (& books & blogs & podcasts & pricey workshops) that claim to know the secret to a great screenplay, and they all have one thing in common: the hero. Our hero is Josie. Following Josie, we see all the Campbellian elements of a hero’s journey, from the Call To Adventure (@ the Starbucks with Wyatt) to the Abyss (scary clown sequence) to the Atonement (with Mel and Val backstage.) There’s even a Crossing the Threshold/Transformation sequence wherein Josie and her comrades enter the beauty salon Riverdale chicks and exit into a bustling metropolis (“the Unknown”) glam-ified stars. It is at exactly this point that the band’s name changes, setting Josie up as our megalopsychos (thanks, Aristotle).

Despite the lack of sex, death and prophecy, Josie does go through a distinctly Oedipal journey: her desire to learn the truth behind her success leads her to despair (“they’re selling stuff through our music!”). Over the course of the film, Josie grows from yet another spunky girl with dreams of stardom to a true artist who values her integrity above fame. Now, enter the supporting characters…

     Val and Mel truly are “good, solid back-up,” but they also have fully realized personalities (Val is a humanitarian, Mel sings in the shower). Mel is the heart. Val is the head. Josie is the singer. Like the Fellowship or the Power Rangers or the leaders of the Democratic party, the Pussycats are strongest when their individual powers are combined. The implicit message here - that lady friends will save the world - is powerful without being obnoxious, obvious without being cloying. Almost every scene passes the Bechdel test, yet at no point does anyone exclaim, “You can’t do that! You’re just a girl!” followed by the “Yeah? Watch me.” of so many so-called “strong female character” narratives. Even seemingly minor characters (Alan M, Alexander, Alexandra) have integrated story arcs: Alan M learns to speak his mind, Alexandra gets a love interest and Alexander frees himself from the shackles of consumer capitalism. That is so difficult to accomplish, and the film runs less than two hours. Do you hear that, Tarantino? Multiple interwoven storylines in an hour and thirty-nine minutes, including multiple song breaks.

     A hero is only as interesting as her villain, and JATP gives us two for the ages: nefariously insecure Fiona and devious henchman Wyatt. We meet Fiona during a scene of pure exposition to explain the central mystery, but she quickly evolves into a bizarro caricature of a corporate queen. Look at Fiona’s hair, makeup and costume color palette: she’s a funhouse mirror version of Josie. Like Darth Vader, Fiona represents the dark side of the path Josie has chosen to walk. She has what Josie wants (power, fame, position), and wants what Josie has (love, friends, self-esteem). She can’t help but compare herself to Josie (“Ha! I’m three pounds lighter than you!”). The ultimate reveal of her higher plan is both shocking and, in hindsight, satisfying. Who among us hasn’t had a moment of wishing to make themselves so powerful as to defy insecurity, only to find that embracing one’s flaws is the only way to move forward? It’s not out of nowhere; it’s called having a backstory.

     Wyatt, on the other hand, is more like a traitorous Obi-Wan. He’s Gandalf, leading them through new and treacherous territory. He’s the mentor, the goddess, the wizard with the ability to make the impossible possible (his magical amulet: the sound mixer). And then it turns out he’s playing them! Isn’t that better? Isn’t that more fun than another coach figure who, like, dies of a mild cough the day before the big game?

     The difference between a good and great script might lie in the attention paid to truly tiny parts. Ideally, each interaction moves the plot forward or enriches the world of the story. Well, JATP is a great script. DuJour and the fangirls (and boy) in the opening sequence introduce the world of the film before showing us the titular characters, much like the Capulet and Montague servants in the first scene of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The guy outside the Steve Madden store (“they’re new; they’re orange”) sets the emotional stage for the Pussycats to jump at the chance to sign with Wyatt, believing they are, to the masses, unwanted. The punk girl at the megastore gives voice to the anti-pop eye-rollers in the audience, and her cameo later in the underground brainwash complex is not to be overlooked. The government guy puts a limit on Fiona’s power. After the bowling alley, one might mistake the Pussycats for a beloved local band, but the bully girls show reveal them to be the town joke…which only makes the girls’ return as faux-Pussycats/stalkers all the more of a payoff.

     While a well-told story can hold an audience’s attention for its duration, we don’t return to films again and again, allowing them into our inner psyches and deeming them “iconic,” unless they also speak to the world around us or within us in some profound way. This is where most people miss the single most obvious thing JATP gets right: it’s a biting satire of consumer culture, American capitalism and even - in fact, especially - of itself. It’s about subliminal messages, but makes its message overt. It’s about corporate branding, and it has the most obvious product placement ever seen on the big screen. It’s an update of a beloved comic book franchise that includes the line “I was in the comic book.” The “profit kills creativity” maxim is brought to vivid - and hilarious - life when Carson Daly tries to kill Mel with a bat after admitting that he is an integral part of a plot to destroy the youth of America through music. If you consider yourself a hardened anti-establishment alt-indie-hippie-vegan free-thinking spirit of the wind, this should be required viewing. It’s subversive. It attacks. It’s edgy, dammit. This is punk rock filmmaking. Andy Warhol would have approved of this movie. It’s an indictment of the monoculture. Just imagine the think pieces this film would spawn if it were released today!

     When Fiona asks why so many musicians die in crashes and overdoses and suicides, she’s setting up the idea that actually they’ve been murdered by their corporate overlords. Ha, ha. But…isn’t she kind of right? Didn’t the pressures of fame kill Kurt Cobain, didn’t the excesses of wealth kill Elvis? We burn up our celebrities not only with our scorn but with our worship, fandom as medicinal poison. And this is before tumblr. And it’s all done so subtly! Wyatt’s code-word for “crach the duJour plane” is “take the Chevy to the levy,” a nonsense line from American Pie…which is a song about musicians dying in a plane crash.

     The exhaustion of fame on hyperdrive. Media saturation as lifestyle. An X-Files-worthy government conspiracy. This movie was a thousand years ahead of its time. So, with all that in mind, can we please agree that, at least on paper, Josie And The Pussycats is a flawless masterpiece? Great.

Part Two: Execution.

     Let’s take a look at what there is to take a look at: cinematography. JATP’s cinematography, from a technical angle, is rather unfussy. There are no walk-and-talks, no winding Scorseseësque dollies through a space or pans across a striking vista. It’s your basic master/two-shot/over-the-shoulder filmmaking. There are fun graphics in the montages, notably the “climbing up the charts” gag, an accurate recreation of the era’s music video aesthetic when necessary, and a few amusing fisheye shots, like seeing the faux-pussycats through the apartment door peephole. The split screens were likely made in the editing room, not in-camera, but still, points for exciting visuals. One must remember that, at the end of the day, form is supposed to support content, not the other way around (some people disagree with me on this. Those people are wrong). The story is a deep dive into the psyche of mainstream America, so the directors chose a mainstream technique.

     Where the visual storytelling becomes crazy subtle is in the set and costume design. Hipsters can harp all they want about how, like, every single frame of Scott Pilgrim has, whoa, a number in it because, like, Edgar Wright is, whoa, a genius, but have you ever bothered to look at the background actors in “Josie And The Pussycats?” An ongoing joke in the film is that the subliminal messages in pop music change the trendy color (“orange is the new pink!”) for the sole purpose of encouraging wasteful shopping. Sure enough, the extras in every mall scene can be seen wearing variations of the same hue. In the bird’s-eye shot of the Riverdale suburb, every single house is the same, down to the make, model and color of the SUV in the driveway. Each Pussycat lives in a penthouse hilariously plastered in the logo of the brand “sponsoring” her (pre-Instagram, can you imagine?). At the Pussycat house, too, there’s an element of self-branding: the walls are speckled with spray-painted leopard spots and almost every home accessory has a cat motif. (There are also a few live kittens roaming around. One assumes they were adopted when the band moved away.) When the members of duJour return in full-body casts, their plaster chests have been sharpie’d with the insignia from the clothes they were wearing in the airplane (which is also, itself, covered in logos). This level of attention to detail makes the film an easter-egg-hunting joy to re-watch and complicates one of the themes: does what you like inside dictate what you put on your outside, or the other way around?

     The Pussycats would be nothing without their music, and the soundtrack is perhaps what elevates the film above other teen fare of the time. (It was certified Gold, by the way.) Every single track is a banger. “3 Small Words” is an angsty chick anthem; “Pretend To Be Nice” sounds like everything else on the turn-of-the-millennium radio, so it’s perfect as the Pussycats’ fictional hit; I dare you not to dance to “Spin Around”; “You Don’t See Me” is serviceable as a love song for Alan M but works even better as an ode to insecurity; “You’re A Star” is the opposite of the previous track, aka character development; “I Wish You Well” dips into riot grrrl territory and scratches my I Miss The Donnas Every Day itch, “Real Wild Child” is a cute cover, as is “Money”; “Shape Shifter” is pretty much the theme of the movie in a single song; “Come On” is, admittedly, the weakest track on the album but the guitar hook is kind of flawless. Onto the DuJour tracks: “DuJour Around The World” manages to use “DuJour” in every line. “Backdoor Lover” is a boyband song about butt sex. I rest my case. Finally, the Josie And The Pussycats theme. A non-ironic update of the original 70s cartoon theme. Why don’t other franchise reboots understand how simple it can be?

     And now we come to the most tired and pathetic complaint that can be lobbied against this or any movie of a similar nature: those girls aren’t really singing or playing their instruments.

     The first thing is fuck you. The second this is yes they are, in the scene, they are playing their instruments and singing, it’s just that the sounds they made weren’t recorded. Very, very few films feature live music. Do you have any idea how shitty the musical acoustics are on a soundstage? Boom mics were designed for dialogue, not electric guitars. So, no, at no point do you hear the vocal or musical stylings of Rachel Leigh Cook…but why should you have to in order to enjoy the songs? Not only would “real” music be antithetical to the giant meta-wink that is the entire film, but also, everything in a movie is a special effect. In a scene where “Josie” would have done her hair and makeup herself that morning, Rachel Leigh Cook didn’t; a professional did. Rachel Leigh Cook didn’t do stunts; a professional did. And no one expected her, though she played Josie, to write songs. Professionals did. Because creating an authentic character is a collaboration between professionals. They hired professional actresses to act the Pussycats and a professional singer to sing for them. And not just any professional singer…Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo. You get to see a movie starring three starlets and hear Kay Hanley. This is the best of all possible combinations!

     The entire cast is pitch-fucking-perfect. Donald Faison, Seth Green, Alan Cumming, Parker Posey, Missi Pyle…comedy superstars, all of them. Cumming and Posey, especially, are let off their respective chains and are as deliciously insane as I have ever seen them. Tara Reid is so sincere as the all-loving vegetarian airhead Mel. Watch her explain all the things she could do if she could be in multiple places at once. Watch her fall on her ass in the living room. Rachel Leigh Cook, the star-next-door of 1999 thanks to “She’’s All That,” is recognizable enough to be a believable rock star and unknown enough to be a believable loser. She’s spunky and cute and the tiniest bit annoying, so you buy it when she turns into a bitch.

     But by far the MVP (Most Val-uable Pussycat) is Val, aka Rosario Dawson, aka pre-Rent Rosario Dawson, aka pre-skinny Rosario Dawson. She’s deadpan and cool and dorky and totally un-self-conscious in a way you never see in teen movies. Mel and Josie come off like girls. Val is a woman. She’s the moral center of the story and its most reasonable character. She doesn’t get many whacky showcase moments or punchlines. In fact, her main joke is that Wyatt keeps forgetting about her because yeah, isn’t Val a little bit boring? But also…yeah! She’s a rock star and she’s a little bit boring! She’s happy with herself and her decisions. She’s supportive and smart and does volunteer work. She’s just a cool, calm and collected cat. She’s Dave Grohl or Bob Gaudio or everyone in Bon Jovi or no one in Fleetwood Mac.

Then there’s the X-factor, the je news said quoits, the kitty-ness of it all. The monkey. Captain and Tennnille and The Chief. The Charlie’s Angels girls playing the Pussycats in the very movie you’re watching. The quite catchy melody of “Taking My Truck For Granted”. These are things that make the film an absolute joy to watch. They show how much time, care, effort, energy, talent and, yes, love went into making “Josie And The Pussycats.” When you love something that much and work that hard on it, I think the least you can expect is that audiences and critics give it a fair shot before casting an opinion. Unfortunately…

Part Three: Reception

JATP made fifteen million against a twenty-two million budget. It’s not that audiences didn’t like it; they didn’t even see it. Roger Ebert, the most influential critic of his time, basically panned it. And there’s only one reason, I think, why this film has not received the recognition it deserves: the patriarchy.

Calm tf down. I’m not accusing Ebert or any critic or any man or any penis of outright misogyny. What I am arguing is that there are many aspects of the movie that prevented it from being seen by male audiences who would otherwise be free to enjoy it, and that it hasn’t taken its place among the greats because of a systematic disregard for the things the film is fundamentally about.

     Take the title, for instance. It has the word PUSSY in it. How many guys, of a Saturday, would feel comfortable rolling up to the box office and asking for tickets to a movie with Pussy in the title and a glitter-covered girl gang on the poster? Most people of ticket-buying age have already been indoctrinated (by the very brain-washing society the movie mocks) that this is a chick flick. Dissuading men from enjoying “feminine” things isn’t reverse-sexism…it’s the patriarchy!, So while of course I am all for female-driven movies making bank on the strength of female purchasing power, the fact remains that it is twice as hard to turn a profit when half the population is getting signals from all sides telling them not to go.

     Beyond the title, the pink-and-purple poster and the lack of “bankable” leads (ie macho action stars or old-man-approved Award Winners), this movie was, frankly, scary to conservative America. Remember, the patriarchy is just another branch of authoritarianism and oppression. The Pussycats are the opposite of oppressed. They don’t exist within the sanctified, codified world of high school (see: the massive success of “Mean Girls” and “Clueless,” or “Legally Blonde” for post-grad institutionalization); they aren’t at a pre-prescribed stage in life as designated by a major milestone (“Bridesmaids”); they aren’t gainfully employed but looking for mates (“13 Going On 30,” “27 Dresses,” “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days”). Instead, like Romy and Michele (again under appreciated, again starring Alan Cumming…are you sensing a theme?) they are semi-employed and okay with it, chasing their dreams instead of men, existing more in relationship to each other than to any structure from the outside world. They have their own Pussycat society, a society with its own rules and norms and boundaries. This is anathema to the patriarchy. The pussycat house may very well have been a brother for all that it completely rejects the heteronormative standard.

     Groups of liberated females have long struck fear into the heart of the establishment, and so the establishment tries to shut them down. Funny women aren’t supposed to tell you not to buy stuff. They are supposed to shut up and have babies. Well, Josie and Mel and Val are college-aged girls living on their own in a house full of cats, refusing to buy new clothes or listen to bland music, and the movie paints them as powerful, not pitiful. Talk about subverting the dominant paradigm. This movie was the revolution, people, and we fucking missed it!

     The movie was called “ridiculous” because men have always called women ridiculous for wanting the things they can’t have. What it comes down to is if this were a drama about a bunch of boys who liked to sing and play guitar and hated “the man,” and wanted a record contract anyway, Oliver Stone and Cameron Crowe would have been fighting over the chance to direct it and Leonardo DiCaprio would have been growing his hair out to take on the lead. But instead, the movie is - gasp! - a comedy about - omg! - friendship instead of drugs, centered on three - wtf! - cute girls instead of two guys and their shared sex object. Because at the end of the day, the establishment can make peace with men who fight the power with guns or whatever, probably something that the establishment sold them anyways. Not so for ladies.

Now, how am I so sure that the patriarchy is completely to blame? How do I know it wasn’t simply that this happens sometimes with movies, and maybe there were a bunch of other factors I don’t know about? Well, consider the closest thing we have to a “control” movie against which we can test my theory: “Zoolander.”

     Heard of it? It came out the same year as JATP and boasted a roster of comedy’s best. It also has…pretty much the exact same plot as JATP. It’s about an industry that brainwashes its stars to promote and preserve a capitalist way of life. They were made for around the same amount of money, even. Yet “Zoolander” grossed its budget back twice over, is quoted by film fans ad infinitum and, oh yeah, the star-studded sequel just came out. So what did Derek Z have that Josie M didn’t?

     Well, “Zoolander" was about a guy and made by guys. Ben Stiller stared and directed; Scott Rudin produced. Other guys could go to a Ben Stiller/Scott Rudin movie. “Zoolander” was about an adult, and society tells us that their stories are worth telling. Josie and her friends aren’t teenagers, yet JATP consistently pops up on “teen movie” lists, even thought it’s really clever. “Zoolander,” which has demonstrably juvenile humor, is never considered a teen movie, and adults went to it in droves. Again, the deciding factors are sexism and ageism which, yes, is part of patriarchy (establishment = conservatism). The original “Zoolander” trailer features, instead of Josie’s peppy music, a guy getting kicked in the face. And celebrity cameos. And an explosion. So Middle America was like YES PUT IT IN ME IT LOOKS LIKE WHAT I HAVE BEEN TOLD IS FOR ME.

     The other reason I know I’m right is…there is no other possible explanation. “Josie And The Pussycats” is so goddamn good that for it to have done as poorly as it did both commercially and critically, something must have been deeply wrong with the society into which it premiered. Like the work of Jane Austen, JATP was declared “chick stuff” and brushed under the rug, only to be discovered later by a more deserving audience. Well, the time has come. Rent it. Buy it. Watch it. Make like Alexander and hit the streets to spread the gospel of the pussycats.

*I have not seen Rashomon.


You were his world. He would often look at you when he knew that you wouldn’t see him. His mind palace was often completely destroyed and memories of you would just flood in. The way your hair falls just in the right way, that the scent of the shampoo you use calms him down tremendously, that you change it almost once a month and that’s alright with Sherlock too. That your smile- God, your smile. It lit every dark shadow that plagued Sherlock, and brightened his look on life. 

You were his everything, and he had to spend hours at night pushing you out his mind so he could think. Just get one thought straight and be able to breathe

And the worst part of this all was that you didn’t even understand the hold that you had on him. That you couldn’t even begin to grasp the limits and bounderies that Sherlock would completely overlook for you. The governments and power groups that he would burn to the ground if you so much as breathed the request. 

Or maybe you did, maybe you did grasp how deep, how raw Sherlock’s love for you was. Though just the thought of that was just another thing that Sherlock was in denial about.

Because if you did understand, and you knew what Sherlock would do to just be able to call you his for a second and you still wouldn’t even give him a genuine smile? That would make him crumble faster than anyone he’s ever taken down. 

That would completely and utterly break Sherlock Holmes. 

I’ll be fine with Trumps use of executive orders so long as they continue to limit and reduce the power of the government. How great would it be if his last executive order as president is to strip the president of the ability to use executive orders. 

It should be borne in mind that there is nothing more difficult to manage, or more doubtful of success, or more dangerous to handle, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things. For the innovator has enemies in all those who are doing well under the old order, and he has only lukewarm defenders in all those who would do well under the new order.

The Prince, Machiavelli

I’ve seen the question posed before, “Why didn’t Jon Arryn implement the Southron Ambitions Plan (SAP) to decentralize monarchical power once he was in office, assuming he was spearheading the movement before the Rebellion?” and I think Machiavelli has the answer. 

I don’t think the SAP was formed with the intention of removing the Targaryens from power completely. While I think SAP members agreed that Aerys was unfit for rule and had to be removed, I think the original plan was simply to follow the natural order of succession and crown Rhaegar, and to create something like a constitutional monarchy where power is shared with an assembly of lords / a permanent Great Council. It was meant to reform the old Targaryen regime rather than completely tear it down, relying on 300 years of Targaryen strength and relative stability to have a smooth transition of power.

But the aftermath of the Rebellion was a time of uncertainty.  All the Targaryens were either dead or fled, and no one immediately knew who would claim the realm and hold it. Robert obviously stepped in to fill the power vacuum, and the maesters lent him legitimacy through his Targ grandmother, but after almost 300 years of Targaryen rule, a Baratheon on the throne was untried and untested. Even worse, another winter** was coming, and the major food-producing regions of Westeros had seen much of the fighting. As was the case after TWOT5K, I believe the Realm must have seen food and labor shortages.

(**The exact years of this winter are unknown, but it occurred very early in Robert’s reign. 284 is known to be a summer year, so the winter occurred sometime after that, and lasted until approximately 288. Then there was a spring in 288 or 289 that lasted maybe 9 months, because Balon’s rebellion was known to have lasted for this season. Then the long summer began.) 

I believe Jon Arryn concluded that this was too dangerous a time to introduce government reform. Limiting the power of the King (and Hand) might have weakened Westeros too much when so much of the Realm had already bled. The War of the Ninepenny Kings, when the Band of Nine had tried to invade Westeros, was still a living memory for almost all of the high lords at the time. 

Changes as radical as a permanent Council of Lords must have seemed highly uncertain, with dubious chance of success, as Machiavelli suggests. Jon Arryn wouldn’t have been able to build the same strong Council of Lords that he might have before the Rebellion. Mace Tyrell had opposed Robert, Doran Martell felt intense animosity toward the Rebels, and I don’t think Jon Arryn wanted to share power on equal terms on a Council with a war criminal like Tywin Lannister. 

In contrast, the old system of absolute monarchy had proven effective as long as the feudal contract was upheld. As Hand, Arryn could make sure that Aerys’s mistakes did not become Robert’s, and perhaps that was enough for Arryn. Instead, he took steps to shore up Robert’s power, with a Baratheon-Lannister marriage alliance, and a warning to Mace Tyrell against disloyalty with a Stannis/Selyse Florent match. 

So I think the Southron Ambitions Plan was abandoned, and the chance for a sort of Westerosi Magna Carta became another casualty of the Rebellion.


“There exists a limit to the force even the most powerful may apply without destroying themselves. Judging this limit is the true artistry of government. Misuse of power is the fatal sin. The law cannot be a tool of vengeance, never a hostage, nor a fortification against the martyrs it has created. You cannot threaten any individual and escape the consequences.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

To say that a power elite directs the affairs of state is not to suggest the existence of some dark conspiracy. It is simply to acknowledge the way Washington actually works. Especially on matters related to national security, policy making has become oligarchic rather than democratic. The policy-making process is not open but closed, with the voices of the privileged insiders carrying unimaginably greater weight than those of the unwashed masses.
—  Andrew J. Bacevich, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, 2008. (p. 82)
Neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights give us any rights at all. The idea was that the people have rights inherently, they aren’t granted by a piece of paper or a government. What the Constitution does is grant powers to the government, and then places limits on those powers. The Bill of Rights is not and never has been list of the rights we have. In fact, that was one of the arguments against it at the time it was ratified, namely that future generations would view it as such. What it was designed to do was provide added protection to the rights which the founders thought would be the most likely to be eroded by a tyrannical government. So please stop with the idea that if it isn’t mentioned in the BOR it isn’t a right.
—  GT86

Now that Trump is president can all the people sobbing and fearing for their lives finally admit that protections from the government and limits on it’s power to enforce its will is a good thing? Can you finally start reading the constitution and remember why all those pesky inalienable rights you spent the last few years protesting against are important?

anonymous asked:

Hello! I was wondering what your sources were for the post about what the president cannot do?

The…..Constitution of the United States? A semester of Constitutional Law? Paying attention in my civics class? It’s not secret information, the three branches of government and the constitutional limits on presidential power are out there on the world wide web.

Democracy might begin as a defensible procedural mechanism for limiting government power, but it quickly and inexorably develops into something quite different: a culture of systematic thievery. As soon as politicians have learnt to buy political support from the ‘public purse’, and conditioned electorates to embrace looting and bribery, the democratic process reduces itself to the formation of (Mancur Olson’s) ‘distributional coalitions’–electoral majorities mortared together by common interest in a collectively advantageous pattern of theft. Worse still, since people are, on average, not very bright, the scale of depredation available to the political establishment far exceeds even the demented sacking that is open to public scrutiny. Looting the future, through currency debauchment, debt accumulation, growth destruction, and techno-industrial retardation is especially easy to conceal, and thus reliably popular. Democracy is essentially tragic because it provides the populace with a weapon to destroy itself, one that is always eagerly seized, and used. Nobody ever says ‘no’ to free stuff. Scarcely anybody even sees that there is no free stuff. Utter cultural ruination is the necessary conclusion.
—  Nick Land, The Dark Enlightenment

normally i am for everyone reading up on the facts and making up their own minds on political decisions as big as this but our generation and so many future generations are depending on the remain vote tomorrow so please please vote remain! 

this is a long post but i dont wanna put it under a readmore because it is important so please read this!! 

- the EU not only maintains peace on the european continent. the eu has literally won the european peace prize and has been a primary driving force in making sure countries accept their fair share of refugees- the eu is essentially a humane organisation 

- David Cameron (asjakls i cant believe i’m on his side in this) has secured a great deal with the eu for britain: we have the pound not the euro (which is pretty fucking amazing), we can opt out of the Shengen agreement, we can opt out of any bailouts of any future crashes of European economies, migrants have to have worked here for at least 4 years before they can claim benefits and loads more essentially limiting the eu’s power 

- most of what the remain campaign has said has been the truth! although they may have gone a bit far with the scare mongering we do have something to be scared about if we leave the EU- by leaving we are playing into the hands of some obscure far right groups 

- a lot of what the leave campaign is telling you is not true!! or very very exaggerated!! A great analogy is saying we send £350 million a week to the EU and disregarding our rebates, and money reinvested into our farmers, fishers, scientific community, green initiatives (etc etc) is like saying a pint of beer is £20, when you’ve given them a £20 note and disregarded the £15 change you recieved. in addition to this there is all the free trade business we recieve from the EU so if we become part of the free trade zone outsde of the EU like norway or Switzerland we will still have to pay the EU for that privilege 

- we will be worse off financially!! the leave campaign is adamant that a short term hit to the economy won’t matter but ofc it will matter!! we are literally just getting out of a recession and all those jobs that people have fought for (3 million of which are linked to the EU) will not exist

- the EU is a massive driver for equality for women, LGBT+ people throughout not only the UK but also the whole union! Maternity leave, holiday pay and many more social policies are a result of EU legislation and without the EU they can be changed by the government of the day and we will have no control over this  

- only 15% of our laws are made by the EU! the leave campaign is making out that the EU is the Lord Supreme of the UK and dictates every aspect of our lives which is just not true!! They’ve even not pressured us to take in more Syrian refugees (with significant leave campaigners ie. michael gove) voting in parliament to turn away 3,000 child refugees 

- MIGRANTS ARE GOOD!! not one study has shown that migrants take more money from benefits than they give back to our economy. Obviously there are some who abuse the system but so do uk nationals!! The majority travel here and put up with terrible working conditions and uproot their entire lives because they have to and we should be celebrating the fact that they want to be british not vilifying them! 

-experts say we should stay- these are the people who are employed to make unbiased opinions on what they think is best for the economy/living standards and the general population- 9/10 economists think we would be making a big mistake if we leave and the leave campaign could not cite one reputable study that says we would be better off or just the same outside of the EU

- if we leave the government can be dangerous!! at the moment we have a check on laws that are passed which limits the government power- without it the government can pass through any legislation it wants to! they have already passed some Prevent legislation (which you should look up but its scary shit) and this can get worse!

there are so so many more reasons we should stay in the EU- the leave campaign is insistent that remain is running on fear but all we want is a safe future!! there will be an incredible economic and social fallout if we leave!! please don’t risk that and VOTE REMAIN!

anonymous asked:

If you were president and could actually do what you wanted, what would be the first five things you would fix? Anthony Bergen for president, anyone?

Any five things that I wanted, regardless of what I could actually (legally) do as President?

1. Protect marriage equality with the force of law in every state or territory under U.S. law. 

2. Decimate the power of banks over economic regulations and policy.

3. Immediately end the Cuban embargo. We ought to be ashamed of the institutional arrogance and pettiness of el bloqueo. Allow Cuba to belong to Cubans, including Guantanamo Bay (I’d shut down that facility, too, since the President who said he would obviously won’t).

4. Either abrogate the 22nd Amendment or institute term limits on the Congress and Judiciary. Term limits on the Presidency without term limits on the other two branches of government is clearly a separation of powers issue. And if term limits are necessary (and if they were extended to the other two branches of the federal government in order to establish a true balance of power), I’d make the President’s term five-to-seven years long and not eligible for re-election.

5. Build high-speed rail lines – for passenger service and commercial/cargo service – nationally. And I mean a massive project – not a “study”, not any sort of beta testing, but a ridiculous investment in the infrastructure throughout the country in order to make high-speed rail a priority, and as accessible regionally as the interstate highway system is.  

And not too long after accomplishing those five things, I’d quickly privatize the postal service, demilitarize police forces throughout the country, abolish the death penalty, legalize and regulate marijuana, and use my power and influence as the incumbent President to build a flourishing third party in order to weaken the two-party domination of American politics since the Civil War.

(I obviously wouldn’t be President for very long.)

Zagarri’s and Finkelman’s analyses of the Federalists’ positions on gender and race show the kinder face of their conservative elitism. Andrew Siegel’s analysis of the ideology of Connecticut Federalists and Cayton’s arguments on the colonization of the West reinforce this view. Connecticut Federalists opposed the Louisiana Purchase because it gave new life to the institution of slavery. Federalists encouraged the migration of women to the West, believing that the presence of families there would counter the wildness of the frontiersmen. They called for the fair treatment of Indians and tried to prohibit the spread of slavery into the region. The defeat of the Federalist vision by the new democratic order spelled a diminished status for women, Indians, and Africans.

These same Federalists who advocated greater respect for Indian rights, spoke against slavery, and addressed women as participants in the polity saw nothing inconsistent in upholding a social order that denied equality to Indians, blacks, and women and imposed on white men property qualifications for voting. They sharply distinguished between an abstract moral community composed of all human beings and a concrete political community whose membership was limited. They assumed that the better should govern. Power, however, involved an obligation to assist those less capable of protecting themselves: women, nonelite white males, African slaves, and Indians. The Republicans promised to remove government from peoples’ lives. The Federalists, on the other hand, were committed to the idea that government was necessary to protect the weak.

—  Doron Ben-Atar and Barbara Oberg, The Paradoxical Legacy of the Federalists

Someone who shall remain nameless needs to be reminded of this. When they came here, our founding fathers had just left a country and risked their lives crossing an ocean because of government getting too big and trying to control their lives. They saw firsthand what it did. They didn’t like it and didn’t want to see it happen here, hence the reason for the constitution limiting the power of the federal government the way it does. Needless to say, our founding fathers are doing cartwheels in their graves right now. ☆SP☆