Debate:The Ham Sandwich Amendment

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Law:The Ham Sandwich Amendment

Date of Introduction in the Hopper: Jan 26, 2017 at 3:35 pm (GMT +0100)
Author of Bill: Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM

Contents

Ián B. Anglatzarâ; Jan 26, 2017 at 5:12 pm (GMT +0100)

A comment from the Republic that was:

Quote:
Executive Order No. 080204
Talossan National Cuisine
I, Ián Anglatzarâ, President of the Republic, hereby declare the following to constitute the
National Cuisine of Talossa:
1. The national lunch food of the Talossan Republic is the
Stubborn Sandwich.
2. The national hot drink of the Talossan Republic is
Talossan Cider.
3. The national sweet snack of the Talossan Republic is the
Talossa Bonnet.
At all public celebrations where food and drink is served, at least one dish from the
National Cuisine shall be served, or the occasion will forever be remembered as
culinarily unpatriotic.
Upon the countersignature of the Seneschál of the Republic of Talossa, this order shall be
transmitted to the Parlamînt and published in the National Register.
The President of the Republic of Talossa
Ián Anglatzarâ
4 February 2008
countersigned by Dp. Dieter N. Vercáriâ, Seneschál

Sir Cresti Matáiwos Siervicül, UrN; Jan 26, 2017 at 10:00 pm (GMT +0100)

Remind me: what was a Stubborn Sandwich?

A former Citizen; Jan 26, 2017 at 10:01 pm (GMT +0100)

Yeah, and what's Talossan cider made of?

Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Jan 26, 2017 at 11:02 pm (GMT +0100)

And what is a Talossan Bonnet?

Lüc I.-B. da Schir, O.Be.; Jan 26, 2017 at 11:39 pm (GMT +0100)

And what is an "Ián Anglatzarâ"? Is that part of the Talossan Cuisine too?

Miestrâ Schivâ, UrN; Jan 27, 2017 at 8:16 am (GMT +0100)

Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Jan 26, 2017 at 11:02 pm (GMT +0100):
And what is a Talossan Bonnet?

The Talossa Bonnet is apparently an adaptation of a snack called an "Easter Bonnet", comprising mainly of a marshmallow melted onto a cookie and decorated in patriotic Talossan colours. The full details of these snacks were given on Wittenberg X at the following posts:

Stubborn Sandwich: www.talossaonline.com/1.31693.0.html Talossan Cider: www.talossaonline.com/1.31181.0.html Talossa Bonnets: www.talossaonline.com/show.php?fid=1&id=23475

Gödafrïeu Válcadác’h, can you fetch up these threads for us?

Ián B. Anglatzarâ; Jan 27, 2017 at 8:54 am (GMT +0100)

Quoting previous comment from Miestrâ Schivâ, UrN; Jan 27, 2017 at 8:16 am (GMT +0100), including the quote from Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Jan 26, 2017 at 11:02 pm (GMT +0100)

http://web.archive.org/web/20081121121630/http://www.talossaonline.com/1.31693.0.html
http://web.archive.org/web/20081121132833/http://www.talossaonline.com/1.31181.0.html

Can't find the last one.

Magniloqueu Épiqeu A. da Lhiun; Jan 29, 2017 at 4:07 am (GMT +0100)

Butter? Butter in a watery drink? Butter? What is this travesty?

Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:25 pm (GMT +0100)

I'm not sure this would be a good test. The ideological case against a Ham Sandwich, while stronger than the case in favour, is pretty weak, as there are no direct negative consequences. So why would the amendment passing prove that people wouldn't vote against an amendment that is actually harmful?

Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm (GMT +0100)

Quoting Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:25 pm (GMT +0100):
I'm not sure this would be a good test. The ideological case against a Ham Sandwich, while stronger than the case in favour, is pretty weak, as there are no direct negative consequences. So why would the amendment passing prove that people wouldn't vote against an amendment that is actually harmful?

What would be a good test, then? Surely it wouldn't be a great idea to offer a bill which does in fact have extremely negative consequences just to prove a point, especially when I believe that the public would also rubber stamp that too.

By the way, if there is any question as to why it is a Ham Sandwich, you can understand a bit better here.

Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm (GMT +0100)

I don't think it's surprising that amendments tend to pass. For an amendment to have the support of 2/3rd of MCs but less than a majority of the population is unlikely. If you look at the last election, a majority of voters voted using the dababase. From there it's easy to come across the text of the referenda. For those who didnt bother reading them (and I'm afraid that happens, just like there will be people who don't bother reading party manifesto's or finding out anything about their party's candidate for Senate.), they still will have been confronted for every amendment with a very clear argument in favour of the amendment, and the most generic clause possible against the amendment. Maybe parties should to more to inform their voters about the amendments.

Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:56 pm (GMT +0100)

But yeah, gathering evidence to support either assumption will be difficult, maybe impossible. If a bill would be really considered harmful by a majority, I am confident someone will be able to mount an effective campaign against it, but we can't know for sure untill it happens.

Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:59 pm (GMT +0100)

Quoting Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm (GMT +0100):
I don't think it's surprising that amendments tend to pass.

It isn't that they tend to pass, they always pass.

Quoting Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm (GMT +0100):
For an amendment to have the support of 2/3rd of MCs but less than a majority of the population is unlikely.

Not necessarily true. Not everything that MCs do during a Cosâ term are detailed in a party's manifesto, which as you later note, some people don't even read anyway. Some members of the public may just be filling in every box on their ballots without any detailed reasoning. While I believe it is a problem in all respects, it is much more so a problem regarding Organic Law, which over the years has been treated as basically a repository for any kind of law anyone wants passed, and the voters accede to everything causing this huge bulky document for which we've formed committees to make huge reforms to it.

Quoting Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm (GMT +0100):
If you look at the last election, a majority of voters voted using the dababase. From there it's easy to come across the text of the referenda. For those who didnt bother reading them (and I'm afraid that happens, just like there will be people who don't bother reading party manifesto's or finding out anything about their party's candidate for Senate.), they still will have been confronted for every amendment with a very clear argument in favour of the amendment, and the most generic clause possible against the amendment. Maybe parties should to more to inform their voters about the amendments.

I agree that parties should take advantage of this more, and I think it should be opened up for anyone who wants to submit statements, like for ballot initiatives in some states, where the state prints a pamphlet that includes any argument for or against (within reason) a given initiative. This may be one avenue where it helps the public to decide which way to go a bit better. But adding 50 word statements and the use of electronic ballots haven't been around but for a couple years, if that. This was a problem long before we ever amended the law to allow for 50 word statements to be added to ballots. Plus, would someone who routinely votes for Party X really care or give weight to what Party Y says to do about an amendment?

Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm (GMT +0100)

Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:59 pm (GMT +0100):
Quoting Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm (GMT +0100):
I don't think it's surprising that amendments tend to pass.
It isn't that they tend to pass, they always pass.

That's true as far as I can remember, but then again, I can't remember any case when a referendum really should have failed.

Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:59 pm (GMT +0100):
Quoting Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm (GMT +0100):
For an amendment to have the support of 2/3rd of MCs but less than a majority of the population is unlikely.
Not necessarily true. Not everything that MCs do during a Cosâ term are detailed in a party's manifesto, which as you later note, some people don't even read anyway.

People being informed about their party's position is only what of why that's unlikely. Just as relevant is that MCs are themselves a large sample of the population as a whole. If politicians from RUMP to FreeDem agree on something, how likely is it that a majority would have a totally different opinion?

Moreover, in the case of the most controversial amendment during the previous election, Members of the Ziu who voted in favour of the amendment themselves formed a quarter of all the voters in favour. If it had passed 47-45 instead, that number would have been almost a third.

Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 10:43 pm (GMT +0100)

Quoting Glüc da Dhi; Feb 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm (GMT +0100):
Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:59 pm (GMT +0100):
Not necessarily true. Not everything that MCs do during a Cosâ term are detailed in a party's manifesto, which as you later note, some people don't even read anyway.
People being informed about their party's position is only what of why that's unlikely. Just as relevant is that MCs are themselves a large sample of the population as a whole. If politicians from RUMP to FreeDem agree on something, how likely is it that a majority would have a totally different opinion?
Moreover, in the case of the most controversial amendment during the previous election, Members of the Ziu who voted in favour of the amendment themselves formed a quarter of all the voters in favour. If it had passed 47-45 instead, that number would have been almost a third.

Certain members of the Ziu who had previously been against, and voted against, the amendment you are talking about voted for it solely because they were in a coalition with the party of the amendment's author. And while the votes in favor may indeed make up a quarter of the votes, suggesting that it passed in a referendum because of this is flawed. The amendment may have had bipartisan support, for whatever reason, but there was also bipartisan opposition. In fact, there is both bipartisan support and opposition to many amendments that are passed. Therefore, I find the argument that a 2/3rds majority of a parliamentary legislature almost always, or always, reflects the views of the majority is erroneous--individuals who voted for one party may have ideological disagreements with the actions taken by a certain MC who holds multiple seats for that party, or indeed, perhaps even with entire portions of a party's manifesto.

As an actual example, I voted for Pat McCrory for Governor of North Carolina when he ran for his first term a few years ago, and chances are I would have voted for most any Republican that was running for that position, because I myself am a Republican. McCrory, along with bipartisan support from the legislature, was able to put billion dollar bonds for consideration on the March ballot. Many Republicans were outraged at this action, several Republican organizations passed resolutions against this action, and many voted against the bond issue even though they previously--and often continued to--support the Governor overall. The bond issue passed, probably owing to the fact that the support group had millions of dollars, and the against group had less than $10,000; there was no way to educate or get the general public to care about it.

Of course, let's not forget that acquiescence bias is a documented thing.

Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:38 pm (GMT +0100)

I have a philosophical problem voting in favor of this, as I think the duty of elected representatives is to only support bills they actually agree with, rather than try to play "gotcha" with the citizenry. Since I would not actually want a ham sandwich as the national sandwich of Talossa (nor would I want that in the OrgLaw), I cannot vote in favor of the amendment in the Cosa, even if (in fact, because) I know full well I would vote against it in the referendum.

Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:39 pm (GMT +0100)

Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:38 pm (GMT +0100):
I have a philosophical problem voting in favor of this, as I think the duty of elected representatives is to only support bills they actually agree with, rather than try to play "gotcha" with the citizenry. Since I would not actually want a ham sandwich as the national sandwich of Talossa (nor would I want that in the OrgLaw), I cannot vote in favor of the amendment in the Cosa, even if (in fact, because) I know full well I would vote against it in the referendum.

How would it be playing gotcha? Marti-Pair Furxheir, are you still including the text of amendments on ballots?

I understand your position on the national sandwich being a ham sandwich, and in this I agree with you. But I disagree that it is worth offering.

Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:44 pm (GMT +0100):
Oops, sorry for editing my post while you were replying. I didn't subtract anything though.

No worries, I edited my post and better responded to you above.

Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:44 pm (GMT +0100):
Anyway, it is a waste of the citizenry's time to read through an amendment that the Ziu already knows is stupid. I mean, is it really surprising that no Talossan referendum has ever failed? So surprising that apathy is the only possible explanation? Despite your above arguments, I still think it is incredibly unlikely that enough of the Cosa would break from their platform that 2/3 of the Cosa would support a bill that did have the support of the population that just elected the Cosa six months ago.

I disagree that it would be a waste of the public's time to read through an amendment--that is the entire point why I'm offering this amendment. Yes, it is surprising that no Talossan referendum has failed. And further, as I've stated elsewhere, if we simply adopt the logic that "Well, the public voted for us so they obviously would support the amendment in the GE", then I ask again, why do we bother allowing the public to vote on them? (Additionally, my above arguments make clear that a party's platform doesn't cover every little amendment that is considered in the Ziu.) The arguments against this bill are flawed, because there are only two outcomes--one, the public reads the bill and votes against it, or two, the public doesn't read the bill and votes for it.

Our Organic Law is supposed to be this incredibly difficult to amend, important legal document. Yet anything we throw at it sticks, which I think is because of general public apathy. Want to prove me wrong? Vote in favor of this Amendment on the Clark and do it. Otherwise, vote against this Amendment, and we'll never know.

Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:44 pm (GMT +0100)

Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:39 pm (GMT +0100):
Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:38 pm (GMT +0100):
I have a philosophical problem voting in favor of this, as I think the duty of elected representatives is to only support bills they actually agree with, rather than try to play "gotcha" with the citizenry. Since I would not actually want a ham sandwich as the national sandwich of Talossa (nor would I want that in the OrgLaw), I cannot vote in favor of the amendment in the Cosa, even if (in fact, because) I know full well I would vote against it in the referendum.
How would it be playing gotcha? Marti-Pair Furxheir, are you still including the text of amendments on ballots?

Oops, sorry for editing my post while you were replying. I didn't subtract anything though.

Anyway, it is a waste of the citizenry's time to read through an amendment that the Ziu already knows is stupid. I mean, is it really surprising that no Talossan referendum has ever failed? So surprising that apathy is the only possible explanation? Despite your above arguments, I still think it is incredibly unlikely that enough of the Cosa would break from their platform that 2/3 of the Cosa would support a bill that did have the support of the population that just elected the Cosa six months ago.

Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:51 pm (GMT +0100)

A completely unrelated argument against this amendment is that it will make it significantly harder for the new Committee to rewrite Article II (which you admit desperately needs rewriting), and offers no compelling benefit in return.

Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:53 pm (GMT +0100)

Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:51 pm (GMT +0100):
A completely unrelated argument against this amendment is that it will make it significantly harder for the new Committee to rewrite Article II (which you admit desperately needs rewriting), and offers no compelling benefit in return.

Valid point, though I would argue that the Committee should begin on a section of OrgLaw that is more vital to the operation of the Kingdom than Article II.

Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:56 pm (GMT +0100)

Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:53 pm (GMT +0100):
Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:51 pm (GMT +0100):
A completely unrelated argument against this amendment is that it will make it significantly harder for the new Committee to rewrite Article II (which you admit desperately needs rewriting), and offers no compelling benefit in return.
Valid point, though I would argue that the Committee should begin on a section of OrgLaw that is more vital to the operation of the Kingdom than Article II.

I would argue that too, but given that the amendment, if passed by the Ziu, would remain in limbo for several months, there is a fairly high probability that the Commission will get to it before the amendment is ratified (also, I could probably rewrite Article II in less than a half an hour, so it might get done fairly quickly just because it is not time consuming).

Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 9, 2017 at 12:00 am (GMT +0100)

Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:56 pm (GMT +0100):
Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:53 pm (GMT +0100):
Valid point, though I would argue that the Committee should begin on a section of OrgLaw that is more vital to the operation of the Kingdom than Article II.
I would argue that too, but given that the amendment, if passed by the Ziu, would remain in limbo for several months, there is a fairly high probability that the Commission will get to it before the amendment is ratified (also, I could probably rewrite Article II in less than a half an hour, so it might get done fairly quickly just because it is not time consuming).

The OrgLaw being as large as it is, I doubt the Commission would get to Article II in time. But even if it did, or you offered an Article II rewrite, there would only be a potential conflict if the public actually passed my Amendment to start with. Furthermore, I would suggest that because the wordage of this Amendment only adds an additional section (whether numbered or not) it wouldn't actually conflict with any Article II rewrite unless for some reason the Ziu decides to lengthen the Article rather than shorten it.

Ian Plätschisch; Feb 9, 2017 at 12:05 am (GMT +0100)

Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 9, 2017 at 12:00 am (GMT +0100):
Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:56 pm (GMT +0100):
I would argue that too, but given that the amendment, if passed by the Ziu, would remain in limbo for several months, there is a fairly high probability that the Commission will get to it before the amendment is ratified (also, I could probably rewrite Article II in less than a half an hour, so it might get done fairly quickly just because it is not time consuming).
The OrgLaw being as large as it is, I doubt the Commission would get to Article II in time. But even if it did, or you offered an Article II rewrite, there would only be a potential conflict if the public actually passed my Amendment to start with. Furthermore, I would suggest that because the wordage of this Amendment only adds an additional section (whether numbered or not) it wouldn't actually conflict with any Article II rewrite unless for some reason the Ziu decides to lengthen the Article rather than shorten it.

Unless I am mistaken, once a section is added or amended by an amendment passed by the Ziu, no other changes can be made to it before the referendum, because making additional changes would create contradictory amendments.

Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 9, 2017 at 12:15 am (GMT +0100)

Ian Plätschisch; Feb 9, 2017 at 12:05 am (GMT +0100):
Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 9, 2017 at 12:00 am (GMT +0100):
The OrgLaw being as large as it is, I doubt the Commission would get to Article II in time. But even if it did, or you offered an Article II rewrite, there would only be a potential conflict if the public actually passed my Amendment to start with. Furthermore, I would suggest that because the wordage of this Amendment only adds an additional section (whether numbered or not) it wouldn't actually conflict with any Article II rewrite unless for some reason the Ziu decides to lengthen the Article rather than shorten it.
Unless I am mistaken, once a section is added or amended by an amendment passed by the Ziu, no other changes can be made to it before the referendum, because making additional changes would create contradictory amendments.

There have been many discussions in the past about contradictory amendments. There is no barrier to contradictory amendments being put on the same ballot, and the problem stems from what would happen if both contradictory amendments were to pass. (Would the one with the most votes be considered more valid? Would neither be considered valid? We've never faced the question before, so it would be new legal territory. An interesting side note is that if the King still had a veto power over amendments, he would be able to resolve these types of conflicts, but this isn't relevant.)

This Amendment, however, would only become a potential contradictory amendment if someone else later offered an amendment during this Cosâ term that also added a Section 11 to Article II. It wouldn't be contradictory, for instance, to add a section in one Article, then amend a different section in that same Article. It also wouldn't be a potential contradictory amendment if someone trimmed down Article II by a couple sections, because even if that happened, this Amendment only adds a section to the end, and doesn't change anything. The numbering might be off, Section 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, but it would still be valid.

Ian Plätschisch; Feb 9, 2017 at 12:25 am (GMT +0100)

I suppose so, but this amendment seeks to add exactly what the Committee seeks to subtract, and I could not support that (even if the point of the amendment is to fail).

Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 9, 2017 at 12:43 am (GMT +0100)

Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 9, 2017 at 12:25 am (GMT +0100):
I suppose so, but this amendment seeks to add exactly what the Committee seeks to subtract, and I could not support that (even if the point of the amendment is to fail).

We can agree to disagree on whether the Amendment is worth passing here just to hopefully fail later. I am glad to hear that my concerns regarding some extraneous portions of Article II will be heard by the Commission/Committee going forward.

Cresti Matáiwos Siervicül, UrN; Feb 9, 2017 at 3:57 am (GMT +0100)

Quoting Magniloqueu Épiqeu A. da Lhiun; Jan 29, 2017 at 4:07 am (GMT +0100):
Butter? Butter in a watery drink? Butter? What is this travesty?

Never heard of buttered rum either, I suppose?

Cresti Matáiwos Siervicül, UrN; Feb 9, 2017 at 4:11 am (GMT +0100)

Quoting Munditenens Tresplet, O.SPM; Feb 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm (GMT +0100):
What would be a good test, then?

Considering your hypothetical question later in the thread (about what why we even let people vote on referenda), perhaps the ideal test would be an amendment proposing to remove the popular referendum from the amendment process. If such a referendum is ratified, either the people actually don't want to have the referendum power, or the "rubber stamp" hypothesis has been validated.

Martì-Paír Furxhéir; Feb 9, 2017 at 2:36 pm (GMT +0100)

Quoting Ian Plätschisch; Feb 8, 2017 at 11:38 pm (GMT +0100):
Marti-Pair Furxheir , are you still including the text of amendments on ballots?

Not the text, but it is linked to the text.

Otherwise, the ballot could be WAY too long.