Trivium Pursuit

Homeschool Speech and Debate Discussion Loop 4

Archives Page Four

Dear Chris,

I'm not sure exactly how you want to conduct this little debate, but I'll key in on the word "discussion" and just talk (or write). Part of what you're saying is true, I suppose (BTW, am I supposed to be on the same team as you, or against you?), but I think there are several factors which also need to be considered. The fact that the last real legislation was passed in '74 is bad for another reason, besides the fact that costs are rising as we approach 2000. It does not take into account inflation. The dollar, I believe, has devalued quite a bit since 1974, thus making the laws passed in 74 even less effective or accurate.

The fact that massive amounts of money are being used to fund boring, defaming or negative commercials is really none of the government's business. I'm pretty sure that the First Amendment ensures freedom of all speech, regardless of whether that speech is boring or not! ; )

This leads me on to an additional harm, which is, I believe, the ethical (or moral) side of campaign finance reform. There are two basic types of reform that can be passed, one that restricts how much money people can give to a campaign, and the other which restricts how much a campaign can spend.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that restrictions on how much campaigns can spend are unconstitutional. In one of the most important decisions regarding campaign finances, Buckley v. Valeo, in 1976, the Supreme Court ruled, "it is clear that a primary effect of these expenditure limitations is to restrict the quantity of campaign speech by individuals, groups, and candidates. The restrictions... limit political expression at the core of our electoral process and of First Amendment freedoms."

So we are left with restrictions on donations to political campaigns, as well as squirrely methods of reform such as free TV air time etc.

But all of these methods restrict individuals from doing what they wish with their own property. Restrictions on campaign donations restrict you, the American citizen, from giving your hard-earned cash to a candidate who supports the issues that you believe in. And reforms such as free TV air time are socialistic and unconstitutional in the fact that they, in a sense, confiscate private property (the TV stations) for public use (campaigns).

Now, you may be wondering why I have submitted these arguments as harms instead of attacks on proposed plans. I am arguing in this specific instance that the best route that an affirmative team can go is to substantially change the rules governing campaign finances by removing most of them all together. Because the current system is significantly flawed in the fact that it is socialistic, unconstitutional, and, even morally reprehensible. As Jesus rhetorically asks in the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?" —Matthew 20:15 In Christ, Jojo (Joseph Rose)

————————

From: jean-raphael lemoine

Subject: Re: Campaign Finance Debate

Dear Chris & Jojo, I will follow Jojo’s path of discussing the current issues so that we may attain a truer knowledge of the subject at hand. First, let me say that I agree with you both (Chris and Jojo) on the harms. I am sure that there are more harms then we are currently discussing, but these by far are the most apparent and, I believe the most important. The current amount of money allowed for individuals, as pointed out, has never been indexed for inflation. If the current $1,000 donation limit was adjusted for inflation it would become $3,200, a $2,200 increase. This, in it self would make a tremendous difference for any one running in a federal race. For example: " Today, a senate candidate…can expect to have to raise up to $10,000 per day, including Saturday and Sunday, 365 days a year, for six full years,…That is too much time away from doing the kinds of things that we want to do here, making life better for people." said Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat. Incredible!! Ok, next point. The amount of money a person spends on a campaign, should be, entirely up to them. As long as the constitution remains the governing law of our country then we should abide by it. If I decided to run for president in the Lions club then I could spend as much money and time as I wished. A federal election should be no deferent. If Steve Forbes wants to spend his life savings promoting himself and his ideas and the American public elects him, then he has simple taken his rights as a citizen of the United Stated to their fullest. Nothing, is wrong with that. Let me quote the First Amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for redress or grievances." One more interesting thought about contribution limits and the first amendment. In the famous Buckley v. Valeo Supreme court ruling, the court said a contribution limit "entails only a marginal restriction upon the contributor’s ability to engage in free communication," because "the transformation of contributions into political debate involves speech by someone other than the contributor." So, currently we, as the American public, are being "marginal restricted" by the U.S. Government. This is a very, if not the most, important point to be considered. The Supreme Court has bent, slightly, our constitutional freedom, and as we all know once something starts bending, it will, in time, brake. None, can deny that the first thought that inters a persons mind when they think of politics is money. Sen. Robert Byrd a Democrat from Va. Said on March 17, 1997 ""The incessant money chase that currently permeates every crevice of our political system is like an unending circular marathon,…And it is a race that sends a clear message to people that it is money, money, money—not ideas, not principles, but money—that reigns supreme in American politics. The way to gain access on Capitol Hill, the way to get the attention of members of this body is through money." This is the heart of campaign finance reform money. Fix the money problem and you have found a winning plan. In order to fix these problems, as Jojo pointed out, we must substantially change the rules governing campaign financing by retiring them. I have racked my brains trying to think of away to modify contribution limits and things like that but eventually I come back to the constitution and what the founding fathers intended. George Washington said a patriots vow should be "The love of my country will be the ruling influence of my conduct." America is composed of people who are responsibly for electing men and women to govern our country, if we elect people that don’t abide by Washington’s patriots vow, then we can never expect to see the true law of our land upheld. In Christ, Jean-Raphael Etienne

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Does anyone have suggestions of pieces to perform for oral interpretation, both solo and duet?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998

From: Dale Messmer

Subject: phoenix-area debate teams?

Does anyone know of a debate team or organization in the Phoenix area that will admit a homeschooled 8th-grader?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998

From: Joseph Rose

Subject: fiat power and the 50 states

In response to Josh Sikora's arguments regarding my suggestion that all 50 states enact an identical law governing federal campaign finances. I think Josh's point is excellent, it is also the reasoning behind which I first brought up the issue. Senators and Representatives are subject to the laws of their respective states AND they are officials on the federal level. A law that was common throughout all states would change the rules governing ALL Senators and Representatives. Definitely a change on the federal level, and, If I may say so, definitely a topical change in campaign finance rules. Keep up the good work, Josh. ; ) —El Jojo

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998

From: "HSLDA Debate Coordinator"

I am concerned that some debate students may be confused about the boundaries of this year's debate resolution. Joshua Sikora wrote: >>>I've read messages saying that only congress has fiat power and that enacting the same law in all 50 states would not be topical. . . . it would seem we have fiat power over ANY organization that could govern federal campaign finance.>>> Joshua is right: the affirmative team has fiat power over any organization that could govern federal campaign finances. The only two organizations that I know of that have such power are the U.S. Congress and the Federal Election Commission. A word about fiat power: the affirmative team has fiat power in order to make its plan a reality for the sake of the debate round. The negative team could not argue that Congress would never adopt the affirmative's plan and therefore, the affirmative's plan is unworkable. Joshua continued: >>>Now in the constitution it says that senators and house representatives are elected according to the legislature of their own state.>>> This is not true. United States Senators and United States Congressmen are elected directly by the voters of their state (for Congressmen, the state is divided up into federal congressional voting districts). The election of federal legislative officials has nothing to do with the legislatures of their own state. See Amendment 17 to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, section 2. Joshua said: >>>So if they are campaigning in their own state, it would seem to me that they would have to obey any campaign finance laws in that state, but since they are running for a federal office, they also would have to obey federal campaign finance laws.>>> Again, this is incorrect. A person running for federal office ONLY has to obey FEDERAL campaign finance laws. State laws do not apply. >>>That would mean that enacting a law either at the state or federal level, would probably be topical.>>> Only laws enacted at the federal level are topical. >>>Also, since the resolution says "United States" instead of congress, I think that would mean, we probably have fiat power over everything in the US, not just congress, as was the case of last years resolution. Now this may sound unrealistic, but I think that you can use anything in the US they could have rules govern campaign finance, not just congress and the FEC.>>> When anyone uses the term "United States" in the context of law, it means federal law. The only laws that govern the whole United States are federal laws. Thus, the affirmative team does NOT have fiat power over everything in the United States; it ONLY has fiat power over federal organizations that control the rules governing federal campaign finances, namely, the United States Congress and the FEC. Thank you! Christy Shipe HSLDA National Debate Coordinator

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998

From: "HSLDA Debate Coordinator"

P.S. Article I, section 4 of the U.S. Constitution gives states the duty to set the time, place, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Congressmen, but this does not apply to federal campaign finances. Also, that section states: "but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations..." This section relates to the rules regarding voting, not campaign finances. I would recommend debate students go to a library and check out a basic textbook on Constitutional Law which explains the evolution of federal election laws over the years.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Could someone give us a good, detailed explanation of "fiat power?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998

Subject: Re: Re: Campaign Finance Debate

Well, I'll change a little, so to be less obnoxious: government is stupid. Right it is, at least. Government thinks the American public should be controlled and have no say in what the gov does. Well guess what? We have every right to get involved with the political process, and make sure our representatives live their lives straight (so Clinton, quit your whining!) So, once again to the issue of government being stupid: Government is. Nothing it can do about unless it has major reform. (by the way, did you know Gore is just a living tree who does nothing but hugs other trees?) The government has no jurisdiction over campaign financing. Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere, NOWHERE!!!!!! does the Constitution say the our "big brother" can regulate campaign financing. In fact, the 1st Amendment protects the right of Americans to help a political candidate through donations. The 1st Amendment protects the freedoms of speech and assembly. Now, the Founding Fathers' intent of "speech" was mainly "political speech." What better to promote your views to your representatives and to get who you want in office than giving money to who you want? If you don't believe me, here is what the Supreme Court says in many cases: •Buckley v. Valeo, a Supreme Court case, 1976 "The Act’s contribution and expenditure limitations operate in an area of the most fundamental First Amendment activities. Discussion of public issues and debate on the qualifications of candidates are integral to the operation of the system of government established by our Constitution. A restriction of the amount of money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign necessarily reduces the quanity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration, and the size of the audience reached." •Roth v. United States, a Supreme Court case, 1957 "The First Amendment affords the broadest protection to such political expression in order ‘to assure the unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people.’ " •New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, a Supreme Court case, 1964 "Allowing the presentation of views while forbidding the expenditure of more than $1000 to present them is much like allowing a speaker in a public hall to express his views while denying him the use of an amplifying system." •Federal Election Commission v. National Conservative Political Action Committee, a Supreme Court case, 1994 "The First Amendment freedom of association is squarely implicated in these cases. [Political action committees] are mechanisms by which large numbers of individuals of modest means can join together in organizations which serve to amplify the voice of their adherents." Furthermore, there isn't really a need to stop "outrageous funding" of campaigns. Campaign financing isn't "out of control." Not much money is given compared to even movie production costs. For example: •Edward H. Crane, President of the Cato Institute, "Campaign Finance Reform Congressional Testimony," September 24, 1997 "Banning or limiting contributions is driven by a desire to decrease the amount of money spent in elections. But campaign spending is not out of control. More money was spent to syndicate ‘Seinfeld’ than we spend on presidential elections. Total direct campaign spending for all congressional races averages out to $3 per eligible voter. PAC spending adjusted for inflation decreased in the ‘94 cycle. And all 1993-1994 political action committee contributions for all races would barely have covered Kevin Costner’s production costs for ‘Waterworld.’ See the picture? There isn't need to regulate campaign financing, and doing so will only ruin our freedoms. Thank you very much, and have one awesome day!!!!! Woooohoooo!!!!! In Christ, rYaN tHe rOoKiE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998

From: "HSLDA Debate Coordinator"

Subject: Lincoln-Douglas Debate

HSLDA Debate Update:

HSLDA has decided NOT to include Lincoln-Douglas debate in the 1999 HSLDA National Debate Tournament. We will continue to consider including the L-D format in future years.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998

Debate has come to the Pennsylvania homeschool movement in a big way. Starting in 1999, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will have a team at the National Homeschool Debate Tournament sponsored by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Pennsylvania debate will be sponsored by CHAP (the state homeschool organization). Sometime in the late spring, in a location yet to be established, we will hold a state debate tournament to determine who will represent our state. We need to have at least eight debate teams participate in this tournament. What is a debate team? Two homeschoolers (51% of the time at least) who are from age 13 to 19. What is debate? Debate is the practice of comparing and contrasting ideas. At the end of this century, when our nation is in such turmoil and discord, when we have come so far from our Christian roots, this generation will be called to take a stand for Christ. They will be asked to state clearly the truth in a nation that increasingly is confused about what truth is. Formal debate, in my opinion, will equip this generation to argue the truth effectively in real life. If you are interested in fielding one or more debate teams and would like more information, please contact me, Dr. Jim Stobaugh

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: "Chris Jeub"

Subject: Re: Campaign Finance Debate

Date: Sat, 26 Sep 1998

Sorry, Jojo, for not getting back to you sooner. I wanted to give your grand arguments some serious thought. First, I must challenge you on your Buckley v. Valeo observation. It is true that the courts ruled that limiting campaign spending is unconstitutional, but within a debate round fiat power could challenge that ruling. The Aff very well could limit campaign spending; the negative couldn't just say, "Well you moron, you can't do that because of Buckley v. Valeo!" They would need to challenge it with the actual arguments of Buckley v. Valeo saying instead, "Well, sir, you can't do that because limiting campaign spending would violate free speech." Your socialism twist is strong—especially to a conservative-minded individual like me (and most home schoolers). There are three ways the negative could attack your harms. First, I could minimize the harm. I could say, "Look, our government is the democratic capital of the world. They aren't socialist because they're trying to make things a little easier for candidates." I could quote Ollie North or someone. Second, I could deny there is any harm. I could say, "The money spent on campaigns average $3 per registered voter!" and could quote Trent Lott or someone. Thirdly, I could turn the argument to my advantage. "Actually, limiting the amount people spend on campaigns puts more money into the voters pockets. If there is a cap on giving, government is held back from telemarketing for more and more and more. The present cap on giving actually sustains a good democratic market!" Minimize, deny, and turn. My three favorite. In Christ, Chris Jeub

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998

From: "HSLDA Debate Coordinator"

Subject: National Tournament Date

The date for the 1999 HSLDA National Debate Tournament has been set for June 25-26, 1999. Tournament Coordinators should be advised that they must hold their tournaments on or before May 29, 1999.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: "Chris Jeub"

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998

I thought you'd like to hear the LD debate resolution (for public schools) for Nov/Dec that just came out: Resolved: Capital Punishment is justified. Oooweee, it is going to be a good one! -Chris

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998

From: Joseph Rose

On a more serious note, Rookie has claimed that "government is stupid" (to quote his less offensive language), however, I beg to differ. Government is a God-ordained necessity, Rookie, and I'm afraid your anarchistic claims are not sufficiently grounded. Government is needed to prevent men from infringing on each other's rights. I think this is a very noble cause, would you not agree? Government in general, as an entity, is not 'stupid.' Let us look specifically at the United States government. America has, relatively, the most unobtrusive government in the world. Why do you ridicule a government which insures your freedom to be a Christian? A government which prevents you from being murdered in your bed? a government which, fortunately for you, insures freedom of speech? You must admit, in a Communist society such as the late USSR, you would probably be interned for writing sentiments such as you wrote in your last correspondence. I say to you, Rookie and America, count your blessings before you complain too much about how atrocious the United States Government is. I will not say that American government today is perfect, that is far from the truth. The United States Government is the worst it has ever been. But it is still the best relative to the rest of the world. Now let us examine Rookie's comments regarding campaign finances. > "Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere, NOWHERE!!!!!! does the Constitution say the our > "big brother" can regulate campaign financing." I'm assuming he's referring to the federal government when he says "big brother." If that's your dilemma, then have the states enact laws. Or, do away with campaign finance laws altogether. Remember, the resolution can be a substantial change in any direction. Let us, as an affirmative policy, do away with campaign finance laws.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998

From: Joseph Rose

Chris,

Regarding Buckley vs. Valeo: I am not suggesting that the policy will fail to pass because of the court ruling. True, if I were arguing so, it would probably be a violation of fiat power. But, citing a Supreme Court ruling is an excellent way to argue unconstitutionality. If you can prove that caps on campaign spending are unconstitutional, then you've got that affirmative in a pretty tight spot (assuming the aff. is arguing for spending caps). I really like the minimize, deny, turn thing. But, responding to the socialism argument by citing that the U.S. is the democratic capital of the world is, I think, something of a straw man fallacy. I never claimed that the U.S. was becoming socialist, I claimed that certain laws in the United States are socialist. Furthermore, arguing that little single socialist policies are insignificant because of the U.S.'s democratic position is a bit like arguing that a ban on partial birth abortion is insignificant because the U.S. as a whole is so pro choice. I think there's a logical fallacy for this one, but I can't remember what it's called. ; ) All socialist policies are enacted to (supposedly) "make things easier." It's circular to claim that a policy is not socialist because it's supposed to "make things easier!" The policy is still socialistic and still reprehensible. Even if the present cap on giving help sustains a democratic market. It's still socialist. The opposite of a democracy is not a socialist state. The opposite of a democracy is a monarchy. You can probably have democracy and socialism coexisting in one nation. This doesn't mean the socialist policies work, however, history has shown that they do not. Just because something's compatible with democracy does not mean that it is good. However, one thing that socialist policies are not very compatible with is freedom. A limit to how much you can give to a candidate is a limit on YOUR FREEDOM. Additionally, I don't think money is the deciding issue in an election. If America is at the point where she elects the face she sees most often on the TV, we are in a sad state. And, if that is the case, I fear we must go much, much deeper than campaign finances in order to correct the problem. However, if America is still capable of voting her conscience, then the man with the most money is not automatically elected. Instead, it is the man who the people choose. forgive my rambling. ; ) In Christ, Jojo

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: "Lisa C. Kanak"

Subject: Fiat Power

Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998

Here are a few explanations of the term "fiat" I have run across:

David Snowball (Augustana College), Theory and Practice in Academic Debate, 1994

Fiat (from the Latin for "let it be done") is a debate convention designed to focus attention on the substance of a resolution, rather than on questions of its political feasibility. Operating through the word "should" in the resolution, fiat represents a willing suspension of disbelief which allows us to pretend that the plan advocated by the affirmative team is already in operation. This requires a suspension of disbelief both because the affirmative has no "power" to actually bring their proposal into operation and because the affirmative is required (by way of inherency) to prove that their plan cannot or will not come into being within the present system. Without the concept of fiat, all debate would come to a screeching halt as the negative team simply shrugged their shoulders, pointed to the inherency contention, and commented "well, it just ain't gonna happen!"

Fiat becomes the source of abuse and sterile, frustrating arguments when debaters view it as a "power" of one team or the other and make it the basis for their arguments. Negatives, upon hearing an affirmative team urge that their proposal be adopted "by any and all Constitutional means", assume that this means that the affirmative claims for itself the power to unilaterally amend the Constitution so as to include the affirmative plan; thereupon, the negatives often run a disadvantage on the destruction of the Constitution based upon this unprecedented power. It should be clear from the preceding analysis, however, that the affirmative claims no such power; rather, the claim is that if all the agents involved were to hear the arguments, they would give their rational assent to act. A similar analysis helps to explain why "plan repeal" arguments are illegitimate. Negatives frequently claim that even if the affirmative "fiated their plan past Congress", Congress would repeal it tomorrow. Again the actual claim is that a rational policy-maker (on hearing the argument) would agree that the affirmative plan was desirable. While this view of fiat assumes a world of rational actors, abandoning fiat would be tantamount to abandoning policy-oriented debate and viewing fiat as an active force (a magic wand), which would strain the activity beyond any reasonable bounds.

A related controversy centers on the extent to which disbelief should be suspended; that is, to whom should we pretend fiat applies. The most conservative view is that fiat applies only to the actor specified in the resolution (generally, the federal government); the rationale is that to allow the negative to call upon other actors (e.g., state governments acting in unison) will place the debaters on a "slippery slope". The argument is that if we now permit fiat against state-level actors, there is no reason why we cannot also fiat at the level of the local government, private organization, family or individual. Critics claim that the logical result will be an affirmative trying to deal with the child abuse problem through federal education programs while a negative might claim the ability to counter plan with personal restraint at the individual level. Rather than risk reductio ad absurdum, these advocates claim that the best course is to debate only the agent specified. The most radical view totally rejects this concern and claims that a debate about the proper agent is often as important and appropriate as a debate about the proper action. Consequently, their view of fiat is extremely broad. One middle interpretation would limit fiat to constituted agents already possessing the authority to act. Thus, an organization would require a pre-existing constitution which would serve as the source of its authority to act. This would eliminate both the individual and the as-yet unconstituted agent (e.g., a world government) from the realm of debate, while preserving the power to look at the appropriateness of action at various real-world levels The following excerpt is from Strategic Debate, 1996, page 258

"Every policy resolution uses the troublesome word should. This term frames the ultimate question of the round. It also distributes affirmative and negative burdens: the affirmative must prove that the resolution (plan) should be adopted, not that it will; and the negative must demonstrate either that the resolution should not be adopted, or that there is not enough information to decide either way.

Fiat, in its literal sense, means simply "let there be." When a debater says that a plan is "fiated," what is meant is that one should be willing to imagine that the plan will in fact go into effect. The reason for this requirement is to blunt negative arguments that it is fruitless to consider a proposition because that proposition is unpopular, unlikely to be adopted, or opposed by many people. Although some debaters think of fiat as a power, it is not. No policy is really made in a debate round — only critical testing of ideas and issues occurs."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: "Joshua Sikora"

Subject: Fiat power 2

Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998

I'd like to get some clarification on Christy Shipe's reply to my message about fiat power. She wrote, "the only two organizations that I know of that have such power are the U.S. Congress and the Federal Election Commission." Does this mean that we can't make a new agency? Also, wouldn't it make sense that the states could make a law about campaign finance, that would have to be obeyed by anyone campaigning in that state? For instance, if a law was made in ALL 50 states (the same exact law) and it said no one could give any money to any candidate (I know that's not necessarily constitutional, but for the sake of this example lets say that it actually happened), then wouldn't a candidate not be able to get any money? Because no matter what state he was in he couldn't receive the money, so it would in fact be a federal campaign finance law change, because it would affect all federal offices, right? He'd have to obey the law, just like if some one from out of state breaks a law of a state, he would be breaking that law. I think that this could be topical, because (a) all senators and house representatives will only campaign in their own state (b) if the law was in all 50 states the presidential candidates would have to obey it too. It would be topical because it would be a rule governing federal (President, Vice President, Senators, and House Representatives) campaign finance. That was what I was thinking, if this makes since and is topical, let me know. Also, regarding fiat power, can the affirmative team change the constitution(with amendments) or reverse a supreme court ruling (like the annoying Buckley v. Valeo)? And, does the negative team have fiat power (when proposing a counter plan)? Joshua Sikora Video Producer, Graphic Artist, & Web Page Designer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998

From: jean-raphael lemoine

Dear debate group,

This letter is in response to the last letter I received, written by Thane, in our debate discussion. First, though, I would like to apologize to everyone about the copy of this years resolution that I sent out. I forgot to add the word federal to the resolution(gee, who cares about one word anyway?:) ). The correct wording to this years resolution is Resolved: "That the United States should substantially change the rules governing federal campaign finances". Christy Shipe (use to be Farris) deserves the credit for that one, she pointed the mistake out to me. Ok, on to debate. The last letter everyone received said that the current laws restricting campaign donations are unconstitutional. This is not really the truth at all. Article 1, section 4, of the constitution says "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of Choosing Senators." Now, although this does not include Presidential elections, it does cover three-fourths of our topic, Representatives and Senators, and should be considered carefully. I will address Presidential campaigns in my next letter. So, how does this little clause in the constitution make campaign regulations constitutional? Well, this is where it gets tricky, so I am going to try my best to explain it. Article 1, section 4, says "…Congress may at any time by law make or alter such Regulations". So, congress can regulate representative and senate elections, But they must do it within the boundaries of the freedom of the people. This is where the First Amendment plays in. The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…". So, all citizens of the United States have the right to free speech and press and therefore unless the First Amendment of the constitution is amended, congress can make no law, regulation or statue limiting this freedom during an election. Unless, the Supreme Court, who is there to interpret the constitution(Article 3, section 2) , decides otherwise, and this is the current case in campaign regulation. Now, let me recap real quick. Congress can regulate federal campaigns(senate and representatives) but only within the structure of the law and the law gives us the freedom to do what we want with our money. Current campaign regulation places a restriction on how much money people and organizations can donate to a federal campaign which in theory is unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court has ruled that this is legal and therefore it is legal. So, when we look at the current regulations on federal campaigns(senate and representatives) within the law and the rulings of the Supreme Court, the regulations are perfectly within the bounds of our constitution. Now, because the constitution is very vague on what kinds of laws congress can pass, in regard to campaign financing, you may choose to disagree with me. The only reason I know what I have said is correct is because I am just repeating what the Supreme Court has ruled. The founding Fathers left the Supreme Court in charge of interpreting the constitution so what ever they say is law even if we do not agree. Currently, an individually can spend as much of his/her money advocating the election or defeat of a federal candidate as long as it is done independently of the campaign and candidate but a person can only donate $1,000 to a federal campaign. The Supreme Court ruled that a contribution limit "Entails only marginal restriction upon the contributor’s ability to engage in free communication" because "the transformation of contributions into political debate involves speech by someone other than the contributor." So, contribution limits on federal elections are constitutional at least for representatives and senators. This should be considered a rebuttal to the last letter written by Thane and I would appreciate a counter letter if someone is willing to do so. In my next letter I will talk about Presidential elections and financing. Well I hope in some way this letter helped a few people out there understand the Constitutional argument proposed by Thane.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998

Subject: Debate Conference and Meets

The Columbus Debate Club is proud to present:

Dave and Teresa Moon's COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE!

Emphasizing the Skills of Public Speaking and Debate!

October 15 — 17, 1998

Grove City, Ohio

The Public Speaking Workshop on October 15th will help students to read and recite well, give impromptu speeches, speak persuasively, make dramatic and humorous presentations, deliver an expository speech, and speak extemporaneously.

The Debate Conference on October 16th and 17th will help students to learn research skills, critical reasoning, debate theory, persuasive speaking, competitive strategies, how to speak under pressure, what makes effective evidence, organizational skills, and how to refute ideas without attacking individuals.

I've been told by people all over the country that Dave and Teresa's Debate Camp is by far the BEST IN THE NATION! It's not too late to register! For more information, contact Anita Emerson at (614) 871-5365.

In addition, the Columbus Debate Club is pleased to announce that we will be hosting four PRACTICE DEBATE MEETS to be held here in Columbus, Ohio. The debate meets will be held on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. and students will debate 2 rounds. The dates are as follows:

January 23 ~ February 13 ~ March 13 ~ April 10

We are VERY interested in having out-of-state teams debate with us! If you would like your teams to participate, please call Anita Emerson at (614) 871-5365.

INDIANA, ILLINOIS, PENNSYLVANIA, KENTUCKY, WEST VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE — if you have teams, we are particularly interested in getting together with you (because you are the closest states to us). BUT ALL TEAMS ARE WELCOME!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Tue, 06 Oct 1998

From: The Whitehairs

Subject: Homeschool Debate on Campaign Finance Reform

Dear Debaters,

Thanks for including me on your debate discussion loop. We have never debated before and have several basic questions. Can anyone help? Specifically, when you go to a tournament, do debaters only debate on one side of the resolution, that is, does the affirmative team only debate the affirmative and the negative debate only the negative? Or does a team of two people have to debate both the affirmative and negative sides? My second question is regarding whether the judge intervenes in the debate and issues rulings on whether the affirmative has established the definitions, proved topicality, etc. Can the affirmative and negative teams ask for rulings on these issues and others and under what circumstances? A helpful source we have found is the Library of Congress reports on campaign financing which should be available through your senators or representative. Hope to hear from you. Deb Whitehair, Batesville, Indiana

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Wed, 7 Oct 1998

From: Linda C Lightsey

My name is Linda Lightsey and I live in Baton Rouge, LA. I would very much like to participate in your discussion loop. We started from scratch last year with debate and so I know how some of you other parents must feel!! I am trying to set up some practice tournaments in our state. Our first one will be October 24th. Anyone who wants the particulars can e-mail me. Please include me on any mailings you send. Thank you. In Christ, Linda Lighsey

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"It is only the atheist who adopts success as the criterion of right."

Robert Lewis Dabney

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Illinois Homeschool Speech and Debate Update

We will probably be holding regional speech and debate tournaments in Illinois this school year, one in Decatur and one in Rockford, and one state tournament in May. We also hope to host a speech and debate camp in February. More info on that later. Here are the speech and debate categories we will have for all the regional tournaments and for the state tournament:

Debate (2 categories):

1. Policy Debate—same as last year, HSLDA rules apply (see Trivium Pursuit web page for rules).

2. Open Debate— same as policy debate category except contestants may be ages 13-22, winners of this category will not advance to the national debate tournament, contestants ages 19-22 must be still living at home and have been homeschooled for at least grades 10-12. The Open Debate rounds might be held simultaneously with the Policy Debate rounds at the tournaments. We are going to be flexible here. Our purpose is to encourage older students to debate.

Speech (8 categories):

1. Original Oratory (ages 13-15)—The oral presentation of the work of the student that is designed to persuade, inform, or entertain. The content, format, style and thought of the selection must be the product of the contestant. No more than 150 words of the speech may be direct quotation. Contestants may use notes or manuscripts or speak from memory. No visual aids or costumes are allowed. 4-8 minutes

2. Original Oratory (ages 16-18)—Same as above.

3. Original Oratory (ages 19-22)— Same as above. Contestants must be still living at home and have been homeschooled for at least grades 10-12.

4. Impromptu (ages 13-18)—Students select blindly one speech subject in the form of a proverb, aphorism, witticism, word, slogan or object and are given 8 minutes total time to divide between preparing notes for a speech and giving that speech.

5. Oral Interpretation (ages 13-15)—The oral presentation of literature which may include cuttings (excerpts) from novels, short stories, biographies, nonfiction, letters, plays, diaries, poetry, speeches, essays, editorials, the Bible, etc. The piece does not have to be memorized. If cut, the organization should be clear and focused upon the purpose of the author's original material. Any introductory, transitional, or explanatory material counts in the time limit. You must name the title (if there is one) and the author of the piece. No visual aids or costumes allowed. 4-8 minutes.

6. Oral Interpretation (ages 16-18)—Same as above.

7. Oral Interpretation (ages 19-22)— Same as above. Contestants must be still living at home and have been homeschooled for at least grades 10-12.

8. Oral Interpretation—Duet (ages 13-22)—A humorous or dramatic cutting from a play or something similar in which two characters converse, performed by two contestants. No visual aids or costumes allowed. 4-8 minutes. Contestants ages 19-22 must still be living at home and have been homeschooled for at least grades 10-12.

General Rules:

Ages as of September 1, 1999.

All material should be in good taste. Entries will not be restricted to sacred themes, but entries which reflect anti-biblical themes, content, and/or word usage (including profanity or suggestive language), or which contain offensive performance will be disqualified at the discretion of the judge and the competition's director. If any material is questionable, it may be submitted in advance for the director's preapproval.

Contestants may enter speech and/or debate categories. We are going to run the speech and debate categories consecutively so that contestants may participate in both speech and debate if they wish. The state tournament will run two full days because of this.

There will be an entry fee for contestants so that we will have enough money to pay judges and distribute awards.

If you are interested in having your child participate in any of the speech and debate tournaments please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan accordingly. Also, contact us if you are interested in helping with these tournaments.

Go to Archives Page Five