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BS: Is the USA really a democracy?

GUEST,The Stage Manager 03 Oct 04 - 01:37 PM
DMcG 03 Oct 04 - 01:46 PM
CarolC 03 Oct 04 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,The Stage Manager 03 Oct 04 - 01:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 04 - 01:58 PM
Rapparee 03 Oct 04 - 01:58 PM
Rapparee 03 Oct 04 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Jon 03 Oct 04 - 02:04 PM
CarolC 03 Oct 04 - 02:16 PM
Rabbi-Sol 03 Oct 04 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,The Stage Manager 03 Oct 04 - 02:27 PM
CarolC 03 Oct 04 - 02:35 PM
artbrooks 03 Oct 04 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Jon 03 Oct 04 - 02:36 PM
CarolC 03 Oct 04 - 02:44 PM
Ebbie 03 Oct 04 - 03:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 04 - 03:33 PM
GUEST 03 Oct 04 - 03:37 PM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Oct 04 - 04:07 PM
Peace 03 Oct 04 - 05:21 PM
Peace 03 Oct 04 - 05:44 PM
Rapparee 03 Oct 04 - 06:20 PM
freightdawg 03 Oct 04 - 07:05 PM
Amos 03 Oct 04 - 07:11 PM
s6k 03 Oct 04 - 07:15 PM
Bobert 03 Oct 04 - 07:42 PM
jimmyt 03 Oct 04 - 08:13 PM
Amos 03 Oct 04 - 08:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 04 - 08:24 PM
Little Hawk 03 Oct 04 - 08:56 PM
Peace 03 Oct 04 - 08:57 PM
jimmyt 03 Oct 04 - 09:17 PM
Peace 03 Oct 04 - 09:20 PM
Little Hawk 03 Oct 04 - 09:28 PM
Peace 03 Oct 04 - 09:46 PM
Little Hawk 03 Oct 04 - 09:55 PM
Peace 03 Oct 04 - 09:57 PM
Little Hawk 03 Oct 04 - 10:01 PM
CarolC 03 Oct 04 - 10:19 PM
jimmyt 03 Oct 04 - 10:23 PM
Peace 03 Oct 04 - 10:26 PM
jimmyt 03 Oct 04 - 10:30 PM
dianavan 03 Oct 04 - 11:40 PM
Peace 03 Oct 04 - 11:48 PM
dianavan 04 Oct 04 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Boab 04 Oct 04 - 12:53 AM
Ellenpoly 04 Oct 04 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,James 04 Oct 04 - 12:49 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,James 04 Oct 04 - 01:13 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 01:15 PM
Rapparee 04 Oct 04 - 01:20 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,James 04 Oct 04 - 01:35 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,James 04 Oct 04 - 01:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Oct 04 - 01:47 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 02:09 PM
Alaska Mike 04 Oct 04 - 02:10 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 02:18 PM
Bill D 04 Oct 04 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,James 04 Oct 04 - 02:25 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,The Stage Manager 04 Oct 04 - 03:44 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 03:53 PM
Peace 04 Oct 04 - 03:55 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 04:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Oct 04 - 04:09 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 04:20 PM
Peace 04 Oct 04 - 04:31 PM
Uncle_DaveO 04 Oct 04 - 04:39 PM
Bill D 04 Oct 04 - 04:40 PM
Peace 04 Oct 04 - 04:50 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 04 - 05:07 PM
Peace 04 Oct 04 - 07:28 PM
Rapparee 04 Oct 04 - 09:45 PM
Little Hawk 05 Oct 04 - 12:57 AM
CarolC 06 Oct 04 - 12:11 AM
Peace 06 Oct 04 - 12:29 AM
dianavan 06 Oct 04 - 01:06 AM
GUEST,Redhorse at work 06 Oct 04 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,The Stage Manager 06 Oct 04 - 09:05 AM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Oct 04 - 10:52 AM
CarolC 06 Oct 04 - 11:08 AM
CarolC 06 Oct 04 - 11:12 AM
Bill D 06 Oct 04 - 11:40 AM
Little Hawk 06 Oct 04 - 12:50 PM
CarolC 06 Oct 04 - 01:00 PM

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Subject: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 01:37 PM

BBC Radio 4 has just run a programme about Gerrymandering in the US.    The blurb says:

In the past five years, the practice of redrawing electoral districts for political advantage has expanded out of control in the United States. What does this mean for democracy?

If politicians even hinted that they be allowed to redraw political boundaries over here, there would almost certainly be massive demonstrations and probably riots.

The impression from the broadcast is that many American voters do not even know it is going on even if they understood what was meant by the word.   Can this really be true?

I would be interested to know from US Catters is if these boundary changes have any bearing on the forthcoming Presidential election.   Seems to me that if they did Kerry might as well throw in the towel now.   

The creation of the "Strip of Bacon in Texas" would be hilarious if it wasn't for the repercussions on the democratic process.

Is anyone seriously suggesting that this is the model of democracy that America is proposing for the Middle East?


Anyone who gives a toss can hear it again: link at "Editors Choice"   'Gerrymandering'

Radio 4 home page


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: DMcG
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 01:46 PM

If politicians even hinted that they be allowed to redraw political boundaries over here, there would almost certainly be massive demonstrations and probably riots.

If by "here" you mean the UK, it has happened quite often - usually without much reaction from the voters. The most famous case where there was a strong reaction was Shirley Porter's actions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 01:53 PM

In the upcoming presidential election here in the US, my vote will not be counted unless I vote for Bush. This is because I'm registered to vote in a state in which the majority of votes will be for Bush, and according to the rules of the Electoral College, all of the Electoral College votes in my state will go to whichever candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in this state. So even if 49% of the voters in my state vote for Kerry, 100% of the Electoral College votes will go to Bush. The Electoral College votes are the ones that decide the election. Not the popular vote.

Do I think this state of affairs is democratic? No, I do not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 01:54 PM

Sorry Yes I mean't the UK. Here we have an independent Electoral Commission that reviews boundaries.

The Porter bitch got her comeuppance. She was taken to court, lost her case, and was surcharged £s millions by Westminster. At which point she fled the country.

But as usual anything we do, the Americans do bigger and better!

SM


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 01:58 PM

The Shirley Porter approach didn't involve redrawing boundaries as such, other techniques, such as stopping property owned by the council being used to rehouse tenants living in dangerous buildings, because they might have voted Labour in marginal wards, and selling them instead to people who could be expected to vote Tory.

Fiddling the electoral boundaries as such over here is pretty difficult these days, because strict rules about how it should be done have been imposed over the years.

I suppose when you've got such an old country with such an old established system as the United States it's a bit hard to change. After all, the USA is probably the country with by far the oldest established constitution in the world. Not so surprsing if a few wheels fall off the old girl from time to time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 01:58 PM

The US is not now, and never has been, a democracy. It is a constitutional republic.

FDR popularized the term "democracy" for the US because it gave the Democratic party a better "face" than "republic" did, since that was the root word of the Republican party.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 02:03 PM

Oldest constitution?

Well no...the Constitution of the UK dates from the late 1600s, and the Althingi of Iceland dates from AD 930 (although the Constitution of Iceland wasn't written until 1944, the Althingi was elected by direct vote).


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 02:04 PM

Explain the Electoral College Carol. I can't make sense of what you say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 02:16 PM

We have the popular vote. That's the one vote per person part of the election. Then we have the Electoral College. Popular votes are used to determine who the delegates will be who will go to vote in the Electoral College. I don't think the rules are the same in every state, but in many states, the rule is that whichever candidate gets more than 50% of the popular vote in that state will send 100% of their delegates to the Electoral College, and it is the Electoral College votes that determine the outcome of the election.

This is why GW Bush became president even though he got less than 50% of the popular votes in that election. And it is even disputed whether or not he legitimately got more than 50% of the Electoral College votes, since the situation in Florida was such a fiasco, and the US Supreme Court intervened in what should have been a decision made by the government of the state of Florida.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 02:25 PM

The Congress of the United States is made up of 2 houses, The Senate and the House Of Representatives. Each state is represented in the Senate by 2 senators, regardless of that state's population. The amount of representatives (congressman) that each state sends to the House of Representatives is determined by the population of that state. The Electoral College is made up of delegates equal to the amount of representatives + the 2 senators that each state has in Congress. The population districts for representation in the House Of Representatives are heavily gerrymandered by the local political bosses. SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 02:27 PM

Hi Rapaire,

So a constitutional republic is not a democracy? What does that make some of the European democracratic Republics?

Excuse me for asking but what the **** does Dubya mean when he talks about "Democracy", "Democratic freedoms?" and "The Forces of Democracy" Seems not what I thought he meant.


So "One Man (or Woman) One vote" is not a cornerstone of a Constitutional Republic? I take it then that Proportional Representation is definitely out of the question?

SM


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 02:35 PM

Excuse me for asking but what the **** does Dubya mean when he talks about "Democracy", "Democratic freedoms?" and "The Forces of Democracy" Seems not what I thought he meant.

Bush is confusing "democracy" with "capitalism". He's not making the world safe for "democracy" or spreading "democracy". He's using "democracy" as a code word for "cronyistic capitalism". And it's cronyistic capitalism that he is really promoting around the world.

So "One Man (or Woman) One vote" is not a cornerstone of a Constitutional Republic? I take it then that Proportional Representation is definitely out of the question?

No, "one person, one vote" is not a cornerstone of this constitutional republic, although there are many people in the US who don't understand that fact. We most certainly do not have proportional representation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: artbrooks
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 02:36 PM

The redrawing of District boundries will have no impact on the Presidential election, but it seriously effects the potential composition of the US House of Representatives. The Representatives (aka, Members of the House) are chosen by a majority vote within their Districts, and these are what have been changed in a few states (Texas is, I think, the worse situation) to make a Republican victory more likely. The District boundries are set by the states themselves and this is something that goes on, in those few places that tend to do so, every time the state legislatures have a significant majority of one party or another. Its the "you screwed us over last time so we'll get you this time" mentality.

The Electoral College is an arcane system of counting presidential votes in a state, and the system is not the same in all states. States have a varying number of electoral votes, depending primarily (but not entirely) on their population. In most, all of the electoral votes go to the candidate for president who gets the largest percentage of the popular vote. That is, if a state has 10 electoral votes, and Kerry gets 46%, Bush gets 43%, Nader gets 5%, and other minority candidates get the rest, than Kerry gets all ten votes. A few states divide up their electoral votes according to the percentage breakdown of the popular vote.

So, as in CarolC's situation, if a person lives in a state where one of the majority candidates gets all of the electoral votes, then a vote for the other person counts for absolutely nothing in the overall election process. This is what actually happened in 2000, and in a number of previous presidential elections; one candidate (Gore) received more of the popular vote while the other (Bush) received the majority of the electoral votes and thus won the election.

This system was set up about 220 years ago, primarily in reaction to what the British-born framers of our Constitution thought was an overly complicated and corrupt system in their former country. Go figure.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 02:36 PM

Hmm thanks Carol, I think!!! ;-)

If I am understanding you, I would have expected that the electoral college should be representative of the popular vote rather than 100% to one. Have I got you right?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 02:44 PM

In some states it is representative of the popular vote, but in most states whoever gets the most popular votes gets 100% of the Electoral College votes for that state. And artbrooks explained it better than me because he is correct about it being "the most votes" rather than "more than 50% of the votes".


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 03:09 PM

In this year's election there are 538 electoral votes overall; the 'winner' has to collect 270 of them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 03:33 PM

There's still no "Constitution of the UK", Rapaire, and, as you pointed out, the Icelandic Constitution only dates from 1944.

I wasn't suggesting the USA is the country with the oldest elected assembly. That's probably the Isle of Man, I believe.

But when it comes to Constitutions as such, the USA's is the great-grandaddy of them. There's noone else even in range.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 03:37 PM

Which works out to about 50.18% (270/538)


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 04:07 PM

The Founding Fathers, in their godlike wisdom, were greatly afraid of the electorate. They would have as little to do with direct rule by the people as possible. This is not a cynical put-down on my part; it is the known fact of history.

As a result, although the House of Representatives was to be elected more or less directly by the people, there had to be an upper house, a la the House of Lords in England, to control the wild desires that might be exhibited by the people. So the founders created the Senate, which was not to be elected directly by the people at all, but its members appointed by the State legislatures. The expectation was that the legislatures would be informed as to who the most able citizens were, and would appoint them, trusting that they would do what was right. There was no thought in this scheme of parties mediating in the process at all; "faction", as it was called, was feared and warned against.

The Senate was not intended and does not reflect the size of population of the various states, for the very good reason that the fear was that the larger states would have too great an influence if power was in direct proportion to the number of the electorate.

As a guard against the unwisdom of the masses, and as a sort of mirror of the arrangement with the Senate, the Electoral College was to have its numbers according to the respective states' representation in the House of Representatives, but the Electors were not to be directly elected. The Constitution did not and does not prescribe how the Electoral votes were to be apportioned in a state--(remember, no parties, and "send the best men"). It was left to each State to determine how to select them. It was originally done in each legislature, and could constitutionally be done that way today if a given state decided that was best, I think; I could be wrong on that. In any case, it is the individual State's legislature that sets the distribution formula of electoral votes for that state. Most states go by the winner-take-all system referred to above.

I believe that the Electoral College approach is a good one, and should be retained to prevent an overwhelming influence by the high-population states--if there were a Constitutional amendment to require distribution of Electors on a proportional basis. Unfortunately, I think the likelihood of such an an amendment is small--almost as small as the likelihood of abolition of the Electoral College. Partisan political interests are too bound up with the status quo for that to happen.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 05:21 PM

Government in the US has become much like governments all over: it is no longer responsible to the people, and so it has lost much that it once had in the way of freedom and concern for the population. It's about money now, and people don't add up to much compared to the dollar. It is no longer in the best interests of multi-nationals and banks to be concerned about all people. Maybe now, it's more about arriving at figures to determine what the optimum number of world citizens would be and maybe arriving at plans to get the world population down by a few billions. I no longer believe in governments, and subsequently I would put nothing beyond the scope of their sick, twisted minds. IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 05:44 PM

So, exactly what IS Project Cloverleaf?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 06:20 PM

I can't talk about other countries, since I'm only really familiar with the US.

MoH, a websearch on "British Constitution" bring up several things, including this, this, and this -- among many other references.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: freightdawg
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 07:05 PM

The voting procedure in the US is a hodge-podge of various procedures, and the electoral college has been expertly explained above. However, for every other position there is the "one person, one vote" procedure. For the senate each resident gets to vote for his/her candidate on a statewide basis. That is, a senator has to carry the majority of votes in her/his entire state. A senator's term is 6 years, and they are set up in such a way that at no time does both senatorial positions in one state come up for election in one year. The terms in the House of Representatives are (forgive me if I err here) two years in length and the congressmen/women are up for election every election cycle, every two years. They are elected from "districts" set up within a state. For example, in New Mexico there are three congressional districts. One, in the south, is largely held by Republicans. Another, in the north, is consistently held by Democrats. The third, primarily in the middle, is closely contested every year. Each person can only vote for one candidate in the district in which they live.

There has been some Republican bashing going on here in terms of gerrymandering. Let's remember, folks, that in states with local legislatures held by Democrats that the exact same process is going on to guarantee that no Republican is ever elected in their districts/precincts. I use New Mexico as another example, where in the local state legislature it is virtually assured that we will never have a Republican majority because all the Republican leaning areas are gerrymandered into separate districts. These "super-Republican" districts elect Republicans, for sure, but because of the way the lines are drawn there will never be a majority of Republicans elected. I am not saying this to say the Democrats are evil. I'm just saying that both political parties draw the lines in a way such as to guarantee the continuation of their political power. As Art Brooks says above, it has absolutely no impact on the Presidential elections.

Incidentally, NM usually splits its senatorial team - we have had one Democrat and one Republican for quite a while now. The vote for governor tends to alternate - we get fed up with a Democrat, elect a Republican for a term or two, and then get fed up with the Republicans and elect a Democrat for a term or two. They don't call our state capitol the "Roundhouse" just because of its geometrical design. ;-)

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Amos
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 07:11 PM

Brucie:

Project COloverleaf whether real or imagined, is a project to use commercial airlines to spray the US with population-control chemicals.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: s6k
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 07:15 PM

no, its Nineteen-Eighty Four


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 07:42 PM

Democracy? No, the US dosen't have one but the larger question is that even if it did is "democracy" such a great form of governemnt where 51% of the population can ram down the throats of the other 49% purdy much whatever they want...

The American system of government is fundamentally flawed and cannot survive the real possibility of turning into a fasist state, which it is quickly becoming...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 08:13 PM

I am glad that freightdog pointed out that gerrymandering is not limited to one party, in fact the worst gerrymandering I have ever witnessed in my voting years is here in Georgia, and it follows the African American vote half way across the state a swath about 10 miles wide from Atlanta to Augusta. It was not a Republican idea let me assure you.

The concept of the electorial college is completely different from the gerrymandering one. In either case the party that is elected is happy, the other one is not.

One of the nice things about our federal system here in the USA is it gives the rights for such matters to individual states. If one is not happy with the way things are in a state, he can complain, effect change of what he or she doesn't like, or, simply, move.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Amos
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 08:15 PM

In any case it is a representative republic.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 08:24 PM

There's a system of government which can be changed at any time in Britain by the Government by a simple vote in Parliament, Rapaire, but as those sites indicated, there is no written or formal constitution.

For example, there were no "constitutional" problems in cancelling - not even postponing - the General Election which was due in 1940. Roosevelt couldn't have done that, even if Congress had been in full agreement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 08:56 PM

It was a semi-democracy in original intention (in the form of a constitional republic with some very progressive ideas...for the time). It is now a capitalist oligarchy dominated by two corrupt parties which do not represent the public. Both major parties are guilty of gerrymandering and collusion with major financial interests (corporate lobbyists and banks). Big money runs the show.

It pretends to be a democracy, and a lot of people are fooled by the rhetoric. Enough of them aren't...or are just plain discouraged...that it keeps voting turnout chronically low.

For the USA to pretend it is taking democracy to other parts of the World is downright laughable. It is taking corporate control and corporate pillaging to other parts of the World...and just about the whole World knows that by now.

What the USA installs in other countries is client governments. Those governments may go through the motions of democracy, but they are seldom very democratic in truth...since the $y$tem that spawned them is itself undemocratic in the extreme at this point.

American presidential elections are largely a sham to fool the American public into thinking they still have some influence on government...when it's actually the other way around. Government influences them on a fulltime basis...mostly by an endless barrage of false propaganda through the media...fear-mongering and appeals to the basest, most destructive forms of jingoism and zenophobia.

American elections serve one other purpose. They allow the two big phony professional political sports teams (the Democrats and Republicans) a periodic chance to fight a series of playoff games with each other....the winners gaining the spoils of victory that they and the losers have mutually robbed from John Q. Public. To vote for either of those teams is to sanction a totally rotten and pointless game.

Are there times when one of those parties is marginally preferable to the other? Yes...there may be, but it's hard to say, given that they both serve the same interests. Very hard to say. Everyone has got to make their own mind up about that as best they can.

Can an inspired individual actually reach the office of president and try to fundamentally change things for the better? Yes, but it's highly unlikely...and he may very well get shot in that case, normally by a "lone gunman" who is characterized by the media as some unstable person or lunatic who "acted alone". Hmmm. One can't help but wonder about that when it happens. There is rarely deemed to be any need for it to happen by the controllers, because most people who run for president have already been bought, body and soul, by the Machine long before they were ever nominated. If not, they can usually be bought afterward...or intimidated into cooperating with the real powers that be in America (whom you do NOT get a chance to vote for).


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 08:57 PM

Bien dit!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 09:17 PM

Thanks Little Hawk for your Synopsis of the United States of America. NOw let me see,............what is with you guys and back bacon eh? grin


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 09:20 PM

Gives us something to do with the cornmeal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 09:28 PM

We love back bacon, JimmyT! :-) Just don't try to take away our back bacon.

By the way, our political system is deeply compromised as well by essentially the same big money interests as in the USA. They control the political parties here and orchestrate government policy, regardless of what the public has to say about it. There are important psychological differences between the two societies, though, mostly because they developed along different historical lines. Canada is fundamentally more peaceful, more moderate, more reasonable, and at the same time less entreprenurial. The USA is a country with a terrific entrepreneurial spirit...which can be good, if aimed at a worthy objective...and not so good at all if aimed at a destructive objective.

The USA has great potential for either good or evil. Canada does too, but is a more modest nation in both its ambitions and its actions. Those modest expectations have actually served us very well, so far, and are the best protection we have against the new robber barons at the top of the $y$tem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 09:46 PM

"Modest Expectations"

You might be onto something there, LH.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 09:55 PM

Yup. Never team up with anyone who wants to conquer the World (or "save" it) (or RUN it) if you want to live a peaceful and agreeable life that harms no one... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 09:57 PM

Was thinking what a great book title that would be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 10:01 PM

Hmmm. "Modest Expectations". Yeah, it would. A book that encapsulated the Canadian ethic.

The title "Highway to Hell" or "Road to Perdition" would be a good one for a book about Bush's international expectations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 10:19 PM

One of the nice things about our federal system here in the USA is it gives the rights for such matters to individual states. If one is not happy with the way things are in a state, he can complain, effect change of what he or she doesn't like, or, simply, move.

In the presidential race, this is only true for those who align themselves with one of the two major parties. For those of us who do not want to align ourselves with either of the two major parties, there is no state in the country we can move to and expect our vote to be counted. Ever.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 10:23 PM

How about "Brucie and Jimmyt and LittleHawk's Excellent Adventure?" We could get an old caddy convertable, some beer, some donuts, ( Don't worry, I have the leasure suits) then pick up a few chicks, and start selling my mapleLeaf thongs door to door on Prince Edward Island? SOrry, I just can't control my runaway capitalistic spirit! I will get back on my medicine tomorrow


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 10:26 PM

I'll help you with the medicine. An', are these thongs we're gonna thing?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 10:30 PM

NO, they are the latest folkie costume rage. some actually fabricated from old guitar straps, not to mention old G strings........but i digress


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: dianavan
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 11:40 PM

guitar straps with a maple leaf? I think you may be on to something. I wouldn't call that modest! I do think, however, you could probably flog a few at the folk festivals. Now thats the entrepenerial spirit! Combine sex and Nationalism. Its a sure winner.

d


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 04 - 11:48 PM

Dare I say there is a chance for a revival of the beaver as the national emblem? Don't sluff that off without giving it a second thought. Tie that in with the V thread and we may have something here. Work the Joey into it and there's a shot at the Oz community buying some. This could be BIG.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: dianavan
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:41 AM

I thought the beaver WAS the national emblem! Did they change that too? Maybe its just the mascot or something. Do Joeys and beavers get along?

d


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:53 AM

There is a vast difference between "freedom" and "licence". The gibbering heads which spout "freedom" most appear to be the ones who recognise the difference least!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:16 AM

No it isn't.

And never will be until we get rid of the Electoral College.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,James
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 12:49 PM

This is a very interesting thread. Because it raises the question of definitions and what definitions exclude or include. Yes, a Republic can be a democracy, as can a monarchy or a parliamentary Democracy. So What DOES being a democracy mean ? I would say that by the cuurent world standard that the USA IS a democracy, as are many other countries, not all of whom are republics.
    Although I am not a big fan of the American brand of saving the world, I do respect the democratic principle of America, flawed as it is. However, I do believe there countries that are better at democracy, if democracy means a social contract with citizens.
    America may not be perfect but to suugest that is not a democracy is a bit over the top.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:04 PM

GUEST,James. Define democracy please.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,James
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:13 PM

I believe it to be a social contract with citizens . I Think I said that in my previous post although I was perhaps not clear. It is a difficult thing to define, is it not. But I tend to think of it as a contract between two parties who have a covenant with other. I think Americans have that in principle,although I also see the flaws. But I still believe that America is a democracy in spite of the flaws. Americans and many others have rule of law, freedom, rights and responsibilty, and many other things that in less than ideal countries, simply do not exist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:15 PM

Are you a resident of the US yourself, GUEST,James?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:20 PM

So, Carol, you do what revolutionaries have done for ages: you affliate with one of the major parties and use it as a springboard to power.

The alternative is armed rebellion, and has been repeatedly shown (e.g., Kent State, Tianeman Square, Hungary 1956), those in power are ready for that.

Armed rebellion cannot succeed unless there is a foriegn power working with the rebels. Examples are the American Revolution (France), the 1916 Irish Rising (the USA, Germany), Vietnam (China), the French Revolution (the US and others), Cuba (US), the Russian Revolution (Germany) are just examples. WHY these nations supported the rebels (sometimes to their detriment) is irrelevant to the fact that support was given.

This is also borne out by the failures: Hungary, 1956; Prague, 1968; China, 1989; Iraq, 1992 and others.

Note, please, that I have NOT included rebellions prior to about 1750. I'm not immediately conversant with them and so can't discuss them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:31 PM

Or I can resign myself to the fact that in this country, I will be disenfranchised when it comes to presidential elections. Not only do I not have any desire to seek power, but I also know that the method you describe doesn't work. Those who try to use the party system as a springboard to power always become co-opted by the special interests that provide the money that is necessary for anyone to succeed in party politics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,James
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:35 PM

No I am a Canadian. I have been to America but have never lived there. I much prefer the Canadian approach to democracy, less rhetoric and more social contract but I do accept the the US is one of the world's leading democracies. I think we are too inlcined to expect too much from our governments and not enough from ourselves. As citizens we must not allow our freedoms to be eroded and if they are it is probably because we have allowed it to happen. Am I naieve ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:39 PM

Am I naieve?

Canadians are never naive.

;-)

But I think maybe you and I define "democracy" somewhat differently.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,James
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:45 PM

I would be very interested to know how you define it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:47 PM

Armed rebellion cannot succeed unless there is a foriegn power working with the rebels. I'd (pedantically) question whether that really applies in the case of the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the English Revolution, or the Iranian Revolution. True enough you can always dig up some examples of outside support, but in those cases they aren't that crucial.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:09 PM

From Websters Online:

Main Entry: de·moc·ra·cy
Pronunciation: di-'mä-kr&-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
Etymology: Middle French democratie, from Late Latin democratia, from Greek dEmokratia, from dEmos + -kratia -cracy

1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority

(bolded emphasis mine)

These work pretty well for me. But in the US today, there are too many voters who are disenfranchised (don't really have a vote). I don't believe a government can be "by the people" unless all votes are counted. It is not possible, with the Electoral College system, for all votes to count. With this system, a fairly large percentage of votes will not be counted. And with this system, too much power is held by special interests rather than by the body of the electorate.

In this context, I wouldn't agree with your assessment that the system is this way because the voters have allowed it to get this way. This system was set up in the beginning by those who created the electoral processes in this country.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:10 PM

It is easier for the corporate powers that control our government to manipulate the presidential elections with the Electoral College than it would be to allow "one person = one vote."

Right now, all the polls seem to indicate the the popular vote in this country is very nearly a dead heat. Yet the Electoral Vote Predictions are enormously skewed toward the Republican Party. By concentrating their efforts in a few "key" states, they can essentially disenfranchise almost half the voters in those states.

Alaska is a bastion of Republican Conservatism. No matter which presidential candidate I have voted for up here over the past 20 years, my state's Electoral Votes have always gone to the Republican.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:18 PM

Also in the case of this part:

1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority

It's hardly majority rule if a president can be elected with less than the majority of the popular vote, as GW Bush was.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:19 PM

there are both virtues and problems with having a Federal system in the US. Being this large and diverse, it is convenient to have local government, i.e., 'states' to deal with local problems, but there has almost always been differences of opinion about how much power the Federal govt should have and how much should remain with individual states. This is especially awkward with modern transportation and communication making changing demographics a political minefield. (Look at all the places Carol C has lived recently, and how the relative power of her vote has changed!) In the District of Columbia, the Capitol, they get no vote for President at all!

Thus, when it comes to elections, we have the inane situation of have the candidates playing mostly to those few states which are percieved as borderline...Ohio, Florida...etc...Even the candidates were largely determined by those states who held primary contests earlier...Iowa, N. Hampshire, etc....

Every political party like rules that favor them in elections, but the Republican's recent attempts at Gerrymandering and purging voter rolls in Florida, etc., have broken new ground in making it more likely they will have the decks stacked in their favor in future 'elections'.

The idea of a true "Democracy" would scare the pants off Bush, Rove, Cheney, Ashcroft and their ilk....."what? accept a system where simple information and free, un-influenced elections determine who is in charge? Horrors!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,James
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:25 PM

Thank you Carol, I see where you are coming from but can the people not change the electoral system ? It would seem to me that citizens should be able to petition the government for fundamental changes in that process. I have doubts about the simplicity of majority rule..majorities can become awful tyrants to minorities, as we all know.
   I tend not to think of democracy as mere majority rule nor do I think that the method of electing a leader is beyond the scope of democartic change...if both parties   accept the contract between them. What do you think ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 03:21 PM

The big money interests like system we have now, GUEST,James. I think as long as that is the case, the system will not be changed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 03:44 PM

Ok so if you feel your democratic institutions have been hijacked by a faction with very very deep pockets that doesn't care a fig about 'the people' ot what the people think because the faction can 'deliver' any election result it wants, what do you do next?


SM


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 03:53 PM

Good question, The Stage Manager. I wish I had a good answer.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 03:55 PM

Overthrow the system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:05 PM

Overthrow the system.

That's what Timothy McVeigh was trying to do when he bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Can you describe a way to overthrow the system that doesn't involve getting a lot of civilians killed?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:09 PM

Two hundred years a hell of a long time for a conbstitution, and it's a very different world from back in the 18th century, which was the point I was trying to make earlier, Isn't it maybe time you had a new Constitutional Convention?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:20 PM

Our Constitution is very precious to us, McGrath. We don't like people tampering with it too much. We like for it to be very difficult to change, and I don't think there are very many of us who would like to see it become easier to change. But with that comes the flip side... it's also very difficult to make needed changes. There needs to be a certain majority in Congress who will vote for a change (an ammendment) in order for it to go through. I think it's two thirds, but I'm not sure.

If the people in Congress are owned by special interests (and most, if not all of them are), I don't see much chance that there will be enough support for a whole new Constitutional Convention to make it happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:31 PM

You said it yourself, Carol. Don't buy stuff.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:39 PM

GUEST, James asked if the citizenry could not change the electoral system, and suggested petitioning as a start.

To change the electoral system would take a constitutional amendment, which was deliberately made difficult, though possible, by the framers of the Constitution.

My recollection of the process may be flawed (and if it is someone will correct me, I know), but I believe a proposed amendment must originate in the House of Representatives. If it succeeds there (by what proportion? 2/3?), I forget whether it has to go through the Senate or not. My vague recollection is not, but I could be wrong.

I believe that the president may not veto an amendment.

Having passed the origination in the legislature, it must be submitted to the state legislatures, and only if it is ratified by a requisite proportion of the legislatures within a set time (what? 3 years?) will it become part of the Constitution.

As I said, my recollection of the process lacks a good deal of detail

But the likelihood of congress passing a proposed amendment on this subject, either
(a) to make the distribution of electoral votes proportional in each state or
(b) to abolish the Electoral College altogether
is, to my mind, slim, nil, and none.

I would support option (a) above.

I would oppose (b), because it would replace one evil with another. Under (b) the voters of the less heavily populated portions of the country would be just as effectively disenfranchised as CarolC feels she is under the present provisions. The big states of New York, California, Michigan, Illinois and so forth would run away with things, and the residents of Wyoming, say, and South Dakota and Mississippi would have no effective voice in the choice of the president.


Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:40 PM

well, McGrath, I actually think that a new Constitutional Convention would be a good idea--it needs clarification on various points....except...*wry grin*...in these times it would last 5 years, produce a document 5000 pages long, and be rejected by 47 out of 50 states...all on different grounds!

I guess we'll have to make do with the (very) occasional amendment.

without trying to be too specific or make detailed points, I see parallels with the Roman Empire and the British Empire in our inability to adjust to the changing world situation fast enough. There are forces out there that test ANY attrmpt to cope rationally.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:50 PM

True, Bill, and some of those forces are represented IN the White House.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 05:07 PM

Uncle_DaveO, I live in Alabama.

Brucie, I believe it was dianavan who suggested the boycott. But she was suggesting a boycott against the US by people outside the US. We do need to eat and buy the basic necessities here in order to live. This is pretty much what JtS and I are already doing (because of the corporations sending so many of the jobs overseas), so not much would change in the way JtS and I do things if we did try to effect change through the power of the purse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 07:28 PM

Sorry, D'van.

Carol,

I do understand and I don't have an answer either. I do think it's a good idea to write and mail letters to congressmen/women and senators. Not e-mail, but real letters. You are smart. Protest chemtrails--ask why you don't receive info about what is in the chemtrails. Hell, you're breating the stuff. Protest through letters. Force the closed-mouth basttards to respond. Letters to the editor, stuff on the www. The whole world is in this; it's not just the USA (I know you know this, but it's easy to lose track of that very important fact.) The US is outta control--or rather, it's being made to seem that way. I think the whole scenario is being orchestrated, and I do believe the Neocons are starting to make the grab. Hell, Bush in 2000, and what can they accomplish with more of that slathering idiot in 2004?

Oil is getting scarce, no matter what kinda spin the Neocons and their representatives put on it. This is really about the future of the planet and the people on it. There is scary stuff coming from Washington and world banks.

I am old enough to die. Hell, I have lived a life. My kids, however, not so. I know you don't believe in violence. Therefore, let the pen be your weapon, and let the people you elect be responsible to you. Start local and move on up. Letters may still work. At least it will let your elected reps know something rotten is going on when the folks they ask for answers don't give them any.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 09:45 PM

Another thing that can and should be done is to hold the elected in EVERY country accountable to the Constitution. Examples:

1. Every conflict the US has engaged in since 1941 has been undeclared war, with the possible exception of Korea. Why? Because Congress (which the Constitution gives the sole authority to declare war) has become filled with gutless wonders. If war is necessary, the President should have the guts to ask Congress for a declaration of war; if not, then don't go to war.

2. The defection of Congress for its responsibilities has brought the US to the brink of economic disaster. The Constitution gives Congress the budgetary authority, but they have handed it over to the Presidency, and the result is a debt load damned near beyond belief.

3. The business of the government is government, not business and certainly NOT to make the rich richer.

4. The War Powers Act should be revoked, since it is both unconstitutional and misused.

So...decentralize the government.

Move the Executive and Legislative Branches out of Washington -- the House and Senate can have offices in their home states and districts and telecommute (I'd rather spend billions for a wonderful telecommunications system than what it's now being spent for). Put at least one office of the Executive Branch in each State, with the poorest states getting the biggest branches (e.g., Defense could go to Alabama) -- the increased wages should do wonders. Move the President's House to the geographic center of the United States. Except for the Supreme Court, DC becomes a tourist mecca and museum haven.

Those serving as legislators are paid the average prevailing wage in their home town, while the secretaries and gofers and assistants are kept at their civil service salaries and benefits (the legislators get exactly the same medical, vacation, and other benefits as their staffers). Salary increases for the members of the Legislative Branch must be approved by at least 55% of the popular vote in a regularily scheduled election.

As for the Executive Mansion -- the geographic center of the US is now located on private ranchland in a rural part of Butte County, SD. The county seat, Belle Fourche, is the nearest town. Good -- South Dakota can use the fame.

Think of the benefits: lobbying would be very difficult, at best; by living at home the constituents could keep a better eye on the folks they elected; by tying their raises to the vote they'd be forced to work for their constituents; terrorists would have the same problem lobbyists would; and the government could survive a nuclear war far better than it can now! And, I suspect, the cost of the government would be less....


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 12:57 AM

What it amounts to is that the USA was set up to be a democracy, but it has since been derailed by the influence of Big Money on the political process. What has resulted is a govermment "of the rich, by the rich, for the rich". As long as most of the non-rich can be bamboozled into continuing to cast their votes for either the Democrats or the Republicans that situation will endure. Given the fact that money controls everything that happens, it's hard to see how that situation can be changed. A complete collapse of the US financial system and the US dollar itself to where the money would become valueless would change it...but I don't think any of us are particularly eager to live through that. I know I'm not.

I think that this society will either wake up...and change radically in order to revitalize itself...or it will slowly decline, and be supplanted in time by a new power (likely China)...or it will, in its decline, slide into the folly of a major war. The last of those 3 possibilities would be the worst by far. Let's hope it wakes up instead, and stops just worshipping money for money's sake alone.

Money was made to serve people, not the other way around. The same goes for government.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 12:11 AM

I've been thinking about your post for a while, Brucie, and also about Uncle_DaveO's last post.

Uncle_DaveO, I think the electoral college is producing exactly the opposite result from the one you think it's producing. Because of the Electoral College, presidential candidates only concern themselves with being accountable to the "battleground states" during the run-up to the election. The states that are solidly in one camp or the other, and these can be either states with large populations, or states with small populations, will hardly be noticed by the candidates. As a result, many large and small states (those with large populations and small populations) get left out of the process, while a small handful of states (ones with a significant number of delegates up for grabs, and therefore, not small states) get all of the canidates' attention and consideration.

Brucie, do you honestly beleive that a government that is capable of what you are suggesting this one is (especially with regard to chemtrails) would pay any attention whatever to letter campaigns from ordinary citizens? Personally, I do not. And my experience as a prolific letter writer has born that out, as far as I'm concerned.

The only effect I've ever noticed as a result of letter writing campaigns is that the rhetoric (spin; lies) gets adjusted in whatever way is necessary to enable them to continue to mislead the public. And these days, not only will the letters make no difference whatever, they'll probably get you put on some kind of Homeland Security list, as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Peace
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 12:29 AM

I hear you Carol. Believe me, I hear you.

So, what's left to do?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: dianavan
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 01:06 AM

Maybe democracy isn't worth protecting.

Majority rule is a bummer if you're always in the minority.

diana


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,Redhorse at work
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 08:44 AM

I've always believed the US to be essentially an eighteenth century constitutional monarchy, only with an elected (rather than hereditary)monarch.

nick


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 09:05 AM

Over here in Europe protesters tend to take to the streets. Indeed we have a long tradition of it. French Farmers are pretty adapt at bringing their Country to a halt until such a time as their grievance is sorted out.

Remembering the Martin Luther King speech from, I think it was the Lincoln Memorial, It would be great to see the pictures of "Restore Democracy to America" campaign rally from the same place, beamed around the world.

I'm up for Grosvenor Square protest in London.


SM


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 10:52 AM

CarolC, thank you for a thoughtful reply. I, too, am concerned about the present "battleground states" phenomenon.

However, I do believe that if electoral votes were required to be awarded on a proportional basis in each state it would go far toward neutralizing that problem. Not entirely, granted, but it would help, and would not create the "dictatorship of the big states" problem which bothered the founding fathers and which bothers me.

The communists of the old Soviet Union used to talk about "the dictatorship of the majority". This, unfortunately, seems to be a basic problem with either a democracy or a republic. If one is in a minority, it always seems that the majority is a dictatorship. I don't know a good answer to it.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 11:08 AM

I don't know, Brucie. I keep remembering that this is the country where John and Bobbie Kennedy, and Martin Luther King were all assasinated. The more I learn about the world, the less inclined I am to believe that their deaths were a coincidence.

The Stage Manager, we had some pretty massive protests during the period leading up to our attack on Iraq. They made not one tiny bit of difference. The government takes a patronizing attitude toward protest these days. They have to say they support our right to protest, because our constitution guarantees it, but they do everything in their power to discredit those who are protesting. And let's not forget that this is the country where the National Guard opened fire on university students with live ammunition during protests against the Vietnam War.

And they have the news media in their pockets (or the news media has the government in their pockets, not sure which), so a lot of the time, protests hardly get any coverage and no-one who doesn't live in the area where the protest takes place even knows it happened. This is such a big country, if something happens in, say, New York, and doesn't get reported in the news, most of the rest of the country won't know anything about it.

Ted Kennedy got put on one of their lists, and nobody who's talking even knows why. Now he gets harrassed at the airport when he's trying to travel by plane. It's insane. This country is governed by madmen (and a few madwomen).


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 11:12 AM

I also like the option of awarding electoral votes on a proportional basis, Uncle_DaveO. I'm not sure how this would be different from eliminating the Electoral College altogether, but it seems like a good compromise if nothing else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 11:40 AM

Since the Republicans have in recent years polished the art of appealing to special interests and single-issue voters, they have thereby pretty well locked in certain states, and are swiftly Gerrymandering others. They would no doubt fight any attempt to change the electoral process right now, since they 'might' win a popular vote, but would be even more likely to be able to manipulate an electoral vote.......They do not care for the idea that all the Democrats in Alabama would have the same power as Democrats in Mass. or New York.

I personally would like to see the electoral system eliminated, as well as changing the nominating process for candidates and adjusting the primary system so that every state would have some input.....and then SHORTENING the entire nomination and campaign schedule to a few months.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 12:50 PM

It's a bad idea to convert a political system into a playoff game between two huge organizations...it detracts from the actual purposes of having a political system in the first place.

Therefore, I propose abolishing all political parties and starting over again...by voting for individuals on the basis of their ideas and character, NOT for party members. If no party can be organized, then no party can corrupt the process.

Political parties are as bad an idea as hereditary monarchies...maybe even worse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is the USA really a democracy?
From: CarolC
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 01:00 PM

I agree with you about the political parties, LH. Government is not the same thing as politics. Politics, party politics in particular, turns government into a team sport, only with much higher stakes. Bad idea altogether resulting in bad decisions, bad behaviour from the politicians, and bad results for the majority of voters.


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