Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

grumpymike wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:42 am
He's heading one of the most ineffective presidencies in modern history. He typically forgets things after a week. Congress and his cabinet only pay him enough attention to avoid the brunt of his temper tantrums, but they are generally not helping him accomplish anything and have their own agendas. He delegates to inexperienced people who don't know how to get anything done, because the only people who would work for him are people that have no future in politics. He's gotten into fewer military quagmires than any modern president. Probably not for any ethical reason, but because he finds them boring.
So why do you need him? What job does he do? Why does your Constitution give power to one person - when that person could be an idiot? Giving power to one person is a very 18th century idea. It is a bit out of date don’t you think?
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:39 am
So why do you need him? What job does he do? Why does your Constitution give power to one person - when that person could be an idiot? Giving power to one person is a very 18th century idea. It is a bit out of date don’t you think?
You're asking me to provide socio-philosophical commentary that I'm unqualified for and that will probably sound like cynical post-rationalization. I'll do my best!

1) It is important to have a single point of failure that is electable. Hiding behind committees, etc, is a good way to have an unaccountable government. Look at the complaints about the EU.
2) Having multiple executives would mean that in unexpected circumstances, there could be a question as to who is the ultimate authority, and that is a huge problem.
3) This single executive needs full authority, otherwise there's a chance of one of the executive functions performing a coup. The executive cannot break the system because everyone swears to uphold the rules and not a particular authority. In the UK, the last resort of authority is the queen, which is a joke. If the UK ever had a military coup, the queen couldn't do anything.
4) It allows presidents to break from their parties and take bold stances, and historically this has been a good thing. That party only covers half of America's diversity, and the president has to rule the entire country and usually likes being seen as a good person. Traditionally, the president is the moderating leader that reshapes the party for the better.
5) It makes citizens invested in 'the system' because they know they will win in the future.
6) It makes citizens invested in (occasionally) moderating the system because they know they'll lose in the future.
7) For better or worse, the individualistic aesthetic meshes better with our culture. There's a reason we like the sports we like. There's a reason I find Irish tours and museums unnecessarily boring. You'd think they could at least try to make this Guinness fellow a legend, give him some personality.
8) The whole world can direct their rage at one American and we can swap that person out next year and you'll love us again. George W Bush? What a dope! Obama? 500 Nobel Peace Prizes! miss u xoxoxo! The American system enables us to be bipolar, to our benefit, with little consequence.
9) Fighting so much over who gets to hold the loaded gun is better than another Civil War.

To be clear, none of this excuses our current president's behavior. The president is traditionally a uniter. However, a majority of the concern about this president is not with his actual executive power, but with his use of the bully pulpit - his ability to have his statements amplified due to his office. Sure, he likes talking about what he might do with his "power", but that's because he likes hearing clips of himself on cable news. Everything he says is the output of predictable algorithmic narcissism: make bold outrageous claim, milk it for a few days, revise it for better or worse, rinse & repeat. We could turn off cable news and pretend he's a standard Republican president.

Now, I assume you probably think it's outdated to have a government designed to withstand catastrophic scenarios and the ebbs and flows of history. Yet, you bet America wouldn't make it through the next election. Which is it, sir?

Yes, technology changes some things, but people are always the same with the same motivations and same fears. Societal structures are downstream of those motivations, and so they always have the same issues. Bold claim, I know, but I don't think humans are any better at being human than they were 200 or even 10,000 years ago.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Rone Rivendale »

I'm not sure you understand how the power structure works in the US, Ray. The President doesn't have all the power. He is one of 3 branches of government that hold power. The other 2 being Congress, and the Supreme Court. Yes, Trump F*cks things up ALL the time but at least some of the time he is checkmated by congress or the courts. Like just recently the Supreme Court shut down Trump's idea of taking away LGBTQ rights.

Luckily, we also get rid of idiot Presidents every 4 years. And while Biden isn't a great choice, he's leaps and bounds ahead of Trump.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

Rone Rivendale wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:20 pm
I'm not sure you understand how the power structure works in the US, Ray. The President doesn't have all the power. He is one of 3 branches of government that hold power. The other 2 being Congress, and the Supreme Court. Yes, Trump F*cks things up ALL the time but at least some of the time he is checkmated by congress or the courts. Like just recently the Supreme Court shut down Trump's idea of taking away LGBTQ rights.

Luckily, we also get rid of idiot Presidents every 4 years. And while Biden isn't a great choice, he's leaps and bounds ahead of Trump.
I know Rone. But in the USA, your Constitution actually gives actual power to ONE person. That is unusual in the modern world. It is an 18th century idea that your 18th century Constitution still contains.

This is why the rest of the world is looking on in horror at the USA at the moment. You are operating under a Constitution written in the 18th century by slave owners. And while the authors of that document were clearly some of the most remarkable thinkers the world has ever seen - times have changed. And now - we have a moron for who less than 25% of the eligible electorate actually voted for has the power to direct policy and veto legislation. And he also seems to be immune from prosecution?!?!? WTF is that all about?!?!?.

Throw in a global pandemic that is unprecedented in modern times - and we are seeing the worlds largest economy and military power become a shrivelling basket case before our very eyes.

Why does that matter to me? I live in Queensland. We have zero cases of Covid 19 and I am flying to Port Douglas in 2 weeks to go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. I could simply enjoy living a country without a dysfunctional government and get on with things. But no. I have the misfortune of being a rapacious Capitalist who has money invested in American companies. So - I want you people to sort your shit out. I am sure I could make better returns investing in Chinese companies - but I really can't be arsed doing stuff. You need to sort things out for me.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

grumpymike wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:01 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:39 am
So why do you need him? What job does he do? Why does your Constitution give power to one person - when that person could be an idiot? Giving power to one person is a very 18th century idea. It is a bit out of date don’t you think?
You're asking me to provide socio-philosophical commentary that I'm unqualified for and that will probably sound like cynical post-rationalization. I'll do my best!

1) It is important to have a single point of failure that is electable. Hiding behind committees, etc, is a good way to have an unaccountable government. Look at the complaints about the EU.
(sorry Grumpy - that was a very good answer - but I am going to start my reply on a slight tangent - though I think it is a relevant point to our discussion)

LOL! That reminds me of something I posted here years ago about the difference between British and American music.
Ask the question - Name the 10 Greatest Musical Acts of the past 50 years. A reasonable answer may be:

1. The Beatles
2. Elvis
3. Dylan
4. Led Zeppelin
5. Rolling Stones
6. Michael Jackson
7. Madonna
8. The Who
9. Queen
10. Taylor Swift

5 British
5 American
5 Bands
5 Solo artists

It is a weird thing. The great bands were British. Teams born on the playing fields of Eton, playing proper games like rugby and cricket. The great solo artists are American - the product of American Exceptionalism. (quick...try to name a UK solo artist that comes anywhere close to Elvis or Madonna....Cliff Richard?). They were probably "quarterbacks" in weird games that promoted individuals.


Anyway - that is my response to your Point 1 (though - it is a good point - I and not pooh-poohing it).

I don't think it is important to have a single person as a single point of failure. In our "Team oriented" culture of the former British Empire - we do actually understand teams. We don't blame a loss on the "quarterback" or the "pitcher". We play proper team games like cricket. That is your problem. You don't play cricket.

And your need to have a "President" to personify success or failure - seems to relate to why USA people like games like American (USA) Football or Baseball where teamwork is less important than who the quarterback or pitcher is.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

grumpymike wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:01 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:39 am
So why do you need him? What job does he do? Why does your Constitution give power to one person - when that person could be an idiot? Giving power to one person is a very 18th century idea. It is a bit out of date don’t you think?
You're asking me to provide socio-philosophical commentary that I'm unqualified for and that will probably sound like cynical post-rationalization. I'll do my best!

2) Having multiple executives would mean that in unexpected circumstances, there could be a question as to who is the ultimate authority, and that is a huge problem.
No - not really. Here - the ultimate authority is "the Crown" - personified by the Governor-General. It is a vague wishy-washy idea that has no real meaning. In 1975 - Sir Joh Kerr tried to give it meaning by dismissing the Parliament of Australia (on the urging of the CIA it is said....but that is a whole other conspiracy theory...) - anyway - the "the Crown" is not a person. It is not the Queen.

I can see your point It is a good one. In an exceptional circumstance you in the USA have a President who can make a decision. (you obviouslyrealise I am sniggering as i write this in our current times).

We saw an exceptional circumstances in January this year when we had extraordinary bushfires and our Prime Minister was on holiday on Hawaii.

We don't expect our Prime Minister to make decisions about bushfires.
Our current one is a snotty little ex-advertising man - why would he make decisions about anything?
We do expect our Prime Minister to understand what a fucking bushfire is and listen to the people who warned him that2020 would be the worst bushfire season ever because of global warming.. Stupid cunt.


I seem to have gone off on a tangent.

Anyway - no.. I disagree. Your premise makes no sense. You need to remove the power given to one person and give it to Congress. Let Congress be the ultimate authority. Not the pussy grabber. Will that work?
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:37 am
No - not really. Here - the ultimate authority is "the Crown" - personified by the Governor-General. It is a vague wishy-washy idea that has no real meaning.
Yes, and our ultimate authority is the Constitution, which is a very tangible idea that has loads of meaning. Again, our troops and elected officials swear to uphold the Constitution.
You are only treasonous if you disobey the Constitution. Not the president.
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:37 am
I can see your point It is a good one.
Thank you. I know it is. You kind of missed it, though.

In the case of an attack on the mainland that might cause chaos, it is important that we have a clear chain of command. Our president delegates authority to various agencies and has no interest in directly dealing with bushfires - only for taking credit for solving them!
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:37 am
You need to remove the power given to one person and give it to Congress. Let Congress be the ultimate authority.
lol that's how it's set up - but Congress gave all their controversial power to the President and Supreme Court.

Let me take a recent example:
1) There are a lot of children who arrived in the US because of their parents and do not have legal citizen status. (If the child is born on US soil, the child is de-facto citizen. This is for children who migrated.)
2) This is a problem because they've been here for many years and we don't want to deport them.
3) President Obama gave Congress an ultimatum to do something about it.
4) Congress didn't want to do anything about it. Or rather, a vocal contingent of the Republican party.
5) Obama instituted an executive program that 'defers' the immigration question on these individuals and makes them temporarily legal on a renewed basis.
6) Some Republicans have complained about this unconstitutional executive action, including the current president.
7) The current president tried to end the program.
8) The executive action was challenged in court.
9) The Republican-majority court sided with the plaintiffs and ruled against the administration.

Result: congress and executive abdicate power so that they can say one thing and have another thing happen. They take power and responsibility when they can do something they actually want to do, and that is popular. Now, if you'd ask the founders, they'd say the executive can overrule the Supreme Court because the Supreme Court doesn't have any real power to fulfill its actions. But the truth is, nobody wants to be the bad guy and the status quo is usually popular enough not to change, regardless of whatever the status quo is.

Anyhow, that's a bit of a tangent. Point is that giving Congress anything is a joke. They probably have a lower approval rating.

Your real objection seems to be rooted in the concept of the individual versus the collective. At the end of the day, everyone is always acting in their own self-interests. This is human nature. Having a system that enables that behavior as much as possible while simultaneously stymieing overreach and having fall-back mechanisms is a good thing. Having people swear allegiance to a set of rules is good thing. Saying we need a new set of rules is not going to happen unless it is amended as per the rules. And they're difficult to amend for good reason.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:58 am
We don't blame a loss on the "quarterback" or the "pitcher". We play proper team games like cricket. That is your problem. You don't play cricket.

And your need to have a "President" to personify success or failure - seems to relate to why USA people like games like American (USA) Football or Baseball where teamwork is less important than who the quarterback or pitcher is.
We like a good story. Good stories that move people are not about institutions but about individuals. Institutions are composed of individuals; the story of an institution is the story of many individuals. Some of those individuals are more notable than others due to the autonomy they are allowed in their role to determine the outcome. This is how you inspire individuals.

We like the story of the quarterback and head coach leading their team to victory. It is more akin to chess than some child's playground free-for-all.

We like imagining what we would do if we were famous, if we had money, if we were quarterback, if we were president. We like complaining that other people don't do it the way we have considered. We like talking down to experts, and sadly, yet affirmingly, we are often correct in questioning them.
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:58 am
I don't think it is important to have a single person as a single point of failure.
The longest living human institution on earth is evidence to the contrary. I can only imagine what nasty things you might say to that, and I'd rather not get off on that kind of tangent, but if we are designing a human institution that will live as long as possible, I think we probably have made the right choice.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by jb »

This is like a Usenet thread from 1996
blippity blop ya don’t stop heyyyyyyyyy
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

grumpymike wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:34 am
5) Obama instituted an executive program that 'defers' the immigration question on these individuals and makes them temporarily legal on a renewed basis.
6) Some Republicans have complained about this unconstitutional executive action, including the current president.
Trump's position lost the ruling but only because of how he tried to end DACA. He, or a future president, could end it if done properly and they are willing to pay the political price for doing so.

I don't understand an argument that says one president has the power to implement it but another does not have the power to end it. I do understand the argument that the office of the president shouldn't be able to do any of it. I agree with it. I also agree with Mike in that Congress has (repeatedly) abdicated its responsibility to avoid political consequences. Both sides of the aisle, both houses of congress.

Immigration is probably easily solved. Fast track all applications to reduce the time from years to six months. (Criminals and members of suspect organizations get a closer look which will take a lot longer and many of them won't be allowed in.) Once the legal process is viable we then stop rewarding those who jump the line and start rewarding those who go through the legal process.

This will never happen because neither the Democrat nor Republican politicians have any incentive to fix the problem. They use the issue to motivate their bases to vote and neither pay the price for failing to do their duty.
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:58 am
Why does your Constitution give power to one person - when that person could be an idiot? Giving power to one person is a very 18th century idea. It is a bit out of date don’t you think?
I think you make a very valid point that the office of the president has too much power. And whether our constitution permits it or not does not change the fact that it has not restrained it. But I am curious. Do you have a list of things this president has accomplished (and not just said) that you feel indicates the office has too much power? Do you have specifics? And did you hold this same belief with the last president?
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by crumpart »

The thing with immigration is that people always talk about lines and queue jumping, but in reality, no country really has a “line”. Most of the time, for a variety of reasons, when you get processed comes down to pot luck. And it’s always convoluted and stressful.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by irwin »

jb wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:16 am
This is like a Usenet thread from 1996
You say that like it’s a bad thing.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

jb wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:16 am
This is like a Usenet thread from 1996
See, Caravan Ray, nothing changes! It just takes 25 years to make it to Australia.
Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:00 am
I don't understand an argument that says one president has the power to implement it but another does not have the power to end it.
Well... it's wishful thinking. But I also don't understand how people can live here their whole lives and not be citizens.

Practically speaking, if Trump tries it again and actually brings appropriate reasoning and follows procedure, Roberts is going to be in an untenable situation. Perhaps even so much that the Supreme Court won't see the case or try to wait for the election results.

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:00 am
They use the issue to motivate their bases to vote and neither pay the price for failing to do their duty.
Bingo. The GOP is okay with DACA as long as it comes with a broader immigration package - supposedly so another DACA isn't needed in the future?, and they know the Democrats won't agree to that.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

grumpymike wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:31 am
Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:00 am
I don't understand an argument that says one president has the power to implement it but another does not have the power to end it.
Well... it's wishful thinking. But I also don't understand how people can live here their whole lives and not be citizens.
I actually think we'd be better off having a legal system in which most people in the world can come here and stay legally indefinitely even without ever attaining citizenship. A path towards citizenship is fine, I'm not opposed to it, and it obviously has huge advantages currently. You don't get deported. But if there is an open, honest and legal visa system in place then citizenship becomes a benefit instead of a necessity.
grumpymike wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:31 am
Practically speaking, if Trump tries it again and actually brings appropriate reasoning and follows procedure, Roberts is going to be in an untenable situation. Perhaps even so much that the Supreme Court won't see the case or try to wait for the election results.
The court ruled very narrowly in this decision. That sets up Roberts or any other judge being able to rule just as narrowly in another case with a different decision or more broadly if they want to try to affect the larger issues of immigration. I don't see it being a detriment if the administration follows proper procedures and doesn't try to short cut the (admittedly convoluted) system.
grumpymike wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:31 am
Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:00 am
They use the issue to motivate their bases to vote and neither pay the price for failing to do their duty.
Bingo. The GOP is okay with DACA as long as it comes with a broader immigration package - supposedly so another DACA isn't needed in the future?, and they know the Democrats won't agree to that.
Yeah, Reagan was okay with it, too, and it didn't solve anything. I'm pretty sure most republicans are okay with human beings who've been here their whole lives staying and getting citizenship if there is a permanent system of stopping illegal immigration, but they're not gonna fall for the bait and switch like they did in the 80's. And I'm not sure they are willing to do what it takes to get to that system. As we agree, there are votes out there for talking tough and taking a hard line stand so what's the incentive to buck the status quo? Not to mention the several democrat politicians that have admitted they wouldn't vote for a fair and legal system of immigration under any circumstance if it meant deporting illegal immigrants in the future (even with DACA or amnesty for all those presently here.)

I honestly think that most Americans are compassionate about people who've lived here for years not being deported. I also think most Americans want a safe and secure border (although not necessarily with a wall which is a good idea in theory and a very, very stupid idea in practice.) When people find out it's nearly impossible to immigrate here legally without waiting for years or leaving your family behind they tend to be more understanding. But they need to be more irate and make politicians on both sides of the aisle pay dearly. Which will never happen. *sigh*
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Rone Rivendale »

Can we back up a little bit and see that Taylor Swift was just called a 'top 10' singer/band of the last 50 years? LOL WHAT?
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by gizo »

David Bowie
Elton John
Metallica

That’s about all the exceptions To Ray’s Rule that I could think of.

Oh, and almost all of Motown.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by ujnhunter »

I agree... if Ray didn't have David Bowie in there he's obviously stacking the deck. ;)
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

Rone Rivendale wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:01 pm
Can we back up a little bit and see that Taylor Swift was just called a 'top 10' singer/band of the last 50 years? LOL WHAT?
Well.... I was trying to be relevant to the youngsters. Billie Eilish?
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

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Whether you like her or not, Taylor Swift is, objectively, one of the greatest musical acts of the past 50 years.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

crumpart wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:54 pm
Whether you like her or not, Taylor Swift is, objectively, one of the greatest musical acts of the past 50 years.
YeAh!! Take that Rone Rivendale
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Caravan Ray
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

ujnhunter wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:06 pm
I agree... if Ray didn't have David Bowie in there he's obviously stacking the deck. ;)
David Bowie cancelled out the Beach Boys. Best not mentioned. They didn’t suit my purpose.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

gizo wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:23 pm
David Bowie
Elton John
Metallica
Yes. Bowie is an exception
Elton John was actually a team (with Bernie) wasn’t he?
And Metallica are shit - so they don’t really count.

gizo wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:23 pm
Oh, and almost all of Motown.
Ahh - that is a good one! But does that go beyond “team” and more into corporate entity? Like the British East India Company.
Last edited by Caravan Ray on Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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