Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

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

Post by Caravan Ray »

crumpart wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:16 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:57 am
crumpart wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:39 am


I get paywalled in Ireland (if I ever accidentally click a link before realising it’s The Goddamn Australian). I’m not sure if it’s because my browser still gets confused and thinks I’m in Australia though.
You're in Ireland. When are we getting more Derry Girls? I want more Derry Girls!!!!!
I don’t know, but as someone who’s mother converted from Protestant to Catholic when she married my father, but still insists on keeping the toaster in the cupboard, I’m also looking forward to more. I’ll suggest Moone Boy in the meantime.
I am vey familiar with Moone Boy. Yes - absolute cracker. And good suggestion - time for a rewatch. Thos alter boys crack me up
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:52 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:02 am
Yesterday - as I understand it - your President threatened to use US Military in Washington DC..

How on earth can one man have that power? The Queen cannot order troops in anywhere. The Governor General of Australia cannot direct troops. If you live in a country where one fat orange man can say where troops go. You have a really big fucking problem.

You need a new constitution.
You keep claiming that the revolution was so old, rich, white, slave-owning men wouldn't have to pay taxes.
see below
Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:52 am
Your criticism of the difference between what the constitution (and Declaration of Independence) says and the reality that it didn't apply to "all men" is appropriate. There is no justification for slavery. Period. But the problem isn't the constitution or our form of government. It's with the exclusion of women and entire races. The fight now is to make sure it applies equally to all citizens. An appropriate and continuous fight that obviously isn't finished.
Yes. I have harped on the "old, rich, white, slave-owning men wouldn't have to pay taxes" - - while true, it is as you and Grumpy Mike point out an oversimplification. I know that.

As I have mentioned earlier - Aboriginal people here have expressed their desire for their culture to be acknowledged in our Constitution. Seems like a small gesture. But it is important to the people affected.

With the protests in the USA over the last week - I can't help wondering what those protesting justice for black people think about the fact that the justice system is based on documents written by people who kept black people as property?!?

It is a bad look. Bad optics - as the kids say.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:55 am
With the protests in the USA over the last week - I can't help wondering what those protesting justice for black people think about the fact that the justice system is based on documents written by people who kept black people as property?!?

It is a bad look. Bad optics - as the kids say.
Acknowledged.

I have lots more to say (argue?) on the subject but your point is well taken.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Lunkhead »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitary_executive_theory
Contrary to claims of some authors, the first administration to make explicit reference to the "Unitary Executive" was not that of President George W. Bush. For example, in 1987, Ronald Reagan issued a signing statement that declared: "If this provision were interpreted otherwise, so as to require the President to follow the orders of a subordinate, it would plainly constitute an unconstitutional infringement of the President's authority as head of a unitary executive branch."

The George W. Bush administration made the Unitary Executive Theory a common feature of signing statements. For example, Bush once wrote in a signing statement that he would, "construe Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power." Critics acknowledge that part of the President's duty is to "interpret what is, and is not constitutional, at least when overseeing the actions of executive agencies," but critics accused Bush of overstepping that duty by his perceived willingness to overrule US courts.
So, some turning points down this path have been, Reagan taking office, and 9/11 and the George W. Bush administration's reaction. Sadly the Obama administration didn't really turn away from that path either although he couldn't do as much damage to the workings of the country because he was stymied but a Republican controlled House and then House and Senate.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/artic ... tive-power
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... es/511454/

It seems like the checks and balances rely too much on custom (as opposed to actual legal required limitations) and an assumption of public servants' loyalty to those customs and their country?
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

List of US federal executive orders
The Use and Abuse of Executive Orders and Other Presidential Directives
The new judges were known as the Midnight Judges because Adams was said to be signing their appointments at midnight prior to President Thomas Jefferson's inauguration.
Thomas Jefferson just purchases the Louisiana territory because he wants to
Lincoln decides we should probably end slavery in America and makes secession illegal
FDR threatens to pack the Supreme Court to get his way
Truman orders the usage of the atomic bomb
Bay of Pigs invasion
Kennedy pushes for covert operations in Vietnam
Violent Protests in 1968 helped elect Richard Nixon. Will today's protests help Trump?
Watergate scandal
Iran-Contra affair
Guantanamo Bay detention camp
Obama's Weak Defense of His Record on Drone Killings
Obama establishes DACA
Obama's war on the Little Sisters of the Poor
The U.S. can’t quit the Paris climate agreement, because it never actually joined
The Obama Administration Remade Sexual Assault Enforcement on Campus. Could Trump Unmake It?
Biden calls Obama Deportations Big Mistake
Planned Parenthood opts out of Title X money over new Trump rule
Trump administration drops Obama-era easing of marijuana prosecutions

Yawn. The executive has been OP for a long time. Some might say since the beginning. Not only does it have tremendous leeway, but also can selectively enforce or ignore laws.

The main reasons you're noticing now are 1) we have a president who isn't clever and quiet enough to get away with unilateral actions cleanly, 2) in fact, he broadcasts his moves and stokes animosity, 3) the middle-upper class (and consequentially the media) are paying attention because he's "not their guy", 4) many of his unilateral actions seem mean-spirited, and 5) everything we do, from politics to movies to music, is more entertaining and you can't help yourself from watching this train wreck.

As I said earlier, all of this is legal only because Congress has delegated or deferred to the executive, out of electoral convenience. Congress could revoke the insurrection act tomorrow, but they won't, and they won't when Democrats hold office. The Supreme Court could strike down various executive orders and laws that people have come to know and love, but they won't.

I'm sure this will be met with a "but but but". I'm not arguing moral equivalency between any actions here. Simply that - if you haven't noticed unilateral executive actions with significant ramification before, it's not because it wasn't happening.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by crumpart »

Just in case all youse think we think the Australian Government is great; we don’t, they’re not.

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

Post by Caravan Ray »

crumpart wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:13 am
Just in case all youse think we think the Australian Government is great; we don’t, they’re not.

The sad thing is that is not even funny anymore. Angus fucking Taylor. Jesus fucking Christ. What a fucking appalling privileged little private school cunt he is. Weirdly - I used to date a lady that went to Uni with him. She had a crush on him then. That memory now makes her want to vomit.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

crumpart wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:13 am
Just in case all youse think we think the Australian Government is great; we don’t, they’re not
You are right. We don’t. And they are not.

But..

I will go on record to say at least Scotty from Marketing has dealt with the virus way better than his complete fuck up of our fires in January. So - good job Scotty from Marketing - you have proven yourself to be not completely useless. But you are pretty fucking close to it.

Being better than Trump at dealing with a virus really isn’t a big bragging point.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Lunkhead »

I love that video series.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by crumpart »

Lunkhead wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:01 am
I love that video series.
If you ever wonder how much we swear, it's pretty much exactly that much.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by crumpart »

This could just go in the podcast thread, but I’m putting it here because a lot of what gets discussed is quite relevant to this conversation. It’s an interview on the excellent podcast Wilosophy between Australian comedian Wil Anderson and one of my favourite people in the whole world, Tim Minchin.

https://pca.st/episode/c05a4b47-d82b-4c ... decb058561
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Lunkhead »

Another piece of the puzzle for folks outside the US about how we got here, has to do with another dimension of how the Republicans chip away at the basic functioning of our "democracy" in order to avoid having a representative government:

https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regiona ... Cz7KwDrpJ/
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

crumpart wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:00 am
This could just go in the podcast thread, but I’m putting it here because a lot of what gets discussed is quite relevant to this conversation. It’s an interview on the excellent podcast Wilosophy between Australian comedian Wil Anderson and one of my favourite people in the whole world, Tim Minchin.

https://pca.st/episode/c05a4b47-d82b-4c ... decb058561
Ohh. Good pickup Crumpy. I’ll check that out
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

grumpymike wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:28 am
List of US federal executive orders
The Use and Abuse of Executive Orders and Other Presidential Directives
The new judges were known as the Midnight Judges because Adams was said to be signing their appointments at midnight prior to President Thomas Jefferson's inauguration.
Thomas Jefferson just purchases the Louisiana territory because he wants to
Lincoln decides we should probably end slavery in America and makes secession illegal
FDR threatens to pack the Supreme Court to get his way
Truman orders the usage of the atomic bomb
Bay of Pigs invasion
Kennedy pushes for covert operations in Vietnam
Violent Protests in 1968 helped elect Richard Nixon. Will today's protests help Trump?
Watergate scandal
Iran-Contra affair
Guantanamo Bay detention camp
Obama's Weak Defense of His Record on Drone Killings
Obama establishes DACA
Obama's war on the Little Sisters of the Poor
The U.S. can’t quit the Paris climate agreement, because it never actually joined
The Obama Administration Remade Sexual Assault Enforcement on Campus. Could Trump Unmake It?
Biden calls Obama Deportations Big Mistake
Planned Parenthood opts out of Title X money over new Trump rule
Trump administration drops Obama-era easing of marijuana prosecutions

Yawn. The executive has been OP for a long time. Some might say since the beginning. Not only does it have tremendous leeway, but also can selectively enforce or ignore laws.

The main reasons you're noticing now are 1) we have a president who isn't clever and quiet enough to get away with unilateral actions cleanly, 2) in fact, he broadcasts his moves and stokes animosity, 3) the middle-upper class (and consequentially the media) are paying attention because he's "not their guy", 4) many of his unilateral actions seem mean-spirited, and 5) everything we do, from politics to movies to music, is more entertaining and you can't help yourself from watching this train wreck.

As I said earlier, all of this is legal only because Congress has delegated or deferred to the executive, out of electoral convenience. Congress could revoke the insurrection act tomorrow, but they won't, and they won't when Democrats hold office. The Supreme Court could strike down various executive orders and laws that people have come to know and love, but they won't.

I'm sure this will be met with a "but but but". I'm not arguing moral equivalency between any actions here. Simply that - if you haven't noticed unilateral executive actions with significant ramification before, it's not because it wasn't happening.
So why do you have a President? Isn’t that a really dumb old fashioned idea? One dude with power!?! This is why you need a new Constitution. It is out of date. Modern countries don’t give power to one person.

The USA can now see why giving one person power is really dumb. Because a really dumb person has assumed this power. This is the fault of a 250 year old constitution that is no longer fit for purpose.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

Lunkhead wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:28 pm
Another piece of the puzzle for folks outside the US about how we got here, has to do with another dimension of how the Republicans chip away at the basic functioning of our "democracy" in order to avoid having a representative government:

https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regiona ... Cz7KwDrpJ/
That just sort of reinforces how inappropriate it is that the world’s largest economy doesn’t actually have a responsibly elected democratic government

You need to update your 250 year old constitution.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by AJOwens »

In fairness, the same kind of thing can happen in a parliamentary democracy. When Stephen Harper was Canada's prime minister, he attempted rule by decree. Prime ministers traditionally stack the appointed Senate with political supporters, many attempt to stack the Supreme Court with like-minded judges whenever an opportunity arises, and if their party has a majority, they can easily ignore the opposition parties.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Lunkhead »

The one person is only supposed to have some power. All the power is supposed to be split between the three branches, and they are supposed to perform "checks and balances" upon each other. Probably this was made under the theory that nobody wants tyrannical rule. The problem is that the Republican party now wants tyrannical rule. Tyrannical rule is the only way for them to keep themselves from being marginalized and irrelevant as they become a smaller and smaller portion of the population. They basically want something akin to Apartheid. And the checks and balances are failing because one party is colluding to undermine everything that might get in the way of its consolidation of power, like, Constitutional checks and balances, representative democracy, etc. What kind of Constitutional overhaul is going to help with this problem? I'm honestly curious what folks think about that. I don't have any ideas about it yet. We only have one other party to provide any opposition and they aren't doing that. Nearly all of them are too beholden to the capital to want to upset the apple cart too much. If only we have more major parties but the two we have resist that at all costs. :(

This was a good very slanted take on policing in America, too, which illustrates some of the difficulties of trying to have movements for major change:

https://jacobinmag.com/2020/6/police-un ... -class-war
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

AJOwens wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:27 am
In fairness, the same kind of thing can happen in a parliamentary democracy. When Stephen Harper was Canada's prime minister, he attempted rule by decree. Prime ministers traditionally stack the appointed Senate with political supporters, many attempt to stack the Supreme Court with like-minded judges whenever an opportunity arises, and if their party has a majority, they can easily ignore the opposition parties.
Yes. That is true. Likewise John Howard was able to act “presidentially’ when he had a majority in both Houses and could wield a lot power personally. But - at the end of the day - a Prime Minister has no actual “power”. The position of PM is not even mentioned in our Constitution - it is merely a convention.

Some PMs like to assume the power given to to the Executive by the Constitution is their personal power, and some get away with it..... for a while. And there is the difference. A PM is not elected by the nation. And they are surrounded by a mob of greedy and ambitious sharks known as their parliamentary colleagues. One step out of line - somebody will step up and take their job.

It struck me watching the trump impeachment stuff that with the defined chain of command should he depart - there seemed to be no reason for his Party to turn on him and dump him - because that would not result in one of them immediately grabbing the top job. Dumping PMs and stealing their job has almost become a national sport over here in the past 10 years. And I don’t really see that as a bad thing.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

Lunkhead wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:58 am
What kind of Constitutional overhaul is going to help with this problem? I'm honestly curious what folks think about that. I don't have any ideas about it yet.
I have no idea.

The only reason I am bagging your Constitution is because my countries constitution is out of date.

Our Constitution is ridiculous. We have six state governments. All with seperate health, education, police etc. departments? Why??!?! It made sense 120 years ago. It no longer makes sense. We need a new Constitution that takes into account modern transport and telecommunications. Australia should abolish all State Governments. They are a waste of money. Our 120 year old Constitution is out of date.

Then I thought of the USA. Your Constitution is 250 year old. And you have a a moron running a dysfunctional government. And your Constitution gives this moron power to do stuff.. And his Party isn't stopping him from doing stuff. And he keeps doing stuff.....

Time for change don't you think?

So - I suggest that you introduce compulsory voting and abolish the position of President and place power in the hands of an executive made up of elected members of the Congress. Your State thing is more complex than ours - Ill leave that up to you. And introduce prisons terms for any one that exhibits gross jingoism on Facebook posts
They make me want to vomit.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by crumpart »

I dunno. The Australian state governments are one of the main reasons that the country has got through COVID-19 so far relatively unscathed. If it had been left to Scotty From Marketing & Co the country would be a lot more fucked. I admit I may be slightly biased because I’m Victorian and I love the Andrews government so much. Yeah, yeah, not everything he’s done has been great, but perfect is the enemy of good and that government has been my shining light in being able to stand all the dickbiscuits in federal parliament (including my Australian MP, the grossly vile Michael Sukkar in Deakin; turns out you get stuck with your last electorate for the six years you’re allowed to vote after leaving the country).
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

crumpart wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:32 am
I dunno. The Australian state governments are one of the main reasons that the country has got through COVID-19 so far relatively unscathed. If it had been left to Scotty From Marketing & Co the country would be a lot more fucked. I admit I may be slightly biased because I’m Victorian and I love the Andrews government so much. Yeah, yeah, not everything he’s done has been great, but perfect is the enemy of good and that government has been my shining light in being able to stand all the dickbiscuits in federal parliament (including my Australian MP, the grossly vile Michael Sukkar in Deakin; turns out you get stuck with your last electorate for the six years you’re allowed to vote after leaving the country).
Yes. I agree completely. Dan Andrews is rocking it. But shouldn’t people like him and say Anna Bligh etc be in federal government? We have too many politicians and most of them are dicks. States made sense when it to days to get to Brisbane and weeks to get to Perth. Things have changed.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:57 am
The only reason I am bagging your Constitution is because my countries constitution is out of date.
It was out of date the day it was written. What does the royal crown have to do with anything?
Caravan Ray wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:57 am
We have six state governments. All with seperate health, education, police etc. departments? Why??!?!
Yeah, and how many political parties do you have? All that redundancy is annoying and wasteful! It's the year 2018, people! You should have one political party that knows what's best and everyone is required by law to be a part of it.
Caravan Ray wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:57 am
And his Party isn't stopping him from doing stuff. And he keeps doing stuff.....
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.

If your argument is that constitution needs changing because this president is accomplishing too much, then your metric is based on policy opinion, or an emotional reaction to what he's blabbering about, and not on the actual range of presidential power. He could change his position on free boomerangs for everyone tomorrow and you'd probably think the constitution is great or something.
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