Author Topic: The end of democracy in the USA?  (Read 34699 times)

Offline Not Myself

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #60 on: October 11, 2012, 12:10:50 AM »
For starters, each state has at least one representative no matter how small its population, so this creates a slight bias towards small states that is such a prominent feature of the Senate.

The effect is amplified in the electoral college - California has about 3.6 times as many people per electoral vote as Wyoming :)

Speaking of which, it looks like I'll be visiting the land of the left lane blockers in mid-November, when we should know whether "It's Russia 1917!" prevailed over "It's Germany 1933!"
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Offline Echnaton

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #61 on: October 11, 2012, 09:09:00 AM »
Could be worse. We could live in Belgium where politics is either democracy run amok or proof that anarchy is a viable form of government. 
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett

Offline Halcyon Dayz, FCD

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #62 on: October 13, 2012, 10:48:09 AM »
That's really a misconception.

The cabinet being demissionary doesn't mean there isn't a government.
It means they do not have a mandate to implement new policies.
Modern states have well developed bureaucracies, they don't need to be managed top-down on a a day-to-day basis anyway.
Not to mention all the other levels of government.
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Offline Echnaton

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The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #63 on: October 13, 2012, 11:44:00 AM »
True. I was speaking in jest but failed to put in a smiley
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett

Offline Peter B

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #64 on: October 22, 2012, 07:54:31 AM »
I've been watching the Ken Burns series on Prohibition. In the last episode they covered the 1928 Presidential election. Boy, they had the gloves off then, too, with some of the Republican charges levelled at the Democratic candidate Al Smith way beyond what you'd consider acceptable in polite society. The fact the many of the pro-Prohibition Republicans were secretly flouting the laws they publicly supported makes it all the more astonishing.

That, plus (if I heard it right) Congress deliberately delaying reallocation of seats for a decade in order to minimise political representation in the fast-growing big cities which were strongly anti-Prohibition, suggest that there's a long pedigree for today's political shenanigans.

Offline Echnaton

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #65 on: October 22, 2012, 11:46:50 AM »
No doubt.  Politics today follows in a long tradition of bitter divisiveness and corruption.  The rural/urban split took a long time to resolve following the urbanization of the population.   One rationale for keeping rural ares strong was that the rural Congressional and legislative districts in many states, and particularity in Texas,  began to grow in geographic size so that it was difficult for one representative to actual visit and know his constituents.  In reality it was about funding, just like everything in government.  Once the transition to balanced urban representation was accomplished in Texas, the cities became the greater focus of the legislature in almost every way, favoring commerce over farming and ranching.  Particularly the big budget items like highways, which had been controlled by the rural block before.  My suspicion is that the anti-Prohibition cause was just one aspect of the long standing rural/urban split.     
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett

Offline gillianren

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #66 on: October 22, 2012, 01:29:08 PM »
Arguably, Rachel Jackson died (she was already in poor health) because of the things said about her and her husband in 1828.  Of course, I'd also argue that they were true, but she was pretending that they weren't for so long that I think she'd come to believe it.  Besides, society had changed so dramatically that what had been acceptable on the frontier was not to be acknowledged anymore as something a Lady had done.
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Offline Sellaman

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #67 on: January 24, 2013, 09:23:31 AM »
I've said elsewhere that ragging Americans is almost a national sport in Australia.
Seriously.....where did you get that impression? Our PM does everything she can to support the USA because of our alliance.
Albert Sellaman

Offline Peter B

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #68 on: January 25, 2013, 12:45:11 AM »
I've said elsewhere that ragging Americans is almost a national sport in Australia.
Seriously.....where did you get that impression? Our PM does everything she can to support the USA because of our alliance.
Yes, she and most previous PMs all the way back to Curtin have been proudly pro-American.

I get the impression from things my friends say, or what sporting crowds say, whether beating the USA in the America's Cup, or their 4 man pursuit cycling team on their super-bikes, or the cry of "Carter's a [email protected]" at a pre-Olympic basketball game in 2000.

Offline Philthy

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #69 on: January 25, 2013, 01:11:58 AM »
I have several Aussie friends, I've never noticed this. Ever.

Yes, I'm an American.

Phil
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Offline ChrLz

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #70 on: January 26, 2013, 07:39:40 AM »
I have several Aussie friends, I've never noticed this. Ever.
Yes, I'm an American.
Phil
Yeah, well.. we're polite.  We wouldn't rag you to your face.. :D

Offline Peter B

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #71 on: January 26, 2013, 08:23:27 AM »
I have several Aussie friends, I've never noticed this. Ever.
Yes, I'm an American.
Phil
Yeah, well.. we're polite.  We wouldn't rag you to your face.. :D
:-)

Then there's the Dumb American Tourist meme, of which my personal knowledge (through friends) includes:

1. The American tourist in Pompeii asking loudly why they built the city underground.

2. The American army officer who announced to his Australian colleague his intention to drive from Sydney to Brisbane and back as a day trip. When he pointed out it was "only a couple of inches on the map", he was then asked to check the map scale. (The distance is ~600 miles/1000km one way.)

3. The American tourist who asked what the weather was like driving from Australia to New Zealand. (He was told, "Damp".)

There's also this article which appeared around the time of the 2000 Olympics: http://www.oocities.org/subarustuff/touristguide.html (If you're Australian, Kiwi or British, it's probably NSFW.) Makes me chuckle every time I read it...

So yes, I think there are plenty of Australians who are happy to rag Americans.

Offline Noldi400

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #72 on: January 26, 2013, 11:49:59 AM »
I've said elsewhere that ragging Americans is almost a national sport in Australia.
Seriously.....where did you get that impression? Our PM does everything she can to support the USA because of our alliance.

Well, official support and unofficial ragging aren't mutually exclusive.

Echnaton:
Quote
No doubt.  Politics today follows in a long tradition of bitter divisiveness and corruption. 

US elections have indeed had a history of strangeness. In the 1948 presidential contest the pundits and pollsters were so convinced that Thomas Dewey (R) would defeat the incumbent Harry Truman (D) that articles published the morning after election day (written the night before) included one in the Detroit Free Press urging that  Truman's Secretary of State resign and Dewey's choice be appointed in his place to "restore confidence... abroad and at home".  The Alsop brothers proposed in the New York Herald Tribune that Dewey's cabinet nominees immediately move in as "special assistants" to guide their predecessors through the transition process.

The UK media even got into the act; on election day, the Manchester Guardian published an article by Alistair Cooke entitled  "Harry S. Truman: A Study of a Failure".


Harry Truman gleefully displays an incorrect headline. (AP)

Needless to say, there was a record number of red faces the next morning when the headlines got it wrong: Truman won by 303 - 189 electoral votes (24 M - 22M in the popular vote.

We are a strange peoples...
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Offline twik

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #73 on: January 28, 2013, 12:16:13 PM »
I have several Aussie friends, I've never noticed this. Ever.
Yes, I'm an American.
Phil
Yeah, well.. we're polite.  We wouldn't rag you to your face.. :D
:-)

Then there's the Dumb American Tourist meme, of which my personal knowledge (through friends) includes:

1. The American tourist in Pompeii asking loudly why they built the city underground.

2. The American army officer who announced to his Australian colleague his intention to drive from Sydney to Brisbane and back as a day trip. When he pointed out it was "only a couple of inches on the map", he was then asked to check the map scale. (The distance is ~600 miles/1000km one way.)

3. The American tourist who asked what the weather was like driving from Australia to New Zealand. (He was told, "Damp".)

There's also this article which appeared around the time of the 2000 Olympics: http://www.oocities.org/subarustuff/touristguide.html (If you're Australian, Kiwi or British, it's probably NSFW.) Makes me chuckle every time I read it...

So yes, I think there are plenty of Australians who are happy to rag Americans.

It's not just Americans. Consider my widely travelled Canadian cousin, on hearing my mother say she would love to go to Greece to see the antiquities, replying "There are no antiquities in Greece. Everyone just goes for the beaches."

Offline Echnaton

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Re: The end of democracy in the USA?
« Reply #74 on: January 28, 2013, 08:50:33 PM »
The uncultured and stupid American is a stereotype for a reason.  It is partly that there are so many of us and many people never leave the country during their lives.  Unlike Europe where is is easy to travel or Australia where world travel is a passion.  In Houston now days, it seems that I meet as many people that are from another country as Americans that have been abroad.  My children's high school seems to be half filled with students whose parents moved here, judging by accents and teh students I have met.  And as a mater of experience, today's kids are far more culturally aware than my class of '78 at Robert E. Lee HS. So hopefully the uncouth American stereotype will slowly die out.
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett