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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:52 am 
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Location: Paris (Latin Europe)
killer wrote:
I have never seen the benefits of the French system where the president is head of state and government. The current President doesn't even know when to be polite to people. :(


The French system is double-edged.

Such system allows the nation's leader to execute its plans to their full extent, without being hampered by potential contenders.
Which can be tremendously positive for the nation if the leader has a strategic vision (think de Gaulle), or extremely negative if the leader is short-sighted, narcissistic and corrupted (think Sarkozy).

I nevertheless support this system. And, above all, think that nation leaders should be directly elected by citizens (unlike in the USA, for example).

As for monarchy, it seems to me that it is nowadays a complete waste of money, in the sense that monarchs are not even able to play their symbolic role and maintain their country's unity (cf. Belgium, Spain, UK, Thailand).

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Summilux wrote:
I nevertheless support this system. And, above all, think that nation leaders should be directly elected by citizens (unlike in the USA, for example).


The U.S.'s method for electing its president is very misunderstood, even amongst its citizens.

The founders (and authors of the U.S. Constitution) intended for the country to be composed of individual states under one nation. Currently, we have 50 states. When the day arrives to elect a president, the United States conducts 50 individual elections.

Because each state has different characteristics from the other (some states have a large land mass, some states are smaller -- some states have a larger population, some states have less), a weighted-average method was implemented.

There are (in total) 435 members in the House of Representatives. They are proportionally allocated to each of the 50 states based upon the size of each state's population. Therefore, states, having a larger population, are allocated more members in the House of Representatives than those states, having a smaller population.

During a presidential election, each state is given a "weighted-average" based upon the ratio of its members of the House of Representatives. The term used to describe this "weighted-average" is called "electorial votes". Therefore, each state receives one electorial vote for each of its members of the House of Representatives. For example, out of a total of 435 electorial votes, the state of New York is assigned 27 electorial votes.

However, this introduces a bias -- states with larger populations would have the ability to over-power states with smaller populations. In order to compensate for this bias, each state is given two extra electorial votes. Therefore, the total number of electorial votes increases from 435 to 535. Therefore, the number of electorial votes assigned to the state of New York increases from 27 to 29.

In most presidential elections, the result of the popular vote agrees with the result of the electorial vote. In those few elections where there is a difference, the states having the smaller population chose a different candidate for president than the states having a larger population.

Perhaps, this election results map visually shows the democraphics of the electorial voting system...
http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/coun ... =0&elect=0

At first glance, it appears that the "BLUE" candidate easily won the last presidential election.

The "RED" areas are concentrated in areas along the Mexican border, San Francisco and Los Angelos CA, Portland OR, Seattle WA, the northern midwestern states, Detroit MI, Miami FL, Philadelphia PA, New York NY, the "New England" states (where Ivy League universities are located), and Washington DC.

Would you agree that the current method for electing a president in the U.S. needs to be modified to grant those folks living in large metropolian areas more political power over those folks living in rural areas?

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:45 pm 
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Blimey, what a complicated system! Thank you, robert123, for explaining its intricacies.

Kings and Queens are usually much easier to sort out. 'Head of State only' Presidents are also fairly easy. Prime Ministers can disappear at any time through a government's term of office or stay on interminably (provided he or she is still alive :lol: ).

We have no written constitution in the UK so everything is based on precedent. It works. We can change it to suit.

Most countries have written it all into their constitution which is fine if the original ideas were sound enough to encapsulate future demands. If not, then you have a really difficult problem to change anything. One example is 'Code Napoleon' in France which is so out of date that it is now causing the population considerable difficulty over what happens to someone's estate when they die. Can they change it? Possibly, but who will put their head on the block? Sarkosy?

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:19 pm 
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Quote:
Would you agree that the current method for electing a president in the U.S. needs to be modified to grant those folks living in large metropolian areas more political power over those folks living in rural areas?


I would NOT so agree.. in fact, the system has been intentionally subverted since the imposition of direct election of senators.. it once was, in the USA, that senators were chosen by the individual states legislatures.. the whole design of the US government was to deny a strong central ruling authority but that has, as i suggest above, been intentionally subverted.. all so as to enhance the power of the elites over the general population..

from reading killer's link to the british monarch's powers, it seems that while somewhat restricted the monarch still has many powers at her disposal, though through custom the monarch does not usually wield those powers.. i think, given a serious threat to england, the monarch might just choose to use some powers customarily not used and surprise a lot of people..

just sort of thinking out loud, here.. so to speak.. :)

written BEFORE killer's post, above..

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:15 am 
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killer wrote:
Most countries have written it all into their constitution which is fine if the original ideas were sound enough to encapsulate future demands. If not, then you have a really difficult problem to change anything.


the US Constitution was written so as to restrain men..
the "left" holds that our Constitution was written by old rich white men in 1789 and is thus of no further value (except when it allows the "left" to do something the "left" wishes to do) and thus should be considered null or at least be considered easily changed to "fit the times which include the internet which, they say, was never imagined, in 1789..

human nature does not change..
so the US Constitution is as valid today as in 1789..

it may be convoluted but there are good reasons for that..
to keep power from collecting at the "top" and crushing those beneath..

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:49 pm 
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A tedious post to correct some technical errors, with a few comments at the end.

Original language regarding election of Senators from part of Article II, Section 1:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The 17th Amendment (passed by the Senate on June 12, 1911 and by the House on May 13, 1912. It was ratified on April 8, 1913 and was first put into effect for the election of 1914) provided for popular election of Senators:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

At that time approximately 28 % of the U.S. population lived in metropolitan areas. By 1950, more than 50% of the U.S. population lived in metropolitan areas, a figure which rose to 80% by 2000. There has been no change to the 17th Amendment since it was ratified.

The 23rd Amendment, proposed June 17, 1960 and ratified March 29, 1961, provides the District of Columbia shall have Electors in the Electoral College:
1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Thus, there are currently 538 Electors rather than the 535 asserted earlier.

Article V provides for amendments when necessary:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

To date, amendments have been deemed necessary 17 times for a total of 27 amendments. The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787 and ratified on June 21, 1788. On average that is an amendment every 13+ years.

It may be true as Bill says that “the US Constitution is as valid today as in 1789..” It’s also true that the US Constitution today is not the Constitution of 1789.

Regarding changing to "fit the times”, I am reminded of Brown v Entertainment Association ( http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448.pdf ). During the oral argument in that case Justice Scalia asked one of the attorneys a question which was somewhat puzzling. While the attorney considered his response, Justice Alito interjected “What Justice Scalia really wants to know is what James Madison thought about video games.”

What James Madison, or any of the other “old rich white men” thought about video games or other questions which arise in today’s society which could not possibly have arisen in 1789 is not very useful information when forced to decided such issues. At best, we can only guess what they may have thought.

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:56 pm 
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BillMorrow wrote:
the US Constitution was written so as to restrain men..

As far as can be publically seen by the world at large, neither the current left nor the current right in US politics has anything much at all in common with the political ethos of the founding fathers! :??:

Cheers,

Bill B.


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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:42 pm 
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dsvochak wrote:
The 17th Amendment (passed by the Senate on June 12, 1911 and by the House on May 13, 1912. It was ratified on April 8, 1913 and was first put into effect for the election of 1914) provided for popular election of Senators:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

This is pretty much a direct reflection of the way Senate in Australia is arranged (except that number of sentors per state is larger, as we have fewer states).

The Australian Federation (Commonwealth of Australia) came into being in May 1901, and while it is a Westminster based Parliament at heart, it is also a Federation of former colonies, so it has a foot it both the English and US manner of National Governance (students of governance sometimes refer to it as the Washminster system). The Australian Senate was the first upper house in the world to be directly elected by the citizens.

A number of aspects of electoral practice developed in Australia were adopted in US during the 19th and 20th centuries, including secret ballots and the direct election of the upper house.

This may be of interest..... A Comparison of the Australian and United States Federal Legislatures

Cheers,

Bill B.


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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:07 pm 
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Well, the celebrations took place over the last few days. It was very special despite some poor weather at times.
People came from all over the world to join in. The spirit of unity blended with diversity was heart-warming.

Here in deepest Hampshire we had a service at our 12th century church (joint Anglican and Roman Catholic church), followed by champagne and a buffet lunch. Then the secular side took over with a barbecue at the local pub. I wonder if she will make 70 years on the throne?

:D

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Yeah on Saturday we had a celebration event in Wymondham (Norfolk) and as I am an Air Cadet, I did a drill demonstration with some other cadets for the Jubilee. :) Was good fun. I watched the boats on the Thames on Sunday afternoon and the carriage and fly-past this afternoon, but sadly I missed the concert last night. Apparently the fireworks at the end of that were spectacular.

All in all, was a great weekend! Lovely seeing lots of Union Flags in all the streets in town and on some houses too. A lot of patriotism going on round here! :D

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:59 pm 
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I forgot to mention that the absolute highlight of the long weekend was when I came out of church on Sunday and saw that one of my pedantic neighbours had put up the union flag on top of the church tower upside down. When I told him he said he was mortified and hastily ran up the tower to correct his error.

For those that don't know the union flag hoisted upside down is a distress signal. Only a few weeks earlier he had severely berated another villager for having their flag upside down. :lol:

Hoisted by his own petard. :banana:

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:09 pm 
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FYI, all of those deTocqueville "quotes" are fabricated. They sound nothing like deTocqueville (if you've actually read him), and they come from the same grist mill as the forwarded emails claiming that Nostradamus predicted Obama etc etc.

dsvochak wrote:
It may be the de Tocqueville quote you were looking for was:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

Or:

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”

More relevant to this thread may be:

“I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.”

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:25 pm 
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Quote:
FYI, all of those deTocqueville "quotes" are fabricated. They sound nothing like deTocqueville (if you've actually read him), and they come from the same grist mill as the forwarded emails claiming that Nostradamus predicted Obama etc etc.


whoever said such things they got it right..!

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 Post subject: Re: 60 years.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:05 am 
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Not disputing the validity of the observation, only disputing the purported source.

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