Who actually drives US policies?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Lordpendragon, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. Lordpendragon

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    I understand the Congress and Senate systems. I also understand the old one that a week is a long time in politics.

    In the UK the Parties produce their manifestos prior to the election and then the losers spend the next five years bitching about how they lied just to get elected and haven't delivered a single policy.

    Tony Blair had his Third Way, Margaret Thatcher had a clear agenda, does the US have genuine domestic and foreign political goals?

    I suspect that the US has become almost democratically ungovernable. Maybe it never has been.
     
  2. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    Of course there are goals. Different ones for different political parties (though the real goals often differ from the announced goals), and different entities not as visible as political parties that help influence politics through money, lobbyists, et cetera. Ostensibly, there there three seperate branches of American government that are supposed to be somewhat equal in power as they each have certain powers over the other two branches. For instance, Congress has the power to create legislation, but the President has the power to veto that legislation, and the judiciary can rule it unconstitutional. The president has the power to make war on a limited scale without the support of congress, but they ultimately have the power to officially declare war and also the power to fund (or not fund) that war.

    In practice the power of these three branches has waxed or waned as history has progressed. There was a point in US history when Congress had almost all of the power in Washington and the executive branch (president) was more or less powerless. These days the executive has become increasingly more and more the center of everything. Also, there has been a constant struggle or balancing act between the power of the individual states (considered very important when the constitution was originally written) versus the power of the federal government. Again, there was a point when the local governments held most of the power in the country, but that has definitely changed as the federal government continues to grow. Traditional conservatives in this country believe that this is a bad thing, but they seem almost like an endangered species since the Neocons took over Washington. GWB has done more to grow the federal government and increase federal spending than any president in recent history, if not ever. FDR would be the only contender I can think of.

    That's the official story. As for genuine.... wikipedia the military-industrial complex, read Washington's farewell address (particularly his admonishion against forming political parties), Orwell's 1984. That's a start. Then look up the number of corporate and special-interest lobbyists working in and around Washington vs. the number of people who officially work for the government and you'll get some idea of how politics in this country really work. It's a system that runs on lies, blood money, and conflicts of interest. Though we're probably less corrupt than the governments of most nations that preceded us.
     
  3. Lordpendragon

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    Thanks Nic.

    Obviously I spend a lot of time here and was with some of my American buddies when in the Far East.

    Can I give two examples of why I can't see things being done. Both would be criticism of liberal governments.

    Health and Education. Are you the only country not to have universal health and education? I say education because we recently discussed how education is funded in the States (further explained by my frends) and to a Eurpean mind it is intrinsically unfair. Poor areas are condemned to have a disadvantage and a cycle of social deprivation is underpinned.

    Why hasn't a democratic governemnt ever got to grips with this?

    It implies to me that the scale is too big and the national will is not there for a floridian to see their tax dollars go on paying for the education of Ohians.

    We subvent this by having the majority of our tax burden on our income which then goes to the Federal tax agency. But I suspect that many of you would be suspicious of all the money going to Washington. So you have a catch 22 it seems to me which creates the opportunities for undemocratic forces to work.
     
  4. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    The power inside the beltway is:

    Potomac Electric.

    Three branches in Washington are:

    Second National Federal Savings Bank: DC Branch
    The Royal Aeronautical Society - Capital Branch
    Gregory W. Branch, MD - Internal Medicine

    If you want more information than that don't ask a politician.
     
  5. Mr Ed in Mass

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    hi I'm Mr. Ed
     
  6. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    Some of the problem is just that the U.S. is too big. Trying to funnel everything through the federal government would be inefficient at the very least. There are quite a few other factors at play here, and I think you're oversimplifying both issues. I'm sure someone else will try to explain it, I'm going to bed.
     
  7. Lordpendragon

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    That was part of my point.

    Sleep well. :smile:
     
  8. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    Annyonghi jumushipsiyo.
     
  9. Blocko

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    One could argue that any government with an overly centralised executive branch is going to lead towards undemocratic tendencies.

    How can one man effectively articulate the will and need of 300 million people into his actions? How can he effectively encompass the major issues effecting their lives? Maybe humans just have an urge to put someone on top of the heap.
     
  10. rubberwilli

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    I've stated it elsewhere as well, we're just to darn big for our own good these days. The needs of the east coast, west coast, north, south and middle america are all completely different.

    Congress is bogged down in special interest issues and catering to big corporate issues while education and healthcare languish.

    While we provide education for anyone who can stick with the 12 grade system, you are then checked out into the world at that point with only the most minimal post-secondary educational support. This does greatly effect the middle class and the lower class, by burdening our youngest members of society with huge debt just as they are beginning their lives.

    Government across the US has no problem approving their own pay raises, but our minimum wage has been stuck for years now and anytime it comes up the corporate lobbyists begin pushing harder to keep it where it is.

    Let's not even get into the "No Child Left Behind Act" which mandated new standards for education and provided $0.00 to achieve those goals, or the recent revisions in Medicaid and Medicare with required a degree in law to figure out.

    It's a bunch of finger pointing, "activist judges" "Pork barrel spending" "king-vs-president" and politics in never to far under the surface of and governmental issue.

    Don't think it's just on the federal level though. Most cities and states have their own issues and flaws as well. (Welcome to Illinois with out standing federal grand jury of investigations into our former and current governor, the mayor and and hundred of his current and former employees.)

    There's a reason Texas want's to leave the union every few years, and that many Americans would move to another country if they could only figure out how to do it! (I certainly would!)
     
  11. Lordpendragon

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    Ironically, Orwell's Animal Farm is as good a treatment of this as I have seen.

    I have a friend who would also love to leave the US RW. This is a bit unamerican isn't it? Again with some irony, she is tied into a well paid job and a low value husband.
     
  12. Ethyl

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    I don't think it's unamerican at all. 15 years ago when I was teaching preschool, I was vastly underpaid but had excellent health insurance. Now i'm a designer and can make a very good salary but full-scale insurance is much harder to come by. The rising cost of health care is forcing smaller businesses to either forego offering that benefit to their employees or asking them to pay higher premiums.

    Not only that, my generation now understands that we will never see a dime of the Social Security we've been paying into for years. The gov't has been robbing Peter to pay Paul for too long and the expansive retiring baby boomer population is quickly eating up what's left. It's more expensive to go to college now, student loan rates are at an all-time high, and many students choose fields that they know will pay well, instead of choosing a field of genuine interest.

    I love my country but I don't feel a sense of blind loyalty. If I find a better gig somewhere else, i'll take it.
     
  13. Lordpendragon

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    I would say that this is exactly the same in the UK now, MB. Worse still we have made the cost of housing so incredibly high that people are tied into debt for ever.

    So when is the revolution going to start to get the cost of government down to something sustainable?

    40% or thereabouts of the UK GDP at the moment.
     
  14. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Hardly ironic or un-American. It's simple - she's been bought. Everyone has a price, at least in theory.
     
  15. Lordpendragon

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    The irony is being so easily bought in the land of the free.

    God bless America, but do you mind if I fuck off somewhere else? :eek:
     
  16. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    One might argue that Republicans are interested in fighting terrorists, and Democrats are interested in fighting Republicans. While an oversimplification, that theory does have the advantage of tying together domestic and foreign policies.
     
  17. Lordpendragon

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    :biggrin1: It would appear that way Big D.

    How many terrorists do you think there actually are currently targeting the US?

    We could then work out how much you are spending per capita. Still I am sure it makes some happy to pay their taxes.
     
  18. DC_DEEP

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    That's actually the "hook, line, and sinker" version of things.

    I'm not sure who's actually DRIVING US policies, but I'm sure that whoever it is, is an unlicensed driver.
     
  19. Hotlicks

    Hotlicks New Member

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    The United States. I was born here. My ancestors were here after crossing the land bridge from Siberia in search of new land. My other ancestors raped and pillaged the UK until it could not support its own population and moved here also for new land and resources.

    My DNA says to take and take and take to support my offspring. My mind tells me I am dooming their offspring in the long run. I try not to think too much these days. After 9/11 I do not discuss politics to non family.

    When I do, I see a nation addicted to foreign oil and SUV's, getting fatter and fatter while watching cheap foreign labor mow their lawns. These are not Americans, they are pure consumers with no wish to change.

    My President, with all the powers of a King for 8 years, is now working to take the food out of my mouth. By endorsing corn ethanol as a substitute for or major component of gasoline, he has driven cattle feed prices to the point that quality steak is now $15 dollars a pound where I live in the Midwest. Strip steak, not Filet or Tenderloin, that is $25 a pound.

    The president is telling everyone that the most pesticide and energy intensive crop known to man, is the solution for dependency on foreign oil. The Brazilians use sugar cane, but we get a corn solution from Bush. The man picks the one cheap food we have had for centuries, and can nearly live on exclusively if needed, to make into ethanol. Brilliant. Now corn futures are through the roof and prices are climbing to levels inconsistent with actual values. Sugar Beets could have done it, but no.

    Americans have to learn that no matter how cheap energy is to make, corporations are going to drive the price as high as the UPPER middle class can stand to maximize profits. By sitting still for $2 a gallon we are dooming ourselves to $3 and $4 etc.

    The French Revolution was not about energy or wealth, it was about food.
    Remember that all you Rush Limbaugh Republicans in your gated communities. Your fun time may be at an end if food gets too expensive.

    Regaining the power of the people involves taking personally painfull steps that Americans are not capable of taking anymore. Unless pushed.

    You don't win back the country by protests or violence. It will be ignored or put you in jail for the rest of your life.

    Just stop buying their brand name unnecessary products. Stop eating out 20 times a week and rent videos rather than go to the movies. Each time you do things like that it sends a message the power brokers understand.

    The Fed had to bail out the airlines until the public thought it was safe to fly again. That demonstrated the REAL power of the regular american. If we do not buy, they will have to change to meet our requirements.

    America was destroyed by the spoiled Baby Boomers and their lazy children who believe they are entitled to VIP living at every moment.
    Don't complain unless you are willing to change. Mow your own lawn and shovel your own snow. Clean your own gutters and change your own oil. Learn to cook and do laundry. Be real American men and women and show the rest of us how change can happen with making intelligent choices that will be heard far beyond the insulated walls of your homes.

    My prediction that not enough of us will change in time.

    In 50 years the states will all be "managed" by corporations. We'll sell out.

    It is hopeless and we can thank our parents for teaching us how to kill a great country in a single generation. Responsibility is dead.
     
  20. kalipygian

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    For recent history, when there has been a democratic majority in congress, the leadership has not been very commendable. For example, the president of the senate was Robert Byrd, a homophobe and ex KKK member.There was a wasted opportunity to institute comprehensive health coverage in Clinton's first two years. There has been a bill to add 'sexual orientation' to the civil rights act of 1964 since the late 70's, it hasn't gone anywhere.
    The way campaigns are funded, congress is in debt to corporations and PAC's, a person would have to be a billionaire to have any effect.
    I focus my effort and involvement at the local and state level, the state I live in has just 600,000 people.
     
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