[for my personal information] US Constitution & a few general questions

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Spear, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. Spear

    Spear
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    Hi,

    I put it here, first, as it is more for my information, than a will to debate this (as i'm not american, i don't have to say if it should or not be rebuilt) :

    1) the no debate question :
    The constitution of the USA is more than just a political book of basical rules, it seems in many peoples mind, the basis of USA, which i understand and think is true. Here comes the question, in 2 parts :
    - Was it ever seriously meant to rebuild it ? I mean build a new one (why will ask some, but as i said, i'm not here to debate that point, i don't know about, and not to watch you all debate on a topic i started :)).
    - Let's imagine tomorrow a new constitution is purposed to a national vote, do you think its " historical " or " sentimental " attachment would do much in people's minds against the " technical " side (of a globally technically better constitution) ?

    2) The election of the US president (debatable).
    I know how the system works, even if it was hard when i was at school to understand it :). I never really understood how a candidate, having more people's voices, could loose the election (if i understood well, the party winning in a state gets all the voices and electors of that state) ?
    So, was it ever meant, do some people think a direct election is possible (single US citizen voting directly for their candidate, each citizen's voice counting indicidually) ?

    3) Referendum.
    Does the referendum concept exist at a national dimension ?
    When i read on the news, the people arguing about the right to bear arms or control the weapons, which seems to be a major national debate, would it be possible to put an end to it (and to its article in the constitution) by doing a national referendum ? The decision of the citizen, wether it's yes or no, would be the decision of the People, no ?
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    The US Constitution is, in my mind, unique in the world. To put it briefly the Constitution IS the US government. In Europe we speak of 'government' as being the party in power, usually with a coalition. In the US government has an entirely different meaning.

    The US Constitution is technically a 'do over.' The first US government was the short lived Articles of Confederation. There has never been a serious attempt to do it over again. Any attempt would fail miserably because it has worked amazingly well. It has only been amended 27 times in 220 years. Ten of those happened immediately and one canceled another, so in reality is has only seen 15 changes in all that time. I don't think it any thing to do with sentiment. It does have a lot to do with history - it has worked and does work.


    I don't think we will ever see that. The people do not technically elect the president, the fifty states do. The US is a Federal Republic. Though state power has been eroded, it is still a vital part of US governance.

    Won't happen. To change the US Constitution, or any of its amendments would require another amendment according to that constitution. Unless the Constitution is amended there is no room for a binding national referendum.

    (European humour here - even if there was a referendum if it disagreed with the powers to be they would make the voters do it over till they got it right :) - reference Ireland and Lisbon :) )
     
  3. Spear

    Spear
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    Thank you for that very clear explanation !

    I understand, it is, in a way, like if all were citizen of the state, before the " country " ? I'm trying to get an idea about the feeling. In fact, people are, in their personal attachment, more close and concerned by the laws of their state, than by those of the federal state ?

    About the president election, in terms of point of view, letting apart the constitution, would you like to elect directly, by yourself as a citizen, your president ?

    Except for constitution purposes, were there, or can there be occasions for a national referendum (i mean a direct referendum by the citizen, not by some designed electors) ?

    I heard there were some concessions in exchange, since the last vote, but i never heard exactly what it is about. And the crisis has been there since the last vote .... and Ireland suffered, and suffers very much now (that's what we hear). From a personal point of view, i like the irish so much i'm pleased they're joining " Welcome friends ". Was in Galway, Ring of Kerry, Clanmacnoise, .... a few years ago, for my 30. I always said a part of my heart still remains in Ireland (and you wont read me say that about many countries, no other in fact). See, even Iceland, which was always skeptical about Europe, now wants to join, after being economically wasted. Probably the idea that " together, we're stronger " :)

    Thank you for that reply C4K, it was perfect and clear (even if it brought a few more questions :)).
     
    #3 Spear, Oct 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2009
  4. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    That was the way it was intended. People were Alabamians 9for example) first and Americans second. That has eroded, but still holds on in some ways.


    I am totally satisfied with the electoral college system. I am a huge state's rightist, which is why I opposed Lisbon.




    I don't think there is any condition for a binding national referendum. I could be wrong on that.


    Argh. I am frustrated. There was not one change to Lisbon. Not a word. There were verbal assurances that have no legal power. These are the same people who said there would be no second vote on Lisbon :(. Ireland were bullied into voting the 'right way' this time. If I remember correctly the people of France, the last time they had a chance, voted no to increasing powers to centralised Europe.

    Ireland has been a part of the EU since 1973. In my opinion she was the last hope for the European equivalent to 'state's rights.' Ireland suffers because she no longer has control over her own currency. The weak dollar/strong euro combination is wrecking the Irish economy.


    In case you can't tell I strongly favour the rights of states, be they American states or European nations, as opposed to massive central governments.
     
  5. KenH

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    1) I consider myself to be first and foremost a citizen of my city, then a citizen of my state, then a citizen of the United States. I think most Americans do the same.

    2) I would not. The rights of states have eroded over the last century and I think this process needs to be reversed.

    3) There is no provision for a national referendum in this country. All that can be done is to look at the results of the elections in the various states in the various races and issues voted on in the various states and try to arrive at national trends. In Arkansas we can vote directly on amendments to our state constitution.
     
  6. Spear

    Spear
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    Oh, i thought you had some compensations :s. Thats is true about the french, and the referendum for Lisbon didn't have a big " Yes " either. I remember going to and Irish political board, where we debated much before the 1st vote for Lisbon. It was easy to put pressure on the Irish to be honest, with the " after all Europe has made for you ", but the irish were strong, and more than all, they HAD THE RIGHT to vote no, and they did :)

    In a country that holds strong anything about its " souveraineté ", i'm one of the rare federalists. I believe in a federal Europe, like USA, we would be many nations among one strong federal power. But the matter is ... the language :s

    I think without Europe, we can't face much, mostly on the worldwide commerce organization, with giants like India and China (i consider american are on our side, even if the " hormon beef " on their side, and our " non pasteurized cheese " poisons relations :D).

    And thanks HankD, your precisions confirm the idea i was making from C4K, i understand things better now :)
     
  7. billwald

    billwald
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    The Constitution, as written, didn't contemplate a national election for president.

    At least since the Lincoln War, the US has been governed by secret executive statements and secret signing statements that are not subject to judicial review BECAUSE they are government SECRETS.
     
  8. Tom Bryant

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    Wow, you must have to move alot beacuse you know about those secrets. A person with your knowledge of these SECRET agreements must be in danger from the black helicopters. Be careful :confused: :rolleyes:

    And now we know about them, so you've just placed us in danger.
     
  9. billwald

    billwald
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    From

    http://www.fff.org/comment/com0610c.asp

    Bush’s Signing Statement Dictatorship
    by James Bovard, October 9, 2006
    President Bush has once again decreed that his personal pen is the highest law of the land. In a statement issued on October 4, 2006, he announced that he would ignore many provisions of the Homeland Security appropriations act he signed earlier in the day. His action vivifies that the rule of law now means little more than the enforcement of the secret thoughts of the commander in chief.

    Bush’s postsigning statement declared that he would interpret many sections of the new law “in a manner consistent with the president’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch.” In plain English, this means that many of the limits that Congress imposed on Bush’s power — and that he accepted when he took the money Congress appropriated — are null and void. Why? Because the president says so.

    The new law declared that only the Homeland Security Department’s privacy officer could alter or delay the department’s mandatory report on how its actions and policies affected Americans’ privacy. Congress included this safeguard because of the Bush administration’s long record of intruding into Americans’ lives — from the Total Information Awareness system, to vacuuming up information on airline passengers, to stockpiling phone records of millions of citizens.

    After he signed the bill, Bush announced that he is effectively entitled to edit the report as he pleases. But his “right to edit” means that he is entitled to delete information and thereby prevent Congress from learning of how the feds continue to shred privacy.

    Bush pulled the same trick in March after he inked a renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act, announcing that he would scorn notifying Congress on how the feds are using PATRIOT Act powers. Bush declared that he would interpret the law “in a manner consistent with the president’s constitutional authority to ... withhold information.” Bush is apparently convinced that he is entitled to govern in secrecy, and any provision of a law to the contrary violates his imperial prerogative . . . .
     
  10. Aaron

    Aaron
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    billwald might be a socialist in microcosm (since he is very much pro-union), but he is dead on about the executive order usurpations.
     

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