View Full Version : Is it truly "of the people, for the people, by the people"

02-15-2003, 05:29 AM
Did Lee Harvey Oswald kill John Kennedy by himself, or did a conspiracy do it? And if a conspiracy did it, did the conspiracy include Oswald?

Well i was watching the movie "JKF".. it really struck me... Is America a democracy. Why are they not releasing the documents... Dont take it personal..

02-15-2003, 06:32 AM
america is not a true democracy. it is a republic led by elected officials. one of the only true democratic aspects is that we get to vote on certain laws as well as who the lawmakers are.

IMHO a true democracy can't work because the general public is not well enough informed to make responsible decisions on every little issue. For instance there are several state constitutional ammendments we vote on every election. For the most part it involves reading a short text blurb and checking a box. For most people it's the first time they've heard of the proposed ammendment and they have not had the time to see the implications. I believe this "democratic" aspect should be removed.

02-15-2003, 08:15 AM
Spoken like a true Florida resident....:cool:

02-15-2003, 08:57 AM
This will contradict my previous post about whether or not America is a democracy. It is titled to be a "representative democracy". We do vote, but we vote representatives into office to vote on legislation for us. We vote on the amendments that they do pass(mostly state, sometimes federal bills).

I agree with not being well enough informed. Most people aren't. The most objective information you could get is on the ballot, and the ballot info they send before the elections. A lot of people don't take the time to read these, so they rely on tv and radio, and other sources to get their information. This does not fully inform, imo, an individual on a certain matter. An individual does not learn about the costs of a certain bill, the pros and cons, how much money a candidate will receive with the current soft money ban bill that was passed. They will find ways around the soft money ban, I am curious to see how.

Anyways, being a representative democracy differs America from being a direct democracy. If America weren't representative, the population would have to do the job the reps do; go to city hall, etc.

02-15-2003, 09:46 AM
Originally posted by salvelinus
Spoken like a true Florida resident....:cool: :rolleyes: one liner? if you disagree with what I said tell me why. Nobody would say that the US is a "true" democracy. and it can easily be noted that most of the state amendments that I spoke of are rediculous when examined. I reallly don't see your point.

aside from that, florida got a bad rap because of the election. The only problems in florida are the retirement communities which are largely migrated New Yorkers. So blame NY. :p

02-15-2003, 10:56 AM
JFK was probably killed by the mob, imho. How else do you explain the magic bullet theory?

02-15-2003, 11:00 AM
actually I think the gov DID release the documents a couple years ago (a couple years after that movie)

02-15-2003, 11:10 AM
that democratic and republican stuff makes no sense to me at all.

02-15-2003, 01:30 PM
in reality, democrat and republican is no more than party names. Their ideals don't really come down to democracy vs republic.

the difference, democrats are typically more liberal. republicans are typically more conservative. Republicans typically believe things should be more localized and democrats typically believe things should be more centralized (federal).

Don't turn that into a big party bashing thread starter people.

02-15-2003, 03:09 PM
As I said in an earlier post on a similar topic, only our elections are democratic, and even then there are some problems preventing "complete democracy." It takes a money-engine to field a candidate for public office, and so only the Democratic and Republican candidates typically have much of a voice to get their messages across. Ignorance and indifference are two other problems working against democracy in America. How can the people rule if most of the eligible voters don't vote and for those who do vote don't know much about the issues or candidates (e.g., lifelong Democrats/Republicans, single-issue voters)?

Political candidates of either party cannot make a strong appeal to me because they are too busy focusing on single-issue senior citizens (Social Security and Medicare) and their traditional single-issue supporters (pro-life grandmas, labor unions, investors).

dP munky
02-15-2003, 04:31 PM
>>actually I think the gov DID release the documents a couple years ago
last i heard they werent slated to be released until 2037, a couple of years ago they tried to push that back by like 30 years or something?!

02-16-2003, 02:31 AM
Well in a way i admire American democracy.. because you get to elect your president directly.. Whewre as we follow the british system (inherited by them) where we elect MP's who elect the prime minister..... I say many advantages and disadvantages of these two systems...

American Democracy: -

Advantage (According to me) :-
a) Get to elect your leader directly
b) The leader's post is secure and he does not need to bowe to the wims and fancies of MP's
c) Can pursue very difficult and strigents biils since he does not require the consent of MP's etc etc
d) Works faster and effeciently in decesion making

a) Too much power in the hand of one person
b) Not much of transperency
c) If corrupt the whole system is done
d) Too much centralization

Indian (British) democracy

a) The power is distributed.. is not with one person
b) Everything is almost decentralised
c) Some corruption does not stop the whole govt machinary...
d) The views of many people are incorporated
e) The leader can be removed from power if the MP's decide to do so..

a) People cannot ellect their leaders directly
b) Decesion making is very slow since many people have to be taken into confidence
c) The Govt wastes its time securing it seat since usually it is run by the support of many parties
d) Not much of efficiency

this s what i feel..
I feel the american democracy is better..... The disadvantage i see in our system is that consider there are 2 MP's A and B.. and A support the leader A1 and B supports the leader B1... Here if i want to electr A1 as the leader i would have to vote for the MP A.. But what if i dont like the MP A but i would prefer B at the local level but prefer the leader A1 at the top level... that is not possible.. so the people are left to decide where they want good governence.. at the local level or the national level...

Any British here to coment on this...

02-16-2003, 06:16 AM
Vasanth, I believe much of that to be incorrect according to how I understand the systems.

Let's start from the bottom up.

In America.

The State Level
You vote for your state governor and they, along with two other (I believe unelected) bodies, the legislature and the court system are responsible for drafting, debating, agreeing and passing laws that affect you. This is why laws vary from one state to the next.

The Federal Level
You vote for the president of your choice. Then they, again along with two other bodies, the house of representatives and the supreme court, debate and pass federal laws. The house of representatives is made up of 100 elected state representatives and the supreme court is made up of 9 judges, selected by The President and approved by congress.

Any law, federal or state, has to be approved by all the relevant bodies before it is passed. I believe Federal Laws in general only apply to national concerns such as immigration and organised crime etc. Most crime and punishment law for example is determined at state level. As can be seen, the power of The President over an individual in America is very much diluted. That's quite good I think especially considering it's size and diversity.

The British System is practically exactly the same. The only difference is that more power is centralised, probably due to the difference in size.

You vote for your local MP who is a 99% of the time a member of one of the political parties. They then gain a seat in parliament and vote for the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister selects the Cabinet (Secretaries of State).

When a member of the cabinet wishes to pass a law, again it must be debated and agreed upon by the PM, the House of Parliament and the House of Lords. The House of Lords is the equivalent of the court system in America, it's where the Law Lords sit. These Law Lords are now no longer hereditary but granted the position by the PM. If such a law is passed, it then affects every individual in the country. Overiding any by-laws. The majority of laws covering all aspects are determined in this way.

By-laws (Would be the equivalent of US State laws)
Local Authorities can set By-laws for individual constituencies. Usually a by-law will only affect minor things like maybe not being able to walk in a particular area due to nature protection or something. As stated however, these are superceeded by National Law.

As can be seen, as far as the individual is concerened, more control is exercised at central government level under the British system than in America. Tony Blair has more control over me than George Bush has over say Govtcheez. When it comes to something such as war, again it is very similar. Both Bush and Blair can do pretty much whatever they like. Technically The Queen is head of the British armed forces but she no longer has any say in matters (Thankfully)

If any American's wish to correct any of this then please go ahead. I'm not American so I only have Internet Information to go on.

02-16-2003, 06:45 AM
While we are on this subject, I have a query.
In most representative democracies a deciding vote is worth the same no matter where you live. Ie. A deciding vote is worth the same whether it is in some small out of the way rural community or the inner city of the largest city. It is worth one seat.

However, in the us presidential system, a deciding vote is worth much, much more in California than, say North Dakota. This seems to be against the one vote, one value principal. If someone is running they are better off sucking up to Californians that North Dakotians.

02-16-2003, 07:18 AM
partially true. of course one can not hope to win the presidency if they lose ALL of the states with smaller electoral count.

02-16-2003, 09:10 AM
Thank you guys for sahring the info i did not know.. I think the problem of one man one vote is there even in our system (which is british..)

consider 3 states 1 and 2 and 3 with the following population

Population vote for party A vote for party B

1 10000 9000 1000

2 1000 100 900

3 1000 100 900

Now the party B in the country can form the government since it has more or 2/3 of the MP's. but dont you think overall in the nation more people prefered party A to be in power...

02-16-2003, 11:33 AM
The state legislatures are elected by the people, they are not appointed. As for America, it has two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives has 435 members, which are proportioned to the states by population. The Senate has 100 members, two to each state. One state must have at least 3 representatives; one rep & the two senators no matter the size/population of the state.

The Electoral College is based on this number, 535 members. Since California has 54 members, whoever wins the popular vote in that state wins the state in the electoral college. The person with 270 votes wins the presidency. #BEEP#, you are correct, candidates will want to win larger populated states for the reason of winning electoral votes; however, the one vote one value still resides, just taking into account the whole nation. Yes, larger populated states have more reps, but they have more population. The rep to population ratio is the same no matter what state you live in. I believe it is around 1 rep to 640k people, this is an estimate though.

Congress is elected by the people, as is the president; unlike how the PM is chosen in Britain, like previously mentioned. Also, the Cabinet equivalent in Britain is chosen by the PM, and is usually from Parliament. This is different from America, because most members of the Cabinet are not from Congress, and cannot serve the two positions. If he/she is pulled from Congress, which is rare, his/her position in Congress must be replaced.
vasanth, the American system is not really centralized. The President does not have much power over Congress(the legislative branch). The legislative branch is split up into numerous committees, the power committees being; for the House of Representatives: Rules Committee, Appropriations, and Ways and Means; The Senate: Appropriations, Finance, and Foreign Affairs. This committee system is seen mostly in the process of Bill to law. Which brings me to minesweeper's idea of federal laws only being about organized crime, etc. Partially true, but it is national concerns as you stated. However, anything can be decided at federal and/or state level. Crime and punishment laws can be decided by federal, however, states can decided to strengthen that law or not. For example, some of the Bill of Rights apply to crime and punishment, such as the eighth amendment, dealing with unusual punishment and unreasonable bail.

The whole system deals with checks and balances, and separation of powers. This gives, from the looks of whom has the most power, that the legislative branch is the most powerful branch. However, they are not powerful enough. The president and the judicial branch have checks on the legislative branch as well, however, not as much. Congress has quite a bit of power over the president, i.e. can override vetoes, etc.

The system in Britain contains the House of Commons and the House of Lords, which is similar to America's system by it being a bicameral legislature. Similarities occur in voting for reps, but then differences occur in voting for the PM/President.

The president does not have that much power over war. Afterall, it is Congress's power to declare war. Yes the president can send troops over, but if Congress does not approve, then the troops must return after 90 days. Also, if the president does not inform congress before he sends troops over, then he must notify congress that he sent troops within 48hours of sending them.

I think I may have already touched upon the decentralization of congress, which means a decentralization of government. As vasanth said, power is too centralized and too much power in the hands of one person, which is not the case. Yes arguments can be made either way, but I believe that it is decetralized because congress has the committee structure. If a congressmen wants something done, a position in a power committee is beneficial. Also, a rep would want to be in a committee that represents their district(rep)/state(senator).

Since bills that the president wants are passed by Congress, this means that he does need to be nice to congress. Difficult bills are going to be difficult, i.e. bills that are going to be controversial. Pork-barreling projects and casework is not very controversial for congressmen, but legislation can be. Enemies can be made from the representative state. Even with the way it is set up now, Republican president, Republican majority legislative branch, does not guarantee easy passing of bills. There are quite a few liberal republicans, as well as conservative democrats, and then the moderates. I believe it will still be difficult to pass legislation. But, we'll just have to see.

The president's position is secure, however, he can still be removed from office if Congress chooses to do so. If the president does something for reason of impeachement and possible removal of office, i.e. Clinton scandal, Watergate, etc.; then the House of Reps originates the impeachment and the Senate tries the case.

congress is said to be slow, and it can be. It is efficient to some degree though. A senate filibuster can lead to a long process, and the bill does not have to be passed. The process of bill to law is long and must pass through several committees.
The Process:
The idea comes from the President's State of the Union. Then the bill is placed in proper legislative form. It is then placed in the House of Rep "hopper". It is introduced in the House, where the Speaker of the House refers it to a committee. This committee, in the House of Reps, listens to public hearings, and then reported out. If it is reported out favorably, then it is debated and voted on. If it passes this vote, it is then sent to the Senate and introduced. The bill is sent to a similar committee in the Senate to that of the House. At this point, this committee can add "riders" to the bill, which are amendments, and most of the time do not relate to the bill. It is then debated and voted on, and if passes this state, goes to a conference committee, where the House and Senate can agree on the bill if amended. The House and Senate approve the compromise bill, and then it is given to the president. The president can now sign the bill into law, veto the bill, pocket veto the bill, or leave the bill while Congress is still in session. If the bill is left or signed, it becomes law. If it is vetoed, Congress can override the veto and then the bill can become law. Once the bill becomes law, the Secretary of State places the "Great Seal of the United States" on the bill.
This can be very inefficient, but at the same time can be efficient.

This post has become kindof long, and I can't remember much else to say right now. If I think of anything else, or forgot to say something, I'll post again.

02-16-2003, 12:43 PM
Thanks alpha for the information and the corrections. Just a couple of things.

I was once told that the American Marine Corp is kind of like The President's own Army. They are completely at his disposal and answerable only to him. Is there any truth in that?

It can also be quite hard for The Cabinet to get a law passed due to the House of Lords. Getting it through Parliament can be easy if, like the Labour Party, they have a huge majority of the seats in Parliament. The House of Lords however can veto laws at their discretion. The classic case is Fox-Hunting. Many of the Lords are still the hereditary peers as hereditary peership was only abolished recently. These Lords are the old landed gentry and many participate in or hold fox-hunts on their land. The government wants fox-hunts banned but as soon as it gets to the House of Lords, it gets vetoed.

I am not 100% sure on the power of the PM over the armed forces. I know The Queen is in charge of them but this is really insignificant. As we all know, British troops have been sent to The Gulf. However, the issue of war with Iraq has not yet been debated in The Commons. Judging by this I guess he must have ultimate power to do that. However he does also run the risk of alienating MP's and being voted out so I suppose that is our method of keeping tabs on his actions.

02-16-2003, 01:57 PM
I actually think the really low-population states like North Dakota and Wyoming are overrepresented in presidential elections. Each state gets two senators and at least one representative no matter what their population is. Therefore, Wyoming gets three electoral votes, which gives Wyominglings relatively too much clout. The whole Electoral College should be gotten rid of so that the president and vice president can be elected directly by the nation.

As far as the British Parliament goes, I always thought the House of Commons controled politics with the House of Lords playing a pretty much symbolic role now.

02-16-2003, 02:02 PM
>>As far as the British Parliament goes, I always thought the House of Commons controled politics with the House of Lords playing a pretty much symbolic role now.<<

Nope. They still get to veto anything the government wants to push through. Things have changed so that you can't obtain peership through inheritance. This gives the government greater power to determine who sits in The House of Lords. But if the role of The House of Lords was removed and the party in power had a huge majority, it would almost become a dictatorship.

02-16-2003, 02:13 PM
I know that it can be difficult to pass legislation in Britain. I think I may have misunderstood an earlier post regarding that it is easy to pass in the US, when it could be just as difficult.

Thanks for the info.

edit: forgot to answer your question. Yes, the president is Commander in Chief, in which he has the ultimate authority, over anyone else, even the Secretary of Defense, etc. to control the military. He can send them anywhere, and his orders surpass anyone elses.

02-16-2003, 09:13 PM
>> In most representative democracies a deciding vote is worth the same no matter where you live. Ie. A deciding vote is worth the same whether it is in some small out of the way rural community or the inner city of the largest city. It is worth one seat.<<

What if the area is vastly different ie inner city v's outback desert.

Called a 'gerrymander' if done for gain. Happens here where a country electorate may be less than a 100 thousand people in an area the size of England.

>> I was once told that the American Marine Corp is kind of like The President's own Army. They are completely at his disposal and answerable only to him. Is there any truth in that?<<

The president can commit the US armed forces for a maximum of 60 days without congress approval. See the 'War Powers Act'.

Past presidents had used the state of emergency declared against Japan (in 1941 but not reversed until 2001) to by pass this as needed.

02-16-2003, 09:33 PM
I did mention the idea that the president must notify congress if he is sending troops. i said in my above post that he has ultimate authority, in the case that they are already in war and the troops are there with congressional approval, the president's orders surpass anyone else's orders.

What if the area is vastly different ie inner city v's outback desert.
Called a 'gerrymander' if done for gain. Happens here where a country electorate may be less than a 100 thousand people in an area the size of England.

gerrymandering - drawing the boundaries of political districts in bizarre or unusual shapes to make it easy for candidates of the party in power to win elections in those districts

this deals with the (re)drawing of district lines. yes it is done for gain, but this does not change the fact that one vote equals one seat.

02-18-2003, 03:56 AM
What if the area is vastly different ie inner city v's outback desert.
Called a 'gerrymander' if done for gain. Happens here where a country electorate may be less than a 100 thousand people in an area the size of England.

The seat of Kalgoorlie (the world's largest electorate) has roughly the same number of people and the same value as a seat in inner city Sydney. Changing of electoral boundaries is done by independent bodies in most countries.

02-18-2003, 09:35 PM
>> The seat of Kalgoorlie (the world's largest electorate) has roughly the same number of people and the same value as a seat in inner city Sydney. <<

According to the West Aust electoral commision 2001.

The Mining and Pastoral electorate has an area over 2,250,000 sq km for less than 67,000 people (0.03 pop/sq km).

South Metro Perth (in the Capital city of the same state) has <600 sq km with over 250,000 people (or nealy 4 times the population) (417 pop/sq km).

Not realy the same number of voters is there?

To put some perspective on how remote and huge the Mining and Pastoral electorate is, Englands total land area is approx 130,000 sq km with nearly 50 million population.

02-19-2003, 05:48 AM
>>Englands total land area is approx 130,000 sq km with nearly 50 million population.<<

Nearly 60 million.

02-19-2003, 10:47 AM
You're talking about the weird WA electoral system. I seem to remember that the new governement there is going to change it. However I was talking about the federal system (Sydney is not part of the WA electoral system).

Kalgoorlie - Enrolment: 82 534

Sydney - Enrolment: 86 143

Perth - Enrolment: 82 049

02-20-2003, 12:11 AM
I have done quite a bit of research into the JFK assasination, which by the way, occurred right here, just about 2 miles from my house :). Here is what I think:

JFK is dead for several reasons.

1) He and his brother created more havoc with mob relations since Elliot Ness did back in the 30's. They wanted the mob destroyed, not something to be taken lightly, to be sure.

2) He and his brother made several attempts at Castro's life, again, not something to yawn at.

3) Many other enemies. :)

Lee Oswald was an intelligence officer and in fact played a role in monitoring U2 spy plane communications when Gary Powers was shot down over Russia. Moreover, his 'Fair Play for Cuba' organization was positioned next door to at least 3 U.S. intelligence offices in New Orleans. Thus the 'lone nut' theory just doesn't pan out.

Further, when you stand in Dealy Plaza, it becomes rather obvious that the bullet that struck Kennedy in the front of the head had to come from the train overpass, the fence that runs down from that overpass, or somewhere nearby, which is directly opposite of the Book Depository building. In fact a deaf eyewitness went to the FBI the day of the assasination and informed them that from his vantage point (behind the fence area), he plainly saw two men behind the fence (albeit from about 300 yards away), a plume of smoke rise, and the men exiting via those train tracks. His account was never presented to the Warren Commission, by the way.

In short, this is not a theory but a fact! Kennedy was indeed killed by conspiracy, but objectively speaking, he 'had it coming', in the sense that he had just made too many enemies (as well as did his brother, also assasinated of course, five years later).

They are actually considering moving/rebuilding the monument set up in his memory, partially because it is an eyesore and partly because they want to put something else there. We'll see. Anyway, I hope I didn't say anything bad about the mob - 'Vive La Cosa Nostra!' and all that. ;)

dP munky
02-20-2003, 12:51 AM
>>He and his brother made several attempts at Castro's life, again, not something to yawn at.

you left out the part about wanting troops out of vietnam, the d party wanted a war w/the vietnamese, yet kennedy signed a document to withdrawl all the troops from the area, they all would have been home by christmas of the year he was killed, the day after he was killed LBJ COMMITED troops to vietnam ...

02-20-2003, 08:25 PM

I didn't see an answer to your question, so...

No, the Marine Corps is not the President's "personal army".

The Marine Corps, whether they like it or not, are subsidiary to the U.S. Navy and receive their funding through the Department of the Navy.

The Marine Corps has been entrusted with the duty of providing some of the security at the White House - as you've, no doubt, seen on television - but also provides security at American Embassies abroad. An important, but minor, role that the Corps plays.

An analogy, within the U.S. spectrum, is that of the U.S. Secret Service, which most Americans even believe has the major role of protecting the President, ex-Presidents, etc. Actually, this is a minor, if critical role, that it is entrusted with.

The Secrect Service was established to counteract counterfeiting following our Civil War in 1865. Counterfeiting currency was a major problem following the war, and the Secret Service was established by President Grant, to counteract that threat to our economy.

With Federal troops being discharged in large numbers after the war, the Secret Service 'inherited' the job of providing security for the President. That task remains in place today, though the Service's primary role is still to enforce laws against counterfeiting, forgery, credit card forgery, etc.

Truth be told, Presidential security is one of the lousier assignments for a Secret Service agent. (Ronald Reagan was, reportedly, very easy to work for while Jimmy Carter was, reportedly, a pain in the backside.) Go figure.


02-21-2003, 05:44 AM
Thanks for that Skipper, very informative.

The guy who told me about the Marine Corp said that the President could order them to invade any country in the world, at the click of his fingers. When I heard it I though, I thought it must be a load of rubbish.