# The politics of the United States, and where it is leading our nation.

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Indirect democracies are not really democracies at all. They are representative systems. An example is the U.S. which is technically a Constitution based Federal Republic with a democratic tradition, not a democracy.

Can you give me a source for your statements that "Indirect democracies are not really democracies at all.", and " the U.S. is ... not a democracy"? I keep running into definitions of democracy, and examples of democracies, that say otherwise.

government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

2. a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/democracy

1a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy

Direct democracy

Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1][2][3] is any form of government based on a theory of civics in which all citizens can directly participate in the decision-making process. Some adherents want legislative, judicial, and executive powers to be handled by the people, but most extant systems only allow legislative decisions.

 Representative democracy

Representative democracy is a broad term describing a means of governance by the people through elected representatives. Citizens elect government officials who then make decisions on their behalf. Essentially, a representative democracy is a form of indirect democracy in which representatives are democratically selected, and usually difficult to recall.

 Hybrid democracy -- Some modern democracies that are predominately representative in nature also heavily rely upon forms of political action that are directly democratic. Examples include Switzerland and some U.S. states, where frequent use is made of referendums and initiatives. Although managed by a representative legislative body, Switzerland allows for initiatives and referendums at both the local and federal levels. In the past 120 years more than 240 initiatives have been put to referendum. The populace has been conservative, approving only about 10% of the initiatives put before them; in addition, they have often opted for a version of the initiative rewritten by government.[citation needed]

Another distinctive example comes from the United States, where, despite being a federal republic where no direct democracy exists at the federal level, over half the states (and many localities) provide for citizen-sponsored ballot initiatives (also called "ballot measures", "ballot questions" or "propositions"), and the vast majority of the states allow for referendums.

One form of hybrid democracy is deliberative democracy[citation needed], which combines elements of both representative democracy and direct democracy and relies upon the deliberation of the citizenry to make sound policy. Another form is demarchy, in which people's representatives are not elected but randomly drafted among the population through sortition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varieties_of_democracy

Types of democracyMain article: Varieties of democracy

Agonistic Pluralism – accepts conflict as inevitable and should be channeled in a productive way.

Anticipatory democracy – relies on some degree of disciplined and usually market-informed anticipation of the future, to guide major decisions.

Bioregional democracy – matches geopolitical divisions to natural ecological regions.

Cellular democracy – type of democracy developed by economist Fred E. Foldvary, based on multi-level bottom-up structure based on either small neighborhood governmental districts or contractual communities.[2]

Constitutional democracy – democracy governed by a constitution.

Defensive democracy – situation in which a democratic society has to limit some rights and freedoms in order to protect the institutions of the democracy.

Delegative Democracy –

Deliberative democracy – focuses on hearing out every policy alternative, from every direction, and providing time to research them all.

Demarchy – has people randomly selected from the citizenry to either act as representatives, or to make decisions in specific areas of governance (defense, environment, etc.)

Democratic centralism – organizational method where members of a political party discuss and debate matters of policy and direction and after the decision is made by majority vote, all members are expected to follow that decision in public.

Democratic dictatorship (Also known as democratur) –

Direct democracy – implementations of democracy in more pure forms; classically termed pure democracy.

Athenian democracy (also classical democracy) – developed in ancient times in the Greek city-state of Athens.

E-democracy – comprises the use of electronic communications technologies, such as the Internet, in enhancing democratic processes within a democratic republic or representative democracy.

Economic democracy – theory of democracy involving people having access to subsistence, or equity in living standards.

Emergent democracy – social system in which blogging undermines mainstream media.

Grassroots democracy – emphasizes trust in small decentralized units at the municipal government level, possibly using urban secession to establish the formal legal authority to make decisions made at this local level binding.

Illiberal democracy – has weak or no limits on the power of the elected representatives to rule as they please.

Interactive Democracy – proposed form of democracy utilising information technology to allow citizens to propose new policies, "second" proposals and vote on the resulting laws (that are refined by Parliament) in a referendum.

Intra-Party Democracy – democratic process within a one party state government. This debated among scholars if the Chinese Communist Party resemble this process during leadership transitions.

Jeffersonian democracy – named after American statesman Thomas Jefferson.

Liberal democracy – representative democracy with protection for individual liberty and property by rule of law.

Market democracy – another name for democratic capitalism, an economic ideology based on a tripartite arrangement of a market-based economy based predominantly on economic incentives through free markets, a democratic polity and a liberal moral-cultural system which encourages pluralism.

Multiparty democracy – two-party system requires voters to align themselves in large blocs, sometimes so large that they cannot agree on any overarching principles.

New Democracy – Maoist concept based on Mao Zedong's "Bloc of Four Classes" theory in post-revolutionary China.

Non-partisan democracy – system of representative government or organization such that universal and periodic elections (by secret ballot) take place without reference to political parties.

Open Democratic – system where the public decides how they should be governed and having power to continuously improving the system.

Participatory democracy – involves consent or consensus decision making and offers greater political representation, e.g., wider control of proxies others trust them with, to those who get directly involved and actually participate.

Popular democracy –

Radical democracy – type of democracy that focuses on the importance of nurturing and tolerating difference and dissent in decision-making processes.

Religious democracy – values of religion play a role in the public arena in a society populated by religious people.

Representative democracy – indirect democracy where sovereignty is held by the people's representatives.

Dominant-party system – democratic party system where only one political party can realistically become the government, by itself or in a coalition government.

Parliamentary democracy – democratic system of government where the executive branch of a parliamentary government is typically a cabinet, and headed by a prime minister who is considered the head of government.

Westminster democracy – parliamentary system of government modeled after that of the United Kingdom system.

Republican democracy – republic which has democracy through elected representatives

Jacksonian democracy – form of democracy popularized by President Andrew Jackson promoted the strength of the executive branch and the Presidency at the expense of Congressional power.

Soviet democracy or Council democracy – form of democracy where the workers of a locality elect recallable representatives into organs of power called soviets (councils.) The local soviets elect the members of regional soviets who go on to elect higher soviets.

Totalitarian democracy – system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government.

Social democracy – political philosophy that calls upon government to be for the people. In contrast to Socialists, modern Social Democrats do not believe in nationalizing industry

Sociocracy – democratic system of governance based on consent decision making, circle organization, and double-linked representation.

Sortition – democratic method of choosing political and administrative officials, advocated by Aristotle, and used in classical Athens and Venice, which is based on the drawing of lots as opposed to election by vote.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_types_of_democracy#Types_of_democracy

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None of this is relevant to the discussion and is a personal attack, go back 100 years and you wouldn't recognize the USA either, go forward 100 years and i doubt you will either. Change has to happen

I agree with Toasty that the thing with doG and zapatos is a semantic thing, a personal choice, and a bit annoying/distracting from the core discussion. Yes, we're a constitutional republic. Yes, th

Also, you have no way to measure what promises were made in secret, and whether or not those were kept.   I neither was looking for your permission nor even need it to do so, but thanks all the sam

Can you give me a source for your statements that "Indirect democracies are not really democracies at all.", and " the U.S. is ... not a democracy"? I keep running into definitions of democracy, and examples of democracies, that say otherwise.

Notice that Article IV Section 4 of the Consitution states: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence."

See government type at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html to see the U.S. is a Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition

Federalist Paper 39, The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles, details the reasons for designing a republican form of government in the discussions leading up to writing the Constitution.

See also Republic vs. Democracy to understand why a republic is not a democracy.

There is another comparison here.

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The very government that is elected by the people. Technology is not the problem, government is and the means we use to choose that government is a big part of the problem.

dOg, I think you miss the point. This has nothing to do with living off the taxpayers dole, the second amendment or any of that. I mean maybe it does on a small scale but this is hardly the crux of the problem. The problem is the complete centralization of power though agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, CIA, and FBI. No longer are these merely law enforcement agencies but they are becoming tools of Corporate America. Tools being used to force their will upon the consumers.

Moontaman makes a great point about in the past that decentralized governments led to individual abuses in cities and municipalities. However, the nice aspect about that was the fact that other municipalities and cities could offer a better alternative. Our society was improved greatly though groups such as the ACLU and furthermore the federal government enforcing civil rights in local governments, where the local law enforcement was sometimes perpetrating or facilitating the abuse of such rights, and often the abuse of such rights came from Big Business. If you know your history you will remember when FDR sent the national guard to protect workers on strike.

However, this allowed the gate to open for the federal government to have massive oversight over such local and state governments. While I think there are advantages to a strong federal government, the United States has seemed to take a strong turn towards executive leadership. As congress grows increasingly unpopular, and the judicial branch becomes more nationalist in nature and less constitutional the executive branch has grown stronger through such bills as the Patriot ACT. The centralization of power to the federal government is not so terrible as long as checks and balances are followed, however when checks and balances are replaced with Executive Decisions for the sake of expediting national security procedures there is no recourse to push back against possible abuses of power. And it makes the abuses of power all that much more likely seeing as the power lies in the hands of one man or women and their respective administration.

As far as us electing our own government, what a sham if I ever heard one. First off to run for office you have to ascribe to one of two political parties. Sure there are third parties but realistically your governing power on a broad scale is very limited when you are a third party. Secondly one has to be considerably wealthy or have a huge financial backing to even get on the ballots in all the states, get onto the debates. The truth of the matter is our republic is dead and we live in a Corporate controlled oligarchy with a hint of some social programs, which are terribly weak at best.

And as you guys continue to argue over the semantics of what the United States should be according to the constitution, remember I am talking about the reality of what we are. I mean realistically our democratic republic is just as democratic and as much of a republic as any other sham election around the world. These tend to exist in the super-power nations. Russia, China, and the United States. Their elections seem real to many of their respective publics as well, but the reality is we have one of two choices, and both of them are always considerably wealthy, and both get considerable backing from corporate entities. The beauty is that the United States has been able give the illusion of a choice, the illusion that we, the public are actually the acting force in choosing our leaders. When in reality it is a select few who get to run, and they get to run determined by the heads of parties and their ability to rake in the cash. Then even beyond that there are so many people who just don't vote in our country, not only because it is treated as a trivial aspect, but also because many people simply don't have the know-how or the time.

iNow was talking about possible solutions, and I figure I would offer some ideas, however, it would be hard to implement them seeing as the United States government and the corporate powers that be are so entrenched into their respective positions of power.

A possible reooccuring constitutional convention. Where local and state elected governments get together every 10 years to re-access the constitution, and how it must be adjusted to protect civil liberties as time goes on. See the problem with interpreting a constitution from the 18th century is that there was no consideration at that time for the possible liberty violations that could occur because of the growth in technology. The founding fathers had no idea of the internet, but if they did, I doubt that would be okay with some of the practices implemented today.

Also a possible ban on giving money to campaigns. Instead everyone gets a set x amount of dollars, and x amount of time on a set amount of tv appearances. They get one website and that is it.

Maybe a more parliamentary system would be better? But what about a mandatory revolution every ten years as well. Where local governments get together and form a new government as well as rewriting a new constitution. Again with the goal of protecting civil liberties and better serving the public. This pile on law style of government we have is just so bloated and so ineffective at anything but enforcing control

Edited by toastywombel
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Just out of curiousity, why do you think this:

The problem is the complete centralization of power though agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, CIA, and FBI. No longer are these merely law enforcement agencies but they are becoming tools of Corporate America. Tools being used to force their will upon the consumers.

A possible reooccuring constitutional convention. Where local and state elected governments get together every 10 years to re-access the constitution, and how it must be adjusted to protect civil liberties as time goes on. See the problem with interpreting a constitution from the 18th century is that there was no consideration at that time for the possible liberty violations that could occur because of the growth in technology. The founding fathers had no idea of the internet, but if they did, I doubt that would be okay with some of the practices implemented today.

What liberty violations did it miss? I'm not sure I understand this.

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I agree with Toasty that the thing with doG and zapatos is a semantic thing, a personal choice, and a bit annoying/distracting from the core discussion. Yes, we're a constitutional republic. Yes, that is one form of democracy. Let's move forward, please.

I think most people largely agree so far in this thread. The basic position is something like this:

• Elections are flawed and there is too much money with too much power in the hands of the few.
• The electorate are not generally sufficiently educated or aware of critically thinking to see when they are being manipulated and choices which ultimately hurt them
• Those in office are expanding their own power in profound ways, and the technology around us is giving them far broader reach and control than it ever has in the past
• Those who helped the politicians get elected are generally benefiting from this rigged system the most
• The system of checks and balances that were implemented in the 18th century were very well thought out and designed, but have been exploited and are largely ineffective in today's culture and governing bodies
• We need to do something new to ensure the protection of the people and prosperity moving forward

There have been a few suggestions along these lines from toasty:

• Reooccuring constitutional convention (mention was made to do this roughly every 10 years... I'm curious on why this timing, and then how the delegates get selected)
• Ban money in campaigns or set a spending ceiling on all candidates
• Consider a parliamentary system
• Rewrite the constitution often to adjust for the changing times (I'm less inclined toward this one, unless we could guarantee some basic pieces are carried forward each time and those doing the writing are not as easy to exploit with money)

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dOg, I think you miss the point. This has nothing to do with living off the taxpayers dole....

No, really it does. Once 51% of the electorate wants to vote themselves a livelihood from thge taxpayer's kitty they can and will do so. Look at the Occupy Wall Street movement. You actually have people in that group that believe everyone should get a check for $40,000 annually regardless of employment. When a majority of voters feel this way they have the power to make it happen and the minority won't be able to stop them. This is a common problem with democratic systems through the ages. I personally have not voted FOR anyone for President since Reagan. I've voted against all of them by writing myself in because we haven't had a qualified candidate run for the position in all that time. It's been a steady string of incompetent morons. None of them could make it through the traditional hiring processes of a major corporation to be the CEO. The resume of the current President has no real executive experience. Further, representation of the people is incredibly diluted and increasingly so. We are capped with 535 representatives of one kind or another for a growing population of 300,000,000+ people. That's less than a hundred thousandth of 1% of the population. We might as well be a kingdom. Solutions? All I can imagine at this point that would be effective would be a Constitutional Convention to modernize the principles intended by the founders. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites What would be the ups or downs to having a polling booth in every American post office. When new policies are brought to the table at least the publics opinion could be accessable to a degree more specific than general polls. The polling machine would record drivers license numbers. That way nobody gets counted more than they should and it would automatically tell what district you are allowed to vote in. I know there are probably some down falls to this. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Notice that Article IV Section 4 of the Consitution states: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence." See government type at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html to see the U.S. is a Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition Federalist Paper 39, The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles, details the reasons for designing a republican form of government in the discussions leading up to writing the Constitution. See also Republic vs. Democracy to understand why a republic is not a democracy. There is another comparison here. Thanks for the links. The 'Republic vs. Democracy' made clear to me the point you are trying to get across. I do however still think it is a stretch to say the US is not a democracy simply due to the fine points of how it was implemented. And as you guys continue to argue over the semantics of what the United States should be according to the constitution, remember I am talking about the reality of what we are. I mean realistically our democratic republic is just as democratic and as much of a republic as any other sham election around the world. These tend to exist in the super-power nations. Russia, China, and the United States. Their elections seem real to many of their respective publics as well, but the reality is we have one of two choices, and both of them are always considerably wealthy, and both get considerable backing from corporate entities. The beauty is that the United States has been able give the illusion of a choice, the illusion that we, the public are actually the acting force in choosing our leaders. When in reality it is a select few who get to run, and they get to run determined by the heads of parties and their ability to rake in the cash. Then even beyond that there are so many people who just don't vote in our country, not only because it is treated as a trivial aspect, but also because many people simply don't have the know-how or the time. I agree that the whole apparatus has an impact on who we get to vote for, but I don't think it is as bad as you are making it out to be. The final two we get to vote for may be chosen for us to some extent by the heads of the party, but to even be considered by the heads of the party these candidates generally had to move their way up the hierarchy through local politics. They have proven they can get the votes (and dollars) and that they represent an 'electable package' long before the heads of the party even considered them. I agree with Toasty that the thing with doG and zapatos is a semantic thing, a personal choice, and a bit annoying/distracting from the core discussion. Please feel free to ignore any of my future posts. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites ...since both candidates never follow through with what they promise... No, they follow through more than "never." A google search to show this only brought up a zillion links with Obama, so I'll paraphrase from a text that I have here, American Government, 11th edition by Wilson and Dilulio, page 256: 72% of ~1400 promises made in the platforms of the two major parties between 1944 and 1964 were implemented. Sure, this isn't individual promises, but even searching on google for "percent promises kept" reveals that a good number of Obama's promises have been kept. Edited by Brainteaserfan ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Also, you have no way to measure what promises were made in secret, and whether or not those were kept. Please feel free to ignore any of my future posts. I neither was looking for your permission nor even need it to do so, but thanks all the same. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites I neither was looking for your permission nor even need it to do so, but thanks all the same. Just once I'd like to see you get through a thread without antagonizing someone. I know you couldn't care less what I have to say, but your attitude really does get in the way of the pleasure of reading your well thought out and insightful posts. No sarcasm intended. I'll do my best to stay out of your way. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Thanks. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Just once I'd like to see you get through a thread without antagonizing someone. I know you couldn't care less what I have to say, but your attitude really does get in the way of the pleasure of reading your well thought out and insightful posts. No sarcasm intended. I'll do my best to stay out of your way. Plaese don’t stay out of his way. I don’t. Neither does anyone one else. With time you will find interchanges with iNow to be quite enjoyable entertainment. Beesides he needs constant rienforcement to maintain his smartest man in the world, or at least at scienceforums.net, ego. Take this post by iNow for example I agree with Toasty that the thing with doG and zapatos is a semantic thing, a personal choice, and a bit annoying/distracting from the core discussion. Yes, we're a constitutional republic. Yes, that is one form of democracy. Let's move forward, please. I think most people largely agree so far in this thread. The basic position is something like this: • Elections are flawed and there is too much money with too much power in the hands of the few. • The electorate are not generally sufficiently educated or aware of critically thinking to see when they are being manipulated and choices which ultimately hurt them • Those in office are expanding their own power in profound ways, and the technology around us is giving them far broader reach and control than it ever has in the past • Those who helped the politicians get elected are generally benefiting from this rigged system the most • The system of checks and balances that were implemented in the 18th century were very well thought out and designed, but have been exploited and are largely ineffective in today's culture and governing bodies • We need to do something new to ensure the protection of the people and prosperity moving forward There have been a few suggestions along these lines from toasty: • Reooccuring constitutional convention (mention was made to do this roughly every 10 years... I'm curious on why this timing, and then how the delegates get selected) • Ban money in campaigns or set a spending ceiling on all candidates • Consider a parliamentary system • Rewrite the constitution often to adjust for the changing times (I'm less inclined toward this one, unless we could guarantee some basic pieces are carried forward each time and those doing the writing are not as easy to exploit with money) If any of the above was implemented no one would recognise this country as the United States. One last thing. Don’t forget to sprinkle your posts with poor speling. That makes iNow feel superior. Believe me when I say he needs all the help he can get. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites What would be the ups or downs to having a polling booth in every American post office. When new policies are brought to the table at least the publics opinion could be accessable to a degree more specific than general polls. The polling machine would record drivers license numbers. That way nobody gets counted more than they should and it would automatically tell what district you are allowed to vote in. I know there are probably some down falls to this. That's the problem now. We give unqualified people a say in the important issues that affect all of us. People for for a presidential candidate just because he/she promises to pay their bills even though the candidate couldn't do that if they wanted if they were elected. This is not a way we should pick the Commander In Chief. Certain issues should be decided by qualified representatives bound to act the best interests of the people. Polling the public at large undermines this completely. I do however still think it is a stretch to say the US is not a democracy simply due to the fine points of how it was implemented.I agree that the whole apparatus has an impact on who we get to vote for, but I don't think it is as bad as you are making it out to be. No stretch at all. It's a Republic with democratic traditions. It was designed to be a representative system steered by democratic principles and methods but that doesn't it a democracy. It is intended that the representatives will generally follow the will of the people. Following the will of the people is not always a good thing though. For example the process of selecting a President was never intended to be one where the population at large was polled. The Electoral College was supposed to be a body of representative electors that met at an appointed place and time and debated whom was the best qualified candidate and to vote in blocks by state for an executive officer of the union following those debates. Now we have a situation where all of the states have passed laws directing their electors to vote according to the popular vote of their respective states and qualifications are meaningless. Polling the people has corrupted the whole process and yields only those candidates that are popular regardless of their qualifications to do a job that most of the voters don't even understand. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Plaese don’t stay out of his way. I don’t. Neither does anyone one else. With time you will find interchanges with iNow to be quite enjoyable entertainment. Beesides he needs constant rienforcement to maintain his smartest man in the world, or at least at scienceforums.net, ego. Take this post by iNow for example If any of the above was implemented no one would recognise this country as the United States. One last thing. Don’t forget to sprinkle your posts with poor speling. That makes iNow feel superior. Believe me when I say he needs all the help he can get. None of this is relevant to the discussion and is a personal attack, go back 100 years and you wouldn't recognize the USA either, go forward 100 years and i doubt you will either. Change has to happen, if the USA doesn't change to meet the new challenges of the future the USA will not exist at all. I think we are living in what the future will consider a real turning point in our society, much like the civil rights movement or unionization or maybe even the civil war. Simply sticking your head in the sand will not help and neither will screaming no no no like a small child to hold back progress. The government is owed by the banks and big business, far too much wealth is concentrated in far too few hands, taxes are totally unfair, and government services lag far behind public needs. Privatization, the holy grail of conservatives is not the answer, there are some things that just can't be trusted to private hands due the inherent greed of humans. The government has a vested interest in certain aspects of society, things like not letting old people starve in the streets or letting the population die due to lack of medical care, putting out fires, education, controlling crime, building infrastructure, and not allowing a significant part of the population fall below the poverty level, if enough people go back to extreme poverty the government will fail no matter how many may be screaming socialism, that is a cop out, it ignores reality and the flaws of capitalism. No, really it does. Once 51% of the electorate wants to vote themselves a livelihood from thge taxpayer's kitty they can and will do so. Look at the Occupy Wall Street movement. You actually have people in that group that believe everyone should get a check for$40,000 annually regardless of employment. When a majority of voters feel this way they have the power to make it happen and the minority won't be able to stop them. This is a common problem with democratic systems through the ages.

I personally have not voted FOR anyone for President since Reagan. I've voted against all of them by writing myself in because we haven't had a qualified candidate run for the position in all that time. It's been a steady string of incompetent morons. None of them could make it through the traditional hiring processes of a major corporation to be the CEO. The resume of the current President has no real executive experience.

Further, representation of the people is incredibly diluted and increasingly so. We are capped with 535 representatives of one kind or another for a growing population of 300,000,000+ people. That's less than a hundred thousandth of 1% of the population. We might as well be a kingdom.

Solutions? All I can imagine at this point that would be effective would be a Constitutional Convention to modernize the principles intended by the founders.

doG I don't see how you can justify arguing a point from two different directions, first you say we are in trouble because we are a democracy and will vote to put everyone on the public dole then you say we are not a democracy, can you pick a side here? Your professed voting record speaks volumes...

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Plaese don't stay out of his way. I don't. Neither does anyone one else. With time you will find interchanges with iNow to be quite enjoyable entertainment. Beesides he needs constant rienforcement to maintain his smartest man in the world, or at least at scienceforums.net, ego.

Take this post by iNow for example

If any of the above was implemented no one would recognise this country as the United States.

One last thing. Don't forget to sprinkle your posts with poor speling. That makes iNow feel superior. Believe me when I say he needs all the help he can get.

!

Moderator Note

Please, the personal attacks are unnecessary. Keep your comments focused on discussing ideas, not the people who have them.

Civility, people, always.

I shouldn't have to remind any of the people involved here. This really pisses me off because now I can't take part in this discussion, and I really wanted to. Next person who uses a personal attack gets some time off.

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I'd like to hear your inputs, actually. Maybe you can delete your modnote and have someone else put their own in its place.

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While I'm glad to see that a mod finally got involved, I'm disappointed to not hear Phi's position, so I second iNow's post. *insert very, very sad face*

Let us get straight to the point,

I fear for my future, our future. And by 'our' I am particularly referring to my fellow citizens in the United States. Our nation has been growing into a strange corporate controlled police state for sometime, and while I realize that we are not on the level of a country like China or North Korea, I find our fate even more terrifying. Let me explain.

Technology lately, as most would agree, has been advancing and growing beyond what many of us ever imagined. And if you have ever read a Brave New World or 1984 you as the reader may find it easier to understand my fear. As technology grows, methods of control become more and more intricate. Here for example is a list of current tools of control that are currently being implemented or are implemented by our government/ corporate governance.

Data Mining- The implementation of the internet allowed for centralization of data through linking computers and servers throughout the world. Furthermore social networking sites such as facebook and others have sold to us the idea, in a sense, of trading our information for access to our friends and a world of new friends and their information. Finally recent laws and upcoming bills have allowed corporate entities and government entities free reign over accessing such information. The Patriot ACT I and II, SOPA, and ACTA are all examples of this.

Tracking- The miniaturization of advanced computing devices capable of sending information through wireless transmission has brought about the modern day cell phone, and even further the modern day Smart Phone. It has been shown recently that information from such phones can be logged and backed up to locations. Such locations are accessible by the corporate entities of our state and our government through many of the above listed recent laws and upcoming bills. Such information includes our whereabouts, our desires, our friends, our politics, our ideas. Even down to the individual keystrokes we type into our phones.

IMO, the government does need more control over some aspects of these items, in order to help stop other countries from compromising our computers (including smartphones).

Surveillance- It is no big secret that cities, states, and the federal government have/has implemented the use of cameras, listening devices and other monitoring devices throughout our country. Now the government has the legal authority to fly predator drones over United States soil to prevent crime. Local, state, and federal law enforcement are now privy to live information being gathered from such monitoring devices listed above without any type of due process, and this information is often accessible at any given time.

Enforcement- The ability to imprison and use all the above tools without due process was done in the name of safety. Safety primarily from an arbitrarily defined enemy, terror. What is a terrorist? Well that concept is up for debate, but the point is it is a definition assigned to a person, but it is not linked with any specific action, as opposed to a thief (someone who steals or has stolen) or a murder (someone who kills or has killed), a terrorist is someone who inflicts terror upon the public to advance an agenda. Now that definition seems rather broad yet so damning seeing as anyone who is stamped with the label of terrorist has no right to due process.

These four aspects have lead me to fear, but somewhat accept that we are coming ever closer to the eutopian world described in books such as 1984 and Brave New World and embodied by creations such as the Borg on Startrek. A world in which we catch criminals before a crime is committed, begging the question, are such people even criminals? A world in which freedom is trivial and privacy is forbidden. A world in which a small group of men/ women have the power to create and ruin any other persons life at any given time for any given reason without any discourse. I believe that Voltaire said, "if there were no God it would be necessarily to invent him", and that is exactly what our society seems to be working towards. An overlying governing body that has all the power listed above.

Some of you may say I am simply paranoid, and maybe I am haha. But the simple fact is that all the tools are practically available right now, but the power over the tools has yet to become completely centralized. And the worst thing is, we were never forced to give all this freedom up. Instead it was sold to us, commercialized through the repetitive nature of the media. And worse yet, sold to us as a choice. When the society begins to lean so heavily on such technologies for everyday events such as work, education, and finances when do they stop becoming a choice and instead become a requirement by default?

I agree with these last two fears.

As my friend said the other day referring to our country as it was intended to be in the hearts and minds of so many who loved freedom, "America is done son!" As it saddens me to admit it I think the statement might very well be true.

I am curious to know your thoughts on this and how our political system, or lack of, has enabled the powers at be to further such agendas. I apologize beforehand for any grammatical or conceptual errors, I am tired and I have work in the morning so I am in somewhat a hurry to get to bed.

I think that America is far from done, but I do think that we are mostly on a decline.

If I were emperor of the US for a day, I believe that I would:

-make huge cuts to our army

-make huge increases in cyber spending and security

-do away with jail time punishments for crimes that do not actually threaten anyone else. I think that we definitely have too many laws, and if something is a financial crime, you should only be able to be levied a fine.

-increase spending on nuclear power (in order to stop paying tribute to middle eastern, civil right abusing, dictators.)

-take as many governmental surveillance cameras away as possible

I don't know what else I would do just thinking about it... oh, of course -- I would give myself \$10,000,000,000 for being such a good emperor

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I thank those who considered what I said and attempted to stay on topic.

I especially appreciate iNow's efforts for very simply summarizing what I had said and attempting to keep the conversation on topic.

However this thread serves as an example to exactly the reason why it is so hard to talk about this. Such a proposition seems to greatly challenge the idealized America of some. An idealized America based on the ever-chanting American Nationalism that is as present in our country as it was in Nazi Germany. This nationalism has grown so much, in some circles that one who might say something along the lines of what I am saying would be considered un-American, even traitorous. And this is exactly what happens in such a society. One who speaks against the society is persecuted socially initially, but this social persecution can turn into legal persecution. The end result is that those who were so vehemently attempting to defend the idealized America against one who may be presenting ideas similar to mine, ironically end up making the ideas presented by one become a reality.

Flags all down the street, the continual thumping of America being the greatest nation in the world by nearly all major media outlets (not just Fox). Being a solider is overly idealized for example, and not that being in the military is a bad thing. Its just that it is important to remember that someones merit as an individual shouldn't be solely based on their career choice. This is all part of what I would like to refer to as crap propaganda, or what others might compare to nationalism along the lines of Nazi Germany.

But let me re-iterate I do not hate the hope of what the United States can be nor do I hate patriotism , I am simply looking at what I interpret as reality and simply sharing it. I also don't want to dwell too much on 'hating' on or debating the existence of the propaganda. Maybe in the paraphrased words of V for Vendetta (a quite appropriate film for this discussion) if you do not see what I see than you should simply let the fifth of November pass without paying any attention to it. And of course this is a metaphor, if you do not believe this is happening then let your day carry on and please don't attempt to distract this conversation.

I would like to take this time however to provide an appropriate retort to some of the comments brought about by others. As these are common responses to defend the action of the usurping of civil rights by the powers who be.

IMO, the government does need more control over some aspects of these items, in order to help stop other countries from compromising our computers (including smartphones).

Why? My career is based on computer security, I am an IT consultant who works for individuals and small business'. I can tell you with 100 percent certainty, based on my experience in the field, that the government with all it's resources would be quite capable of providing sufficient defense against confidential information being stolen without having to trample upon every citizens civil rights. Closed networks and really well programmed firewalls and communication lines are quite capable of providing adequate security without the need to trample upon every one's civil rights. I don't care what country or who you are if all the data is encrypted well enough it would be extraordinarily hard, if not impossible to decode such data even if it is compromised.

Furthermore, in many cases it is not particularly the United States federal government trampling upon the rights of every citizens. It is individual companies. Take Carrier IQ for example. Their software is currently on and is still being provided in many, if not most smart phones. The software not only monitors every single thing smartphone users do, but also it actually uses a key logger to track every single keystroke a user makes, then sends it to some set of servers off in God knows where, pardon the expression. Then when a technician discovered this and posted a video about it on youtube what did carrier IQ decide to do? They are attempting to sue him. I mean I fail to see how such actions provide any security.

This information can be found with a simple google search, however I provided some relevant links.

http://www.uberphones.com/2011/11/carrier-iq-sues-developer-treve-for-exposing-their-software/

Now Carrier Iq's argument is that the users of nearly 150 million phones consented to this, because of course it was listed in the contract that the user signs in order to get the phone. Anyone who is anyone knows that even though the above may be true, the tactics used to notify users that such a private company is going to track ever single thing a user does on his or her phone is completely deceptive.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/12/telcos-say-you-consented/

However, on a broader point. Even if such actions provided security against other countries stealing our data, well isn't the point somewhat defeated if we allow some private entity to steal our data. Its along the lines of the argument, "we must allow this man to burn down our houses, because if we don't those people are going to come for us and burn down our houses." Also it correlates to the point Moontaman was getting across earlier about sacrificing freedom for security.

Onto the next point I would like to get out:

As far as living on the taxpayers dole, again a point re-iterated by dOg, I will simply refer to my last point. This is not relevant and to some degree every citizen, including you, is able to thrive off of public funds whether it be through healthcare, defense, infrastructure, and a plethora of other services offered by our government that often are taken for granted. A service offered by our government always has to be payed for and yes some information has to be gathered in order to make these services effective, but the difference is that there is a clear tangible relationship between the governed and the government in which the government has to have some accountability towards the people. This cannot be said of private and quasi-private/ quasi-federal programs. I don't wish to dive any further into this argument as it has been beaten with a stick, not only on this forum, but throughout the pages of history.

Again my thanks to the moderators and iNow and any others I have forgot to mention for attempting to keep this on topic.

Also my apologies for any grammatical, spelling, and or logical errors, I am extraordinarily tired for I have been working long hours lately.

Edited by toastywombel
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I thank those who considered what I said and attempted to stay on topic.

I especially appreciate iNow's efforts for very simply summarizing what I had said and attempting to keep the conversation on topic.

However this thread serves as an example to exactly the reason why it is so hard to talk about this. Such a proposition seems to greatly challenge the idealized America of some. An idealized America based on the ever-chanting American Nationalism that is as present in our country as it was in Nazi Germany. This nationalism has grown so much, in some circles that one who might say something along the lines of what I am saying would be considered un-American, even traitorous. And this is exactly what happens in such a society. One who speaks against the society is persecuted socially initially, but this social persecution can turn into legal persecution. The end result is that those who were so vehemently attempting to defend the idealized America against one who may be presenting ideas similar to mine, ironically end up making the ideas presented by one become a reality.

Flags all down the street, the continual thumping of America being the greatest nation in the world by nearly all major media outlets (not just Fox). Being a solider is overly idealized for example, and not that being in the military is a bad thing. Its just that it is important to remember that someones merit as an individual shouldn't be solely based on their career choice. This is all part of what I would like to refer to as crap propaganda, or what others might compare to nationalism along the lines of Nazi Germany.

But let me re-iterate I do not hate the hope of what the United States can be nor do I hate patriotism , I am simply looking at what I interpret as reality and simply sharing it. I also don't want to dwell too much on 'hating' on or debating the existence of the propaganda. Maybe in the paraphrased words of V for Vendetta (a quite appropriate film for this discussion) if you do not see what I see than you should simply let the fifth of November pass without paying any attention to it. And of course this is a metaphor, if you do not believe this is happening then let your day carry on and please don't attempt to distract this conversation.

I would like to take this time however to provide an appropriate retort to some of the comments brought about by others. As these are common responses to defend the action of the usurping of civil rights by the powers who be.

Why? My career is based on computer security, I am an IT consultant who works for individuals and small business'. I can tell you with 100 percent certainty, based on my experience in the field, that the government with all it's resources would be quite capable of providing sufficient defense against confidential information being stolen without having to trample upon every citizens civil rights. Closed networks and really well programmed firewalls and communication lines are quite capable of providing adequate security without the need to trample upon every one's civil rights. I don't care what country or who you are if all the data is encrypted well enough it would be extraordinarily hard, if not impossible to decode such data even if it is compromised.

Furthermore, in many cases it is not particularly the United States federal government trampling upon the rights of every citizens. It is individual companies. Take Carrier IQ for example. Their software is currently on and is still being provided in many, if not most smart phones. The software not only monitors every single thing smartphone users do, but also it actually uses a key logger to track every single keystroke a user makes, then sends it to some set of servers off in God knows where, pardon the expression. Then when a technician discovered this and posted a video about it on youtube what did carrier IQ decide to do? They are attempting to sue him. I mean I fail to see how such actions provide any security.

This information can be found with a simple google search, however I provided some relevant links.

http://www.uberphones.com/2011/11/carrier-iq-sues-developer-treve-for-exposing-their-software/

Now Carrier Iq's argument is that the users of nearly 150 million phones consented to this, because of course it was listed in the contract that the user signs in order to get the phone. Anyone who is anyone knows that even though the above may be true, the tactics used to notify users that such a private company is going to track ever single thing a user does on his or her phone is completely deceptive.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/12/telcos-say-you-consented/

However, on a broader point. Even if such actions provided security against other countries stealing our data, well isn't the point somewhat defeated if we allow some private entity to steal our data. Its along the lines of the argument, "we must allow this man to burn down our houses, because if we don't those people are going to come for us and burn down our houses." Also it correlates to the point Moontaman was getting across earlier about sacrificing freedom for security.

Onto the next point I would like to get out:

As far as living on the taxpayers dole, again a point re-iterated by dOg, I will simply refer to my last point. This is not relevant and to some degree every citizen, including you, is able to thrive off of public funds whether it be through healthcare, defense, infrastructure, and a plethora of other services offered by our government that often are taken for granted. A service offered by our government always has to be payed for and yes some information has to be gathered in order to make these services effective, but the difference is that there is a clear tangible relationship between the governed and the government in which the government has to have some accountability towards the people. This cannot be said of private and quasi-private/ quasi-federal programs. I don't wish to dive any further into this argument as it has been beaten with a stick, not only on this forum, but throughout the pages of history.

Again my thanks to the moderators and iNow and any others I have forgot to mention for attempting to keep this on topic.

Also my apologies for any grammatical, spelling, and or logical errors, I am extraordinarily tired for I have been working long hours lately.

Interesting. If you're 100% certain, maybe there isn't much point in discussing it

I do think that we need to do more, and I don't think that we are capable of stopping it. I have a close relative who works in computer security, and he evaluates different government agencies. He is always able to patch holes, meaning that every single agency could be compromised. This is, IMO, a very real danger.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/books/27book.html?ref=books

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doG I don't see how you can justify arguing a point from two different directions, first you say we are in trouble because we are a democracy and will vote to put everyone on the public dole then you say we are not a democracy, can you pick a side here? Your professed voting record speaks volumes...

Please provide a link to the exact post where I claimed we are a democracy.

When people vote for the representatives that promise them handouts they are causing our system to accomplish the same failures that a direct democracy results in. All that's needed now if for the majority to vote in a bunch of socialist representatives.

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Is the question about us being surveilled at all... that this is about an unacceptable breach of our personal freedoms, or is the question about us being surveilled by a tiny percentage of people who don't have our best interests in mind when doing so?

This is such a complex set of issues, and there are many moving parts which feed into the whole. I've been trying to distill them down to their most basic essence, and have admittedly been struggling a bit to do so.

There is the issue of checks and balances on power, and whether or not they are sufficient to protect citizens and our future prosperity. There is the issue of integrity and trust in elected officials, and whether or not we have the right people pulling the proverbial strings and levers. There is the issue of whether or not the masses have sufficient information... or sufficient intellect... or sufficient concern to make good decisions during elections to put qualified leaders in place. There is the issue of whether or not the government should provide roads or healthcare, whether or not the government should help to minimize poverty and death in the streets, and whether or not the government should exercise military power alone, or if it instead should act in socially responsible ways that serve the common good that maximize the benefit of the greatest number of people.

There is the issue about national security, and whether or not certain steps do or do not need to be taken to ensure it. There is the issue of todays technology opening us up to all manner of privacy reductions, the issue that we personally choose to use this technology without being forced and under no duress, and the issue that there may be no way to go back to a time where these difficult questions had easy answers... that there may be no way to put the toothpaste back into the tube... only ways to control how the teeth get brushed once it's out and to decide who holds the toothbrush. The information is out there, and will never not be out there... so what now?

The world itself has changed dramatically in the last decade, and has become much flatter and more connected. Information has become widely accessible and searchable, and social networks have gone global... connecting people together who previously would have lived and died without knowing the other ever existed or shared overlapping passions and pursuits. Our foundation and constitutional structure seems outdated in this modern world, yet the principles enshrined within we collectively agree must be protected and carried forward.

We tend to agree that there is a problem. We recognize overlap in what we feel is the source of that problem with what others feel is the source of that problem, but there is no one overarching consensus on the actual source or cause. Until we distill the various viewpoints down into an agreed upon root cause, designing and implementing a solution or band-aid to fix the problem will be IMO well neigh impossible.

.

When people vote for the representatives that promise them handouts they are causing our system to accomplish the same failures that a direct democracy results in. All that's needed now if for the majority to vote in a bunch of socialist representatives.

The problem is not that representatives might be socialists. The problem is that they may implement programs that cannot easily be paid for. If they find ways to pay for the programs successfully, is it not a net benefit to have them? I'd encourage you to remain focus on the lack of payment for such programs, and avoid disparaging such well-intentioned programs as a whole. The programs are good. Them existing without being sustainable is not.

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IMO, you should be most afraid of the system we use for choosing the leaders that enable such an inept leadership, voting. When a majority of the masses are morons they will elect whatever moron promises them the most. When a majority of the voters want to live off the taxpayer's dole they will vote for whomever promises them that and as a majority they will win and the taxpayer will lose. Our Republic is headed for the same anarchy that eventually destroys all democracies.

Perhaps http://www.apatheticvoter.com/Article_DownfallDemocracies.htm will explain the trend I am pointing out.

P.S. No intention to support the apathetic voter with that link, It was just the first article I found about voters voting themselves gifts from the public treasury.

There's no derailment. The politics of the United States is a direct result of the american voter. When our system gets to the point that the majority of voters are dependent on government subsidies for their livelihood then that majority will vote for the politicians that promise the greatest subsidies to their constituents. As it is now our system continuously chooses the most popular politicians for office, not the most competent or capable. IMO, the democratic traditions of our republic will eventually lead to the same demise that all democracies have suffered.

Yes, all true democracies have failed eventually since true democracies are effectively mob rule and all forms of mob rule eventually collapse. Try finding successful democracies in history. I'm not aware of any.

Please provide a link to the exact post where I claimed we are a democracy.

When people vote for the representatives that promise them handouts they are causing our system to accomplish the same failures that a direct democracy results in. All that's needed now if for the majority to vote in a bunch of socialist representatives.

See the above posts, in each of them you are trying to insinuate the USA is in trouble because we are a democracy, then you turn around and say all democracies fail, then you change your tune yet again and say it's only true democracies that fail then you turn again and claim we are not a "true" democracy. At best you are being disingenuous with those arguments, at worst you are trying to sow political misinformation

I again i disagree that anything like what you insinuate is going on, no one is promising handouts and socialism is not an evil, without social programs our society would fail. As I stated before the government has a vested interest in a great many social programs not to mention putting controls on capitalism, lack of controls over the banks, business, and concentration of wealth in the hands of far too few people is what caused the "great depression" and this depression we are now in. Also please define what you mean by public dole, I do not see a large sections of society on the public dole and i don't see large sections of the public demanding such things.

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Hello, I may be getting off topic with a couple of questions here and if so let me know and I'll stop.

Our foundation and constitutional structure seems outdated in this modern world, yet the principles enshrined within we collectively agree must be protected and carried forward.

What exactly is it about our constitution that seems outdated? What is it that needs to be added or taken to make the document more up to par? The reason I ask is that I've heard this on several occasions but have never heard why.

The problem is not that representatives might be socialists. The problem is that they may implement programs that cannot easily be paid for. If they find ways to pay for the programs successfully, is it not a net benefit to have them? I'd encourage you to remain focus on the lack of payment for such programs, and avoid disparaging such well-intentioned programs as a whole. The programs are good. Them existing without being sustainable is not.

Another question is, if the representatives that could be concidered sociallist leaning politically aren't the problem, then why are they normally the one's pushing for programs that are unsastainable? It seems if this is the case, then DoG had a point. Although the programs are good in intention, if they are unsastainable, then those programs are (at the time) bad for the country and shouldn't be pushed. Inturn that would ideally make the representative a bad one.

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What exactly is it about our constitution that seems outdated?

This is a matter of opinion. I'll share mine, as above I was merely trying to summarize large expansive points into a bullet-point form. Obviously, some precision will be lost in the process.

To respond, I see that the document was written during a time when the issues of today could not even be predicted. Using these centuries old documents to govern in the modern world is like trying to fix your computer using drawings on how to build a barn as your guide. That barn building document may express some useful principles and serve as a guide, but it simply cannot address the subtly, nuance, and complexity being faced. The principles IMO need to be expanded upon, and clarified more deeply.

As it stands today, if you ask four different people what are the basic principles of our founding documents, you will get four different answers. The situation is made worse by the fact that the words are being twisted and mangled to meet any passing need. Our society seems to have become less about basic principles, and more about how clever ones high-priced lawyer is... and how good they are at parsing text and presenting an argument.

The previous principles of protection of free speech, guns, and privacy are well intentioned, but were written during a time of muskets, coal heating, and a culture of farmers where the most advanced form of technology was an ox driven plow. The laws have some wonderful components, but are lacking in some profound ways. IMO they are ill-equipped to deal with a global society such as ours where information is free and spread thousands of miles in seconds... complete with all of the new problems and threats that come with that.

The model T was a great car, and changed the world. It kicked off a revolution, but there are probably some newer, better, more efficient cars out there which would better serve us today. I suggest this is also largely the case with our government, and a well-designed update could have some really important benefits.

Another question is, if the representatives that could be concidered sociallist leaning politically aren't the problem, then why are they normally the one's pushing for programs that are unsastainable?

Their desire to help the populace is not a problem. As I stated previously, the problem comes from looking to provide that help and assistance using unsustainable means. Calling them socialist and dismissing them is intellectually lazy, divisive, and rather often inaccurate. Focus on the fact that they are unsustainable and seek ways to sustain them. Don't cast them aside as being "socialist" or for being some form of the overused aspersion "class warfare."

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