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Author Topic: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa  (Read 505659 times)

TechTalk

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12320 on: November 16, 2021, 05:45:35 pm »

Referring back to that post I made yesterday about foreigners reacting to US elections, I have a question. One of the items presented was about how the winning political party in a state has the power t to re-arrange voting districts (and possibly other things, although I'm not clear on that).

Is that correct? That is, is it really the current people in power who are in charge of election issues? Is there really not an arm's length organization whose job it is to oversee the mechanics of elections? Is this true for all states?

Yes, it varies from state to state. The U.S. has a hodgepodge of election laws. You can find information on state differences in redistricting methods below. It's a site worth exploring to understand the often confusing and sometimes embarrassing U.S. election system.

https://ballotpedia.org/State-by-state_redistricting_procedures
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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12321 on: November 16, 2021, 06:14:37 pm »

Thanks.  I corrected that too although both corrections have nothing to do with the point of the post and previous related posts where a NATO country, Germany, is dependent on Russia fossil fuels to heat their homes and drive their industry.  That's a huge security risk for Germany and NATO.

I don't see Russia as a threat to us or frankly to Europe either.  China's the threat. That's the main point.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12322 on: November 16, 2021, 06:28:21 pm »


China is a bigger threat militarily over the coming years.  The threat from Russia is they can blackmail Europe using the pipeline for political gain less than war, although war's always a possibility as well.  Having Europe in their hip pocket because of the threat of pipeline shutdowns when Russia needs support for some of their policies is what makes the pipeline dangerous for the west.  President Obama as well as Trump saw this problem as well.

Alan Klein

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12323 on: November 16, 2021, 06:46:15 pm »

Referring back to that post I made yesterday about foreigners reacting to US elections, I have a question. One of the items presented was about how the winning political party in a state has the power t to re-arrange voting districts (and possibly other things, although I'm not clear on that).

Is that correct? That is, is it really the current people in power who are in charge of election issues? Is there really not an arm's length organization whose job it is to oversee the mechanics of elections? Is this true for all states?
We're the United States of America. Each state is mostly sovereign in America to define its own laws including rules about elections.  That's the nature of our country's political make-up.  In non-Federal countries, a single law defines the entire country's legal situation.  America has 50 sets of rules for each of the states. 

The current people in power within a state can change.  So yes, rules can change as can election district shapes (gerrymandering).  But shouldn't that be the way it should be in a democracy?  The majority rules.  In any case, both major parties gerrymander.  They both like the process.  They argue against it when they're not in power and do it when in power.  Each side winks at the other. 

The US Supreme Court recently decided they had enough of the complaints from each side in these gerrymandering lawsuits.  They decided to bow out and let the states do what they want and let each state's judicial system rule on the constitutionality of their own state's rules.  Each state has its own constitution and judicial system to decide whether its own laws are constitutional.  Why does the US Supreme Court have to butt in?   Plus, they don't have the wherewithal to understand and rule on each of the 50 states' idiosyncracies of how their populations are dispersed.  Arguments can be given that the election district's shapes make sense even if they look weird.  In any case, using unelected officials who don't respond to votes is undemocratic if you think about it.  Their agenda may be different than what the people want.  Public officials should respond to the electorate.  Only state legislatures made up of elected officials can do that.

Alan Klein

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12324 on: November 16, 2021, 06:53:54 pm »

PS  That's why in the election a couple of weeks ago,  Democrats were even more hurt than advertised because they lost power in many state legislatures.  So now the Republicans can decide on election district makeup.

TechTalk

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12325 on: November 16, 2021, 08:18:33 pm »

Is there really not an arm's length organization whose job it is to oversee the mechanics of elections? Is this true for all states?

To add some additional context and clarity to the brief answer that I provided earlier, it should be noted that the U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 4 provides authority to Congress to alter state laws and regulations in federal congressional elections: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations".

https://constitution.congress.gov/Role of Congress in Regulating Federal Elections

An example of the use of this power is the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which established prohibitions and provisions in state election laws to end a variety of discriminatory practices.
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TechTalk

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12326 on: November 16, 2021, 09:01:29 pm »

As a separate additional observation, I would suggest that there is no country or combination of countries that pose an existential threat to the United States by conventional military means. I would further suggest that no external force threatens the existence of our system of government equal to the current domestic threat that seeks to undermine two principal pillars of that system, democracy and the peaceful transfer of power.

There are certainly serious external threats to our democracy, but none that can so swiftly and effectively take down what has been built over more than two centuries like a demagogue and a group of citizens blindly stupid enough to believe lies over facts and a fictional narrative over the truth. One version of an old adage is: A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. In the post-fact, post-truth, light speed internet age, a lie can become an unyielding and unbending established fact in the minds of many before truth has even gotten out of bed.
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12327 on: November 16, 2021, 09:15:12 pm »

PS  That's why in the election a couple of weeks ago,  Democrats were even more hurt than advertised because they lost power in many state legislatures.  So now the Republicans can decide on election district makeup.

You don't actually like or want democracy, do you?
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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12328 on: November 16, 2021, 09:50:45 pm »

To add some additional context and clarity to the brief answer that I provided earlier, it should be noted that the U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 4 provides authority to Congress to alter state laws and regulations in federal congressional elections: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations".

https://constitution.congress.gov/Role of Congress in Regulating Federal Elections

An example of the use of this power is the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which established prohibitions and provisions in state election laws to end a variety of discriminatory practices.
I believe that only effects federal elections such as for senator, president or representative.  In a governor election only, the federal rule would have no effect.  Of course, most elections combine federal elections with state elections at the same time.  So in those cases, it would be hard for the state to separate them unless they had two separate elections.  That would be too complex.

Alan Klein

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12329 on: November 16, 2021, 10:03:36 pm »

You don't actually like or want democracy, do you?
We're a federal government, not a democracy.  I think it's about right that smaller states have more power than their population indicates.  Otherwise high population urban areas, states, and their liberal ideas would ride roughshod over more rural, smaller, and conservative states and areas.  The whole electoral system in fact has created two parties rather than multiple ones as in parliamentary systems.  Another undemocratic influence.

We're also a representative type of government where leaders represent us and often do things that the people don't want at least according to some polls.  The people don't vote on issues other than a few propositions some states put on the ballots.  Again, all undemocratic.  The founders were really afraid of the masses voting for things as passions of the moment could cause great harm.

TechTalk

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12330 on: November 17, 2021, 01:49:47 am »

Despite whatever desire individuals or groups may have to change the meaning of words, words do have meanings and definitions. I realize knowledge of civics is lacking in the U.S., but there are still dictionaries.

The United States and every other country in which people choose their representatives thru elections is a democracy. In the U.S., democracy may be direct at the local or state level, such as voting for ballot measures, bond issues, local government modifications, or state constitutional amendments or indirect thru the election of representatives to legislative bodies. In either case, the choices are made by the people thru the democratic process of voting. To deny that the U.S. is a democracy is ridiculous. This also applies to any other nation with a reasonably free, fair, and functioning elected system of government in which the people make choices thru voting.

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

Since the the United States doesn't have a monarch or dictator that rules, it is also a republic. It is also a federation, as are several other nations. It is also governed by a federal constitution which, like other federations, has supremacy over state constitutions.

The United States is a democracy, a republic, a federation, and governed by a supreme federal constitution. It is each of those things and all of those things—as no one of those precludes the U.S. system of government from being any or all of the others mentioned. The complete U.S. form of government is a constitutionally governed-federal-democratic-representative republic. Unfortunately, when democracy is threatened it endangers all of the other pillars of self-government.
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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12331 on: November 17, 2021, 03:10:08 am »

I believe that only effects federal elections such as for senator, president or representative.

Your beliefs are irrelevant. It is a fact governed by the clear language of the constitutional article that I quoted: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations". It was also clearly stated and defined in my preface to the citation and included in the title of the link provided. I don't know why you felt the need to repeat it as your belief.

In a governor election only, the federal rule would have no effect.  Of course, most elections combine federal elections with state elections at the same time.  So in those cases, it would be hard for the state to separate them unless they had two separate elections.  That would be too complex.

It would be incorrect to assume there are no federal laws regulating non-federal elections. There are U.S. federal statutes that apply to state and local elections. See United States Code Title 52— Voting and Elections as a start. In addition to the laws regarding federal elections, there are numerous federal laws throughout various sections of Title 52 regulating state and local elections.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12332 on: November 17, 2021, 06:13:15 am »

Despite whatever desire individuals or groups may have to change the meaning of words, words do have meanings and definitions. I realize knowledge of civics is lacking in the U.S., but there are still dictionaries.

The United States and every other country in which people choose their representatives thru elections is a democracy. In the U.S., democracy may be direct at the local or state level, such as voting for ballot measures, bond issues, local government modifications, or state constitutional amendments or indirect thru the election of representatives to legislative bodies. In either case, the choices are made by the people thru the democratic process of voting. To deny that the U.S. is a democracy is ridiculous. This also applies to any other nation with a reasonably free, fair, and functioning elected system of government in which the people make choices thru voting.

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

Since the the United States doesn't have a monarch or dictator that rules, it is also a republic. It is also a federation, as are several other nations. It is also governed by a federal constitution which, like other federations, has supremacy over state constitutions.

The United States is a democracy, a republic, a federation, and governed by a supreme federal constitution. It is each of those things and all of those things—as no one of those precludes the U.S. system of government from being any or all of the others mentioned. The complete U.S. form of government is a constitutionally governed-federal-democratic-representative republic. Unfortunately, when democracy is threatened it endangers all of the other pillars of self-government.
The US is a Federal Republic.  Sure, people elect officials.  But their voting is not equal as our presidential elections and the electoral system rule.  We argue that in every election that we should have an equal direct vote.  Isn't that how Trump and others have won even though they had less popular votes? How's that democratic?  Senators represent their states, not the people.  Congressmen represent the people in their state. Since each state has two senators, the smaller states have way more power relative to the number of residents in their states.  That's not "democratic" in the sense votes are unequal.

In any case, the original point was who should decide the shape of the election district.  If as some have argued here that an independent group of people do it, that isn't "democratic".  Those officials weren't elected.  It's more democratic to allow each state's legislature to decide as is being done currently.  They are the people who were elected by their state's residents. 

Alan Klein

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12333 on: November 17, 2021, 06:36:26 am »

Your beliefs are irrelevant. It is a fact governed by the clear language of the constitutional article that I quoted: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations". It was also clearly stated and defined in my preface to the citation and included in the title of the link provided. I don't know why you felt the need to repeat it as your belief.

It would be incorrect to assume there are no federal laws regulating non-federal elections. There are U.S. federal statutes that apply to state and local elections. See United States Code Title 52— Voting and Elections as a start. In addition to the laws regarding federal elections, there are numerous federal laws throughout various sections of Title 52 regulating state and local elections.
There are informed arguments that federal law to override all state rules would be unconstitutional.  I think we agree on that point. Since the law refers to Elections for Senators and Representatives, that might not include elections where only state officials are being elected.  There are also disputes that other state requirements cannot be overruled by Federal law.

Here's an interesting discussion about what could be constitutional or not in a new Federal voting rights act.
https://www.hoover.org/research/voting-act-doesnt-deliver-people

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12334 on: November 17, 2021, 07:11:59 am »

America isn't the only country with ever-increasing inflation.

UK inflation surges to a 10-year high of 4.2%, worse than expected
The cost of living in the U.K. surged in October to a 10-year high, with the figure now more than double the target set by the Bank of England.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/17/uk-inflation-surges-to-a-new-record-high-of-4point2percent-beating-expectations.html

Robert Roaldi

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12335 on: November 17, 2021, 08:19:32 am »

We're the United States of America. Each state is mostly sovereign in America to define its own laws including rules about elections.  That's the nature of our country's political make-up.  In non-Federal countries, a single law defines the entire country's legal situation.  America has 50 sets of rules for each of the states. 

The current people in power within a state can change.  So yes, rules can change as can election district shapes (gerrymandering).  But shouldn't that be the way it should be in a democracy?  The majority rules.  In any case, both major parties gerrymander.  They both like the process.  They argue against it when they're not in power and do it when in power.  Each side winks at the other. 

The US Supreme Court recently decided they had enough of the complaints from each side in these gerrymandering lawsuits.  They decided to bow out and let the states do what they want and let each state's judicial system rule on the constitutionality of their own state's rules.  Each state has its own constitution and judicial system to decide whether its own laws are constitutional.  Why does the US Supreme Court have to butt in?   Plus, they don't have the wherewithal to understand and rule on each of the 50 states' idiosyncracies of how their populations are dispersed.  Arguments can be given that the election district's shapes make sense even if they look weird.  In any case, using unelected officials who don't respond to votes is undemocratic if you think about it.  Their agenda may be different than what the people want.  Public officials should respond to the electorate.  Only state legislatures made up of elected officials can do that.

I guess I wasn't explicit enough. Whether the GOP or the other guys do it is irrelevant. You seem to be ok with, or at least accept, the state of affairs that allows the party that wins an election to modify rules and regs to make it more difficult for the other side to contest the next election. You can spin it any way you like, most people find this pretty sad and very undemocratic. The situation is in no way ok and I find that your framing it in the context of two competing sides duking it out is silly.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12336 on: November 17, 2021, 09:10:19 am »

I guess I wasn't explicit enough. Whether the GOP or the other guys do it is irrelevant. You seem to be ok with, or at least accept, the state of affairs that allows the party that wins an election to modify rules and regs to make it more difficult for the other side to contest the next election. You can spin it any way you like, most people find this pretty sad and very undemocratic. The situation is in no way ok and I find that your framing it in the context of two competing sides duking it out is silly.
I don't disagree with you.  But politics is about power, let's face it. Plus, both parties like the way it works now otherwise they would have changed it.  (They may have changed it already in some states.)   Of course, the party out of power complains about gerrymandering and that the Supreme Court should rule against the other party that's in power in the legislature of the state.  Of course, when power changes hands, suddenly they forget about fairness and the parties reverse their beliefs.  Then the new out-of-power party sues about gerrymandering.  Didn't similar things go on about nominating and electing Supreme Court judges?  It depends whose ox is being gored.

Many voting laws in effect in all states have similar prohibitions.  Having no one serving food or water or campaigning within 100 feet of the voting booth prevents electioneering, people trying to influence how the people will vote as they walk into the voting booth.  Voters have been strong-armed by goons to get them to vote for one guy or another.  In NYC, there's always a cop-out front and one inside to keep order and prevent these things.  Tightening up on voter IDs is claimed to be racist against blacks.  But Republicans have faced phony voting in the past from Democrats stuffing mailboxes which happened just a few miles from where I live in NJ,  or with phony vote-by-mail ballots and harvesting votes for a particular candidate from old and uninformed people.  Both sides want to use the rules to their benefit.  That's politics. Like most things, it's in the eye of the beholder how far and which way these rules should go. 

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12337 on: November 17, 2021, 03:25:50 pm »

...  That's politics. Like most things, it's in the eye of the beholder how far and which way these rules should go.

Sorry I disagree, that's not politics. And it's definitely NOT in the eye of the beholder. It is American politics and it is this way because a set of policies are in effect that led to this. Many other countries avoid this particular problem by taking election mechanics out of the hands of elected officials. The fact that both your parties aid and abet this is no consolation, it's just another symptom of the ailment.
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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12338 on: November 17, 2021, 03:51:18 pm »

I have to commend Biden for changing his mind. Well, he says he really doesn't want to do it, but he is - opening up the Gulf of Mexico for drilling.  Of course, on the heels of his promises recently at the climate change conference in Europe, he's getting a lot of static from environmentalists.  Of course, the whole "treaty" is BS.  No country is going to comply with the letter of the law because no politician is going to get re-elected with gasoline prices going out of sight, especially in the US due to all the driving we do. So it's the Democratic politicians who are quietly pressuring Biden to open up for drilling.  If they don't, Republicans will bury them in the elections next year due to high gas prices and inflation.

But it's nice to see him do things Trump did if they're good for the country.  I just hope this isn't a false signal that he actually works with the courts to have them shut down the drilling so he doesn't get blamed yet try to take credit for opening up the drilling.  We'll see. In the meantime, kudos to him.

Why the Biden administration is reopening oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico
(CNN)One of President Joe Biden's boldest environmental campaign promises was to ban new oil and natural gas leasing on public land and water. But on Wednesday his administration will open more than 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to auction for drilling.

The auction is at odds with Biden's climate agenda -- the President has also promised to slash greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 -- and environmental advocates say it could set US climate goals back for years.

The Trump administration, which fir
st proposed the Gulf of Mexico sale in 2017, estimated it would generate 21 million to 1.12 billion barrels of oil and from 55 billion to 4.42 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/17/politics/biden-oil-gas-leasing-gulf-of-mexico-climate/index.html

Alan Klein

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Re: Bear Pit: now the sole domicile of politics at LuLa
« Reply #12339 on: November 17, 2021, 03:58:33 pm »

Sorry I disagree, that's not politics. And it's definitely NOT in the eye of the beholder. It is American politics and it is this way because a set of policies are in effect that led to this. Many other countries avoid this particular problem by taking election mechanics out of the hands of elected officials. The fact that both your parties aid and abet this is no consolation, it's just another symptom of the ailment.
If you want to change policies, change the US Constitution.  We're not a monarchy where some king just says to do it and it's done.  States have been given these rights in our US constitution.   You say you favor democracy which would require the people to decide to change these things,  But then you become anti-democratic when you say just change it because you think it's not right.  Are you a king?  Who should decide these things in your opinion if not the people and their representatives?  It's up to them to decide.   
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