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How does the US political system work?

  1. Nov 5, 2005 #1
    In India we have numerous parties almost 1 per street:tongue2:
    But in the US there are only four;
    SO to become the prez you have to join one of them?
    Then there is the congress: What is its function?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2005 #2

    Pengwuino

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    Explaining an entire political system is going to take a long time... There are far more then 4 political parties... it's just that only 3 or 4 have much of a following or resources. Congress basically passes laws and delegates money...

    a whole lot more to that but im no encyclopedia :P
     
  4. Nov 6, 2005 #3
    You could start here for background infromation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Government

    There are effectively only two parties: "Democrats" and "elephants" (more commonly known as "Republicans"). This polarization comes about because in the US people* watch a lot of television, as a result they are mostly incapable of thinking or making choices. Also I think the diet has something to do with it - lots of sugar, together with unhealthy lifestyles.
    *(not all, just a voting majority)

    Traditionally, the Democratic party represented the "working class", aligned themselves with unions, favored increasing taxes and larger government; whereas the Republican party represented individualism, freedom from government, less taxation, and a smaller government with less bureaucracy. These positions have been blurred in recent history; for example, the current Republican party is actually creating a much bigger and more powerful bureaucracy.

    If you've read this far, you're better informed than a quarter of the voting American populace. Feel good about yourself.
     
  5. Nov 6, 2005 #4
    In short, it doesn't.

    Sorry, I could resist. :smile:
     
  6. Nov 6, 2005 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Might want to go look it up in a text book rather then from the ideological viewpoints you'll soon see on here (you really picked the wrong forum oddly enough)
     
  7. Nov 6, 2005 #6

    Astronuc

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    :rofl: That more or less what I was planning to say - "The problem is, that it doesn't work." :biggrin:

    Actually, for a basic structure and the functions of the Federal government, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Constitution

    Text - http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.html

    Then one has to read thousand so pages of the US Code - http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/browse.html

    That takes care of the national (Federal) government.
    Each of the 50 states has its own Constitution, for provisions of executive, legislative and judicial structure and functions.

    Then local political units have charters, patents or other documents for describing their structure and function, e.g Los Angeles, CA - http://www.lacity.org/lacity102.htm
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2005
  8. Nov 6, 2005 #7

    meL

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    Good :smile:

    The power structure in the world
    can't work.

    It is useless to talk about politics.

    :bugeye:
     
  9. Nov 6, 2005 #8

    meL

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    In other words,
    the power structure
    must collapse gently.
    .
     
  10. Nov 6, 2005 #9

    Pengwuino

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    haha i just thought up a good one

    "politics has no room in government"
     
  11. Nov 6, 2005 #10
    The president of US is elected but what about his ministers?

    In India the Prime Minister heads the cabinet, he is elected, the other ministers are also elected(they have to be members of the Lok Sabha i.e. the house of Commons in the Parliament)

    Is it true that if u commit a crime in one state u cant be arested in another
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2005
  12. Nov 6, 2005 #11

    Pengwuino

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    His equivalency would be his "Secretaries". You have say, the "secretary of State", the "Secretary of Defense", the "Secretary of Education", and they are all CHOSEN by the president (god if we had our population vote for each secretary now-a-days, no one would want to vote anymore!). The # of secretaries is also not a fixed #. I believe a President can arbitrarily add new secretaries (possibly with Congressional approval, im not sure). The first cabinets only had like... 5 secretaries while we now have 15.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/cabinet.html

    There they are as a matter of fact
     
  13. Nov 6, 2005 #12
    Then how are the people represented!!!
    All the power is in the Prez's hands!!!!!
     
  14. Nov 6, 2005 #13

    Astronuc

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    The people, more or less, elect the president, but indirectly. The US has a somewhat odd system called the Electoral College. While the people vote in a popular election for president, they are actually voting for members in the Electoral College, who in theory will express the intent of the voters, i.e. if the majority of voters vote for a particular person for president, then the EC will also vote for that person. But each state has a certain number of EC members apportioned according to the congressional representation. So some states have many more EC members, and although the national popular vote may favor one presidential candidate, it is entirely possible that another candidate.

    The people are also represented by their congressional (House and Senate) members, who in theory provide some restraint on the president. However, as we have observed recently, when the president and majority of congress are from the same political party, the restraint or "checks and balances" are absent or ineffectual.
     
  15. Nov 6, 2005 #14
    it depends on the crime and both states laws
    for most major crimes you will be arested and returned to the state
    where the crime was commited
    but hearings and govenors can slow or stop the process it is not automatic
    for most minor crimes they just donot care to go thru the time and expence
     
  16. Nov 6, 2005 #15

    Pengwuino

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    The Legislative and judicial branches are meant to be checks and balances. The legislative branch is the only branch that is allowed to make laws or administer finances. The executive branch has its own "check" on the legislative branch by being able to veto legislation by the Congress. However, the Congress can once again override that veto if it can get a 2/3 vote to over-ride the President's veto (1/2 is required to pass laws). The Congress can also call for the impeachment and removal of a President which acts as another "check" on Executive power.

    The Judicial Branch is basically our system of courts. At the top is the supreme court. They can rule if a Legislative action is unconstitutional and if it is, it must be thrown out. They can also do the same to an executive (Presidential) decision. The Executive branch has a "check" on them since the President is the one who decides who gets to be on in the courts when vacancies do arise. I actually don't remember how the Legislative branch has a "check" on the Judicial branch however...

    Lately however, everyone is getting a bit out of line. For example, the Judicial branch is doing something called "Legislating from the bench". The Judicial Branch's main function is suppose to be that they decide if laws passed from congress or actions of the President are Constitutional or not. Now it has gotten to a point where they are almost literally passing their own laws. Recently the Supreme Court ruled on what is being termed as "Eminent Domain" and it is being taken as if it were an entirely new law! The Legislative is also getting out of hand by having a minority dictate what is going on and encroaching on the Presiden't power to appoint judges to the courts. I won't comment on what teh President is doing since that'll really get people going. It seems what the US Constitution and the US Code feel is wrong for a President to do is not in line with what a portion of this country feels is wrong for a President to do.
     
  17. Nov 6, 2005 #16
    You beat me to it.
     
  18. Nov 6, 2005 #17
    This is utterly, utterly false! Eminent domain was sanctioned way back in the original Bill of Rights, in the 5th amendment:

    The phrase "eminent domain" has existed for 150+ years:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain

    The recent supreme court ruling was essentially an affirmation of existing law. There is currently legislation to do away with it; it recently passed in the House of Representatives. The courts themselves could not get rid of it or rule it unconsitutional - it's right there in the Constitution!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2005
  19. Nov 6, 2005 #18

    Pengwuino

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    Bah, you caught me on it. Ok i guess we have to get technical about it. Eminent domain has been the idea that the government can take private property for the public good (ie a house to allow for a freeway or train station or military base to be established). A new ruling (which people ARE referring to as "eminent domain" even though yes, it makes little sense since the idea has been in practice a good 200 years or so) allows the government to take land with a much broader definition of "public good". The new sense is pretty much anything and everything that might improve an area of town be it a shopping mall, movie theatre, or mcdonalds as long as a politician approves of it can be considered "eminent domain". This is paving the way for a lot of private companies to go in and take property as long as some politician approves of it. It is pretty much a defacto law.

    You are wrong however in saying that it is affirming existing law. It is re-interpretting existing law to make it applicable in a much broader sense.
     
  20. Nov 6, 2005 #19

    selfAdjoint

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    Not so. The decision was brand new law redifining the previously accepted standard of what is "public use" in the amendment you quoted. It also has implications for interpeting "just compensation".

    If all that had been at stake was the existence of eminent domain, the case would never have reached the Supreme Court. It would have been declared against whichever side denied the law, and would have been reaffirmed at every level and the Suprems would rightly have refused cert.
     
  21. Nov 6, 2005 #20

    russ_watters

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    No, the President doesn't have all that much power. He can't write laws or run the courts.
     
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