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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:29 am 
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m0002a wrote:
andyb wrote:
Classic question dodge. Let me rephrase it for you. If you were the President, had both houses full support (and had been democratically elected), would you (as you DO have the power), dramatically cut down on the gun ownership of your people if there was solid proof that the murder rate would halve in 12-months, even though this would not affect people being able to legally kill wildlife.? Yes, or No.?

Personally, I would not allow ordinary citizens to possess most kinds of assault weapons. I am not sure of the current status of such bans, but I believe that some are already outlawed, and some laws to outlaw them apparently expired, but not 100% sure.


Define 'assault weapons,' please. I have a M1903 Springfield and a Mauser 24/47 - both were the primary battle rifle of their day and are large-caliber military weapons, not hunting rifles. Are they assault weapons, even though they are bolt-action and are both close to 100-years old? I also have a Saiga .223 carbine, which is based upon the AK47 (e.g. a semi-automatic long-stroke gas piston design) but is a hunting rifle (good for feral pigs, coyotes, mountain lions, etc. - similar to the Ruger Mini-14, which is based upon the M14 battle rifle in that it shares the same action design) - is that an assault weapon? The problem with using the nomenclature of 'assault weapon' is that it is an extremely vague notion. Sure, you can bolt parts onto a Saiga or a Mini-14 and make it into something that looks similar to a military rifle, but it won't be a military rifle because it won't be fully automatic (and FYI - converting a rifle to fully-auto will get you sent to "Federal Pound Me In the Ass Prison" - so don't try it).

I am all in favor of stricter gun laws with regards to longer waiting periods, eliminating any loopholes that may allow people to purchase weapons without background checks and improving background checks to cover scenarios like mental illness.

-D

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:37 am 
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Location: USA
andyb wrote:
Thanks m0002a, that's very interesting to know, and reminds me that it was only a few years ago that I even knew that "ex-Presidents" are still called "President", this actually ended up as a minor news story in the UK when ex-Prime Minister Tony bLiar met either Bush or Obama and was still referred to as "Prime Minister". Customs across the world are always very interesting especially as they are often archaic and literally "belong" in a different era but are still continued.

It is merely a custom (mostly observed by the media), and not required. I can assure you that Arnold's ex-wife, Maria Shriver, does not call him "Governor." Even when he was in office, most comedians called him the "Governator."


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:58 am 
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Posts: 3302
Location: Essex, England
Quote:
1. Head of State - what does that mean? Obviously the US President is head of state. Who else, in the absence of a monarch, would be head of state in the US? Not exactly sure what the benefits of "head of state" are.


From Wiki: A head of state is the individual who serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of state in the country's constitution and laws. In nation states the head of state is often thought of as the official "leader" of the nation.

From Me: Some countries have a formal Head of State who is politically impotent, others like mine have an entirely non-democratic Monarchy, others such as yours is also a political heavyweight.

Quote:
2. Veto Powers - The President can veto legislation passed by Congress, but the veto can be overridden by a a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress. The US President cannot initiate legislation, the can only sign or veto legislation passed by Congress. The US Supreme Court has the right to decide if any legislation signed into law is constitutional or not, and can overrule the President in that regard.


In the UK, our political system is very different in almost every way, no-one has any Veto ability within the UK political system.

Quote:
3. Media Spotlight - You can't be serious. Tiger Woods and Lebron James get a lot more media attention. Who the f--K cares?


When the Iraq war started Bush jnr was in the spotlight constantly, as was bLiar, but the Queen was not even though she is the Head of State, effigy's were burnt in the streets of Iraq of Bush and bLiar, but not our head of state. The main point of the difference here is that your entire country was to blame in the eyes of millions of Iraqi's, whereas the leading member of the political party in power in the UK was to blame, but not our figurehead.

Who the hell is Lebron James.? Not that I care.?

4. Lifetime benefits - The US President only earns a salary of $400,000 per year, which puts the President about at the 1% level of income in the US. In other words, if there are 200,000,000 million people employed in the US, then there are 2 million people in the US who make more money than the US President. Plus, their dry cleaning bills are outrageous. Former presidents do get some lifetime benefits (mostly security), but not all that much compared to any other corporate executive.

A UK Prime Ministers salary is $110,000, they get a fraction of the security (if any) that they had whilst in office, and unlike US Presidents they can be prosecuted for things that the did whilst in power, I am thinking of Nixon.

Quote:
5. Term of Office - A king/queen obtains office via heredity reasons, and the US President is elected. A king/queen has a lifetime office, whereas a President must be elected every 4 years and cannot server more than 10 years in office.


No-one is doubting the unfairness of heredity Monarchy, however no-one has ever persuaded me that there is a better solution. It would be impossible to "create" a royal family as a non-political head of state for a country that has never had one, however we do have. Ignoring the financial benefits (yes the Royal family is a net producer of wealth) the current Queen has been almost impeccable carrying out her job - she has been a much better head of state than a combination of the last 12 US Presidents - specifically because she has nothing at all to do with politics. Whether Charles will be as good is to be seen.


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:14 pm 
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Location: UK
m0002a wrote:
2. I already mentioned that conspiracy to harm or kill anyone is a State crime in the US, even if the act is not carried out.


Yes, we have those laws too, I never suspected that you didn't. :roll: What is special though is that you have also have a law specific to threatening the president as if they are a special person. In the UK the only people (other than Police) afforded such a law are the royal family, through treason laws. Hence the similarity of your president being treated like royalty. Our PM gets none of this, the assasination of Spencer Perceval was just treated as another murder.

m0002a wrote:
For a President, it is a Federal crime, for obviously reasons. Nothing to do with royalty.

So for your president it is a special case, clearly as you cite 'obvious reasons'. Similarly we have a special case which would apply throughout the commonwealth realms, that of treason, again, only afforded to royalty, are you getting the analogy yet?

m0002a wrote:
3. You are wrong about State funerals in the US.


Errr, no I'm not, because you've misread what I said. US presidents are automatically entitled to a state funeral, that's what I said. I didn't say that it was limited to them and them only. In the UK major royals will get a state funeral however, as with the US, it is not limited to them, hence some prime ministers have been offered one in the past but only in line with others too. For example the very first British state funeral was Isaac Newton and I'm sure we can agree that is a worthwhile award.

m0002a wrote:
Persons other than the President (or former president) are entitled to a state funeral if specially designated by the President of the United States.


And persons other than our royalty can also be given a state funeral but it isn't the monarch or the PM that agrees it, it requires an act of parliament. It has been suggested that Margaret Thatcher should be given one upon her death.

However nothing you have said counteracts what I said, in the US the entitlement to a state funeral by a US president is only matched in the UK by major royalty, hence the analogy between royalty and the US presidency stands.

m0002a wrote:
In general, you seem to making superficial observations that appear to be somewhat similar in both the US and UK, and then trying to conclude that the US President is a monarch. The attempt to do that is a logical fallacy.


In general you seem to be saying that George III was a tyrant and this somehow gives you the right to carry guns in the modern era yet you do not see why others consider this to be a logical fallacy.

I can't actually see the British Royal family as being exactly unpopular in the US. The wedding of William and Kate managed to pull in somewhere over 20 million US TV viewers and Americans are one of the big tourist groups that make the royal family such a big money earner for the UK. Maybe because they are above politics and therefore can not be considered tainted by it's corruption and excess?

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:00 pm
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Location: Essex, England
Quote:
Define 'assault weapons,' please. I have a M1903 Springfield and a Mauser 24/47 - both were the primary battle rifle of their day and are large-caliber military weapons, not hunting rifles. Are they assault weapons, even though they are bolt-action and are both close to 100-years old? I also have a Saiga .223 carbine, which is based upon the AK47 (e.g. a semi-automatic long-stroke gas piston design) but is a hunting rifle (good for feral pigs, coyotes, mountain lions, etc. - similar to the Ruger Mini-14, which is based upon the M14 battle rifle in that it shares the same action design) - is that an assault weapon? The problem with using the nomenclature of 'assault weapon' is that it is an extremely vague notion. Sure, you can bolt parts onto a Saiga or a Mini-14 and make it into something that looks similar to a military rifle, but it won't be a military rifle because it won't be fully automatic (and FYI - converting a rifle to fully-auto will get you sent to "Federal Pound Me In the Ass Prison" - so don't try it).


I have always understood the definition of "Assault weapon" as any rapid fire gun with a large magazine. That would of course not cover your antique and very nice looking rifles unless they were modified which as you say would get your ring stretched.

The AK47 is obviously an "assault Weapon" that would allow a single person the ability to kill a whole crowd of people very quickly before re-loading another 30-round magazine.

Quote:
I am all in favor of stricter gun laws with regards to longer waiting periods, eliminating any loopholes that may allow people to purchase weapons without background checks and improving background checks to cover scenarios like mental illness.


I am glad that common sense prevails.

FYI, I own an archaic but very well made .22 air rifle, and a .22 air pistol. Both spring powered and both single shot. In the UK I am allowed to own them both without a license or registration, there is a short list of wildlife I am allowed to shoot, but only on my premises or someone else's with their permission, I cannot shoot anything on public land. I am allowed to "transport" the rifle around within a rifle case, I am not sure about the pistol although I suspect that must be allowed to be transported if it is concealed and of course not loaded. With either of these weapons it is so difficult to kill someone you might as well just use a knife, screwdriver or even brick, hence the reason why they are basically "safe" for anything but magpies, feral pigeons, rats and grey squirrels.


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:32 pm 
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m0002a wrote:
1. Any official in the US (state or federal level) is usually entitled to be called by the highest public office they ever held, even if they no longer hold that office. There is no law about this, it is just custom. So for example, Arnold Schwarzenegger should be addressed as "Governor" even though he is no longer governor of California. This has nothing to do with royalty and is not limited to the President. It even applies to dog catchers, if that is a public office in a particular locality.


That's interesting. Curious, but interesting.
Here the same applies just for the former Presidents.

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:34 pm 
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Posts: 2831
Location: USA
andyb wrote:
In the UK, our political system is very different in almost every way, no-one has any Veto ability within the UK political system.

There is no need to have a veto power in a parliamentary form of government, since the Prime Minister is elected by the Parliament. In the US, the President and the Congress are elected separately, and so the leaders of Congress and the President may be (and often are) of different political parities. This is part of the separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government in the US, each with checks and balances against the others. It is not all that efficient, and sometimes messy, and the President does not have as much power as you might think.

andyb wrote:
Who the hell is Lebron James.? Not that I care.?

The French will find out on Sunday at 2:30 PM. Lucky for you, Great Britain does not play against the US in basketball in the preliminary rounds.

andyb wrote:
A UK Prime Ministers salary is $110,000, they get a fraction of the security (if any) that they had whilst in office, and unlike US Presidents they can be prosecuted for things that the did whilst in power, I am thinking of Nixon.

A US President can be prosecuted for crimes while in office via the impeachment process. A president can be prosecuted after he leaves office for crimes committed while in office via normal criminal procedures. Nixon was granted a pardon by President Gerald Ford, otherwise he would have been prosecuted after he left office. Clinton was disbarred (after he left office) from legal practice for 5 years by a federal judge relating to the Paula Jones civil case when he was President. Presidents grant hundreds of pardons to various persons. Clinton granted pardons to many known criminals, including multi-million dollar tax cheaters like Marc Rich (who happened to donate several hundred thousand dollars to his presidential library and to Hilary Clinton's Senate campaign).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Rich

andyb wrote:
No-one is doubting the unfairness of heredity Monarchy, however no-one has ever persuaded me that there is a better solution. It would be impossible to "create" a royal family as a non-political head of state for a country that has never had one, however we do have. Ignoring the financial benefits (yes the Royal family is a net producer of wealth) the current Queen has been almost impeccable carrying out her job - she has been a much better head of state than a combination of the last 12 US Presidents - specifically because she has nothing at all to do with politics. Whether Charles will be as good is to be seen.

I never said that a monarch is unfair. I just think it is different than the US presidency, and I don't think it is for the US. It may be fine for GB, but it really is none of my business.

Overall, I am somewhat amazed, but not totally surprised, at the level of misinformation that exists in the UK about the US and its form of government.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:56 pm 
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Location: USA
edh wrote:
So for your president it is a special case, clearly as you cite 'obvious reasons'. Similarly we have a special case which would apply throughout the commonwealth realms, that of treason, again, only afforded to royalty, are you getting the analogy yet?

The United States has State laws (which can be different in each state) and Federal laws. It is Federal Crime to harm any Federal employee. It does not apply only to the President.

As far as analogies goes, you should consider a college course in logic. You are pointing out a few similarities, and then concluding that the US President is basically the same as royalty.

edh wrote:
And persons other than our royalty can also be given a state funeral but it isn't the monarch or the PM that agrees it, it requires an act of parliament. It has been suggested that Margaret Thatcher should be given one upon her death.

However nothing you have said counteracts what I said, in the US the entitlement to a state funeral by a US president is only matched in the UK by major royalty, hence the analogy between royalty and the US presidency stands.

Another case of misguided logic. Just because there are some minor things similar, does not mean that the US President is basically the same as royalty.

edh wrote:
In general you seem to be saying that George III was a tyrant and this somehow gives you the right to carry guns in the modern era yet you do not see why others consider this to be a logical fallacy.

I quoted the US Declaration of Independence, wherein the Founders (not me) said that the GB King was a tyrant. I explained that one of the main reasons (if not only reason) for the 2nd ammendment was to protect the people from overbearing and overreaching governements, either at home or from abroad. That is what the Founders said, so if you have a problem with that, please contact them about it.

edh wrote:
I can't actually see the British Royal family as being exactly unpopular in the US. The wedding of William and Kate managed to pull in somewhere over 20 million US TV viewers and Americans are one of the big tourist groups that make the royal family such a big money earner for the UK. Maybe because they are above politics and therefore can not be considered tainted by it's corruption and excess?

OMG!! Whether Royal Weddings or the Royal family are popular in the US has nothing to do with whether that form of government would be popular in the US. I have never once ever heard anyone in the US say we should have a monarchy. If you saw what garbage on American TV is the most popular, you would not be so quick to associate American popularity with quality or even desirability. In general, you seem very self-conscious in defending the British monarchy, and what you don't understand is that I don't care if you have a monarchy or not. It is none of my business. So please quit trying to make ridiculous analogies in an attempt to prove that the US President is a monarch.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:18 pm 
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m0002a wrote:
since the Prime Minister is elected by the Parliament.


Really? You think our PM is elected by parliament? In an election you vote for a candidate to represent the consituency as MP. They may be associated with a political party or they may be independent. We have loads of candidates and the US is rare in almost having just 2 political parties, in the UK there are probably about 20 who return any serious number of votes. Is an individual's vote down to the candidates own personal strengths and views? For most people it would not be, the political party they are in and the leader of that party is much more important in it. The party that gains a majority of MPs will then be in government. If there is no overall majority then things get complicated, governments with no overall control can govern but more likely a coalition. Theoretically Labour could have held onto power after the last election as the Conservatives did not manage an overall majority but such a move would most likely have caused a new election as no laws could be passed. At any point a motion of no confidence can be started and a new election called. So whereas you can have an inefficient stalemate, for 4 years, sooner rather than later later ours would end with a new general election, a good reason why we mustn't change to a standard length of term as is being proposed by the Lib Dems.

The leader of the party with the majority of MPs (or has not LOST a majority) will then be invited by the Queen to form a government.

There is also much greater scrutiny of political leaders in the UK before they get to the stage of being elected. Normally before being elected as PM one would have to first lead the opposition. As leader of the opposition they have to face up to the PM at Prime Ministers Questions week in week out. Any sign of weakness will be picked up either by the media or worse their own party, hence we go through far more leaders of the opposition than we do prime ministers. Tony Blair for example faced up to William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Micheal Howard and David Cameron. The Lib Dems (also in opposition but not the biggest party in it) went through Paddy Ashdown, Charles Kennedy, Sir Menzies Cambell and then Clegg. In the US there is not this level of drawn out public scrutiny before someone can get to power hence when people in the UK vote ostensibly for a local MP, they are really basing it on the leader of the party.

Please don't make sweeping judgements here about misinformation on others behalfs when you don't even know how our Prime Minister is chosen.

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:26 pm 
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Quote:
There is no need to have a veto power in a parliamentary form of government, since the Prime Minister is elected by the Parliament.


edh beat me to it. But as I have not yet read his reply, mine will be very short. The political party that they belong to chooses the "leader" of that political party, NOT the people, the people simply vote that person in as their "Local MP".

Quote:
In the US, the President and the Congress are elected separately, and so the leaders of Congress and the President may be (and often are) of different political parities. This is part of the separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government in the US, each with checks and balances against the others. It is not all that efficient, and sometimes messy, and the President does not have as much power as you might think.


That is very messy and often produces stalemates such as the current Obama ere issues, where the political rambling goes on and on and nothing really happens - this is what is referred to in UK politics as "Weak Government". We currently have a milder form of that here in the UK, with a 2-Party coalition but its far more effective at making things happen than the US Stalemate that has been going on for the last 2-years.

Quote:
The French will find out on Sunday at 2:30 PM. Lucky for you, Great Britain does not play against the US in basketball in the preliminary rounds.


I will find out I am sure, on that note the US Women's football team won their opening game against France today.

Quote:
A US President can be prosecuted for crimes while in office via the impeachment process. A president can be prosecuted after he leaves office for crimes committed while in office via normal criminal procedures. Nixon was granted a pardon by President Gerald Ford, otherwise he would have been prosecuted after he left office. Clinton was disbarred (after he left office) from legal practice for 5 years by a federal judge relating to the Paula Jones civil case when he was President. Presidents grant hundreds of pardons to various persons. Clinton granted pardons to many known criminals, including multi-million dollar tax cheaters like Marc Rich (who happened to donate several hundred thousand dollars to his presidential library and to Hilary Clinton's Senate campaign).


My apologies, I have recently watched the film "Frost/Nixon" (which is much more entertaining than it should be) where Nixon's pardon is mentioned, I unfortunately took that the wrong way, and to mean that essentially all US Presidents are pardoned for any offenses the did whilst in office so long as they are no longer in office.

Quote:
I never said that a monarch is unfair. I just think it is different than the US presidency, and I don't think it is for the US. It may be fine for GB, but it really is none of my business.


It is unfair to have a hereditary monarchy as we do have, but I still see it as the best solution (for the UK).

Quote:
Overall, I am somewhat amazed, but not totally surprised, at the level of misinformation that exists in the UK about the US and its form of government.


Ditto in reverse. Far from complaining, learning new things and especially being corrected by your good self over things that I have stated as "true" but are not puts me in a much better situation, personally I would rather know the truth even if it is bad, sad or embarrassing than believe a lie. We are all in a better position if we have a clearer understanding of each others positions, which is why I am more than happy to admit to being wrong, and I try not to offend others when I put them right, and I hope they are not offended by me when I do.


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:43 pm 
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andyb wrote:
edh beat me to it. But as I have not yet read his reply, mine will be very short. The political party that they belong to chooses the "leader" of that political party, NOT the people, the people simply vote that person in as their "Local MP".

I never said that the people vote for the PM, in fact I specifically said the opposite. In effect, the members of Parliament of the ruling party are the ones who chose the leader of their party, which is the person who becomes PM if their party is in the majority (obviously gets a little more complicated when there is no majority party). It works pretty much the same way for the Speaker of House of Representatives in the US.

But the President of the US may be, and often is, of a different party than the Congress, so that is when the veto power may get exercised. It would be extremely rare for a US President to veto legislation if the President was of the same political party as the majority of Congress. Since the PM and the Parliament are almost always of the same party (or at least of the same ruling coalition), then there is not much of a need for veto power. This isn't only for GB, but any parliamentary form of government.

The point is that there is no compelling reason to have veto power in a Parliamentary form of government, because in most cases, if the PM disagreed with the majority of the members of Parliament (at least on major issues), he/she probably would not have been chosen as the leader of the party in the first place.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:57 pm 
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andyb wrote:
My apologies, I have recently watched the film "Frost/Nixon" (which is much more entertaining than it should be) where Nixon's pardon is mentioned, I unfortunately took that the wrong way, and to mean that essentially all US Presidents are pardoned for any offenses the did whilst in office so long as they are no longer in office.

There is usually an inverse relationship between entertaining movies and movies which are accurate in historical terms. I have not seen Frost/Nixon, but I would not be surprised if there were many inaccuracies or misleading things in the movie. In fact, a quick Google search yields many hits about inaccuracies in the movie, including this one:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabeth ... 50948.html

As I said before, it is none of my business what form of government GB has. I don't care in the slightest, and I never spend any time thinking or worrying about it (neither do 99.9% of other Americans).


Last edited by m0002a on Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:05 pm 
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andyb wrote:
That is very messy and often produces stalemates such as the current Obama ere issues, where the political rambling goes on and on and nothing really happens - this is what is referred to in UK politics as "Weak Government". We currently have a milder form of that here in the UK, with a 2-Party coalition but its far more effective at making things happen than the US Stalemate that has been going on for the last 2-years.

Yes, that is what I was trying to explain. The President of the US is not as powerful as some believe (you can ask Obama about that). In addition to sometimes having to deal with the opposition party controlling one or both parties of Congress, the Supreme Court has the final say in matters of the constitutionality of any laws or actions of the President. Even if the President is of the same party that controls both the House and the Senate, the opposition party in the Senate can filibuster any legislation if they have at least 40% of the votes, even though they are the minority party.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Quote:
I never said that the people vote for the PM, in fact I specifically said the opposite. In effect, the members of Parliament of the ruling party are the ones who chose the leader of their party, which is the person who becomes PM if their party is in the majority (obviously gets a little more complicated when there is no majority party). It works pretty much the same way for the Speaker of House of Representatives in the US.


Sadly due to time constraints I have not bothered to read the vast majority of the discussion between you two as it seems to have become a little aggressive and polarised. I simply responded to the part that I quoted, and still have not read edh's post.

But anyway.... to highlight a specific point in the above quote of yours "the members of Parliament of the ruling party are the ones who chose the leader of their party", not true, the members of each party, ruling or not choose their "champion" for lack of a better word. The rest is spot on, although I understand some of the workings of US politics the rest is "Greek" to most people outside of the US (courtesy of watching every episode of "The West Wing" in about 6-weeks).

Quote:
But the President of the US may be, and often is, of a different party than the Congress, so that is when the veto power may get exercised. It would be extremely rare for a US President to veto legislation if the President was of the same political party as the majority of Congress. Since the PM and the Parliament are almost always of the same party (or at least of the same ruling coalition), then there is not much of a need for veto power.


That much is true, but as you have mentioned in earlier posts, even if a Veto is used it can then be re-voted upon and pushed through without a second (or infinite amount of) veto's, which begs the question of what is the purpose of a veto compared to "the second house" about which I know nothing at all. The second house in the UK is called "the house of Lords" and its main purposes are to refine details of bills passed to it by the house of commons, or to simply refuse a bill (i.e. not pass it into law) which is very important when a party has a huge majority and votes on party lines vs their own conscience.


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Quote:
As I said before, it is none of my business what form of government GB has. I don't care in the slightest, and I never spend any time thinking or worrying about it (neither do 99.9% of other Americans).


Don't you ever pause to think how things "might" be different. I often do, which is why I want to know more about how you see yourself in your country, so I have a better understanding of how I would see your country without being there. Putting yourself into the mind of another is a very positive thing to do, as far as I am concerned it broadens my knowledge, and that is a good thing - not that I want you to do or think the way that I do, you have free will to do what you wish.

Quote:
andyb wrote:
I never said that a monarch is unfair. I just think it is different than the US presidency, and I don't think it is for the US. It may be fine for GB, but it really is none of my business.

As I said before, it is none of my business what form of government GB has. I don't care in the slightest, and I never spend any time thinking or worrying about it (neither do 99.9% of other Americans).


You seem to have quoted my name to something you posted, when you sort out this mess, so will I. I would appreciate no-one to quote this as it is obviously a mistake.

Quote:
Yes, that is what I was trying to explain. The President of the US is not as powerful as some believe (you can ask Obama about that). In addition to sometimes having to deal with the opposition party controlling one or both parties of Congress, the Supreme Court has the final say in matters of the constitutionality of any laws or actions of the President. Even if the President is of the same party that controls both the House and the Senate, the opposition party in the Senate can filibuster any legislation if they have at least 40% of the votes, even though they are the minority party.


Again, I have to agree that the information that we in the UK receive about US politics is not as close to the truth as it should be, and yes a great deal of it is gained through TV programs and films. And the US president "always" seems much more powerful than our own "Prime Minister" because he is also "Head of State" and as such gets to do all of the things that our Queen does, whilst our Prime Minister is in the sidelines during "State Visits" unlike the US President.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:20 pm 
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andyb wrote:
Don't you ever pause to think how things "might" be different. I often do, which is why I want to know more about how you see yourself in your country, so I have a better understanding of how I would see your country without being there. Putting yourself into the mind of another is a very positive thing to do, as far as I am concerned it broadens my knowledge, and that is a good thing - not that I want you to do or think the way that I do, you have free will to do what you wish.

I am quite familiar with the parliamentary form of government, even though the GB version may have some different quirks than others of that same type. But it is none of my business as to the form of government others have and I don't like to meddle in the affairs of others, unless they seriously threaten or actually attack my country.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:32 pm 
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andyb wrote:
But anyway.... to highlight a specific point in the above quote of yours "the members of Parliament of the ruling party are the ones who chose the leader of their party", not true, the members of each party, ruling or not choose their "champion" for lack of a better word. The rest is spot on, although I understand some of the workings of US politics the rest is "Greek" to most people outside of the US (courtesy of watching every episode of "The West Wing" in about 6-weeks).

There must be some serious differences between US English and UK English. Yes, the members of each party choose their leader. Works the same way in the US Congress. But if the party is the majority party, then their leader becomes PM (or Speaker of the House in the US). I am saying the same thing. The leaders of a party are effectively those persons of the party who are also members of Parliament of that party, so "in effect" Parliament chooses who the PM is. Therefore, if Parliament passes a law, there is a 99.9999% chance that the law is supported by the PM, otherwise that person would not be PM. That is why in a parliamentary form of government, the PM does not have any veto power (this is not unique to GB).


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:46 pm 
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andyb wrote:
Again, I have to agree that the information that we in the UK receive about US politics is not as close to the truth as it should be, and yes a great deal of it is gained through TV programs and films. And the US president "always" seems much more powerful than our own "Prime Minister" because he is also "Head of State" and as such gets to do all of the things that our Queen does, whilst our Prime Minister is in the sidelines during "State Visits" unlike the US President.

The US President only seems more powerful, since he/she is elected by the people (sort of) separate from the election of the Congress. In a parliamentary form of government, the "actual" PM seems less important (and in a sense is interchangeable with another person of the same party), since the PM is not on the ballet and is simply the leader of the majority party. Part of it also has to do with the perceived power of the US in world economic and military affairs.

Regarding "state visits," very few in US pays much attention to that nonsense, and it certainly has nothing to do with actual power of the Presidency.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:11 pm 
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andyb wrote:
That much is true, but as you have mentioned in earlier posts, even if a Veto is used it can then be re-voted upon and pushed through without a second (or infinite amount of) veto's, which begs the question of what is the purpose of a veto compared to "the second house" about which I know nothing at all. The second house in the UK is called "the house of Lords" and its main purposes are to refine details of bills passed to it by the house of commons, or to simply refuse a bill (i.e. not pass it into law) which is very important when a party has a huge majority and votes on party lines vs their own conscience.

In the US, both houses of Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) must approve a proposed law (laws are never "officially" proposed by the President) before it goes to the President to be signed. If the President vetoes it, then the Congress can override the veto only if both houses of Congress (separately) vote to override the veto by a two-thirds majority in each chamber.

The role and operaton of the Senate in the US is quite different than the House of Lords. With regard to legislation, the Senate basically has equal power with the House of Representatives, although certain kinds of bills must originate in the House (those dealing with revenues/taxation). The Senate has the additional power/responsibility to confirm or deny many Presidential appointments, such as high ranking officials in the Executive Branch, and also in the Courts, that number about 1000 for each presidential term. The Senate also has the power to ratify treaties.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:47 pm 
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m0002a wrote:
Yes, the members of each party choose their leader. Works the same way in the US Congress. But if the party is the majority party, then their leader becomes PM (or Speaker of the House in the US). I am saying the same thing. The leaders of a party are effectively those persons of the party who are also members of Parliament of that party, so "in effect" Parliament chooses who the PM is.


I'm afraid this is incorrect but you are not alone as many people in our own country have the same misunderstanding! The leaderhip of any political party is NOT down to a vote of it's MPs, it is down to however the constitution of the party says. In the case of the major parties this now means a vote amongst their rank and file members not members of parliament, typically the little old ladies who pay a subscription every year and put little flags out during campaigning. A leadership challenge however would have to be launched by an MP, this happened when Micheal Heseltine challenged Margaret Thatcher in 1990, ending up in a leadership election which saw John Major becoming PM and again in 1995 when John Redwood challenged John Major, losing out. The Conservative party has since changed it's leadership election process to the 'one member one vote' principle under William Hague which unfortuntately had a disastorous result when first used: Iain Duncan Smith but since then has steadied and led to David Cameron being slected in 2005 in the obvious knowledge that he was the one who would give them the best chance of power.

The 1990 leadership battle which Micheal Heseltine initiated worked very effectively even if he didn't win and led to the 1992 election victory of John Major. There would have been little chance of Thatcher winning that election given her association with the poll tax. So I would have to say that our form of parliamentary democracy does work. Clearly it is not the party with the majority that always holds power and the leader of that party is not invincible, their own party can see to it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_Party_(UK)_leadership_election,_1990

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:43 am 
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edh wrote:
I'm afraid this is incorrect but you are not alone as many people in our own country have the same misunderstanding! The leaderhip of any political party is NOT down to a vote of it's MPs, it is down to however the constitution of the party says. In the case of the major parties this now means a vote amongst their rank and file members not members of parliament, typically the little old ladies who pay a subscription every year and put little flags out during campaigning. A leadership challenge however would have to be launched by an MP, this happened when Micheal Heseltine challenged Margaret Thatcher in 1990, ending up in a leadership election which saw John Major becoming PM and again in 1995 when John Redwood challenged John Major, losing out. The Conservative party has since changed it's leadership election process to the 'one member one vote' principle under William Hague which unfortuntately had a disastorous result when first used: Iain Duncan Smith but since then has steadied and led to David Cameron being slected in 2005 in the obvious knowledge that he was the one who would give them the best chance of power.

The 1990 leadership battle which Micheal Heseltine initiated worked very effectively even if he didn't win and led to the 1992 election victory of John Major. There would have been little chance of Thatcher winning that election given her association with the poll tax. So I would have to say that our form of parliamentary democracy does work. Clearly it is not the party with the majority that always holds power and the leader of that party is not invincible, their own party can see to it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_Party_(UK)_leadership_election,_1990

OK, I don't know all the technicalities and quirks of the British system. In many parliamentary systems the PM is voted by the Parliament. It doesn't really matter, since almost all of the time, the head of the majority party (regardless of how that person is chosen) is in political agreement with the majority of Parliament, otherwise that person would not have been asked to form a government. This is why in a parliamentary system there is no veto.

I assume that the British system is a little different than most systems because there is no single constitutional document. For that reason, in the British System, "no Act of Parliament can be unconstitutional, for the law of the land knows not the word or the idea." This probably explains the difficulty that some British citizens have in understanding the US Constitution, and that Congress and/or the President does not have the power to change the constitution by simply passing legislation (they must follow the rules of amending the Constitution, which is much more difficult process taking years to accomplish, and generally requires 3/4 of the states to approve it). This means that in the US any law passed by Congress and signed by the President may be overturned by the Supreme Court if they deem it be unconstitutional. Obviously, this has some major implications with regard to whether guns can be eliminated from American society, since the 2nd amendment (part of the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution explicitly states that citizens have the right to bear arms, and based on printed documentation we have regarding the debate surrounding the Bill of Rights at the time it was adopted, we know that means the right to posses firearms (at least to some limited degree).


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:54 am 
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m0002a wrote:
It doesn't really matter, since almost all of the time, the head of the majority party (regardless of how that person is chosen) is in political agreement with the majority of Parliament, otherwise that person would not have been asked to form a government. This is why in a parliamentary system there is no veto.


Just because a party is in a majority does not mean that every member of that party will vote with the government. At a general election much more emphasis is placed on the manifesto of a party and it is the job of each MP to represent their constituents. If they do not stand by their manifesto commitments then they are not doing their job properly. Similarly if the will of their constituents is different from that of the government, they should vote in line with their constituents, not their party. Failing to do their job properly means that they are increasing the likelihood of losing their seat at the next election. Party whips (a hunting term) are there to persuade backbench MPs to vote in line but bankbench revolts are common, especially under any Conservative government where there is much more freedom given to their expression.

In terms of veto after an act is passed by the commons, it still has to go through the Lords which may oppose sending it back to the commons until the next parliament when it can go through. Suggestion of party bias in the Lords system is somewhat unfounded as under Margaret Thatcher in the 80s, often considered our most right wing government of recent times, was when it actually vetoed the most acts. Beyond that a legal challenge could still be launched and it is possible that the monarch could refuse to sign a bill with the very aim to cause a constitutional crisis. The legal review that would follow would most likely side with the people, not the givernment or monarch.

So yes, there's plenty of room for vetoing. What there is also is a reduction in the amount that bills can be constantly ammended to try and appease enough people to get an act passed. This reduces the 'pork barrelling' effect - "I'll give you my vote on this budget in echange for a reduction in taxation on umbrellas and the introduction of additional legislation defining a legal minimum thickness for sandwiches."

m0002a wrote:
Obviously, this has some major implications with regard to whether guns can be eliminated from American society, since the 2nd amendment (part of the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution explicitly states that citizens have the right to bear arms


In France the consitution used to be very clear that many crimes were punishable by guillotine. The guillotine was introduced for reasons of egalitarianism in that beforehand the execution method varied by crime and only the rich could afford to pay for an expert swordsman to execute them. The guillotine allowed all French executees the luxury of a quick death by the blade without a master swordsman being required. So constitutional was it that the last execution by guillotine was in 1977 and it was only in 1981 that Mitterand removed the guillotine from the French constitution and therefore the death penalty with it. If the French could get rid of the guillitine from their constitution then there should be hope for the US controlling guns. What it does need however need is some cross party agreement and this is what you are lacking.

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:28 am 
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Local TV cited The Denver Post about the fact that firearms requests in Colorado increased by 41% after Aurora massacre.
I wonder if the next time the movie theater will turn into an old western saloon.

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:08 am 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18996026

Is Mitt Romney a total idiot, or was he misquoted.?

Quote:
"A lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law. But the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening," he said.

A campaign spokesman said Mr Romney was referring to explosive devices found in he cinema massacre suspect's apartment.


What a stupid thing to say, I will paraphrase his comment. "Murder is illegal, the fact that it is illegal did not stop this man from murdering 12 people."

WTF was going through this mans mind when he stated something totally obvious.


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:15 am 
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The Mitt Romney gaffe's continue, fortunately these are harmless and/or amusing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19000272

For those of you who cant view this (most of you), Mitt Romney is in London today, in this instance he is in front of camera's with Ed Milliband, the Labour party leader. Mitt first said that he is looking forward to the Olympic torch coming to London, which is odd as it has been in London all week, he then amusingly called Milliband "Mr Leader".

As we have already discussed between ourselves, none of us fully understands how each others political systems and quirks work, including it seems Mitt Romney.


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:57 am 
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andyb wrote:
he then amusingly called Milliband "Mr Leader".


I don't know, Dave Miliband is quite forgettable :wink: but if you are going to be in politics you would think that you would make some effort to learn how to address people you might meet. I've worked for a longtime in healthcare industries and with literally thousands of doctors. Not always can I remember their names so I just cut things off at 'Dr'.

There do at least seem to be positive sounds being made about gun control but whether or not it works out is something else. In an election year I can see why this might not come off as the biggest issue to be addressed unless the public makes it do and makes the US presidential election into a vote on gun control.

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:07 am 
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Quote:
I don't know, Dave Miliband is quite forgettable :wink: but if you are going to be in politics you would think that you would make some effort to learn how to address people you might meet. I've worked for a longtime in healthcare industries and with literally thousands of doctors. Not always can I remember their names so I just cut things off at 'Dr'.


My point exactly, but then again though remember when Michelle Obama hugged the Queen - probably the first and last "commoner" to ever do so in public, that was harmless, broke a very longstanding protocol and was damned funny.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:18 am 
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The former Australian PM Paul Keating put his arm round the queen many years ago, he should have known better as he is one of her subjects! Michelle Obama I can kind of let off.

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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:01 pm 
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edh wrote:
In terms of veto after an act is passed by the commons, it still has to go through the Lords which may oppose sending it back to the commons until the next parliament when it can go through. Suggestion of party bias in the Lords system is somewhat unfounded as under Margaret Thatcher in the 80s, often considered our most right wing government of recent times, was when it actually vetoed the most acts. Beyond that a legal challenge could still be launched and it is possible that the monarch could refuse to sign a bill with the very aim to cause a constitutional crisis. The legal review that would follow would most likely side with the people, not the givernment or monarch.

So yes, there's plenty of room for vetoing. What there is also is a reduction in the amount that bills can be constantly ammended to try and appease enough people to get an act passed. This reduces the 'pork barrelling' effect - "I'll give you my vote on this budget in echange for a reduction in taxation on umbrellas and the introduction of additional legislation defining a legal minimum thickness for sandwiches."

The question was whether the US President is more powerful than a PM, since the President can veto and the PM cannot. It has nothing to do with other parts of the government having veto power. The answer is as I have stated, that in a Parliamentary form of government it is usually not necessary fo the PM to have veto power, since the PM became PM on the basis of the Parliament being the majority part, and which is the same party as the PM. In the US, it is not at all unusual for the Congress to be a different party than the President, if not when the President is first elected, then at least at some later point in their term of office.

edh wrote:
In France the consitution used to be very clear that many crimes were punishable by guillotine. The guillotine was introduced for reasons of egalitarianism in that beforehand the execution method varied by crime and only the rich could afford to pay for an expert swordsman to execute them. The guillotine allowed all French executees the luxury of a quick death by the blade without a master swordsman being required. So constitutional was it that the last execution by guillotine was in 1977 and it was only in 1981 that Mitterand removed the guillotine from the French constitution and therefore the death penalty with it. If the French could get rid of the guillitine from their constitution then there should be hope for the US controlling guns. What it does need however need is some cross party agreement and this is what you are lacking.

There may some additional controls on assault weapons, but there is no way that the 2nd amendment will be completely repealed in the US in the foreseeable future. I am not sure why foreign citizens are so concerned about what happens in other countries (I.e., USA). I would not presume to tell GB or France how to handle their internal affairs.


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 Post subject: Re: Your opinion on US gun laws under Obama.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:24 pm 
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The homicide rate charts that andyb linked to are indeed interesting, and everything just screams that it's poverty that's associated with murder. Poverty and social instability.

That being said, gun ownership as being practiced by the gun-worshiping segment of American society is just plain bluntly stupid. Even ignoring the ridiculous rationales they keep expressing, you see the pathetic consequences as all the accidents that happen.

A news headline I once saw but didn't have the heart to read the story -- "Girl, 5, Shoots Self in Walmart with Grandma's Gun."

A gun is useless as a defensive weapon in most instances (such as being robbed), but can nonetheless be useful as protection for certain especially vulnerable individuals. Your typical Bubba type is not one of those people, but he's the one who owns the most guns, and it sometimes results in the deaths of family and friends.

Assault weapons, of course, nobody in a non-police or military capacity needs.

I'd personally like to see assault weapons and gruesome 3rd trimester abortions banned, with the two political parties agreeing to leave the rest of the respective rights alone.

Murder rates are high among black and brown populations all over the world (due to poverty and social disorganization), but even if you considered poverty to be an excuse I would strongly bet that if you calculated the murder rates over the last 100 years by 'race' (and, yes, you would count genocides, Stalin purges, and war deaths among them) the whites would be right up there at or near the top of the heap. And if you count deaths caused by imperialistic wars on distant lands, than the indications shoot even higher. Europe and the West have had the technology and bureaucracy to execute methodical and massive life-taking, while much of the rest of the world has been confined to cruder forms of murder.


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