Today on Blogcritics
Home » Rise and Fall of a Constitutional Democracy: The United States

Rise and Fall of a Constitutional Democracy: The United States

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

While it may be true that the United States can never be defeated by an external foe, the neo-con Republicans have demonstrated how it can be conquered internally. These Republicans are truly radicals, not conservatives, who favor a unitary executive over checks and balances. The current administration's neo-cons seem to have failed in their attempts to subvert the United States Constitution and institute a 1000-year reign. Next time they may succeed.

How To Overthrow The Republic

Neo-cons have demonstrated the several areas that must be controlled in order to take over our Constitutional government. Among these are:

1. Subvert the news media. It is clear that the major media outlets, and their journalists and editors, have been compromised in various ways. Not only have they become self-editing, but also the administration is adept at playing the news cycles. News organizations focused on the bottom line have closed overseas bureaus, cut experienced staff, depleted research resources, and pandered to the gossip mongers. Without a truly adversarial Fourth Estate, this administration has led us into war, politicized public agencies, committed any number of felonies, and thumbed their noses at the other branches of government.

2. Stack the courts with anti-Constitutional judges. This is not an issue of left or right or conservative or progressive. This is an issue of upholding and defending the Constitution, as it was intended by the Founding Fathers. Republican appointees who put party above the Constitution allow the Republic to fail.

3. Distract the public. This may be contingent on #1. The mainstream media fill their airwaves and pages with non-news trivia. These modern bread and circus pageants distract the population from understanding and pursuing their own best interests.

4. Cripple the military. The Iraq adventure has accomplished two key things. It has severely stretched our professional military and it has depleted our national guard resources, both in manpower and material. It has also allowed the creation of a large private army that is loyal to its corporations ahead of its country. The Romans had their Praetorian Guards. We have Blackwater.

Another unintended consequence of the occupation in Iraq is the filtering of any senior military opposition to the administration's agenda. Military yes-men have risen to the top, the naysayers have taken early retirement.

5. Weaken the middle class. With more of us scrambling to meet our financial obligations, fewer of us have sufficient time to devote to investigating political wrongdoing and participating in its correction.

6. Game the political process. Republicans have been adept at filling local election positions with those key players who can help stack the deck in their favor. Control of local election oversight positions has been used to influence election rules, purge voter lists, and swing close contests to their party. Districts have been gerrymandered to insure re-election of the incumbent.

The current takeover attempt has failed due to corruption and incompetence spread throughout all three branches of our government. It isn't too hard to imagine a future in which a more competent, less corrupt cabal of political radicals succeeds where their predecessors failed. The blueprint for a future successful takeover of the United States has already been created for them.

Our contemporary neo-cons have succeeded in introducing the idea that our Constitutional form of government can be subverted from within. When future historians attempt to pinpoint exactly when the United States ceased being a constitutional democracy, they could do no better than to choose 2007. This is when the seeds were planted that led to the end of the American Republic and the beginning of the American empire.

You heard it here first.

Powered by

About Bob

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Actually, I didn’t hear it here first, this neocon conspiracy crap has been floating around the web for years. And just like your article, it’s a pack of paranoid fantasy hogwash.

    There are ALL SORTS of political cliques who want to gain power for themselves and run the country there way. The neocons are no different and not any worse than other similar groups within the GOP or the Democrats, groups who if they got into power would try to consolidate that power in obvious ways.

    Our system of government makes that consolidation of power extremely difficult, beyond some of the relative superficialities which you mention.

    But the neocons as a threat is a joke, though you clearly fail to see it. The true neocons were always small in number, disorganized and have mostly been subverted to other causes and allegiances. The word has become a boogeyman for opinionated buffoons to throw around and try to apply to everyone they don’t agree with. The term has become meaningless and the true neocons have moved on from that phase, left the club and found more productive ways to apply their efforts.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Point 2 is pretty bold, especially with no examples. Dr. Dreadful made a similar point around here recently, that both sides practice judicial activism. For the life of me, I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.

    Point 6 is just sour grapes. Different ideologies battle for party control all the time. Actually, the people who considered themselves neo-conservatives were advisors who never built up their own power base. So it’s not really the neo-cons that you’re complaining about.

    In fact, you state in Point 6 that the Republicans (not the neo-cons) are gaining the reins of power. So this point really is sour grapes. The R’s were slightly less politically impotent than usual for a few years, and you’re upset about it.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Moonbat alert!

    The current administration’s neo-cons seem to have failed in their attempts to subvert the United States Constitution and institute a 1000 year reign.

    Jesus Christ. You violated Godwin’s Law (arguably twice)> in your opening paragraph!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Without a truly adversarial Fourth Estate”

    You can’t be serious! The MSM has been overtly anti-Bush since Baghdad fell, over four years ago. The only thing they have supported him on since then is amnesty for 10-20 million illegal immigrants.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Districts have been gerrymandered to insure [sic] reelection of the incumbent.”

    Yeah, that’s a novel trick… [rolls eyes]

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “When future historians attempt to pinpoint exactly when the United States ceased being a constitutional democracy, they could do no better than to choose 2007.”

    Uh huh. Why 2007? Why not 2002? Why not 2004? Why not 1973, for that matter?

    Your article is utterly worthless to people who aren’t already communist conspiracy theorists.

    No offense.

  • STM

    Geez, America seems a weird bloody place sometimes. Do people actually believe this kind of bullsh.t?

  • MCH

    “Moonbat alert!”

    Yes, definitely. Those moonbats are far worse than the chickenhawks.

  • Robert K. Blechman

    I’m just delighted that you all cared enough about what I wrote to formulate a comment!

    And yes, I know, insure, ensure, but when you get to my age you tend to think of the word “ensure” as referring to dinner.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Geez, America seems a weird bloody place sometimes. Do people actually believe this kind of bullsh.t?

    Yup. Thank The X Files and a whole slew of other imitative sci-fi/conspiracy shows. Americans have always had a healthy distrust of those who govern them, but the astonishing perecentage of people polled who believe that the Bush admin. either actively plotted 9/11 themselves or sat back and let it happen is astonishing.

    They’re not that clever.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Districts have been gerrymandered to insure [sic] reelection of the incumbent.

    Not just a neocon sin by any means. California has been gerrymandered to such an extent that there’s barely any point in having congressional elections any more.

  • Zedd

    Robert

    Brilliant assessment. I however don’t think that the results were intentional. I think that what we have is a convergence of attempts by a variety of entities who seek control of their specific interests. I do believe that they utilize the same methodology; fear myth making and fear mongering.

    I disagree with the notion that historians will look at 2007. The ball started to roll much earlier.

  • STM

    And Robert, can I just comment on your last paragraph …

    In case you hadn’t noticed, old boy … America’s already an empire. It’s not that different to the old British Empire, of which I’m a (proud!) part.

    The US has gone at it in a slightly different way, by putting up corporate HQs instead of Union Jacks and naval bases (Oh, wait … )

    Still, it’s about power and profit, as are all empires. As one commentator said here recently, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks – well, mate, you be the judge. America’s empire has nothing to with neocons. It’s about global capitalism and fostering US interest, and not much has changed these past 60 or so years. Remember Vietnam?

    I don’t particularly agree with what Bush is doing either, but the sky won’t be falling any time soon. You have rule of law and representative government. Repeat after me: rule of law and representative government.

    It’s why you haven’t had anything even resembling a coup for over 200 years (apart from your great mistake in withdrawing yourself so hastily from that other empire, but, hey, that’s another issue entirely). My tip: Settle down and do what we do here – make sure you put one foot in front of the other so that you find your way to the ballot box at the next federal election, and then tick the box(es) you want.

    Too easy. Saves a whole lot of hand-wringing as well.

  • Dr Dreadful

    you haven’t had anything even resembling a coup for over 200 years

    Maybe not a coup as such, but the years 1861-1865 cannot be described as anything less than an insurrection.

    And the South didn’t even have the redeeming feature of wanting to put the Union Jack back in the corner of the flag.

  • STM

    Nah, that was a Civil War, Doc. Bit different. You can’t count that because no-one actually tried to change the central government.

    They just said: “We’ve had enough, we’re taking our bat and ball and going home (bet you haven’t heard that for a while).”

    The United States of America never, even then, ceased to exist as a single political entity.

  • STM

    Doc said: “And the South didn’t even have the redeeming feature of wanting to put the Union Jack back in the corner of the flag.”

    The silly bugger’s might have won had they done so. Makes all the difference, y’know!

  • STM

    BTW, I discovered an American monarchist site. It’s a gee-up, of course. However, there is a group in West Florida that is seriously agitating to return a part of West Florida to the Crown, whilst suggesting that the best way to do that would be to remain a part of the United States.

    I notice that Her Maj, despite the group’s entreaties, has been remarkably silent on the issue. Funny about that! I think she realises they lost fair and square.

    However, to me such a makes perfect sense! Imagine the wonderful flag opportunity there, DD

  • Dr Dreadful

    there is a group in West Florida that is seriously agitating to return a part of West Florida to the Crown

    Florida, eh? Do you think Clavos is a closet member? You know he’s all on board with your Union Jack campaign…

  • STM

    I am contributing surreptitiously by giving him a titfer with a Crown on it. From acorns …

  • Baronius

    I realize this isn’t a “flags of the UK” board, but I’ve got to reply to comment #14. The Confederate battle flag was a St. Andrew’s cross, the diagonal cross also found on the Union Jack. So there was a Confederate connection to the British flag.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Just a “meta” sort of question…

    Why is it that a state or territory can voluntarily join in a federation or union, but it cannot also voluntarily leave said state/union, unless it is capable of successfully fending off the central government’s military and prevent its ports from being blockaded and its cities from being burned to the ground?

  • Robert K. Blechman

    One could argue that citizens of a Union, or states of a Union derive benefits from being part of that Union. Citizens compensate the Union through their taxes and through various types of personal services. How does a state compensate the Union, especially if it chooses to withdraw from that Union after benefitting from the prior relationship? Having been a former member of that Union, would the state continue to derive benefits without quid pro quo? Would the withdrawal of that state be detrimental to a minority that resides in that state? Would the withdrawal of that state create an issue of security or safety for the citizens of that Union?

    I’m sure that others could come up with other hypotheticals on this issue

  • STM

    Baronius wrote: “The Confederate battle flag was a St. Andrew’s cross, the diagonal cross also found on the Union Jack”.

    Despite what Doc D says, I always suspected them rebs had some truly redeeming qualities …

    One day I must post everyone a picture of my correctional flag of the United States, which I had made up specially for Independence Day and which my American mate flies next to his Stars and Stripes at our July 4 barbecues (we make him do it on pain of death).

    It has a Union Jack in the corner instead of those silly stars, and I must say, you guys really missed out as it does look quite spectacular.

    Not as good as the Hawaiian state flag (my favourite US state flag :), but pretty damn good.

  • Clavos

    This is my favorite US flag:

    US Navy Jack

    It was the original US Navy Jack (flag on the bow of the ship, flown on the jackstaff), and by order of the Secretary of The Navy, is again being flown on US Navy ships.

  • STM

    Hmm … Top-looking flag, but there’s something missing … can’t put my finger on it, but there is.

  • Dr Dreadful

    It is a nice flag. But they could’ve chosen a better snake – that one looks as if it’s in the latter stages of rigor mortis.

    Nevertheless, a snake works reasonably well. I can only guess that the extended middle finger gesture hadn’t been invented in 1776…

  • Clavos

    “Hmm … Top-looking flag, but there’s something missing … can’t put my finger on it, but there is.”

    The snake (a rattler, BTW) ate it…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Did the East Coast-bound rebels of 1776 even know about rattlesnakes? Or has the species of snake on the flag changed over time?

  • STM

    The snake ate it? … well, I hope it didn’t get indigestion from eating such an unpalatable thing.

    Surely it’s the Poms who should have had a snake on their flag? Perfidious vipers all.

  • Clavos

    “Did the East Coast-bound rebels of 1776 even know about rattlesnakes?”

    Of course, Doc. Rattlers are found here in the East, that’s why they chose the rattler.

    BTW, did you know that all four of the North American species of poisonous snakes are found in Florida (along with any number of two-legged snakes)?

  • Silver Surfer

    I can trump you on that one Clav … I think we have about 95 per cent of the world’s most venomous snakes on this continent (not to mention all the other dangerous buggers like poisonous spiders, crocs, dirty big sharks, lethal octopii and deadly jellyfish … ).

    As DD says, it’s a wonder any of us get through childhood. You don’t have to become street-smart here to be a survivor, you just have to learn to dodge everything that wants to bite you or have you for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    The rattlesnake is a particularly fearsome critter, however. Just the noise of one would give you a heart attack I reckon.

  • Clavos

    It’s the two-legged variety that are particularly dangerous, though.

    Will that be your new moniker, Stan? It fits you like the proverbial glove.

    Gets the official Clav Seal of Approval…

  • Silver Surfer

    Thanks old mate. I think I will have to use it for now on my home computer as it doesn’y allow STM. I have recently had the thing fixed, so it might be the problem.

  • Silver Surfer

    BTW Clav, in regards to that flag – my, how we LOVE our flags on this site! – why does it appear to have a condom on its tail??

  • Clavos

    Har de har, SS.

    That, of course, is the rattle.

  • Silver Surfer

    Sorry, I’m too irreverent. Wait ’til I get hold of that Doc Dread and give him some comeuppance. The hide of his countrymen, stealing the corner of our flag and using it as their own.

    Now, on a serious note, I am sitting up here very anxiously tonight … it’s pissing down, and cyclone-force winds are expected between now and the early hours. I’m worried about my two cocos palms. My Spanish (via Liverpool, England!) next door neighbour Adela has been giving me a bollocking recently about not cutting down the one that borders her property, as it’s starting to make her fence sag a bit.

    Any flag fluttering at full mast here tonight will doubtless be ripped to shreds.

    My wife is convinced that it’s the end of the world as we know it, but has gone to sleep anyway.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Your wife has the right idea, Stan. In my time I’ve slept through an earthquake and a hurricane.

    In my defence, I was only five at the time of the earthquake, so probably would have slept through pretty much anything.

    And it wasn’t technically a hurricane, but they were hurricane force winds. I remember waking up at 4 a.m., thinking, “Hmm… bit breezy out there”, and going back to sleep.

    When I got up in the morning all hell had broken loose, there was no power and I had to climb over a succession of fallen trees to get to work.

    BTW, which corner are we supposed to have stolen? The one that’s just an expanse of dark blue? We didn’t think you’d miss it that much…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    <— Slept through Hurricane Andrew…while living in Broward County…

  • STM

    Nothing happened much out of the ordinary, apart from the fact it rained again very heavily – yes!! (I can’t believe that in February, we were wondering if it would ever rain over the dam catchment areas of this State, but it’s still a worry in south-east Queensland). But the expected winds seemed to peter out a bit on the New South Wales south coast, and never really caused too much damage up here apart from the odd tree down and a few roof tiles off overnight.

    The coast is being battered by huge seas, however, and some beachfront properties now have sand for a backyard instead of grass. Two lunatics went out surfing yesterday and sparked a huge rescue effort, then the police found them later on the beach towelling off and getting dressed.

    Still, we did need the drought to break, and at this point, it looks like it has.

  • STM

    Not a bad effort, BTW, RJ … did you have a couple of beers on board?

  • Dr Dreadful

    STM enthused: Not a bad effort, BTW, RJ … did you have a couple of beers on board?

    I hope not. By my calculation, he would have been about 10…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    A few thoughts:

    For the author: Mr. Blechman, you have the basic idea right, but your blaming the wrong villain. In fact, you are blaming the very villain the folks in power in America want you to blame.

    The folks in power? The banking and oil establishment – good old WASPS who let the Jewboys (of which many are neo-cons) in as busboys, headwaiters and managers.

    When you are in a restaurant, don’t ever forget the difference between the owner and the manager. The manager, just like the dishwasher can get canned. And many of them are being canned or farmed out to lesser jobs. Think W-O-L-F-O-W-I-T-Z, S-T-A-N F-I-S-H-E-R…

    The banking and oil establishment has accomplished all of the goals you have set forth, leaving enough democratic procedure (and practice) in place so that folks like Stan Denham can climb to the top of their coconut trees in the driving rain and warble (with beer can in hand), “settle down and do what we do here – make sure you put one foot in front of the other so that you find your way to the ballot box at the next federal election, and then tick the box(es) you want.”

    In other words, the dictatorship/empire is already in place, awaiting the event needed to formalize it.

    For RJ: The right of secession from the federation that is the United States WAS the legal question that the Civil War was fought over. Slavery was the driving force behind the secession of the southern states – but the legal issue itself had to be fought out on the battlefield. Sometimes a court just can’t do the job.

    For Stan: The cross of St. Andrew was on the Confederate battle flag as a sign of the rule of the Scots Irish aristocracy there, and as a hint to the British – who might have backed the rebels to break the power of the United States.

    In the long run, had Washington been caught fleeing in New Jersey and hung, it is still likely that the United States would have emerged as a commonwealth within the British Empire, one that would have eclipsed the home islands. I actually sketched this out as a science fiction scenario once in rather great detail. It would have been a much bigger and much more powerful country. And Clavos would not have had to emigrate from Mexico to live within it. The Anglosphere you’ve written about would actually be a political entity as well as a linguistic one. There would have been a price on your end. Australia would have less independence than it has now – your willies in Canberra (which probably would not even exist – the capital would be Melbourne or Sydney) would be answering to higher up willies in New York.

    And I used to have the flag of the US that had the Union Jack in the corner. I kept it for years and then I think it just tore apart… I really regretted losing it.

  • STM

    Ruvy, I believe you are right there, with a rider.

    Assuming that the North American colonies remained loyal to the Crown in the same way we have, as a separate, totally independent representative democracy with a constitutional monarchy (Her Maj – which I know some Americans find hard to understand as one said to me recently on here “Buddy, we’re free and aren’t you guys still under the Queen?) and no interference from Britain in the running of its affairs, it would still have been part of the British Commonwealth.

    So even though America would have been the larger of the two countries, they would still have held onto most of their British traditions, one would assume (in fact, the US actually HAS held on to many of its inherited colonial traditions, especially in regards to rule of law).

    Actually, the truth is, the whole place would be almost identical to how it is now, except with a Union Jack in the corner of a flag with 13 stripes. The constitution would likely have been a common law one, and would pretty much guarantee the same rights it does now. And imagine that bald eagle with a Crown on its melon :)

    Fascinating idea for a story, BTW. Also, although Washington is regarded as a traitor and the likes of the loyalist Benedict Arnold a hero in the other neck of the woods (we all see history from different perspectives), I doubt whether he’d have been hung. The Poms weren’t that stupid, even then. They might even have gone on to ask him to form a government, as they had done with others who wanted to break with the Crown.

    Anyway, it all worked out just right in the end for all of us, which means all’s well that ends well. But the scenario really is an interesting one. Nay, a fascinating one …

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “Actually, the truth is, the whole place would be almost identical to how it is now, except with a Union Jack in the corner of a flag with 13 stripes.”

    Stan, I beg to differ.

    The British would have carried out plans they had for the consolidation of the provincial governments in North America. For them, this was an issue of control, and reformulating the provincial governments to consolidate that control and break the independence of the colonial legislatures (and their electors) would have been a top priority.

    Some examples of what might have been done:

    Unifying North and South Carolina. Creating a Province of New England in place of the five smaller provinces there. Giving Delaware and southern New Jersey to Pennsylvania, and northern New Jersey to New York.

    Reigniting an autonomy movement would have taken time. It is far more likely that a fellow who trimmed his sails to the wind, like Benedict Arnold, would have been in a position of some power in such a situation.

    I agree that the Brits would not have hung ALL the signers of the declaration of independence, but the leading lights: John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison – as well as George Washington – would have all had their necks stretched. Benjamin Franklin, if he had been allowed to live, would have returned to his original plan of federating all the British provinces in North America (penned in 1751 originally), modified by the circumstances of changed regimes on the continent.

    The development of Australia and Canada would have been retarded somewhat as the population of Lower Canada would not have grown due to refugees from rebelling provinces. Georgia would have still remained as a penal colony, and that role might have been expanded to the other provinces as a punishment for rebellion.

    Of course, George III still would have gone insane, and the parliamentary system of government that evolved in Britain and Ireland to cope with that insanity would have still likely evolved. But revolution in France may have taken a different course without the model of the United States to follow; and without a Napoleon to conquer Spain and Portugal, the presidencies of Latin America would not have necessarily even begun to rebel and separate.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Not a bad effort, BTW, RJ … did you have a couple of beers on board?”

    Sadly, no. I was just a teen at the time, and had not yet explored the mysteries of the nectar of the gods…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Stan,

    A couple of extended remarks and further thoughts on comment #44. I’m not sure of this, but I believe that it was the crisis of war with France that really sped up the development of a parliamentary regime in the UK in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.

    I have the sneaking suspicion that were the UK not been faced with war, particularly war of the nature that Napoleon waged, total war, a regent the (Prince of Wales) could have been appointed to exercise many of not most of the royal prerogatives that George III was obviously incapable of exercising. IMHO, in the absence of what amounted to total war almost constantly for 25 years, the pressing need for a cabinet of ministers to administer affairs would not have existed.

    What I’m proposing is that in this alternative timeline of events, the early 1800’s would have seen a British monarch with somewhat more authority than he had in our own timeline. Constructing a story in this alternative timeline would therefore require taking into account the personalities of those who sat on the British throne far more seriously in figuring out events extending towards and through the 1900’s and beyond…

  • STM

    Ruve: the English Civil War (actually two separate wars a few years apart) 1642-1649 was fought over rule of Parliament (and therefore the people) and an early idea for constitutional monarchy vs King Charles I, who wanted the monarch to have absolute power, or close to it. His royalists were defeated by the Parliamentarians (under Cromwell) and he was beheaded for his trouble.

    However, parliament had existed long beforeb the Civil War. After Charles I was executed, the monarchy was abolish and England decalred a REPUBLIC.

    Only when Charles II agreed to a limitation on the power of the Crown was the monarchy reinstituted when he returned to England from exile.

    This is what many Americans (not you) don’t understand: although the King or Queen form part
    of the executive branch of government (much like a US president, but with less power), they do not rule above the elected body.

    KingGeorge’s problem was that he went mad and had abused his powers somewhat, although the laws of England forbade absolute power of the monarch.

    He was, however, still answerable to parliament.

    The Crown, by the way, is not the monarch.

  • Dr Dreadful

    This is what many Americans (not you) don’t understand: although the King or Queen form part
    of the executive branch of government (much like a US president, but with less power), they do not rule above the elected body.

    King George’s problem was that he went mad and had abused his powers somewhat, although the laws of England forbade absolute power of the monarch.

    The root of a lot of the misunderstanding in America regarding the role of the English monarch is, I think, the Declaration of Independence, particularly its list of grievances against the King.

    What modern Americans often don’t realize is that the Founding Fathers, in addressing King George III directly, were merely following protocol, as he was the head of state of the country against which they had a grievance. They were well aware that, even in their day, colonial policy was determined largely not by the King, but by Parliament.

    Nevertheless, the Declaration does make it sound, on a face reading, as if George III was an out-of-control despot – which of course he was not. In fact, he didn’t even go seriously ga-ga until some time after the American colonies had been lost.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    KingGeorge’s problem was that he went mad and had abused his powers somewhat, although the laws of England forbade absolute power of the monarch.

    King George’s porphyria didn’t really drive him mad until pretty late in his career. When he was younger and sane, his great crime was that he worked actively to form a political party in parliament called the ‘king’s friends’ who would pursue policies which he believed in. The entry of the monarch into the political process in even that relatively indirect way was seen as unacceptable.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    RJ

    I would say that INDIVIDUALS who decide to take a portion of a country are in essence declaring war on that nation. The state is part of that union. It exists as a portion of that union (country). Individuals cant just decide that they want a chunk of that union for themselves, not even a majority of individuals who reside in on that property. That would be a matter of national security for the nation.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Zedd,

    I would say that INDIVIDUALS who decide to take a portion of a country are in essence declaring war on that nation. The state is part of that union. It exists as a portion of that union (country).

    I’m afraid you are reading the constitution wrong, and misreading the basic legal issues inaccurately. While the preamble of the 1788 constitution says, “We the people, etc.,” the courts in the nation have never interpreted the preambulatory phrase of the constitution, and have never regarded it as subject to interpretation.

    The 1788 constitution describes a federation of states and sets the methods by which new states may enter, how borders may be changed, and generally deals with certain limitations on a state’s power. But prior to the adoption of this constitution, each state was a sovereign nation.

    The constitution of 1788 is silent on whether or how a state may leave the union. During the War of 1812, a number of states in New England wanted very much to secede, seeing the war against Britain as not worth the effort. Bu in 1860, the State of South Carolina did pass a resolution of secession due to Lincoln’s election, and it was followed by a number of other states. There was nothing in the constitution that could deal with this, and given that South Carolina had seceded from the jurisdiction of the union, the issues could not be raised in a court of law.

    The argument of the states that had passed resolutions of secession was simply that prior to the adoption of the 1788 constitution, they had been sovereign nations, and by seceding from the union, they were simply returning to that original status.

    The president of the country, in his capacities of commander-in-chief of the armed forces and chief magistrate of the country, had to decide how to handle this. Should he handle it as a rebellion? Should he handle it as a legitimate secession? Lincoln had a choice, a point that slips past many students of American history and of foreign policy.

    In the end, he chose to treat the secession of the states as a rebellion, and that is why there was a civil war. But the issue that the civil war decided was not whether slavery should or should not be legal. The issue that this civil war decided was, “does a state have the right to secede from the United States?” The answer, as decided on the battlefields all over the southern states and the states of Missouri and Pennsylvania was “no”.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy,

    What they were prior to being a part of the union is irrelevant. What they are at the time of wanting to secede is what would be of concern.

    They are no longer sovereign nations they are a part of a nation.

    Just as no foreign body may decide to take land from a nation, no internal entity may either. That is a form of treason. We fight to protect our land, economy, and culture from external forces, why would it be acceptable to relinquish them to forces from within that want to destroy the same.

  • Clavos

    Though no longer separate nations, the individual states still do retain (even today) a considerable amount of autonomy from the federation.

    That is as it should be, since it was one of the basic principles on which the nation was founded. That’s why it’s named the United States (as in countries) of America.

    It was as, Ruvy mentioned, the real issue behind the Civil War, and remains an issue today; in many ways more so than it was then, as Washington continues to attempt to impose its will on the various states (using the bludgeon of withholding funding), usually to vehement opposition from the states.

    Ruvy’s analysis of the history of the first 100 years of the Union is dead on.

    “What they were prior to being a part of the union is irrelevant. What they are at the time of concern.”

    That comment denies history, which, of course, the states that seceded did not. History is ALWAYS relevant; we’ve all heard repeatedly the quotation about the consequences of ignoring (or being ignorant of) it.

  • STM

    Morning Clav. How art thou, old chap?

    How is your missus?

    I owe you an email.

  • Zedd

    Clavos

    You miss the point.

    After joining the UNION, they become something else, not countries. They became a portion of a complete country. That country must defend ITSELF. Those who took up arms wanted to dissect America

    Texas is not a country no matter how how deep your need to win an argument is. It is a state, much like a province in other countries. You mistake the notion of a nation state with that of what we call states.

  • Clavos

    Never mind, Zedd. Whatever you say…

  • Nancy

    Poor old George3rd; not only had to suffer thru porphyriac madness, but gets blamed for stuff ‘e really couldn’t control being done in ‘is name, poor old bugger….

    Personally, as I’ve said before, I think it’s been a long time since we’ve actually been a democracy. The Big Money in power makes sure we have the illusion of it, to be sure, mainly to avoid the unpleasantness of having to divert profits by putting down consumers (which is really not good advertising of your product), but essentially, it’s the elite ultra rich who run Big Business & own the MSM as well as both parties, who decide who runs & who gets elected. The elections per se are just a sham food fight among the ruling class members themselves as to who gets to exercise absolute power until the next go-round. The elections themselves are just a sort of bread & circus for the masses so they can get excited about which one of the ruling elite gets anointed & thereby think they actually had a hand in choosing him/her. In any event, it helps to cement their loyalty & maintain their already well-developed & trained tendencies to passivity & blind obedience to their chosen party, so that the elite can continue to decide among themselves how to divide the cake amongst themselves, & how few crumbs they can get away with pitching to the unwashed below. The surprise will be if the masses ever ‘wake up’, as it were, & actually DO try to take back power, because the elites have already made sure there are no other choices than the ones THEY themselves make. There’s even a legal movement afoot to make it a requirement that all candidates MUST be either Republican or Democrat in any election, and/or have been approved by either party. Some twit was trying to get signatures for a petition for same in front of the grocery the other day. What concerned me most was the number of half-wits who didn’t bother to listen or read, just signed & moved on, together with the spiel this guy was making, which was just confusing enough to ensure that it sounded like the petition was against restricting political party participation, where in actuality it was in favor of it.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Zedd,

    Federations are not automatically countries, and a constitution does not automatically make a group of states a country. Switzerland, a federation (in their own terms, a confederation – and there is a difference, ask any Canadian) for 700 years, has stayed together out of hostility to the German nobility to the north and east, the French nobility to the west and the Italian petty princes to the south. Without those reasons to stay together, the cantons of Switzerland would have broken down into their constituent parts centuries ago. I’m not even sure they have joined the EU, which is, like the Holy Roman Empire was 710 years ago, all around them.

    Until 1788, the constituent states of the United States were sovereign countries united in governance by Articles of Confederation which was a treaty, NOT a constitution.

    Even long after the constitution of 1788 was adopted, the United States still had much of the character of states united by a treaty. The fact that it was silent on secession was proof to those who felt that a state had this right, that this right existed.

    The constitution of 1788 is generally interpreted as a negative document, that is to say, those looking at it, look to see what it specifically prohibits, not what it grants. The only place where this is not really true is in article I, which outlines the authority of the federal congress. In other words, it was perfectly reasonable to say that because the constitution of 1788 did not prohibit it, secession was legal.

    You seem unable to conceive of this. But it is the truth.

  • Clavos

    Thank you, Ruvy, for the very apt and correct history lesson.

    There was a reason the word “state” was chosen to describe the various entities in the union.

  • STM

    Nancy: “Personally, as I’ve said before, I think it’s been a long time since we’ve actually been a democracy”.

    Now, Nancy, I have a plan to remedy all that and to put the wrongs of history to rights. It involves firstly replacing those stars in the corner of your flag with a Union Jack, and the whole thing just gets better from there …

    Actually, so far that’s the only bit I’ve really worked out, but it’s not a bad place to start.

    Just like the prodigal son, you are always welcome home and I’m sure Her Maj would be stoked.

  • Clavos

    Um, Silver Surfer,

    In view of this,

    “The United States Flag is the third oldest of the National Standards of the world; older than the Union Jack of Britain or the Tricolor of France.

    The flag was first authorized by Congress June 14, 1777. This date is now observed as Flag Day throughout America.”

    which I found here,

    shouldn’t your idea go the other way around?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Actually, Clavos, the original design of the British flag (aka Union Jack) goes back to 1606 and the Union of England with Scotland. The red saltire was added in 1801, following the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland.

    Old Glory has undergone numerous modifications since 1777 – most recently in 1960 with the addition of Hawaii’s star.

    So you can’t really claim that your flag is older just because we added a bit to ours.

  • Clavos

    Picky, picky, picky, Doc…:>)

    (I wasn’t claiming; rather, I was quoting)

  • Zedd

    Ruvy,

    What you are saying sounds like a major extrapolatory effort. Provide the evidence for your claim that states were individual nations at the time of the civil war.

    What is problematic in your statements on secession is the phrase, “we the people”. We the people are all Americans not a portion, in some region. The inclusion of those states into the union was ratified by the people of the United States. The states understood the configuration of the union when they joined it. The dissolution of that relationship would have to be agreed to by the people. A portion of the people could not decide what the American boarders would be.

    The people participate through their vote. Lincoln was re-elected and the Republicans won. America could not be cut up and that was final said “we the people”.

    Another issue is that ONLY the federal government could/can conduct international relations, set weights and measures and declare war according to the Articles of Confederation. Were does this put your assertion that the states were independent nations?

    Also there was the issue of federal properties within those states that wanted to break off. The confederate offered to purchase those lands from the federal government but could not because it was not a recognized government.

    Clavos you may chime in.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy

    I managed to delet a portion of my post.

    Without retyping it, the idea was that the Articles of Confederation clearly indicate that once a state become a part of the union, it no longer became a sovereign entity in the form of a nation. Your assertion that the unification of the states did not suggest a desolution of the independent national status of the states is unfounded. The preceding CONSTITUTION (treaty, standards, structure, set up, agreement) suggests that.

    BTW your sementics don’t impress. Lets discuss this issue with honesty.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Zedd,

    I never said that the states were sovereign nations at the time of the civil war. I did say that long after the adoption of the 1788 constitution, the country still had much of the character of a series of sovereign states united by a treaty.

    As to the powers of the congress under the Articles of Confederation, this was in the nature of an alliance. The congress had to act unanimously, with each state casting a vote. So theoretically, if you started up with Virginia, the whole alliance would go to war – kind of like a street gang stretching from Massachusetts to Georgia. But if you had a fast enough military force, you could conquer half of Virginia before the delegates could meet in Philly to decide what to do.

    As to your remarks on “We the people….” this is part of the preamble of the 1788 constitution – which is never interpreted by the courts in constitutional law. This is something I know from having gone to law school and taken a course in constitutional law. The preamble, for purposes of legal interpretation, is irrelevant.

    To return to my main point, the entire constitution is SILENT on the issue of secession. For a state to claim in 1860 that it had the right to secede was reasonable, as the issue had never been brought to the supreme court for adjudication, and since the constitution was silent on the issue, it could be presumed to be legal UNTIL ADJUDICATED OTHERWISE.

    That is why it took a war to settle the issue. The adjudication was on the battlefield.

    The difference between what you write and reality is the difference between fact and propaganda, propaganda pushed through history books in the classrooms, among other places.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Zedd,

    To deal with you comment that you said you had deleted.

    The North German Confederation (the immediate predecessor to the German Empire of 1871) was bound by a treaty similar to the Articles of Confederation. It too, provided for common standards throughout the states of the confederation, for example using a single width of track for rail transport and mandating a single set of measures (including coinage) for the states of the confederation. It provided for an economic union and the abolition of many, if not all of the tariffs between the German states in this confederation.

    It didn’t provide for a common foreign policy, but effectively Prussia spoke for the confederation. The German Empire was an extension of this confederation, with provisions to create a second German Reich, and many of the provisions of the treaty that had created the confederation were grandfathered into the Basic Law of the Empire in 1871.

    When you look at the United States under the Articles of Confederation in light of the later North German Confederation, and look at the Articles of Confederation and the Treaty which created the North German Confederation, as opposed to the federal constitution of 1788 and the basic law of the second German Reich of 1871, you see the distinct differences between a TREATY and a CONSTITUTION.

    In spite of all this, the federal constitution of 1788 was silent on the issue of secession. This issue was finally resolved with blood. A great deal of it.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy

    We will probably argue semantics for a while but the Articles were not just an agreement but a platform.

    I will reply to the rest of your well thought out response later. I’m headed to church. Do ensure that you are well rested and are prepared for a mental thrashing. :o)

    Thanks for the dialogue.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy,

    It is implicit in every aspect of the constitution that the states combined are a single entity composing of many sub-parts. While the relationship and division of power is defined, it should not be necessary to define the dissolution of that relationship for the dissolution nullifies the single entity. In other words we are not united states if the states are not united. In order to be united states we must remain united. Joining the union makes you united with the states and therefore a part of the ONE entity. Dissolving that relationship off course threatens the existence of the union, or the ONE entity. A threat to the existence of the United States is an act of war.

    Do nations typically write within their laws the procedures for their own disintegration?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Actually Zedd, your assertions are the RESULT of the civil war in the United states, and apply to the United States as we understand the country now. I suspect that one of the main reasons that Lincoln was willing to treat the secession of the southern states as a rebellion was problems with the federal properties there – like Fort Sumter.

    I would suggest you consult with our Canadian colleagues on the questions and assertions you make. History is replete with parts of nations leaving other nations in peace.

    One example that immediately comes to mind is the secession of the Belgian provinces from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1831 (approximately) under the Duke of Brabant to create the Kingdom of Belgium – and later the secession of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1890.

    A second example is the secession from Swedish overlordship of the Kingdom of Norway in 1905.

    Yet another is the “Velvet Divorce”, the secession of Slovakia from Bohemia and Moravia in 1991.

    A final example of devolution of power carried almost to the point of secession is the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the 1860’s to 1918. With each decade, the Kindgom of Hungary became more and more independent; had the successor to the Austrian throne not been murdered in Sarajevo in 1914, it is highly likely that Croatia would have received the nearly independent status of Hungary under the Austrian crown.

  • STM

    Richard, on your opening para: “While it may be true that the United States can never be defeated by an external foe”.

    Are we forgetting the Vietnam War, or do you mean the United States itself?

  • http://robertkblechman.blogspot.com Robert K. Blechman

    Response to STM:

    I wrote: “While it may be true that the United States can never be defeated by an external foe.”

    What I meant was that, in the current geopolitical environment, our constitutional form of government cannot be conquered, abolished by a power outside of the United States and replaced by external rulers.

    Events since 2000 have shown that whether it has been a carefully designed internal coup by non-Constitutional parties, or a “fortuitous” conversion of separate activities, anti-Constitutional, factions can, in effect, annul our Constitution, infringe on our rights and install a non-democratic government of their own choosing.

    It appears that we dodged the bullet this time. Had the occupation of Iraq gone well, had the Republicans not been so corrupt as to lose the 2006 elections, had there been another terriorist attack on our soil, the situation today might be very different.

    The outcome still is in question, and it is my contention that if the forces working now to overthrow our Constitution fail, they will learn from their mistakes and be back for another try.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy,

    The example of Belgium is one which involves an independence from control by ANOTHER country which overtook it not without the consent of its citizens. It this case it also took war to resolve the matter. In this case Belgium prevailed. Also, constitutional rule was not in place until AFTER its independence.

    Regarding the Netherlands, this was a matter of a territory that had been tugged and pulled at by competing forces since around 900AD I believe. The inhabitants of this territory never conceded to joining Belgium or any other union. Even that de facto liberation was granted by the second Treaty of London, not by itself.

    Regardless, what we learn is that nations do not allow for their own dissolution. What the south wanted to do is attack America and steal its land (as the South was a part of America). No nation relinquishes a part of itself by a request.

  • STM

    “The outcome still is in question, and it is my contention that if the forces working now to overthrow our Constitution fail, they will learn from their mistakes and be back for another try.”

    This is why I believe America should revert to the Crown (you’d think it would still have legitimate claim) and spend more time fostering the links of empire so that it can once and for all abandon its isolationist policies and take its true place in the world – at the head of the Commonwealth, and the thus of the anglosphere. Since the Queen is a virtual rubber-stamp head of State who simply forms a part of the executive branch of government much like the President but with less power, the institutions of government would finally and once again be answerable only to the people. Amazing how these things can go full circle …

    I believe Dick Cheney was in Sydney recently discussing just such a thing with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that Bush’s close links with Tony Blair (he’s a PM of the left, BTW) are hedging us closer and closer towards this point. This is the real aim of the neocons, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

    Imagine the advantages for America of closer ties with Britain: even crappier food (Maggie Thatcher’s great claim to fame before she became PM was working out ways to put more air into ice cream), bigger markets in Europe (and therefore more dealings with the duplicitous French, an endless supply of cheap aftershave and foul-smelling tobacco), cars that break down just as the warranty runs out, higher taxes and fuel costs, and a return to a social system where money can’t buy you class, power or prestige no matter how much you’ve got. Of course, there is also the issue of reintroducing decent sports and a better flag, but we can address that elsewhere.

    And imagine a constitition that can’t be attacked or taken away because it is deemed to exist no matter what (except for that pesky 2nd amendment). Ah yes, had history been kinder to you those 200 or so years ago.

    Just to show that I’m on board, as a special treat to all my American friends, I will be officially offering my heartfelt commiserations to every one of you on July 4 on the anniversary of your great mistake in breaking away from the British Empire, which I believe to be the cause of ALL your current problems.

    Make the best of the day anyway, and make sure you have a hot dog on me …

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “…what we learn is that nations do not allow for their own dissolution. What the south wanted to do is attack America and steal its land (as the South was a part of America). No nation relinquishes a part of itself by a request.”

    Wrong. That is why I have repeatedly told you to consult with your Canadian colleagues – who are far more familiar with the other possibility in a seceding part of the country than treating it as a rebellion. By your standards, the entire Parti Quebeçois should be rotting in jail for fomenting rebellion against the Dominion of Canada. Take another look. That does not appear to be the case…

  • Zedd

    Ruvy,

    You have to be more specific

    Are you referring to the Quiet Rebellion? Are you speaking of the ceading of the land below the Great Lakes? Que dites-vous?

    My comment was in response to your statement that because the US did not specify in the Constitution that the states could not leave the union, it was then okay for them to do so.

    You have not responded to that adequately.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Boy, Zedd, you ARE dense.

    Fist of all, what I said was that because the constitution of 1788 was silent on the issue of secession, and because it had not been adjudicated in any court prior to 1860, it was reasonable for a state leader to assume it was legal – the civil war was fought over this precise question and it was settled on the battlefield. It is no longer open to debate in the United States.

    The other point was that attempting to secede from a federation is not necessarily a declaration of war on that federation. Quebec, and its attempts to achieve sovereignty, and more importantly the reaction of the government in Ottawa, are a prime example of this. Following your philosophy, the members of the Parti Quebeçois should all be rotting in jail for incitement to rebellion. Instead, they hold seats in l’assemblé nationale in Quebec City, and they hold press conferences, etc., etc.

    The Province of Québec has not yet succeeded in obtaining independence from the confederation. But it has not been treated like a rebellious territory for attempting to achieve it, either – which is my point.

  • troll

    when New Mexico seceded from the union in disgust a few years back the movement was so quiet that few even knew what had happened

  • STM

    I knew New Mexico wasn’t really part of America when I was there last time. The roads, as we crossed the border, turned into Australian ones.

    My mate said: “Geez, this feels familiar”, as we bounced along over barely patched potholes on the freeway.

    So that was the reason, eh troll?

  • Zedd

    Ruvy #77

    I just take your comments to be the last kick of a dying horse.

    You haven’t made the argument.

    No nation writes within it constitution, steps for its own death.

    Also if what you assert is true, any state should still be able to leave the union today. The Constitution is still the same. The war didn’t change the document. Not sure why you keep saying the war settled anything…. Your premise does not carry over so you just keep switching and ducking. Sorry bud. Next time……. Oh and you don’t think I’m dense. You are such a guy.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Zedd,

    You seem unable to understand either history or its why’s or wherefore’s. Perhaps this is because sociology, your asserted forte, is not the subject analyzing the “why” of history at all.

    So THIS is the not the kick of a dying horse, it is a Parthian shot. If you do not understand the facts of any given matter, you should not prattle on uselessly about the why of its occurrence. In this instance, as in quite a number of others, you do not understand the facts of the matter.

    In any given series of historical occurrences, each occurrence is framed within a choice. The example of the choice framed here is the response a federation can choose to make when challenged by a seceding state or a group of people who constitute what can be a seceding state (seen in the Union of India, but not discussed here).

    To even be able to consider that question, you have to be able to comprehend that
    1. a federation is not necessarily a nation;
    2. sometimes federations work – like the Swiss Confederation, the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany (and its predecessor the German Empire) or the Commonwealth of Australia (which might be argued was never really a federation at all);
    3. sometimes they do not work, like the Czechoslovak Federal Republic, the Yugoslav Federal Republic, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics;
    4. sometimes they sorta work – like the Dominion of Canada or the Union of India;
    5. finally, you need to comprehend that a “constitution” is not necessarily entirely written, and is read in the context of its readers’ situations within a given framework of time.

    You appear to comprehend neither the concept of events which occur framed in a choice, nor the nature of the question framed when a federation chooses to respond to a state desiring to secede from it, nor the fact that all federations are not necessarily nations, nor the fact that they do not necessarily work, nor the fact that constitutions are not ONLY written documents.

    These kinds of things are not taught in sociology classes. They are taught in political science classes and history classes – which you admit are not your forte at all.

    So for you to continue to prattle on about this is the mere prattling of a fool.

    Perhaps another time; we’ll discuss something you do understand, and perhaps I’ll be able to learn from you. You appear to have learnt nothing here.

  • Clavos

    “a “constitution” is not necessarily entirely written”

    This is especially true of the US Constitution, which is continuously interpreted and re-interpreted by the courts.

    This results, as we have seen over the years, in a dynamic and constantly evolving system of governance, which nevertheless continues to be anchored by the document itself.

  • STM

    Ruvey wrote: “the Commonwealth of Australia (which might be argued was never really a federation at all)”.

    Sorry Ruve, all the states and territorities were separate colonies and self-governing prior to federation.

    Australia has a federal government and six states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, and two territories, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, which although not states, are treated as states in the dish-it of federal funding.

    All are self-governing, with their own upper and lower house legislatures, much like those of the US, and are responsible for such things as roads, public transport, hospitals, police forces, prisons, schools, higher-education institutions. They also impose their own taxes, which is why the price of alcohol, sokes and petrol differs from state to state. Sound familiar?

    The Commonwealth is a separate entity, with its own police force (the Australian Federal Police) and is responsible for the national economy, defence, foreign affairs/policy, other matters of state, immigration, taxation, ports, airports, interstate highways, international trade, visas, passports, etc.

    We celebrate our federation in 1901, with a well-deserved day off (any day off is well deserved I reckon). It’s a federation all right, perhaps even more than some of the others you’ve mentioned.

    And we’ve had one state in the past attempt (or threaten) to secede from the Commonwealth: Queensland (it’s the tropical heat up there, it’s not really their fault). Plus, the federal government governs through a separately elected House of Representatives and a Senate, much like the US.

    So we might even be more of a federation (on the US model) than some of those other bloody places.

  • STM

    Clav wrote: “This results, as we have seen over the years, in a dynamic and constantly evolving system of governance, which nevertheless continues to be anchored by the document itself.”

    And a mighty fine thing that is too, Clav … can you imagine all the nutcases and what they’d do if they were only able to interpret US law solely on the basis of what is written in a constitution.

    The place would be a police state. Which is why you can’t let the buggers do whatever they want.

    Freedom is freedom. You can’t have a bit of freedom … it’s a bit like being a little bit pregnant.

    You either is or you ain’t.

  • Clavos

    Stan says,

    “And a mighty fine thing that is too, Clav … can you imagine all the nutcases and what they’d do if they were only able to interpret US law solely on the basis of what is written in a constitution.”

    Amen mate, amen.

    But the buggers keep trying, don’t they?

    “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance…”

    John P. Curran, July 10, 1790

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Stan, I knew that parenthetical comment would get your dander up.

    All that you write is true, of course, every last jot and tittle. The source for that parenthetical remark was the commentary on the development of the Australian constitution and the subsequent history of the Commonwealth found in the Historian’s History of the World published by the Encyclopaedia Britannica about 80 years ago.

    It points up everything you have written, also pointing out that one of the issues involved in deciding how to structure a united country in Oz was insuring that the tracks were of all the same width in the various colonies’ rail lines.

    It also notes that not too many years after the Australia Act was adopted as law, the country began operating as a unitary state in spite of its formal structure as a federation; that is to say that more and more authority devolved away from the individual states to the federal authority.

    Hence the observation that one might argue that Australia, originally composed of self governing colonies within the British Empire, was never really a federation at all, but merely structured that way – just as New Zealand had been structured as a federation until one of its colonial premiers did away with the colony’s provinces as administrative units.

    What I’ve related, of course, was the mere opinion of the author; your experience and understanding of the country’s history may argue quite to the contrary – and you live there, and can speak with authority. I only read these books in my misspent youth…

  • STM

    Ruve, I can see how people might think that uis the case, but from my experience it’s almost identical to the US model.

    One major difference: the states don’t however impose any form of income tax in Australia … that is solely the preserve of the federal government. They do, though, impose a whole raft of other taxes and charges on businesses and individuals, and these are all different in each state.

    I guess the thing here is funding … the states are meant to reap the main proportion depending on need and population of federally collected tax moneys to administer things like hospitals, roads, transport, education, etc.

    However, Canberra likes to play funny buggers … especially when a state government is of a different political persuasion.

    Right now would be a perfect example: the feds are Liberal (read: very conservative), while the Labor Party governs at the moment in ALL states and territories.

    There might be a message to Canberra in that, with a federal election coming at the end of the year. I don’t think they’re listening though, and if they are, it’s too little, too late.

    It will be good to see the divisive buggers get their comeuppance.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Stan,

    So then we’ll consider the issue closed. Australia is and remains a federation. My parenthetical remarks reflect the 80 year old view of a person seeing the Commonwealth in its youth, a view that turned out to be inaccurate as time passed; one that can be stricken from the record.

  • troll

    surfer dude – while Mexico is known as the ‘land of manana’ New Mexico is the land of maybe next week as in ‘we’ll get a crew out to fix that crater…maybe next week’

    independence is a bitch

  • Clavos

    troll,

    Fun site. Apparently NM is a lot like TX, which refers to itself as the Republic of Texas.

    When I lived there, Chevy even advertised the Suburban as “the national car of Texas.”

    Don’t know if you know the creator of that web site, but if you do, this is pretty cool:

    “The New Mexican Dolor worth 100 peñas.”

    But for it to work, the last word should be penas, not peñas (unless he’s intentionally referring to rocks).

  • wargunfan

    This question is aimed at the Brits on this site: Why on earth did you give British passports to every bloody wog in your former empire????

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Because it was fun to upset enlightened souls like you, old chap.

    Nice non sequitur, by the way.

  • STM

    Yeah, wasn’t bad eh Doc, that one.

    Plus, we all like diversity.

    I’ll explain further.

    If you’re going to have an empire that spans about three-quarters of the world’s land mass at one point or another, and you’re pretending that you’re doing this for everyone’s benefit, then once you get found out you’d better make amends by making everyone equal.

    Example of how it worked: The king of Siam was smart: the British and French colonised everything around Thailand, and the British said, “Well, at least let us build you a railway (mainly to transport OUR goods)”.

    He said no, he’d build his own,thanks very much, understanding that a British-built railway would have been followed by the inevitable administrators.

    Followed by more trade, more influence, troops and police to guard the infrastructure, then schools for the children of the administrators, and finally law in the shape of anglo-american-style jurisprudence and voila! you’re a colony.

    The real advantage of this, of course, is that it means millions more people around the world get to play cricket and rugby and you can get great food any time of the day or night from the cuisine of all the former colonies.

    Malay is my favourite ;)

    The most important job in Australia is not that of Prime Minister.

    It’s Captain of the Australian Cricket Team. And we like playing against Indians, England, Sri Lankans, West Indians and Pakistanis.

    (In New Zealand, it’s the captain of the All Blacks rugby team).

    Neither of those statements are a joke; it’s true.

    I am in one of the former colonies, down here on the edge of the South Pacific, and I like the diversity, as do most of us. Most of us gave up worrying about the colour of people’s skin decades ago.

    Maybe you have to be a part of it to understand it.