Since this is a mostly american forum, I am pretty sure I will get some answers here to some questions which I had since quite some time now.
How can you stand the fact that you only have 2 political parties? It would drive me crazy. Here in germany lobbyism is already a huge problem but you are basically inviting corruption and special interests groups. We have currently 5 parties which had enough votes to get into the "Bundestag" (similar to congress I guess).
George WTF. Bush.
His administration lied and is responsible for the death of countless soldiers and innocent civilians. Instead of fighting terrorism, it just provoked additional hatred towards western civilisation. And the whole war on terror weakened you in a time where china is catching up to you. I mean, I can fully understand Afghanistan, but shouldn't someone stand trial for the lies that led to the disaster called Operation Iraqi Freedom? Or the torture going on in Guantanamo Bay? People being held without a fair trial? (there was even an incident where a german has been captured by the CIA IN GERMANY and taken there, he had to be released because he had been proven to be innocent and because of political intervention)
That shit would drive me nuts if my government would have been responsible.
Occupy Wall Street. These great people finally came together to protest against the grotesque situation that one percent of the population holds 40% of all wealth in the United States. And against lobbyism. And against corporate-funded political races. And against many other things that are so extremely F* up in your country and elsewhere (we have similar problems). The very fact that the media and local authority is actively fighting them and different local administrations are organizing against them should make you all the more want to join or at least support them, shouldn't it? Just hearing about this movement has given me more hope that your country does have a future.
Well, other questions will come but I don't want to pack too much into one topic. I would just like to hear your thoughts on these things.
To address question 3, the Occupy Movement is/was trying to bring attention to one of the main problems we in the US have. That problem is the ownership of the mechanism of government by the wealthy and large corporations. Nothing would suit the wealthy and powerful more than the destruction of the middle class and the creation of a large and powerless lower and under class.
There is little comfort in knowing that we (the US) have the best Congress that money can buy. It does no good to elect new people. The new ones are rapidly corrupted by the money and power. The large corporations, the large banks, and the wealthy 1 percent (to use an arbitrary number) control the country and will never voluntarily give up that power.
Hear! Hear! Ron should run for office. Got my vote.
You would vote for someone who claims that everyone WILL get corrupted? Don't you think he might be a little bit prone to, I don't know... corruption?
If you accept that it can not be changed, then it would be easier to convince you to rather be part of it than to fight it senselessly, wouldn't it?
1: There are more parties but they don't get elected since it's a first-past-the-post system, which means that only the candidate with the most votes gets elected, which tends to end up as a two-party system. The major benefit of such a system is virtually guaranteed that elections will end up in a government being formed, compared to i.e. Belgium, which went 540 days (!) without a government. Good for governance, bad for plurality.
2: You should be careful reading history backwards, and when you think of what happened on March 19 2003 you have to use the info which was available at that time, not what came after. I guess we can have a long discussion of what constitutes lying versus deceit versus being wrong. Ahead of the Iraq war there was certainly a lot of bad information, perhaps even outright lies, and the casus belli certainly was poor. However, it should not detract from the fact that Saddam did invade 3 of his neighbor countries and led genocides against the Kurds and the Swamp Arabs. The US certainly can't be blamed for the deaths of civilians, most of whom were killed in the civil war which ensued, and soldiers dying in war is to be expected. The war was a bad idea, it's execution poor, and the aftermath much worse than anything anyone had imagined beforehand, but the vast majority of that information was not available when the decisions were made.
All countries have security services, the BND in the case of Germany, with their spies and agents doing work which doesn't always stand he light of day. By their very nature they are secretive, which means that almost the only times we hear about their work is when there's a scandal.
3: The OWS has offered only protest and no solutions. The best way to protest is the ballot box, and the unfortunate fact is that demands which are not channeled through them don't get fulfilled. They are the epitome of what Marx called the infantile left.
How many dictatorships have we propped up over the decades to meet our needs? We rubbed elbows with Saddam and gave him money and weapons for years. Our use of third world scumbag leaders to secure our oil interests makes me wanna puke.
The US doesn't really have a say over other countries politics, and the regimes are usually propped up for a reason, which historically has been anti-communist measures. The US and the Soviets each armed their strongman to battle it out in proxy civil wars, sometimes the US was on the side of the government, others times on the insurgents. Also remember that Saddam's army had AKs, drove around in T-64s, and flew MIGs - none of these were manufactured in the US. Instead of focusing on that, you should perhaps also remember how quickly the US has dropped most of these regimes once they went completely overboard, or a potentially more democratic bunch came along.
But I wouldn't mind if you get out your protest sign and demand that the US stops dealing with Islam Karimov (though your soldiers in Afghanistan would go hungry).
Anti-communist efforts always takes a back seat to procuring oil. Loss of petroleum resources is a larger security threat as perceived by Washington DC/Pentagon. Case in point, we don't like Hugo Chavez but we eagerly take his gasoline anyway.
Supporting foreign regimes who persecute their own people is a dirty business. Unfortunately it makes economic sense.
Loss of energy is a substantial threat to any country as it is the lifeforce of modern society. That aside, the US doesn't "take" anyone's oil, they pay the market price for it, and that market price is heavily influenced by the OPECs decisions. There is no oil in Vietnam or Afghanistan. There's oil in Iran, Syria, both currently embargoed, and Libya, for which the embargo has now been lifted.
Are you saying that because the US doesn't like Chavez they shouldn't trade with Venezuela, thus harming the Venezuelan population more than anything else? Or should it invade and depose the (s)elected leader? Or should the US unilaterally impose an embargo, which in itself is an act of aggression?
I don't think "supporting" is the right word, being forced to deal with unsavory types is more reflective of the truth.
the concept of the Officer de jeure allows a judge to trump the law any time he pleases. This is an escape trick used to circumvent rule of law of which most ordinary U.S. Americans are completely unaware.
I believe the clause to which you are referring is the de facto officer doctrine. De facto meaning roughly "concerning fact" and de jure meaning "concerning law". All judges who are legally appointed would be officers de jure, and de facto. Some officials may be de facto but not de jure. That is, they may not be legally appointed but may hold the position nonetheless. The de facto doctrine, which predates the United States by several hundred years and exists as policy today affirmed by the Supreme Court in Ryder v United States protects the rulings of de facto officers from challenge based on their status.
The doctrine is not nearly as broad in scope or depth as you make it out to be. It does not give a judge of any court the right to exceed their purview. What the doctrine says is that an officer of a government, that is any officer, town councilor, city mayor, fifth circuit judge, or president, is operating in their described capacity as a matter of fact, and that their decisions are valid. The doctrine exists to protect government from the chaos that would ensue if someone was able to halt a law, proclamation, or ordinance simply by claiming that the officer who issued it does not hold their position justly, that their appointment or election is invalid. The law, proclamation, or ordinance may be challenged quo warranto, that is it may be challenged based on its merits, not on the merits of the officer who is responsible for it.
So if you have a problem with a ruling, you may in fact challenge that ruling, but you must have a basis for the challenge other than the validity of the judges appointment. If a judge issued a ruling that is somehow beyond their purview then one could issue a valid challenge to the ruling based on that claim. The law does not allow a judge de jure to trump the law whenever he feels like, if a judge were to attempt that he would not be a judge, de facto or de jure, for very long, he would likely face impeachment. If his ruling is outside of the law then it may be challenged based on the law. If you just plain don't like the ruling and you have any legal basis for that at all you may appeal to a higher court.
I’ve traveled overseas a good bit and this is how and why I know a lot of this.
Traveling overseas does not, in itself, convey a deeper understanding of U.S. law or policy. It is not a valid basis for claiming knowledge. In fact, one could argue that your view has been swayed by the opinions of those you had traffic with who had a low or overly critical opinion of the U.S.
The crux of your post is that our government lies. My first problem with that post is the sweeping generalization that incriminates every official associated with our government as an agent of deception. It would be accurate to claim that there are individuals who are agents of the government that lie, it would also be accurate to claim that there are individuals who are agents of the government who advocate for transparency and honesty. My second problem with your argument is the apparent presumption that the officials in our government are the only ones lying, I would argue that a great many officials who are agents of foreign governments are practicing deceits of their own.
the United States and the U.K. set up Iran before the Islamic Revolution with a fraud in which they did exactly what you are claiming they don’t do; steal other country’s petroleum resources.
Without suggesting that this was a good thing, I would like to point out that this was a much more complicated situation than the U.S. stealing petroleum. Include the context of the Cold War with western interests vying for influence with soviet interests and consider the fact that the petroleum being stolen was wholly owned by the U.K. before Mossadeq nationalized the oil industry and took it from them.
This comment cuts to the very point I'm making. Your characterization of this is reflective of a textbook understanding of law, not an understanding based on the actual experiences of a judge. Judges are, in the textbook sense, supposed to apply equity in law in all decisions rendered. This means that they are supposed to render decisions in such a way as to apply the general laws pertaining to a circumstance as equitably in a given circumstance (which is generally more specific than what law can explicitly state) as possible. But the key academic distinction to make here is that they are *not* supposed to *violate* law in that decision. The purpose of equity in law is to allow us to apply laws to very specific circumstances since a legislator cannot write laws that specific for each and every imaginable situation. In fact, this is a core reason for having a justice system in the first place.
The point I am making is that if they violate the law then they are not protected by the de facto officer doctrine. The doctrine provides them protection against the accusation that they hold their position unlawfully and so their decisions are unlawful. If they make a ruling beyond their purview or outside of the law then the ruling is to be challenged on that merit. Your argument here shows a lack of understanding of the application of that doctrine.
So, your description sounds a lot like the very disingenuous kind of description I am referring to in my original post; not to imply that *you* are being disingenuous, but that your argument is representative of that general position.
My argument is indicative of the letter of the law from which it is taken. Your argument is removing that law from context, and your interpretation given the letter of the law is nonsensical. It doesn't have anything to do with judicial abuses of power, it has to do with the status of the judge in question. If you have come across a judge who has passed the rigorous vetting process and been appointed and is somehow not eligible then his status may be challenged, but his rulings may not be based on his status alone.
To sum up, the de facto doctrine has absolutely nothing to do with presumption of excess powers or other judicial abuses, the sole purpose of the doctrine is to protect a law or ruling from being challenged based on a judges status as de jure. If a law or ruling is unconstitutional, outside of purview or an abuse of power then it must be challenged on that merit.
Most people do not have the time or money to continually challenge rulings like this and I wish you luck in trying to make a challenge like that
This is true regardless of the reason for challenge. Appealing a challenge based on the merit of the law and issuing a challenge against a judges status would both cost time and money, stick to the former it isn't in violation of policy.