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U-S-A! The American Politics Thread. (Read 370194 times)

sherlock

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For clarity I wasn't America bashing but the rest of your post was spot on.

SA Chris

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You would think people working in Colorado ski areas and skiing are fairly enlightened, but a lot of the guys i worked with carried handguns in to work every day (had to check them in at resort security) and they could spot guys getting on charlifts with concealed carries (telltale bulge under jacket). You are not supposed to carry weapons in the ski area, but us lifties were told not to confront them, but notify security, though no-one ever bothered AFAIK.

We used to go to a saloon / bar in a town just out of the resort (cheaper beer!) and you would often see locals sitting at the bar with a handgun in a holster. Used to scare the crap out of me, but none of my American friends seemed bothered, and in conversation few seems to in favour of gun control, and I know some of them who were keen hunters and got firearms for their kids so they could hunt together, from about age 9.

I was on a running facebook page, where people were talking about the best way to carry your handgun when running.     

This is not bashing as such, just saying how it is part of a culture very different to the UK.   

largeruk

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Gallupís rolling poll shows support for stricter gun laws generally at 52% in the US but this is down from 78% in 1991 and 67% in 2018. This trend seems to show that broadly Americans are becoming less and less in favour of stricter gun controls despite there having been 900 more school shootings in the US since Sandy Hook a decade ago. Why might this be?

IMF research into the social impact of inequality in America (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2882614) shows "there has been a sharp decline in the extent to which individuals trust one another, and other social capital indicators, over the past 40 years in America". Perhaps this has contributed to people having more libertarian attitudes towards gun control. Ultimately, there are likely real limits to how functional you can expect the USA to be given that people donít trust each other combined with increasing levels of distrust of government (of either political persuasion). If the perception is that government canít/wonít protect people (regardless of whoís in power), many people conclude they have to at least consider protecting themselves and their families. This chimes with my personal (anecdotal) interactions with American friends and colleagues.

Meanwhile, the NRA is promoting an appearance by Donald Trump at its 150th annual conference this weekend. Ironically, guns won't be allowed at the conference. As Trump is an ex-president he gets Secret Service protection which has taken over the venue and it doesnít allow guns...

seankenny

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I was walking to a crag in Joshua Tree with some American climbers. The wash had a Y shaped junction, from the other direction to the one we took came the noise of semi-automatic rifle fire. Lots of it. The Americans rolled their eyes, explained this was strictly illegal in a national park, but it wasnít worth alerting the authorities because then there would be a ďsituationĒ which would be more trouble than it was worth. Who knew what had driven someone to go out into the desert and fire blindly?

California doesnít feel like a gun nut place and lots of people I met hated gun culture, but itís always there beneath the surface.

Like jwi, by this point I donít really have much sympathy any more. I say this as someone who broadly likes the US and finds lots to admire in American culture.

TobyD

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SA Chris

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That millions of background checks a month graph surprised me. I did a quick google and 20 million guns were sold in America last year.

chris j

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California doesnít feel like a gun nut place and lots of people I met hated gun culture, but itís always there beneath the surface.

I worked briefly on an oilfield vessel in the Gulf run out of Fourchon in Louisiana. One of the officers was from California and one of his favourite rants was about how the environmentalists had forced him to use lead free ammunition for hunting...

This was also shortly after Obama was first elected and there was a lot of talk among the officers about how for his own good he had better not visit Louisiana. The amount of hate on the radio phone in shows at the time was also startling. The cultural differences across the USA are quite staggering I think, it is really becoming (has always been?) several different countries stitched together under the federal umbrella.

TobyD

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BBC News - Supreme Court ruling expands US gun rights
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-61915237

Just what the country needs to stem the constant epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings,  more concealed firearms. 

remus

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Roe v Wade has been overturned https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-61928898

Seems an amazingly regressive move.

Ed: a question for those more familiar with the US legal system than me: what's the reasoning behind having judges appointed for life? Maybe only seems obvious from the current point in time, but it seems like the supreme court is going to be very conservative for a long time which strains the separation between politics and the judiciary.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2022, 04:34:09 pm by remus »

SA Chris

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2  steps back in 2 days. Impressive.

edshakey

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Not surprising the decisions are regressive when rules written in the 1700s are being used to justify decisions today.

Sure, the constitution says people should have the right to bear arms, but when that's making it possible to have more than one mass shooting a day, maybe it's time to rethink some stuff  :shrug: not sure the guys in 1791 were expecting that when they wrote it (or if they were, it doesn't mean they were right!)

Bradders

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Not surprising the decisions are regressive when rules written in the 1700s are being used to justify decisions today.

Sure, the constitution says people should have the right to bear arms, but when that's making it possible to have more than one mass shooting a day, maybe it's time to rethink some stuff  :shrug: not sure the guys in 1791 were expecting that when they wrote it (or if they were, it doesn't mean they were right!)

Well that was actually part of the problem with Roe v Wade, and why it has now been overturned; it was an attempt to crowbar the right to an abortion into law under the existing constitution. I.e. arguing that the constitutional right to privacy meant that abortion should automatically also be legal, which to me has always seemed like extremely shaky ground. Obviously abortion isn't mentioned explicitly in the constitution.

This approach to gaining nationwide abortion rights was obviously easier at the time, with a more liberally minded court, than doing the actually democratic thing and making a law in Congress and the Senate that could then be protected by the court instead of struck down. In that sense, this is actually a win for democracy in that the elected state representatives can decide what to do for their state. If the people of each state don't like it they can vote to remove those representatives. The tragedy is that in the meantime, lots of suffering will be caused.

Although you also can't get away from the fact that to a lot of people abortions are utterly abhorrent. I personally think they're wrong, but I get where they're coming from.

Either way you're absolutely right, the excessive reliance on a document written such a long time ago is completely bonkers.

On gun rights and school shootings, I'm at a stage where if I were Joe Biden I'd be putting an executive order in place funding armed guards for every school. On the basis that the priority has to be protecting children, and that can be accomplished much more quickly and easily than restricting gun ownership. If it doesn't work then at least you'll have tried, and you'd also be able to counter the nonsensical argument that more guns = a safer society.

joel182

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the left has been warning about the overturning of Roe for a long time now.

next on the list are Obergerfell (same sex marriange), Griswold (contraceptives) and Lawrence (same-sex sexual activity).

here is a guide on post-Roe abortion resources written last month, many of the drugs have a multi-year shelf life (some up to 5 years), surely good to be prepared if you or anyone in your life may need access to an abortion over the next few years

Bradders

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This is from the latest ruling:

"And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe [has] enflamed debate and deepened division."

I totally agree with that. Wherever you stand on the issue (and I am 100% pro choice), pushing major changes to society via undemocratic back door means was never going to end well.

edshakey

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Well that was actually part of the problem with Roe v Wade, and why it has now been overturned; it was an attempt to crowbar the right to an abortion into law under the existing constitution. I.e. arguing that the constitutional right to privacy meant that abortion should automatically also be legal, which to me has always seemed like extremely shaky ground. Obviously abortion isn't mentioned explicitly in the constitution.

This approach to gaining nationwide abortion rights was obviously easier at the time, with a more liberally minded court, than doing the actually democratic thing and making a law in Congress and the Senate that could then be protected by the court instead of struck down. In that sense, this is actually a win for democracy in that the elected state representatives can decide what to do for their state. If the people of each state don't like it they can vote to remove those representatives. The tragedy is that in the meantime, lots of suffering will be caused.

Agreed, it's certainly not written clearly into the constitution, it was always going to be up to debate - but rather than using that as a reason the amend the constitution/write new laws, the Republicans only want to go back to how it was. And many many women will suffer for it. Lots of supporters bring out the "Offer the women support to have the child" line; well you don't do that by supporting the kind of policies the Republicans come up with nowadays.

next on the list are Obergerfell (same sex marriange), Griswold (contraceptives) and Lawrence (same-sex sexual activity).

Scary times over there. The UK is a mess right now but it's looking blissful compared to the state of the US. Who knows what damage could be done by a Republican majority in both houses + Republican president come 2024, with the supreme court by their side.

andy popp

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Wherever you stand on the issue (and I am 100% pro choice), pushing major changes to society via undemocratic back door means was never going to end well.

This current court - in terms of representation - and this decision - in terms of public opinion - are both profoundly anti-democratic.

joel182

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Scary times over there. The UK is a mess right now but it's looking blissful compared to the state of the US. Who knows what damage could be done by a Republican majority in both houses + Republican president come 2024, with the supreme court by their side.

We should be aware that our right wing looks to America for guidance.

Last month, The Times published an article in support of overturning Roe.

This is the kind of fight our right wing will look to have once they overturn the Human Rights Act

edshakey

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We should be aware that our right wing looks to America for guidance.

Last month, The Times published an article in support of overturning Roe.

This is the kind of fight our right wing will look to have once they overturn the Human Rights Act

For sure, it does. And we should definitely all be wary for the future of our laws on similar matters.

I can only see the free initial part of that article but it seems to support the view Bradders raised above, that the right to abortion should protected explicitly in modern law, as opposed to in an ambiguous interpretation of a 250 year old document. But maybe you read it differently.

One redeeming note for the UK is that we don't have nearly the same level of mobilised opposition to abortion. There are definitely people who want to fight it, but they aren't as organised and vocal as across the pond. That could change, but it's got some way to go.

Bradders

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Wherever you stand on the issue (and I am 100% pro choice), pushing major changes to society via undemocratic back door means was never going to end well.

This current court - in terms of representation - and this decision - in terms of public opinion - are both profoundly anti-democratic.

I don't agree with that at all. The original Roe v Wade decision was completely undemocratic, essentially forcing abortion rights federally without a democratic mandate. This decision has corrected that wrong, and put the matter into the hands of the elected representatives of each state. That is fundamentally democratic.

abarro81

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What you said doesn't actually disagree with anything andy wrote as far as I can tell

Bradders

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He said the decision is anti-democratic, I think it is democratic  :shrug:

Or, to put it another way, it allows for a democratic settlement of the issue.

spidermonkey09

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It depends if you think the way the supreme Court has been loaded with Conservative judges to be democratic or not, considering that Trump didn't win a majority of votes in 2016, and that across the US the population are strongly in favour of choice when it comes to abortion. I think its perfectly coherent to argue that given the extremely slim electoral college victory of Trump and the fact he lost the popular vote made the stacking of the SC undemocratic. On top of that, its also perfectly coherent to argue that even with a Conservative majority of judges, it is undemocratic to overturn Roe when public opinion still shows strong support for it. We haven't even got into the fact that the newer justices all said they had no problem with the precedent of Roe in their preliminary hearings...

I think it misses the point. This is a matter of human rights. We don't put fundamentals of human rights to popular vote, or at least we shouldn't. That way lies total chaos and all sorts of horrible outcomes. Having a referendum on the death penalty in the UK would be democratic, it would also be profoundly wrong. That's why I think falling back on the "it's democratic" line is a bit weak, its not what responsible government and responsible lawmakers do.


dr_botnik

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He said the decision is anti-democratic, I think it is democratic  :shrug:

Or, to put it another way, it allows for a democratic settlement of the issue.

Errrrrrr, I don't think democracy extends to removing people's right to healthcare? Like, should we have a vote on which genders can access cancer treatment???

spidermonkey09

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It will be interesting to see the view of the Times and other right wing papers on this decision. I found that editorial from a month ago profoundly chilling, I did a double take over my cereal! Couldn't believe what I was reading.

abarro81

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He said the decision is anti-democratic, I think it is democratic  :shrug:

He said
"This current court - in terms of representation - and this decision - in terms of public opinion - are both profoundly anti-democratic." - bold is my addition. Both statements seems pretty solid to me, even if you can argue that the position of lawmakers having the power to decide is also democratic

 

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