Questions about the US

Just a quick "two cents" on the healthcare in general: Before WWII there was virtually no formal/private healthcare insurance in the US. Healthcare insurance became a perk employers began offering after the war as an incentive to attract, and keep, quality employees. I has taken a little over 60 years for what was once an employment perk/benefit to be viewed as a Constitutional right. We Americans tend to confuse "privileges" with "rights" too often.
 

Dan Roll

Well-known member
I think it is important to point out the employers offered insurance as an employment inducement only after FDR mandated salary maximums in an effort to hold down the cost of war materials. Like most other attempts by government to control business or social circumstances, it led to unintended and unanticipated consequences.
 

FileJockey

Well-known member
Israel isn't interested in any "military action" against Iran. It's only interested in destroying Iranian nuclear facilities and live on quietly knowing they don't exist. Obviously, they'd prefer Iran to shut them down itself.

You are somewhat correct. Israel does not want to undertake military action against Iran. They would much rather the U.S. does the dirty work. Israel's large nuclear arsenal makes them militarily dominant in the region, and they will not tolerate any challenge to their hegemony. Hence the constant attacks against their neighbors. I wonder what would happen if they just started attacking U.S. nuclear facilities? Sick as it sounds, the U.S. would probably let them get away with it. Opposing Israel is politically almost impossible in the U.S.
 

zevrix

Active member
AIPAC - the America Israel Public Affairs Council... many Americans would be justifiably upset to learn that we have been driven into 2 disastrous wars, mostly thanks to their influence.

These views are very popular indeed, just like the fake moon landing etc. Israel actually warned US against attacking Iraq. Bush just had to be a "war president".
 

zevrix

Active member
Hence the constant attacks against their neighbors. I wonder what would happen if they just started attacking U.S. nuclear facilities? Sick as it sounds, the U.S. would probably let them get away with it. Opposing Israel is politically almost impossible in the U.S.

Israel NEVER attacked its neighbors. On the contrary, it constantly endured attacks by its neighbors. If you mean the destruction of nuclear reactors in Iraq and Syria - well, just because of the previous experience Israel had to take some necessary precautions once in a while. You don't want the unstable barbarian regimes in Iraq and Syria to have anything to do with nuclear power. As opposite to, for example, Pakistan - which with all its shortcomings is a country of a totally different level.

And why would you even contemplate the idea of Israel attacking the US? What if aliens come to power in Canada tomorrow and start destroying all the liqueur stores in the US ferociously? But then again - this weird question is just a boiler plate accessory which is automatically brought up on any forum when similar views are expressed.
 

chevalier

Well-known member
Just a quick "two cents" on the healthcare in general: Before WWII there was virtually no formal/private healthcare insurance in the US. Healthcare insurance became a perk employers began offering after the war as an incentive to attract, and keep, quality employees. I has taken a little over 60 years for what was once an employment perk/benefit to be viewed as a Constitutional right. We Americans tend to confuse "privileges" with "rights" too often.

Dan Roll already cleared up that health insurance was a tactic used by private employers to get around government mandated price and wage fixing under the new deal. However, there is a lot of glossing over when this is discussed. Some things to consider before making up your mind about this:

  • US population went from 72% rural (1910) to 16% rural (2010) in 100 years.
  • US population went from 92.2 million (1910) to 311.6 million (2010) in 100 years.
  • A huge expansion in medical technology and knowledge was created primarily by WWII. This includes discoveries by the Allied and Axis powers.
  • Before the 1960s the average Joe and his family depended on the nearest county doctor (most people lived rurally at the time). The doctor collected a tiny fee compared to today but was still required to be educated and licensed. He lived high on the food chain and all as well.
  • Hospitals as we know them today did not exist. Hospitals sprang up in times of great calamity (think tuberculosis hospital). These hospitals laid the ground-work for the modern hospital and many became "modern" hospitals. I was actually born in "the old TB hospital" which was replaced 10 years after my birth.
  • US GDP per capita in real dollars went from $5,000 (1910) to $40,000 (2010).
  • There is an inherent benefit to everyone within a society when it is healthy on the macro level (economical efficiency, prevention of disease, etc.)
  • The US would be grossly uncompetitive with other industrialized nations if healthcare were treated like a privilege as it was 100 years ago

Yeah, we could go back to the every man for himself system but why should we?
 

FileJockey

Well-known member
These views are very popular indeed, just like the fake moon landing etc. Israel actually warned US against attacking Iraq. Bush just had to be a "war president".

What is "fake" about AIPAC's influence on U.S. foreign policy? They lead elected officials around by their pudenda. So much money that very few in elected office can resist. What do the lawmakers care about bombing a few more Muslims, as long as it's not them or their families being sent to fight? For some news that you aren't seeing in the mainstream U.S. media, check out Rabbi Phillip Weiss's blog that condemns Israel's disproportionate influence in the U.S.:
Mondoweiss | The War of Ideas in the Middle East
Or see what Jewish Voice for Peace has to say about the dirty politics of Israel's apartheid state:
Jewish Voice for Peace
And anyone who pays attention to the middle east will see that the U.S. is hogtied to Israel's ambitions:
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation�:�Index
 

George T

Member
OK so I was a political science major so bear with me.


After watching both the Republican and Democrat convention speeches I have some questions that searches on Google don't seem to answer. I'm a Canadian so bear with my confusion....

1) "Voter I.D. discriminates against minorities." If you are going to vote - don't you have to prove that you are eligible to vote? I.e. that you are an american citizen? Or can non-citizens vote? How does a voter I.D. discriminate against minorities?

In the past, following the American Civil War. people were discriminated against at the polls. Now we had passed the 15th amendment to our constitution that gave voting rights to men regardless of race. However, people found ways around this through poll taxes, grandfather clauses, and literacy tests. These all effectively excluded minority groups without actually restricting their right to vote. The argument against requiring ID's is that it might do that again. ID's cost money and time, these are things that the very bottom of society don't have. This means that they might not be able to obtain an ID and therefore their vote would be unjustly denied. It's an argument against classism because the wealthier are not effected, but the poor are. The argument in favor of ID's is very obvious; it helps ensure that the person voting is a citizen and who they say they are. With photo ID's you cannot get someone voting in the place of someone else and you cannot get any unregistered people voting when they shouldn't.

2) Immigration. From what I can understand, Americans confuse legal immigration with illegal immigration according to whatever POV is being argued. So, it seems that however you manage to get into the the US - once you're in you are entitled to all the benefits of citizenship. If not you, then your children. So why would anyone bother to try and become a US citizen legally?

Immigration, while still an issue, has taken a backseat to the economy. However, I don't know if you are right in saying that Americans confuse legal and illegal immigration. Once in you are not entitled to all the benefits of citizenship. You can finagle your way into beating the system, but if you want to live here legitimately and not be on the fringes of society you need to be here legally. The benefits of citizenship is not that much greater than legal immigration. One major advantage is that you never run the risk of being kicked out, if you are a citizen you can be in the U.S. for as long as you like and go where ever you like. Also citizenship grants you access to safety nets like welfare or social security. Basically citizenship is more of a matter of convenience than necessity, but if you want to integrate into American society and stop avoiding the rules then you need to be a citizen or have legal status.

3) Gay marriage. How can one's marital status be determined by what state one resides in? Isn't marriage for straights nation-wide? And if so, why would it be different for gay marriage?

The U.S. has a long and strong tradition of states rights. The original constitution of the US was actually the Articles of Confederation which granted almost no power to the federal government and allowed the states to do as they please. Obviously this failed and the US has a stronger central government now. However, the notions of state's rights is still strong and America does not want too much power in the central government. Marriage is not in fact nation wide. Each state determines it for themselves and has certain rules and regulations regarding marriage.

4) Abortion. Roe v Wade was a supreme court ruling. Isn't that the final argument? Or does the Federal government have the right to overturn Supreme court judgements?

Yep. I don't get why the argument rages on. A lot of it is again the state's rights thing, but honestly I don't see how it could ever be banned.

5) Obamacare...The argument that private vs government medical insurance encourages competition and hence lower costs. But isn't the current medical insurance system private? And has that not resulted in increased premium cost rather than lowering it?

America has an innate fear of socialism. A lot of Americans would rather pay more and maintain capitalism than save some and have a governmental system. You see, we have a fear of government and a general distrust of it, people don't want to put money into their hands and would rather do it themselves. Also, the medical insurance companies are a huge industry in America. There is a lot of fear that government will make them fail and cost thousands of jobs and lead to a bit of a collapse.

6) Iran... Iran (unlike Israel) is a signatory to the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty which states that members agree never to acquire nuclear weapons and in exchange agree to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of their nuclear arsenals. Indeed, under the treaty the US is required to aide Iran in its development of nuclear energy. However, as of 2005, it is estimated that the United States (a signatory) still provides about 180 tactical B61 nuclear bombs for use by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey and it is argued that this violates Articles I and II of the treaty. And it appears that Iran's nuclear energy activities may be an excuse for US (or Israeli) military action. This is very confusing.

This can be attributed to American's general sentiment towards the middle east. There has been a lot of hype about how dangerous Iran is, and most people don't know about the treaty. Honestly, those kinds of treaties are nearly impossible to enforce, so if we don't want to do it, then it won't happen. Sad, but true.

7) Guns...The second amendment to the US constitution states: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Does this mean that you can bear arms only if you are a member of a militia? Should the term "arms" be unlimited? E.g. do the people have the right to own nuclear arms? On has the right to free speech, however, for example, one cannot falsely scream "Fire" in a movie theatre as this is not protected by the First Amendment and goes beyond the rights guaranteed by free speech. So, why shouldn't the right to bear arms restrict the nature of the arms a citizen has a right to bear?

Americans have a fascination with guns. The idea of the well regulated militia can be interpreted as in the event that a militia is needed you should already have a gun so you can come fight. Think about it this way, by the time you were raising a militia to rise against an unjust government it probably wouldn't matter if you had a "right" to bear arms for that purpose because the government wouldn't allow it. Therefore, you should be able to have a gun at any time. The restrictions on what guns you can have deal with the notion of public safety and necessity. Just because you have the right to bear arms, does not mean you have the right to kill people. A nuclear bomb when detonated over the ocean might not kill someone. However, you cannot control where they will detonate it and it is too much of a clear danger to have that be available to anyone who wants it.

8) Religion...This seemed to be a much bigger issue with the Republicans than with the Democrats since the Republicans had religious leaders give presentations while the Democrats did not. Also Romney constantly mentioned his faith in his talks. Is religious affiliation a criteria for presidency? I.e. if you're not a "Christian" (I understand that Mormons are not viewed by all as Christians) you cannot be a presidential candidate?

America was founded by protestants, led by protestants and many many protestant ideals still exist today. Also, most Americans come from some sort of christian base and are concerned with maintaining certain morals in society. While religion is obviously not a part of their policy it helps them to connect with the voters and assure them that they have a good moral character.

Hope that helps; if you need any follow ups feel free to ask.
 

Dan Roll

Well-known member
Most Americans believe they have a right to vote, but have no idea where this right comes from or who guarantees it. There is no federal right to vote, the constitution only deals with voting rights in amendments by saying certain groups must not be excluded. The actual right to vote is granted by the state one lives in and the qualifications required have been somewhat elastic over the years. At one time only male property owners were allowed to vote, but this was slowly expanded into universal suffrage for citizens. Voting irregularities in Illinois and Texas have been democratic party mainstays as long as I have been alive. The election of JFK could not have happened without a lot of mysterious votes from Chicago and Lyndon Johnson would never have been elected to the Senate without 'ballot box 13'.
Originally, the only federal office Americans could vote for were the representative of their congressional district. Senators were elected by the state legislatures and the president was elected by the house of representatives.
 

chevalier

Well-known member
I realize that the Declaration of Independence has no legal bearing but I think this is where the idea of the "right" to vote comes from. From the preamble...(emphasis added)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
"Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" sounds like the right to have a say (a la voting).
 

Dan Roll

Well-known member
You may be right, but this is why they felt the need for the second amendment. The framers clearly recognized the citizenry needed to be on par militarily with the government or tyranny would be realized. The debates among the framers about the franchise make interesting reading.
I heard an interesting take the other day suggesting the founders would be as against 'representation without taxation' as we have for about half of the US as they were about 'taxation without representation'. Franklin predicted the end of the republic as soon as the populace found out they could vote their way into the treasury. He was right.
 

Controlling the Purse Strings

Avanti
CONTROLLING THE
PURSE STRINGS

By Noel Ward, Editor@Large
What did you buy for your
business last week?
And how are you making sure everything you purchase is properly managed and accounted for?

Read the Article

   
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