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Old 11-10-2006, 10:19 AM   #21
Thoran
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Quote:
Originally posted by johnny:
America is fine as it is, they just need better beerbrewers, that's all.
Maybe a parlementary system for brewers that allowed some of the excellent smaller breweries proper representation. Sadly the big brewers in the US are uniformly mediocre (not unlike the big political parties), and the small guys don't get much exposure overseas.

If you get to NYC or Boston... there are a couple bars that stock some of the best in the country, like Ommegang:
http://www.ommegang.com/

and Lake Placid Brewing Company (their "Ubu Ale" is excellent):
http://www.ubuale.com/

and in almost every part of the country you can find small brewers like these two that are doing fine work. Just stay away from the craptastic big names.
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Old 11-10-2006, 10:33 AM   #22
Bungleau
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Sorry for the confusion, Yorick. I edited my post to identify who "everyone else" is. You're correct that the President appoints cabinet members (and supreme court justices, too). However, Congress has to approve them... another check and balance.

And sometimes, the appointments do come from the congressional ranks. More often than not they come from outside, though.
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Old 11-10-2006, 11:51 AM   #23
ElfBane
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An epitome of the US system of government.

--------------------

EXECUTIVE Branch

PRESIDENT: Indirect popular election thru an Elecroral College. Example; Candidate A defeats candidate B 52% to 48% of the vote in the state of Florida....Candidate A will get ALL of Florida's Electoral votes. The Electoral votes are not devided proportionally, it's winner take all. This makes it possible for someone to become President and NOT win the popular vote. This happened in 2000, Bush won the Electoral vote but lost the popular vote.
President serves a 4 year term and can succeed himself once....twice if the total time in power does not exceed 10 years.
Can be impeached by the House of Representatives, upon which the Senate will try him. Conviction on a 2/3 majority.

VICE PRESIDENT: Appointed by the President. He serves as President of the Senate, and only votes in the event of a tie(ties are possible because there is always an even number of Senators).
Serves a 4 year term. Can be impeached by the House.
This position is an odd duck. Although appointed by the President, the VP is not beholden to him. Once affirmed as VP by the Congress, he can vote as he sees fit, and does not have to follow the Party Line. This is possible because his position is Constitutional.

SECRETARIES/ High ranking Undersecretaries:
Appointed by the President with the ADVICE and CONSENT of the Senate. Serve at the complete whim of the President, who can remove them at will. They are monitored for malfeasance by the Senate.

LEGISLATIVE Branch

SENATORS: Elected for 6 year terms. Two senators per state. The entire Senate is never voted on at once. Every 2 years 1/3 of the Senate comes up for election/re-election.
This body has limited power of the purse. The Senate also is the main watchdog of the Executive branch of government.

REPRESENTATIVES: Elected for 2 year terms. The entire House of Representatives is up for election every 2 years.
The main power of this body is that they have COMPLETE power of the PURSE. This body controls the money. Enough said.

JUDICIARY Branch

SUPREME Court Justices: Appointed by the President for life, with the ADVICE and CONSENT of the Senate. Once approved by the Senate, Justices are no longer beholden to the President. They serve until death or retirement. There are 9 of them and their job is to interpret the Constitution.

LOWER Court Justices: Same as above, except there are many more of them. They staff the lower judicial circuits.

-------------------

Well, I hope this makes it clear as mud.
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Old 11-10-2006, 01:08 PM   #24
Timber Loftis
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Quote:
Originally posted by johnny:
America is fine as it is, they just need better beerbrewers, that's all.
Dude, we have come a looooong way in that regard in the last few decades. I love our small brewers these days. You can and will find good beer in the US.

http://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/beerOurBeers.php

http://www.ottercreekbrewing.com

http://www.magichat.net/

http://www.gooseisland.com/pubs/clybourn.asp

http://www.capital-brewery.com/

http://www.longtrail.com/

Beer from any of these companies is awesome. And with very little effort I could name a dozen more. I used to only buy import beers, but we have gotten some *very good* beers in the US since 1990.

http://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/bee...er_id=00000005
This has been my favorite beer for about 6 months now.

[ 11-10-2006, 12:22 PM: Message edited by: Timber Loftis ]
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:17 PM   #25
pritchke
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
quote:
Originally posted by Aragorn1:
quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Ministers/Secretaries are only selected from elected representatives available.
This strictly isn't Westminister government, our PM can appoint anyone he wants to the cabinet, decide how many ministers he wants etc. [/QUOTE]So cabinet is not chosen from members of the House of Commons or the House of Lords? So you're telling me Blair could go and appoint David Beckham as minister for Sports despite the public not voting for him to represent them?

I find that odd. Australia has a westminster system, and only elected parliamentary members may serve in cabinet.
[/QUOTE]Generally this is the way it works, however the PM can put anyone he wants in a cabinet position. Recently our PM appointed someone from the Senate who was not elected. When they do this type of thing they do get heat from other opposition MPs and voters so it is not a good idea to do this to often. In reality a PM as alot more power than a President. The Governor General who represents the queen signs all the laws but has no real power. She is appointed by the PM and I have never known a GG to oppose a PM ever. I mean she could say I am not going to sign this document so it can't become law but they never do although theoretically I guess they can. Observing both systems both have there advantages and disadvantages and it doesn't matter what system you have if corrupt officials are elected.

[ 11-15-2006, 05:53 PM: Message edited by: pritchke ]
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:24 PM   #26
Rikard T'Aranaxz
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history has shown that if theres one group of people who shouldn't decide what happens to a country, its the mayority.
the democratic system is flawed since people dont need to have any clue what the hell they are voting for in order to vote. having said that, theres nothing harder then finding a leader who wont turn into a tyrent when placed with absolute power. with all this in mind i would plead for the party system used in europe because when choosing between 2 parties, instead of going for the best, you got for the lesser of 2 evils.

[ 11-10-2006, 07:48 PM: Message edited by: Rikard T'Aranaxz ]
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Old 11-11-2006, 02:43 AM   #27
Yorick
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Quote:
Originally posted by pritchke:

Generally this is the way it works, however the PM can put anyone he wants in a cabinet position. Recently our PM appointed someone from the Senate who was not elected. When they do this type of thing they do get heat from other opposition MPs and voters so it is not a good idea to do this to often. In reality a PM as alot more power than a President. The Governor General who represents the queen signs all the laws but has no real power. She is appointed by the PM and I have never known a GG to oppose a PM ever. I mean she could say I am not going to sign this document so it can't become law but they never do although theoretically I guess they can. Observing both systems both have there advantages and disadvantages and it doesn't matter what system you have if corrupt officials are elected.
Pritchke, are Senators in Canada not elected? They are in Australia and the USA. I find that hard to believe if so. Appointing a Senator/Lord/Upper house member to a Cabinet position is not that unusual in Westminster systems. Normally the representatives/lower houses have the cabinet positions because they're the power brokers trying to get in line to be PM, getting appeased by a cabinet position.

The GG cannot refuse to sign a law anymore than the Queen of England can't. There'd be a constitutional crisis if they did that. (As there was in Australia when the Governor General used his constitutional power to sack the Prime Minister Gough Whitlam)

Secondly a British/Australian Prime Minister has far less power than a US president, so I'd guess the Canadian PM does too. Namely it's that their cabinet and party can fire the PM at any time by mounting a leadership challenge, so there's more accountability to the party and the people the PM is directly relating to every day.

I guess it's helpful in these conversations to be specific about which country we're talking about, because though the terms are the same, the roles may differ. A Senator in the USA has far, far more power than a Senator in Australia for example. I'd think that the French Prime Minister has less power than a British Prime Minister too.... while the French President has more power than the British Monarch (both heads of state) but less than the American president.... am I wrong?

When I'm talking about a PM putting "anyone" into cabinet, the member needs to come from parliament. Upper or lower house. Parliament contains the government. Theoretically the government could consist of people from any of the parties, as long as they are in parliament. Britain had a war cabinet with members of various parties I believe. Australia when governed by Coalitions have had cabinet quotas for each party.

The American president by contrast can hire ANYONE to serve under them, and I found out today, if they picked a Congressman, the congressman would have to resign from congress, because they cannot be in cabinet and congress (part of the checks and balances issue) otherwise they be part of the legislative and executive bodies of the US sytem.

I'm beginning to like the US system the more I have it explained to me, but I'd like to see how things work over the next two years.

[ 11-11-2006, 01:49 AM: Message edited by: Yorick ]
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Old 11-11-2006, 02:00 PM   #28
Aragorn1
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In response to your question, yes Tony Blair could appoint Beckham to the cabinet. Much of the workings of the British constitution relies on the observing of conventions rather than strict legal rules. The extent to which a convention has to be adhered to and the circumstances in which it would be considered acceptable to depart from a convention woud depend on the circumstances and the convention in question.

[ 11-11-2006, 01:03 PM: Message edited by: Aragorn1 ]
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Old 11-11-2006, 08:22 PM   #29
Yorick
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Hi Aragorn, with all respect, this is what Wikipedia has to say: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Cabinet

In the politics of the United Kingdom, the Cabinet is a formal body composed of the most senior government government ministers chosen by the Prime Minister. Most members are heads of government departments with the title "Secretary of State". Formal members of the cabinet are drawn exclusively from either house of Parliament.

Two key constitutional conventions regarding the accountability of the cabinet to Parliament exist, collective cabinet responsibility and individual ministerial responsibility. These are derived from the fact the members of the cabinet are members of Parliament, and therefore accountable to it, because Parliament is sovereign. Cabinet collective responsibility means that members of the cabinet make decisions collectively, and are therefore responsible for the consequences of these decisions collectively. Therefore, when a vote of no confidence is passed in Parliament, every minister and government official drawn from Parliament automatically resigns their role in the executive; the entire executive is dismissed. So, logically, cabinet ministers who disagree with major decisions are expected to resign, as, to take a recent example, Robin Cook did over the decision to attack Iraq in 2003.

Recent custom has been that the composition of the Cabinet has been made up almost entirely of members of the House of Commons. Two offices — that of Lord Chancellor and Leader of the House of Lords — have always been filled by members of the Lords, but apart from these it is now rare for a peer to sit in the Cabinet. The only current exception is the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, Lord Falconer of Thoroton.
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Old 11-11-2006, 09:07 PM   #30
Aragorn1
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
In the politics of the United Kingdom, the Cabinet is a formal body composed of the most senior government government ministers chosen by the Prime Minister. Most members are heads of government departments with the title "Secretary of State". Formal members of the cabinet are drawn exclusively from either house of Parliament.

Two key constitutional conventions regarding the accountability of the cabinet to Parliament exist, collective cabinet responsibility and individual ministerial responsibility. These are derived from the fact the members of the cabinet are members of Parliament, and therefore accountable to it, because Parliament is sovereign. Cabinet collective responsibility means that members of the cabinet make decisions collectively, and are therefore responsible for the consequences of these decisions collectively. Therefore, when a vote of no confidence is passed in Parliament, every minister and government official drawn from Parliament automatically resigns their role in the executive; the entire executive is dismissed. So, logically, cabinet ministers who disagree with major decisions are expected to resign, as, to take a recent example, Robin Cook did over the decision to attack Iraq in 2003.

Recent custom has been that the composition of the Cabinet has been made up almost entirely of members of the House of Commons. Two offices — that of Lord Chancellor and Leader of the House of Lords — have always been filled by members of the Lords, but apart from these it is now rare for a peer to sit in the Cabinet. The only current exception is the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, Lord Falconer of Thoroton.
Ah yes, sorry forgive me, formally they must be from one of the Houses, but the P.M. 'advises' on apointments to the HoL (he has de facto control of appointment), so if he wanted a particular person in the cabinet all he would have to do is make them a peer as a mere formality.

Been a while since I studied constitutional law, so I'm a bit rusty, you tend to remember the defacto positions rather than the technical rules, as these are very often of little consequence in reality. (e.g. the queen would not withhold consent from a statute except in the gravest of constitutional crises).

However I was right in my other assertion regarding the cabinet's composition:

"The Cabinet has no formal legal authority over government departments. The very existance of the Cabinet is a matter of consitutional convention, rather than law: thus it may be thought by some to be unwise, but it would not be not unlawful, for the Cabinet to disappear altogether"

Professor Adam Tomkins, Public Law, 1st Edition, 2003, p. 73


Once again, apologies for my error.
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