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    • CommentAuthorrobb
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
    chavez's bid to (potentially) govern indefinitely gets snubbed. what is the ideal length of term for the highest seat in office? when's the limit?
      CommentAuthorJohn Smith
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
    • CommentAuthorunclesean
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
    I think all offices should be limited to one term and terms shouldn't run any longer than six years at the most. I think politicians need to be recycled back into the general population at a pretty constant rate. I think that will help prevent the people at large getting screwed.
  1.  (124.4)
    How about having politicians selected randomly, like jury duty?
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
    They tried that in Athens, Cat. It worked, sorta. In a much smaller population, though.

    I still think the Roman Republic had a good thing for the short period of time it lasted between monarchy and empire.
  2.  (124.6)
    I like that, cat. People who don't want power are generally the only ones who should have it. But they'd mess it up like everyone does. You absolutely cannot make mistakes in politics these days. It's not about ideologies in Britain (because whoever you put in power will generally end up the same as any other - new labour/old conservative), it's about competency.
  3.  (124.7)
    Yeah Cat, I like the idea too, but I think you might need an IQ or competency test before you were given the job. I mean, I consider myself to be a pretty smart guy, but there's no way I could understand all the various elements that go into foreign relations and the like.

    Really, I'd be happy with a third party. The two-party system sucks, but I think we'd see a lot more dynamism in modern politics if we had three viable parties fighting for control.
    Light a fire under the arses of the old men in power, make them work for our votes.
  4.  (124.8)
    Well, I supported a third party for a long time, but it got nowhere. And I don't think it was just because it was "really out there" ideologically.

    I think it has more to do with the American winner-take-all electoral system. This creates a dynamic that seems to force power factions into two and only two competing groups. Even the European parliamentary systems polarize, generally, into two competing alliances of parties.

    That, and the death-lock the majors have on ballot-access. Any third party not financed by a billionaire candidate winds up blowing all its energy just getting on the ballot, and then has nothing left to campaign with.
      CommentAuthorJohn Smith
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007 edited
    BBC fears its staff are being targeted after Moscow attacks

    The BBC is investigating the possibility that three of its staff who were beaten up in Moscow last week had been targeted because of their work for the corporation. The BBC World Service said it was extremely concerned by the attacks on the men, which happened in separate incidents before Russia's parliamentary elections on Sunday, won by Vladimir Putin's United Russia party.

    Davlat Qudrat, a Russian producer who works for the BBC's Central Asian Service, was assaulted on November 24 on his way home from the BBC's Moscow bureau. A BBC producer, Mikhail Denisov, was attacked near his home on November 25 and suffered a broken nose.

    In the latest attack a BBC studio manager, Yevgeny Demchenko, suffered head injuries on Friday when he was assaulted on his way home from work.

    "Although we have no evidence to suggest that the attacks were motivated by the victims' employment by the BBC, we are exploring that possibility," a World Service spokesman said. "We have asked the Russian foreign ministry for assistance in ensuring staff safety."


    More at the above link. Any Russians on this board?
  5.  (124.10)

    Well, that's exactly what I meant by a third 'viable' party. You're right about power polarizing into two different factions and never three, I'm just saying that I wish it could happen.

    Here in Australia, it could be argued that if you vote for one of the 'other' parties you're throwing your vote away. It's more complex than that because there are marginal seats, preference deals and all that other hooplah, but still, it's not far from the truth.

    I'm not sure if we need to change people's mindsets so they can accept the possibility of a third party, or if we need another party that's strong enough to compete in the first place (though that could be a chicken & egg argument right there...).

    There are probably a million different ways we could change the way the political systems in the West work, I just think that a 3 party system isn't too far out of reach and could potentially have a large impact on how politics work (in my country at least).
  6.  (124.11)
    On a purely intellectual basis I understand the rationale for term limits but countries without them pretty much seem to do as well (or as badly) as those with them.

    Also, if democracy is about the will of the people, it seems to me rather perverse that a candidate can be excluded despite having majority support.
  7.  (124.12)
    @screaming meat:
    "You absolutely cannot make mistakes in politics these days."
    Seems to me that all politicians do is make mistakes!

    It's one of the things that irks me about politics as a whole. If a scientist wants to experiment on a single animal, they have to get a complex series of qualifications - and these days, that includes training in correct care for the animal, consideration of humane treatment etc.
    Politicians get to run experiments on entire fucking populations with no such oversight. And the experiments mostly fail - but get repeated over and over, no-one learning from them. And the experimental animals - us - get less consideration and are expected to pay for the privilege.
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2007
    chavez's bid to (potentially) govern indefinitely gets snubbed.

    How does one say "owned" in Spanish? :O
      CommentAuthorJohn Smith
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2007
    @Kosmopoli: Also, if democracy is about the will of the people, it seems to me rather perverse that a candidate can be excluded despite having majority support.

    I think America's eight year limit is good. It's a nice artificial check and balance-- there simply can't be just one person in an entire country who can run things, and there probably shouldn't be. Plus, realistically, since the rule was put into place in the 1960s I would say only one president-- famously, Bill Clinton-- would have run again and won. Note that I say would have, not could have-- if the first George Bush won in '88 then surely Reagan would have also, I just doubt he'd have run in his mid to late 70s.
  8.  (124.15)
    I think actually it was late 40's/early 50's when term limits wre introduced. The Republicans retook the House and didn;t want another FDR.

    The other President who might have won a third term was Eisenhower.
      CommentAuthorJohn Smith
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2007
    The other President who might have won a third term was Eisenhower.
    Regardless of when it was introduced, that's probably true.

    Man, imagine an alternate universe where Bush could and wanted to run for a third term.
  9.  (124.17)
    "Seems to me that all politicians do is make mistakes!"

    Well, while they probably make plenty of mistakes, because of their high profiles the mistakes stick out like a sore thumb, and we forget all the stuff they're doing well because we take it for granted.
    • CommentAuthorjona
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2007
    I found these stats in 2000 about members of the US Congress . They tell you all you need to know about politicians:
    29 have been accused of spousal abuse
    7 have been arrested for fraud
    19 accused of wwriting bad cheques
    117 have bankrupted at least 2 companies
    3 haqve been arrested for assault
    71 cannot get credit cards because of bad credit
    14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
    8 have been arested for shoplifting
    in 1998 alone 84 were stopped for drink driving

    I'm always surprised when people get all hot and bothered about political scandals. It's not like it is unexpected, most politicians couldn't get any other job, because they are socially inept and morally bankrupt before they enter politics.

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