Presidents and Parliaments

I don’t wish to dwell on this in particular, but let me start here:

Trump slammed outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., tweeting that Ryan “should be focusing on holding the Majority” instead of weighing in on the president’s push to end the Constitution’s guarantee of birthright citizenship.

Trump tweeted that Ryan shouldn’t offer “his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!”

Trump has said he can end the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil with an executive order. And he has argued that the right isn’t covered by the 14th Amendment, even though the text of the constitutional amendment says that “all persons born or naturalized” in the U.S. are citizens.

Ryan, who is retiring, said Tuesday that Trump couldn’t “end birthright citizenship with an executive order.”

As a matter of fact, Trump can probably do exactly that (see here and here).

My real point though is to focus on the difference between the American presidential system and our Parliamentary system. In a presidential system, presidents are elected in their own right and once elected become an independent locus of power, with the constitutional authority to make decisions and enforce the law. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives (or the House of Commons in the UK and Canada) and is hemmed in by the necessity for cabinet solidarity.

Therefore, if the US had a parliamentary system, Paul Ryan, as the “Speaker of the House” would have been Prime Minister (and Nancy Pelosi before that). A Donald Trump would have had zero chance to have had any influence whatsoever on American policy – unless he owned Facebook, Google or Twitter.

The differences are immense when it comes to understanding just how much of a free hand a Prime Minister in Australia has. Neither Tony nor Malcolm had a free hand in making policy decisions stick. Nor can Scott Morrison. It is the party room that matters with some PMs achieving a freer hand than others. So when I say that Tony Abbott was our Donald Trump, I only mean that both were trying to achieve the same kinds of ends, all the while recognising there are different sets of constraints imposed by the institutional structures of our two very different political systems.

The plain reality is that there are massive constraints in every system that make it difficult to achieve particular ends. Global warming hysteria, to take one example, is mainstream and we might consider ourselves lucky that we are only going to blow another $15 billion on climate change. Of course, had Hillary been elected President instead of PDT, even that would have been small change. There is a deep state everywhere.

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34 Responses to Presidents and Parliaments

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Ironic that Paul Ryan, who was originally seen as a looney rightie Tea Partier, is now a wet, whereas Lindsay Graham who was a wet is now a Trump supporter on immigration.

    Lindsey Graham to Introduce Bill Ending Birthright Citizenship ‘Magnet’ for Illegal Immigration

  2. Bela Bartok

    At least Abbott could have tried, though.
    Caved in to internal pressure of his Wet counterparts, and didn’t make an issue of it to take ‘to the people’.
    Apply the blowtorch to Chrissy Pyne with public outcry, shed light on the cockroaches… at least try to do something, rather than capitulate.

  3. Texas Jack

    ‘There is a deep state everywhere…”

    So true. Think about that the next time you pass your local shops and notice those harmless looking brochures stacked in the local coffee-shop window losing their gloss. They’ll have been written by some well-meaning local councillor trying to tell you something or other they’d like you to know about how great they are, that they’re working hard proving their worth, and, typically, that they really do know how to virtue signal. Then there’s your state member, state upper house hanger-onner, federal member, and federal pig-swill, er, senator, adding their own noise to the messy cacophony echoing across the most overgoverned nation on the planet. They’re literally all desperate to meddle in some way or be seen to be doing something to satisfy the modern necessity to feed their social media assumptions. In fact, they’re most likely competing to show you what new crap they’re planning to add to statutes, and there will be the Liberals, all shiny and PC, there like the rest of them making a great big fucking mess…

  4. Dr Fred Lenin

    Steve. You raised several points urnbull and his socialist would be republicans could nt say if they wanted an elected by the voters president or appoinred by the deep state puppet president. Had they chosen the voter elected one which of course they wouldnt ,but if they had lets say zpauline Hansen was elected by the voters as president ,just imagine the shitfight rudd or giliard would have put up trying to get their wastefull spending through ,be worth seeing ,and the ranga bitch couldnt even scream “mizzojinee” , it would also have been interesting the huge long words the head case rudd would have screamed out .

  5. H B Bear

    While the Australian parliament is controlled by Senate cross-benchers elected with a tiny proportion of the vote (virtually guaranteed by compulsory preferential proportional voting) Australia isn’t going anywhere.

  6. I think this post hits the nail on the head. All too many people seem to think that Abbott just backed off, I truly suspect that he didn’t, but he didn’t have the power to force Cabinet to go his way. What point would it have served to go ‘to the people’? The media would have had a field day carrying on about how Abbott had lost the support of Cabinet. Turnbull would have been in the chair a lot faster.

    It would be very educational for some of the pundits on this forum attacking Abbott at every turn to spend some time in a mock parliament (with the same Cabinet experience) and see how far they would get with their resolve. How many here in their organisation have attempted to fight something that is clearly a bad idea and failed because they received no support from arse lickers and cowards?

  7. max

    Our job is to tell truth to the people, not to capture power by telling lies, half lies or by swindling people.

    Trump promise people something that he can not deliver, he is not God.

    demagogue or rabble-rouser is a leader in a democracy who gains popularity by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people.

    is he better than Hillary, regarding what?

    what was bill achivement or obama, what about bushes all same fiat money,debt and wars.

  8. Fat Tony

    bemused
    #2854180, posted on November 1, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    That sums it up pretty well.

  9. Fat Tony

    max
    #2854191, posted on November 1, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Yep – Hillary would have been a lot better. USA would have become the biggest organised crime syndicate in the world.

  10. max

    “USA would have become the biggest organised crime syndicate in the world.”

    why do you think they are not already?

  11. Dr Fred Lenin

    Bemused. Its easier to be a critic than a participant , it would be my vision of hell to be associated with the maggots who run this country , arrogant , selfseeking Corrupt Selfish and totally stupid . Unawareness of reality seems to be a prerquisite qualification for politicians . Abolishing career politics and political gangs (parties ) ,compulsory voting ,oreferences and rule by referenda a would be a start to draining the swamp . Fixing the public service by making g annual performance based contracts for them ,all judges included abolishing federL departments which duplicate state departments. Health,education etc, Privatising as much admin as possible and reduction of salary and conditions to private levels would also contribute to a healthier more solvent Australia . The beginnings of draining the swamp lie there .

  12. The BigBlueCat

    The Birthright issue will end up with the SCOTUS, where Trump’s executive order will be upheld. The 14th amendment granted citizenship rights to slaves released after the Civil War, as was intended – they had no allegiance to a foreign power. The argument that lawful immigrants with children born in the US are caught up in this somehow might be just a distraction, since lawful immigrants are citizens of the US by virtue of their lawful immigration and declared allegiance to the USA viz-a-vis:

    “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

    It appears there is a large Birthright Tourism going on, where Chinese couples are paying Chinese tour operators $20,000 to travel to the US, have their child, and return home – the theory being their children assume the rights of a US citizen and when of age bring their parents into the US on family reunion grounds. The question to be resolved is whether or not those children ought to have full US citizenship rights (or any US citizenship rights at all) when their parents have an allegiance to a foreign power, and the children have only a fleeting association with the US.

    Interesting times – I’d be betting that Trump has his way on this one.

  13. The BigBlueCat

    … turning off the italics…..

  14. stackja

    Donald J. Trump
    ‏Verified account
    @realDonaldTrump
    So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Many legal scholars agree…..

    6:25 AM – 31 Oct 2018

  15. Mother Lode

    It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

    At this point Democrats would have referred to their doctrine of ‘Living document’, meaning “Ignore what the words say, we think it should mean this…”

  16. Neil

    In a presidential system, presidents are elected in their own right and once elected become an independent locus of power, with the constitutional authority to make decisions and enforce the law.

    Is that right? The President (Cabinet) executes the law and Congress legislates it. In our system the PM (Cabinet) executes the law and Parliament legislates it.

    OUr PM can do some things without Parliament. And the US President can do some things without Congress

  17. Dr Fred Lenin

    Just imagining how President Pauline Hansen would have dealt with the last shower of useless PM/s we have had? Would have been interesting to see her thwart the soros /u.n. Communist agenda australian PMs have been desparately trying to force upon the people . There must be a reward for them the way they are trying to implement it join the u.n. Nomenklatura perhaps ? These maggots never do anything for nothing .

  18. Mother Lode:

    At this point Democrats would have referred to their doctrine of ‘Living document’, meaning “Ignore what the words say, we think it should mean this…”

    Exactly.
    And now we all know why there was such a kerfuffle about Kavanaugh.
    The Left is losing all the gains made over the last half century, and they know it.

  19. Tel

    Dr Fred Lenin #2854317,

    Did you notice when PM Rudd quit politics he suddenly felt very confident that he was going right into a high level job at the UN? Maybe even the top job. Hmmm. I wonder how that idea got into his head?!?

  20. Iampeter

    A Donald Trump would have had zero chance to have had any influence whatsoever on American policy – unless he owned Facebook, Google or Twitter.

    No capitalist would ever make a statement like this. Conflating market power with the power of the gun, wielded by the state, in order to justify attacking the former, using the latter, is Marxism at its best.

    In any case, whether you have a Parliamentary system or not, is not important. The essential question is: what is the proper function of government and why?
    Trump supporters wouldn’t even know where to begin answering that question and any answer they give will be similar to what you’d get from any leftist.

  21. gary

    Australia needs a presidential system so we get the leader we voted for the full term of office. The idiotic merry go round voters have been forced to put up with (and Morrison may not even make it to the May election – he seems a complete no-nothing goose). At least if we have an elected president the guy can push his policies and stay for the full term of office and be judged by the voters. And we can have term limits so the guy gets two four year terms and has to retire.

  22. Robber Baron

    There is no political problem that a length of rope and a lamp post can’t solve.

  23. hzhousewife

    the theory being their children assume the rights of a US citizen and when of age bring their parents into the US on family reunion grounds.

    The family reunion queue can well extend to several lifetimes, and should be rigorously monitored with no queue jumping. Every new applicant should be told a genuine estimate of the time it may take to get mummy and/or daddy into the country ( just like I get told how important I am in the phone queue and my wait will be 27 minutes).This may provide the kind of shock required to have them re-think their ambition. Do they know what the poo covered streets of San Fransicso look like? Do they really want to pick oranges is California for $3.00 an hour and not be able to see a doctor? Why won’t they stay home and improve their own countries?
    I suppose I’m naive………….

  24. Tel

    “USA would have become the biggest organised crime syndicate in the world.”

    why do you think they are not already?

    If I remember rightly, Mel Brooks had a very brief summation of the history of the world.

    Some things never change.

  25. Howard Hill

    Why won’t they stay home and improve their own countries?
    I suppose I’m naive………….

    Same reason our own country is going to shit. We’re being sabo’d by all the low IQ snowflakes that out number us a hundred to one. For all of the great words of wisdom written on this blog over the years and many like it, how much have we actually changed anything? Think about that one for a while.

    Would it be easier to just leave, or when do we start winning?

  26. Iampeter

    Why won’t they stay home and improve their own countries?

    Hope you’ve never changed jobs. Why won’t you stay at your job and improve your company?
    Why would you ever leave a circle of bad people, why won’t you stay and improve them?
    Why would you ever seek medical help, why don’t you stay and improve yourself?
    Why do anything?

  27. The BigBlueCat

    Howard Hill
    #2854476, posted on November 1, 2018 at 8:56 pm
    Why won’t they stay home and improve their own countries?
    I suppose I’m naive………….

    Same reason our own country is going to shit. We’re being sabo’d by all the low IQ snowflakes that out number us a hundred to one. For all of the great words of wisdom written on this blog over the years and many like it, how much have we actually changed anything? Think about that one for a while.

    Would it be easier to just leave, or when do we start winning?

    We’ll start winning once someone extraordinary steps up, galvanises the country and drains the swamp. I don’t see that happening any time soon. Leaving is not an option for most. We might have to endure a Shorten led “government” that will tax us into poverty because “we the people” (those who outnumber “us” 100:1) wanted it so …. or thought it wouldn’t happen to them because Bill wouldn’t do that, would he?

    2019 is shaping up to be a terrifying year unless the Libs can pull themselves together – but even then I fear it’s all too late.

  28. Zatara

    Is that right? The President (Cabinet) executes the law and Congress legislates it. In our system the PM (Cabinet) executes the law and Parliament legislates it.

    For one thing, the President can veto laws until the Congress gets it right.

    He also has plenary power over immigration for instance. He can turn it on or off at his discretion.

    “What? Our border is bring flooded by illegals? OK, shut off the tap. No more immigration this year and yeah, that means no ‘asylum seekers’ as well.”

    Another Constitutional power of the President is to Command the Armed Forces. That power, like others, is counterbalanced by the Congress controlling the budget.

    “Yeah, you can go to war, but it’s coming out of your allowance”

  29. Kneel

    “Either you accept that illegal immigrants are under US jurisdiction and therefore their children are citizens *or* you accept that you cannot prosecute any illegal immigrant for any crime they commit (except for being in the country).”

    Wrong – and in any case, such a rule is actually not required.
    Illegal immigrants are under US jurisdiction while physically in the US.
    Illegal immigrants do NOT get the same rights and privileges as residents and/or citizens.
    An illegal alien is legally deemed to NOT be in the USA, so they cannot give birth in the USA, therefore the child was NOT born in the USA.

    It’s simply “play by the rules, you are protected by the rules, ignore the rules, lose the protection”.
    Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    Adding a law/rule to say that ONLY those with residency status can claim citizenship for their offspring seems reasonable to me – no-one is being “robbed” of any rights, what’s the problem?

  30. Tim Neilson"? I.e. it just decided that "within the jurisdiction" was a geographical fact question, not a juristic one?

    That is why in, for example, Plyler vs Doe, all the justices agreed (even those who dissented from the decision) that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” included illegal citizens and their children.

    Didn’t that case relate only to the second limb, about equal protection for people “within the jurisdiction

  31. Tim Neilson"?

    [Sorry, hit send too early
    I.e. it just decided that “within the jurisdiction” was a geographical fact question, not a juristic one?
    That is, didn’t it say nothing about “subject to the jurisdiction” (which is clearly a juristic concept) in the citizenship limb?

  32. Zatara

    Trump, having plenary power for Immigration, can properly make the Executive Order he is proposing. It will then inevitably land in front of the SCOTUS where they will examine it without the PC pressure of earlier days to go along and get along, and with the reality of what previous misinterpretations have cost the US. It will stand.

    Regarding “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” and misinterpretations thereof….

    Under Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes the same Congress who had adopted the Fourteenth Amendment had enacted into law, said it meant: “All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are declared to be citizens of the United States.”

    If you have citizenship in another country you are ipso facto subject to foreign power.

    Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, James F. Wilson of Iowa, confirmed on March 1, 1866 (two years before the 14th Amendment was ratified) that children of illegal or transient aliens would not be citizens: “We must depend on the general law relating to subjects and citizens recognized by all nations for a definition, and that must lead us to the conclusion that every person born in the United States is a natural-born citizen of such States, except that of children born on our soil to temporary sojourners or representatives of foreign Governments.”

    Framer of the Fourteenth Amendment first section, John Bingham, said “every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.”

    Another primary framer of the Fourteenth Amendment, Senator Trumball, stated:

    “The provision is, that ‘all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.’ That means ‘subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.’ What do we mean by ‘complete jurisdiction thereof?’ Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.”

    Senator Howard, another framer, said the following about “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”.

    “This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”

  33. Zatara

    Go find a dictionary.

    Look up the word ‘jurisdiction’.

    Ignore the meaning that mentions law or courts that you seem so fascinated with as it has nothing to do with this topic.

    Zero in on the one that discusses the authority or control of the state, the right of the state to demand allegiance.

    Now re-read this:

    “The provision is, that ‘all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.’ That means ‘subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.’ What do we mean by ‘complete jurisdiction thereof?’ Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.”

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