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Fact File: United States Government

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posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 06:43 AM
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The United States of America



The United States of America is a federal democratic republic composed of 50 semiautonomous states located in North America (except for the State of Hawaii, which is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean), a federal district that serves as the seat of the U.S. government, and several protectorate islands in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. The State of Alaska is separated from the rest of the U.S. mainland by Canada.

The Federal government of the United States was created by the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, which laid out a blueprint for the government’s structure. It is composed of three separate branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.

The Executive Branch


[size=-3]The White House, Washington, D.C.

The executive branch of the United States is led by the President and conducts the day-to-day administrative duties of the government, as well as all law enforcement and military operations.

The President

The President of the United States is the nation’s head-of-state, chief law enforcement officer, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and appoints all members of his staff, cabinet and nominees to the judiciary. The President sets the general political tone and agenda of the nation by submitting legislation to the Congress to implement the ideas he campaigned on and by his power to veto legislation he disagrees with.

The current President of the United States is George W. Bush (R) from Texas:



Official Biography


The Vice President

The Vice President is the President of the U.S. Senate and becomes President if the President dies or is incapacitated, but has no other official role. However, in recent years Presidents have been delegating more powers and responsibilities to their Vice Presidents as the size and complexity of the federal government has increased.

The current Vice President is Richard B. Cheney (R) from Wyoming:



Official Biography

Presidential Elections

The President and Vice President of the United States are elected to four-year terms by an electoral college composed of representatives elected by each State and the District of Columbia for the sole purpose of electing the President and Vice President. Term limits imposed by the 22nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevent anyone from being elected President more than twice, or more than once if they served as President during more than half of another President’s term. The Constitution also requires that the President be at least 35 years of age and a natural born citizen of the United States.

Pardons

The President has the plenary power to pardon anyone convicted of a federal crime.

Other Officials

The President appoints secretaries to head the various federal government departments. These appointees must be confirmed by the Senate before taking office, unless the Congress is not in session, in which case the appointment is temporary. Here are some of the most important positions:

  • Secretary of State – Handles foreign relations, runs diplomatic missions. Currently held by Dr. Condoleezza Rice
  • Attorney General – Runs the Justice Department, handling all federal criminal prosecution and domestic federal law enforcement agencies. Currently held by Alberto Gonzales
  • Secretary of Defense – Handles the nation’s armed forces. Currently held by Dr. Robert M. Gates
  • Secretary of Homeland Security – New agency formed after 9/11…now handles immigration, customs, secret service, coast guard, and general national security issues. Currently held by Michael Chertoff
  • Secretary of the Treasury – Deals with economic issues. Currently held by John Snow
  • Secretary of Energy – Handles energy issues, provides nuclear material for civilian and military use. Currently held by Samuel Bodman



The Legislative Branch


[size=-3]The United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.

The Legislative Branch of the United States is known as the Congress and creates all U.S federal laws, as well as proposes Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, has the power to impeach and try members of both other branches of government for crimes, and confirms executive appointments. It is composed of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate:

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is composed of 435 voting members directly elected to two-year terms. Each representative represents a single defined district of a State, determined by population so all districts throughout the country contain roughly the same number of people (although all States must have at least one representative, regardless of their population). Several non-state areas such as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have one delegate each who may participate in House discussion, but has no vote. The House has the sole power of impeachment of government officials. Representatives must be at least 25 years of age, a resident of the United States for seven years, and be a resident of the State they represent.

The members of the House elect a Speaker, and each political party elects their own leader.

The Speaker of the House is currently Nancy Pelosi (D) of California:


Official Biography


The current majority party leader is Steny Hoyer (D) of Maryland:



Official Biography


The current minority party leader is John Boehner (R) of Ohio:



Official Biography

The Senate

The Senate is composed of 100 Senators – two from each State. Senators are directly elected to six-year terms by all voters in their home State and are divided into three classes, so roughly 1/3 of the Senate is up for election every two years. The Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments and also to confirm all Presidential nominees (except in the rare case when the office of Vice President is vacated, in which case the House must confirm as well). Senators must be at least 30 years of age, a resident of the United States for nine years, and be a resident of the State they represent.

The President of the Senate is the U.S. Vice President, but he has no vote unless the Senate is equally divided and rarely is present, therefore the members elect a President Pro Tempore, traditionally the most senior member from the majority party, who presides while the Vice President is absent. The current President Pro Tempore is Robert Byrd (D) of West Virginia:



Official Biography

As in the House, each political party also elects its own leader to speak for them.

The current Senate majority leader is Harry Reid (D) of Nevada:



Official Biography


The current Senate minority leader is Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky:



Official Biography

Passing Laws

In order for a bill to become a law, it must be passed by each house of Congress and submitted to the President for his signature. If he refuses to sign it (vetoes it), the bill is returned to the Congress with his objections for their review. The Congress may override his veto if 2/3 of the members of each house vote to pass the law over the President’s objections.

Constitutional Amendment

The Congress may propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution by passing the proposed Amendment with 2/3 support from each house. The Amendment must then be ratified by 3/4 of the State legislatures or 3/4 of State representatives to a Constitutional Convention in order to take effect.

Impeachment

The House of Representatives may, by a majority vote, call for the impeachment of a federal official or judge for a suspected crime committed while in office. The impeached person is then tried by the Senate and removed from office if at least 2/3 of the Senate agree to convict. Only two Presidents in U.S. history, Andrew Johnson and William Clinton, have ever been impeached and neither was convicted.

Organization

Both houses of Congress have standing committees that generally reflect the structure of the Executive branch for oversight. Newly proposed bills are assigned to the appropriate committee depending on which part of the government the bill pertains to for hearings before moving to the floor. Likewise, Presidential nominees are referred to the committee that oversees the department to which the person was nominated. Other committees such as the ethics committee have also been set up to police congressional members. Judiciary committees have also been set up to oversee the Judicial branch, with that of the Senate handling initial hearings on judicial nominees.

The Judicial Branch


[size=-3]The Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C.

The judicial branch of the U.S. government is composed of the Supreme Court and several lower courts set up by the Congress. Federal judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to life terms. The court system is obviously responsible for handling federal criminal cases and civil disputes, but they also have an important political role in enforcing the Constitution’s limits on the other branches of government. If the Court finds a law passed by Congress or an action by the federal or any state government contradicts the Constitution, they can issue a ruling that overturns laws and/or changes policy nationwide. Due to some controversial rulings concerning hot-button social issues over the past few decades, the composition of the courts has become much more politicized and has caused several bitter battles over Presidential judicial nominations in the Senate.

The Supreme Court is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices and, except in a very few rare cases, is an appellate court. The present Chief Justice of the United States is John Roberts:



Other U.S. courts include District Courts, Bankruptcy Courts, and Circuit Courts of Appeals.


For more information see the official U.S. government website.



[edit on 3/13/2007 by djohnsto77]

[edit on 3/13/2007 by Majic]




posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 06:57 AM
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Brilliant! Im glad to see the ATSNN Fact File is growing. I thought I knew enough about U.S politics but I learnt a fair bit from that article. Thanks for denying my ignorance!



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 07:13 AM
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Excellent work, dj, and also a belated thumbs up to Subz for your original UK effort. I've got both of these bookmarked for future reference.


edit to add: You know what would be awesome, if you guys could do a similar fact file for the intelligence community. CIA, FBI, MI6 heads and so forth.

[edit on 2005-8-22 by wecomeinpeace]



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 07:18 AM
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Can I do a ATSNN Fact File for Slovenia?




posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 07:24 AM
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Originally posted by wecomeinpeace
Excellent work, dj, and also a belated thumbs up to Subz for your original UK effort. I've got both of these bookmarked for future reference.

Thanks mate!



Originally posted by wecomeinpeace
You know what would be awesome, if you guys could do a similar fact file for the intelligence community. CIA, FBI, MI6 heads and so forth.

That sounds like a capital idea! Guess what I'll be doing for the next day or so.


Originally posted by Souljah
Can I do a ATSNN Fact File for Slovenia?

I wish you would. I dont know a thing about Slovenia and if you could deny that ignorance I would appreciate it greatly Souljah.

[edit on 22/8/05 by subz]



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 07:31 AM
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these are great!
I loved this one hehe. Also id like to see one of slovenia souljah. keep up the great work



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 07:37 AM
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Originally posted by Souljah
Can I do a ATSNN Fact File for Slovenia?





You should do.

A while ago I suggest doing something like this to the Council, a section where primarily factual information on Nation's could be kept and updated by specific members like Wikipedia - it was also raised by a few others but I think it got shot down.

[I'm not able to see the Council meetings].

I still think it would be a good idea and would help ATS to evolve, a quick reference on Legal Terms, Information on Nations, etc, so people do not have to spend hours searching the internet...but we will see...



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 07:39 AM
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Originally posted by subz

Originally posted by Souljah
Can I do a ATSNN Fact File for Slovenia?

I wish you would. I dont know a thing about Slovenia and if you could deny that ignorance I would appreciate it greatly Souljah.

OK I will! Expect the file in near future (probably Today
), as soon as I gather all the Facts and Data.




posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 09:07 AM
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Sanctum and I are currently doing an Australian one.



[edit on 22-8-2005 by Mayet]



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 09:11 AM
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Excellent fact file posting Dj and Subz, looking forward to Souljah's and Sancs/Mayets too.

Thanks to all of you for going to the trouble.



posted on Mar, 13 2007 @ 05:39 PM
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(Update copied to OP. -- Majic)

[edit on 3/13/2007 by Majic]



posted on Mar, 13 2007 @ 06:37 PM
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Originally posted by Souljah
Can I do a ATSNN Fact File for Slovenia?





Honestly... I would love to see a fact file for Slovenia.

I think DJ deserves a way above for this thread.

*edit*

Just noticed I was way behind in the times for this one.


I'm still giving you a WATs though.


Did the other fact files ever get created?

[edit on 13-3-2007 by LostSailor]



posted on Oct, 20 2008 @ 08:58 AM
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Sorry for posting in such an old thread. I always thought that the United States was a Constitutional Republic, and not a true democracy. Am I misinformed or just plain dumb?



posted on Oct, 20 2008 @ 09:17 AM
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right and arnt all these facts mentioned under a foreign jurisdiction of law called Admirality? Or maritime....or law of the sea? Basically not public, common or natural law.....commerce law, law of contracts, that is what governs our government because it was INCORPORATED right? I mean....this is the biggest problem in this world. The incorporation of names and governments.

BTW
those so called representatives who are in this fact sheet have been yelling about martial law for the past year and a half now. I saw the videos of their sessions and its just a bit scary my friend. I would like to see a fact sheet on the secret session they held.....NO GOVERNMENT has the right to do that. For the people, by the people is no damn joke. NON of what THEY do now is for the people OR by the people. It may be for the ignorant and by the ignorant, but otherwise....its a huge scam.



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