American Democracy No Longer Works.

Washington politicians don't give a damn about you or me. They only answer to billionaires and giant corporations. Thanks to forty years of Supreme Court decisions, American politics is no longer about the "will of We The People" - it's only about the money. As a result, we longer have a functioning democracy in America. Years of corporate-friendly Supreme Court decisions, like the decision in Citizen’s United, have rigged and corrupted American politics so badly that average hard-working Americans have little to no influence in Washington.

Instead, our “elected officials” are only answering to the wishes of the wealthy elite and private interest groups. A study published in Perspectives on Politics by Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University finds that when the wealthy elite or powerful interest groups want a policy passed or not passed, Washington listens. But, when We The People speak up and sound out about a particular policy or piece of legislation, Americans are right to be cynical.

In his dissent in Citizens United, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens pointed out that the Court's decision would lead to fewer and fewer people even bothering to show up to vote. He said from the bench: "When citizens turn on their televisions and radios before an election and hear only corporate electioneering, they may lose faith in their capacity, as citizens, to influence public policy. A Government captured by corporate interests, they may come to believe, will be neither responsive to their needs nor willing to give their views a fair hearing. The predictable result is cynicism and disenchantment: an increased perception that large spenders call the tune and a reduced willingness of voters to take part in democratic governance."

He added that unlimited corporate and fat-cat money would also scare the hell out of politicians themselves, so they'd do what the rich guys want and to hell with the average voter: "To the extent that corporations are allowed to exert undue influence in electoral races, the speech of the eventual winners of those races may also be chilled. Politicians who fear that a certain corporation can make or break their reelection chances may be cowed into silence about that corporation."

And, four years later, we find that Stevens was totally right. In their study, Gilens and Page write that, “Ordinary citizens…have little or no independent influence on policy at all.” They go on to say that the wealthy elite have, “a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy…more so than any other set of actors,” while powerful interest groups do pretty well too, with, “a large, positive, highly significant impact on public policy.”

Gilens and Page looked at a data set of over 1,700 policy issues over a twenty year period, and compared that data to public opinion surveys taken during the same time, that were broken down by income and support from interest groups. In a functioning democracy, free from corruption and the money of private interest groups, you’d expect that as more and more average citizens approved of a policy or piece of legislation, lawmakers would be more and more likely to adopt that policy or piece of legislation.

But that’s not the case any more here in America. Instead, according to Gilens and Page, as more and more average American citizens support a policy or piece of legislation, the probability of it being adopted by lawmakers in Washington stays the same. It doesn’t matter if 10% of Americans support it, or 90% of Americans support it. But the same can’t be said for the interests of the wealthy elite.

That’s because, as more and more members of the wealthy elite support a policy or piece of legislation, the likelihood that lawmakers in Washington adopt that policy or piece of legislation increases steadily. And the same is true with well-funded special interest groups. The more special interest groups support a policy or piece of legislation, the greater the likelihood that lawmakers will adopt it.

You also see similar results when you break up Americans by income groups. When more and more Americans in the richest top-tenth percentile supported a particular policy or piece of legislation, the likelihood that it would be adopted by lawmakers stayed relatively the same. But, as more and more Americans in the 90th income percentile or the even richer wealthy elite supported a policy or piece of legislation, the likelihood that it would be adopted by lawmakers increased dramatically.

When it comes to working class Americans, it doesn't matter if they're in the 50th income percentile or all the way up to the 90th income percentile: they're ignored by our politicians for the preferences of the top tenth. The bottom-line here is that the elites are getting what they want, while the rest of us aren’t, because money has taken over our political process.

For the first time in American history, a majority of lawmakers in the House of Representatives are millionaires, and a startling number - at both the federal and state level - are being bankrolled by billionaires like the Koch Brothers. This isn’t what the Founders had in mind when they founded our once-great nation. Thomas Jefferson once said that, “Those seeking profits, were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it has always been those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption in government…”

The only other time in American history when the influences of money and corruption were as rampant as they are today was during the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, and that period of corruption directly led to the crash of 1896, the worst crash we have ever seen. That crash brought on a massive populist revolt, which led to things like the direct election of Senators, ballot initiatives in the states, and women gaining the right to vote.

If the current levels of corruption and greed in Washington remain unchecked, it’s almost certain that we’ll have another great crash, maybe as soon as 2016. When that crash happens, let’s get ready to react to it with another progressive populist revolt, and, like with the last progressive populist era, let's amend the Constitution, this time to say that money is not speech, and corporations aren’t people. Only then will the majority of Americans re-gain our democracy and political process, and make America great again.

Comments

ckrob's picture
ckrob 5 years 50 weeks ago
#1

I would disagree with Justice Stevens that the citizenry might come to "believe" that the government will be "neither responsive to their needs nor willing to give their views a fair hearing." That issue has long ago past into a self evident reality.

doc wilmot's picture
doc wilmot 5 years 50 weeks ago
#2

Obama gets his instructions

Good evening Mr Obama and thank you for coming on such a short notice but we wanted you and Hilary to be together when we inform you that you will be the next President of the United States and Hilary will have to wait until 2016... U will also be responsible for some landmark legislation in regard to health care and we can help with that and to add a feather to your bonnet the killing of Bin Laden-- oh yes-- he must be killed... (or at least his double-- buried at sea) we certainly don't want him testifying in any court.

All we ask is that when it comes to petroleum, please just push back from the table and let us handle things. After the Iraq war has ended we want that oil pipeline to run through Iraq to the Syrian coast and onto tankers. So in your second term U might have to start a war with Syria.

Barrack Insane O-Bomb-ah, Drone Warrior, how many kids did U kill today?

doc wilmot's picture
doc wilmot 5 years 50 weeks ago
#3

If the current levels of corruption and greed in Washington remain unchecked,

My former representative Mike Thompson would not even acknowledge constituent issues unless he received $1,000 from them.

dianhow 5 years 50 weeks ago
#4

I greatly fear for future generations. I pledge to do all I can to Prevent any more far right judges on US Supreme Court. I hope its NOT too late for all voters to realize the Roberts Court is giving complete control to powerful Corps - Billionaires / Lobbyists .. Robber Barons of the 21 st Century People must think long term. Using logic and reason Not anger or hate . Speak out now & often www.whitehouse.gov www.congress.gov    Money is NOT speech ! Corps are NOT persons ! End Citizens United

Shark's picture
Shark 5 years 50 weeks ago
#5

The ONLY answer is to vote.

Everyone must vote.

THEY can spend $millions, $billions, it doesn't matter - we have to get out the vote.

VOTE

cccccttttt 5 years 50 weeks ago
#6

As Al Gore observed, the TV has completely reshaped modern elections.

To combat the imbalance the rich will exert on the public mind with their unlimited spending,

put restrictions on when TV political ads can be aired: time of day, which days before an election.

Just as porn shops have their freedom of speech yet are restricted to certain parts of town, so

too should political ads be allowed in unlimited quantities at well posted times and places.

cccccttttt

leighmf's picture
leighmf 5 years 50 weeks ago
#7

As a garden designer, I believe political posters are on the list of Things That Should Not Appear in the Streetside Landscapes of Residential Zoned Areas. Stick them in the rear, if you must.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 5 years 50 weeks ago
#8

Five axioms concerning capitalist governance:

Definitions: The One Percent is the hereditary capitalist aristocracy that owns the nation's wealth. The Ruling Class consists of the politicians, bureaucrats, police commanders, military officers and business executives who serve the One Percent. The purpose of capitalist governance is absolute power and unlimited profit for the One Percent, total subjugation for everyone else.

Hence:

(1)-The non-responsiveness of the Ruling Class to the popular will is directly proportionate to the extent the Ruling Class is indebted to -- and therefore effectively owned by -- the One Percent.

(2)-The probability of revolution is directly proportionate to the non-responsiveness of the Ruling Class.

(3)-The probability of successful revolution is based on the presence of four historically proven prerequisites. These are (A)-a unifying ideology; (B)-effective leadership and disciplined organization; (C)-mastery of extant technologies; (D)-support by one or more foreign powers.

(4)-The probability of violent revolution is directly proportionate to the Ruling Class capability of violently suppressing non-violent revolution.

(5)-The negative consequences of violent revolution -- death, famine, disease, destruction -- are directly proportionate to the refusal of the One Percent and its Ruling Class to yield to the popular will.

(In other words, no matter who wins, life in a post-revolutionary United States would be no more or less wretched than life in a land that combines the violent anarchy of Somalia, the toxicity of Fukushima and the poverty of post-earthquake Haiti. Which is why I am so very glad I'm old -- so old I probably won't be alive when the revolution happens.)

Kend's picture
Kend 5 years 50 weeks ago
#9

I think you need to get rid of the lobbyist. Then it would be difficult for special interests to get to the politictions. as a Canadian it is insane how long the election runs down there. It would help if politictions only had 3 months to campaign like in Canada . you can only spend so much in short of time and it evens things out.

Dianhow I fear for future generations as well but for different reasons. they are the ones who are going to get stuck with the massive bill are going to get for all the debt you are accumulating.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 50 weeks ago
#10
Quote Loren Bliss:Which is why I am so very glad I'm old -- so old I probably won't be alive when the revolution happens.)

Loren Bliss ~ Very sad! Very sad, indeed! Yet I cannot help but relate to your sentiment. It is the same sentiment I've had since I was 5 years old. You are surely not alone. Nevertheless, never forget that the likes of you will be sorely missed amongst the ranks of the survivors. Please hold tight to that which you have as long as you can.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 5 years 50 weeks ago
#11

Cynical indeed. All we've heard for years is an ongoing pander-fest to the better off, the middle class -- the very people whose choices gave us the policies and politics we enjoy today. This isn't the first time the richest few gained too much power over government, to the harm of the country. This time, we can't push back because the "masses" - the poor and middle class, workers and the jobless - have been deeply divided, pitted against each other. Seriously, think about it -- We looked at the policies that were in place from FDR to Reagan, which took the US to its height of wealth and productivity, and chose to reverse course. Instead of legitimately addressing how we reached this miserable point, libs and Dems (with VERY rare exception) just have pep rallies for whatever remains of the middle class.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 50 weeks ago
#12
Quote Kend:I think you need to get rid of the lobbyist.

Kend ~ Bless your little heart!! You are starting to make more and more sense every day. Thank God! Keep up the good work my friend!!

By the way, you are going to get a lot of flack for the "debt we are accumulating" statement. Obviously, we are accumulating this debt because of a long term initiation of debt accumulation policy and not simply because of the current administration. Not that I am inferring that the current administration is completely innocent of anything. They certainly are not!! However, partisan bickering is not resolving anything. You might want to make it crystal clear that this problem is a bipartisan problem--which is exactly what it is.

Until we break free of the partisan "point your finger" policy we are never going to end any of these easily scapegoated issues.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 5 years 50 weeks ago
#13

I think we need to get rid of campaigning; for example...

One year before an election, candiates would have to submit their resumes to a NON-PARTISAN Candidate Validation Committee (CVC). The CVC would verify and/or correct the information in the resume and add additional information such as age, marital status, general health, and, in the case of incumbants, legislative voting history (and probably any other information voters should have a right to know about a candidate), creating a Candidate Information Report (CIR) for each candidate.

Then, one month before the election, the CIRs would be published, probably on the internet, and made available for all to see. There would be no campaigning, no mudslinging, no political ads and no PACs. Voters would have to make their decisions based on the contents of the CIRs. Hopefully, most voters will vote with intelligence and logic, instead of emotion and passion.

Wow, what a fantasy...

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 5 years 50 weeks ago
#14

Loren, As you know, economic injustice spawned by the concentration of wealth and power has the misery index into unbearable territory for many already. I'd like to think that revolution would become inevitable as this number continues to grow. The problem is, how does axiom number (3)- (A) fall into place given the propaganda tools currently in use. The same private powers that have overthrown our democracy control the media and thus the minds of enough citizens to make a unifying ideology next to impossible.

With groups like the Tea Party unknowingly being controlled by billionaires to the extent they are willing to vote themselves into poverty I see civil war breaking out before revolution. It's reminiscent of Confederates willing to die by the thousands in a foolhardy charge directly into grapeshot, this to simply protect a few wealthy neighbors desire to enslave their fellow man for the same old pursuit of money and power. I'm sure just like the Tea Party most impoverished Confederates had no idea who or what they were fighting for either.

Unification of ideology will require overcoming the lies spread by Fox, Sunday morning talk shows, Rove ads, right wing radio, and more. Despite the lack of axiom (3), In my opinion widespread unrest is still relatively near. Throw in the shock and panic that climate change will eventually cause and the decline of our empire will be complete. The billionaires will hire their version of the Varangian Guard, but even this will be futile. No one will respect those with wealth at that point anyway. Money will mean nothing. In fact the billionaires may well be the first targets of the unrest.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 5 years 50 weeks ago
#15

2950-10K, the unified ideology described by axiom (3)-(A) is already taking shape amidst the grassroots. It is beyond the domain of the two Ruling Class parties (actually one Ruling Class party with two names), and even beyond the Tea Party and its various overtly fascist subsets, (i.e., the American Nazi Party, the Ku Klux Klan, the other such groups whose banners are part of the international fascist solidarity demonstrations now taking place in Kiev). This new unified ideology has yet to acquire a name and formal structure, but it is a hybrid of democratic socialism (cooperative and/or public ownership of vital services and the means of production); Marxism (recognition of the historical truth of class struggle and the necessity of disciplined Working Class solidarity); traditional anarchism (healthy distrust of hierarchal organizations) and classical Jeffersonian populist democracy (one person/one vote, fostered by the Internet). It has already made itself apparent in innumerable small ways, particularly as the (failed) Occupy movement and its more localized successes, including the relief efforts of Occupy Sandy in and around New York City, the rapidly growing popularity of the Socialist Alternative Party in Seattle and Minneapolis, and the brushfire-fast nationwide spread of SA's $15 Now! campaign to raise the minimum wage to livable-income levels. When and if this incipient movement coalesces and comes to power, it would be absolutely compatible with the U.S. Constitution and would in fact be its fulfillment. The vital questions are therefore how and when its self-recognition will progress to the point of formalization, and whether it have the solidarity (strength) and courage to withstand the inconceivably violent reaction by which the One Percent and the Ruling Class will try to suppress it, the forces for which are already in place.

Apropos a civil war, I too see that, but probably not as you do. Assuming a successful revolution -- note again its four prerequisites -- a situation would probably evolve similar to what obtained in the old Russian Empire after 1918, with the One Percent trying (with the support of various overseas allies) to regain power, and the revolutionaries equally determined to hang on to the "liberated" parts of the U.S. The One Percent, in keeping with the lavish funding it is pouring into establishment of theocratic governance, would no doubt declare its territories ruled by Biblical Law, thereby ensuring the fealty of the South and the Midwestern interior, but both coasts and no doubt Alaska too would side with the revolution. The nation as we know it would cease to exist (as it nearly has anyway), and the land would be sundered in such ways that, combined with terminal climate change, would probably take at least a thousand years for recovery. Hence my vision of "the violent anarchy of Somalia, the toxicity of Fukushima (as the One Percent would not hesitate to nuke rebellious cities), the poverty of post-earthquake Haiti." The global power center would of course shift far eastward: China unquestionably, Russia more than likely. As to what remained of the former United States, part of it would be absorbed by expansions of Mexico and Canada and probable Russian reclamation of its former Pacific Northwest possessions; the remainder would either be uninhabitable due to the lingering toxicity inflicted by CBR (chemical, biological, radiological) warfare or so impoverished by isolation its habitable lands would be realms of famine and disease.

Were the One Percent to win -- and I believe the odds are 50-50 -- most if not all of the same conditions would apply save that the residents of lands under One Percent control would be no better than slaves...which is of course what the One Percent already intends for all of us in the Working Class anyway.

As I said, I'm damn glad I'm old.

douglas m 5 years 50 weeks ago
#16

I got a Chinese fortune cookie that said, blessed are the youth for they shall inherit the debt.

Countries laugh at what we have become.

I did keep it for the irony of how sad we are.

Kend's picture
Kend 5 years 50 weeks ago
#17

DAnne. I should have been more clear. It not just money, the whole infrastructure is crumbling. America had to make a choice rebuild bridges, roads, schools etc or build solar panels and wind turbines. We all know which way they went. Time will tell if it was the right decession. If earth just had a short warming trend and is adjusting back to normal temps we saddled or youth with a huge debt. If sceince is right they saved the world. Well kinda, China and India will destroy it anyway. Either way the young are going to pay.

The good news for the youth is the elderly have a tremendous amount of wealth and as they pass on their kids will get it and spent it. This I believe will pull the next generation through. If it's left in the hands of Americans only of course if the government gets ahold of it They will just piss it away.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 50 weeks ago
#18

NO Kend. We need to choose between a trillion-dollar war department and rebuilding bridges, roads and schools. DUH.

The elderly have "tremendous wealth"? Not on the planet I occupy. - Alice I.W.

humanitys team's picture
humanitys team 5 years 50 weeks ago
#19

Is it any wonder that this is the way it is ! Your entire culture comes from the stories we tell ourselves about what life is about .A conciousness of separation and not enough of anything produces that in your reality .

The current reality is a kind of every man for himself as this is the kind of god that most people believe in and is not something that most people want to look at .So this separate god is yesterday,s spirituality.

Life is tough there are at least 3 billion people living in poverty about 1.5 billion live in absolute poverty.This is basic needs people where daily survival is a major task.The reason is because we have a profit survival mentality .From these illusions of insufficiency and Disunity our economy emerges.The idea of not enough to go around and that humans are separate from each other forms the basis of humans entire economic model.

Presently on the planet wealth is defined as possessions and power .The old spirituality encourages you to have dominion over the Earth .You have interpreted this as domination .So you ave imagined that ownership of, or power over ,people places and things is an asset -or part of what you have called wealth.So according to this paradigm ,the more things you owned ,the more POWER you have and the wealthier you are.

So it's obvious why the system is the way it is the problem with the rat race is your still a rat if you win !

Bring on Tomorrow's God who declares that there is enough to go around for everyone scarcity is an illusion and that we are all one so we will devise ways of treating everyone as you would want to be treated,giving everyone what you would want to be given ,and providing everyone with what you would want to be provided .

We are all being payed like a fiddle but to change the music you must change the beliefs that sponsor the existing reality the existing reality is not real we have made it all up based upon our ideas about god and life .

Bring on the New Spirituality this is the only thing that can change the existing reality .Beliefs create behaviours and behaviours create on the ground experience.

namaste

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 5 years 50 weeks ago
#20

Loren: I too have finally accepted the "one ruling class party with two names," as the sad truth. The Progressive Caucus is the only shred of hope I continue to cling to. Their recent budget proposal was a good one, but Ryan's nonsense gets all the press, without any details mentioned of course. The private powers that control the, "one ruling class party," have become far stronger than our Democratic State itself, which you know is essence and definition of Fascism. I'm glad to see you use this definition. I've noticed many of the polite Democrats have refused to use this definition in favor of the word Oligarchs, a correct but kinder and less harsh label. The word Oligarch doesn't register to 99% of the poulation, it's simply an unknown neutral word. On the other hand the word Fascist does register, it registers as negative instantly. It's queer how the word "Socialist" gets demonized and misused by the right wing, but Democrats refuse to use the word Fascist in it's proper context for fear of being rude or bombastic...go figure. That soft demeanor is part of the reason it's been so easy for Fascist's like the Koch's to seize power.

I really want to address a false perception related to our comments. I'm certain that many believe revolution and widespread unrest is a far fetched notion being spread only by a few alarmists. However when one considers the will of the people is no longer even remotely on the table and that the will of the billionaires is all that matters, it becomes much easier to understand our projections. What the masses need to realize is that the handful of Fascists in control are a highly mentally unstable group of individuals. I don't mean that they are functionally nuts like a Caligula. Their obsessive and reckless thirst for endless money and power regardless of the cost to society, puts them more in the category of Bonaparte and Hitler. These individuals are in full control at the moment and their mental instability is why I'm convinced we are on the verge of violent unrest. They will continue to ratchet up attempts to put down all grassroots movements by appealing to the various cities to violate our first amendment right to peaceably assemble. They were successful quelling the Occupy Movement with this strategy.

I'm convinced the Fascists will resort to violence if the Democratic Socialist movement coalesces as you say it will. They won't be able to stop themselves, their obsessive quest for more money and power will blind them to all rational actions and responses. They won't go down with just nonviolent attempts at correction of their illness. You and I both know what history has shown over and over....we know all too well how Hitler and Bonaparte's stories both ended and the cost to society to "end them." There's no pretty ending thanks in large part to the disappearance of a free press and the Fascist supporters sitting on the Supreme Court.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 50 weeks ago
#21
Quote Loren Bliss:Were the One Percent to win -- and I believe the odds are 50-50 -- most if not all of the same conditions would apply save that the residents of lands under One Percent control would be no better than slaves...which is of course what the One Percent already intends for all of us in the Working Class anyway.

Loren Bliss ~ You sure do paint an ugly picture. However, if I might remind you of your own axiom 3 - D, we have to go back to that 50-50 revolution and incorporate all the nations, peoples, and groups who are currently--or previously--either under siege by the One Percent, or very pissed off from the One Percents track record. As the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Not only would this list likely include both China and Russia, it would also include such localities as Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, North Korea, a host of other Pacific Rim and Middle Eastern nations too. Who will support the One Percent who--as their very own controlling metaphor suggests--will continue to sink into ever receding circles of interest and in doing so alienate ever increasing numbers of people?

I seriously question that a final confrontation with this group would be that evenly matched. However, I can certainly see where having accumulated all that wealth and power has its advantages. Perhaps hoping you are wrong is just wishful thinking on my part. It just seems that considering all the feet the One Percent had to step on to get where they are today, the moment the confrontation begins all those previous blood enemies are going to remember how they were once treated and come flying out of the woodwork for the opportunity of vengeance. Just call me a dreamer--I just hope I'm not the only one.

Also, it is true that the accumulation a great wealth has many advantages; however, one big advantage it has in this case is for the 99 Percent...

Is it not true that in every successful past revolution it is the overconfidence manifested by the powers in charge that led to their own downfall? Is it not also true that this overconfidence was a natural manifestation of the accumulation of great wealth? Therefore, is it not also forthcoming that with the ever shrinking concentration of wealth in this nation that the same conditions are being created for history to naturally repeat itself? Finally, was this ultimate confrontation--and it's outcome--also not predicted to occur by Karl Marx himself?

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 5 years 50 weeks ago
#22

Marc...Make no mistake: there is nothing desirable about violent revolution -- which would leave the lands wherein it is fought looking, at best, like Europe in 1945 and, at worst, like Hiroshima or Nagasaki after the Bomb. Yet given how quickly the One Percent now resorts to violence -- note again the example of the brutal suppression of Occupy, also the Gestapo-like disregard of neighborhood civil rights that characterized the search for the Boston Marathon bomber -- I fear an eventual violent reaction by the citizenry is inevitable. (Indeed, provoking a rebellion may be the clandestine purpose behind such tactics -- the creation of an incident that will give the Ruling Class an excuse for exterminating large segments of the U.S. population, the Final Solution to the problems of unemployment, poverty and homelessness.) And the mercilessness of the Ruling Class response has already been made clear: it was demonstrated in Vietnam: "we had to destroy the village to save it."

Remember too that morally there is not one scintilla of difference between the USian policy of exterminating an entire village for harboring alleged "terrorists" and the Nazi German policy of imposing exactly the same reprisals for harboring partisans. That the USian (Fourth) Reich does the extermination from afar with drones, while the German (Third) Reich did it up-close-and-personal with machine guns, rifles, bayonets and pistols, does not alter the moral depravity or karmic malignancy of the event itself. In fact it is at least arguable the drone-exterminations are more reprehensible merely by how they protect the drone operators from being splattered with blood and gore -- and how that bloodlessness is then used to assure the drone operators they are without sin.

As to your notion of a coordinated revolutionary effort by socialist countries -- Cuba, Venezuela, Vietnam etc. -- that capability perished with the Soviet Union, and it is already clear the USian Empire will do anything it can to prevent its resurrection. China, meanwhile, has been totally co-opted (and totally corrupted) by capitalism; the USian Empire has achieved with money precisely what its British Empire antecedent sought in the 19th Century to accomplish with opium. The one remaining wild-card is Russia, where the Communist Party remains the second largest (and by far the best organized) political party in the nation -- so much so it was only by Putin's New Deal-like repeal of the most viciously capitalist Ayn Rand "reforms" imposed under Yeltsin the country was steered away from another Communist revolution. (This is most likely why the USian Imperial One Percent -- the oberfuehrers of fascism's Global New Order -- are now trying to provoke a war with Russia: they are terrified by what might happen should the vast nation again go Communist.)

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 50 weeks ago
#23

Loren ~ Thanks for your most provocative response. It has left me speechless. Much food for thought to chew over. Thanks again!

fiddleman's picture
fiddleman 5 years 50 weeks ago
#24

The Supreme Court

The Robert’s Court has done what no invading army could do. They have brought this democracy to its knees. It is no longer one person; one vote—it is one dollar one vote. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, for the people—it is a government of the people, by the wealthy, for the wealth.

Across the land, Democrats and moderate Republicans are being swept aside by an onslaught of attacks from well-funded lobbies unleashed by the perverted Roberts ruling that money is speech.

The court is supposed to uphold the Constitution, the primary document protecting the American people, instead they have destroyed it in the name of protecting the rights of corporations by bequeathing them the rights of human beings.

The court has garnered more power than either of the other two branches of government when the founding fathers granted them only an advisory role. It took corporations just a little over 200 years to change democracy from the inside.

We should disband the court and void their rulings on the grounds that they are detrimental to the rights of the people (human beings) of the United States and violate the intent of the Constitution.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 50 weeks ago
#25

Fiddleman- Great idea! Disband the Supreme Court!! - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#26

Kend -- Do you have any ideas how we could get rid of lobbyists?

What massive debt? The US debt is 17 trillion, and 25% of it is interagency debt. The wealth in the US has increased 34 trillion since 2008. All 34 trillion went to the top 7%. What we need is more economic equality.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#27

DAM -- Which debt are you concerned with: the 100% or the 17 trillion?

Remember FDR tried to balance the budget in 1936 and within 3 months it was destroying the economy. Clinton balanced the budget and crashed the stock market (I took a major hit) and the economy.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 5 years 50 weeks ago
#28
Quote chuckle8:DAM -- Which debt are you concerned with: the 100% or the 17 trillion?

chuckle8 ~ The vast debt I am seriously concerned with is that which is incurred as waste. I am also really concerned about our lack of income. With good income debt can be managed. Without it only disaster results. That wasted debt represents the vast majority of our debt. It started with "Star Wars" when Ronald Wilson (666) Raygun took office. It then has accelerated thorough our MIlitary Industrial Complex to include illegal foreign wars, unconstitutional spy programs, espionage, foreign aid, and all manor of Corporate Welfare in tax breaks and "incentives" programs. Money that has been successfully embezzled from our banks has been covered by our national debt. We are actually paying to keep bank robbers out of prison. What greater waste of money is there? How about the money we squander to house and maintain drug dealers and customers in prison? What about the "war on drugs?" Free trade and Corporate flight has crippled our ability to ever pay off any of this debt. Our people are all doomed to living lives of paupers and serfs who are destined to existences where they would have envied African slaves.

None of this excess expenditures beyond our means is partisan in any way. It has been a completely bipartisan effort from the one party with two names. It is the direct result of fascism and Corporate control. Please don't bring up FDR's dept which was a drop in the bucket compared to our national debt since the Raygun era. For crying out loud that debt also included fighting and winning a World War! It is precisely this lack of touch with reality that fuels the conservative propaganda that halts any progress on this issue.

Until this country resolves the problem created by "free trade" and runaway spending we are in a death spiral of debt that can only lead to the complete compromise of our national security. We will eventually be forced to sell off all our national treasures and properties to meet this debt; or, we will have to go to war. The idea that we can live on perpetual debt is ridiculous; and, suggesting it is possible is irresponsible at the very least.

Please do not think I am regurgitating right wing talking points. In every con there is a little bit of truth. This is the truth that most progressives have blinded themselves to in the desperate attempt to think they still have a little control over their government and their lives. It is illusion; and, I really don't care what any 'noted' economist has to say on the issue. You cannot squeeze blood from a rock. Without income, we are doomed.

Even the esteemed Dr. Ravi Batra came to this obvious conclusion.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#29

DAM -- Do not listen to what economist say if you can understand the numbers yourself. The thing you need not to do is base policy decisions on anecdotal evidence. I agree income (also known as (AKA), aggregate demand) is needed more than anything. In order to make that happen probably both the deficit and debt should be increased. For that reason, I do not think policy should be driven by any consideration of current deficit.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#30

AIW, Kend -- I think you are both wrong. The choice we made is between tax cut for the billionaires and our infrastructure.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#31

2950-10K -- I think left wing commentators avoid the word fascist because when the audience hears that word they think of Hitler and the person using it wants to kill all jews

Also, when you, Loren etc says there is one ruling class, you have shown the 1% that they have accomplished their goal. They want people to think the 2 parties are the same, so why bother to vote. You have earned my list of why I think the Democratic party is very different from the repugs.

In the 13 weeks of the 5 years of the Obama presidency in which the dems had control of the congress they accomplished a lot.

1 Chrysler saved

2 GM Saved

3 AHCA passed (AKA Obamacare); (because of blue dogs like Max Baucus it was not a single player plan; to get Sen Baucus to sign it, Max's county got single payer.)

4 Middle class tax cut

5 Went from losing 750,000 per month to 30 straight months of job gains (in spite of Republican governors cutting 4.5 million jobs)

6 Education spending increased

7 Laws against hate crimes strengthened

8 CHIPS expanded (Children’s Health Insurance Program)

9 Forced through Child Labor Laws

10 consumer protection agency formed

11 Credit card reform

12 Predatory lending to soldiers restricted

13 Troops paid for stop loss time

14 Torture stopped

15 VA spending increased

16 Women allowed to serve on subs

17 Equal pay for women

18 Nuclear arms reduction proposal

19 BP cleanup fund

20 EPA strengthened

21 FDA powers broadened

22 Healthcare for 9-11 responders funded (during Bush Term it was ignored)

23 DADT was repealed

24 Within 24 hours of his inauguration in 2009, he ordered that the financial statistics of the top 400 families should be treated like everyone else's; that is, they should not be a classified government document.

Even when the dems did not have control they demonstrated their support of the 99%.

25 When the congress was adding Part D to Medicare (the prescription drug assist; I think it was in 2004) the democrats tried to pass an amendment to help fund it by a 1% income tax on incomes over 1 million.

26 In 2009-10 when Obama lost his filibuster proof senate, the senate had a record number of filibusters (380 or so); during LBJ's 6 year reign as senate majority leader there was one.

27 The bills that were filibustered would have helped our economy for both the long and short term. My favorites were the card check bill, the Disclose Act, stopping waivers for the Buy American Act of 1936 and the credits for bringing jobs back (no credits for tearing down factories to send jobs overseas.

28 Republicans supported the Reinhart-Rogoff Study used to push austerity throughout the world; The study was a total scam supported by Pete Peterson who wants all the social security money invested on wall street. It was easy to suck in democrats and the general public because too much debt being a bad thing makes intuitive sense.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 50 weeks ago
#32

Chuck- Equal pay for women? Really? Since when?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#33

They passed the Lilly Ledbetter (sp?) act in the first month of Obama's administration.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 50 weeks ago
#34

Ended torture? Force feeding is not a form of torture?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 50 weeks ago
#35

GM and Chrysler saved? They should have let them drown in their own capitalist stupidity. Yes, jobs would have been lost but lots of jobs have been lost by companies outsourcing jobs and the CEOs, top execs, and the investors who made bad business decisions would not have walked away with many millions of dollars. By bailing out those people the government created a "moral hazard" that told these people that it is ok to do it again and again because the government, especially the tax payers, will be their to bail them out. Same thing with the bank bailouts.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 50 weeks ago
#36

Laws against hate crimes? And I just wonder how many school children will spend time in capitalist-controlled profit-making prisons for minor name-calling in their schools. You know one child brought a toy water pistol...that looked like a toy water pistol to school and they called the cops on him.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/school-calls-cops-over-water-pistol-vows-to-...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 50 weeks ago
#37

Then Chuck, why do I keep hearing about equal pay being an issue, and women still not getting equal pay for equal work? - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#38

Palin -- Has the US ever convicted other countries for forced feeding like they did for water boarding?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#39

Palin -- At least the CEO's were fired.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#40

AIW -- The road to equal pay has been shown to be long and aduous. Lilly Ledbetter only helped. It was not a cure. However, if the democrats had not had 60 senators Lilly Ledetter would not have been passed.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 50 weeks ago
#41

AIW, Palin -- As I have stated before, it seems that you are carrying out the master plan of the oligarchy. Their plan is to make both parties look the same, so the populace will not bother to vote. They know the lower vote total, the higher the probabiltiy of the repug party winning the election.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 50 weeks ago
#42

"Chuckle8" says "AIW, Palin -- As I have stated before, it seems that you are carrying out the master plan of the oligarchy. Their plan is to make both parties look the same, so the populace will not bother to vote." Chuck- Hey wait a minute! When did I do THAT? Please quote me and prove my guilt. If you can prove it, my apologies. If ya can't, kiss mah grits!

I have, on various occasions, pointed out that Repugs & Dems are not the same; more often than not, citing Project Vote Smart's detailed voting records of congressmen & women from both parties for evidence to back up my claim. If any comments I've made since then seem contradictory, again my apologies. I'm not on fire over the Democrats; they're still way too beholden to corporate interests, as virtually everyone here is well aware. I still think the two-party system blows. But to go from there to the assertion that both parties are identical is quite a stretch. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 50 weeks ago
#43

Chuck, you don't think the trillions our "leaders" squandered on these bullshit wars has sucked $$$ out of our infrastructure?!! I'm not disagreeing that tax breaks for billionaires is also a major factor; perhaps my reply to Kend should have been more thorough. But I still think our bloated war budget has been a big part of the problem with our economy, along with the banksters' tax-funded bailouts and our overpriced, pay-or-die system of healthcare delivery. - AIW

P.S. regarding GM & Chrysler, I think for them to let those worthless CEOs go with millions of bucks' severance pay was sending the wrong kind of message... Don't you? Those guys deserved to go on welfare, with all its restrictions and humiliations; not on a permanent friggin' vacation!

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 5 years 50 weeks ago
#44

Publicly financed campaigns, as were had in Maine and Arizona, took the lobbyists right out of the picture but those and the reforms you suggested, Kend, were struck down by Citizens United.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 50 weeks ago
#45

chuckle8: I think the ruling elite doesn't care whether you vote or not, as long as you are voting for either Democrat or Republican. They certainly don't want you to vote for someone who will go against them in any way. They would rather you either not vote at all or vote for one of their two lap dogs but not for someone like Socialist Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.

And, it looks like AIW beat me to it. I, too, was going to say that when these CEOs leave those companies, whether they are fired or just up and quit, they always get many $millions as a severance package...golden parachutes. What they need to get are long jail terms and golden showers from their bitch master cell mates. Although, I suppose some would enjoy that...the golden shower part anyway.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 50 weeks ago
#46

"...golden showers from their bitch master cell mates..." Palin, you crack me up. Thanks for a good, long belly laugh! I'm still laughing... - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 5 years 50 weeks ago
#47

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 49 weeks ago
#48

AIW -- I know you have never said that the parties are the same. As a matter of fact I recall you saying vote for the dems as bad as they are. Palin on the other hand has said he stays at home on voting day (please do not make me research all his blogs). My only request is on the first day or so of a blog when we criticize Obama and the dems we need to emphasize that voting for dems has some chance of restoring our democracy; maybe our only chance. After the first few days of a blog, I assume it is only the bloggers who know where everyone of us is coming from, so then is the time to take off the gloves. Do you actually have grits in the Great Northwest?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 49 weeks ago
#49

Yes Chuck, they sell grits here in the Northwest. And no, I'm not gonna ask you to research the posts, from me or Palin. But if Palin stays home on election day, he needs to be spanked (verbally of course... tsk tsk). Because anyone who stays home on election day is doing exactly what the fascists want! (Hear that, Palin?! Naughty boy!)

Just a friendly little tip, though: whenever possible, Chuck, it's very helpful to use quotes from fellow bloggers to exemplify whatever sparked your issue with him or her. And if you're responding to a statement in someone's post, it's also helpful to repeat that statement in quotes, sparing fellow bloggers the trouble of searching for the original comment; especially since the numbers assigned each post are subject to change. - Aliceinwonderland

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 49 weeks ago
#50

AIW -- Thanks for the tip and I agree. I just need to find the energy to dig through the blog for a fitting quote.

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