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Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:04 AM

From BBC: "Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy"

2 U.S. professors (Princeton/Northwestern) have conducted exhaustive research/multivariate analysis of 21 years of data to support this conclusion. I think they'll get the Nobel prize for their work. Here's how they explain it:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power.

The two professors came to this conclusion after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues. They broke the responses down by income level, and then determined how often certain income levels and organised interest groups saw their policy preferences enacted. "A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time," they write, "while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time."

On the other hand: When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

They conclude: Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

139 replies, 11253 views

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Reply From BBC: "Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy" (Original post)
Divernan Apr 2016 OP
Divernan Apr 2016 #1
Dustlawyer Apr 2016 #12
Nitram Apr 2016 #25
R. Daneel Olivaw Apr 2016 #37
silvershadow Apr 2016 #59
Fantastic Anarchist Apr 2016 #86
silvershadow Apr 2016 #87
ronnie624 Apr 2016 #43
Paper Roses Apr 2016 #65
ronnie624 Apr 2016 #66
TowneshipRebellion Apr 2016 #128
840high Apr 2016 #79
ronnie624 Apr 2016 #82
RiverNoord Apr 2016 #93
Akicita Apr 2016 #103
KPN Apr 2016 #73
Nitram Apr 2016 #78
KPN Apr 2016 #83
Nitram Apr 2016 #135
rhett o rick Apr 2016 #101
Bohemianwriter Apr 2016 #125
Nitram Apr 2016 #134
Bohemianwriter Apr 2016 #136
OnyxCollie Apr 2016 #74
uhnope Apr 2016 #130
Phlem Apr 2016 #68
uhnope Apr 2016 #129
haikugal Apr 2016 #2
Lint Head Apr 2016 #3
cprise Apr 2016 #95
Dont call me Shirley Apr 2016 #96
Dont call me Shirley Apr 2016 #97
Divernan Apr 2016 #4
colorado_ufo Apr 2016 #53
jwirr Apr 2016 #56
Paper Roses Apr 2016 #76
cantbeserious Apr 2016 #5
malaise Apr 2016 #6
cui bono Apr 2016 #84
malaise Apr 2016 #85
IDemo Apr 2016 #7
Divernan Apr 2016 #8
IDemo Apr 2016 #9
Dustlawyer Apr 2016 #13
HughBeaumont Apr 2016 #15
Orrex Apr 2016 #10
Divernan Apr 2016 #11
Orrex Apr 2016 #18
Akicita Apr 2016 #104
HughBeaumont Apr 2016 #14
dembotoz Apr 2016 #24
jwirr Apr 2016 #57
HughBeaumont Apr 2016 #75
jwirr Apr 2016 #80
MidwestTech Apr 2016 #100
Blue_Tires Apr 2016 #16
Divernan Apr 2016 #20
Vilis Veritas Apr 2016 #33
zeemike Apr 2016 #45
jwirr Apr 2016 #64
jwirr Apr 2016 #60
fasttense Apr 2016 #17
zentrum Apr 2016 #19
zentrum Apr 2016 #21
treestar Apr 2016 #22
pampango Apr 2016 #23
Nitram Apr 2016 #26
uhnope Apr 2016 #90
rhett o rick Apr 2016 #99
Nitram Apr 2016 #133
rhett o rick Apr 2016 #137
Indydem Apr 2016 #27
Scootaloo Apr 2016 #31
2naSalit Apr 2016 #36
Indydem Apr 2016 #51
TryLogic Apr 2016 #54
Akicita Apr 2016 #105
Scootaloo Apr 2016 #117
Akicita Apr 2016 #107
Scootaloo Apr 2016 #118
Akicita Apr 2016 #122
Enthusiast Apr 2016 #110
TransitJohn Apr 2016 #42
Indydem Apr 2016 #47
TransitJohn Apr 2016 #48
Indydem Apr 2016 #52
TransitJohn Apr 2016 #55
uhnope Apr 2016 #131
PatrickforO Apr 2016 #44
Indydem Apr 2016 #46
PatrickforO Apr 2016 #58
kaleckim Apr 2016 #62
Equinox Moon Apr 2016 #28
nruthie Apr 2016 #29
certainot Apr 2016 #30
Enthusiast Apr 2016 #111
Chalco Apr 2016 #32
NCjack Apr 2016 #34
MrMickeysMom Apr 2016 #35
Thespian2 Apr 2016 #38
LibDemAlways Apr 2016 #39
PatrickforO Apr 2016 #41
LibDemAlways Apr 2016 #115
jwirr Apr 2016 #67
LibDemAlways Apr 2016 #114
jwirr Apr 2016 #116
PatrickforO Apr 2016 #40
Uncle Joe Apr 2016 #49
TryLogic Apr 2016 #50
hollowdweller Apr 2016 #63
Nitram Apr 2016 #138
Demonaut Apr 2016 #61
jwirr Apr 2016 #70
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2016 #113
Phlem Apr 2016 #69
Blue Owl Apr 2016 #71
BeanMusical Apr 2016 #72
Spitfire of ATJ Apr 2016 #77
saidsimplesimon Apr 2016 #81
Rebkeh Apr 2016 #88
4ricksren Apr 2016 #89
uhnope Apr 2016 #91
ErikJ Apr 2016 #94
Fantastic Anarchist Apr 2016 #92
billhicks76 Apr 2016 #98
merrily Apr 2016 #102
Enthusiast Apr 2016 #106
Enthusiast Apr 2016 #108
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2016 #112
Angel Martin Apr 2016 #109
laundry_queen Apr 2016 #119
sakabatou Apr 2016 #120
Kumbricia Apr 2016 #121
PoliticalMalcontent Apr 2016 #123
Lodestar Apr 2016 #124
Rex Apr 2016 #126
robertgodardfromnj Apr 2016 #127
uhnope Apr 2016 #132
Francis Booth Apr 2016 #139

Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:05 AM

1. Most American voters "mental zombies" manipulated by olilgarchs.

And from an article in Counterpunch incorporating references to the OP study:

What the authors are able to find, despite the deficiencies of the data, is important: the first-ever scientific analysis of whether the U.S. is a democracy, or is instead an oligarchy, or some combination of the two. The clear finding is that the U.S. is an oligarchy, no democratic country, at all. American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it’s pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation’s “news” media).

The U.S., in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious “electoral” “democratic” countries. We weren’t formerly, but we clearly are now. Today, after this exhaustive analysis of the data, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” That’s it, in a nutshell.
And that’s why most Americans are actually liberals who call themselves conservatives and who vote for conservative politicians that favor policies and values those voters actually oppose.
Are most voters mental zombies who are actually manipulated by oligarchs? That seems to describe today’s American “democracy.”

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/15/the-contradictions-of-the-american-electorate/

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Response to Divernan (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:32 AM

12. Jimmy Carter said the same thing. It's been pretty clear for a long time.

Our regulatory agencies are run by the industries they regulate. Those industries have been allowed to merge and gobble up the competition. The wealth and power have been concentrated to a much greater degree to where a small number of people can go to Davos every year and plan on what they will do to us next!

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Response to Divernan (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:38 AM

25. Mental zombies? Most? Sounds like the usual right wing rhetoric we hear when...

...things don't go their way. Americans always accuse their fellow Americans of being stupid when they disagree with their own political point of view.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #25)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:28 AM

37. One thing is certain when the oligarchs are mentioned...

 

There will always be naysayers that will attepmt to cast doubt or discredit reports that show the ruling aristocracy for what they are.

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Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Reply #37)


Response to silvershadow (Reply #59)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 03:37 PM

86. DUZY!!!!

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Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #86)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 03:38 PM

87. Thank you!

 

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Response to Nitram (Reply #25)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:47 AM

43. Most Americans are uninformed,

and in the case of FOX viewers, misinformed about a LOT of issues, which makes them easy to manipulate with propaganda. This has been very well established over the years.

http://www.alternet.org/media/science-fox-news-why-its-viewers-are-most-misinformed

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #43)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:05 PM

65. It is not just Fox News, it is the whole Media!

I am disgusted at what I read. Every media site I access has the same biased presentation. This old timer is way beyond accepting this crap. I no longer believe any of the news sites, whether on line or on TV. The whole situation is shameful.

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Response to Paper Roses (Reply #65)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:14 PM

66. I agree completely,

but FOX is the worst offender, by far.

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #66)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:27 AM

128. I don't think so...

 

They are all flavors from the same scuzzy coffee shop. Do you like your propaganda hot or cold? Cream? Sugar?

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #43)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:33 PM

79. Not just Fox News.

 

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Response to 840high (Reply #79)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:44 PM

82. Right. The article I posted makes that perfectly clear. n/t

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #43)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:48 PM

93. I disagree - Americans are highly informed.

 

'Informed' doesn't mean generally open to well-reasoned conclusions based on facts. It merely means exposure to a large volume of information on a particular subject matter.

In that sense, it's remarkable how well-informed Americans are about a great many things. Most can remember television commercials from years and years ago that they particularly enjoyed. Or, maybe, just the catchy jingles.

Americans, on average, are vastly better informed than almost everyone else in the world on the current state of the marriage of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and are exceptionally knowledgeable about the buzz from Miley Cyrus's latest escapades and the ebb and flow of relationships within the Kardashian family.

American baseball, football and basketball fans are vastly better informed about the capabilities of their favorite players and teams (or, if they're in 'pools,' lots of players and teams) than Europeans are about soccer players. Americans may not start quite as many riots during sporting events, but if you want to know the free throw percentage of Notre Dame's second string guards you could probably ask 20 random people in March and get the answer.

The real question is: just how complicit is the average American in the process of hard subject avoidance? Are we too comfortable, on the whole, to be bothered with heavy issues?

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Response to RiverNoord (Reply #93)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:33 PM

103. Well put and good question.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #25)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:42 PM

73. Sounds like a Hillary apologist this.

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Response to KPN (Reply #73)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:26 PM

78. Just someone who thinks America and Americans are not as bad as you make us out to be.

But I know you Bernsters see everything in terms of Bernie vs Hillary, good vs evil, us against them - no shades of gray whatsoever. A paucity of imagination and experience is probably at the root of this distorted view of the world.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #78)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:46 PM

83. My my ... arrogance abounds.

Keep reciting your mantra if you must. Meanwhile, we will change the party.

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Response to KPN (Reply #83)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 08:36 AM

135. I agree. Your arrogance would seem to have no limits.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #78)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:18 PM

101. And the Clinton fans see everything their authoritarian leaders do as wonderful. Living in a

 

denial bubble disparaging all those that dare speak truth to power. By what standards do you think America is great? Oh wait, America is wonderful for the Wealthy 1%, I guess that's who you mean. I guess you can ignore the 50,000,000 living in poverty.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #78)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 01:16 AM

125. Have you ever visited any of the countries...

 

Hlilary supported the destruction of?

Want to have a examples of a distorted view of the world?

When whistleblowers are being tortured and goes to prison and the real criminals go free! Chelsea Manning is rotting away at Leavenworth while Dick Cheney gets a platform to bash Obama from.
When corporate money in large amounts are OK, but 27 $ contribution needs closer scrutiny for campaign finance "fraud" and a tax return for 140 000 taxable dollars must be disected to find any disrepencies. Wall Street transcripts are still sacred secrets that must be protected at all cost - let's go for the deflection and projection instead!When an invite to the Vatican suddenly becomes a controversy where voices varies from "if he declines, it would be very rude of him" to "he invited himself" and "his role is hardly noticable" to "Bernie supports anti-LGBT bigots in the Vatican and he's going there to compare notes".
... It has been almost like witnessing the republican meltdown when Obama got the Peace Prize (not earned) in his first year as president and their glee when Chicago didn't get the olympics.

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Response to Bohemianwriter (Reply #125)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 08:35 AM

134. And that's all Clinton's fault? What a crock!

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Response to Nitram (Reply #134)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 09:09 AM

136. She is partially responsible when she pushes for these hawkish policies...

 

Isn't she?

Maybe in your world, you don't have to take responsibility for your actions and choices. In my world it is not that simple and guilt free. The only crocks here are Hillary supporters who attacks their fellow republican for the same thing they support Hillary for.

The cognitive dissonance and moral compass of Hillary supporters are skewed. Anyone voting for Hillary is voting against the interests of present veterans as well as the future veterans you will create with your next war on brown people in places you cannot place on a map!
Anyone voting for Hillary is rewarding her misdeeds where she undermined Obama in Honduras. Do you support the RW military junta in Honduras that Hillary cheered for?
Do you support the bombing campaigns in Syria and Libya? Do you or have you ever supported the invasion of Iraq, the "Patriot" Act, and the invasion of Afghanistan?
The support of all these in a bundle does not make you a democrat. It makes you a Republican in ideology. If you support money in politics and secret speeches for Wall Street, you are not a part of the solution, but a part of the problem.

Learning geography the American way: Invading countries to impose American style "democracy"...
Learning economy the American way: Reading Ayn Rand!

I will never endorse Hillary since I consider that to be an insult to the people who has been killed due to her policies.

Hillary supporters are throwing people like this under the bus with their support for her.




Elisabeth Warren would be the best 1st female president you can imagine. At least she don't share the core values of a Margret Thatcher clone. (People in England celebrated that demagogues death)



Instead, you choose the lowest hanging fruit with so much dirt and corruption I wouldn't get near anyone that corrupted without a protective suit. I would rather tongue kiss a Cobra than believing in anything that comes out of Hillary's lying mouth who loves to play the victim.
Some people are just toxic. Hillary is one of those people. She proved it when she went off script against a Greenpeace reporter and a BLM activist throwing ad hominem lies in their face before discarding them. She had a paying guest escorted out by thugs because she didn't want to listen, and only wanted to talk over the head of the BLM member.
She shows her true contempt for voters and Little People in these clips.



Anyone pointing their finger in my face the way Hillary did would lose that finger.



She don't want to listen to people with legit grievances and wants only to hear her voice berating and discarding anyone who might stick a hole in her bubble of upper class white privilege, calling black kids super predators, and thinks that the real super predators on Wall Street are "misunderstood" and "unfairly treated" by the proles who are not worth her time. They are her bank rollers. And people are so gullible to think that the money she gets from Wall Street, NRA, the private prison industry, dirty energy does not influence her policies. Wonder if you are willing to let BP in your backyard to do some "heavily regulated" fracking like Hillary is advocating. I wonder if people who vote for Hillary really wants TPP implemented, or if they are so demented to believe that Hillary actually is against a bill she helped draft.

The only crocks here are people whose writing skills almost never exceeds bullshit one liners without substance.

Or to put it with George Carlin: The narrative of Hillary being a genuine progressive, being principled in her stances is the biggest bullshit lie told in this election cycle.

George Carlin seems to be more and more relevant by the day.





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Response to Nitram (Reply #25)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:57 PM

74. Exposing one's ignorance while expressing outrage is not confined to the the right wing.

 

Converse: The nature of belief systems in mass publics
http://wikisum.com/w/Converse:_The_nature_of_belief_systems_in_mass_publics

A great majority of people neither adhere to a full, complete set of beliefs which produces a clear ideology nor do they have a clear grasp of what ideology is. This is measured by a lack of coherence in responses to open-ended questions. Ideology of elites is not mirrored by the masses and voter revolt to a political party does not reflect ideological shifts.

Converse analyzes open-ended interview questions to measure conceptualization of ideology. He concludes that the liberal-conservative continuum is a high level abstraction not typically used by the man in the street because of response instability and lack of connections made between answers. There is no underlying belief structure for most people, just a bunch of random opinions. Even on highly controversial, well-publicized issues, large portions of the electorate do not have coherent opinions. In fact, many simply answer survey questions as though they are flipping a coin.

Though some political sophisticates do structure their opinions in a larger ideological framework, such structure is rare. This level of political sophistication (one's "level of conceptualization" is correlated positively with the respondent's level of education, degree of political involvement, and amount of political information.

Key points: Most people do not have strong belief systems; that is, they do not think ideologically. A minority of people have fixed preferences and answer survey questions consistently, but most simply give random answers. Most people do not interpret politics through an ideological lens.


Before getting to empirical details, we must consider the roles played by the two sets of actors under investigation here-elites and masses-in this clash of traditions. We have learned over the years that the media, elected officials, and citizens influence each other's beliefs and behaviors in very complicated ways. Scholars studying elite/mass linkages have been driven by the empirical puzzle such relationships present, but they are also driven by normative questions that such paths of influence can raise. These normative concerns involve the nature of representation, accountability, manipulation, and mobilization. In other words, it is important to untangle the specific roles that different political actors play in shaping responses to crises like 9/11 because doing so will further illuminate how political developments unfold under conditions of diversity and threat.

Research on agenda-setting, opinion leadership, nationalism, and symbolic politics is useful in this regard. Several agenda-setting and opinion leadership studies argue that public opinion and elite action on salient issues converge, even though they may differ in their explanations of which actors serve as leaders and which actors serve as followers. Some studies suggest that elite policymaking and rhetoric shapes mass opinion (Baumgartner & Jones, 1993; Zaller, 1992); other studies maintain that elite movement on salient issues follows rather than precedes changes in public opinion (Monroe, 1979; Page & Shapiro, 1983) or that convergence exists because of electoral accountability (Uslaner & Weber, 1983). Finally, other works argue that the relationship among elite opinion, mass opinion, and policy outputs is reciprocal rather than unidirectional (Hill & Hinton-Andersson, 1995; Jacobs & Shapiro, 2000).

Schildkraut, D. J. (2002, September). The more things change. American identity and mass and elite responses to 9/11. Political Psychology, 23(3), 517-518.


Weber argued that the input of the mass public is limited to electing leaders, and that certain status groups within the mass public had influence in affecting the direction of government:

The demos itself, in the sense of an inarticulate mass, never 'governs' larger associations; rather it is governed, and its existence only changes the way in which the executive leaders are selected and the measure of influence which the demos, or better, which social circles from its midst are able to exert upon the content and the direction of administration activities by supplementing what is called “public opinion” (Gerth & Mills, {Eds.} 1946, p. 224-226, as quoted in Selznick, 1951, p. 326).


Liberalism and World Politics Author(s): Michael W. Doyle Reviewed work(s):Source: The American Political Science Review, Vol. 80, No. 4 (Dec., 1986), pp. 1151-1169

The discrepancy between the warlike history of liberal states and Schumpeter's pacifistic expectations highlights three extreme assumptions. First, his "materialistic monism" leaves little room for noneconomic objectives, whether espoused by states or individuals. Neither glory, nor prestige, nor ideological justification, nor the pure power of ruling shapes policy. These nonmaterial goals leave little room for positive-sum gains, such as the comparative advantages of trade. Second, and relatedly, the same is true for his states. The political life of individuals seems to have been homogenized at the same time as the individuals were "rationalized, individualized, and democratized." Citizens-capitalists and workers, rural and urban-seek material welfare. Schumpeter seems to presume that ruling makes no difference. He also presumes that no one is prepared to take those measures (such as stirring up foreign quarrels to preserve a domestic ruling coalition) that enhance one's political power, despite detrimental effects on mass welfare. Third, like domestic politics, world politics are homogenized. Materially monistic and democratically capitalist, all states evolve toward free trade and liberty together. Countries differently constituted seem to disappear from Schumpeter's analysis. "Civilized" nations govern "culturally backward" regions. These assumptions are not shared by Machiavelli's theory of liberalism

Liberal Imperialism

Machiavelli's republic is a classical mixed republic. It is not a democracy -which he thought would quickly degenerate into a tyranny- but is characterized by social equality, popular liberty, and political participation (Machiavelli, 1950, bk. 1, chap. 2, p. 112; see also Huliung, 1983, chap. 2; Mansfield, 1970; Pocock, 1975, pp. 198-99; Skinner, 1981, chap. 3). The consuls serve as "kings," the senate as an aristocracy managing the state, and the people in the assembly as the source of strength.

Liberty results from "disunion"-the competition and necessity for compromise required by the division of powers among senate, consuls, and tribunes (the last representing the common people). Liberty also results from the popular veto. The powerful few threaten the rest with tyranny, Machiavelli says, because they seek to dominate. The mass demands not to be dominated, and their veto thus preserves the liberties of the state (Machiavelli, 1950, bk. 1, chap. 5, p. 122). However, since the people and the rulers have different social characters, the people need to be "managed" by the few to avoid having their recklessness over-turn or their fecklessness undermine the ability of the state to expand (Machiavelli, 1950, bk. 1, chap. 53, pp. 249-50). Thus the senate and the consuls plan expansion, consult oracles, and employ religion to manage the resources that the energy of the people supplies.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #25)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:46 AM

130. exactly. people with blinders flocking to BS media that only tells them what they want to hear

 

Counterpunch & FOX News are two sides of the same coin

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Response to Divernan (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:16 PM

68. Fucking Amen.

This election cycle has really proven that beyond a doubt.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:44 AM

129. Counterpunch LOL. They should talk about "mental zombies"

 

They have no credibility left at all since they zombie-walked for Putin's dictatorship.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:11 AM

2. Mental zombies who don't think big money, dark money etc. is a problem.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:11 AM

3. This is the very reason the Democracy Spring Protests are so important.

I hope they keep it up and it grows.

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Response to Lint Head (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:55 PM

95. Of course, people have to really care enough about it

to look at American society (via the linked report, or other observation), come to a realization that democracy is absent -- even within the Democratic Party -- and then commit themselves to restoring democracy.

Maybe the best thing we can do in the short term is to support Bernie and to support Tim Canova, who is running against Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

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Response to Lint Head (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:58 PM

96. Listening on FSTV to a Chris Hedges interview from Democracy Spring right now.

"Time to scare the shit out of the power structure"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #96)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:59 PM

97. "Time to scare the shit out of the power structure" Chris Hedges.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:15 AM

4. "Our current situation is Economic Elite Domination (or, you know, plutocracy). "

http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/218858/the-duh-report-study-says-america-is-an-oligarchy-not-a-democracy/

The 'Duh' Report: Study says America is an Oligarchy, not a Democracy

Someone, fetch me my smelling salts! A new study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern Universities is showing that, although America is always going on about how it is a Democracy, it is, in fact, an Oligarchy. Or, rather, it is a Plutocratic Oligarchy, meaning that the vast majority of decisions are made to benefit a small amount of very rich people.

The researchers studied 1,779 policy changes made between 1981 and 2002, and judged them based on what the super rich people wanted, versus what the median voter wanted, versus what powerful lobbies wanted. Shockingly, the rich people and their lobbies got their way the vast majority of the time, with the median voter really only getting what he or she wanted when it was in line with the wishes of the affluent.


Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

So, basically what this study is saying is that, quite honestly, your vote doesn’t count for shit, and although apparently we’re supposed to be under the assumption that lobbying groups speak for us, the people, and that the rich people who purchase our elected leaders have our best interests at heart, they do not. Big surprise. After analyzing various kinds of governments, the researchers came to the conclusion that the term that best represents our current situation is Economic Elite Domination (or, you know, plutocracy).

“Economic Elite Domination theories do rather well in our analysis, even though our findings probably understate the political influence of elites. Our measure of the preferences of wealthy or elite Americans – though useful, and the best we could generate for a large set of policy cases – is probably less consistent with the relevant preferences than are our measures of the views of ordinary citizens or the alignments of engaged interest groups. Yet we found substantial estimated effects even when using this imperfect measure. The real-world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater.”

Given that this study only measured policy changes that were enacted between the years 1981-2002, it is highly likely that things are even worse now than the study suggests. Certainly, rulings like Citizens United and McCutcheon are going to have a profound effect on our oligarchical situation here, and it’s going to become even more profoundly ridiculous that any of us thinks we have a say in our government. Which, let’s face it, with the electoral college it already kind of is.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:12 AM

53. Super Delegates

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Response to Divernan (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:30 AM

56. This election is so clear on that. The idea of the Clinton

coronation. The fact that she hardly bothers to tell anyone what she stands for and when there is cheating in an election she says absolutely nothing. The fact that we now see that President Obama is also a corporatist.

I actually think that the story about Bill talking to Trump might be true. Trump takes on the Rs for Hillary and she walks into victory easily. Trump makes sure with his hate and fear message that no one will want him. What they did not expect was Bernie and angry Americans.

Then we get to the elections and the voter suppression starts but nothing is done to stop it because DWS runs the DNC for Hillary. The "establishment" is bought in at least 33 states and it is now in court - we will have to see if anything can be done about that.

It is all so clear. But how did we get to the point that Americans actually think that corporations should be allowed to have this kind of power? It had to have happened since 1980 - what is wrong with voters and in fact what is even wrong with the rich that they think this?

Is it too late to repair this mess?

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Response to jwirr (Reply #56)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:13 PM

76. Agree 100%. I am disgusted and disillusioned about our election process. n/t

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:16 AM

5. Thank You For Sharing

eom

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:18 AM

6. Michael Parenti drew that conclusion decades ago

His Democracy for the Few is a classic - I have an original copy as well as the 9th Edition
http://www.michaelparenti.org/DemocracyForFew.html

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Response to malaise (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 02:14 PM

84. I used to love to listen to him speak. I have several still, just copied a couple to my phone

to listen to on walks.

He's great! Saw him speak live once and they took questions from the audience written on slips of paper. One of them asked "are you married?".

.

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Response to cui bono (Reply #84)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 02:15 PM

85. Ha - are you married

Love it and Michael

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:21 AM

7. Study: Brilliant round object illuminates eastern sky each morning n/t

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Response to IDemo (Reply #7)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:23 AM

8. For all those who are clueless as to meaning/existence of "oligarchies"

the attention this report gets is important.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #8)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:25 AM

9. I was pointing out the self-evidence of their findings, not questioning its relevance n/t

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Response to Divernan (Reply #8)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:34 AM

13. The MSM is going to jump right on NOT reporting this story!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:48 AM

15. Ticker on CNBC right now: "REFORMING THE TAX CODE"

Glad our Fourth Estate is still clinging to last-century Repub talking point solutions.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:27 AM

10. This might have been news in the late 18th century

But now it's old hat.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #10)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:31 AM

11. And your PhD is from where? Oh, right, Quid-pro-quo U.

Sheesh! You're like that old guy in the Wizard of Oz: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

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Response to Divernan (Reply #11)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:58 AM

18. Golly! It's like you didn't read what I posted!

I was decrying a corrupt system that's been in place for centuries, but you took it as a rallying call for deliberate ignorance.


Wow.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #10)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:42 PM

104. I think the robber barons of the late 1800's probably controlled government as much or more

than the present day plutocrats do.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:46 AM

14. LINCOLN SHOT! TITANIC SINKS!

Somehow, study after study by doctors and scholars proving the painfully obvious seems to have less effect on the people than the good folks at places like NewsCorp and George Mason U. telling them "It's the (insert racial slur here)s fault. Oh, and yours too, you whiners. Bootstraps. Pull 'em up."

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #14)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:25 AM

24. sometimes we need to be told our collective fly is open

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #14)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:37 AM

57. Do any of those studies bother to come up with a solution?

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Response to jwirr (Reply #57)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:12 PM

75. Not especially. It would require several.

At this point, merely "Electing more Democrats" is not enough. By and large, the person who has screwed America the most for 16 years still calls himself a Democrat (Lieberturd). "Democrats" like Mary Landrieu, Dianne Feinstein and Max Baucus didn't do us any favors either.

Instituting a no-loophole, no Cayman Islands Escape Plan progressive tax structure will go a long way to collect billions left on the table each year by corporations and the wealthy. A 0.025% HST transaction tax would be another route. Not running America at the behest of the lobbyists, immediately ending folly wars, closing some of the 900 or so bases around the globe, stop being the world's cop, capping H1B visas, releasing the SS cap, raising the Capital Gains tax to pre-Failure Fuhrer levels . . . so many things we COULD do, but don't have the political will or the numbers.

The P90X Ryan Congress is a major roadblock.

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #75)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:34 PM

80. Those sound like very good goals. And the first paragraph

is why I am donating directly to candidates and by-passing the DNC. Or why I am seriously considering leaving the party.

The problem I have with leaving the party is my state of MN is doing pretty well and I have also been around for a while which has allowed me to see that any party that is going to change the system needs enough members to elect more than just a president.

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #75)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:16 PM

100. yes but....

there are places where our presence is a mellowing force.
The majority of our military bases are peaceful.
WHILE I agree that we should pull out a great many, I think a more thoughtful approach should be had.
now, our bases in europe? yup pull em all.
Japan, probably, but a presence in Asia, say guam? may still be helpful to mellow ambitions.
should we be the world's police? no.
but we seem to have that job now.
to pull out willy nilly and hide in our home is not helpful either.
the last time we did that a little thing called WWI happened
a relatively peaceful world helps everyone.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:51 AM

16. So why do we even bother, then?

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #16)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:11 AM

20. Because we can still wake the fuck up!

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Response to Divernan (Reply #20)


Response to Vilis Veritas (Reply #33)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:56 AM

45. Thus the bread and circus.

Keep the masses fed and entertained and the status quo will continue.
And the TV is the ultimate circus. It keeps us occupied 24/7 with lots of drama.

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Response to Vilis Veritas (Reply #33)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:59 AM

64. You may be right but the leaders at the barricades are the

only ones who have to know all the details. Our soldiers go to wars without understanding what they are fighting for. The others will just know enough to make them angry and I think we are seeing a lot of anger in this election.

Let them make the vital mistake of doing something like taking away Social Security and ignoring the cost of college and take many more of our jobs off shore and the anger is going to spill out of the elections into the streets. Unfortunately we have people who are misdirecting the anger at minorities and the poor. What the people at the barricades need to learn is who our real enemy is. Who has the control of everything in this country and a good part of the world.

That is coming.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #20)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:52 AM

60. ^^^THIS^^^

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:52 AM

17. Yes, it seems that US democracy is more about faith then about rule by the people

 

You just have to believe you have a democracy, even though only a handfull of excessively wealthy people are represented by our government.

I'm always torn about which way to go during our voting seasons. Should I vote and add to the false impression that votes are fairly and accurately counted. Or should I not vote but give up the measly little hope that my vote might count.

Most times I vote and then nothing changes. But sometimes I don't vote and the only thing different is that I don't feel like a hypocrite.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:06 AM

19. This says everything

…..about the two front runners in both parties are how they got to be there. It's by being oligarchs, and serving the oligarchy, each in their own way.

This is one of the reasons why HRC being the first woman President is so disturbing to me. Feminists are opposed to all Hierarchies and certainly, to the oppressions of the oligarchy.

Democracy is dead. Long live Democracy.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:12 AM

21. No, Diverman...

…..they won't get the Nobel. They'll be ignored and their work confined to the academy. No one listens to Chomsky either, except the choir.

Wish what you say could be so, however. Thank you so much for posting it. Perhaps it does seem that there are more and more rumblings towards building a movement.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:15 AM

22. The solution is simply to get involved

People vote or don't and reap the consequences and then play victim.

Not getting change is just silly. Vote in the congress that will change it instead of relying on the president. Getting involved means you know about congress.

And there has been a lot of change. Granted the Senate slows it down as conservative states get more representatives than their population. But things have changed.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:19 AM

23. "The US ... is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious 'electoral' 'democratic'

countries. We weren't formerly, but we clearly are now."

Sobering but true.

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Response to pampango (Reply #23)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:41 AM

26. Interesting that no one seemed to have noticed that the report says the US is...

..."in danger of becoming" an oligarchy. Never said the US is an oligarchy.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #26)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:29 PM

90. yep. The ballot is still the currency of power in the USA, so it's not an oligarchy (yet)

 

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Response to Nitram (Reply #26)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:14 PM

99. Distinction without a difference. Do you have an opinion re the OP? Or are you just here

 

to stir up the pot?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #99)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 08:34 AM

133. I'm just pointing out that you all are e ngaging in some serious hyperbole.

I know, you aren't interested in facts. Sorry for rocking the boat.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #133)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 10:36 AM

137. Facts? That's funny. Clinton supporters some how believe that if we give the banksters

 

all our money, via subsidies and tax breaks, they will help solve the issue of poverty. Poverty, that issue that some ignore and call it pragmatism. More of our families will die in neocon foreign wars for corp profits and some will look the other way and say it's too bad.

Well the Rich Ruling Class may win this battle, but we will fight on to try to regain our democracy and economic freedom.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:46 AM

27. Jesus, not this shit again.

 

This story is over 2 years old. It has been reposted, rehashed, and republished almost every month on these forums.

Of course, the authors of the study are so foolish as to ever think this was a democracy.

We live in a Constitutional Republic. "Majoritarian democracy" (which is alternative being contrasted here) is nothing but mob rule. It leads to blatant discrimination, harassment, and murder of the minority.

The study authors were looking for a specific result. They got it. You love it because it plays to your preconceived notions.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #27)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:53 AM

31. Jesus, not this shit again

 

Of course, the authors of the study are so foolish as to ever think this was a democracy.

We live in a Constitutional Republic. "Majoritarian democracy" (which is alternative being contrasted here) is nothing but mob rule. It leads to blatant discrimination, harassment, and murder of the minority.


You know that "This isn't a Democracy, this is a constitutional republic!" is a favorite bit of right-wing ignorance, right? Used to justify anti-democratic views and defend anti-populist policy.

A constitution is simply a foundational body of law.
A Republic is a method of territorial organization.

We are absolutely a democracy. We are an indirect democracy, because we vote for people to vote for us, but it's still a democracy. Any system in which decisions are made by voting among its members is a democracy.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:27 AM

36. Thank you!

Well stated.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:06 AM

51. So much wrong.

 

We are a Constitutional Republic. That's the long and short of it. I'm not sure what argument you could possibly use to dispute that.

The study which is being discussed here was not a study between a representative democracy and an Oligarchy. The study was a designed to find whether we are a "Majoritarian Electoral Democracy" or subject to "Economic-Elite Domination." There was no other conclusion that could be arrived at. As such, the real study was "Mob-Rule" or "Oligarchy."

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:16 AM

54. Then vote suppression and election fraud are anti-democracy movements.

Everyone who wants any kind of democracy should be screeming about the anti-democracy movement.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:07 PM

105. If we were a democracy gay marriage would still be illegal in California and many other states.

It took the courts basing their decisions on the Constitution to overturn the will of the majority of people in many states to ban gay marriage.

I prefer a constitutional republic where people including minorities have indelible rights that cannot be taken away by a majority like they could in a pure democracy.

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Response to Akicita (Reply #105)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:45 PM

117. Our supreme and circuit courts are democratic institutions as well

 

Again it's an indirect democracy - our justices are (usually) appointed by the people we elect. THose justices then decide (essentially vote) in the cases that come by them.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:40 PM

107. "A constitution is simply a foundational body of law". No, the Constitution IS the law. Every

decision made by voters or their elected representatives must pass muster with the Constitution or it will be invalidated. The Constitution cannot be changed by a democratic vote. It can only be changed through an onerous amendment process. The Constitution has only been changed 27 times in the over 200 years since it was first ratified. It is the law of our land and any other laws or decisions or votes of the people must conform to it.

"A Republic is a method of territorial organization." Wrong. A Republic is a state or government that is headed by a president in which the power is exercised by officials elected by the voters. Read your dictionary.

So we are a constitutional republic and not a democracy. Unlike a democracy, the majority vote of the people in this country or in any part of this country doesn't mean squat unless what they decide is in line with the Constitution.

Same thing in the states and their state constitutions.

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Response to Akicita (Reply #107)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:46 PM

118. And those changes are achieved via a democratic process.

 

My point is, we are a Democracy. The democracy we have takes a surprising variety of forms, but it is ultimately, a collection of democracies.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #118)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:32 PM

122. Geez. We are a constitutional republic.

Our officials are elected democratically. That's what a republic is. But they are constrained by a constitution. Don't they teach civics in high school anymore?

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:50 PM

110. Huge +1!

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Response to Indydem (Reply #27)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:44 AM

42. Those are very right-wing points you're making, there.

Parliamentarian democracy, as realized in virtually every other first world country, is "mob rule?" Whatever you say.

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Response to TransitJohn (Reply #42)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:01 AM

47. Not talking about Parliamentarian democracy.

 

Or any other representative system.

The study dealt with absolutes, the "optimal" of which being "Majoritarian Electoral Democracy." Majoritarianism is mob rule. Period.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #47)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:02 AM

48. "Period."

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Response to TransitJohn (Reply #48)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:08 AM

52. Very mature.

 

I love it when people cannot accept the simple definition of words.

There is no debate whether or not majoritarianism is mob rule, so the discussion is over. Thus, "period" indicates that the argument has been settled by the very nature of words and their definitions.

Take your laughing man to the library and get a dictionary.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #52)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:18 AM

55. Super easy to get under your skin.

Uptight?

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Response to Indydem (Reply #52)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:52 AM

131. yeah I can't believe those little emoticon thingies are used by anyone over age 13

 

no one remembers that they were invented for children.

Welcome to the world where kidults are taking over

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Response to Indydem (Reply #27)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:49 AM

44. Hmm. The founders did not trust the people. So they set up this republic.

At first all the people elected were representatives, who then elected the Senate, who then elected the President and Vice President.

Like you, they believed 'majoritarian' or direct democracy is nothing but mob rule.

Seems to me this assumption is fraught with problems, Indy. It is a good debate to question it. Is the public body as a whole too stupid to govern well? Why? What underlying conditions must be present for such direct democracy to work? Can it ever work?

I think those are legitimate questions that we run the risk of treating far too glibly if we do not state and then seriously question the underlying assumption.

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #44)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:59 AM

46. The question is simple:

 

Do we want a representative government or not?

Contrary to the other responses, the option contrasted by the original study is not valid. They compared the system we have today, vs straight forward majoritarianism. Per the study:

"Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism—offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented."


The fundamental foundation of the study is flawed. It's like saying "Is this bacon more like a cucumber or an apple?" Sure, you may eventually come to the conclusion that is is more like the cucumber (for whatever reason) but it is a false equivalency.

Direct democracy may someday work - when initiatives and questions just pop up on your smartphone for a vote. But for today, we still require a representative government to handle issues and make the system work.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #46)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:42 AM

58. Then let me posit this: our representative government SHOULD but does not presently work.

My assumption, which may be in error, is that the American people were much more informed about issues in the past, and more likely to vote.

Consider the populist movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At heart this movement was about whether we should allow bankers to control money supply or whether the government should. This movement stemmed from a longstanding argument which began while the states were still colonies, and which the bankers eventually won with the shady passage (Dec. 22, 1913, when most members of Congress were home) of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Now, however you or I might feel about the merits of the populist argument, you must admit that it takes a certain amount of understanding to take an intelligent position on the matter.

Next, think about old newspapers. Google some and look at the copy. I mean, we're looking at maybe 8 columns of small text going into detail about the stories and issues of the day. Even the illiterate were better informed that Americans today because people would publically read the newspaper articles aloud and then the group would argue about it.

What I believe is that the current popular media, polluted by the 1971 Powell memo, Reagan's killing of the Fairness Doctrine, and the proliferation of hate-talk radio and Fox 'news' has seriously hurt any understanding the American people as a whole might get. Oh, sure, you can now get better information if you are a decent researcher and can discern bullshit from reality. Hell, with the internet, we have the sum total of human knowledge right at our fingertips. What we lack is the public forums for debate. It just doesn't happen.

So, smart people who can give you a detailed and sophisticated analysis of their favorite sports team, or name all the contestants on American Idol or The Voice or America's got Talent, cannot even place most other countries on maps or say what our three branches of government are.

Next, we have slime like the Koch brothers, who have funded, given a voice to, and politically empowered the John Birch crazy wing of the GOP and that group's new debate technique of denying the problem(s) advanced and if losing the debate based on facts, denying those facts, and if facts keep coming up, simply yelling louder than their interlocutor.

Last, we have six corporations who basically own ALL of our mainstream media, which is now driven by ratings and not truth. This group purposely underestimates our intelligence and has set for the meme, which has stuck, that we as a people are not sophisticated enough or patient enough to learn and understand nuance.

This is why, Indy, we are an oligarchy now as opposed to a working republic. Can you refute my arguments?

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Response to Indydem (Reply #27)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:54 AM

62. You are missing the point

whether it is a republic versus a democracy, I dig your right wing framing (it works so well in also defending the "independence of the Fed", do you like that idea too?) isn't the point. Does government policy reflect popular opinion on the issues, or does it reflect what the people that have corrupted the system want? If the latter and if it results in a huge increase in inequality, crumbing infrastructure, an explosion in private debt, de-industrialization, who would not want to do something about that other than the corrupt politicians and those corrupting them? Are you one of those?

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:48 AM

28. I can feel it.

Without needing the study, I can feel that it is not a democracy.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:50 AM

29. What else is new? Of course we aren't a democracy.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:53 AM

30. rw talk radio is worth 390MIL$/MONTH, at least

at a cheap $1000/hr x 15hrs/day x 1200 stations, rw talk radio is worth 4.68 BIL$/ year or 390MIL$ /month FREE for coordinated pro republican wall st think tank propaganda, hate, and swiftboating

and limbaugh would probably get more like $1000/minute or two

that's been going on for 25 years - unchallenged and ignored by the left.

that is the voice of the billionaire, coordinated on the local and national level by the gop and think tanks that feed them, creating and managing alternate realities and a fluid loud minority made-to-order constituency called dittoheads, teabaggers, the gop base, etc.

that is what the left has been ignoring for 25 years

not only that - we let 270 limbaugh stations, many of the loudest, piggyback 90 major universities!

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Response to certainot (Reply #30)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:52 PM

111. Huge +1!

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:55 AM

32. Oh, what a surprise. (Not)

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:10 AM

34. And what will we do about it? Bernie is our chance in a lifetime to return reject the oligarchy.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:20 AM

35. Here's another "duh" question...

Which Democratic candidate practices what they've been preaching under the premise of "democracy"

(I should have made this a poll, but, like I said... it's a "duh" answer... Bernie Sanders... Clinton's just fine with the Oligarchs) (stupid! stupid! stupid!)

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:29 AM

38. Those few who control America...and, indeed, most of the world...

have their origins in the age of the Robber Barons in the 19th century...especially Rockefeller, and the oil barons from around the world...they controlled the world by buying industries, especially competitive ones, and putting them out of business...FDR made tremendous changes by fighting the oligarchs and winning some of the time...the oligarchs, not being stupid, begin buying more politicians on all levels, inventing ALEC, and buying the news media...they attack anything that does not kowtow to their desire to control the global market place...trade deals are just one way they put corporations above people...and so far, they have won...

Time for the Revolution against the oligarchs...

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:32 AM

39. Schools across the U.S. teach the fallacy

Last edited Tue Apr 19, 2016, 02:42 PM - Edit history (1)

that we live in a democracy in which everyone has an equal voice. I'm a substitute teacher. If I strayed from the lesson plan, told the kids the truth and someone reported it, I could lose my job.

The bogus nonsense that we have any say at all is reinforced by politicians, the education establishment, and the media. The truth is the elephant in the room no one in any sort of position of power is willing to talk about. Instead it's feed them a steady diet of bullshit snd keep them glued to the Kardashians while we rob them blind.

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Response to LibDemAlways (Reply #39)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:43 AM

41. Mark Twain said, "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it." Maybe you should have

shared a bunch of Mark Twain quotes with the class, and then emphasized this one.

Because, yeah, you might get fired. Schools have long since moved away from any academic freedom or common sense. We now live in a dumbshit world of 'zero tolerance,' 'evolution as a controversy,' and stupid censorship.

All part of the corporate plan, my friend. Remember what George Carlin said about the American Dream (just go into U-Tube - it's readily available).

"It's a BIG club and we ain't in it!"

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #41)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 07:57 PM

115. Carlin had his finger on the pulse. That American Dream

talk should be required viewing before entering a voting booth. One can dream anyway, that somehow, the populace can be woken from their zombie-like stupor and begin using their nearly atrophied brains instead of consistently and stupidly voting against their own best interests.

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Response to LibDemAlways (Reply #39)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:15 PM

67. How did our current group of young Democrats learn the

truth? They are fantastic young people in their support for Bernie.

I would like to read this discussion on reddit and see what they are saying.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #67)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 07:54 PM

114. I think the answer is to a large extent social media.

My 20 something daughter and her friends would never sit down and watch corporate news on tv. They get their news from Internet sources. The corporate media ignored Bernie for months while he was building a huge following via the Internet and, more specifically, social media. I think we've seen the last generation that's going to switch on network or even cable tv for news and the corporations that are doing their damnedest to shape our perception of reality and our opinions will in the near future become completely irrelevant. It's happening already.

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Response to LibDemAlways (Reply #114)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:14 PM

116. That sounds like my grand children and their friends. And

thank goodness that the propaganda machine has finally lost its power.

And you are correct - it is happening already. Even some of us older folk are learning to turn away and talk with others. Maybe we are going to beat this oligarchy after all.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:40 AM

40. Well, WE all know this. Too bad it won't be picked up by the corporate owned

media. Or if it is, will be under-reported and downplayed.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:04 AM

49. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, Divernan.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:04 AM

50. To many of us, it is pretty damn obvious.

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Response to TryLogic (Reply #50)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:55 AM

63. Really look at the FREE TRADE issue

 



Public sentiment is really skeptical of free trade in this election on both sides......

OK so I've seen a number of articles in the news now about how it's really good for us, being more protectionist would be a disaster, and trashing Trump and Sanders who are most vocally free trade.

Very few articles about how it's affecting the US worker or what could be done to shift public opinion that trade is a good thing.

IMO if people's salaries weren't going down as jobs are shipped overseas they would support free trade. However to suggest that in an article would be heresy.

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Response to hollowdweller (Reply #63)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:00 PM

138. The fact is that more workers benefit than are harmed.

Including workers overseas. Yes, we've lost a lot of manufacturing jobs to cheap overseas labor. But we'll gain jobs by opening markets abroad for other types of goods and services the US can offer. Protectionism never ever benefits a nation in the long run. It actually protects companies that are inefficient and allows them to survive without modernizing or upgrading equipment and the skills of workers.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:53 AM

61. it takes the brits to formally announce this

Last edited Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:29 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to Demonaut (Reply #61)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:20 PM

70. They finally won the Revolutionary War.

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Response to Demonaut (Reply #61)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 07:11 PM

113. No, it was from Princeton, and widely covered in the USA in the couple of years

since publication, not just by the BBC. See #112.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:20 PM

69. But, but, but, but, Hillary

And we're going to vote Thirdway for the third time expecting different results.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many zombies. Over fucking run with zombies.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:33 PM

71. The best money can buy!

n/t

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:37 PM

72. Kick and R

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:14 PM

77. In a related story they determined water was wet.

 

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:39 PM

81. Divernan, forgive me,

I must defend my birth soil. Oligarchy is doomed to the dustpan. Don't think the BBC is relevant.

They conclude: Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 03:41 PM

88. knrnt

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 03:41 PM

89. five power categories

 



i would think the u.s. has become a plutocracy (power by the wealthy),
rather than an oligarchy (power by the few) -- or both, but mainly
a plutocracy, because people can vote and run for office

five power categories:

autocracy (monarchy) = power by one individual (auto/mono = one)
oligarchy = power by the few (olig = few)
plutocracy = power by the wealthy (pluto = wealthy)
theocracy = power by the religious (theo = religious)
democracy = power by the (many) people (demos = people)



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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:31 PM

91. BS from a blog. The ballot is still the currency of power in the USA, so it's not an oligarchy (yet)

 

Even the report says it's not an oligarchy yet.

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Response to uhnope (Reply #91)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:52 PM

94. Its a corrupt Banana Republic

 

Controlled by the wealthy for the wealthy few under the guise of being a Republic.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:32 PM

92. Actually, the country was founded deliberately as ...

... an oligarchy. The Founders dressed it pretty, and called it Republic, but that was for appearance. Social movements have made great strides, but it was only because if we get too restless, and if we organize, they're finished. The rich and powerful know they're living on borrowed time; that's why they're taking as much as they can while it's still possible.

1.4 trillion in Panama is not enough, so prepare for more pain.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:13 PM

98. Hillary...Where Hope Goes To Die

 

Love, Me...A Left-Wing, Liberal, Progressive Life Long Democrat. If you are some kind of twisted jerk who calls me a Trump supporter or RW troll because I don't like Hillary like half the democrats I know then you can go to hell. We aren't the poison. You are.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:25 PM

102. Not only that, but it's an oligarchy within a republic.

Our form of government is a republic, not a democracy.

We have universal suffrage for citizens, but the form of government is still a republic.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:40 PM

106. It did not become an oligarchy by accident. We can trace back to a number of bad decisions made

against the interests of the American working class people.

Most of this started with Reagan with the cooperation a Democratic Majority. Since then every president, regardless of party, has strengthened the oligarchy. There was barely any resistance from congress.

We can look at key pieces of legislation that paved the road for oligarchy. The elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, NAFTA, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

The SCOTUS is far from blameless. The right wing supreme court made a number of rulings that made oligarchy possible.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:42 PM

108. 400 recommendations would be about right for this one.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #108)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 07:10 PM

112. It's interesting to follow the recs it's got over the couple of years since publication

Apr 18th 2014: 8 Recs http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=4839272
Apr 18th 2014: 9 Recs http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024840881
Dec 19th 2014: 10 Recs http://www.democraticunderground.com/1251390913
Jan 17th 2015: 102 Recs http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026097412
Mar 22nd 2015: 9 Recs http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026401343
Jan 31st 2016: 14 Recs http://www.democraticunderground.com/12511099991
Feb 14th 2016: 22 Recs http://www.democraticunderground.com/12511229327
Mar 19th 2016: 17 Recs http://www.democraticunderground.com/12511529311

and several more times that it's been posted. Maybe it's a good barometer of how jumpy DU is?

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:45 PM

109. So if the USA is an oligarchy

and elections are a sham, why is everyone on this board so jacked up over who wins ?

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:49 PM

119. Learned this in poli sci 101

of course that was in a Canadian university

Actually I lied, I knew that from my parents and from DU well before poli sci 101 (went back to school in my 30s). But they did teach that the US system essentially on the road to a new kind of fascism and that corporations had much control and say, while actual citizens had little influence.

That's not really a shocker to anyone decently informed though.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:55 PM

120. STOP THE PRESSES!

Water is wet! The Sun is the center of the solar system! Lightning is a plasma! Planes can break the sound barrier! Humans are mammals!

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:24 PM

121. Progressives need to look after each other

Last edited Wed Apr 20, 2016, 12:03 AM - Edit history (1)

Occupy groups were a good start and this is the direction we need to go in.

Right now we're individuals with progressive beliefs scattered around in a larger society in which we have little influence. We need to start local and band together on a voluntary basis and provide social and economic support for each other and practice governing ourselves as though our lives and livelihoods depended on it. Because in the coming decades it probably will get worse and people will likely be more disenfranchised, coupled with the potential for ecological disaster, and it will be good to have a stronger support structure in place, in absence of a responsive government.

It probably sounds pie in the sky but I don't think there's going to be any meaningful change or a shift from oligarchy to democracy until progressives get better organized and better united, starting at the local level.

As far as I can tell, there's nothing stopping people with like-minded beliefs from forming networks and putting into practice, on a small scale, some of the programs and policies we want to see our government do. There would just need to be the will to do it.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 12:18 AM

123. It's true. A handful of people wield power disproportionately using money/media/etc. as a tool.

We are divided and distracted with wedge issues that affect a relatively small amount of people, which is unfortunate.

Religion is an opiate for the masses and a tool for politicians to prolong their game.

As it stands, we're essentially just passing a ball back and forth.

On the heels of a primary season filled with more than a little fishiness I intend to vote my conscience, even though that does very little in the long run. Honestly, nothing we really do seems to matter anyway as the original post attests. We're an oligarchy. The people are just pawns in a bigger game.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 01:16 AM

124. So change from the inside out is not possible. What IS the answer?

What do we the people want to do about this?

We still think we'll have fair elections. But these decisions
are not truly in our hands. It's an illusion. This was already decided for
us. Is it really possible in this environment to elect a Bernie Sanders?

If we could manage to work together without being divided by issues, hate, etc.
then perhaps there would be a collective means of accomplishing resistance.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 01:19 AM

126. Not quite, it is a plutocracy...which is just a more diverse oligarchy.

 

We do love ourselves some diversity.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 01:43 AM

127. The BBC is spot on

 

Democracy in this country died long ago.

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Response to robertgodardfromnj (Reply #127)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:53 AM

132. too bad this wasn't the BBC but just a blog rehashing the same old cherrypicked BS

 

that some people want to hear

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Wed Apr 20, 2016, 06:49 PM

139. I thought we were an autonomous collective.

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