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Member since: Wed Aug 19, 2015, 04:47 AM
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Campaign "donations" and plutocracy.

One can pretend that 100 Goldman Sachs employees (such as Timothy Geithner before he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury) making the maximum contribution is no different than 100 John or Jane Does making contributions, but that doesn't make it so. The employees of Big Banks/Pharma/Ag/etc. know full well that the company's interests are their interests. They know who butters their bread, so to speak.

Of course the contributions come from individuals, as corporations are made up of individuals. But the interests of the individuals match the interests of the corporate entity to whom the candidate is then beholden. And the fact is that Clinton, like most politicians, gets a massive sum from Wall Street, no matter how you choose to spin it. Not only in the form of campaign contributions but also in the form of speaking fees. To suggest that doesn't then greatly influence policy is the height of naivete. Wall Street has far more influence on public policy than "we the people." In fact, pieces of federal legislation have actually been written by the likes of Citigroup. You may want to read that last sentence more than once if you don't fully grasp the extent to which the US is plutocratic. Now, when's the last time you or I were asked to write legislation?

Furthermore, there's a revolving door between industry and public office, between regulatory agencies and the regulated. For the wealthy in the US, bribery and corruption is essentially legal. And when employees of Beacon Global Strategies, for instance, are advisors to the Clinton campaign, you're a fool if you think that doesn't come with strings attached. When Corrections Corporation of America makes donations, you're a fool if you think that doesn't come with strings attached.

Lawrence Lessig to Bill Moyers:

"I mean, we have the data to show this now. There was a Princeton study by Martin Gilens and Ben Page. The largest empirical study of actual policy decisions by our government in the history of our government. And what they did is they related our actual decisions to what the economic elite care about, what the organized interest groups care about, and what the average voter cares about.

And when they look at the economic elite, you know, as the percentage of economic elite who support an idea goes up, the probability of it passing goes up. As the organized interests care about something more and more, the probability of it passing goes up. But as the average voter cares about something, it has no effect at all, statistically no effect at all on the probability of it passing. If we can go from zero percent of the average voters caring about something to 100 percent and it doesn't change the probability of it actually being enacted. And when you look at those numbers, that graph, this flat line, that flat line is a metaphor for our democracy. Our democracy is flat lined. Because when you can show clearly there's no relationship between what the average voter cares about, only if it happens to coincide with what the economic elite care about, you've shown that we don't have a democracy anymore."

Robert Jensen in this piece:

"No matter who votes in elections, powerful unelected forces—the captains of industry and finance—set the parameters of political action. Voting matters, but it matters far less than most people believe, or want to believe. This raises the impolite question of whether democracy and capitalism are compatible. Is political equality possible amid widening economic inequality? Can power be distributed when wealth is concentrated?

These questions remain unspeakable in mainstream political circles, even though the economic inequality continues to widen and the distorting effects of concentrated wealth are more evident than ever. The limited successes of the Occupy movement nudged this into view, but this impolite question must be central in our conversations, raised without sectarian rhetoric and with a clearer analysis of the foundational nature of the problem.

Let me be clear: I’m not suggesting that there is nothing democratic about the contemporary United States, nor am I suggesting that we live in a fascist state. It’s important to avoid rhetorical overkill. Rather, I’m simply recognizing that, counter to the mythology of the United States, no existing nation-state is a democracy in any deep sense. The question is, to what degree are the features of a society—not just the formal political process, but the economic and social structures as well—truly democratic. Formulating the question that way opens up a more meaningful discussion of those realities."

The US is oligarchic/plutocratic and has been for ages. All that said, let's be clear that Clinton is merely a symptom, not a cause. Far too much focus is put on individual politicians. It's the system, stupid. Clinton will likely be the next POTUS, and there's no doubt a Clinton presidency would be better than, say, a Rubio or Trump presidency. But corruption will still be the name of the game when it comes to US federal level politics.


I keep seeing people complain about "attacks" against their preferred candidate. Those complains, though, seem to ring hollow more often than not. There's typically no substantive explanation. So, it amounts to little more than a tactic (attaktic?) or ploy, a way of dismissing any legitimate criticism. It seems especially common for Clinton supporters to insinuate that all opposition to Clinton is based on phony right wing lies.

Is it an "attack" to point out that Clinton has ties to Beacon Global Strategies, Corrections Corporation of America and other seedy entities? Or to point out her hawkish inclination?

Is it an "attack" to point out that Sanders might be too pro-gun?

This site is so littered with substanceless posts and repeat threads that it's just about unbearable.
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