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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 11, 2019, 11:10:37 pm »


Are we the First Country to Go Backwards?
6,733 views


Thom Hartmann Program
Published on Jul 10, 2019

Are we watching Democracy move backwards?

Tucker Carlson's remarks about Rep Ilhan Omar definitely indicate that America could be the first developed country to move backwards away from democracy

But into what and how can we stop the Republicans, Trump and Tucker Carlson from dragging us away from the democracy so many have built over the years?

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Category News & Politics
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 01, 2019, 05:29:41 pm »

Join me in another rousing chorus of, "Both sides are equally bad."


By Eric Levitz@EricLevitz



I am no longer sure that after the Civil War there were two sides to American politics, when the Madisonians got folded, spindled and corporate power mutiliated by the Hamiltonian Robber Barons.

I now believe that, towards the end of the 19th century, the 50 originial "investors" in Brown Brothers Harriman (Rockefeller was one of them) became the hidden U.S. OILIGARCHY. These heinous oligarchs spawned a couple of generations of equally despicable oligarchs. By controlling the "both sides" political food fight, these slaves of avarice and/or ambition have run this freak show ever since. 

You know, people say that Maximilien Robespierre said there are no innocents. That is not accurate. He said that, ONLY those who were innocent deserved mercy. That is no excuse for terrorism, of course, but I think his logic is sound.

February of the Year of our Lord 1794:

SNIPPET 1:
Quote
But as the essence of the republic or of democracy is equality, it follows that the love of country necessarily includes the love of equality.

It is also true that this sublime sentiment assumes a preference for the public interest over every particular interest; hence the love of country presupposes or produces all the virtues: for what are they other than that spiritual strength which renders one capable of those sacrifices? And how could the slave of avarice or ambition, for example, sacrifice his idol to his country?

Not only is virtue the soul of democracy; it can exist only in that government. ...

SNIPPET 2:
Quote
. . . Indulgence for the royalists, cry certain men, mercy for the villains! No! mercy for the innocent, mercy for the weak, mercy for the unfortunate, mercy for humanity.

Society owes protection only to peaceable citizens;

read more:

https://www.marxists.org/history/france/revolution/robespierre/1794/terror.htm

The modern Robber Barron Oligarchs now have something their 19th Robber Baron ancestors did not: robots. Human (cheap/slave) labor was needed a century ago to ruthlessly create and preserve Robber Barron Dynasties. Human labor is still somewhat cheaper than robots, but that is rapidly changing. Robots now build robots that can repair robots. Are you getting the picture?

I am. These Oligarchs do not want to lower their carbon footprint to keep climate change from wiping humanity out. So, they figure allowing climate change to wipe out 95% of humanity while they "ride it out" is "worth it". In fact, they see a large reduction in the human population as a huge positive factor because they believe it will help the biosphere recover from damage caused by a large human population.

They are wrong, but what do I know?

Shape of things to come song video
Posted by: Surly1
« on: May 29, 2019, 08:46:21 pm »

Join me in another rousing chorus of, "Both sides are equally bad."

Moderate Democrats’ Delusions of ‘Prudence’ Will Kill Us All

By Eric Levitz@EricLevitz



Earlier this month, the weather report for the Arctic Circle was partly cloudy with a high of 84 degrees.

Earlier this year, a United Nations report found that “potentially devastating temperature rises of 3 to 5 [degrees Celsius] in the Arctic are now inevitable even if the world succeeds in cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris agreement.” At the moment, no nation on Earth is on track to meet its emissions targets under that accord. And any temperature rise above what’s already inevitable would pose a severe risk of melting the methane-infused Arctic permafrost, thus releasing 283 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere — a development that, when combined with the disappearance of heat-deflecting ice, would rapidly accelerate global warming and all but doom human civilization.

Meanwhile, the government of the world’s lone superpower remains dominated by a political party that regards climate change as something between an afterthought and a “Chinese hoax.” The GOP vigorously opposed the Paris agreement, and is in the process of repealing just about every measure the Obama administration took to uphold it. In fact, the Republican White House is so committed to a new rule that would keep economically inefficient — and ecologically ruinous — coal-fired power plants in operation, it is ignoring an EPA report that estimates such a policy would result in 1,400 additional premature deaths in the U.S. every year. For their part, Senate Republicans are so contemptuous of the notion that the climate crisis demands ambitious government action, they have turned the Green New Deal into a punching bag, and insisted that any new infrastructure package must consist largely of environmental deregulations.

America’s most powerful political party is also growing increasingly hostile to democratic values — and evermore insulated from popular rebuke by its own revisions to election law and the structural biases of America’s system of government. On the state level, Republicans have implemented a wide variety of voting rules designed to depress the political participation of Democratic-leaning constituencies. And when a Democrat nevertheless wins a gubernatorial election in a purple state, the GOP has taken to using their heavily gerrymandered state legislative majorities to preemptively strip the governor’s office of its traditional powers. These same anti-democratic tendencies are manifest at the federal level. The last two Republican administrations have launched investigations into the (nonexistent) crisis of mass voter fraud, in an ostensible bid to rationalize suppressive voting rules. And both Mitch McConnell and the Trump administration have refused to recognize the Democratic Party’s right to govern — the former by nullifying Barack Obama’s authority to appoint Supreme Court justices; the latter by refusing to comply with the (Democrat-controlled) House’s subpoenas.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has abetted the GOP’s assaults on democratic rule by gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965, approving unlimited corporate spending in American elections, vetoing an Arizona law that attempted to limit the influence of such spending by providing candidates with public funds, and hobbling public-sector unions, one of the only institutions with the capacity to serve as a countervailing weight to the power of (overwhelmingly Republican-aligned) corporate-interest groups.

This synergy between conservative domination of the anti-majoritarian judiciary and Republican efforts to entrench anti-majoritarian rule over the elected branches of government threatens to trigger a feedback loop nearly as dire for U.S. democracy as melting permafrost would be for the global climate: As the Supreme Court makes it easier for Republicans to disenfranchise hostile voters and dilute the influence of those who retain the ballot, Republicans become better able to replenish and expand their grip on the judiciary.

The threat that the GOP could soon entrench the rule of a reactionary, predominantly white minority isn’t an idle one. Thanks to Senate malapportionment, the decline of ticket-splitting in an era when all politics is national, and the political polarization of urban and rural areas (a nearly ubiquitous phenomenon across Western democracies that shows few signs of abating any time soon), Republicans currently enjoy a historically large structural advantage in the upper chamber, one that is poised to grow even more formidable in the years to come. By 2040, half the U.S. population is expected to reside in eight diverse, largely urban states, while another 20 percent of the populace will be concentrated in the next eight most populous states. This will leave the remaining, overwhelming white, and nonurban 30 percent of the American population with 68 votes in the U.S. Senate. In a political culture where Democratic presidents are no longer allowed to appoint Supreme Court justices unless their party also controls the upper chamber, GOP domination of the Senate will translate into GOP domination of the judiciary, even if the conservative movement boasts an ever-smaller fraction of public support (as research on the political views of millennials and Gen-Zers suggests that it will).

All of which is to say: There’s a reasonable argument that America’s capacity to address the existential threat posed by climate change — and arrest its descent into plutocracy — depends on the Democratic Party regaining full control of the federal government, and promptly enacting a series of (small-d) democratic reforms such as federal voting-rights protections and statehood for overwhelming nonwhite territories like Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C., before secular trends allow a reactionary minority to lock up the Senate and judiciary for a generation.

There are many obstacles to such a beneficent development. A major one is the tendency of moderate Democrats to mistake their own myopic complacency for heroic prudence. Greg Weiner, a political scientist and onetime aide to former moderate Democratic senator Bob Kerrey, gives vivid expression to this unfortunate frame of mind, in a column published by the New York Times Wednesday.

In an op-ed titled “It’s Not Always the End of the World,” Weiner scolds Democrats and Republicans alike for grossly exaggerating the stakes of partisan conflict in the contemporary United States. Against the catastrophism embraced by the likes of Donald Trump and Barack Obama, Weiner champions the lost art of political “prudence,” which Abraham Lincoln once practiced so well:

Prudence is a capacity for judgment that enables leaders to adjust politics to circumstances. In extraordinary times, prudence demands boldness. In mundane moments, it requires modesty. Lincoln, the foremost exemplar of prudence in American political history, can instruct today’s voters in both ends of that continuum.

In 1838, an ordinary historical moment, a 28-year-old Lincoln warned the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Ill., that the greatest danger to American liberty would arise from leaders seeking greatness in times that did not require it … A quarter-century later, as Lincoln prepared a bold stroke that helped define his own legacy — the Emancipation Proclamation — his annual message to Congress spoke of historical circumstances more grandly: “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

Those poles of Lincoln’s politics — modesty in ordinary times and boldness when required — illustrate the essence of prudence. The gateway to prudence is accurately gauging the character of one’s moment in history.

These paragraphs do a rather poor job of establishing Weiner’s own capacity to distinguish history’s “ordinary times” from its “mundane moments.” Was the “greatest danger to American liberty” in 1838 really politicians who demanded bold reforms in an era that required none? Or was it, perhaps, the slaveocracy that condemned more than 1 million Americans to lifetimes of forced labor, family separations, ****, and physical abuse? And was Lincoln’s complacency about eliminating slavery, until the moment when abolition became militarily expedient for the Union Army, a mark of extraordinary prudence or an all-too-ordinary moral failure?

Weiner is no more discerning when he turns his gaze from antebellum America to Donald Trump’s. “There is no question that Mr. Trump’s political style is aberrant,” Weiner writes. “But what if, all things considered, the needs of the moment are ordinary?”

In his ensuing argument for the mundanity of our republic’s present challenges, Weiner never acknowledges the existence of climate change, voter suppression, Trump’s ongoing war on the rule of law, or any of the other maladies catalogued above. Here is the entirety of Weiner’s argument for why those who regard our present moment as one defined by crisis are deluding themselves:

Yet for all the polarization in our politics, Mr. Trump and many of his Democratic challengers agree on the core claim that we live in the throes of a historical crisis. They concur that economic dislocation has ravaged the middle class: many of them might have uttered Mr. Trump’s inaugural proclamation of “American carnage.” All speak of constitutional crises — Mr. Trump of the excesses of the administrative state, Democrats of his violations of longstanding norms.

 

But the erosion of the middle class is not an acute ailment: It is a gradual, nearly half-century phenomenon that is susceptible only to gradual solutions as well. As for the supposed collapse of American government promulgated by the bureaucracy, the truth is much less dramatic: The administrative state is the product of an eight-decade consensus dating to the New Deal, not an emergent calamity. It can be unwound, but 80 years of practice will not yield to sudden solutions.

Even if we stipulate that Weiner has accurately — and comprehensively — identified our republic’s crises as each party defines them, his argument would be uncompelling. It can be simultaneously true that the middle class has been in decline for a half century, and that we’ve now reached a moment of crisis in that long descent. Weiner could perhaps marshal empirical evidence for complacency about the middle class’s present state. But instead, he has rested his case on the claim that “a social problem that has been gradually deepening over a period of many years cannot possibly become a crisis in the present moment”; by this logic, it would have been “imprudent” for anyone to warn of an impending Civil War in 1860, as tensions between the North and South over the expansion of slavery into the Western territories was a “nearly half-century phenomenon” at that time.

But, of course, Weiner ignores the principal reasons for the left’s catastrophism, while badly misconstruing those behind the right’s. It is not the threat of malignant bureaucracy that led former Trump White House senior adviser Michael Anton to describe 2016 as the “Flight 93 Election,” but rather “the ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty,” which was rendering the electorate “more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle.”

Weiner’s column isn’t without its merits. His observation that presidential candidates and the political press have to engage in reckless hyperbole to get noticed are fair (there is a reason why the headline to this column is a bit shouty). And “the rhetoric of catastrophe,” as he calls it, certainly has had a malign influence on America’s civic life in recent years. Nor is he wrong to accuse the Democratic Party of engaging in such threat inflation on many occasions.

But in its blithe elision of the primary threats facing our polity and planet, Weiner’s column epitomizes the self-congratulatory complacency of the moderate Senate Democrats, who are more scandalized by the thought of the filibuster’s abolition than the climate’s ruination. If Team Blue can somehow wrest Senate control from Mitch McConnell in 2021, we will not need “modesty” from lawmakers like Jon Tester and Joe Manchin; rather, we will need them to display uncharacteristic boldness, by voting to diminish their own small states’ overrepresentation in the Senate and for sweeping action to mitigate the climate crisis.

Such is the minimum required by prudence in our time.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 17, 2019, 10:28:49 pm »

 

When Will America Fall - Like the Roman Empire?
32,529 views


Thom Hartmann Program
Published on May 13, 2019

The fall of the Roman Empire in 476 CE is well known. Less well known, is whether the US will fall this century.

Edward J Watts book ‘Mortal Republic’ covers the Roman Republic and how Rome fell into tyranny and discusses with Thom whether the American Empire will decline.

The historian covers the Roman Empire fall and the possible decline of the American Empire.


📽️ WATCH NEXT: When Will It Happen to the U.S.?

📕 BOOK: Mortal Republic - http://www.amazon.com/dp/0465093817?t...

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Category News & Politics
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 17, 2019, 03:09:08 pm »

The Far Right Takeover of America is Almost Complete-- What Happens When Fanatical Extremists Capture All of a Country’s Institutions? Bu Umair Haque
https://eand.co/the-far-right-takeover-of-america-is-almost-complete-67e9810d846b

Yep. 

I read the post and even that seems too hopeful. Mueller ain't gonna do NADA to prevent more and more Fascist Police State mayhem.

Quote
America being among the ten worst places to be a woman, the worst place in the rich world to be a mother or a child or a retiree, and many, many more places on dismal lists of worsts. Why is that?

Because of Oligarchic corruption.

Quote
... you can’t capture the three branches of government if social institutions are working properly. Institutions such as the press, academia, media, and so on. And yet here too, American institutions failed, and failed catastrophically.
The above is a conditional statement. The social institutions in the USA have had there ethical ups and downs, but beneath the principled ethical facade has always lurkered the power of money to foster inequality for the express purpose of allowing the monied parasites to lawlessly act with impunity (i.e. Oligarchy).

Quote
PAUL JAY: There’s this fundamental belief, religious belief, that America’s foreign policy since World War II has been a fight for freedom.

GORE VIDAL: Well, it never was. And the belief that we’re a democracy. That means you know nothing about the Constitution. The people who made the Constitution hated democracy. Some of them put up with it better than others. Jefferson was pretty good on the subject. The others just loathed it.
Quote
GORE VIDAL: The Federalist Papers are very clear. Whenever one of the founding fathers, and one of the people who was inventing the Constitution, they start to get apoplectic at the mention of Athens, the mention of Pericles, the mention of democracy. They go on and on about mobs, and we don’t want this, and we don’t want that. We’re an oligarchy of the well-to-do. We were at the very beginning, when the Constitution was made, and we’re even more so now.
http://renewablerevolution.createaforum.com/who-can-you-trust/911-gt-september-11-2001-gt-u-s-fascist-coup/msg12054/#msg12054

Gore Vidal did not want to go further down that (unexamined life) rabbit hole, but I routinely do. As long as everything has a price in the currency of the realm, money will corrupt any and all institutions that benefit (even if originally an oligarchic facade, but that obtained some democracy fostering teeth along the way) of we-the-people, aling with most citizens of the realm. The problem is the Capitalist worship of materialism, as Chris Hedges has often pointed out.

The following is, IMHO, a naive statement:
Quote
American media was hopelessly out of its depth.

This statement assumes good intentions by the media that were thwarted by ignorance and/or incompetence. I disagree. The Media is a rigidly controlled propaganda arm of Fascist USA. They know exactly what they can push and what they are told to use to head the herd off in the wrong direction. They are not incompetent. They are bought and paid for.
Quote
And so here we are. The far right takeover of America is almost complete. Fanatical extremists of a kind unseen since Nazi Germany have taken over almost every single last American institution, from government to public sphere.

True.
Quote
Bang! Soon enough, it was game over. By 2019 — now — the following institutions had all fallen to the fanatical extreme right. The executive. The judiciary. The legislature. The press. The public sphere. What was left?

Not much, my friends, not much. And that is the point. The extreme right wing takeover of America is almost complete, finito, over and done with. There is very little standing in the way now. By my reckoning, one last barely functioning institution. An election. Will it matter — or will apathy and fear carry the day? You be the judge of that.
Umair is right about where we are. My quibble is with the timing of the takeover. The Constitution was written by and for a tiny group of wealthy, landed white men. All the rights that came forth from the subsequent Bill of Rights were for them, not for anybody else. The courts have been playing the game of pretending otherwise, while, in practice, consistently looking the other way at lawless oligarchic behavior, ever since.

Umair mentions the failure to connect the dots by too many. Here is a man who has totally connected the dots:


September 2016

Quote
Bob McIlvaine 👍👍👍 is the father of Robert McIlvaine Jr., who was murdered on 9/11. In an attempt to discover how his son died, Bob attended all but one of the 9/11 Commission Hearings. He has since has been very outspoken about the need for the truth about 9/11. Bob has appeared in documentaries and news stories that call into question the official account of the 9/11 attacks.

CONNECTING THE DOTS OF 9-11

How I learned that peace may never be achieved

by Robert McIlvaine

Since Bobby’s death on 9-11, I have been on a journey to find the truth of how and why he died and who really killed him. I was not satisfied, from the beginning, with the official story of his death. I also feared that violence around the world would escalate as a result of this horrendous act.

In 2002, I joined September 11th Families For Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of activists whose name was inspired by a Martin Luther King statement: “Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows,” In the early part of the new decade we marched hand in hand for peace in Washington and New York, hoping that 9-11 would not be justification for increased war efforts. I’ll never forget the moment when I was arrested on the Capitol lawn, proudly carrying a banner stating, “Not In My Son’s Name,” which referred to the use of 9-11 by Bush to further any war efforts.

Later, at the World Conference on Victims of Violence in Bogata, Columbia, I told Bobby’s story to a packed audience of survivors of various atrocities. I was honored to have the opportunity to share my pain and grief with those who truly understood the price of violence.

Back in the United States, I regularly attended the 9-11 Commission Hearings, patiently listening to testimony while hoping to find answers to an official story that continued to make little sense. Instead, I felt frustrated with the inability of the Commission to discover anything new or enlightening. Witnesses, including Condoleezza Rice, were not accountable to the Commission or the American people. Ms Rice, to my dismay, filibustered her way through each of the questions posed by the Commissioners. I returned home very discouraged.

In 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing, I was asked to join Peaceful Tomorrows on a march from Nagasaki to Hiroshima, honoring those who have died in war. I walked beside the Hibakusha, survivors of the attack. They showed amazing pride, never taking on the role of victim, though many were treated as outcasts by their own people. The Hibakusha‘s courage impressed in me the need to continue my quest for peace and truth.

I returned home, deciding that if the US government was not going to give me the real answers to 9-11, then I’d find them myself. Why, I wondered, was it so hard to go against the government’s version of a story that did not make sense? I wanted to know why the media always seemed as far from a “free press” as one could imagine, often ignoring obvious breakthroughs in information. Why, also, did peace seem even farther away than before 9-11, frustrating the peace community? Our children died that horrible day and it was now being used as fodder for more escalation, more deaths.

My quest for truth took me to both the traditional history sources as well as books written by outstanding authors who questioned the “company line” and sought deeper answers than what was offered in the news or in press conferences. As I searched, I recalled quotes by Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Franklin Roosevelt, initially read years ago by me when their dire warnings meant very little to a young college student studying history.

Eisenhower, in a famous speech in 1961, warned of the dangers of “unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.”

Kennedy, later that year, warned of a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence-on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.”

Fascinated with these predictions by such stellar leaders, I began to probe further, seeing patterns, taking a harder look at the circumstances leading to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. I looked farther back in history, reading about Operation Gladio and the Gulf of Tonkin in a different, more knowledgeable light.

Was 9-11 another false flag; I was beginning to see the truth. I wondered if Presidents truly had any power to wage peace. Were special interests groups with unimaginable wealth and power, who were often referred to as “Shadow Government,” controlling the decisions of war?

After more continued research, I learned that these clandestine operatives would never allow control of the government to the people. They would instead rely on disinformation (weapons of mass destruction is a perfect example), fabrication of injustices, and the spreading of propaganda to justify their aggressive acts. Could these elite few be responsible for the upheavals in so many countries when it appeared to the general public that we were in those countries to “promote democracy”?

As I continued my reading I recalled a quote by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister: “You tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people eventually come to believe it.” He went on to say that the truth “is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state.”

Sadly, I came to a conclusion best said by Woodrow Wilson and unfortunately, true today. “We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world, no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.”

From hours and hours of research, I have learned that the truth of 9-11 as well as the truth regarding who really holds the power in this country and throughout the world, are not in our best interests to know, according to those elite few who choose to control our destiny.

Unfortunately, peace and the truth are not part of that destiny.


I posted this bit of hope, in regard to Sanders, recently on disqus:

EVERY TIME I post on Daily Kos (which is not frequent, believe me), I am ruthlessly attacked.

Two years ago, some Daily Kos Mueller cheerleader said that, with Mueller, Trump's treason would begin to be exposed. I replied that Trump's treason would begin to be BURIED by Mueller. It has been buried. Qui bono, eh?

About a week ago I posted how 👹 Pelosi, her "health" insurance operative 😈Wendell Primus and DCCC  😈 Cheri Bustos are out to sabotage Medicare for All.

Boy, did they go nuts with with prissy claims I was being "inflammatory and "divisive" (see Orwell).

President Carter stated a few years ago that, "The USA is ruled by an Oligarchy." All that said, I do think that the people here or in any other country, regardless of how powerful the evil bastards running the government are, DO have the power to overthrow tyranny.

THAT is why I am rooting for Sanders. IF he is allowed to win the election, it means the oligarchs are scared shitless of we-the-people and are planning on using Sanders as a POTUS pressure relief valve. They will need to bring a sandwich if they think they can bend Sanders the way they bent Obama.

At any rate, with President Sanders, and a Democratic Party ruled Senate and House (of course), we-the-people will have some relief from the continued onslaught of fascist based, penury imposing inequality now crushing us.

Sanders is also the only one out there who really understands the FACT that, we either get off of polluting fossil fuels or we, including those "mysterious oligarchs" who cannot see past their profit over people and planet STUPID noses, are all dead.
Posted by: Surly1
« on: April 17, 2019, 05:53:21 am »

The Far Right Takeover of America is Almost Complete-- What Happens When Fanatical Extremists Capture All of a Country’s Institutions? Bu Umair Haque
https://eand.co/the-far-right-takeover-of-america-is-almost-complete-67e9810d846b
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 03, 2019, 02:55:35 pm »


U.S. Capitalism Was Born in the Destruction of the Commons

LAURA FLANDERS, TRUTHOUT

It's said that European capitalism came out of the destruction of feudalism, but U.S. capitalism was born in the destruction of the commons. Lately, there's been a resurgence of interest in rebuilding the commons in the U.S., according to authors Silvia Federici and Peter Linebaugh. The process of "commoning" goes beyond mere redistribution and reorganization, they say -- it involves building a ground of resistance, from Standing Rock to the 2018 midterms.

Watch the Video and Read the Interview →



Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 09, 2018, 04:58:52 pm »

The Senate Is an Institutional Barrier 😈 👹 💵 🎩 to Democracy

BY Sohale A. Mortazavi, Truthout

PUBLISHED November 9, 2018

Even though Democratic candidates for the Senate won millions more votes than their Republican challengers, it's the Republicans who will maintain control of the Senate. This is now the sixth out of the last 10 Congresses in which the GOP has controlled the Senate without representing a majority of voters, raising questions about whether this legislative body needs reform -- or abolition.

Even entirely excluding the more than 6.4 million votes cast in California, where no Republican senatorial candidate appeared on the general ballot, Democrats still secured 6.4 million more votes nationally, an 8-percentage point lead.

Excellent article:

https://truthout.org/articles/the-senate-is-an-institutional-barrier-to-democracy/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 04, 2018, 12:27:48 pm »

Did the Founding Fathers Lead the American Revolution for the Pursuit of Liberty — Or Personal Greed?

Two political scientists are that the founding of the United States was less idealistic than we were led to believe.
By Cody Fenwick / AlterNet

July 3, 2018, 5:45 PM GMT

Americans, like citizens of countries around the world, celebrate their country's Independence Day with pride and reverence for the people who founded the country. In the United States, we tell a powerful story of the country's founding as a break from the tyranny of the British crown and away from King George III's relentless taxation without representation, a break which led to the Revolutionary War.

But is this merely a myth meant to inculcate patriotism? Political scientists Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have argued that we should question the American founding story as a noble crusade.

Instead, they see the founding of the United States as the result of the unabated greed of the founders.

In their book The Spoils of War, Bueno de Mesquita and Smith expand on their theory of political action as deriving largely from the personal ambitions of rulers and politicians in power. They apply this theory to the American presidents, and they begin their case with no lesser figure than President George Washington.

Washington, they argue, had deep financial interests in land. One estimate ranks him as the 59th richest man in all of American history, and he died with 60,000 acres to his name across Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia, the authors write.

But the market for land that Washington would use to become so rich was under threat from the British government prior to the war. In 1763, the king issued a proclamation restricting the colonization of the Ohio Valley, where the Ohio Company — to which Washington was tied — had sought to profit handsomely. The proclamation dimmed the prospects for profit.

The king's imposition became even worse in 1767 when he proclaimed that all land west of the Alleghenies belonged to the crown, completely nullifying the Ohio Company's land acquisition ambitions.

"For Washington, however, all future paths, whether as a landowner, a canal builder, or a military hero, lead back the benefits he derived from the Ohio Company," the authors write. "It was a catalyst for his success."

So while many average colonists may have little quarrel with the king over these seizures of land — land which was, quite often, inhabited by Native Americans — men with ambitions for wealth and power saw these proclamations as an affront.

The authors note that the king's effort to restrict colonists' use of uncolonized land is even mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.

Two other famous decrees from Britain are also commonly cited as part of the incentive for revolution: The Currency Act and the Stamp Act. But both these laws, passed by parliament, had exaggerated effects on wealthy colonists, like the founders, compared to their effects on the rest of the people.

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were also both, like Washington, historically wealthy men who engaged in land speculation. John Hancock was another founding father from elite stock: he is reportedly the 56th wealthiest man in American history.

Bueno de Mesquita and Smith write:

Through tough business dealing, prudent spending, and a superb eye for opportunities in land acquisition and other businesses, George Washington turned himself into a phenomenally wealthy man. And then the economic world around him was turned topsy-turvy by new policies emanating from Britain. These policies and the threat they represented to his, and many other founding fathers', personal interests were a great impetus for revolution.

In the end, it's not clear that the authors develop a knock-down argument for their case. While they persuasively show that the founding fathers may have had compelling financial interests at stake at the time of the revolution, they don't argue conclusively that war was the most efficient or reasonable tactic for them to increase their wealth.

And they aren't able to show that, even if financial interests were a motivating factor for many of the founding fathers to go to war, these interests were necessarily the deciding factor.

However, the authors' argument that going to war was the wrong decision, on the other hand, is much more persuasive.

One of the major reasons to regret the war is the effect American independence had on Native Americans.

Despite their claim in the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers and early colonists did not have a right to take the land from Native Americans who already lived in the Ohio Valley and beyond — and the coming conflicts over this land would spill much blood.

So had the colonies complied with the king's demands on this front, much of this unjustified theft and violence might have been avoided.

Vox's Dyland Matthews makes a similar point:

American Indians would have still, in all likelihood, faced violence and oppression absent American independence, just as First Nations people in Canada did. But American-scale ethnic cleansing wouldn't have occurred. And like America's slaves, American Indians knew this. Most tribes sided with the British or stayed neutral; only a small minority backed the rebels. Generally speaking, when a cause is opposed by the two most vulnerable groups in a society, it's probably a bad idea. So it is with the cause of American independence.

Moreover, the taxation without representation issue could have been solved, Bueno de Mesquita and Smith argue, had the king and British parliament simply allowed the American colonies to have representation. And if the American colonies stayed a part of Britain, they would have then abolished slavery in 1833 under the Slavery Abolition Act, many years earlier before the United States, in fact, achieved that end of the abominable institution.

The authors contend that had the southern colonies attempted to rebel to preserve slavery as the southern states did in 1865, they would have faced not only opposition from the north, but also from the British empire. This superior force could have reduced the chances of a bloody civil war.

Without the Revolutionary War, the United States would have likely ended up following a path much more similar to that of Canada. That is, while vestiges of imperial rule would linger, the country would have eventually won its independence without resorting to armed conflict.

So was it greed that drove our founding fathers to go to war? Perhaps, though it remains uncertain. But whatever the motivation for the war that led to American independence, it was probably a mistake.

Bueno de Mesquita and Smith's argument reminds us that it is always worthwhile to examine leaders' motivations for bringing nations to war and to question a country's founding myths. As an apocryphal James Madison quote warns: "The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted."

https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/did-founding-fathers-lead-american-revolution-pursuit-liberty-or-personal-greed
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 07, 2018, 10:10:54 pm »


However, considering what the Bilderbergers consider to be a 'Present-Truth' world, I think it is rather Orwellian of them to be concerned about a 'Post-Truth' world. Their concern has always been about making sure the TRUTH was NOT known about how elites have irresponsibly and mindlessly plundered the people and the environment for centuries. That has not changed, despite the headline.

The "truth" being, of course, what the Bilderbergers  define it to be.

Orwell lives. 
 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 07, 2018, 06:53:42 pm »

Quote from: Eddie
But that hardly makes the process of stealing a citizen's own money  morally or ethically right. All my life I was taught the burden of proof  when people were charged with a crime is on the government. Civil forfeiture is an end-run around that.

It. Is. Not. Right.


Civil Forfeiture is the "legal" equivalent of a mob shakedown. I am ABSOLUTELY convinced that these practices are put into place to discredit the very idea of government, the better to "drown in the bathtub" per the Norquist ideal, and fully and finally realize the Randian divine condition. Libertarian governance is, at the end of the day, a war of all against all with bigger fish eating smaller.


True.

I have often pondered the genesis of the use of the term "Liberty" to define license, as in, "libertine". They are two different words, but I long suspected the libertines, who eschew any and all standards of morality in their "dog-eat-dog" world view, co-opted the term "liberty" early on in this nation's history.

My suspicions were confirmed in a recent article by a historian about the tumultuous history of the "Liberty" issue in the early years of the USA (that almost destroyed the country at the start!).

It is quite interesting, as it sheds light on much that is going on right now. The "Liberty" thing, for too many, actually means the freedom to avoid the constraints that responsible government imposes on citizens for the common welfare. To hide this fact, these proclaimers of their right to "Liberty" always paint the government as "abusive" and themseves as "victims of tyranny".

In fact, they are mostly ravenous wolves out to fleece whoever they can with as few laws as possible between them and the routine plundering of their fellow man.

That doesn't mean they don't like laws! Oh no! They engage in routine conspiracies and corruption to GAME the laws for their benefit. Despite what they claim, they do not mind government as long as THEY are the invisible hand controlling the government. All the while, they, like the Kochroaches today, hypocritically claimed that "government was tyranny attacking their liberty".

They are still at it, pushing the con that they "just want to be left alone and have their property respected". In truth, they want all the rest of us to NEVER be given a moment of peace from their predations.

Check it out.
   
JUN 02, 2018 TD ORIGINALS


SNIPPET:

Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” —John Adams in a letter to his wife, Abigail (1775)

“[A social division exists] between the rich and the poor, the laborious and the idle, the learned and the ignorant. … Nothing, but force, and power and strength can restrain [the latter].” —John Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson (1787)

Two quotes from the same person. Barely a decade between the two utterances. How can a man be so conflicted? John Adams, who helped lead the revolution against British “tyranny,” would later become a president apt to suppress dissent and restrict a free press at home. Well, Adams was a complicated man, and the United States was—and is—a complicated nation.

Full article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 07, 2018, 02:39:50 pm »

 
Excellent article. Thank you, RE. 

And yes, of course the U.S. was never a democracy. If you have any doubts, just look at the ORIGINAL Constitution and, to add plutocratic insult to injury, all those "Amendments made along the Orwellian mindfork way.

The Constitution is a pro-slavery document

Much has been written about the Revolution being, at it's core, an attempt to immunize the colonies from the "disturbing" (to Jefferson -he was furious years later when Haiti obtained independence and violated even the good parts of the constitution by authorizing to give the French plantation owners money and weapons to quell the rebellion - , many other founding fathers and their wealthy friends) move in England at the time to outlaw slavery

The industrial revolution and how the elite parasitic modus operandi called "capitalism" benefited massively from mass production is the main historical influence that led to our polluted world and the cruel poverty wage structure of today.

The mass production factories created a new type slavery without the pejorative connotation of being race linked but it was still slavery.

When enslaving African Americans was no longer cost effective due to farm machinery, new ways to enslave them and the poor whites as well as any other ethnic poor had to be invented.

After all, the elite did not like one bit the idea that the increased efficiency of a laborer could provide that laborer with more free time and a better life. The 1% had conniption fits thinking about all those people out there having the time to sit, think and figure out how TBTB were gaming them.

No, the elite developed a plan to "keep em' busy". The guilt trip sermons from pulpits all over America went out after the Civil War to demonize leisure and glorify "nose to the grindstone" work as being "God's Will". Few evils in human behavior exceed that of the act of conning people that trust you into willingly allowing themselves to be exploited based on the claim that it's what the are OBLIGATED to do because the person IN AUTHORITY speaks for GOD. There is a special place in hell for these elite predatory capitalist water carrying apologists that wear the cloth.  >:(


Factory owners displaying their "work ethic"

The elite's "work ethic" includes years of "sabbaticals", "learning experiences", "naval gazing" and "introspection" that translate to long stretches of time doing absolutely nothing productive. I think that's wonderful and should be available to all of us as a means to a healthier and happier mindset. That's why the elite do it. For them to then turn around and unleash their propaganda water carrying lackeys solemnly mouthing the "don't be lazy, work your fingers to the bone for us" bullshit on the populace is the epitome of duplicity.

It is said the word "saboteur" derives from the Netherlands in the 15th century when workers would throw their sabots (wooden shoes) into the wooden gears of the textile looms to break the cogs, fearing the automated machines would render the human workers obsolete.

Notice how the word "saboteur" has a negative connotation. This shows who controls the historical narrative. I believe the Dutch laborers weren't just concerned about obsolescence; they were concerned about controlling how much they got paid for their labor.

Mass production was the beginning of a massive concentration of wealth by greedy machinery owners that refused to pay equitable wages.


This is what "Capitalism" is really all about. It is sold as free market this and that but, in practice, it is nothing but elite parasitism.

When the English gentry wanted to corral the peasants into working in the factories, as well as use more of their land to grow sheep for fleece free from peasant interference, they came up with a pack of thinly justified herding mechanisms (Enclosure Laws) that stripped the peasants of their ability to live off the land.

The peasants were not buying the con that working in a factory was a better deal than living off the land. They had to be forced.

They knew damned good and well that the factory owners were not going to pay decent wages or provide adequate working conditions.

Today, all this disguised tyranny called capitalism is festooned with gooblygock terms like competitive advantage and arbitrage along with a plethora of terms from the crooked imaginations of bored economists but it continues to be about elite parasitism.

In the financial area the vampire proboscis is usury but that is not the whole story by a long shot. Patent law is another huge part of RHIP that was NEVER there to protect inventors UNLESS those inventors were from the upper class.

The bottom line is the control of the populace for the power, profit and pleasure of the TPBT.

Quote
Enclosure

In English social and economic history, enclosure or inclosure[1] is the process which ends traditional rights such as mowing meadows for hay, or grazing livestock on common land formerly held in the open field system. Once enclosed, these uses of the land become restricted to the owner, and it ceases to be common land. In England and Wales the term is also used for the process that ended the ancient system of arable farming in open fields. Under enclosure, such land is fenced (enclosed) and deeded or entitled to one or more owners. The process of enclosure began to be a widespread feature of the English agricultural landscape during the 16th century. By the 19th century, unenclosed commons had become largely restricted to rough pasture in mountainous areas and to relatively small parts of the lowlands.

The process of enclosure has sometimes been accompanied by force, resistance, and bloodshed, and remains among the most controversial areas of agricultural and economic history in England. Marxist and neo-Marxist historians argue that rich landowners used their control of state processes to appropriate public land for their private benefit.

This created a landless working class that provided the labour required in the new industries developing in the north of England. For example: "In agriculture the years between 1760 and 1820 are the years of wholesale enclosure in which, in village after village, common rights are lost".[2] "Enclosure (when all the sophistications are allowed for) was a plain enough case of class robbery".[3]HYPERLINK \l "cite_note-3"[4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclosure

The following video tells the real story of capitalism's birth and growth through the power the elite obtained in the industrial revolution, how the poor were demonized as being "lazy" for attempting to avoid the horrors of factory work by staying and living off the land. They had to be forced, along with their children, to do so.


The only proper economic system that humans should engage in is the egalitarian socialism that the early Christians engaged in as shown in the Book of Acts in the New Testament. The Apostles were the top dogs but they received no special privileges and had to work as hard as anybody else.

The elite despise egalitarianism so they invented all sorts of euphemisms for tyranny like capitalism, as well as 20th century Soviet Communism. It's six of one and half a dozen of the other. They all end up with a few reptiles in the catbird seat making life miserable for the rest of us.

That is one of the reasons why, in my articles on Renewables, I am adamantly opposed to scaling up renewable energy sources into centralized power generating facilities UNLESS they are nationalized.

Privatization of centralized power leads to pollution and illicit profits which are then used to buy the government. Decentralized renewable power generating facilities provide stable, secure and long term jobs free from the feast or famine fun and games so favored by predatory capitalism.

Capitalism REQUIRES an insecure labor force so they can be fleeced and set to fight against each other for jobs. Sustainability eliminates all this tyranny and returns the proper view of human existence that everyone should be entitled to a decent lifestyle.

The 'cog in the wheels of industry' view of humans and their labor as commodities is WRONG and has must be rejected by civilization.'Creatively destroying' human quality of life for profit is good psychopathic criminal behavior, not good business.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 07, 2018, 02:07:00 pm »

The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was

June 6, 2018 Posted by Addison dePitt


HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.

One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a “loss of democracy” due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions. The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth—a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short—has succeeded not only in buying the label of “democracy” to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present). To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people. Those who settled on the shores of the “new world,” with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning “the people,” was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.


Founding Fathers: as plutocratic oligarchs, they harbored deep reservations if not outright hostility to the idea of genuine democratic rule.

Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called “founding fathers,” the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the “subordination” so necessary for politics. When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than “the filth of the common sewers” by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves—meaning the overwhelming majority of the population—were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: “it is not a democracy.” George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as “a despotic aristocracy.”


Ruling class collaborator Obama: a master public relations stroke—pure symbol and no substance— when the oppressors needed to recharge their legitimacy.

When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a “democracy,” there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term “democracy” to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of “Indian killer” Andrew Jackson’s presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a ‘democrat,’ he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term “democracy” came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos. Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary “democratic” publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a “democracy” because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country’s history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, “criminals,” minors, the “clinically insane,” political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the “choice”—overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme—regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. “Multivariate analysis indicates,” according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination […], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy.”


G. Washington overseeing slaves. A routine task of all white colonial masters.

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau “extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the ‘New Left’ in general” (Cointelpro: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom, p. 22-23). Consider, for instance, Judi Bari’s summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: “From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing.” In the case of the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (AIM)—which were both important attempts to mobilize people power to dismantle the structural oppression of white supremacy and top-down class warfare—the FBI not only infiltrated them and launched hideous smear and destabilization campaigns against them, but they assassinated 27 Black Panthers and 69 members of AIM (and subjected countless others to the slow death of incarceration). If it be abroad or on the home front, the American secret police has been extremely proactive in beating down the movements of people rising up, thereby protecting and preserving the main pillars of white supremacist, capitalist aristocracy.
Elections are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, many of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the “choice”—overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme…

 Rather than blindly believing in a golden age of democracy in order to remain at all costs within the gilded cage of an ideology produced specifically for us by the well-paid spin-doctors of a plutocratic oligarchy, we should unlock the gates of history and meticulously scrutinize the founding and evolution of the American imperial republic. This will not only allow us to take leave of its jingoist and self-congratulatory origin myths, but it will also provide us with the opportunity to resuscitate and reactivate so much of what they have sought to obliterate. In particular, there is a radical America just below the surface of these nationalist narratives, an America in which the population autonomously organizes itself in indigenous and ecological activism, black radical resistance, anti-capitalist mobilization, anti-patriarchal struggles, and so forth. It is this America that the corporate republic has sought to eradicate, while simultaneously investing in an expansive public relations campaign to cover over its crimes with the fig leaf of “democracy” (which has sometimes required integrating a few token individuals, who appear to be from below, into the elite ruling class in order to perpetuate the all-powerful myth of meritocracy). If we are astute and perspicacious enough to recognize that the U.S. is undemocratic today, let us not be so indolent or ill-informed that we let ourselves be lulled to sleep by lullabies praising its halcyon past. Indeed, if the United States is not a democracy today, it is in large part due to the fact that it never was one. Far from being a pessimistic conclusion, however, it is precisely by cracking open the hard shell of ideological encasement that we can tap into the radical forces that have been suppressed by it. These forces—not those that have been deployed to destroy them—should be the ultimate source of our pride in the power of the people.

 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 Gabriel Rockhill is a Franco-American philosopher and cultural critic. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University and founding Director of the Atelier de Théorie Critique at the Sorbonne. His books include Counter-History of the Present: Untimely Interrogations into Globalization, Technology, Democracy (2017), Interventions in Contemporary Thought: History, Politics, Aesthetics (2016), Radical History & the Politics of Art (2014) and Logique de l’histoire (2010). In addition to his scholarly work, he has been actively engaged in extra-academic activities in the art and activist worlds, as well as a regular contributor to public intellectual debate. Follow on twitter: @GabrielRockhill 


https://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/06/06/the-u-s-is-not-a-democracy-it-never-was-2/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 11, 2017, 10:38:32 am »


Impeach the U.S. Constitution

Posted on Jun 10, 2017

By Paul Street

I am always darkly amused when I hear one of my fellow Americans call for a return from our current “deep state” plutocracy and empire to the supposedly benevolent and democratic rules and values of the nation’s sacred founders and Constitution. Democracy was the last thing the nation’s founders wanted to see break out in the new republic. Drawn from the elite propertied segments in the new republic, most of the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention shared their compatriot John Jay’s view that “Those who own the country ought to govern it.”

As the celebrated U.S. historian Richard Hofstader noted in his classic 1948 text, “The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It”: “In their minds, liberty was linked not to democracy but to property.” Democracy was a dangerous concept to them, conferring “unchecked rule by the masses,” which was “sure to bring arbitrary redistribution of property, destroying the very essence of liberty.”

Hofstader’s take on the founders was borne out in historian Jennifer Nedelsky’s comprehensively researched volume, “Private Property and the Limits of American Constitutionalism,” in 1990. For all but one of the U.S. Constitution’s framers (James Wilson), Nedelsky noted, protection of “property” (meaning the people who owned large amounts of it) was “the main object of government.” The non-affluent, non-propertied and slightly propertied popular majority was for the framers “a problem to be contained.


Full EXCELLENT article:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/impeach_the_us_constitution_20170610


Agelbert RANT: How did we get to this MESS?

The Constitution and the attitude towards people and property that the founders learned from their European history is a good place to start. The Industrial Revolution and the fossil fuel empire accelerated the decay and degradation of the government and the environment.

The Constitution is a pro-slavery document!

Much has been written about the Revolution being, at it's core, an attempt to immunize the colonies from the "disturbing" (to Jefferson and friends) move in England at the time to outlaw slavery. But the industrial revolution and how the elite parasitic modus operandi called "capitalism" benefited massively from mass production is the main historical influence that led to our polluted world and pissant wage structure of today.

It is said the word "saboteur" derives from the Netherlands in the 15th century when workers would throw their sabots (wooden shoes) into the wooden gears of the textile looms to break the cogs, fearing the automated machines would render the human workers obsolete.

Notice how the word "saboteur" has a negative connotation. This shows who controls the historical narrative. I believe the Dutch laborers weren't just concerned about obsolescence; they were concerned about controlling how much they got paid for their labor. Mass production was the beginning of a massive concentration of wealth by greedy machinery owners that refused to pay equitable wages.

This is what "Capitalism" is really all about. It is sold as free market this and that but, in practice, it is nothing but elite parasitism. When the English gentry wanted to corral the peasants into working in the factories, as well as use more of their land to raise sheep for fleece free from peasant interference, they came up with a pack of thinly justified herding mechanisms (Enclosure Laws) that stripped the peasants of their ability to live off the land.

The peasants were not buying the con that working in a factory was a better deal than living off the land. They had to be forced. They were cognizant of the FACT that the factory owners were not going to pay decent wages or provide adequate working conditions.

Today, all this disguised tyranny called capitalism is festooned with gobbledygook terms like competitive advantage and arbitrage, along with a plethora of terms from the masturbatory imaginations of bored economists, but it continues to be about elite parasitism.

In the financial area the vampire proboscis is usury but that is not the whole story by a long shot.
Patent law is another huge part of RHIP that was NOT put there to protect inventors UNLESS those inventors were from the upper class. The bottom line is the control of the populace for the power, profit and pleasure of the TPTB.

Enclosure

In English social and economic history, enclosure or inclosure[1] is the process which ends traditional rights such as mowing meadows for hay, or grazing livestock on common land formerly held in the open field system. Once enclosed, these uses of the land become restricted to the owner, and it ceases to be common land. In England and Wales the term is also used for the process that ended the ancient system of arable farming in open fields.

Under enclosure, such land is fenced (enclosed) and deeded or entitled to one or more owners. The process of enclosure began to be a widespread feature of the English agricultural landscape during the 16th century. By the 19th century, unenclosed commons had become largely restricted to rough pasture in mountainous areas and to relatively small parts of the lowlands.

The process of enclosure has sometimes been accompanied by force, resistance, and bloodshed, and remains among the most controversial areas of agricultural and economic history in England. Marxist and neo-Marxist historians argue that rich landowners used their control of state processes to appropriate public land for their private benefit.

This created a landless working class that provided the labour required in the new industries developing in the north of England. For example: "In agriculture the years between 1760 and 1820 are the years of wholesale enclosure in which, in village after village, common rights are lost".[2] "Enclosure (when all the sophistications are allowed for) was a plain enough case of class robbery".[3][4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclosure

The following video tells the real story of capitalism's birth and growth through the power the elite obtained in the industrial revolution, how the poor were demonzed as being "lazy" for attempting to avoid the horrors of factory work by staying on, and living off, the land. They had to be forced, along with their children, to do so.




Then things got worse when the USA got going with its fossil fuel based industrial Revolution.
The mass production factories created a new type of slavery without the pejorative connotation of being race linked but it was still slavery. When enslaving African Americans was no longer cost effective due to farm machinery, new ways to enslave them, and the poor whites as well as any other ethnic poor, had to be invented. After all, the elite did not like one bit the idea that the increased efficiency of a laborer could provide that laborer with more free time and a better life.

The 1% had conniption fits thinking about all those people out there having the time to sit, think and figure out how TBTB were gaming them. No, the elite developed a plan to "keep em' busy". The guilt trip sermons from pulpits all over America went out after the Civil War to demonize leisure and glorify "nose to the grindstone" work as being "God's Will". BALONEY! The elite's "work ethic" includes years of "sabbaticals", "learning experiences", "naval gazing" and "introspection" that translate to long stretches of time doing absolutely nothing productive.

I think that's wonderful and should be available to all of us as a means to a healthier and happier mindset. That's why the elite do it. For them to then turn around and unleash their propaganda water carrying lackeys solemnly mouthing the "don't be lazy, work your fingers to the bone for us" baloney on the populace is the epitome of duplicity.

Fossil fuel backed corporate tyranny has been going on for over a century and has its roots in the gilded age and fossil fuel FAKE cost effectiveness which enabled the oil corporations to concentrate wealth and steal our democracy from under us while offloading all the environmental costs on the people and the biosphere.

Renewable energy sources are not new. They were crushed in the late 19th century through fossil fuel energy oligarch co-opting government subsidies for oil and coal and also through profits from slave wages for miners and many others while, all the while, the claim was made that fossil fuels were "cheaper". This article covers all this and more:

Hope for a viable biosphere: Why fossil fuels were NEVER cheap or cost effective


In the article you will learn the REAL reason for Prohibition. Hint: it had NOTHING to do with people drinking booze and EVERYTHING to do with eliminating ethanol (ethyl alcohol) as a competitor for Rockefeller's gasoline fuel.

It is no coincidence that, right after ethanol, a higher octane fuel than gasoline (115 vs 93-95), became illegal in the early 1920s, Rockefeller came out with the poisonous tetra-ethyl lead additive to raise the octane of gasoline to ethanol's level so gasoline could now be burned in high compression, more powerful engines. He destroyed the competition with Prohibition and added more poisons to our atmosphere to boot.

Also you will read about how, before automobiles came out in the late 19th century, Rockefeller's refineries would flush gasoline (19 gallons are produced for every 42 gallons of crude oil refined) in the rivers at night because it was a waste product.

Hope for a viable biosphere: Why fossil fuels were NEVER cheap or cost effective

I firmly believe that a corrupt hierarchy that gained enormous power during the gilded age by using the force multiplier of the industrial revolution to garner their wealth became so arrogant that they began to view absolutely all human activity as a commodity along with natural resources as well.

This morally repugnant rationalization enabled them to justify their despotic practices because, with this "commoditization of everything" meme, they had divorced themselves from the responsibility for good stewardship of the earth and humane behavior to employees.

Noblesse oblige, or whatever small amount of it remained when the industrial revolution began, died with the gilded age in a sea of greed.

The power of the 1% has enabled them to defend the claim that energy, land and labor are not fictitious commodities even though they are fictitious. The 1% are controlling the narrative and they continue to shove it down our throat. The Federal Reserve and their banking friends couldn't run a lemonade stand successfully with their brand of economics policies, but there they are, claiming to be experts. It's Orwellian.

Human nature is what it is, BUT, the industrial revolution allowed an oligarch to garner wealth for 10,000 while he had been previously limited to lording it over a handful of serfs and slaves while sparring with the other small time tyrants.

The people that came to America from England were, according to what I have read, from different areas in the UK that predicated their behavior patterns before they stepped off the boat (four distinct areas I believe). Some argue the Cavaliers that went to run the Southern Plantations were the worst of the lot but they were ALL rapaciously willing to exploit the land and the "wrong" people without reflection.

The US constitution is a rhetorical masterpiece because it applied to a VERY tiny group of the population. In practice, everyone but landed white men were excluded, while the "all men were created equal" rhetoric was "piously" positioned in the document. It was breathtaking in its hypocrisy.

A free black, who built his own working clock out of hardwood parts, became an astronomer and computed the ephemeris used by mariners in the day. He wrote to Jefferson demanding that Jefferson stop insisting that blacks were mentally inferior to whites and offered to debate him and have a mathematical contest. Jefferson flat refused to even acknowledge him. Jefferson was a great writer but a ruthless opportunist, as were all the founding fathers.

The constitution has never, even to this day, been applied across the land and I am fully aware of the Calvinist doctrine in the US after the civil war that maintained that "The people must be kept poor so they will remain obedient".

If the industrial revolution had improved the lives of everyone across the board, as was promised, we would have a different world. But no, the people with access to capital deliberately made life worse for the poor and used divide and conquer tactics to create Jim Crow strife to sucker the poor whites into not looking at who was REALLY impoverishing them.

All this is as old as human nature. For that reason I tend to look with a jaundiced eye at any claim to greatness or foresight by the founding fathers of the US Oligarchy with Representative Republic lipstick..

I continue to believe the force multiplier of the industrial revolution increased the power of these oligarchs and decreased, in an equal proportion, the small amount of democracy we had.

I know how England and Europe operated even before the industrial revolution. They wanted everything not made in England (machinery and crafted goods) to have zero competition and everything coming from the colonies to be agrarian goods (commodities). The North and South had a different spin on how to make a buck but they were both equally complicit (at the elite level) in fostering tyranny for profit.

I realize the main decision makers involve a smaller percentage than 1% and the 99% suffer from a serious infusion of fecal coliforms in their glial cells resulting in colonization of their  amygdala and their prefrontal cortex. IOW they are being continuously brainwashed with bullshit so their base urges are amplified and their critical thinking skills destroyed. But nevertheless, I see more virtue and hope in the 99% than the soulless reptiles in the catbird seat.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 16, 2017, 02:25:59 pm »

The Founding Fathers of the USA did NOT believe in democracy. And the so-called "Representative Republic" they founded ONLY REPRESENTED LESS THAN 10% of the population. IOW, the UPPER CLASS was the only cohort being REPRESENTED.

That is called an OLIGARCHY.

And then it just got MORE oligarchical. 


Quote
Alexander Hamilton QUOTES

Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy  , but in moderate governments 

The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right. 

Power over a man's subsistence is power over his will.

To all general purposes
we have uniformly been one people, each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection.  

It's not tyranny we  desire; it's a just  ;), limited, federal government.        

Alexander Hamilton
Quote
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.  There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.  John Adams

Agelbert NOTE: If you haven't figured it out the code language about the word "people" and the word "we", let me spell it out for you. The phrase "We the People" in the hallowed documents of the founding of the USA had NOTHING to do with the "PEOPLE" mentioned in the above quotes about democracy and it's allegedly self destructive "extremes". The word "WE" is defined as the CITIZENS, a tiny subset of the "people", NOT the "turbulent" subset of the "people". These fellows knew how to spin a yarn, didn't they?

Also, the alleged "certain" cause of the "failing" of democracies is an interesting point of selective lack of knowledge among these Founding Fathers back then.

The fact is that the common historical CAUSE of the downfall of any attempt by we-the-people on earth, in any country, to institute a democratic form of government back then, and to this day, is NOT what the Founding Fathers were crying crocodile tears about. THAT IS, democracies DON'T "commit suicide", unless you want to call it SUICIDE BY oligarchy COP! 


Consequently, there is only one thing to be said for much of the erudite, polished, stirring, colorful, heart string pulling, loyalty inducing, patriotic oligarchy self serving prose by the Founding Fathers then, and most people that claim the USA is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people today (SEE BELOW).

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 09, 2016, 05:27:13 pm »

Quote
If GO is happy about this (S)election, he will soon be very disappointed. 

Your analysis of my feelings and future outlook of our situation are as accurate as your totally wrong analysis of the election Agelbert, which was presented with your usual manner of factual pseudo scientific BS material.

One with half a brain would realize that a religious Gold Bug zealot and Lite Doomer are not the makeup of a happy camper.

My only satisfaction comes from the end of the **** Clintons.

Don't come **** on me again AG, my future responses will not be so kind nor generous in my understanding of your anger at being conned by the Leftist MSM and their total Bull **** Propaganda that you swallowed hook line and sinker.

Kindly vent your anger at them in the future, not me.
       

 
                                                       
                                                   

My, my, what vitriol. All I said as that I believe you will sorely be disappointed. Please feel free to describe exactly what part of what I posted was "BS". I was disagreeing with you, not attacking you. I am not angry at you.  If you are not happy about a Trump win, all you need to do is say so. There is no need for such overt hostility.

I urge you to calm down. You are a good man that wants the best for the USA. So do I. Peace, brother
.

Sorry Agelbert. This election has angered the geezer and made him very testy.

Never have I witnessed so many mediocre evil people in a horrible never ending cacophony of lies and skullduggery. Realizing they are actually the countries leaders has made it all the worse for me.  I feel as if I expired and am in Hell of late.

A thousand apologies for misreading your posting.

Will take your splendid advice and stop posting for a while until I recover my cool.                                     Regards, GO



Thank you, sir. Times are hard and we are all distressed by the increasing number of cracks in the road of our lives when we are increasingly in need of less misfortunes.  The picture below is a metaphor of this (S)election.


Personally, I am not so much angered by the (s)election results, as saddened by them. Besides the Trailer Trash Trump thing, we've got a Governor in Vermont now that is going to make life very difficult for wind and solar Renewable energy growth by vowing to VETO ANY RE subsidies while ADDING lots of Republican red tape baloney for RE project site approval and Organic agriculture while simultaneously working diligently to protect fossil fuel subsidies and other pollution product vested interests along with GMO crops and commercial pesticide use on Vermont farms. As if that wasn't enough grief, the white supremacists here are VERY happy with the new governor.

Here's a map from 2015 showing the racist demographic in the USA. Compare it with the map of Trailer Trash Trump's wins. I may be wrong, but I thing that corroboration and causation are linked.


The most racist areas in the United States



This lady, although she does not reference any map, sees the link too:
White Supremacy wins—for now.  

By Denise Oliver Velez   

Wednesday Nov 09, 2016 ·  3:40 AM EST

 732   Comments

KKK cross burning (graphic at article link)
attribution: Confederate till Death - English Wikipedia 

Time to wake up, you white people of good faith.

Look in the mirror.

See Amerikkka for what it is without the gloss.

See something black folks have been trying to tell you.

It’s not “populism” or “economic anxiety.”

Call it by name — White Supremacy.

I thought the black and brown firewall, with a little help from our white friends would hold back the tide.

I was wrong. My bad.

Thanksgiving is coming.  A time many of you gather with friends and family.

Killing racism starts at home.

Maybe it’s time for you to start speaking up and fighting back.

Lord knows we black folks have been doin’ it for centuries.

My people survived slavery and Jim Crow.

We’ll survive Donald Trump too — though I’m sure there will be deaths — there always are.

America has a white supremacy problem.

You are either part of the problem, or part of the solution.

Choose.

P.S. I ain’t leaving. The bones of my enslaved ancestors are buried here. They helped build this place with blood, sweat, tears, and laughter.  I’ll fight on.  In their name.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/09/1594035/-White-Supremacy-wins-for-now
 

I'm not leaving either. The only way I leave Vermont and my keyboard is feet first. Thanks again for your cordial apology and reply.
 
God Bless you and yours.  

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 09, 2016, 02:41:43 pm »

I figure the Donald's first executive order will be to legalize meth for the people who voted for him.

GOOD ONE!  :emthup:

His team might come up with a (electronic only - mailing stuff costs money, ya know) graphic sent to his base showing an equal sign between his loyal supporters and, uh, see, below:



Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 09, 2016, 01:35:51 pm »

There are the promises that wont happen, then there is a moral victory which I think is what GO is happy about.

1. Border Wall. Its a thousand miles or so? Im skeptical. Taxing Western Union or bank transfers to pay for some showcase construction for about a hundred miles of it,  yes.

2. Scrap NATO and other defense treaties. If only,  no chance the MIC willingly downsizes.

3. De escalate v russia and china. This is not up to him and his advisors chosen are not ghandi and john lennon. If there is a sane faction in the top brass, a slim chance.

4. Restore american manufacturing. If new factories are built they will be state of the art robotic and wages 10$ hr max for what workers are needed. This can happen effectively with 25$ hr after the USD loses reserve status.

5. Scrap NAFTA and TPP. Those forces are bigger than him and he would need to convince the mega corps he can keep up their bottom line,  not much chance.

6. Drain the swamp. I so hope so, the revelations from the emails in the last few days are so disgusting Im just glad I dont have to see and hear hillary for four years, because with the satanism and child trafficking, it would really break my stride and make me lose my mojo. Lock em all up, pursue and prosecute every last conflict of interest if u do nothing else. That would actually MAGA.

7. Vindication of free speech vs PC gone crazy. Not a policy but a turning of the tide. They are still in control but have suffered a loss of legitimacy, just look at the media already burning their uniforms. Universities will start upholding free speech or losing the smart students. The govt will keep hiring indoctrinated drones until their budgets are cut and they are forced to produce results, if it ever happens.

8. I still dont trust the Donald, am sure he is full of **** and says whatever he thinks will get votes. Like looking at a gear inside a wind up watch,  you cant tell if it is driving or being driven. His hairstyle, spraytan, and me me / I I I instead of us / we, are nothing like "presidential". It put me off but bothers me less now. I preferred Ben Carlson or Bernie to the Donalds con artistry, but Killary made him look like a choir boy.

9. I was dissapointed the bernie bros didnt do anything about him getting shafted out of the presidency, but they obviously bided their time and got their revenge today.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 09, 2016, 01:06:35 pm »

Potty mouthed, Trailer Trash Trump is going to "make America great again" by making sure everybody knows the truth, the whole truth, and nuttin' but da trut (SEE BELOW ).


I wish to apologize to all readers for being so sure this engineered horse race for the two Selected candidates acceptable to the US Fascist Corporate Oligarchy would result in a Hitlery "win".  :-[

The presstitute propagandists did too good a job jacking up a pseudo populist. The white backlash from 8 years of an African American President, regardless of the fact that he did the bidding of elites, was too well stimulated by the manufacturers of consent. It's not real hard to get white folks riled up against the "librals" and minorities when their jobs are gone. Scapegoating is a presstitute propagandist specialty. The USA is, and always has been, thoroughly racist. Dog whistling the baser instincts of the electorate is easy to do, but hard to control once you have stirred up the previously controlled mob hatred for the other.   

The white folks that are frustrated by their lost jobs and gross corruption in our government had no choice. They were herded into a position to shoot themselves in the foot either way.

NOW, these people will feel appeased for about 6 months. Once whites hungering for decent jobs and the retirees that voted for pseudo-populist Trump realize that the cost of living calculations will be further watered down to irrelevance along with seeing no jobs returning, no wall being built between the USA and Mexico AND see absolutely no enforcement of the environmental quality laws or, worse yet, the outright elimination of them, all hell will break loose.

And it will NOT just break loose for minorities through more frequent police and whitey violence against them. Sure, the KKK will try to make a resurgence, But the  government does not like that. It costs money when too many racist loose cannons in the police and the populace are visiting "the other" with mayhem and murder. It's bad for business.

The government WILL THEN crack down on whitey. And whitey is not going to take it because Joe six pack whitey, who was dog whistled into voting for more pro-Wall Street job destruction, expected the gooberment to look the other way when the minorities are "put in their place" or run out of town. THEN whitey will wake up to the fact that he has been suckered AGAIN. Things will get REAL UGLY as soon as that realization sinks in.

The upside is that relations with Russia will temporarily be cordial. But considering pseudo-Christian Pence was Cheney's water boy, that will not last. Those who think Trump is not a business as usual fascist will be sorely disappointed. Have a nice day.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 06, 2016, 01:35:16 am »

The Plot Thickens...

RE

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-05/lead-attorney-anti-clinton-dnc-fraud-case-mysteriously-found-dead

Lead Attorney In Anti-Clinton DNC Fraud Case Mysteriously Found Dead

by Tyler Durden
Aug 5, 2016 5:30 PM


Call it conspiracy theory, coincidence or just bad luck, but any time someone is in a position to bring down Hillary Clinton they wind up dead. In fact, as we noted previously, there’s a long history of Clinton-related body counts, with scores of people dying under mysterious circumstances. While Vince Foster remains the most infamous, the body count is starting to build ominously this election cycle - from the mysterious "crushing his own throat" death of a UN official to the latest death of an attorney who served the DNC with a fraud suit.

As GatewayPundit's Jim Hoft reports, on July 3, 2016, Shawn Lucas and filmmaker Ricardo Villaba served the DNC Services Corp. and Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz at DNC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., in the fraud class action suit against the Democrat Party on behalf of Bernie Sanders supporters (this was before Wikileaks released documents proving the DNC was working against the Sanders campaign during the 2016 primary).

Shawn Lucas was thrilled about serving the papers to the DNC before Independence Day...

Shawn Lucas was found dead this week...

According to Snopes Lucas was found dead on his bathroom floor.

    We contacted Lucas’ employer on 4 August 2016 to ask whether there was any truth to the rumor.

     

    According to an individual with whom we spoke at that company, Shawn Lucas died on 2 August 2016. The audibly and understandably shaken employee stated that interest in the circumstances of Lucas’ death had prompted a number of phone calls and other queries, but the company had not yet ascertained any details about Lucas’ cause of death and were unable to confirm anything more than the fact he had passed away.

     

    An unconfirmed report holds that Lucas was found lying on the bathroom floor by his girlfriend when she returned home on the evening of 2 August 2016. Paramedics responding to her 911 call found no signs of life.

*  *  *

This follows the death of 27 year-old Democratic staffer Seth Conrad Rich who was murdered in Washington DC on July 8. The killer or killers appear to have taken nothing from their victim, leaving behind his wallet, watch and phone.

Shortly after the killing, Redditors and social media users were pursuing a “lead” saying that Rich was en route to the FBI the morning of his murder, apparently intending to speak to special agents about an “ongoing court case” possibly involving the Clinton family.

So, to summarize, courtesy of Janet Tavakoli, the Clinton related body count so far this election cycle:  Five in just under six weeks - four convenient deaths plus one suicide...

    1) Shawn Lucas, Sanders supporter who served papers to DNC on the Fraud Case (DOD August 2, 2016)

     

    2) Victor Thorn, Clinton author (and Holocaust denier, probably the least credible on this list) shot himself in an apparent suicide. Conspiracy theorists at Mystery Writers of America said some guys will do anything to sell books. (DOD August, 2016)

     

    3) Seth Conrad Rich, Democratic staffer, aged 27, apparently on his way to speak to the FBI about a case possibly involving the Clintons. The D.C. murder was not a robbery. (DOD July 8, 2016)

     

    4) John Ashe, UN official who allegedly crushed his own throat while lifting weights, because he watched too many James Bond films and wanted to try the move where the bad guy tries to…oh, never mind. “He was scheduled to testify against the Clintons and the Democrat Party.” (DOD June 22, 2016)

     

    5) Mike Flynn, the Big Government Editor for Breitbart News. Mike Flynn’s final article was published the day he died, “Clinton Cash: Bill, Hillary Created Their Own Chinese Foundation in 2014.” (DOD June 23, 2016)

It must be coincidence, right?

If former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne is to be believed, this is business as usual for the Clintons. Excerpt via Zero Hedge:

    BYRNE: I feel so strongly that people need to know the real Hillary Clinton and how dangerous she is in her behavior. She is not a leader. She is not a leader.

     

    SEAN: She does not have the temperament?

     

    BYRNE: She doesn'’t have the temperament. She didn'’t have the temperament to handle the social office when she was First Lady, she does not have the temperament.

     

    SEAN: She’s dishonest.

     

    BYRNE: She’s dishonest, she habitually lies, anybody that can separate themselves from their politics and review her behavior over the past 15 years…



I don't call it a conspiracy theory; I call it par for the skullduggery mens rea modus operandi course for the elite bastards in US politics.   

Tyler isn't posting this because he is bothered about these murdering crooks and liars. He is posting it because he wants his Wall Street Darling Trump to win. Considering how bought and paid for Hitlery is, I think Tyler just wants Trump style massive racism on top of massive corruption TOO! 

Tyler is right about Hitlery. But he is one of the first people I would prosecute for pro-Wall Street propaganda and perpetual defense of polluting pigs and perpetual attacks on Renewable Energy.

PRISON is too good for Tyler and his s h i t throwing monkey pals from the empathy deficit disordered Wall Street crowd.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 27, 2016, 04:13:15 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: As long as the Successful Persuaders are Ethical, the Populism will be real and for the good. OTHERWISE, the "Populism" will be Orwellian (see: Bernays and manufactured "consent". ).


The role of social media in the election of 2016 cannot be overstated. I think Scott Adams is on to something.

This is very perceptive, I think.

                   
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 25, 2016, 03:44:07 pm »

Luther Martin: Representative for Maryland and dissenting Anti-Federalist. Was shocked at the attempt by the elite to overthrow the existing government in secret in 1787, and swore to tell the people what Washington, Madison and Hamilton were up to. The rich were terrified of the people screwed by Hamilton's bank bailouts and after Shay's Rebellion almost saw Philidelphia captured by angry citizens, they were ready to instal a police state.

Martin warned we were ill-advised to install a President King who would plot against the people in concert with the Senate: He said we were crazy to put men into a chamber for six year terms instead of the current one-year terms; men who would no longer be paid by their states and move away from their constituents to a corrupt political city, and who could not be recalled for any reason by their state for misbehavior. He said we were going to lose our freedom under the reintroduction of a hated standing army and that we would suffer under the despotism of a Supreme Court with no citizen jury.

He stormed out and refused to sign the Constitution without a Bill of Rights, and broke the convention's signed oath of secrecy that Mad-Man Madison made everyone sign before being admitted. Martin went straight to the press and warned the people not to ratify this powerful central government with a crazy central bank and insane electoral college scheme designed to strip citizens of any meaningful representation.

Before this abomination was ratified, there were 2,000 representatives for the people: One rep existed for about 300 citizens. The Constitution made it one rep per MINIMUM 30,000 to 60,000 but CONVENIENTLY DID NOT STATE A MAXIMUM POPULATION PER REP!

That apparently wasn't good enough for the oligarchs as our population grew. So, shortly after 1913 a cork was put on the maximum number of representatives. Please note that ALL new voting groups from women to minorities to Native Americans got the "right" to vote AFTER the cork was put on the maximum number of reps.
           
NOTE: The 14th Amendment right to vote for African Americans after the Civil War became a cruel farce by 1876. The elitist Supreme Court twisted the 14th Amendment to give Corporations personhood as a cruel and cynical vicious slap to the original intent of the 14th Amendment. Even as blacks where being disenfranchised, the courts were busy giving corporations extra privileges along with the license to break the law with impunity called limited liability.

Now, in most states, there is only one rep for 740,000 citizens, and virtually ZERO chance of you ever talking to one. >:( :P

Source: the Actual Anti-Federalist writings...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complete_Anti-Federalist

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 25, 2016, 03:19:19 pm »


Yep. That is the fascist bastard that de-democratized towns so a "manager", rather than a Mayor, ran the places for the local pig corporation (SEE: Whirlpool      at Benton Harbor ). Anybody that got in the way with petitions and other democratic actions was promptly imprisoned. Fascism is here. Snyder is part of that.

Reverend Pinkney, an American Patriot and man of good will, got in the way of the American Fascists... 


http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/11/02/give-67-year-old-rev-edward-pinkney-a-presidential-pardon/

And what do the "Capitalists" (see:  'greed is good'   ) say about all the above? SEE BELOW:

 


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 18, 2015, 06:03:17 pm »

How did we get to this MESS?  ???

The Constitution and the attitude towards people and property that the founders learned from their European history is a good place to start. The Industrial Revolution and the fossil fuel empire accelerated the decay and degradation of the government and the environment.

The Constitution is a pro-slavery document!

Much has been written about the Revolution being, at it's core, an attempt to immunize the colonies from the "disturbing" (to Jefferson and friends) move in England at the time to outlaw slavery. But the industrial revolution and how the elite parasitic modus operandi called "capitalism" benefited massively from mass production is the main historical influence that led to our polluted world and pissant wage structure of today.

It is said the word "saboteur" derives from the Netherlands in the 15th century when workers would throw their sabots (wooden shoes) into the wooden gears of the textile looms to break the cogs, fearing the automated machines would render the human workers obsolete.

Notice how the word "saboteur" has a negative connotation. This shows who controls the historical narrative. I believe the Dutch laborers weren't just concerned about obsolescence; they were concerned about controlling how much they got paid for their labor. Mass production was the beginning of a massive concentration of wealth by greedy machinery owners that refused to pay equitable wages.

This is what "Capitalism" is really all about. It is sold as free market this and that but, in practice, it is nothing but elite parasitism. When the English gentry wanted to corral the peasants into working in the factories, as well as use more of their land to raise sheep for fleece free from peasant interference, they came up with a pack of thinly justified herding mechanisms (Enclosure Laws) that stripped the peasants of their ability to live off the land.

The peasants were not buying the con that working in a factory was a better deal than living off the land. They had to be forced. They were cognizant of the FACT that the factory owners were not going to pay decent wages or provide adequate working conditions.

Today, all this disguised tyranny called capitalism is festooned with gobbledygook terms like competitive advantage and arbitrage, along with a plethora of terms from the masturbatory imaginations of bored economists, but it continues to be about elite parasitism.

In the financial area the vampire proboscis is usury but that is not the whole story by a long shot.
Patent law is another huge part of RHIP that was NOT put there to protect inventors UNLESS those inventors were from the upper class. The bottom line is the control of the populace for the power, profit and pleasure of the TPTB.


Enclosure

In English social and economic history, enclosure or inclosure[1] is the process which ends traditional rights such as mowing meadows for hay, or grazing livestock on common land formerly held in the open field system. Once enclosed, these uses of the land become restricted to the owner, and it ceases to be common land. In England and Wales the term is also used for the process that ended the ancient system of arable farming in open fields.

Under enclosure, such land is fenced (enclosed) and deeded or entitled to one or more owners. The process of enclosure began to be a widespread feature of the English agricultural landscape during the 16th century. By the 19th century, unenclosed commons had become largely restricted to rough pasture in mountainous areas and to relatively small parts of the lowlands.

The process of enclosure has sometimes been accompanied by force, resistance, and bloodshed, and remains among the most controversial areas of agricultural and economic history in England. Marxist and neo-Marxist historians argue that rich landowners used their control of state processes to appropriate public land for their private benefit.

This created a landless working class that provided the labour required in the new industries developing in the north of England. For example: "In agriculture the years between 1760 and 1820 are the years of wholesale enclosure in which, in village after village, common rights are lost".[2] "Enclosure (when all the sophistications are allowed for) was a plain enough case of class robbery".[3][4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclosure

The following video tells the real story of capitalism's birth and growth through the power the elite obtained in the industrial revolution, how the poor were demonzed as being "lazy" for attempting to avoid the horrors of factory work by staying on, and living off, the land. They had to be forced, along with their children, to do so.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0nM5DU4ADI&feature=player_embedded      
      

Then things got worse when the USA got going with its fossil fuel based industrial Revolution.   

The mass production factories created a new type of slavery without the pejorative connotation of being race linked but it was still slavery. When enslaving African Americans was no longer cost effective due to farm machinery, new ways to enslave them, and the poor whites as well as any other ethnic poor, had to be invented. After all, the elite did not like one bit the idea that the increased efficiency of a laborer could provide that laborer with more free time and a better life.

The 1% had conniption fits thinking about all those people out there having the time to sit, think and figure out how TBTB were gaming them. No, the elite developed a plan to "keep em' busy". The guilt trip sermons from pulpits all over America went out after the Civil War to demonize leisure and glorify "nose to the grindstone" work as being "God's Will". BALONEY! The elite's "work ethic" includes years of "sabbaticals", "learning experiences", "naval gazing" and "introspection" that translate to long stretches of time doing absolutely nothing productive.

I think that's wonderful and should be available to all of us as a means to a healthier and happier mindset. That's why the elite do it. For them to then turn around and unleash their propaganda water carrying lackeys solemnly mouthing the "don't be lazy, work your fingers to the bone for us" baloney on the populace is the epitome of duplicity.

Fossil fuel backed corporate tyranny has been going on for over a century and has its roots in the gilded age and fossil fuel FAKE cost effectiveness which enabled the oil corporations to concentrate wealth and steal our democracy from under us while offloading all the environmental costs on the people and the biosphere.

Renewable energy sources are not new. They were crushed in the late 19th century through fossil fuel energy oligarch co-opting government subsidies for oil and coal and also through profits from slave wages for miners and many others while, all the while, the claim was made that fossil fuels were "cheaper". This article covers all this and more:

Hope for a viable biosphere: Why fossil fuels were NEVER cheap or cost effective.
http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2012/07/17/hope-for-a-viable-biosphere-of-renewables/


In the article you will learn the REAL reason for Prohibition. Hint: it had NOTHING to do with people drinking booze and EVERYTHING to do with eliminating ethanol (ethyl alcohol) as a competitor for Rockefeller's gasoline fuel.

It is no coincidence that, right after ethanol, a higher octane fuel than gasoline (115 vs 93-95), became illegal in the early 1920s, Rockefeller came out with the poisonous tetra-ethyl lead additive to raise the octane of gasoline to ethanol's level so gasoline could now be burned in high compression, more powerful engines. He destroyed the competition with Prohibition and added more poisons to our atmosphere to boot.

Also you will read about how, before automobiles came out in the late 19th century, Rockefeller's refineries would flush gasoline (19 gallons are produced for every 42 gallons of crude oil refined) in the rivers at night because it was a waste product.

 This article explains why fossil fuels were NEVER cheap or cost effective.
http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2012/07/17/hope-for-a-viable-biosphere-of-renewables/

I firmly believe that a corrupt hierarchy that gained enormous power during the gilded age by using the force multiplier of the industrial revolution to garner their wealth became so arrogant that they began to view absolutely all human activity as a commodity along with natural resources as well.

This morally repugnant rationalization enabled them to justify their despotic practices because, with this "commiditization of everything" meme, they had divorced themselves from the responsibility for good stewardship of the earth and humane behavior to employees.

Noblesse oblige, or whatever small amount of it remained when the industrial revolution began, died with the gilded age in a sea of greed.

The power of the 1% has enabled them to defend the claim that energy, land and labor are not fictitious commodities even though they are fictitious. The 1% are controlling the narrative and they continue to shove it down our throat. The Federal Reserve and their banking friends couldn't run a lemonade stand successfully with their brand of economics policies, but there they are, claiming to be experts. It's Orwellian.

Human nature is what it is, BUT, the industrial revolution allowed an oligarch to garner wealth for 10,000 while he had been previously limited to lording it over a handful of serfs and slaves while sparring with the other small time tyrants.

The people that came to America from England were, according to what I have read, from different areas in the UK that predicated their behavior patterns before they stepped off the boat (four distinct areas I believe). Some argue the Cavaliers that went to run the Southern Plantations were the worst of the lot but they were ALL rapaciously willing to exploit the land and the "wrong" people without reflection.

The US constitution is a rhetorical masterpiece because it applied to a VERY tiny group of the population. In practice, everyone but landed white men were excluded, while the "all men were created equal" rhetoric was "piously" positioned in the document. It was breathtaking in its hypocrisy.

A free black, who built his own working clock out of hardwood parts, became an astronomer and computed the ephemeris used by mariners in the day. He wrote to Jefferson demanding that Jefferson stop insisting that blacks were mentally inferior to whites and offerred to debate him and have a mathematical contest. Jefferson flat refused to even acknowledge him. Jefferson was a great writer but a ruthless opportunist, as were all the founding fathers.

The constitution has never, even to this day, been applied across the land and I am fully aware of the Calvinist doctrine in the US after the civil war that maintained that "The people must be kept poor so they will remain obedient".

If the industrial revolution had improved the lives of everyone across the board, as was promised, we would have a different world. But no, the people with access to capital deliberately made life worse for the poor and used divide and conquer tactics to create Jim Crow strife to sucker the poor whites into not looking at who was REALLY impoverishing them.

All this is as old as human nature. For that reason I tend to look with a jaundiced eye at any claim to greatness or foresight by the founding fathers of the US Oligarchy with Representative Republic lipstick..

I continue to believe the force multiplier of the industrial revolution increased the power of these oligarchs and decreased, in an equal proportion, the small amount of democracy we had.

I know how England and Europe operated even before the industrial revolution. They wanted everything not made in England (machinery and crafted goods) to have zero competition and everything coming from the colonies to be agrarian goods (commodities). The North and South had a different spin on how to make a buck but they were both equally complicit (at the elite level) in fostering tyranny for profit.

I realize the main decision makers involve a smaller percentage than 1% and the 99% suffer from a serious infusion of fecal coliforms in their glial cells resulting in colonization of their  amygdala and their prefrontal cortex. IOW they are being continuously brainwashed with bullsh it so their base urges are amplified and their critical thinking skills destroyed. But nevertheless, I see more virtue and hope in the 99% than the soulless reptiles in the catbird seat.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 03, 2015, 06:08:37 pm »

https://youtu.be/hDsPWmioSHg
Quote
"The US is an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery" President Jimmy Carter

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 31, 2015, 01:31:31 pm »

VIDEO: Chris Hedges to Robert Scheer: Why Do You Respect America’s Founding Fathers? (Part 5/7)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z3A0F9zGHE&feature=player_embedded
Quote
In the fifth installment of Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges’ interview with Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer about Scheer’s new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy,” Hedges challenges him on his reverence for America’s founding fathers—a group of elite, white, property-owning males who amassed great wealth and treated many people terribly.
http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_to_robert_scheer_why_do_you_respect_americas_founders_20150530

Quote
"This is part five of my conversation with Robert Scheer, the author of They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy.

I love the book. It’s brilliant. You’re a great writer. And it’s an important book.

I wouldn’t say they are destroying democracy; I would say they have destroyed democracy. You have held up throughout this conversation the founding fathers. 

And I want to go back to Thomas Paine, who was the real radical, who called for—he didn’t use the word socialism, but a type of socialism, who was an abolitionist, who was a proponent of direct democracy, which the founding fathers were not, who opposed the genocidal campaigns against Native Americans, which all of the founding fathers embraced with relish, ho wanted rights for women.

And I think Zinn points out that all of these freedoms that you talk about were reserved for a very small, select group of largely slave-holding white males, our aristocratic class, who replaced the aristocratic class of Britain, and that it was—Washington, by the time he was president, was the wealthiest person in the United States, largely by seizing Indian lands with land speculators and selling it for profit—of course, he himself was a large slaveholder—And that through the constitutional conventions that were held after independence, you really saw a rolling back of that populism and radicalism that Paine, who himself became a pariah, spoke so eloquently about, and of course Common Sense and his journalism were used to fuel—most of the people fighting the revolution were yeoman farmers.

So they created mechanisms by which we would never have a voice—the Senate, the Electoral College.
That’s how you had Al Gore win 500,000 more votes than Bush and Bush still wins or Nader did not lose the election.

Everything was built into the system to create a kind of protection of rights for a very select few. And we saw throughout American history—and Zinn does this in his book—the struggle by labor, by women, by African-Americans, the Communist Party.

We have erased the importance of the Communist Party in this country all through the ‘20s and ‘30s. These radical movements that opened up that space in American democracy, all of those movements have been shut down in the name of anticommunism, starting with Wilson but running right through, past McCarthy.

Labor is a spent force. You talk about labor, where you have less than 12 percent of the American workforce is unionized. Only 6 percent of the labor force in the private sector is unionized. We have created an oligarchic state, a form of neo-feudalism.

You have half this country living in poverty or near poverty. We have a looming climate crisis, especially since we are not—and Barack Obama drills like Sarah Palin—we are not able to stop the ravaging of the planet, whether it’s the tar sands or dropping drill bits up into the summer Arctic sea ice by Shell Oil, profiting off the death throes of the planet. These people are barreling forward in terms of the impoverishment of the working class, the destruction of the environment.

And they have created mechanisms—they certainly are prepared for unrest. They have run scenario after scenario after scenario, and they have created mechanisms—militarized police, drones, security and surveillance—an evisceration—Obama’s assault on civil liberties is worse then, as I said before, anything Bush has done. They’re ready to go. They know something’s coming, and they’re totally prepared.

And I don’t see in that mechanism that they have put into place—and what they have done in terms of creating both a legal, a judicial, and a security system that is so powerful, so pervasive, and, as you said, far beyond anything the Stasi ever dreamt of—I don’t see how at that point appealing or believing that the system is reformable is anything but futile." --Chris Hedges

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 05, 2015, 03:15:05 pm »

The "Real World" of "Representative Democracy" and "Freedom of Speech", along with all the other "freedoms"  brought to you by the SAME PEOPLE that coined the term "Noblesse Oblige" for themselves in typical ORWELLIAN fashion. 


ALL THE NEWS THAT IS FIT TO PRINT (for the mushroom masses).



Don't forget to bring some Coke (sold to Nazi Germany THROUGHOUT WWII) and GMO popcorn to your Hollywood brainwashing session. 




Sine Qua Non Scumbag Elite Ruling Principle: "The people must always be provided with an enemy".


It REALLY WAS a good ride, not for you and me, but for TPTB. So expect them to do WHATEVER to prolong their RIDE, against all scientific evidence that EXPLOITATION WITHOUT REFLECTION OF FELLOW EARTHLINGS OF ALL SPECIES (not just humans) AND THE BIOSPHERE FOR PROFIT OVER PLANET is deleterious (i.e. SUICIDAL/abysmally STUPID) to the Homo SAP species.

     

J.C. Ponders the MO of TPTB.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 21, 2014, 06:15:22 pm »

CULTURE AND CAT VIDEOS 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx56Kvpaqho&feature=player_embedded
Agelbert NOTE: Television didn't just make us observers and consumers of "culture" instead of creators and contributors, it was a cleverly used tool to force feed lies and myths to the populace that were (and ARE  >:() far more effective than radio and newspapers in the predatory service of corporate profit over planet.

We were lulled to sleep by entertainment laced with propaganda while our democracy was co-opted and the biosphere was getting trashed for profit over planet.

The internet can CHANGE ALL THAT! Become ACTIVE, not passive. Post and give your opinion.    Support those you agree with and debate those you don't agree with using facts  in order to provide a more perfect union with rich cultural diversity.

There are many opinions but just one truth on any specific subject matter. Our culture is enhanced by truth and reasoned debate; it is degraded by propaganda and profit over planet.

Don't remain silent.    Be a contributor to the culture. Otherwise the Orwellian propaganda masters will be the ones that OWN your thoughts and those of your children.  :(


By the way, is there a U-tube video of that movie called  "The Naked City" (New York in 1947 before television destroyed the culture)? I'd like to see it if anybody can find it.  ;D
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 27, 2013, 02:01:07 am »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YR4CseY9pk&feature=player_embedded

Published on Thursday, October 24, 2013 by Common Dreams       

Russell Brand: 'Revolution Is Coming... I Ain't Got a Flicker of Doubt'

British comedian goes off on failed paradigm, talking egalitarianism, consciousness, and filthiness of profit with the BBC


- Jon Queally, staff writer

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/24-6
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 27, 2013, 01:48:15 am »

Published on Thursday, October 24, 2013 by TruthDig.com       

How the Wealthy Wage War on Democracy Itself
 
by Sonali Kolhatkar   

If the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling was not devastating enough for American democracy, a new case could wipe away any remaining vestige of election integrity. The nation’s highest court heard oral arguments in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission this month. If the court rules in favor of Alabama mining CEO Shaun McCutcheon, rich Americans could make unlimited amounts of campaign contributions directly to political candidates and parties. Currently, the federal limit for individual contributions is $123,000 over two years, a figure that the majority of Americans don’t even earn as basic income during that time span.(Image: Shutterstock)

The conservative National Review recently published a critique of what author Ammon Simon called “the Left’s fear tactics” over sounding the alarm on this new potential deregulation of money in elections. Simon begins by making the case that money does not in fact influence elections, citing several questionable studies that, according to him, prove “the evidence just doesn’t lend itself to the ‘legalized corruption’ theme.”

But he then contradictorily laments “the misguided belief that we can regulate away money’s influence over the political system.” The conservative admiringly points out that, “Historically, campaign-finance laws have always been undermined by innovative workarounds.”

Simon’s argument therefore could be summarized thus: Rich people should be able to influence democracy simply because they are rich, but don’t worry, their money doesn’t have any effect. But if you do try to curb the influence they say they don’t have they will simply acquire it by other means so just give up trying.

In an interview about McCutcheon vs. FEC, University of Texas journalism professor Robert Jensen told me, “The argument that it’s a violation of my free speech rights if the government restricts in any way the way I spend my money on campaigns has a kind of curious logic to it. There’s a kernel of truth to it, that when we spend money we’re engaging in a form of speech. But when you don’t take the real world into consideration, you don’t realize the incredible disparities in wealth will undermine anything approaching a democratic political sphere. We need to reframe this not as a ‘free speech’ case but as a ‘big money’ case."

That the rich influence elections with their money is as obvious to most of us as the fact that rich people game the justice system by being able to hire the best lawyers, or that rich people are healthier because they can buy the best food and health care.

Many examples of big money’s influence on politics abound, one of which is California’s attempt at labeling genetically modified organisms last year. While Proposition 37 had the backing of 60 percent of voters, according to polls taken early in the election season, the last-minute infusion of huge sums of money by corporate food conglomerates like Monsanto, PepsiCo and Hershey’s shifted the balance of voters who were originally in favor of the proposition.

By the time of the election, the “No on 37” vote had gathered $45 million to spend on advertising, while the “Yes” campaign had brought in only about $7.3 million. The result should come as no surprise. With a 53 to 47 percent margin, California voters walked away from an opportunity to become the first state in the nation to label GMOs.

Leading media reformist and Nation magazine correspondent John Nichols has co-authored a new book with his longtime colleague Bob McChesney called “Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America.” In an interview about the book, Nichols told me, “More than half a billion dollars was spent on California’s initiatives [in 2012] and so this state saw ‘Dollarocracy’ on steroids. Money flowed into this state and it defined elections.”

Another example of the corrupting influence of money in California’s elections—even before the Citizens United decision—that had a greater human impact, particularly on poor communities of color, was the failure of a 2004 ballot measure to amend the state’s notorious Three Strikes law. Proposition 66, if passed, would have eased some of the harshest sentencing aspects of the original 1994 law that sentenced third-time felons to a minimum of 25 years to life, no matter how minor that third infraction. The law affects black and brown communities disproportionately. Six months before the election, polls found that 76 percent of likely voters favored the amendment, but after then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spent $2 million of his own money fighting the measure, opinions shifted and the measure narrowly lost.

Citizens United does not allow corporations and rich individuals to contribute directly to campaigns—it requires third parties like political action committees to accept the donations. But if the Supreme Court rules in favor of deregulation in the latest case of McCutcheon vs. FEC, even that last, weak barrier will be cast aside. “The reason why rich people are interested in this,” said McChesney, “is that those third party groups that they can now give unlimited amounts to, have to pay a higher rate for the TV ads than candidates. Candidates are always at the lowest rate on the rate card. So they [the rich] can get more bang for their buck if they give directly to the candidate’s campaign.”

Nichols put it into perspective, saying, “even if the court doesn’t go with McCutcheon, this system is such Swiss cheese now, that money can flow in. They’re just going to have to pay a little more. For the super-rich donors, we’re now at the cleanup stage. They’re like, ‘Oh, this is a little inconvenient to us. Can we just write the big check without having to go through all these different routes?’ ”

In other words, said McChesney, “This is basically more open season for rich people to buy government and to buy democracy.”

One of the most insidious effects of money flooding our political system is the turnoff factor. As people are exposed to greater and greater numbers of political ads, they are less likely to vote at all rather than to change their vote. Nichols explained in an example, “Let’s say you’re a militant feminist and you say ‘I’m going to back this candidate.’ The other side puts on ads that say ‘that candidate has been horrible in all these ways.’ You don’t switch over to the right-wing candidate. You stand down. The whole point of the negative ads is to make people who care, people who actually are interested, step back and say ‘a pox on all your houses.’ ” Nichols added, “Negative political ads are a form of voter suppression. They effectively tell people ‘don’t vote.’ ”

In fact, voter turnout in 2012, which was the first big test of the Citizens United decision, was less than 60 percent. Fewer people voted than in the last two presidential elections in 2008 and 2004.

Sadly it is not just conservatives on the Supreme Court who want the dollar to dominate elections. Having done his damage with the government shutdown over Obamacare, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz wasted no time in turning his sights to a new target this month: the nomination of Tom Wheeler as head of the Federal Communications Commission. Wheeler is no progressive—he is a former lobbyist and venture capitalist—but Cruz’s opposition to Wheeler is based on his insistence that any future FCC chair must refuse to enforce laws requiring disclosure of political ad funders. Currently, one of the few ways in which ordinary Americans can judge the veracity of a political ad is by examining who has funded the ad. Cruz would like to see even that democratic right taken away from the public.

Not surprisingly, National Review author Simon’s solution to the corrupting influence of money in politics mirrors what conservatives like Sen. Cruz and Justice Roberts want. His “answer is to limit government, not free speech.” And that is quite convenient because after all, conservative ideological opposition to “big government” is based on a highly skewed worldview that ordinary Americans who benefit from government via so-called entitlements ought to fend for themselves, even if they are drawing from programs they fund through taxes. Simon quotes the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro, whose logic is stunningly perverse: “Shrink the size of government and its intrusions in people’s lives and you’ll shrink the amount people will spend trying to get their piece of the pie.” In other words, once rich Americans achieve their goal of cutting vital programs, they won’t need to spend as much on campaigns. And voilà, our problems with campaign finance regulations will be irrelevant.

None but the very tiniest fraction of a percent of Americans have the kind of disposable income that McCutcheon, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and their ilk have to pervert elections. And most ordinary Americans recognize that. As Jensen pointed out to me, “This is one issue where the public is pretty clear, that flooding the political system with money in even more direct ways is not good for democracy.”

A post-election poll in November found that more than 60 percent of all voters, both Democrat and Republican, are concerned about the level of money in politics. An incredible 85 percent want the names of political ad funders disclosed. To that end, a number of progressive organizations are working to overturn the Citizens United decision by building a movement to amend the Constitution. More than a dozen states, including California, and many cities and municipalities have passed resolutions in support of such an amendment. The all-important question is whether a mass movement will emerge strong enough to force a reversal of campaign deregulation and take on America’s rich in the battle over elections, and ultimately, democracy.

© 2013 TruthDig.com
 
 Sonali Kolhatkar   


Sonali Kolhatkar is Co-Director of the Afghan Women's Mission, a US-based non-profit that supports women's rights activists in Afghanistan. Sonali is also co-author of "Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence." She is the host and producer of Uprising, a nationally syndicated radio program with the Pacifica Network.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/24-7

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