PROOF WE HAVE A FAKE DEMOCRACY
The everyday experience of just living in the United States is, for most people, all the proof they need that we are living in a fake democracy. But for those who want more proof, here are some additional pieces of evidence:
Item #1. The White House counsel's office made it crystal clear to John Napier Tye, the section chief for Internet freedom in the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from January 2011 to April 2014. In his column in the Washington Post, Tye writes:
In March I received a call from the White House counsel's office regarding a speech I had prepared for my boss at the State Departmant. The speech was about the impact that the disclosure of National Security Agency surveillance practices would have on U.S. Internet freedom policies. thje draft stated that "if U.S. citizens disagree with congressional and executive branch determinations about the proper scope of signals intelligence activities, they have the opportunity to change the policy through our democratic process."
But the White House counsel's office told me that no, that wasn't true. I was instructed to amend the line, making a general reference to "our laws and politices," rather than our intelligence practices. I did.
Even after all the reforms President Obama has announced, some intelligence practices remain so secret, even from members of Congress, that there is no opportunity for our democracy to change them.
Item #2. This academic study reported in the journal Perspectives on Politics [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1537592714001595 ] published September 18, 2014, by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, (also described here and here and here) concludes with the following statements:
"Multivariate analysis indicates 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 and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism."
"When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it."
"Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened."
In other less academic wording, we have a fake democracy that is actually a dictatorship of the rich.
The first author, Martin Gilens, is professor of politics at Princeton University. The second author, Benjamin I. Page, is the Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making, Northwestern University.
Item #3. Take a look at this video and then ask yourself (after you stop laughing!), "Do we have a free press or a centrally controlled one?"
Item #4. In "Economic Inequality and Political Representation," an academic paper by Larry M. Bartels, Department of Politics and Woodrow Wilson School of Publicand International Affairs, Princeton University, the author presents research findings on the basis of which he concludes:
I examine the differential responsiveness of U.S. senators to the preferences of wealthy, middle-class, and poor constituents. My analysis includes broad summary measures of senators’ voting behavior as well as specific votes on the minimum wage, civil rights, government spending, and abortion. In almost every instance, senators appear to be considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators’ roll call votes. Disparities in representation are especially pronounced for Republican senators, who were more than twice as responsive as Democratic senators to the ideological views of affluent constituents. These income-based disparities in representation appear to be unrelated to disparities in turnout and political knowledge and only weakly related to disparities in the extent of constituents’ contact with senators and their staffs.
Item #5. U.S. foreign policy is determined not by the aims and values of ordinary Americans but rather by people serving the interests of billionaires such as the Rockefellers, as detailed in this article.
Item #6. The political parties tell the public that they are trying to pass legislation that the public wants, but in reality these parties only pretend to pass such legislation, as revealed in great detail in Glenn Greenwald's article, "The Democratic Party’s deceitful game: They are willing to bravely support any progressive bill as long as there's no chance it can pass."
The same point is made by Dave Lindorff in his article, "Taking a Meaningless Progressive Stand in Congress: Congressional Democrats have an ‘inaction plan’."
Item #7. This video describes, based on the Princeton article in item #2, how the billionaire class controls the government. The solution it offers (a law limiting how the billionaires can spend money to influence the government), however, is not an adequate solution because it leaves the billionaires in possession of their billions of dollars and it leaves our society one in which money is power.
This article may be copied and posted on other websites. Please include all hyperlinks.