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Divernan

(15,480 posts)
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:04 AM Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746
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From BBC: "Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy" (Original Post) Divernan Apr 2016 OP
Most American voters "mental zombies" manipulated by olilgarchs. Divernan Apr 2016 #1
Jimmy Carter said the same thing. It's been pretty clear for a long time. Dustlawyer Apr 2016 #12
Mental zombies? Most? Sounds like the usual right wing rhetoric we hear when... Nitram Apr 2016 #25
One thing is certain when the oligarchs are mentioned... R. Daneel Olivaw Apr 2016 #37
This message was self-deleted by its author silvershadow Apr 2016 #59
DUZY!!!! Fantastic Anarchist Apr 2016 #86
Thank you! silvershadow Apr 2016 #87
Most Americans are uninformed, ronnie624 Apr 2016 #43
It is not just Fox News, it is the whole Media! Paper Roses Apr 2016 #65
I agree completely, ronnie624 Apr 2016 #66
I don't think so... TowneshipRebellion Apr 2016 #128
Not just Fox News. 840high Apr 2016 #79
Right. The article I posted makes that perfectly clear. n/t ronnie624 Apr 2016 #82
I disagree - Americans are highly informed. RiverNoord Apr 2016 #93
Well put and good question. Akicita Apr 2016 #103
Sounds like a Hillary apologist this. KPN Apr 2016 #73
Just someone who thinks America and Americans are not as bad as you make us out to be. Nitram Apr 2016 #78
My my ... arrogance abounds. KPN Apr 2016 #83
I agree. Your arrogance would seem to have no limits. Nitram Apr 2016 #135
And the Clinton fans see everything their authoritarian leaders do as wonderful. Living in a rhett o rick Apr 2016 #101
Have you ever visited any of the countries... Bohemianwriter Apr 2016 #125
And that's all Clinton's fault? What a crock! Nitram Apr 2016 #134
She is partially responsible when she pushes for these hawkish policies... Bohemianwriter Apr 2016 #136
Exposing one's ignorance while expressing outrage is not confined to the the right wing. OnyxCollie Apr 2016 #74
exactly. people with blinders flocking to BS media that only tells them what they want to hear uhnope Apr 2016 #130
Fucking Amen. Phlem Apr 2016 #68
Counterpunch LOL. They should talk about "mental zombies" uhnope Apr 2016 #129
Mental zombies who don't think big money, dark money etc. is a problem. haikugal Apr 2016 #2
This is the very reason the Democracy Spring Protests are so important. Lint Head Apr 2016 #3
Of course, people have to really care enough about it cprise Apr 2016 #95
Listening on FSTV to a Chris Hedges interview from Democracy Spring right now. Dont call me Shirley Apr 2016 #96
"Time to scare the shit out of the power structure" Chris Hedges. Dont call me Shirley Apr 2016 #97
"Our current situation is Economic Elite Domination (or, you know, plutocracy). " Divernan Apr 2016 #4
Super Delegates colorado_ufo Apr 2016 #53
This election is so clear on that. The idea of the Clinton jwirr Apr 2016 #56
Agree 100%. I am disgusted and disillusioned about our election process. n/t Paper Roses Apr 2016 #76
Thank You For Sharing cantbeserious Apr 2016 #5
Michael Parenti drew that conclusion decades ago malaise Apr 2016 #6
I used to love to listen to him speak. I have several still, just copied a couple to my phone cui bono Apr 2016 #84
Ha - are you married malaise Apr 2016 #85
Study: Brilliant round object illuminates eastern sky each morning n/t IDemo Apr 2016 #7
For all those who are clueless as to meaning/existence of "oligarchies" Divernan Apr 2016 #8
I was pointing out the self-evidence of their findings, not questioning its relevance n/t IDemo Apr 2016 #9
The MSM is going to jump right on NOT reporting this story! Dustlawyer Apr 2016 #13
Ticker on CNBC right now: "REFORMING THE TAX CODE" HughBeaumont Apr 2016 #15
This might have been news in the late 18th century Orrex Apr 2016 #10
And your PhD is from where? Oh, right, Quid-pro-quo U. Divernan Apr 2016 #11
Golly! It's like you didn't read what I posted! Orrex Apr 2016 #18
I think the robber barons of the late 1800's probably controlled government as much or more Akicita Apr 2016 #104
LINCOLN SHOT! TITANIC SINKS! HughBeaumont Apr 2016 #14
sometimes we need to be told our collective fly is open dembotoz Apr 2016 #24
Do any of those studies bother to come up with a solution? jwirr Apr 2016 #57
Not especially. It would require several. HughBeaumont Apr 2016 #75
Those sound like very good goals. And the first paragraph jwirr Apr 2016 #80
yes but.... MidwestTech Apr 2016 #100
So why do we even bother, then? Blue_Tires Apr 2016 #16
Because we can still wake the fuck up! Divernan Apr 2016 #20
This message was self-deleted by its author Vilis Veritas Apr 2016 #33
Thus the bread and circus. zeemike Apr 2016 #45
You may be right but the leaders at the barricades are the jwirr Apr 2016 #64
^^^THIS^^^ jwirr Apr 2016 #60
Yes, it seems that US democracy is more about faith then about rule by the people fasttense Apr 2016 #17
This says everything zentrum Apr 2016 #19
No, Diverman... zentrum Apr 2016 #21
The solution is simply to get involved treestar Apr 2016 #22
"The US ... is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious 'electoral' 'democratic' pampango Apr 2016 #23
Interesting that no one seemed to have noticed that the report says the US is... Nitram Apr 2016 #26
yep. The ballot is still the currency of power in the USA, so it's not an oligarchy (yet) uhnope Apr 2016 #90
Distinction without a difference. Do you have an opinion re the OP? Or are you just here rhett o rick Apr 2016 #99
I'm just pointing out that you all are e ngaging in some serious hyperbole. Nitram Apr 2016 #133
Facts? That's funny. Clinton supporters some how believe that if we give the banksters rhett o rick Apr 2016 #137
Jesus, not this shit again. Indydem Apr 2016 #27
Jesus, not this shit again Scootaloo Apr 2016 #31
Thank you! 2naSalit Apr 2016 #36
So much wrong. Indydem Apr 2016 #51
Then vote suppression and election fraud are anti-democracy movements. TryLogic Apr 2016 #54
If we were a democracy gay marriage would still be illegal in California and many other states. Akicita Apr 2016 #105
Our supreme and circuit courts are democratic institutions as well Scootaloo Apr 2016 #117
"A constitution is simply a foundational body of law". No, the Constitution IS the law. Every Akicita Apr 2016 #107
And those changes are achieved via a democratic process. Scootaloo Apr 2016 #118
Geez. We are a constitutional republic. Akicita Apr 2016 #122
Huge +1! Enthusiast Apr 2016 #110
Those are very right-wing points you're making, there. TransitJohn Apr 2016 #42
Not talking about Parliamentarian democracy. Indydem Apr 2016 #47
"Period." TransitJohn Apr 2016 #48
Very mature. Indydem Apr 2016 #52
Super easy to get under your skin. TransitJohn Apr 2016 #55
yeah I can't believe those little emoticon thingies are used by anyone over age 13 uhnope Apr 2016 #131
Hmm. The founders did not trust the people. So they set up this republic. PatrickforO Apr 2016 #44
The question is simple: Indydem Apr 2016 #46
Then let me posit this: our representative government SHOULD but does not presently work. PatrickforO Apr 2016 #58
You are missing the point kaleckim Apr 2016 #62
I can feel it. Equinox Moon Apr 2016 #28
What else is new? Of course we aren't a democracy. nruthie Apr 2016 #29
rw talk radio is worth 390MIL$/MONTH, at least certainot Apr 2016 #30
Huge +1! Enthusiast Apr 2016 #111
Oh, what a surprise. (Not) Chalco Apr 2016 #32
And what will we do about it? Bernie is our chance in a lifetime to return reject the oligarchy. NCjack Apr 2016 #34
Here's another "duh" question... MrMickeysMom Apr 2016 #35
Those few who control America...and, indeed, most of the world... Thespian2 Apr 2016 #38
Schools across the U.S. teach the fallacy LibDemAlways Apr 2016 #39
Mark Twain said, "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it." Maybe you should have PatrickforO Apr 2016 #41
Carlin had his finger on the pulse. That American Dream LibDemAlways Apr 2016 #115
How did our current group of young Democrats learn the jwirr Apr 2016 #67
I think the answer is to a large extent social media. LibDemAlways Apr 2016 #114
That sounds like my grand children and their friends. And jwirr Apr 2016 #116
Well, WE all know this. Too bad it won't be picked up by the corporate owned PatrickforO Apr 2016 #40
Kicked and recommended. Uncle Joe Apr 2016 #49
To many of us, it is pretty damn obvious. TryLogic Apr 2016 #50
Really look at the FREE TRADE issue hollowdweller Apr 2016 #63
The fact is that more workers benefit than are harmed. Nitram Apr 2016 #138
it takes the brits to formally announce this Demonaut Apr 2016 #61
They finally won the Revolutionary War. jwirr Apr 2016 #70
No, it was from Princeton, and widely covered in the USA in the couple of years muriel_volestrangler Apr 2016 #113
But, but, but, but, Hillary Phlem Apr 2016 #69
The best money can buy! Blue Owl Apr 2016 #71
Kick and R BeanMusical Apr 2016 #72
In a related story they determined water was wet. Spitfire of ATJ Apr 2016 #77
Divernan, forgive me, saidsimplesimon Apr 2016 #81
knrnt Rebkeh Apr 2016 #88
five power categories 4ricksren Apr 2016 #89
BS from a blog. The ballot is still the currency of power in the USA, so it's not an oligarchy (yet) uhnope Apr 2016 #91
Its a corrupt Banana Republic ErikJ Apr 2016 #94
Actually, the country was founded deliberately as ... Fantastic Anarchist Apr 2016 #92
Hillary...Where Hope Goes To Die billhicks76 Apr 2016 #98
Not only that, but it's an oligarchy within a republic. merrily Apr 2016 #102
It did not become an oligarchy by accident. We can trace back to a number of bad decisions made Enthusiast Apr 2016 #106
400 recommendations would be about right for this one. Enthusiast Apr 2016 #108
It's interesting to follow the recs it's got over the couple of years since publication muriel_volestrangler Apr 2016 #112
So if the USA is an oligarchy Angel Martin Apr 2016 #109
Learned this in poli sci 101 laundry_queen Apr 2016 #119
STOP THE PRESSES! sakabatou Apr 2016 #120
Progressives need to look after each other Kumbricia Apr 2016 #121
It's true. A handful of people wield power disproportionately using money/media/etc. as a tool. PoliticalMalcontent Apr 2016 #123
So change from the inside out is not possible. What IS the answer? Lodestar Apr 2016 #124
Not quite, it is a plutocracy...which is just a more diverse oligarchy. Rex Apr 2016 #126
The BBC is spot on robertgodardfromnj Apr 2016 #127
too bad this wasn't the BBC but just a blog rehashing the same old cherrypicked BS uhnope Apr 2016 #132
I thought we were an autonomous collective. Francis Booth Apr 2016 #139

Divernan

(15,480 posts)
1. Most American voters "mental zombies" manipulated by olilgarchs.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:05 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

Dustlawyer

(10,501 posts)
12. Jimmy Carter said the same thing. It's been pretty clear for a long time.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:32 AM
Apr 2016

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

Nitram

(23,083 posts)
25. Mental zombies? Most? Sounds like the usual right wing rhetoric we hear when...
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:38 AM
Apr 2016

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

 

R. Daneel Olivaw

(12,606 posts)
37. One thing is certain when the oligarchs are mentioned...
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:28 AM
Apr 2016

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

Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Reply #37)

ronnie624

(5,764 posts)
43. Most Americans are uninformed,
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:47 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

Paper Roses

(7,475 posts)
65. It is not just Fox News, it is the whole Media!
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:05 PM
Apr 2016

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

 
128. I don't think so...
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:27 AM
Apr 2016

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

 

RiverNoord

(1,150 posts)
93. I disagree - Americans are highly informed.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:48 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Nitram

(23,083 posts)
78. Just someone who thinks America and Americans are not as bad as you make us out to be.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:26 PM
Apr 2016

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

KPN

(15,697 posts)
83. My my ... arrogance abounds.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:46 PM
Apr 2016

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

 

rhett o rick

(55,981 posts)
101. And the Clinton fans see everything their authoritarian leaders do as wonderful. Living in a
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:18 PM
Apr 2016

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

 

Bohemianwriter

(978 posts)
125. Have you ever visited any of the countries...
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 01:16 AM
Apr 2016

Hlilary supported the destruction of?

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

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

 

Bohemianwriter

(978 posts)
136. She is partially responsible when she pushes for these hawkish policies...
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 09:09 AM
Apr 2016

Isn't she?

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

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

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

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

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




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



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



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



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

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

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

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





 

OnyxCollie

(9,958 posts)
74. Exposing one's ignorance while expressing outrage is not confined to the the right wing.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:57 PM
Apr 2016
Converse: The nature of belief systems in mass publics
http://wikisum.com/w/Converse:_The_nature_of_belief_systems_in_mass_publics

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Liberal Imperialism

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

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

uhnope

(6,419 posts)
130. exactly. people with blinders flocking to BS media that only tells them what they want to hear
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:46 AM
Apr 2016

Counterpunch & FOX News are two sides of the same coin

 

uhnope

(6,419 posts)
129. Counterpunch LOL. They should talk about "mental zombies"
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:44 AM
Apr 2016

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

Lint Head

(15,064 posts)
3. This is the very reason the Democracy Spring Protests are so important.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:11 AM
Apr 2016

I hope they keep it up and it grows.

cprise

(8,445 posts)
95. Of course, people have to really care enough about it
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:55 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

Dont call me Shirley

(10,998 posts)
96. Listening on FSTV to a Chris Hedges interview from Democracy Spring right now.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:58 PM
Apr 2016

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

Divernan

(15,480 posts)
4. "Our current situation is Economic Elite Domination (or, you know, plutocracy). "
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:15 AM
Apr 2016
http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/218858/the-duh-report-study-says-america-is-an-oligarchy-not-a-democracy/

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
56. This election is so clear on that. The idea of the Clinton
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:30 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

Is it too late to repair this mess?

malaise

(269,571 posts)
6. Michael Parenti drew that conclusion decades ago
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:18 AM
Apr 2016

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

cui bono

(19,926 posts)
84. I used to love to listen to him speak. I have several still, just copied a couple to my phone
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 02:14 PM
Apr 2016

to listen to on walks.

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

.

Divernan

(15,480 posts)
8. For all those who are clueless as to meaning/existence of "oligarchies"
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:23 AM
Apr 2016

the attention this report gets is important.

HughBeaumont

(24,461 posts)
15. Ticker on CNBC right now: "REFORMING THE TAX CODE"
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:48 AM
Apr 2016

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

Divernan

(15,480 posts)
11. And your PhD is from where? Oh, right, Quid-pro-quo U.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:31 AM
Apr 2016

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

Orrex

(63,333 posts)
18. Golly! It's like you didn't read what I posted!
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:58 AM
Apr 2016

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


Wow.

Akicita

(1,196 posts)
104. I think the robber barons of the late 1800's probably controlled government as much or more
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:42 PM
Apr 2016

than the present day plutocrats do.

HughBeaumont

(24,461 posts)
14. LINCOLN SHOT! TITANIC SINKS!
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:46 AM
Apr 2016

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

HughBeaumont

(24,461 posts)
75. Not especially. It would require several.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:12 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

The P90X Ryan Congress is a major roadblock.

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
80. Those sound like very good goals. And the first paragraph
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:34 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

MidwestTech

(170 posts)
100. yes but....
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:16 PM
Apr 2016

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

Response to Divernan (Reply #20)

zeemike

(18,998 posts)
45. Thus the bread and circus.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:56 AM
Apr 2016

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

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
64. You may be right but the leaders at the barricades are the
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:59 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

That is coming.

 

fasttense

(17,301 posts)
17. Yes, it seems that US democracy is more about faith then about rule by the people
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:52 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

zentrum

(9,866 posts)
19. This says everything
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:06 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

Democracy is dead. Long live Democracy.

zentrum

(9,866 posts)
21. No, Diverman...
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:12 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

treestar

(82,383 posts)
22. The solution is simply to get involved
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:15 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

pampango

(24,692 posts)
23. "The US ... is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious 'electoral' 'democratic'
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:19 AM
Apr 2016

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

Sobering but true.

Nitram

(23,083 posts)
26. Interesting that no one seemed to have noticed that the report says the US is...
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:41 AM
Apr 2016

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

 

rhett o rick

(55,981 posts)
99. Distinction without a difference. Do you have an opinion re the OP? Or are you just here
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:14 PM
Apr 2016

to stir up the pot?

Nitram

(23,083 posts)
133. I'm just pointing out that you all are e ngaging in some serious hyperbole.
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 08:34 AM
Apr 2016

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

 

rhett o rick

(55,981 posts)
137. Facts? That's funny. Clinton supporters some how believe that if we give the banksters
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 10:36 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

 

Indydem

(2,642 posts)
27. Jesus, not this shit again.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:46 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

 

Scootaloo

(25,699 posts)
31. Jesus, not this shit again
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:53 AM
Apr 2016
Of course, the authors of the study are so foolish as to ever think this was a democracy.

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


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

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

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

Indydem

(2,642 posts)
51. So much wrong.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:06 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

TryLogic

(1,731 posts)
54. Then vote suppression and election fraud are anti-democracy movements.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:16 AM
Apr 2016

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

Akicita

(1,196 posts)
105. If we were a democracy gay marriage would still be illegal in California and many other states.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:07 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

 

Scootaloo

(25,699 posts)
117. Our supreme and circuit courts are democratic institutions as well
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:45 PM
Apr 2016

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

Akicita

(1,196 posts)
107. "A constitution is simply a foundational body of law". No, the Constitution IS the law. Every
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:40 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

Same thing in the states and their state constitutions.

 

Scootaloo

(25,699 posts)
118. And those changes are achieved via a democratic process.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:46 PM
Apr 2016

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

Akicita

(1,196 posts)
122. Geez. We are a constitutional republic.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:32 PM
Apr 2016

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

TransitJohn

(6,932 posts)
42. Those are very right-wing points you're making, there.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:44 AM
Apr 2016

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

 

Indydem

(2,642 posts)
47. Not talking about Parliamentarian democracy.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:01 AM
Apr 2016

Or any other representative system.

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

 

Indydem

(2,642 posts)
52. Very mature.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:08 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

 

uhnope

(6,419 posts)
131. yeah I can't believe those little emoticon thingies are used by anyone over age 13
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:52 AM
Apr 2016

no one remembers that they were invented for children.

Welcome to the world where kidults are taking over

PatrickforO

(14,618 posts)
44. Hmm. The founders did not trust the people. So they set up this republic.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:49 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

 

Indydem

(2,642 posts)
46. The question is simple:
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:59 AM
Apr 2016

Do we want a representative government or not?

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

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


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

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

PatrickforO

(14,618 posts)
58. Then let me posit this: our representative government SHOULD but does not presently work.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:42 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kaleckim

(651 posts)
62. You are missing the point
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:54 AM
Apr 2016

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

 

certainot

(9,090 posts)
30. rw talk radio is worth 390MIL$/MONTH, at least
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 09:53 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

that is what the left has been ignoring for 25 years

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

MrMickeysMom

(20,453 posts)
35. Here's another "duh" question...
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:20 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

Thespian2

(2,741 posts)
38. Those few who control America...and, indeed, most of the world...
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:29 AM
Apr 2016

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

Time for the Revolution against the oligarchs...

LibDemAlways

(15,139 posts)
39. Schools across the U.S. teach the fallacy
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:32 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

PatrickforO

(14,618 posts)
41. Mark Twain said, "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it." Maybe you should have
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:43 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

LibDemAlways

(15,139 posts)
115. Carlin had his finger on the pulse. That American Dream
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 07:57 PM
Apr 2016

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

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
67. How did our current group of young Democrats learn the
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:15 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

LibDemAlways

(15,139 posts)
114. I think the answer is to a large extent social media.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 07:54 PM
Apr 2016

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

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
116. That sounds like my grand children and their friends. And
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:14 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

PatrickforO

(14,618 posts)
40. Well, WE all know this. Too bad it won't be picked up by the corporate owned
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 10:40 AM
Apr 2016

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

 

hollowdweller

(4,229 posts)
63. Really look at the FREE TRADE issue
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:55 AM
Apr 2016


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

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

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

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

Nitram

(23,083 posts)
138. The fact is that more workers benefit than are harmed.
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:00 PM
Apr 2016

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

muriel_volestrangler

(101,460 posts)
113. No, it was from Princeton, and widely covered in the USA in the couple of years
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 07:11 PM
Apr 2016

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

Phlem

(6,323 posts)
69. But, but, but, but, Hillary
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 12:20 PM
Apr 2016

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

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many zombies. Over fucking run with zombies.

saidsimplesimon

(7,888 posts)
81. Divernan, forgive me,
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 01:39 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

4ricksren

(72 posts)
89. five power categories
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 03:41 PM
Apr 2016


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

five power categories:

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



 

uhnope

(6,419 posts)
91. BS from a blog. The ballot is still the currency of power in the USA, so it's not an oligarchy (yet)
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:31 PM
Apr 2016

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

 

ErikJ

(6,335 posts)
94. Its a corrupt Banana Republic
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:52 PM
Apr 2016

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

Fantastic Anarchist

(7,309 posts)
92. Actually, the country was founded deliberately as ...
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:32 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

 

billhicks76

(5,082 posts)
98. Hillary...Where Hope Goes To Die
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:13 PM
Apr 2016

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

merrily

(45,251 posts)
102. Not only that, but it's an oligarchy within a republic.
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 05:25 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

Enthusiast

(50,983 posts)
106. It did not become an oligarchy by accident. We can trace back to a number of bad decisions made
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:40 PM
Apr 2016

against the interests of the American working class people.

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

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

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

Angel Martin

(942 posts)
109. So if the USA is an oligarchy
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 06:45 PM
Apr 2016

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

laundry_queen

(8,646 posts)
119. Learned this in poli sci 101
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:49 PM
Apr 2016

of course that was in a Canadian university

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

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

sakabatou

(42,240 posts)
120. STOP THE PRESSES!
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 08:55 PM
Apr 2016

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

Kumbricia

(84 posts)
121. Progressives need to look after each other
Tue Apr 19, 2016, 11:24 PM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

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

123. It's true. A handful of people wield power disproportionately using money/media/etc. as a tool.
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 12:18 AM
Apr 2016

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

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

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

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

Lodestar

(2,388 posts)
124. So change from the inside out is not possible. What IS the answer?
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 01:16 AM
Apr 2016

What do we the people want to do about this?

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

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

 

Rex

(65,616 posts)
126. Not quite, it is a plutocracy...which is just a more diverse oligarchy.
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 01:19 AM
Apr 2016

We do love ourselves some diversity.

 

uhnope

(6,419 posts)
132. too bad this wasn't the BBC but just a blog rehashing the same old cherrypicked BS
Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:53 AM
Apr 2016

that some people want to hear

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