Posts tagged democracy

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History Shows That Capitalism Begets Plutocracy

Wages constitute the lowest share of U.S. GDP, and profits the highest, since the end of World War II. And with heightened accumulations of wealth come heightened accumulations of political power — a shift toward plutocracy to which last week’s Supreme Court decision, permitting the wealthy to contribute to as many electoral campaigns as they wish, adds a helpful push.

Piketty’s primary contention is that it is inherent to capitalism that the returns on capital generally exceed the growth of nations’ economies, save in times of epochal population growth or rare technological breakthroughs, and that this leads to ever-rising concentrations of wealth and power.

"No self-corrective mechanism exists" within capitalism to retard this descent into plutocracy, he writes. Rather, he concludes, its prevention requires political action: He suggests a global tax on capital, which, he admits, is a utopian solution, though others — empowering workers again, increasing the social provision of goods and services — are more readily attainable.

Lewis gives us a great read on today’s latest scam. Piketty gives us the most important work of economics since John Maynard Keynes’ “General Theory.”

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The Meaning of Anarchism: The word anarchism has tremendous implications. It means that the people are so inwardly disciplined that they don’t need any government. They are so deeply in order within themselves that no order outside is needed.

Anarchism is basically the transformation of the individual in such a way that the government becomes superfluous. He lives in the light of his consciousness, fully aware of what he is doing, fully aware of its consequences, aware that it is not his right to interfere with any individual’s life, or to trespass – even in very subtle matters like conversion. Making an effort to convert somebody to your ideology is a trespass of that individual’s consciousness. Unless he invites you, it is aggression.

So individuals have to be so conscious that no aggressive activity on any level – bodily, mental, emotional – is possible for them. Then the government is absolutely useless, a burden. And certainly the idea is that, if people can live without a government, then only are they people. If they need a government that means they are still coming out of animality. They have not yet become human. They need masters, governors, they are not capable of being on their own. They are basically asking to be slaves.

The existence of a government of any kind means that the people are asking for slavery; and to ask for slavery and then to ask for democracy, freedom, freedom of expression, and individuality, becomes contradictory.

So the governments go on promising all these things but in the very existence of the government they are denied. Hence all governments are frauds. They can only promise but they cannot perform. It is existentially impossible. If they can perform then they are not needed. If they cannot perform that is why they are needed. So every government is more or less symbolic of the fact that human beings have not grown up to their full height, to their full potential.

“Gnosticism–The Root of Religious Rebellion,” from Rebellion, Revolution & Religiousness, by OSHO

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CIA Confirms Role in 1953 Iran Coup

CIA’s news of its great success in overthrowing democratically elected prime ministers and installing religious dictators. Go USA freedom fighters!

Washington, D.C., August 19, 2013 – Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States’ role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq’s ouster has long been public knowledge, but today’s posting includes what is believed to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup.

The explicit reference to the CIA’s role appears in a copy of an internal history, The Battle for Iran, dating from the mid-1970s. The agency released a heavily excised version of the account in 1981 in response to an ACLU lawsuit, but it blacked out all references to TPAJAX, the code name for the U.S.-led operation. Those references appear in the latest release. Additional CIA materials posted today include working files from Kermit Roosevelt, the senior CIA officer on the ground in Iran during the coup. They provide new specifics as well as insights into the intelligence agency’s actions before and after the operation.

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Who’s Afraid of an Open Debate? The Truth About the Commission on Presidential Debates

This will not be a debate.. because all of this is so tightly controlled by the candidates themselves and their managers. These things have developed over the years into what some people believe can more accurately be described as..an orchestrated news conference

Dan Rather

The Commission on Presidential Debates is a private corporation headed by the former chairmen of the Republican and Democratic parties. The CPD is a duopoly which allows the major party candidates to draft secret agreements about debate arrangements including moderators, debate format and even participants. The result is a travesty riddled with sterile, non-contentious arguments which consistently exclude alternative voices that Americans want to hear.

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura’s election as an independent candidate proves that opening up debates can lead to real change — something the entrenched Republican and Democratic Parties don’t want to see.

OCCUPY THE DEBATES!!! #occupythedebates

(by SpartacusMoriarty)

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Gary Johnson and Jill Stein (Libertarian and Green presidential candidates) answering questions on Reddit on the 11th and 12th of Sep

If you have any questions for Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson, he will be answering questions on Sep 11

If you have any questions for Green candidate Jill Stein, she will be answering questions on Sep 12

Both can be found here: http://www.reddit.com/r/iama

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Inverted totalitarianism and Managed Democracy

Inverted Totalitarianism

According to Wolin, there are three main ways in which inverted totalitarianism is the inverted form of classical totalitarianism.

Whereas in Nazi Germany the state dominated economic actors, in inverted totalitarianism, corporations through political contributions and lobbying, dominate the United States, with the government acting as the servant of large corporations. This is considered “normal” rather than corruption.[6]

While the Nazi regime aimed at the constant political mobilization of the population, with its Nuremberg rallies, Hitler Youth, and so on, inverted totalitarianism aims for the mass of the population to be in a persistent state of political apathy. The only type of political activity expected or desired from the citizenry is voting. Low electoral turnouts are favorably received as an indication that the bulk of the population has given up hope that the government will ever help them.[7]

While the Nazis openly mocked democracy, the United States maintains the conceit that it is the model of democracy for the whole world:[8] Wolin writes:

Inverted totalitarianism reverses things. It is all politics all of the time but a politics largely untempered by the political. Party squabbles are occasionally on public display, and there is a frantic and continuous politics among factions of the party, interest groups, competing corporate powers, and rival media concerns. And there is, of course, the culminating moment of national elections when the attention of the nation is required to make a choice of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. What is absent is the political, the commitment to finding where the common good lies amidst the welter of well-financed, highly organized, single-minded interests rabidly seeking governmental favors and overwhelming the practices of representative government and public administration by a sea of cash.[9]

Managed democracy

Wolin believes that the democracy of the United States is sanitized of political participation and refers to it as managed democracy. Managed democracy is “a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control”.[10] Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state through the continuous employment of public relations techniques.[11]

Wolin believes that the United States resembles Nazi Germany in one major way without an inversion: the essential role that propaganda plays in the system. According to Wolin, whereas the production of propaganda was crudely centralized in Nazi Germany, in the United States it is left to highly concentrated media corporations, thus maintaining the illusion of a “free press”.[12] Dissent is allowed, although the corporate media serves as a filter, allowing most people, with limited time available to keep themselves apprised of current events, only to hear points of view which the corporate media deems to be “serious”.[13]

According to Wolin, the United States has two main totalizing dynamics:

The first, directed outward, finds its expression in the Global War on Terror and in the Bush Doctrine that the United States has the right to launch preemptive wars. This amounts to the United States seeing as illegitimate the attempt by any state to resist its domination.[14]

The second dynamic, directed inward, involves the subjection of the mass of the population to economic “rationalization”, with continual “downsizing” and “outsourcing” of jobs abroad and dismantling of what remains of the welfare state created by U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.[15] (Thus, neoliberalism is an integral component of inverted totalitarianism.) The state of insecurity in which this places the public serves the useful function of making people feel helpless, thus making it less likely that they will become politically active, and thus helping to maintain the first dynamic.[16]

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Police Swarm Louisiana State Convention, Assault Chairman, Arrest Ron Paul Delegates

This says a lot about the true state of politics in the US. These bastards won’t go down without a fight, and breaking the law is certainly not off the table.

“I’m handicapped! I need a doctor!” “Sir, this is the chairman!” The Louisiana State Republican Convention descended into chaos Saturday morning, with several delegates being arrested and the convention chairman being thrown to the ground by police. Sources report that state party officials panicked when it became clear that Ron Paul delegates commanded a decisive majority of the delegates on the floor – at least 111 of 180 (62%).

Many observers expressed shock that the establishment would resort to such violent tactics against fellow Republicans. Saturday morning’s incidents come on the heels of increasing panic among state party leaders in the aftermath of Ron Paul’s decisive victory in the Louisiana caucuses in April.

Romney supporters were caught distributing counterfeit delegate slates. In Arizona, there were complaints of ballot stuffing and the convention was eventually shut down when it appeared likely that a Ron Paul supporter would be elected as the national committeewoman. In Massachusetts, after Ron Paul supporters won 16 of 27 district delegate slots, state party leaders quickly moved to try to invalidate the results.

Lots more info and pretty interesting video to be found here

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Rep.Mike Bost EXPLODES on house floor when given a 200 page bill and only 15 minutes to review it.

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The poignant bit of “The Dictator”

Admiral General Aladeen on dicatorships vs democracy (by justsoicancommentful)

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Good work US Government.

Good work US Government.

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People Aren't Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say

Is anyone really surprised about this one?

The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.

The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.

As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, “very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries.

He and colleague Justin Kruger, formerly of Cornell and now of New York University, have demonstrated again and again that people are self-delusional when it comes to their own intellectual skills. Whether the researchers are testing people’s ability to rate the funniness of jokes, the correctness of grammar, or even their own performance in a game of chess, the duo has found that people always assess their own performance as “above average” — even people who, when tested, actually perform at the very bottom of the pile. [Incompetent People Too Ignorant to Know It]

We’re just as undiscerning about the skills of others as about ourselves. “To the extent that you are incompetent, you are a worse judge of incompetence in other people,” Dunning said. In one study, the researchers asked students to grade quizzes that tested for grammar skill. “We found that students who had done worse on the test itself gave more inaccurate grades to other students.” Essentially, they didn’t recognize the correct answer even when they saw it.

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How democracy works

How democracy works

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