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America: Democracy Despoiled

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posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:10 AM
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America: Democracy Despoiled



Hey, Remember That Time When...



Hey! Remember that time when you were thinking about who to vote for in your political parties Presidential race and you called all of the candidates to ask them over? Remember how they all flocked to your front door, sat in your living room and listened intently as you told them exactly what you expected of them both during and after the race? Wasn't it funny how they fumbled over one another fighting to kiss your ass? They were kind of cute and pathetic trying to one up each other, all for your attention and approval. Huh? Man that was a great day!

Wasn't it?

Wait. What? You say that never happened? You say that is ridiculous and beyond the realm of science fiction? Hold on a second... If it wasn't you, then who...

Oh, sorry. I guess your last name isn't Koch then? Adelson? Soros?

We Really Need To Talk About This...



At this moment, as I write, I am honestly wondering how many people will open this thread, read the above, think to themselves "Meh, who cares. My vote didn't mean squat anyway. Let the jerks do whatever they want. This isn't worth my time at all. Freaking ATS people always making much ado about nothing."

Judging by the simple fact that Citizens United is a real thing, and we all keep on keeping on, I have to assume that quite a few people have some variation of the above opinion. And that's a shame.

The fact that we live in a world where the above mentioned Koch brothers have pledged to spend nine-hundred-million dollars on just ONE political party this election cycle is beyond unacceptable in any Democratic model. It's an absolutely insulting aberration of all that is right.

Nine-hundred-million dollars. $900,000,000.00. 9/10ths of a billion dollars.

Understand that we are not talking about the total amount that one party will spend over an election cycle. We are discussing how much money just one very small, very powerful special interest group is throwing into the mix. While this is the most obvious and, as far as I know, the largest single contribution - it is by no means the only example. Candidates on both sides of the political spectrum are quite happy to take donations of any size from any billioniare, corporate interest or special interest group who will offer it. If the amount is large enough? The candidates will do just about anything to get that money. If you've ever seen strippers zero in on the drunk customer who's got a pocket full of tens and has just crossed the "drunk enough to start making it rain money" line... then you have some idea of how these things work.

We no longer have a government of the people. We have prostitutes who will pass laws the same way that street prostitutes turn tricks. If you've got the money, they will make you happy. They will give you what you want.

No money? No honey.

There are some facts that might still surprise a few readers, so I will touch upon them here. For the sake of brevity and ease of access I will keep things simple and only use this single source - though there are many others, a number of which are listed at the bottom of this link. They are a good place to get depressed enough to want to open up a bottle and hide in a basement somewhere.

A study of over twenty years of data showed that Congress does not pass laws based upon the will of the people. In fact the opinions of roughly 90% of the population have zero influence over law at all.


“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”


The wealthy do not just buy control. They buy the right to strip mine the funds that should be going toward making OUR lives better. They take obscene amounts of money OUT of the tax coffers and funnel it all straight into the hands of the wealthy.


In the last 5 years alone, the 200 most politically active companies in the US spent $5.8 billion influencing our government with lobbying and campaign contributions.

Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support — earning a return of 750 times their investment.


It's bad enough that two thirds of political donations come from just 0.2% of the population. But hey, at least they're putting butts in the seats and enabling law makers to sit around deciding policy. Right? Even if that policy only benefits a sliver of us, at least they are being productive. Right?

Nope. Our elected officials in Congress spend about SEVENTY PERCENT of their "work" time fundraising. They have truly mastered moonlighting. In fact they have gotten so good at it that they can work for themselves while they are on OUR clock, being paid by OUR money.

And this is what happens when we allow a bunch of people with conflicted interests to decide that money is "free speech" and that Corporations are "people". We are told that this is "fair". I ask you. When was the last time Congress bailed you out? When was the last time an elected official from Washington called you and asked "Hey, there is a Bill coming around that is a sure fire thing. Some minor education crap that is going to pass without any resistence and is so mundane that the news won't even mention it. Any special riders you want me to throw in? You getting taxed on anything? I can fix that with a rider. EPA on your back? I can fix that too. Just wash my back and I'll wash yours..."

I assume the answer from all of you will be "Ummm, never."

And that is the point. It's not fair. It's not Democratic.

Money equalling "free speech" and vested interests being legal "persons" combine to make a voice so loud that it mitigates free speech for all of the rest of us. It creates a noise so loud and so profoundly destructive that it causes the rest of us to remain totally unheard. It renders the vast majority of us impotent in regard to the Democratic process.

What Now? Closing Thoughts...



When it is all said and done, we let this happen. For those of us who are a bit older, we are directly responsible. The millenials are less directly culpable but still with dirty enough hands. The fact is that we all got comfortable and apathetic. Life was OK, there were way too many things to do in a day and we all had our own problems to deal with. So we focused on ourselves and we let Democracy in the United Stated choke to death. Our government of the People, by the People, for the People failed on our watch and it's only right that we take responsibility for fixing it.

And yet, how? Pandora's box is already open. The genie is already out of the bottle.




edit on 8/6/15 by Hefficide because: Typo




posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:10 AM
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We all know that there is no way in Hell that the jerks in public office are going to simply say "Oh, me pillaging the system is morally wrong? My bad! You caught me! I'll just return the money and I promise to sponsor a Bill to return power to the masses! Pinky swear! Stay Gold Ponyboy!"

It just ain't happening. And if any asshat in a suit promises to make it happen? We might, as a people, consider bringing back some of the Inquisition style methods of ascertaining the facts, because that asshat is lying! And whatever he's trying to pull is probably an insidious trick to make things infinitely worse. At this point the whole "If he floats, he is innocent" approach would probably be in order. Just my personal feelings.

Getting things back to good is going to be very difficult and there are no easy answers. One school of thought is that the people should play the game, as is, and create our own SuperPac. Sorry to say this wont' work. We are financially outgunned. If we ALL gave EVERY PENNY to this SuperPac, in an "all or nothing" bid? The above mentioned 0.2% would merely come over the top and outspend us, without even breaking a sweat. We'd all be bankrupt and they'd be temporarily down to a few hundred million in the bank.

But there is good news. There is a glitch in their armor. They are Oligarchs. They are Corporatists. A wise man once gave us some very sage advice. He said He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. We just have to understand the sword that these people live by.

That sword is money. It's commerce. They live and die by the bottom line of a spreadsheet. And THAT is where they become OUR prey. That bottom line is US. While we may not really have a meaningful vote left... while our voices might be muted out in Governance... We are still the end all, be all of commerce. We vote with our wallets. Our Congresspersons might be amoral about it all, not giving one singular damn about what we think. But their masters, the Corporations and the obscenely wealthy - they do care. History shows us, time and time again, that they know who they work for. They spend fortunes studying us, in a never ending quest to keep us happy, silent, and spending.

Voting with our wallets cuts off the head of the hydra. Voting at the polls isn't working. But boycotting companies, one by one - and demanding that they get their damn noses out of our Democracy? Try that and watch it work. Watch the Corporations say mea culpa with a quickness. They love power, but they love money more.

We can take things back. We just have to have the will to do so.

So please think about these things as you watch billions of dollars being spent over the next few months. Watch the hypocrites who want to cut your schools, your roads, your medical care, your wages, your benefits, your families security... all right out from under you. Watch these toadies spent fortunes for the right to snub you and serve their overlords.

Then look past them and see the Adelsons, the Koch's and the Soro's of this world for what they are... Hydras.

Thanks for reading.





edit on 8/6/15 by Hefficide because: Typo



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:36 AM
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What you have said is so very true, but...

What can we do about it, what is the solution.

Could the people of ATS group together to make change, to make a difference?

Or is it just another case of "yea it happens, nothing I can do about it"?

I really want to hear sound, solid, realistic ideas about what can be done. Someone, some group to take charge of the situation and make things happen.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:40 AM
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a reply to: Hefficide

Nice OP.
My response?

Yep. Except to say, you want to blame the old folks, the Boomers for this?

The old Boomers? I don't buy that so much because the truth is this situation has been the status quo since the assassination of JFK. The Boomers never really had a chance. The only Boomers that might have had the power to make a change was the Clintoons and they chose to enrich themselves rather than address the problems. What really happened is that with each crisis, the noose has been tightened around the US population's neck. So, the economic crisis of the '80's was addressed with the passage of NAFTA. The "ordinary" folk such as myself looked at that and went, "Oh NO!" there go the jobs. It was passed and it passed because the "Monied Cabal" bought off Congress.

The crisis of most recent memory, the crash of '08? TPTB fixed that by taking 10 to big to fail banks and reducing them to 5 even bigger to big to fail banks. So, the concentration of enormous wealth has trumped everything. Now, the TPP will be the near to final nail in the coffin. The irony of this is that with each step, the truly powerful and wealthy have bought off the Political Class while at the same time pushing through trade agreements that have resulted in the Political Class trading off US Sovereignty in exchange for the Congress critters lining their own pockets with wealth and help moving that wealth off shore.

The core truth here is that the US has been sold out by the Political Class who's mantra has been, "we'd better get ours and get out while we still can".

The corollary to that truth is......."Money talks and BS walks" and these phony baloney elections are BS.

ETA: I have recently begun to consider the idea that it may actually be unconscionable for anyone over the age of 60 to vote in this election simply because the technological change rate is so fast paced that they can't possibly understand where this is ultimately going, but also because with TPP and the open borders policies have wrought such enormous demographic change that truly, the people who should be deciding the path going forward are the native Millennials and the "new comers". I haven't made a decision on this yet, but that's what I'm looking at. Put briefly, for anyone over 60, the future is a pine box; their future is in the rear view mirror. The future belongs to the young and the new arrivals, not the old who really have no future to speak of.
Thanks
edit on 6-8-2015 by TonyS because: ETA to add.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:41 AM
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a reply to: Hefficide

So, I get the impression that you believe people and associations should not be able to donate to political campaigns.

Let's say you get the ban on unauthorized political activity that you seek and only public funds will be allowed for political campaigns as per Sanders recent proposal. In such a case only "public" (i.e. state) interests will be represented.

That scenario is undoubtedly desirable for totalitarian socialists and, I hope it is apparent, catastrophic for individual non-state interests.

I guess my question here is, do you personally believe that would be good?

Should there be no non-state interests represented by our political system and thus, our society?



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:41 AM
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All I see here is a WAAAAH!!!! a Rep donor, no fair, poor Hillary she is doomed.

Don't worry, the Chinese will funnel more illicit funds to their favorite turncoat family so it all evens out.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:46 AM
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a reply to: TinfoilTP

If that's all you see, I would suggest an adult literacy class. Reading is fundamental.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:53 AM
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a reply to: Hefficide

Thanks for the great thread, Heff. I especially like how you compared politicians to prostitutes.
I think that George Carlin was right when he said that voting doesn't matter. We have no real choice on who gets the job, just the illusion of choice. The end result is this:

Cynical? Maybe. It doesn't stop it from being true.

By the way, you don't want to cut the head off the hydra. For every head that you cut off, two grow back. Here
It's better to cut out their hearts. Being political animals, however, they have none.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:56 AM
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Not easy to split the hair of the 1st Amendment.

And I agree about the laws not being in favor of the majority of Citizens.




posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 09:56 AM
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originally posted by: Hefficide
a reply to: TinfoilTP

If that's all you see, I would suggest an adult literacy class. Reading is fundamental.



So you have a problem with the Koch's and Soros's of the world but money from China takes a back burner? A foreign government influencing our elections is akin to an act of War, US citizens pumping their cash into an election is peanuts in comparison.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 10:05 AM
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a reply to: Hefficide

I don't know when we stopped being a representative republic, but I feel it disengenuous to even pretend anymore.

We live under a soft despotism.


Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people.

en.wikipedia.org...

It's all a game. A game, I admit, I still enjoy playing, but a game all the same.

Right, left, it's an illusion created to give us the impression that we still have a say and some control over our government.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 10:10 AM
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double post
edit on 6-8-2015 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 10:10 AM
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originally posted by: TinfoilTP

originally posted by: Hefficide
a reply to: TinfoilTP

If that's all you see, I would suggest an adult literacy class. Reading is fundamental.



So you have a problem with the Koch's and Soros's of the world but money from China takes a back burner? A foreign government influencing our elections is akin to an act of War, US citizens pumping their cash into an election is peanuts in comparison.


The Clinton/China connection was being quietly investigated until the Lewinsky thing came out. For reasons unknown the investigation was stopped in favor of letting Bill air his dirty laundry in public. As we can see China got the goods on us, literally. Hell, they make all the goods we used to manufacture here. They stole our military and industrial secrets for nothing and bought a few elections. Now they appear to be the heir apparent superpower of the 21st Century. I'd say they made out pretty well and never had to bother with addressing human rights concerns in the process! Tianenmen WHAT? Never happened.

I don't think the blame for this situation can be laid on the feet of any but those in the know directly involved with it. Most of the pre-boomer population thought too well of politicians to believe it was even possible they would sell out their own country. Unthinkable to most of them. If anyone thinks our votes count I assure they haven't since E-voting became the norm. There is no "We the People" any more, only memories a grand idea that was sold out from under us through stealth and deceit. Yes, they're all traitors who should hang by the neck until dead but who's going to do it?

Face it, we're F#%^@d.
Maybe this is why we all dream of asteroids hitting the earth to be sure the guilty go down with the innocent. It's as close to real justice as we could ever get.
edit on 6-8-2015 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 10:13 AM
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"We are free today, substantially, but the day will come when our Republic
will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will
be concentrated in the hands of few. A Republic cannot stand upon
bayonets, and when the day comes…we must rely upon the wisdom of the best
elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nation to the changed
conditions.


James Madison


Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.


John Adams

Too many of us are not educated on how and why this nation was created and the principles that drove the founding fathers.

They knew that money was an "evil" that corrupts and can manipulate. That includes politicians and governments. Our country was created with protections against the influence of money and we have strayed far from those basic principles to the point that our republic is a mockery of what it was designed to be.

Money has no place in politics and money is not free speech. Anyone that claims to uphold the constitution and the rights of free individuals must believe that as well.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 10:16 AM
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As bad as it looks now....

You ain't seen nothin yet!

Military Conscription is about to be reestablished.


edit on 6-8-2015 by olaru12 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 10:26 AM
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originally posted by: TinfoilTP

So you have a problem with the Koch's and Soros's of the world but money from China takes a back burner? A foreign government influencing our elections is akin to an act of War, US citizens pumping their cash into an election is peanuts in comparison.


I'm trying to count the fallacies here and, frankly, I have to congratulate you for leaving me at a total loss as to how to even categorize this mixture. Quite the accomplishment.

I will, however try to address the points in your post while trying not to allow it to derail things.

1) This threads OP did not categorize any special interest as preferred. It specifically addressed the problems of unlimited campaign donations and the system of legal bribery that is currently substituting for Democratic process. At no point does the OP suggest that any group, interest, or political party be somehow exempt from the outrage.

2) If you wish to discuss China "pumping their cash into an election" and that their donations make domestic donations look like "peanuts" in comparison, it would be most helpful for some quantification and sources for all of us to refer to.

3) Red herrings aside, you are aware that the people and entities most influencing our political system are mostly multinational corporations and the people who have become rich from them, and ideas like patriotism or nationalism are not even on their radar list of priorities. They seek to exploit wherever they can, period.
edit on 8/6/15 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 10:52 AM
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originally posted by: TinfoilTP
All I see here is a WAAAAH!!!! a Rep donor, no fair, poor Hillary she is doomed.

Don't worry, the Chinese will funnel more illicit funds to their favorite turncoat family so it all evens out.


This post is what is wrong with US politics. Frame that sucker up and hang it on Uncle Sam's headstone.

Heff....great thread. And exactly true. Exactly true.

Im not sure public funding is the answer. I think regulating "campaigning" as an industry would probably hunt a whole lot better.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 11:06 AM
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a reply to: Hefficide

Great OP SnF

Many great responses and a few that make me scratch my head in disbelief.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 11:15 AM
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Good thread topic.

Sometimes I wonder if the "apathy" that US Citizens is generated to give the impression that voting doesn't matter. Cultivating the idea that government is terrible and not to be trusted. After all, if these two ideas hold in general over pretty much all the population, it gives the impression that your word is not heard and voting just doesn't matter.

Well... Personally I think we have gone way too far and those ideas are firmly entrenched in the minds of the public in a general sense for decades now. There will be no more "getting back to the Constitution", or "get back to the good old days" because they are long gone and we have the hot mess we have now. To many people simply do not trust the government and have forgotten the simple concept of "From the People, By the People, For the people". It has been gone for quite some time now in the American Psyche IMHO.

Besides, If you can take the 40%ish of people that actually vote and divide them into two teams it would be much easier to control.

I think we have gone to far. There is no answer to what we face because all the bases have already been covered. Too late... and have BEEN late for decades.

Local government? Pfft. Both the House and Senate have their own inner hierarchy and if you don't listen with the higher ups then you will get nothing to the floor.

Lady Justice has dropped her blindfold and robe and has whored herself out to the biggest spenders and if you are a nuisance to her, she has that wonderful sword to fulfill her vengeance.

We are already doomed and voting is an industry in itself anymore. All one can do is try ones best to take care of family and live a simple life within your means.



posted on Aug, 6 2015 @ 12:16 PM
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a reply to: Hefficide



Pandora's box is already open. The genie is already out of the bottle.


Indeed. The future has already been selected, the 2016 ballot already chosen.

Come November of next year, the election will be held simply to maintain the peace, more than choose who's next.

...



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