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Is America no longer a Democracy?

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    TPM, April 19, 2014: Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

    TPM reports as follows:

    "A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.

    "Asking "[w]ho really rules?" researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

    "Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

    "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy," they write, "while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."


    There were several other web sources with near the same title. I looked up the actual paper. The title is different. And in reading the paper, no where do the authors directly say that the USA is no longer an actual democracy. Those words are TPM's and not the authors, although one might certainly draw that conclusion.

    Princton Unoversity, April 9, 2014: Testing Theories of American Politics:Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

    From the concluding paragraph:

    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 policy making 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.

    So I believe our democracy is indeed seriously threatened, but it is not yet dead as long as many of us are ready to stand up to the Koch brothers and other powerful oligarchs. If the oligarchs do ever win, we'll have what Wolin describes as an inverted totalitarian form of government. 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 corrupt.

    And sadly, the middle class voters of America would have put them there.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I read (and fully understood) the article Unfortunately the people who should read and understand it never shall as they go through life with Fox News in one year and the American flag stuffed in the other. Under informed, simple minded voters have made the US what it is today, and it certainly isn't a democracy when several hundred wealthy people control the majority of the Supreme Court and both political parties, most of both sides of Congress and the PTOUS.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Yes PGR indeed I've got the feeling that the voting system is hyjacked by the "money"; so where is this country heading to? The have's and have not's?
    Back to the Middle Ages; Castle Lords and the "nothings"; hopefully Robin Hood pops up out of the woods or desert!!!

    ( I guess you meant "ear" instead of year")
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    And I guess he meant POTUS instead of PTOUS.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Senior movement ;)
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    pr Wrote: Senior movement ;)
    What do you mean; bowel movement? What did you eat in NH? Must be the raccoon you shot!! Have fun !! Dutch.
  • Independent
    Yorba Linda, CA
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    Thank God I didn't go to Princeton then!! As your not understanding WHY it's going in THIS direction. Frantically your looking at what President John F Kennedy said 50+ yrs. ago: We are looking at Men,Women,Children being enslaved as the "Agenda 21" has started and we lose ALL are freedoms that our fore fathers fought for so we can HAVE OUR freedom!!
    1st. Signed the Obama care program. In the contract it says we will lose OUR RIGHT to make decisions about OUR individual needs and the gov't will make OUR CHOICES!
    2. Anything you own NOW belongs to the gov't. YOUR CHILDREN will be taken from you and they will learn to live for the gov't and forget the love of a parent.
    3. Your home, cars, bank accounts. Everything is theirs.
    Educate yourself and please print something that we open people eyes about and TAKE ACTION!!
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Ca-nothappy Wrote: Thank God I didn't go to Princeton then!! As your not understanding WHY it's going in THIS direction. Frantically your looking at what President John F Kennedy said 50+ yrs. ago: We are looking at Men,Women,Children being enslaved as the "Agenda 21" has started and we lose ALL are freedoms that our fore fathers fought for so we can HAVE OUR freedom!!
    1st. Signed the Obama care program. In the contract it says we will lose OUR RIGHT to make decisions about OUR individual needs and the gov't will make OUR CHOICES!
    2. Anything you own NOW belongs to the gov't. YOUR CHILDREN will be taken from you and they will learn to live for the gov't and forget the love of a parent.
    3. Your home, cars, bank accounts. Everything is theirs.
    Educate yourself and please print something that we open people eyes about and TAKE ACTION!!
    Yeah..... None of that is happening at all. People aren't being enslaved by the government. The government is not making decisions on your health. The government is not taking everyone's children. And the government is not confiscating homes, cars, and bank accounts.

    Feel free you educate yourself. Though you seem extremely paranoid. I'm all for watching and being suspicious of our government in an attempt to keep them honest, but you're talking crazy talk.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Dutch Wrote:
    pr Wrote: Senior movement ;)
    What do you mean; bowel movement? What did you eat in NH? Must be the raccoon you shot!! Have fun !! Dutch.
    No, it was the Ficher Cat. Theiy're fast but if you swerve off the road onto the sidewalk at the last second they're easy to hit. Of course, there is always the odd ROTC student out running right down the middle of the road in large groups - they're a lot easier to hit but not as tasty. No Divinity School around here or I'd be aiming for one of them for desert, guess I'll have to settle for Half Baked Alaska instead!
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Getting back to the topic; I wished I had an answer! However if I look at the news then I believe this whole country is drunk or everyone is high on something; may be the over-prescribed pills as well. So I think it is neither Democratic nor something else; it is just a question of who pays the tab in the end for the hangover.
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    Would someone please tell me what is "Agenda 21"? I've occasionally heard the phrase, but I don't know its meaning or its origin. But it does vaguely sound like some right-wing paranoia, to make everybody hate the Govt. While we DO have some legitimate reasons to distrust some of the leadership of America right now, -- Obama is NOT the problem. He may be the best HOPE we really do have.

    Everyday I am so happy we have anybody so intelligent, calm, educated, experienced, dedicated, multi-faceted, patriotic, & selfless as to WANT the job of representing this population of Americans at all. The PAY is not as high as most corporation executives, & it is much more dangerous to be the POTUS, especially when the "radical opposition" starts tearing him apart (with hideous lies) every single day. Nobody could believe there is ANY pay worth going through all of that. But we DO really need a HERO like Obama right now, to represent the best of our Democratic spirit & to retain the true ideals of our Founders. -- And let's face it ----- If the Tea-Potters win, ALL HOPE IS LOST.

    Gee, pgr, I thought you had a special permit for ridding the streets of vermin. Good Luck. I usually just drop my gigantic
    Torch on them, (which knocks them out), and then proceed to FRY them, extra crispy. "FREEDOM FRIES" !!
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    "Agenda 21" is a non-binding, purely voluntary measure passed by the UN to promote and establish sustainable development. Essentially, we live on a finite planet and "Agenda 21" is designed to try and slow the rate at which we burn through resources as more and more countries develop and the population rises. I haven't read it all, but it makes no mention of children.

    The Republican National Convention is against because it is "erosive of American sovereignty." It's the same reason they are against most of what the UN does.

    Alabama and Arizona have both passed legislation prohibiting any implementation of "Agenda 21."

    And from Wikipedia "Activists, some of whom have been associated with the Tea Party movement by The New York Times and The Huffington Post, have said that Agenda 21 is a conspiracy by the United Nations to deprive individuals of property rights. Columnists in The Atlantic have linked opposition to Agenda 21 to the property rights movement in the United States. Glenn Beck co-wrote a dystopian novel of this title."

    I have found nothing to legitimize the claim that it would deprive anyone of property rights or that it somehow enslaves children.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    If the Tea Party is against it, then I must be for it. Just saying...

    Mother Jones: "We Don't Need None of That Smart-Growth Communism"

    "Tea partiers' latest fear: a secret UN plan to herd us all into urban "human habitation zones.""

    I don't know who make this stuff up.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Schmidt Wrote: If the Tea Party is against it, then I must be for it. Just saying...
    I know you're joking, but really, probably the worst reason to be for anything.
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    Thanks Zach & Schmidt. -- Good Grief, it is deja vu, all over again. I think you were saying that "Agenda 21" is a movement by the Tea Party -- to convince most of our leaders, especially on a local level --- that the "evil" United Nations is busy plotting to take away our homes & our suburban
    lifestyle. (Some sort of "Communist Plot.") How ORIGINAL of them. Believe it or not, these were some of the major plot lines of the original JBS,
    which you all are bored from listening to. (ha) Robt Welch began his hate rhetoric against the UN way back in 1958, as he put together the first chapter of the John Birch Society. You can find tons of material about the early years of the JBS --- written by Claire Conner, in her book "Wrapped in the Flag" -- (2013) -- Beacon Press, Boston. ----- [she also has many "free" videos on YouTube.]

    I only mention this because it is a fantastically good book, & a great reference, since she lived a life inside the Birch organization, since her father was on the National Council of JBS, & he knew Robt Welch & many others personally. She gives the inside story of her life being surrounded with Birch activities, many at their family home, & she met many of the early leaders of the Society. Like Revilo Oliver, Robt Welch, William Buckley, etc. Mainly, I present her story as PROOF of all the things I have been trying to write for several years, but since my knowledge was limited to personal experience, & a few decades of research, it was apparently not so easily believable. NOTE: that Claire says, herself, that she thinks the Kennedy Ass'n may have been partially caused by Birch activity. Good evidence presented in there. Also, how she thinks the Tea Party is just the same old Birch Society, coming back to life, & its agenda is horrifying to her. As it is to ME. --- Thanks a lot, Claire.