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Has the US become an Oligarchy?

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    An oligarchy is measured by two criteria: How concentrated wealth is in a few hands and how easily said wealth can be used to gain power.

    The US certainly qualifies in the first category. This video effectively and truthfully demonstrates how and why but doesn't really offer a solution. In ancient Rome, one of the more famous oligarchies, the wealthiest 500 men had about 10,000 times more wealth than the average person. The average commoner was a landless slave or farm worker. In the US, the top 500 wealthiest people have about 40,000 times the wealth of the common person. A significant increase over ancient Rome.

    But wealth alone does not make an oligarchy. It also relies on how that wealth can be used to gain power. Does the will of the people often get trumped by special interest groups? Well, according to this study by Princeton and Northwestern, taking data from 1980 to 2002, the answer is yes.

    So, if America is an oligarchy, how to we turn it back into a democracy? How do we undo all the red tape? Do we toss a lot of it and start over or can we repair the current situation? And if you feel it is still a democracy, or somewhere in between the two, do you have any suggestions?

    Keep in mind that even the poorest of Americans still tend to experience a better standard of living than the average person in the rest of the world, so we aren't exactly living in unbearable conditions.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Zach F Wrote: An oligarchy is measured by two criteria: How concentrated wealth is in a few hands and how easily said wealth can be used to gain power.<br /> <br /> The US certainly qualifies in the first category. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">This video</a> effectively and truthfully demonstrates how and why but doesn&#39;t really offer a solution. In ancient Rome, one of the more famous oligarchies, the wealthiest 500 men had about 10,000 times more wealth than the average person. The average commoner was a landless slave or farm worker. In the US, the top 500 wealthiest people have about 40,000 times the wealth of the common person. A significant increase over ancient Rome.<br /> <br /> But wealth alone does not make an oligarchy. It also relies on how that wealth can be used to gain power. Does the will of the people often get trumped by special interest groups? Well, according to <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/21/americas-oligarchy-not-democracy-or-republic-unive/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">this study</a> by Princeton and Northwestern, taking data from 1980 to 2002, the answer is yes.<br /> <br /> So, if America is an oligarchy, how to we turn it back into a democracy? How do we undo all the red tape? Do we toss a lot of it and start over or can we repair the current situation? And if you feel it is still a democracy, or somewhere in between the two, do you have any suggestions?<br /> <br /> Keep in mind that even the poorest of Americans still tend to experience a better standard of living than the average person in the rest of the world, so we aren&#39;t exactly living in unbearable conditions.
    100% correct! but the typical American, not to mention the typical voter, has no concept of this, let alone understanding of how and way it happened. If you ever suggested to a Republican, Tea Partier that they were responsible for this happening they would look at you as if you were speaking a foreign language to them. In the USA, ignorance is not bliss, it's the norm, unfortunately!
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Well, let's be honest. The Dems haven't exactly taken many steps to stop this. They enjoy and rely on all the lobbyists and wealthy donors just as much as the Reps
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    This is definitely an oligarchy, or very well into becoming one. RULE of the RICH top 1%. How do we correct this situation? I have not yet seen your videos, so maybe I am going to be redundant. But the way things got this bad is not easy to correct. The Wealthy people are in a position where they can control our employment, most of our govt, world trade, & global currency. They can "rig" elections & the stock market. They have very large influence on other nations. They also have a large amount of control over our Media. Now they have multitudes of radio stations and even TV channels that tell NOTHING but LYING Propaganda (24/7) -- ALL of it geared to destroy democracy & the Democratic Party.

    These are the sources of Power -- & all of this control has been created over 55 years of GOP (acting in alliance with the John Birch Society) to infiltrate all of our infrastructure. Including the Banking system, industrial executive power, sponsorship of the media, etc. Also, they began in the late 1950's to actually infiltrate the churches. They actually taught JBS to infiltrate 2 churches at once (wife going to one church & husband going to another one), so as to "double" JBS influence in their area. Soon they could influence the sermons being spoken at the pulpit. And the type of govt policies people would vote for, since they said it was "God's idea." JBS got involved early in many Evangelical radio broadcasts.

    Gradually, insidiously, right-wing propaganda got smuggled into textbooks, political campaigns, religious causes, & the complete brain-washing of America had begun. Now you will see approx 50% of Americans Vote right-wing ideas, no matter how crazy they sound. They have been totally brain-washed to HATE any idea of "democracy" or "liberal" & that idea has been drummed into their heads for 55 years. This DID NOT happen by accident, but it was all orchestrated by Robt Welch, who "planned" it all, in his Blue Book (manual of JBS) written 1958. The plan was to make Americans accept & applaud ideas that would destroy & abolish our ideals of "democracy" that came from our true Founders.

    In short, their whole plan was to "set us up" for Fascist Oligarchy, where the people would be pawns in the game, having no wealth or power, & so only the rich fat cats would have power, who "rigged" the game for themselves, using every form of cheating & corruption, even Treason.

    NOW how can we Change It? Can the Indians go back in Time & win their Tribal Land back? Could they win, with bows & arrows on horseback, against the white man with guns & covered wagons? Could small tribes win against an avalanche of immigrant white men, coming in endless streams in boats from Europe? NO. They were killed, captured & locked away on Reservations, sometimes with no adequate food supply.

    WE are as powerless as those Indians, & the corporate rulers can crush us all with a single blow. They could lock us away in stockades or put us into work camps, as is done in every communist nation, like Russian Gulags & Chinese work camps, & Nazi concentration camps (stalags). The corporate fascist leaders have already begun suppression, & note how they had any "peaceful" protestors (the Occupy Movement) treated like rabid animals & maced with toxic sprays, beaten & dragged, cuffed & arrested, --- & WHAT EVER happened to them? Does anybody KNOW?

    So if we could return to the good old days. The Native Indians vs the White Men. What should the Indians have done?
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    EF

    You could be mistaken on this. If 200,000 angry mobsters rushed congress they couldn't be stopped. There aren't enough bullets to stop that many people. This would require help from our military which would never attack it's own citizens...You see, our military is our citizenry.

    The powers that be control us by dividing us. By making us hate each other....Christians v. atheists....homos v. non homos...immigration, social issues...

    This method is the most effective in that we enslave ourselves. We have the keys to everything and we don't act.....we are fat, lazy, complacent coffee shop revolutionaries

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    I wouldn't say that we are necessarily fat, lazy and complacent. Like I said, even poor Americans still enjoy a higher standard of living than the average citizen of the world. Which means, that even the poorest of Americans still have a lot to lose if violence breaks out. As awful as this imbalance is, I don't think that a violent revolution is the solution yet.
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    Since 70 % of the world lives on 5.00 a day in wages that's not saying much. It's welfare that keeps the poor complacent and the powers that be know this. You have to want better to fight for better.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    True, but you can't effectively compare $5.00/day in one country to $10.00/hour in the US. The cost of living in those $5.00/day countries is MUCH lower than the cost of living here. I'm not saying $5.00/day is good, I'm not even saying that it is okay to pay this wage in those countries. I'm just saying at the surface, $5.00/day is quite as terrible as it may seem.

    I'm usually a cynical, jaded human being. But I would like to think that we have yet to reach a point where an armed revolution is needed to alter the course of the government. I like to think that an organized, peaceful string of mass protest AND voting can break up the two party system control. And it has to be highly organized, not the Occupy movement structure (or lack there-of).

    I have no statistics, studies nor precedents to back up these hopes. I only offer platitudes. And I may be completely wrong. There is certainly a point where my mind can change. I have no idea where that line begins, and I hope I never find it, but I do know that line is there, somewhere.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Unfortunately, if history is our giuide, things have only been getting worse since Regan was president and shall continue to slide downhill until it becomes too much for the average citizen. By then, even now, it may be too late. When you live in a culture of low information, gun nut, religious evangelical believers things don't look to promising. The wrong people already own the Congress, Supremes, the army and the media. And... You are correct, the Dems are only slightly better. They give us lip service and lots of promises and then go out, just like their Republican colleagues, and enrich themselves at our expense.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Like "eternal" said : what solution if any? My opinion is; it will go on for a while until WWIII. Then we all will be looking for shelter and food!!

    The problem is not pure internal USA; we spread our "bad culture" worldwide; this eventually may lead to more and more conflicts because of the have and have not's. Over population,shortage of food, energy, fresh air, water as well as our "greed" will eventually make this planet unmanageable.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Zach F Wrote: So, if America is an oligarchy, how to we turn it back into a democracy? How do we undo all the red tape? Do we toss a lot of it and start over or can we repair the current situation? And if you feel it is still a democracy, or somewhere in between the two, do you have any suggestions?
    The question we have to ask is if we have ever not been one. If we really want to be honest with ourselves, then we must admit the United States has never been a true democracy and has basically been an oligarchy since well before its inception. A powerful few have always used the democratic process as a means to increase their massive wealth and consolidate their political power, but what surprises me is that we are now seeing an unprecedented and ever expanding gap that we may never be able to reign back in.

    I readily admit that I expected to find rather equal income gaps between the super rich and the rest of the population when I began reading up on the issue, but I was rather surprised to find out the gap we are witnessing now is larger than it has ever been. How we fix that is the million dollar question.

    Zach F Wrote: Keep in mind that even the poorest of Americans still tend to experience a better standard of living than the average person in the rest of the world, so we aren't exactly living in unbearable conditions.
    I'm finishing up a few month stint in Peru and this is in striking display. The poor people in Peru live in conditions that we can not imagine in the United States. In the same breath, Peru is a third world/emerging country that has finite financial resources. America is not a third world country and has no excuse for letting millions of her citizens fall into deep poverty so we can continue perpetuating the status quo.
  • Independent
    Mobile, AL
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    Thank you for posting this...the video helped me to 'see' what I think I have sensed (dreaded?) for a long time. I plan on sharing this with many people....
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    Today.... The US has the resources to easily solve these problems. There's no profit in solving these problems. The powers that be use our tax money to set themselves up to make money. jared is correct. The US has never been a true democracy.

    Moms apple pie is starting to look like a shit smoothie
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    It is hard to realize that all the most "evil" changes made recently to our system of govt, have been DELIBERATE & when you trace it back, it actually began 55 yrs ago. The Koch Bros are the sons of Fred Koch, who was on the JBS national council back in 1958. And Fred Koch lived in Soviet Russia learning the petroleum business prior to that. HE LEARNED the PETROLEUM Business working with Joseph Stalin, the Communist Dictator in Russia. BONG. Just think about that for a second.

    Then with his millions, he came here, started working with the Birch Society, which "does NOT believe in democracy." BONG. And together, in a secret society, they began working to undermine our govt, & make our people believe all kinds of idiot ideas, & using all techniques out of a "spy handbook" they began subverting our govt in every way they could, until now, we have a LYING propaganda media (like Rushbo & Fauxy News) & a Supreme Court which is totally "bought & owned" by the Koch Bros. BONG.

    They have subverted & neutered at least HALF of our Congress, with the House of Reps being totally "bribed" puppets, doing as they are told to do, even trying to "bring down the govt of the USA" by dropping us $ "over the cliff" every few months. BONG. This "bribery" of Congress, is done by Grover Norquist, who is part of the Bush, Cheney, Karl Rove gang who started (by lies & deception) the whole IRAQ WAR. BONG.

    Now, I just learned this a few years ago, THE BEST WAY TO WIN A WAR IS TO BANKRUPT YOUR ENEMY. You don't need the biggest Army, or the greatest fleet of battleships, or multitudes of soldiers deployed all over the world. You ONLY need to Bankrupt your Enemy. And as we all know, the USA is now bankrupt. We are having to borrow money from Red Communist China (an ENEMY). WHY would we ever Borrow Money unless we were broke? If we had tons of money here, we would just PAY our Bills. Nobody in their right mind would borrow money & pay interest on it, to the tune of millions of $$, (to an enemy nation) UNLESS they were broke. So, by their GOP subversive plot, to get us into endless war with places like IRAQ, and AFGHANISTAN, & Palestine, & Red China, & North Korea, -- & just throw a dart anyplace on the world map -- these GOP slimeballs have gotten us into an Endless War, -- just like in George Orwell's novel "1984".

    And once "bankrupt" you can never recover financially, so the world currency goes down, until your economy fails, and your people go hungry. Because our wonderful GOP have also "outsourced" all our jobs. No Kidding. Unfortunately this is NOT A GAME. The Way to WIN the War -- is to Bankrupt your Enemy. (Well, guys, thanks to our GOP, we did NOT WIN). -- Or should I say the American People did not win.

    And NOW, the GOP are busy depriving us of our own VOTES, which is the very basis of a Democracy. The GOP subversion is now very nearly complete. They have bankrupted us & crippled our U.S. Government. -- Until it is now -- out of our control.

    We have lived under freedom & luxury for too long. We do not recognize the danger right in front of our eyes. We may not recognize it until we are being hauled off to makeshift jail cells by thugs in uniforms of another nation. The men behind those black "head shields" (riot gear) in modern law enforcement, are worn to protect them, but also to make them "unidentifiable" -- Hmmm -- Why would they do that?