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Robert Reich begins: "It's a perfect storm. And I'm not talking about the impending dangers facing Democrats. I'm talking about the dangers facing our democracy."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)


The Perfect Storm

Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

18 October 10

 

t's a perfect storm. And I'm not talking about the impending dangers facing Democrats. I'm talking about the dangers facing our democracy.

First, income in America is now more concentrated in fewer hands than it's been in 80 years. Almost a quarter of total income generated in the United States is going to the top 1 percent of Americans.

The top one-tenth of one percent of Americans now earn as much as the bottom 120 million of us.

Who are these people? With the exception of a few entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, they're top executives of big corporations and Wall Street, hedge-fund managers, and private equity managers. They include the Koch brothers, whose wealth increased by billions last year, and who are now funding tea party candidates across the nation.

Which gets us to the second part of the perfect storm. A relatively few Americans are buying our democracy as never before. And they're doing it completely in secret.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into advertisements for and against candidates - without a trace of where the dollars are coming from. They're laundered through a handful of groups. Fred Maleck, whom you may remember as deputy director of Richard Nixon's notorious Committee to Reelect the President (dubbed Creep in the Watergate scandal), is running one of them. Republican operative Karl Rove runs another. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a third.

The Supreme Court's Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission made it possible. The Federal Election Commission says only 32 percent of groups paying for election ads are disclosing the names of their donors. By comparison, in the 2006 midterm, 97 percent disclosed; in 2008, almost half disclosed.

We're back to the late 19th century when the lackeys of robber barons literally deposited sacks of cash on the desks of friendly legislators. The public never knew who was bribing whom.

Just before it recessed the House passed a bill that would require that the names of all such donors be publicly disclosed. But it couldn't get through the Senate. Every Republican voted against it. (To see how far the GOP has come, nearly ten years ago campaign disclosure was supported by 48 of 54 Republican senators.)

Here's the third part of the perfect storm. Most Americans are in trouble. Their jobs, incomes, savings, and even homes are on the line. They need a government that's working for them, not for the privileged and the powerful.

Yet their state and local taxes are rising. And their services are being cut. Teachers and firefighters are being laid off. The roads and bridges they count on are crumbling, pipelines are leaking, schools are dilapidated, and public libraries are being shut.

There's no jobs bill to speak of. No WPA to hire those who can't find jobs in the private sector. Unemployment insurance doesn't reach half of the unemployed.

Washington says nothing can be done. There's no money left.

No money? The marginal income tax rate on the very rich is the lowest it's been in more than 80 years. Under President Dwight Eisenhower (who no one would have accused of being a radical) it was 91 percent. Now it's 36 percent. Congress is even fighting over whether to end the temporary Bush tax cut for the rich and return them to the Clinton top tax of 39 percent.

Much of the income of the highest earners is treated as capital gains, anyway - subject to a 15 percent tax. The typical hedge-fund and private-equity manager paid only 17 percent last year. Their earnings were not exactly modest. The top 15 hedge-fund managers earned an average of $1 billion.

Congress won't even return to the estate tax in place during the Clinton administration – which applied only to those in the top 2 percent of incomes.

It won't limit the tax deductions of the very rich, which include interest payments on multi-million dollar mortgages. (Yet Wall Street refuses to allow homeowners who can't meet mortgage payments to include their primary residence in personal bankruptcy.)

There's plenty of money to help stranded Americans, just not the political will to raise it. And at the rate secret money is flooding our political system, even less political will in the future.

The perfect storm: An unprecedented concentration of income and wealth at the top; a record amount of secret money flooding our democracy; and a public becoming increasingly angry and cynical about a government that's raising its taxes, reducing its services, and unable to get it back to work.

We're losing our democracy to a different system. It's called plutocracy.

 

Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

 

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+91 # m 2010-10-18 20:02
''We're losing our democracy to a different system. It's called plutocracy.''

Plutocracy perhaps. But we are surely losing our Republic to a new phenomenon for sure-- a COROPORATACRACY OF THE CORPORATE BY THE CORPORATE AND FOR THE CORPORATE supported by the narrowly owned Global Corporate Media which now own almost all Media Enterprises in America-- Soon to probably become completely consolidated under one Global Corporate Roof and become the New Propaganda Ministry-or- The Center for Spoken 'Truth' and Social Calm or something like that.

There are three branches of Corpor-governation...
1. The Executive Back Patter in Chief who has been deregulated into the back seat.
2. The US(urped) Congress of Corporate Facilitations.
3. The Supreme Court of Corporate Considerations.

Elections are still held so as to keep the Consumers happy that they can pull the lever against somebody in order to vent their corporate media driven anger every two years.
 
 
+46 # scarabocion 2010-10-19 06:30
Mussolini considered "Corporatism" as the name for his movement before deciding on Fascism. Even more appropriate today.
 
 
+6 # wswalcott 2010-10-22 10:57
You are correct! Here is Mussolini's quote as well as one from A.L. and T.J.

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.

-- Benito Mussolini
_____________________________
"I hope we shall crush ... in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
--Thomas Jefferson

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
-- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
 
 
+42 # motamanx 2010-10-19 07:40
Worst of those was the Supreme Court, which allowed that Corporations had the rights of people.
 
 
+41 # Ron D 2010-10-18 20:08
The author mentions Eisenhower but fails to mention Eisenhowers' famous speech about the unchecked growth of the military industrial complex. In fact, the author doesn't even mention the military budget, which is the biggest reason we're eating spam and watching "Dog, Bounty Hunter" re-runs on Saturday night. How the author can forget about this elephant in the living room in an article about the US economy is mysterious at best, suspicious at worst.
 
 
+32 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-18 21:51
Quoting Ron D:
The author mentions Eisenhower but fails to mention Eisenhowers' famous speech about the unchecked growth of the military industrial complex. In fact, the author doesn't even mention the military budget, which is the biggest reason we're eating spam and watching "Dog, Bounty Hunter" re-runs on Saturday night. How the author can forget about this elephant in the living room in an article about the US economy is mysterious at best, suspicious at worst.


Now Ron D, in all fairness Robert Reich has opined on these many times before. In the context of his article it really is sufficient to say that the rich are not paying their fare share, arguably 91%. Perhaps if they were the waste you mentioned might actually be quite affordable after all...and that IS the point. We are paying more for less because the wealthy are paying way too little and of course it is an irony that those who benefit the most pay proportional the very least.
 
 
+4 # Big Wave Dave 2010-10-20 00:23
YOU ARE DEAD=ON!!!
 
 
+9 # Big Wave Dave 2010-10-20 00:28
For Mr. Fletcher:

In Dwight Eisenhower's farewell speech in chapter 5 (V) he said:

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow". Insolvency... indeed!

Big Wave Dave, Ventura, Calif.
 
 
+63 # Michael Bugg 2010-10-18 20:37
Amen Robert! And so many gullible middle class and poor are aiding the rich by voting for their RepubliCON lackeys in the case of middle class voters, and by not voting at all in the case of man poor voters! I don't know which is worse now in this country, ignorance or apathy?!
 
 
+31 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-18 21:52
Quoting Michael Bugg:
Amen Robert! And so many gullible middle class and poor are aiding the rich by voting for their RepubliCON lackeys in the case of middle class voters, and by not voting at all in the case of man poor voters! I don't know which is worse now in this country, ignorance or apathy?!


I'd say ignorance by far, and willful ignorance at that.
 
 
+15 # Greg Pappas 2010-10-19 07:59
Quoting Michael Bugg:
Amen Robert! And so many gullible middle class and poor are aiding the rich by voting for their RepubliCON lackeys in the case of middle class voters, and by not voting at all in the case of man poor voters! I don't know which is worse now in this country, ignorance or apathy?!

"Which is worse now in this country, ignorance or apathy?"and unfortunately the average citizen answers "I don't know, and I don't care!"
 
 
+12 # Janeathena 2010-10-19 08:23
It's a double edged sward. Both sides have been bought and paid for. Theres no one we can trust. I'm poor and I vote but its all the same monster.
 
 
+4 # PeriodCaseClosed 2010-10-19 10:04
Ah, yes, sad, but true for the most part. It simply does't matter who is in office; Black, white, gay, straight, christian, muslim...well, you get the point. I do believe they go into office with good intentions,init ially. I'm sort of sitting back asking the question, "How Much More? Will they leave anything for the poor?"
 
 
-3 # Richard Collins 2010-10-21 07:57
@periodCaseClosed
You could not be more wrong. It matters a great deal who is elected this November. You are woefully misinformed and another one of those who think cynicism is smart and chic. Because of people with your attitude loony tea baggers have gained credibility.
 
 
+2 # Mike K 2010-10-25 13:22
Very true, this november we have a choice between a not that great Centrist party and Horrible two faced party of right wing extreamist hypocrites most of whom have sold them selves to the corporate powers/ideaolog y that has destroy so much over the decades.
Read Naomi Klein's the Shock Doctrine.
 
 
+3 # Missy 2010-10-19 10:14
Not entirely true. At least the Dems try to help the blue oollar worker and the middle class while the GOP has dedicated themselves to undoing everything that FDR did to help them. Republicans have always been the party dedicated to the wealthy while the Dems are dedicated to help the middle class. Read your history.
 
 
+6 # Janeathena 2010-10-19 10:53
I'm not going to vote for a party because it "historically" helped the lower class. Actions speak louder than words and I don't agree with my Senators votes nor any other politian who votes strictly on party lines. The Dems have had full control and how much help have we gotten? Theres no excuse... they've been bought
 
 
0 # Ron Fletcher 2010-10-20 03:26
The Dems are as corrupt as the Repubes...they just pretend otherwise...muc h as the Repubes pretend to the unwashed masses of Glen Beck fans.
 
 
+45 # Texas Aggie 2010-10-18 20:54
The first time around the Robber Barons were just seeing how the game is played, and they lost. This time they have the benefit of experience and they are winning.

I have to wonder if their program doesn't have a weak link, however. They are using people like Beck, Bachmann and Palin to push their agenda, but these people are also pushing so-called second amendment solutions which may erupt in the sort of solution that the wealthy want no part of.

My own feeling is that instead of an armed insurrection, their program will result in a massive violent criminal eruption similar to what Mexico is now facing. The rich in Mexico are getting out as fast as they can, but what happens to the uberwealthy in the US when their lives in the US are threatened? Where do they go to be safe then?
 
 
+12 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-18 21:53
Quoting Texas Aggie:
The first time around the Robber Barons were just seeing how the game is played, and they lost. This time they have the benefit of experience and they are winning.

I have to wonder if their program doesn't have a weak link, however. They are using people like Beck, Bachmann and Palin to push their agenda, but these people are also pushing so-called second amendment solutions which may erupt in the sort of solution that the wealthy want no part of.

My own feeling is that instead of an armed insurrection, their program will result in a massive violent criminal eruption similar to what Mexico is now facing. The rich in Mexico are getting out as fast as they can, but what happens to the uberwealthy in the US when their lives in the US are threatened? Where do they go to be safe then?


PRECISELY!
 
 
+17 # Ed McC 2010-10-18 22:40
they are building a huge yacht to take them all to sea...it was a story a few months ago.... they will all hide in this bunker like ship like Cheney did after 9/11 - the cowards! Guilty as Charged!
 
 
+16 # AML 2010-10-19 05:48
They go to Mexico, where you can hire an army to guard your lifestyle. Or, like Cheney and Busn, buy a large tract of land in a South American country that does not honor extradition.
 
 
+1 # Ron Fletcher 2010-10-20 03:28
At least they are out of here and stealing our Democracy and money!
 
 
+16 # Cat Callahan 2010-10-19 07:43
what happens to the very wealthy? Most have accounts in European banks and the Bush family has a huge ranch in Paraguay! These rats will jump ship in a heartbeat and then Henry Kissinger's foreign troops will begin the bloodbath of hauling us off to FEMA camps!
 
 
+3 # Big Wave Dave 2010-10-20 00:31
Why do you think the "uber rich" live in gated communities? Black Water (I mean "E") is just waiting for something like this to happen! People start watching for those blackhawk helicopters with hellfire missles coming to your state soon!
 
 
0 # john henry 2010-10-23 13:56
Aggie,
You say, "The first time around the Robber Barons were just seeing how the game is played, and they lost."

Think that one through again. Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller and the boys certainly did not loose. Their money continues to fund Progressive reform in America and more importantly in the other continents of our planet. Through education and research and foundation and many an intrusive institution, their schemes drive modernity. I doubt you studied under a single Aggie Prof whose foundational ideas were not grounded in the notions of those men. Shucks, Henry Ford benefited from association with their works and it was his expertise in mass production that laid an industrial foundation under the Soviet Union back in the 20s and 30s.
May the Council on Foreign Relations and the UN Charter continue to bless you.
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-24 05:02
Got a point there Johnny. Could it be that they didn't lose but we did? Oh sure, mention the unquestionable contributions of their money toward the advancement of technology, research and education...all pretty much dedicated to expanding the wealth of hte wealthy I'd guess, since none of that largess has gone to the benefit of the rest of us without a cumulative price far exceedng cost to far too great an extent. And progressive reform for whom? Again, how tricky semantics are. That their money continues to "fund Progessive reform"? I'd like to know: progressive to who? And gotta' love the wonders of mass production! Now John, please, what can you do to support bringing that mass production back to America to help reduce the growing levels of unemployement and low paying service sector jobs?
 
 
+14 # GeraldT 2010-10-18 21:07
Aggie, the rich can move to any number of other countries and use their wealth to live quite safely and happily. Countries where the ruling classes keep the populace too scared, hungry and/or sick to fight back effectively, where what little work exists pays $1 per day, there are no environmental or worker protection laws and the rich can become even richer by joining in on the fleecing of their new countrymen. You know - what America will be like in 25 years after the Republicans take over and wipe out all opposition to the new class of robber barons. When that happens the former U.S. rich would move back - if they want.
 
 
+34 # Klare 2010-10-18 21:20
This is a pretty mild article--I am disappointed in Reich! I want to know when Americans are going to take to the streets and storm Washington in protests the likes of which they've never seen before!
 
 
+29 # Existe 2010-10-19 06:26
Quoting Klare:
This is a pretty mild article--I am disappointed in Reich! I want to know when Americans are going to take to the streets and storm Washington in protests the likes of which they've never seen before!


Good point Klare, except for one thing--we don't need to storm Washington, that's a distraction. We need to storm New York City. Wall Street. Big Banks headquarters. Corporate headquarters. Where the real action is.
 
 
+4 # FIRO 2010-10-19 09:59
Very true, Existe
 
 
+28 # Patricia Chang 2010-10-18 21:33
I also have to wonder why we keep on throwing billions down a rathole in Afghanistan?! It can only be to cater to the Military-Indust rial Complex, now extremely bloated from sucking up trillions of our tax dollars. Meanwhile, Barack Obama has folded like a lawn chair; and enables them to continue their monstrous gluttony. Then, he stands by and allows the banks to continue foreclosing on homes. He stands by and allows health insurance companies to raise premiums, deductibles and copays. He has done a great deal of standing by; but cannot comprehend why people no longer enthusiasticall y support him or the Democrats. He defers to Congress, knowing damned well that the Republicans in the Senate have effectively castrated progress. The Fat Cats have taken over this country lock, stock and barrel. The Sheeple shoot themselves in the foot one way or another, then weep and wail that they cannot walk. A wag on another blog called them Boobus Americanus. I would have to agree. Collapse is imminent.
 
 
+3 # Joseph Goldman 2010-10-19 10:19
[quote name I would have to agree. Collapse is imminent.
But still use your remaining power. Vote. You'd be surprised how our collective votes makes a difference. Just make sure it is counted, use paper.
 
 
+3 # Big Wave Dave 2010-10-20 00:36
I would remind everyone (or recommend!) watching "The Fog of War" & listen carefully when Robert McNamara admits that neither he nor President Kennedy were informed that the CIA was going to assassinate Ngo Dinh Diem prior to the over-throw" of Viet Nam's president. President Kennedy was assassinated a few months later. If you think Obama has any power to really change things, than you are pissin' in the wind my friend!

Ventura, Calif.
 
 
+2 # bjw 2010-10-23 13:05
I am afraid you are right. Obama has very little power and if better Democrats are not elected, he will have even less. If the Tea Party gets a big win, we will go from gridlock to anarchy. The more communication devices people have, the more isolated they have become from the world around and ignore anything not on the small screens and not coming through the ear buds.

While I watched the rescue of the miners in Chile, I was thinking: This country used to do things like that, but we can't anymore. We lurch from one disaster to another due to ineptitude and corruption.
 
 
+1 # Ron Fletcher 2010-10-20 03:31
Imagine what would happen if the military layed off all of those soldiers it no longer needs in Afg. Unemployment goes up...so we won't be seeing any pull-out until the economy goes up.
 
 
+24 # MajMD 2010-10-18 21:47
Government by corporation is not just a plutocracy it is fascism dictatorship nothing less. This is the gift of a child like rabble, confused by FOX-PAC into handing over the keys of the house to thieves
 
 
+2 # Irv 2010-10-18 22:01
Share with your friends! Irv
 
 
+31 # Paul Marioni 2010-10-18 22:01
It's the perfect storm alright. Greed never sleeps and Ignorance never wakes up.
 
 
+8 # Mark 2010-10-19 04:17
Hammer Nail Head
 
 
+6 # Wes Wilson 2010-10-19 06:32
Quoting Paul Marioni:
It's the perfect storm alright. Greed never sleeps and Ignorance never wakes up.

I suggest we not think "never" Paul. There must be a better way that can yet be invented.
 
 
+5 # Wes Wilson 2010-10-19 06:34
Hi Paul - Don't even think "never" - US folks just need to use our heads and keep inventing.
 
 
+15 # Reed Kinney 2010-10-18 22:11
“We're losing our democracy to a different system. It's called plutocracy.”

Dear Robert Reich,

Your assessment is correct, and it has been that way for decades. It is the nature of power to continually fall to fewer hands. But, what is to be done about it; have elections? The political apparatus is completely dysfunctional in that regard. The situation can not be altered within its own context.

So, again, what the heck do you think can be done about it?
Please, let me know.

Sincerely yours, Reed Kinney
 
 
+4 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 22:41
The answer is already known Reed. It's called revolution. But do we have the courage? In response to that: I say we will find the courage when we have nothing less to lose, and that day is fast approaching. The tsunami is coming.
 
 
+33 # steve 2010-10-18 23:20
Mr. Reich, why no word about the wars? The trillion $ wasted on senseless and doomed military adventures overseas? The thousands of military bases, the billions to Israel, Egypt, and other 'clients'?

Yes, we must tax the rich. Yes, we need a new WPA. Real healthcare, public option.

But lets stop the wars and the worship of the military, and spend that money at home.
 
 
+5 # Jewellstar3 2010-10-19 16:01
When they figure out to make money from peace, then we will have it.
 
 
+19 # Blly G. 2010-10-18 23:25
Not to mention the people sitting in the Whitehouse; the Kennedy's, the Bush family, the Clintons, all connected to organized crime units. Some of those names whose own family members had even helped Hitler rise to power. The people who've been in the Whitehouse as 2nd in command had worked in the pentagon, big oil and even tried to sell global warming tax, politicans that lobby for bills in congress that give companies huge chunks of tax payers money - such as the hundreds of billions big pharma received thanks to these spineless snakes, who then go onto to work for those companies after they leave congress. America is too afraid to face the truth, but you are going to have to face-up to the facts. You are slaves and the government is treating you like complete idiots. And no amount of food, perverted habits and dope is going to solve the problem. One would figure the Gulf oil spill would have opened your collective eye's to how stupid the government thinks you all are. You're just too damn lazy.
 
 
+9 # Amanda Casha 2010-10-19 05:25
Wow, Blly G. I'd say that is spot on...doesnt seem to be a solution either.
Sad! This was such great place at one time. Now we have pulp TV and the dumbing down of the populace is complete.
We sat back and watched the whole thing.
 
 
+4 # Sirius Black 2010-10-18 23:28
I tore my ballot to pieces and threw it in the trash. I am over the donkey and elephant puppet shows.
 
 
+7 # Glen 2010-10-19 05:02
Sirius, you are among thousands who have given up. It is rather a losing battle and I agree with you on the puppet shows. Voting is a dead effort but I do not like the alternative of perhaps engaging in a revolution. Hitting the streets in major numbers may or may not accomplish anything, but good luck organizing folks for a true demonstration. Nobody is afraid of citizens. The wealthy, corporations, and the government have their own fire power that far surpasses anything citizens could muster.
 
 
+7 # HybridRogue 2010-10-19 06:20
It is either hitting the streets by choice of hitting the streets because you've been thrown out into them...

That fire power hasn't even put down Afghanistan--ne ver really subdued Iraq.
Don't Americans have as much spirit is those two peoples?

Like most mainstream commentary Riech is way behind the curve. We lost the republic in 1947 with the imposition of the national security state. The people have been used--and now used up--they are through with us...trash time.\\ll//
 
 
+3 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 22:52
Glen, you seriously underestimate the capacity for people to endure suffering on principle. Right now we see a lot of suffering being tolerated in the vain hope that things will somehow get better on their own. But the won't, and it is just a matter of time. Example: All the guns we have will never defeat Afghani resistance for a reason. The Afghans, bombed into the 12th century as they are, have nothing to lose. The only way they can be defeated is if every last man, woman and child is slaughtered. That ain't about to happen. But revolution in America, when it comes, and it will, even if the cost is millions killed, will still come. The bottom 98% is more powerful than they think. The only thing standing between the status quo and revolution is a vacuum of leadership...an d that vacuum WILL be filled soon. When the revolution comes I will be in the thick of it. Where will you be? Be prepared to fight at the risk of destruction, or be destroyed any way. You decide.
 
 
+1 # Joseph Goldman 2010-10-19 10:29
Quoting Sirius Black:
I tore my ballot to pieces and threw it in the trash. I am over the donkey and elephant puppet shows.

Never give up your power. All of history and all of science indicates the that balance is what prevails. Your vote is part of the collective power of the masses that provides that balance. Just make sure it is counted, use paper.
 
 
-4 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 22:56
Quoting Joseph Goldman:
Quoting Sirius Black:
I tore my ballot to pieces and threw it in the trash. I am over the donkey and elephant puppet shows.

Never give up your power. All of history and all of science indicates the that balance is what prevails. Your vote is part of the collective power of the masses that provides that balance. Just make sure it is counted, use paper.

I wish you were right. I'm going to vote but please don't tell me it has anything to do with changing anything AT ALL. People who think that they are doing their patriotic duty by voting...and are actually participating in representationa l democracy, need to have their heads examined. It just isn't so. Joseph, your say on who even gets to run in the first place (unless you're extremely wealthy) is zip, zero, nada...just plain nothing. If you believe in participatory democracy and are confused enough into believing that voting at this time matters, you have my pity.
 
 
+29 # Marco 2010-10-18 23:52
The danger is being in denial. We continue to have these articles which tell us power is consolidating at the top, and we (the peasants) in the bottom 99% are losing our rights. Now if we were in a big prison, and the guards got more and more food, and better cars, and were living in greater and greater luxury while we, the inmates, got less and less until we hardly had a pot to piss in and on top of that were losing more privileges each day, we would probably realize it's just a matter of time before some of us begin to quietly disappear - that our lives were in danger. We would have been reduced in power to the point where we no longer were being treated as human and so we could see the end result was that we were about to be disposed of. But because we are not as savvy as most inmates would be in such circumstances, and we have been brainwashed to believe these institutions serve us, we are not going to see what is happening until it is upon us. It's harvest time folks.
 
 
+3 # Austin Loomis 2010-10-19 06:05
Quoting Marco:
Now if we were in a big prison, [...] we would probably realize it's just a matter of time before some of us begin to quietly disappear - that our lives were in danger [...] that we were about to be disposed of. But because we [...] have been brainwashed [...] we are not going to see what is happening until it is upon us. It's harvest time folks.


"I think I saw a real estate agent."
-- Alice Sheldon, "The Screwfly Solution"

"[T]he ideal would be to train cattle to make butcher knives and take turns cutting each other up at a convenient location. [...] Which leaves only one more basic attribute of my people: we are very, very hungry."
-- Broodseven-sub- two Raksha of the Krundai, in "Unnatural Causes" by Spider Robinson

"I think we're fished for."
-- Charles Hoy Fort
 
 
+3 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 22:59
I wish I could recall the name of the Depression era poet who wrote: "It isn't that we die, but that we die like sheep." That's the way it is. Our sheeple are in the slaughtering pens and don't seem to get it even yet.
 
 
+2 # Big Wave Dave 2010-10-20 01:20
"we would probably realize it's just a matter of time before some of us begin to quietly disappear"...
I lived in Argentina in 1978 & there wasn't a damn thing anyone could do about being "disappeared". If they want you, (even if your NOT in a cell) you will be theirs! All the military might & power we have created to fight these terrorists can easily be turned in our direction!
 
 
+1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-22 02:09
Quoting Big Wave Dave:
"we would probably realize it's just a matter of time before some of us begin to quietly disappear"...
I lived in Argentina in 1978 & there wasn't a damn thing anyone could do about being "disappeared". If they want you, (even if your NOT in a cell) you will be theirs! All the military might & power we have created to fight these terrorists can easily be turned in our direction!

I even suspect that it has already begun. You're right. If it hasn't it will. This is standard operating procedure for our intelligence forces outside of our boarders and has been for decades. With the Patriot Act for one thing, it seems simply inevitable.
 
 
-17 # Ron Paul 2012 2010-10-19 00:07
We live in a REPUBLIC not a DEMOCRACY. Perhaps you are part of the problem?
 
 
+8 # gabriel lori 2010-10-19 03:27
Dear Patricia Chang,Man you got it right!!!If the republicans win this election,you can kiss it all goodbye,down the toilet!!!!!hold on for the ride its gonna get slippery when wet!!!
 
 
+3 # Ron Fletcher 2010-10-20 03:37
When it gets bad enough, the public will start paying attention or die. That is the future...the pinkertons(Blac kwater) will be killing us soon.
 
 
+1 # Jack E Lohman 2010-10-19 04:35
Maybe we'd be better off with a democracy!
 
 
+4 # Amanda Casha 2010-10-19 05:07
What in the Hell does that mean, Ron Paul? It seems an empty semantic argument to me.....please explain!
 
 
0 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:03
Quoting Ron Paul 2012:
We live in a REPUBLIC not a DEMOCRACY. Perhaps you are part of the problem?

For the love of God...I am so sick of hearing this utterly inane point repeated ad nauseum...as if it were clever and meaningful. Well, Ron Paul 2012, we may live in a REPUBLIC simply because you say so, but a DEMOCRACY? What a load of vomit! And your comment somehow suggests that since we live in a REPUBLIC, it's not a democracy and democracy doesn't matter. Perhaps YOU are the problem. Perhaps YOU are a fascist. My guess is that you are.
And come on now...come up with some other talking point that doesn't sound so stupid.
 
 
+21 # John Hendricks 2010-10-19 01:16
The US is not a democracy, never was a democracy, and never was intended to be a democracy. When Benjamin Franklin was leaving the Constitutional Convention, he was asked "what is it?" He answered, "A republic, if you can keep it." The Constitution explicitly states that it guarantees the American people a republican form of government.

What is the difference between a democracy and a republic? In a democracy, the majority rules on any issue. In a republic, the basic precepts are strictly beyond limits to any vote. Changes can only be made by amendment.

As the founding fathers knew, Democracy is the worst form of government. In fact, it is so bad that there has never been a true democracy.
 
 
-4 # Amanda Casha 2010-10-19 05:15
I beg to differ! Our system of government is one of representation of and by the people. This "democracy" is what our country is and why we have prevailed for 224 years. If an amendment is to be made, it is made through concensus of our elected representatives . This does not argue that our system is not broken, it simply exposes a semantic argument which unfortunately does not change our bottom line. We have been usurped as americans..some one else defines us now, as wealthy and therefore deserving or poor rabble who are not worth consideration. I very passionately disagree with their assessment. Anyone else?
 
 
+8 # DasmanLarryville 2010-10-19 06:46
Amanda...

Democracy has a simple definition:

Mob Rule... It's what brought Hitler to power... and we are supposed to live in a Democratic Republic, but we have devolved into a Democracy.

With Republi-crats firmly entrenched as a professional political class, in absolute servitude to their constituents... Wall Street Banks and Corporations, we are losing the whole country.

Democrats don't get it...neither do Republicans. Once Republicans get past November 2nd, they are in for a rude awakening... people are P*SSED OFF, and tired of the BS of the Professional Politicians!

When are Americans going to wake up, and just flush ALL the political grifters down the toilet?

By 2012... we could end up having a revolution...

Republicans don't understand the sentiment of Americans any better than the Democrats.
 
 
+4 # No gods, No rulers 2010-10-19 10:46
So may wise people but none of you see that in the hands of sociopaths, which is always inevitable with governments, no constitution is safe and no person is free. The real shame is that there are too many people who allow themselves to be misled and even worse, those that will argue one adaptation of government is better than another. Let’s try anarchy for a change, it might surprise you how well things work when no one has the right to steal from or enslave you. But I'm sure there will a barrage of comments to this idea from all those wise people educated in a government system.
 
 
+1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:34
Revolutionary anarchy could not possibly be worse than the outcomes our current way of misgovernance promises. I agree with you.
 
 
-1 # Ron Fletcher 2010-10-20 03:40
They are free to kill you too!
 
 
+2 # bjw 2010-10-23 13:16
We are not far from devolving from gridlock to anarchy. Such a period could last for a very long time until some kind of rationality is restored to the way we organize our society and our government.
 
 
+3 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:32
What a load of crap. Our system of checks and balances, as ineffective as it seems, and a Constitution that can be ammended but with EXTREME difficulty means that our democracy is anything but mob rule, and by design, never had the power to be this way. Of course, since our government has been purchased already by the plutocrats, it isn't a democracy at all...it's merely marketed as being one and carefully groomed to look like one to buy the public's infernal complacence. In further fact, we have FAILED as a democracy precisely because we have NOT succeeded at capturing the will of the people...whom you'd refer to as a mob. And of course you're not revealing that you're a teabagger but it's so obvious.
Look, fascism has a simple definition too. Totalitarian rule of the monied elite, very small in size, over the rest of us. It's what brings modern politicians into power. And you think you understand the sentiment of Americans? Gee, I think they'd like a real democracy just fine!
 
 
+3 # bjw 2010-10-23 13:13
People are full of anger, but they do not know where to put the blame or how to turn the anger into a solution to the problems. Change requires a coalition of energy, talents, goals. We are divided to the point of each person being his own political party and agreeing with no one. That is how movements fail and revolutions never get off the ground.
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-23 13:42
Quoting bjw:
People are full of anger, but they do not know where to put the blame or how to turn the anger into a solution to the problems. Change requires a coalition of energy, talents, goals. We are divided to the point of each person being his own political party and agreeing with no one. That is how movements fail and revolutions never get off the ground.


Sigh...you very likely are correct. I wouldn't argue against this. I guess the choices are complete acquiescence, revolution and anarchy. I think the choice will be forced on each individual though. Even passiveness while your way of life, economic stability and your basic human rights crumble away from you, involves a very individual and personal choice. As for me, going quietly into that good night is nonsense. I believe in revolution, even if I am the only one engaging in it. I happen to be optimistic though. Call me crazy, but I believe coalitions of energy, talent, goals, are still possible.
 
 
+3 # bjw 2010-10-23 16:35
Okay. That makes two of us. Now what?
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-24 04:17
Quoting bjw:
Okay. That makes two of us. Now what?


(Smile) I'm so glad you ask! I apologize for having to be cryptic but I believe, in a counterintuitiv e way perhaps, that the best is yet to be. And there's two of us, then four, then eight, then sixteen, then thirty two....etc. It ain't over until we've all given up.

The best is yet to be. Trust and believe, and when the time comes, ACT!!!
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:21
Quoting Amanda Casha:
I beg to differ! Our system of government is one of representation of and by the people. This "democracy" is what our country is and why we have prevailed for 224 years. If an amendment is to be made, it is made through concensus of our elected representatives. This does not argue that our system is not broken, it simply exposes a semantic argument which unfortunately does not change our bottom line. We have been usurped as americans..someone else defines us now, as wealthy and therefore deserving or poor rabble who are not worth consideration. I very passionately disagree with their assessment. Anyone else?

Amanda, you are right, of course, and nay sayers are, shall I be charitable and say, ignorant.
 
 
+3 # Austin Loomis 2010-10-19 05:57
Quoting John Hendricks:
As the founding fathers knew, Democracy is the worst form of government.


I believe it was Winston Churchill who added the clause "...except for all the others that have ever been tried."
 
 
+3 # Jack E Lohman 2010-10-19 06:04
Quoting John Hendricks:
In fact, it is so bad that there has never been a true democracy.


Nice to know that cash will rule over the majority... NOT!
 
 
+2 # Josephus 2010-10-19 08:40
You are very correct
All it takes is one look or a quick read of the Federalist Papers number 10
to realize how adamant the FF were against a democracy

The Bill of Rights was written to expressly limit the power of the Federal Government
(see the SCOTUS ruling Barron versus Baltimore)
It was not written to legislate rights
I blame education
NO ONE is taught this information due to the usurping of our God Given rights thanks to the 14th Amendment
People want to label this kind of talk as super right wing
But is the way our US Constitution is written
BTW
technically we are a democratic-republic
That is why Thomas Jefferson ran as a democratic republican
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:40
Oh really Josephus? The Federalist Papers were required reading, along with the Constitution, the Declaration and the writings of Thomas Pain where I went to public high school. You're right about the Bill of Rights, which is not an argument against democracy AT ALL. It's fun to parse what democracy is or isn't but I find it compelling that the founding fathers were able to envision a living dynamic in their work that would outlive them. I hardly think the FF's were adamantly against democracy at all. What they did have was a healthy skepticism which is far, far from be aainst it (democracy).
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:13
Thanks for the faux history lesson Johnny. Neither Benjamin Franklin or the founding fathers in general EVER espoused that democracy was "the worst form of government." That's either a misunderstandin g or, more likely, a bald faced lie. The founding fathers institutionaliz ed a republic style of administration to perform the administrative functions of a DEMOCRATIC state. That they advocated a republic does not mean that they were REPUBLICAN, nor did it mean they had any quarrel with democracy. In a democracy the majority is supposed to rule on any issue save for certain rights, broadened to include certain rights for minorities, that were non-negotiable save for Constitutional ammendment. So tell me, EXACTLY where in the Constitution does it state that it guarantees the American people a republican form of government (that isn't a democracy...sin ce you seem to think that it isn't). I mean, give us a direct quote.
 
 
+4 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:19
By the way, my dictionary, Johnny, says that a republic is "a state in which supreme power is held by the PEOPLE and their elected representatives , and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch."
Your faux history lesson seems to suggest Franklin was refering to a republican government. It absolutely was not. It refered to an elected...DEMOC RATICALLY ELECTED...gover nment. I rather think B. Franklin was fond of democracy and was cautioning that we might not be good enough, strong enough or capable enough to keep it. Maybe he was right. We'll see. Meanwhile, kindly contribute to piping down on the the bs that "we're a republic and not a democracy". Did I say bs? Oops! I meant bull shit.
 
 
+21 # Game Over We Lost 2010-10-19 01:36
All has been lost for many years now.

The Public is afraid, ignorant, and confused. The Public is easily misled and believes anyone that promises hope.

There is no hope to correct this meltdown. The meltdown, like a nuclear meltdown, burned through the containment building and headed to the center of the Earth. No one can stop it because, there was no plan in case such an event ever happened! Same as the destruction of America. ALL the checks and balances in government were turned to the "OFF" position.

Now, we are just waiting to see how much damage will occur as the core of the Society burns through every country in the World. No one, no human that is can alter the extinction-leve l event we are part of!

Well written article but, it just identifies the problems and traitors but, it doesn't rally people and doesn't call to arms a movement that can rid us of ALL career politicians. Politicians that historically, make lying a career goal!
 
 
+5 # Sam 2010-10-19 03:11
Edit it a bit, turn it into an ad, play it on tv-radio stations, and it would do. Problem is there's no one who will do it. Certainly not the Democratic Party.
 
 
+20 # parasitism 2010-10-19 03:17
fascist parasitism is the system we live in, run by the illegal, foreign owned federal reserve bank, Satanically corrupt to the core..all of your politicians who take corporate money (bribes) are fascist parasites
 
 
+11 # Ededwards 2010-10-19 03:29
He is looking at it as an insider. He wants to save the private federal reserve system first which is the foundation of the system. The problem is it is the system of fiat money that is ungovernable.
It is the ability of the indiders to print off unlimited dark pools of cash that allow these mega banks consolidate everything and leave nothing for the rest of us.
 
 
-10 # Gordon LeCompte Bolmer 2010-10-19 03:32
You forgot to mention George Soros and MoveOn.org. Soros would like to buy an American election, just like he helped to buy the election in Ukraine, back in '04.

Oh...whoops...Soros and MoveOn support the Dems' side of the aisle. I guess it's no wonder you didn't mention them, then.
 
 
+4 # Activista 2010-10-19 18:51
Soros supported Russian nuclear scientists to stay home and not to build bombs in Iraq etc. when Soviet Union broke. He should get the Nobel Peace Price.
 
 
+1 # CommonSense 2010-10-20 08:39
I support contrarians (especially when they have their facts straight).
 
 
+2 # bjw 2010-10-23 13:30
If Soros had wanted to run the country, he would have done what Murdoch has done along with a handful of media tycoons. Nothing will change until we take the media back from the corporatists.

We also have to do something about the inequality of representation in the Senate and Electoral College. I would like to see blue voters colonize a few sparsely populated red leaning states. That is the fastest way to disempower the Party of No.
 
 
+15 # DavidDavid 2010-10-19 03:41
To place words like "entrepreneurs" and "Bill Gates" in the same sentence as in "entrepreneurs like Bill Gates" is laughable. Bill Gates and Microsoft is more akin to late 19th century robber barons whose business philosophy is monopoly.

Interesting to note that one of the key individuals heading the fight to keep the estate tax in place is the father of Bill Gates. Why is that? The answer lies in your statement, "Congress won't even return to the estate tax . . . which applied only to those in the top 2 percent of incomes."

The problem is in the word "incomes." For the super rich, i.e., the Bill Gates and Warren Buffets of the world, keeping their wealth is never about their incomes or capital gains.

That is why foundations were invented when the income tax was imposed upon the American people: to help the super rich from paying taxes
 
 
+4 # Activista 2010-10-19 18:47
Gates (senior) is supporting an income tax in Washington for people making over $200,000. Right now WA does not have income tax. Papa Gates is quite progressive.
This is fact - and I will vote for taxing incomes over $200K - it is the infrastructure that helps them be rich.
 
 
+2 # Ron Fletcher 2010-10-20 03:43
Apple is just as bad now...or worse with their closed system.
 
 
+9 # Ededwards 2010-10-19 03:48
He is using the same playbook that both side agree on; keep the masses pointing fingers at each other and the guys in the cave but don't think that we who are running the printing presses and are cranking out trillions of dollars to benefit our selves has any thing to do with it.
 
 
+5 # Glory123 2010-10-19 03:48
A sinple and effective solution is to impose limits on soft money with manititory jail terms for violations. This can only be begun and completed at the grass roots level.
 
 
+1 # Ron Fletcher 2010-10-20 03:44
Did you forget citizens united fella???
 
 
+7 # gene kalmes 2010-10-19 04:05
People who say we have a democracy don't seem to understand how important the distinction of being in actuality, "a republic." is for the good of our country....

A lynch mob is a democracy....th e group as long as the majority uses their might to bring it about can put all sorts of poorly conceived ideas into being whereas a republic delegates a smaller group of representatives to convene and study the value of a law before they hang it on the tree....

Every once in a while a lynch mob is exactly what is necessary and that time seems to be rapidly approaching, but until then we need to understand the difference of collectivism and individualism and no one has ever explained it better than G Edward Griffin.

Read this and learn....

http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/deception.html
 
 
-4 # Existe 2010-10-19 06:38
"A lynch mob is a democracy...."
?????????

...Completely asinine comment
 
 
+4 # gene kalmes 2010-10-19 11:10
In a pure Democracy, the concept is that the majority shall rule. That’s the end of the discussion. You might say, "What’s wrong with that?" Well, there could be plenty wrong with that. What about a lynch mob? There is only one person with a dissenting vote, and he is the guy at the end of the rope.

How can we protect the individual from the group? That is precisely what a Republic accomplishes. A Republic is simply a limited Democracy - a Democracy with limits on what the group can do, with limits on what the majority can do.

G Edward Griffin is one of the greatest educators in America....read his essay so you understand the comment instead of being a typical reactionary.... you have been brainwashed for knee jerk reactions and intellectual laziness...the point is you can easily be out voted whatever your opinion is and a republic helps to protect your opinion...get it? If not follow the link and read the essay....
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:52
Quoting Existe:
"A lynch mob is a democracy...."
?????????

...Completely asinine comment


I am astonished that you are getting negatives on your comment. You are completely correct. To say that democracy is a lynch mob is as stupid as saying that our country, since it's a republic, isn't a democracy...as if by definition "repulic" and "democracy" were seperable. I guess some people like being stupid.
 
 
+1 # virginia 2010-10-25 13:59
" A lynch mob is a democracy," not a democracy is a lynch mob. In a democracy the majority rule but the majority may not have the peoples intrest at heart. An individual can effectively influence the masses, the influence may be overt, or covertly manipulative. One hates his neighbor and influences the majority to vote the neighbor out,regardless of any reason. This influence is also used to invoke war. Get the nation to fear the terrorist and before investigation, rally attack on Iraq. Similarly the Patriot Act passed legislation. Governments are established to keep individuals and groups from infringing on the rights of others. A Republic understands it is also necessary impose control's on the government. Leaders need to be limited in their ability to steal individual rights and manipulate masses. A Democracy there is void of these restrictions. If the leaders can invoke the majority to give up the their rights, all must, leaving minorities no voice. Worse leaders may coerce, under guise, "this is good for you and best for the the nation;" when the only interest being serve is that of the elite. So here we a Plutocracy
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:48
Gene, name all the web sites you want. It will never...let me repeat...NEVER establish that our being a republic is a contradiction to our being a democracy. That we are "in actuality" a republic doesn't mean in the least that we aren't a democracy. Read your dictionary for starters. This parsing of "republic" and "democracy" is a distraction that is a total waste of time. Again, I urge you to read your dictionary. There it will tell you that a republic is "a state in which supreme power is held by the PEOPLE and their elected representatives , and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch."
Because we are an alleged democracy, we'd darn well better be a republic! That's what we'd have to be by definition!
 
 
+2 # gene kalmes 2010-10-20 12:58
Al Gore would have won if it was a majority rules Democracy. He didn't because it was designed as a Republic and Bush won the electoral vote count thanks to some highly questionable chicanery in his brother Jeb's state. That alone is one huge reason why distinctions matter. However, corruption is like water it finds the lowest point of any system.

But when people do not know the differences between collectivism and individualism then they will never understand how corruption achieves its ends. The Creedence Clearwater song, "I'm no senators son, I'm not the fortunate one." Is a perfect example of collectivism in action...The elite senators and bankers and University funders don't send their sons to die in a war....because their collective looks out for themselves while all other collectives and individuals are divided and conquered.
 
 
+3 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-22 02:24
gene, gene, gene...I like your post refering to instances when democracy failed. Sure enough, things like the electoral college generate exceptions. Still, Gore would have won if our democracy, flawed in it's application, hadn't failed. Republic and Democracy: entirely interchangeable and your example does NOT illustrate any difference at all.
I love your mention of Creedence Clearwater. Their lyrics to that song should be carved in granite and displayed in the National Gallery.
 
 
+1 # gene kalmes 2010-10-24 16:22
Of course it illustrates a difference...A Republic calls upon the electoral college as a democracy would simply be majority rules and everyone agreed Gore won...Personall y I'm not a Gore fan but I truly wonder if 911 would have happened had he been elected...It is my opinion they all have the same agenda with slight differences but after reading the essay I have trumpeted endlessly throughout this blog I came to believe 100% in the idea that those who funded insidious non profit foundations (Rockefellers, Cecil Rhodes etc.) didn't do it to save humankind but to cement their power over humankind. So we are neither talking about a democracy or a Republic but the difference between Collectivism and Individualism and most of all the difference between Hamilton and Jefferson. Also, I highly suggest everyone watch The Money Masters video available on google video...The true history of banksterism and our "Democracy." (Republic.)
 
 
-10 # Darth Maul 2010-10-19 04:14
Quit your whining.Get pissed,kill everything.See you on the other side.
 
 
+6 # Bob Worley 2010-10-19 04:14
By alienating the masses the government is making itself irrelevant. More educated people are living outside the mainstream than ever before. The Middle Class is circumventing the government in record numbers. More transactions are taking place off the books than through craigslist ebay farmers markets ect. The more people live outside the reach of the Government the less effective the Government becomes. American Corporations are also alienating the people and I feel the greed tax on consumers are charged by bloated corporations will also be circumvented the same way the government is circumvented. Political advertisements on free media and places were tax free transactions take place are the most effective way to combat plutocracy. Eventually our money will lose its relevance. The people the plutocracy hires to stifle the masses will have more in common with the masses and be of limited use to the people in power
 
 
+2 # anarchynow 2010-10-19 04:17
I don't understand how discussing the differences between a republic and democracy applies to this essay. We have a republic defined and bound by a constitution and decisions are arrived at within those bounds by representatives chosen by the vote of their constituents.

So what, Rand Paul 2012? Do you also worship the "Aqua Buddha" like your namesake?
 
 
+5 # skebuum 2010-10-19 04:17
By alienating the masses the government is making itself irrelevant. More educated people are living outside the mainstream than ever before. The Middle Class is circumventing the government in record numbers. More transactions are taking place off the books than through craigslist ebay farmers markets ect. The more people live outside the reach of the Government the less effective the Government becomes. American Corporations are also alienating the people and I feel the greed tax on consumers are charged by bloated corporations will also be circumvented the same way the government is circumvented. Political advertisements on free media and places were tax free transactions take place are the most effective way to combat plutocracy. Eventually our money will lose its relevance. The people the plutocracy hires to stifle the masses will have more in common with the masses and be of limited use to the people in power
 
 
+1 # Big Wave Dave 2010-10-20 01:23
Hear, Hear!

Ventura, Calif.
 
 
+15 # roy 2010-10-19 04:24
If you think the Democrats are representing the common man you are sorely mistaken.

BOTH parties are fully owned and controlled. People still shouting the 'other' party is to blame are playing the game exactly as intended.

There is one party in this country and regardless of its rhetoric, it represents the top 2%. The rest is window dressing.

Wake up!
 
 
+2 # Jack E Lohman 2010-10-19 05:40
100% correct!
 
 
0 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:55
Quoting roy:
If you think the Democrats are representing the common man you are sorely mistaken.

BOTH parties are fully owned and controlled. People still shouting the 'other' party is to blame are playing the game exactly as intended.

There is one party in this country and regardless of its rhetoric, it represents the top 2%. The rest is window dressing.

Wake up!

I think they're called "Republicrats" and their mascot is an elephant's ass. Works for me any way.
 
 
+18 # Jackson Holly 2010-10-19 04:29
Yes ... it is the Robber Barons with their bags of cash.

Yes ... it is the Extreme Court (probably also taking some of those bags of cash).

Yes ... it is the selling off of America, lock, stock and barrel.

BUT ... the real problem is the ELEPHANT in the room. To paraphrase Mr. Reich's former boss:

"IT IS THE PENTAGON BUDGET, STUPID!"
 
 
+13 # JayMagoo 2010-10-19 04:40
The Republican party has been remarkably successful in recent years at getting the majority of the voters to vote against their own best interests. How long will this go on as the conditions Robert Reich describes become impossible to ignore? Then the question becomes, "what will the uber-rich do to maintain their control?" Lately they've been able to divert the discontent away from the real problem -- themselves -- by such institutions as Fox News, and have been successful in blaming the Democrats, who could save the situation. I hope it doesn't happen, but when large numbers of common folk realize that they are being deprived of their rightful goods and services by the one or two percent of the population which represent the richest among us, things could get ugly.
 
 
+15 # SPace 2010-10-19 05:13
It appears to me that most of you have taken the bait, once again. This Left/Right paradigm is keeping the citizens from looking through the glass. What you believed was a two party system is in fact the One Ruling Party.

Do any of you actually believe there is any difference between the last 6 administrations ? Or more?

We lost this battle when we lost Kennedy, and Johnson set the dogs out.

The real quaetsion, is 'what do we do about it?'.
 
 
+6 # Jack E Lohman 2010-10-19 06:06
The first thing is pass the Fair Elections Now Act, and then perhaps our congresscritter will represent US rather than THEM.
 
 
+3 # nwcitizen 2010-10-19 11:45
Jack E Lohman - Write an initiative that establishes fair elections then get out in sufficient numbers to get the signatures to get it on the ballot then get out in sufficient numbers to convince people to vote for it.
 
 
0 # Quinny 2010-10-19 19:17
SPace,
You are absolutely correct. Everything
that is happening now can be directly linked back to the assassination of JFK.
When the American public refused to stand
up and demand the truth of JFK's murder
at the hands of the Military Industrial
Complex, the fix was in and it has been
down hill ever since. There is only ONE
solution: It is time for a REAL third
party that can take back the Govt. from
the jackals that control it now. And it has to happen in 2012...!!
 
 
-1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:56
Quoting SPace:
It appears to me that most of you have taken the bait, once again. This Left/Right paradigm is keeping the citizens from looking through the glass. What you believed was a two party system is in fact the One Ruling Party.

Do any of you actually believe there is any difference between the last 6 administrations? Or more?

We lost this battle when we lost Kennedy, and Johnson set the dogs out.

The real quaetsion, is 'what do we do about it?'.

Revolution.
 
 
+8 # Jack E Lohman 2010-10-19 05:33
Look, it is what it is and nothing is going to change until we eliminate the corporate bribes that have corrupted both political parties. Only public funding of campaigns will get us there, and the Fair Elections Now Act is a start to fixing it. I'd leave its website but Reader Supported News doesn't like links, no matter how relevant. Sorry 'bout that.
 
 
+6 # Lisa Moschetti 2010-10-19 05:37
This is the end result of extremism from the left and the right. The solutions being offered by our politicians are extreme -- socialism or plutocracy. Both stink. This is the usual situation where people are told they have a choice. I compare the choices to you are going to die and the offer is would you like to hang or be shot.

The opportunity to choose is utterly meaningless and irrelevant when the supposed choices that are offered are fundamentally the same ones with different packaging.

If people would accept that our government is corrupt and run by criminals, perhaps we could finally move forward. The Americans people have been lied to more than the Russians in the Soviet Union. Our news is similar to TASS.
 
 
0 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:58
Quoting Lisa Moschetti:
This is the end result of extremism from the left and the right. The solutions being offered by our politicians are extreme -- socialism or plutocracy. Both stink. This is the usual situation where people are told they have a choice. I compare the choices to you are going to die and the offer is would you like to hang or be shot.

The opportunity to choose is utterly meaningless and irrelevant when the supposed choices that are offered are fundamentally the same ones with different packaging.

If people would accept that our government is corrupt and run by criminals, perhaps we could finally move forward. The Americans people have been lied to more than the Russians in the Soviet Union. Our news is similar to TASS.

Revolution.
 
 
-5 # gene kalmes 2010-10-19 05:58
THE DANGER OF GROUP SUPREMACY by G Edward Griffin

http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/deception.html

But the real substance of the group is the individual within it. It’s like a forest. Forest doesn’t exist. It’s a word concept. There are only trees." So the individualist sees that, if you sacrifice the individual for the group, you have made a huge mistake. The individual is the essence of the group. He is the core of the group. The group has no claim to sacrifice its own essence.

Collectivists are often critics of religious and family values, because collectivism demands unquestioning obedience to the state. Since loyalty to family or religious codes often conflict with the concept of group supremacy, they cannot be tolerated in a collectivist system.
 
 
+1 # Joseph Goldman 2010-10-19 10:52
Quoting gene kalmes:
THE DANGER OF GROUP SUPREMACY by G Edward Griffin

http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/deception.html

Collectivists are often critics of religious and family values, because collectivism demands unquestioning obedience to the state. Since loyalty to family or religious codes often conflict with the concept of group supremacy, they cannot be tolerated in a collectivist system.

More reason to maintain your individual power, your ability to reason in the face of rage, your ability to seek balance as Nature does. Vote, the single, most powerful tool in this Constitutional Republic of ours, remains sacred, so that even those scoundrels, who would desecrate it by fixing the machine vote count, fear its power. Vote and use paper ballots for accountablity.
 
 
+1 # gene kalmes 2010-10-19 11:32
I agree, I am using G Edward Griffins words to make my points because he wrote the perfect essay that woke me up...

I used to parrot all the same liberal soundbites until I read his work and he explained a hundred years worth of clever psychological deceptions that cleverly had me and billions of others screaming for even more government to run our lives...which is exactly what the elite wants.

Read the essay to understand Cecil Rhodes the blood for diamonds guy funded the teachings that the elite were smarter and should lead the lesser beings....the rest of us....Our forefathers may have been flawed but they escaped tyranny and attempted to set up a check and balance system to keep what they escaped from happening here...I understand some of them committed the same crimes against blacks and Indians but no one gets smarter by being afraid to look at all the evidence...howe ver ugly....

http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/deception.html
 
 
+1 # gene kalmes 2010-10-19 11:19
We have been taught to believe that a Democracy is the ideal form of government. Supposedly, that is what was created by the American Constitution. However, if you read the documents of the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution, you find that they spoke very poorly of Democracy. They said in plain English that a Democracy was one of the worst possible forms of government. And so they created what they called a Republic. The bottom line is that the difference between a Democracy and a Republic is the difference between collectivism and individualism. The collectivist says you have to force people. That’s why he has an affinity to government. Government is the embodiment of legalized force. By contrast, individualists say, "We also think we are right and others are wrong, but we don’t believe in forcing anyone to comply with our will because, if we grant that principle, then others, representing larger groups than our own, can compel us to act as they decree, and we will have lost our freedom.
 
 
-1 # gene kalmes 2010-10-19 11:50
just need to make sure I credit G Edward Griffin for these words...

http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/deception.html

folks read the essay it will clear up so many questions and arguments....please....

And to Robert Reich, I know your essay has its heart in the right place but that first sentence of America being a democracy is at the heart of the confusion we all argue about on a daily basis...
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-19 23:59
Quoting gene kalmes:
THE DANGER OF GROUP SUPREMACY by G Edward Griffin

http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/deception.html

But the real substance of the group is the individual within it. It’s like a forest. Forest doesn’t exist. It’s a word concept. There are only trees." So the individualist sees that, if you sacrifice the individual for the group, you have made a huge mistake. The individual is the essence of the group. He is the core of the group. The group has no claim to sacrifice its own essence.

Collectivists are often critics of religious and family values, because collectivism demands unquestioning obedience to the state. Since loyalty to family or religious codes often conflict with the concept of group supremacy, they cannot be tolerated in a collectivist system.

The evident hazards of being half educated are...
 
 
-4 # gene kalmes 2010-10-20 07:42
G Edward Griffin is not half educated. Your name calling is half educated.
 
 
+1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-22 02:30
Quoting gene kalmes:
G Edward Griffin is not half educated. Your name calling is half educated.

Wether you accept it or not, I apologize. Perhaps I was misdirecting my frustrations. Given G. Edward Griffins education, and that I am just as educated as he I should probably limit myself to opining that he is a pompous windbag whom I'd love to take the stage and debate with. You can call me names, like windbag, or worse if it pleases you. It really doesn't matter to me.
 
 
+1 # gene kalmes 2010-10-24 19:26
let's set that debate up.
 
 
0 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-27 20:05
Quoting gene kalmes:
let's set that debate up.

(Sigh)...this activity falls under entertainment so it doesn't carry any high priority with me. None the less, if you can figure out a way for RSN to communicate contact information to me so I can reach you or whomever for this purpose I will gladly check my calendar and consider. I will endeavor to read Griffins to depth to make sure that I am clear on the distinctions between hisarguments and your conclusions/arg uments. Who knows? Maybe I really should be debating you? Will I get to promote the book I am working on that challenges some of the views? Can we time this closer to my publishing date next year? A little quid pro quo wouldn't hurt a thing!
 
 
+1 # Bilderberger 2010-10-19 06:19
Reich is part of the Elite, being a member in the CFR and other societies that have purposefully taken over our REPUBLIC. He is a shill blaming the right when both parties are working together to control society by collapsing our economic system to bring in the New World Order. The left spent all kinds of nameless cash in 2008, so now it's the rights turn! Boo Hoo... distract the masses with something shiny, (Robert Reich) while they steal out the back door!
 
 
+4 # motamanx 2010-10-19 07:48
Remember the "willful ignorance" quote, above? This comment is indicative.
 
 
+1 # oldsoldier 2010-10-19 06:27
"It's a perfect storm. And I'm not talking about the impending dangers facing Democrats. I'm talking about the dangers facing our democracy."

Wow, you managed to lose my interest in your third sentence. You know very well, Robert, that our nation is a constitutional republic. It has NEVER been a democracy. Why would you spout such an inaccurate statement?
 
 
-1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-20 00:03
Quoting oldsoldier:
"It's a perfect storm. And I'm not talking about the impending dangers facing Democrats. I'm talking about the dangers facing our democracy."

Wow, you managed to lose my interest in your third sentence. You know very well, Robert, that our nation is a constitutional republic. It has NEVER been a democracy. Why would you spout such an inaccurate statement?

What an absurd excuse for not bothering to listen. "republic" is synonymous with "democracy". Check your dictionary and think for yourself for a change.
 
 
+1 # Mike K 2010-10-25 13:40
The United states was set up as a Democratic Republic and has become more democratic as time has passed, people can vote now than could under the first few presidents and we didn't used to be able to elect senators.
 
 
+4 # Neil 2010-10-19 06:39
Robert,

What about the undocumented TARP spending? or a word about Federal Government spending period?

Maybe these are just another storm front you missed AGAIN on the radar.
 
 
+8 # THOMAS JEFFERSON 2010-10-19 06:48
The United States is a Constitutional Republic, it is not a democracy! The word democracy does not appear anywhere in the Constitution!
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”
 
 
+1 # Quinny 2010-10-19 19:20
"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep
deciding whats for dinner..."

Benjamin Franklin (?)
 
 
0 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-20 00:07
Quoting Quinny:
"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep
deciding whats for dinner..."

Benjamin Franklin (?)

Clever. I wonder what we should call fascism? Totalitarianism ? Plutocracy? I mean, democracy can mean lots of bad things I'm sure. So what better form would you propose? Any ideas?
 
 
+1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-20 00:06
Quoting THOMAS JEFFERSON:
The United States is a Constitutional Republic, it is not a democracy! The word democracy does not appear anywhere in the Constitution!
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”

Nope. Read your democracy. The Constitution also doesn't utter the word corporation either.
Uh...the word "republic" is synonimous with "democracy".... at least it is in my Oxford American College Dictionary. I think your point is deliberately misleading...di stracting and wrong.
 
 
-3 # scarabocion 2010-10-19 06:49
Excellent commentary, Sec. Reich. How could you have served in the Clinton administration?
 
 
-5 # RobertS 2010-10-19 07:04
As I recall the Democrats were pretty much in power from 1933 to 1995, with a few years during the Eisenhower Admin, then came back into power in 2006, and have been in power until now. People elected Obama on the so called promise of change, and if you read Robert Reich, you find out that after 2 years of Obama, and 4 years of Dems in Power in Congress, we are apparently worse off then we ever have been etc.
The Clinton admin, of which RR was a member of gave us the Subprime loan by opening up borrowing to the so called poor and less fortunate. The Bush admin gave us TARP, and Obama has spent 3 Trillion dollars in two years and has absolutly nothing to show for it, but unemployment going up to 10% this month.
Economists have put the actual "real unemployment" numbers in the neighborhood of 16-27%. The government cooks the books on the unemployment numbers and other economic numbers and has for many years and many Presidents of both parties.
 
 
+3 # Joseph Goldman 2010-10-19 11:04
The Bush Admin. was really the Cheney admin. of war profiteers. They continue through Rove and his silent neocons who have convinced other scoundrels that they can continue to fool the masses. Our votes will win out, if they are counted properly. Vote and use paper ballots. Isaac Asimov showed that the intelligence of the masses makes a far more logical universal society than the fumbling, short term self interests of the few. Think about it, and vote.
 
 
+1 # Mike K 2010-10-25 13:54
Your agrument fails miserable because you skip over Nixons more than four years in office (a time the spawned Dick Cheney, Carl Rove, and Donald Rumsfeld), Twelve years of Reagan and Bush 41 (who exploded the defcit, the debt and ineffective military spending as well as giving us things like Iran-Contra) and Newt Ginrich is corrupt crop of hard right Bible thumping hypocrites (Like John Boener who handed out Checks from Lobbists for Big Tobbaco on the House floor and those who got into trouble over there sexual habits).
 
 
+9 # evelyn c 2010-10-19 07:10
Reich is right, but the public outrage seems now to be directed at persons with public pensions---like teachers and cops and government employees. The wrong targets, for sure, but more accessible to voters than the Wall Street Barons, who seem to intimidate from afar the average pissed-off Tea Partier.
 
 
+3 # bjw 2010-10-23 15:15
The anger has been misdirected from the wage earners and middle class back onto themselves and their traditional source of organization which translated into power...the unions. Unions negotiated for benefits and workers were willing to work for lower wages in exchange for security in jobs, health coverage and defined pension plans....all of which have declined in recent decades. This has left the wage earners and middle class without organizations that used to be able to balance the other power centers. Breaking the unions has always been a goal of the management class. Their goal has almost been met.

As long as the propaganda machine keeps the middle class turning its anger in on its own people, there will be no change in direction. Unions should be buying up radio stations and local newspaper while they still have some clout. Local communities should be doing the same. Losing the small town independent newspapers has been an immeasurable loss to a sense of community.
 
 
-8 # tgca46@hotmail.com 2010-10-19 07:14
do the top .10 percent pay as much or more taxes as the bottom 120 million?
 
 
+4 # TheFeudalReaction 2010-10-19 07:25
...is what historians now call the last time an era of great death & destruction was 'survived', so to speak, by an ensuing Golden Age of equal rights, peace, love, and rock-n-roll... Well, actually the post-great-plag ue 1370s wasn't the post-great-war 1970s. The former was just the first steps down Modernity Road; the Latter, (it was often presumed at the time) was more like modernity's millennialist icing on the cake party...
But someone wanted to take the monks' Guinness beer out of the fridge without permission; and everybody knows, bad things happen when you mess with the monks- be it medieval (early 14thc France), early modern (latter 18thc France), or "even" the thoroughly money-dependent world of today.
Slavers usually don't like it when the labor seems like they're having a better time on this Earth than the masters. And Joe Friar in the 2nd Estate monastery-univ- media has to listen to them complain all day, too- not just the wage serfs & contract laborers of the 3rd estate.
 
 
+1 # historico 2010-10-20 08:42
cool metaphor
 
 
+9 # Realist 2010-10-19 07:30
I've said it before, I'll say it again. The FCC should be forced to do its duty. They should make sure all networks give an equal amount of time to each national candidate FREE, and if one candidate buys more time, all the other candidates are given and equal amount of time FREE. Remove the need for large amounts of money to buy time on TV channels or radio frequencies, which WE, THE PEOPLE own, and you remove the need for excessive amounts of money. The FCC LICENSES these frequencies, and one of the conditions for the license is public service. Well, we must make sure they implement the public service clause.
 
 
+2 # Baron Rothschild 2010-10-19 07:32
Mr. Reich is right but we have no intenton of changing our ways. Ooy veh.
 
 
-5 # Anadianant 2010-10-19 07:41
I find it extremely interesting when Insiders (and Mr. Reich is clearly one) throw out puff pieces like this. 3 national administrations and still talking old loops and pablums? Labour secretary under Big Bill? Part of the Hafta Hafta Haf Nafta and let's outsource this country to India and let local labour hang out to dry?

Wake up people, wake up. This is lightweight distraction from an academic and an insider. That is a double whammy.

We'll all do much better to go inwards now, inwards, deeply, even if painfully.

The outside is just more of the same sex, lies and DVDs.

Anadianant
http:///aadivaahan.wordpress.com
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-20 00:12
Fascinating Anadianant! Completely astonishing! Reich could be telling an entirely unadulterated truth but you'd reject it because he's saying it.

If what Reich says is a puff piece because he said it, on what foundation do you claim any conceivable credibility yourself? I don't mean to be rude. I'm just curious.
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-22 02:33
Quoting Daniel Fletcher:
Fascinating Anadianant! Completely astonishing! Reich could be telling an entirely unadulterated truth but you'd reject it because he's saying it.

If what Reich says is a puff piece because he said it, on what foundation do you claim any conceivable credibility yourself? I don't mean to be rude. I'm just curious.

Gee, thumbs down and I'm still not getting an answer. I wonder why.
 
 
+5 # Brina 2010-10-19 08:05
call it the Corporate State.
plutocracy is not catchy enuf.
 
 
+5 # Activista 2010-10-19 09:35
more like feudalizm - not 18 century - back to 16 century and slavery.
 
 
-2 # jw 2010-10-19 08:06
All that can be done and all that needs to be done is to amend the constitution and completely,tota lly, and easily allow secession,state by state.
 
 
+1 # Mike K 2010-10-25 14:00
That'd actualy be a Good Idea, Getting ride of a few red states like Texas and Arizona would probably cut the deficit and the debt since Red states as well as the red parts of Blue States take more money from the Federal government than they contribute to it.
 
 
+6 # rob 2010-10-19 08:08
What we need is good old-fashioned vigilante justice to clean out the Wall Street gang!!
 
 
+3 # Mark N. Davis 2010-10-19 08:29
This is the kind of conversations we need to find leaders that can truly be! Food for thought: If the founding Fathers could have known what the media would become, I am sure they would have made the Media the 4th Check & Balance. So let's start campaigning to put on the ballot. "All Citizens, in good standing that our at least 18 years of age, shall have the right to bear broadcast video camera on any elected public official as soon as they leave their residence. The broadcast/bandw idth shall be increased proportionally to the increase of listeners."
 
 
+10 # Brenda Louise 2010-10-19 08:40
This is very well written comment section. The only thing I can add was written by Ralph Nader. The Republican Bosses invented the Teabagger Movement so they can bait and switch at Election time to get the 10% from that faction. Then there's the Religious Right, who withhhold their votes from anybody who is pro-choice and even pro-contraception.
The Republicans know this so they put Relitgious Right religion on their sleves.
In either case, these blocke of voters will turn out in droves and swing a mediocre 30% voter turnout into a Republican victory. Just look at the Bush elections. The man was a monkey's arce, yet he won 2 terms.
 
 
+3 # Joseph Goldman 2010-10-19 11:10
[quote nam . The man was a monkey's arce, yet he won 2 terms.
So, don't let this happen again. Vote. The collective intelligence can only win when your vote and the vote is properly counted. Vote on paper ballots.
 
 
+7 # John Woody 2010-10-19 09:06
Enough with the Democrat/Rep/Li beral thing. Those are there to separate us all. And, enough with this blaming Obama thing. He was put there by the powers that be. He's just a figurehead...no power at all! He gets paid to be a scapegoat. Yeah, some choice for Pres...Obama or Mcain. So, you all feel that you had a choice and elected Obama. Hah...not so! He was selected to be figurehead Pres. long before the election. The real changes happen when we all stop supporting the corrupt powers. Stop sending your kids to fight for them (they don't even send their own kids to war,) stop sending your kids to work on Wall Street, to work at corrupt Government jobs like the CIA and FBI, and so on. All you people who think your kids are serving America by fighting "their" wars, wake up and smell the coffee.
What's going on in America is not random-by chance. It's completely calculated and going according to plan.
 
 
+8 # Activista 2010-10-19 09:32
"barons literally deposited sacks of cash on the desks of friendly legislators" - the same way as we are dpoing now to control Afghanistan - trucks of cash for warlords - the same people and ideology is here = Pentagon.
And not to mention what bankrupts US - military spending - where the profits are - is not solving anything - start with the root cause - get of this defense spending bandwagon - cut it to zero.
 
 
+5 # fred 2010-10-19 09:45
All I read about are complaints, and rightly so. We all agree we are in big trouble. They have succeeded in painting us into a corner; we can't get out. Finally, we must come up with constructive solutions, which have to be turned into actions. Let's hear it!
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-20 00:15
Quoting fred:
All I read about are complaints, and rightly so. We all agree we are in big trouble. They have succeeded in painting us into a corner; we can't get out. Finally, we must come up with constructive solutions, which have to be turned into actions. Let's hear it!

Revolution.
 
 
+2 # bjw 2010-10-23 15:24
Revolution requires communication and we have no means except through the corporate controlled and monitored media. Independent means of communication have to be established first.
 
 
+1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-24 04:25
Quoting bjw:
Revolution requires communication and we have no means except through the corporate controlled and monitored media. Independent means of communication have to be established first.

I say that the revolution has already been born in the hearts of enough people, and growing, such that even so large an obstacle is surmountable. For one, we have the internet. If not that, is it so inconcievable that a vigorous and dynamic underground press could come into being? Patience bjw...it isn't over until everyone has given up, and that ain't gonna' happen. You'll see. Time will tell.
 
 
+2 # Philip Meyer 2010-10-19 09:47
Watch the Senate in the first few days of the 112th Congress in January. If there is to be any hope of reform, Democrats will have to invoke the Constitution and change Senate rules to prevent minority obstructionism. And if there is any initiative left in our passive national media, they will start focusing attention on that critical decision point.
 
 
+4 # Lani E 2010-10-19 09:48
excellent comments everyone. yes, we are a republic, not a democracy. Read Ye, thy political bible, The US CONSTITUTION -- it's extremely short actually -- you could read it over morning coffee.

So, while you are all debating the various intellectualiti tes of the case, what is your action plan for your future? Being swept along with the masses into social impotence and financial graves? Non-apathetic and educated does not change things does it? So my question is seriously asked : what country are you going to emigrate to in order to have a better life for your family?
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-20 00:17
Quoting Lani E:
excellent comments everyone. yes, we are a republic, not a democracy. Read Ye, thy political bible, The US CONSTITUTION -- it's extremely short actually -- you could read it over morning coffee.

So, while you are all debating the various intellectualitites of the case, what is your action plan for your future? Being swept along with the masses into social impotence and financial graves? Non-apathetic and educated does not change things does it? So my question is seriously asked : what country are you going to emigrate to in order to have a better life for your family?

Fascinating. I'm the last of my generation that hasn't migrated away from this country to a better country (there really are a good number of them). Me? I'd rather stay and fight. Oh, and my children have left as well but promise to come back when the revolution begins.
 
 
+3 # FIRO 2010-10-19 10:04
Oh, for another Andrew Jackson! An Andrew Jackson with the understanding of what's going on today as he did when he fought the Central Bank. Courage to fight for what's right and not just what makes a good sound bite designed to hide the truth. We have one main problem in this country - GREED.
 
 
+3 # Missy 2010-10-19 10:08
The Republicans are always spouting off about "liberal" judges legislating from the bench which is unconstitutiona l. I want to know what they call it when the Supremes did it by allowing Citizens United and other corporations and the Chamber of Commerce to contribute anonymously? What hypocrites the Republicans are!
 
 
+2 # bjw 2010-10-23 15:29
Congress could have fixed that with an amendment, but they did not. The reasons are obvious why they did not and will not until we make them somehow. It a case where the people will have to drag Congress kicking and screaming to counter the SC decision that is making a joke out of this election.
 
 
-1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-24 04:26
Quoting bjw:
Congress could have fixed that with an amendment, but they did not. The reasons are obvious why they did not and will not until we make them somehow. It a case where the people will have to drag Congress kicking and screaming to counter the SC decision that is making a joke out of this election.

Revolution
 
 
0 # Private Citizen 2010-10-19 10:14
If the likes of globalist shill Robert Reich hadn't beat the drum for off-shoring manufacturing to slave labor markets and for deregulating banksters the perfect storm his policies caused would not have happened.
 
 
+1 # Mike K 2010-10-25 14:02
That drum started playing in 80's.
 
 
0 # ,,,,mm 2010-10-19 10:29
had forgotten aboput the horsesheets called the election comiung up in like a week...impossib le.....
 
 
+4 # armando 2010-10-19 10:55
Well, the best comment was about storming NY and Wallstreet in bulk mob and that elections will not change anything if there is no choice.

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” Thomas Jefferson

Use it to drive the ticks out of NY...
 
 
+6 # Mr. D. 2010-10-19 11:04
A plutocracy? A corporatocracy? Yes and yes. But maybe more to the point: a kleptocracy!
 
 
+9 # Shaman Starseed 2010-10-19 11:53
Being that corporations now have the same rights as individuals, why are they not held responsible for their crimes the same as individuals. I believe we should have corporate death penalty for especially grievous crimes against the public, such as murder. I think that the larger the corporation, hence the more money at their disposal, the more responsible they should be when it comes to misleading the public. If a corporation is caught LYING TO THE PUBLIC to shirk responsibility for deaths of individuals, environmental crimes caused by greed, or any of their activities that are known to be harmful to the general public, they should be disbanded as a menace to society, and all of their assets should be auctioned off or outright confiscated and distributed to the public that they wish to harm. Who can find fault in this logic???
 
 
+3 # bjw 2010-10-23 15:32
Logic is fine. Problem is putting it into effect. Whose going to write, pass and enforce such laws? Entrenched interests do not vote to lessen their power.
 
 
+5 # Nwcitizen 2010-10-19 11:59
FYI - there is still the initiative process. Could be a way to establish fair elections.

There is also legislation in Congress called S.752 The Fair Elections Now Act which would be a start to enable ordinary people to run for office and more importantly to have their voices heard. Call, write, visit your elected representatives and ask, urge, demand that the pass this legislation ASAP.

The work is not done with the passage of legislation then people have to actually USE THE OPPORTUNITY to run for office.

It's called citizenship. Unfortunately most of us either never learned or have forgotten how to do this. It's never too late to learn.
 
 
+2 # john henry 2010-10-19 12:12
Just about everyone defines injustices in the system. Almost no one looks at the system for what it is.

We are living through a shift in technological platforms as earth-shaking as that wrought by the steam engine and industrial organization. This time we have no undoubted moral foundation to sustain us. The scientific heresies of establishment match establishment spirituality and establishment government. It is time to stop calling everyone you disagree with a fool or a traitor, or a loonie, or whatever evil name most easily rolls from you tongue.

It is time to find common ground with one another, to rediscover your moral foundation, to seek the formula that led to American exceptionalism in the past and that led Western Civilization to share its gifts with the world. Snicker? Did you snicker? Name the nations that brought you antibiotics, fllight, the end of slavery, the end of barbarism, and all manner of evil that not so long ago dominated the planet.
 
 
+3 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-20 00:27
Nice knowing who we were Johnny. Your point being...? Yeah, I do waaayyy too much name calling. Okay then. I'll try to calm down, but I insist that the cancerous disease in our culture didn't just burst into being. It's always been there and manifested itself in all kinds of ugly ways from the very begining. We don't need to rediscover our moral foundation: we need to build one for the one we never had. American exceptionalism. ..uh, isn't that one of the main problems in the first place? And I beg to differ that we led Western Civilzation to share it's gifts with the world. I mean, we've so consistently gone about the business of raping the gifts of the world that if we give back, it's only the very least we ought to do. We sure ain't a giving people by the way. I don't think we have ever had common ground to stand on over such matters as what civilization even means. You seem to presume a greatness we've never ever had. We should invent a concept of greatness. Looking back won't do it.
 
 
-1 # john henry 2010-10-23 14:10
Daniel,
If there are folks who claim allegiance to an ideal and fail to live up to the ideal, does that mean the ideal is false? Like it or not, Western Civilization built on a Christian foundation has led the world to where it is. In 1808 America and Britain stopped the Atlantic Slave trade. Among the nations that ended slavery, a universal institution until the 19th century, America under Lincoln was the only one to end it by war. Among the nations that championed representative government, America stands at the head. Among the nations that fostered technological development, Britain and America stand at the head. The very notions you have of fairness derive from your impoverished understanding of that history. Enrich yourself. If you want to know where you are, look at where your country has been.
Freedom from enslavement to emotional turmoil is a great freedom.
Christ offers that freedom.
 
 
-1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-24 04:43
JOhn, John, John...you are such a worthy opponent! I would never fault you for your education or your erudition (although maybe I have a time or two and I should apologize...may be). I want you to know that my direct ancestors were instrumental in organizing labor revolts in England to protest Britains participation in the slave trade.
Like you, I rather admire a kind of hypocracy. It is indeed good to believe in things greater than what we might achieve. But your Eurocentric/ang locentric take on history defeats you. Ending slavery was almost incidental to Lincoln. The Civil War was NOT about slavery. Heck, read Sanburg's Lincoln Library for that. As for Western Civilization (a highly questioned bit of rhetoric) being built on a Christian foundation, I profoundly beg to differ. So much to argue, so little space! Look, western civilization could destroy the world, a world still almost brand new to the very notion of civilization.
 
 
+1 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-24 04:52
John, my impoverished understanding of history? In your notions of nations that championed representative government and America standing at the head, are you about to dismiss those native american societies that practiced it centuries before we did, and the fact that even Franklin himself consulted the Iriqois indians whose own constitution inspired aspects of ours? Our civilization built on a Christian foundation? Baloney! Significant as the church has been, it was the emergence of scientific thought that dragged the church into the modern world, not the other way around. Have you ever heard of Howard Zinn by the way? You are so congratulatory of the peoples whose power far more derived from their ability to rape and plunder successfully than from exercising their Christian virtues. Back to slavery: because England, with significant help from the Quakers, withdrew fom slave trafficing, our wonderful freedom loving American slave owners began breeding their own. Fine Christians, eh?
 
 
+1 # Big Wave Dave 2010-10-20 00:56
Ahhh... Slavery was ended in Canada long before we ended it. I do like the sentiment though! We will never stop change, just be dragged kicking & screaming into the future (behind the Hummer limousine).
 
 
+3 # bjw 2010-10-23 15:45
The Us was later than many countries to end slavery. Spain was quite a bit earlier which meant it was outlawed in Latin America. We were still sprouting filibusteros trying to retake portions of Mexico and Central America to make them into slave states...see the story of William Walker...to overshadow the free states coming into the Union. Brazil claims the first flight. Indigenous people in the Americas are still trying to overcome the horrors and deprivations of slavery, removal and ethnic cleansing by 'civilized' Western European colonials. We have always been divided along the same lines we are now. We have never been really and truly united.
 
 
+4 # Lasereye 2010-10-19 13:38
OBSERVATION: Why do we need representives who supposibly represent us? It does not seem to be the case today. Think about the concept or idea, which was invented, of having a representative to represent a group of voters was like before mass communications. When the only way to get a consensus was to choose a representative who would ride on horse back to place our votes. I think we the people could make a case for a transformation away from a two party system that neither serves or benefits the common interest of the citizens of our republic in Washington DC.
 
 
+1 # jstick 2010-10-19 14:03
FYI - there is still the initiative process. Could be a way to establish fair elections.

Californians HAD an initiative to elect their Secretary of State with taxpayer funding. She's the one who keeps our elections clean. The initiative was voted down -- the opposition said it would "cost too much."
 
 
+2 # LandLady 2010-10-19 16:38
Good comments. There IS a solution. Read Henry George, quick! Work for (community-crea ted) land values (including oil, coal, minerals, timber, etc.) as the tax base at federal, state and local levels. Taxes on production to be phased out. This creates jobs (no job happens without access to land) and provides perfect socialist/free- market balance. Then ask Robert Reich to tell us either what's wrong with the idea, or why he's ignoring it.
 
 
+2 # Aging Learner 2010-10-19 19:08
Mr. Reich I certainly appreciate to hear what you have to say. One educator on YouTube a Dr. Bartlet from U. of Colorado had an 8 segment "class" on growth with exponents. (Really worth everyone to search and view). During this he listed what is good and bad for growth vs controlled growth on Earth. This explains the WHY things happen the way they do. Strongly suggest you check out that list and how it came about.
 
 
+4 # Dan 2010-10-19 20:15
Thank you Mr. Reich. Another interesting and thought-provoki ng article. I have always suspected that the tea party "movement" was a sham designed, created, and executed by our fabulous ruling class. The ignorant, as a result, are mired in financial problems because they fail to see beyond the conservative/li beral dualism brought to us -- I am sure -- by our lovely ruling class. Please continue to provide us with your unbounded wisdom!
 
 
+3 # Radicalrobert 2010-10-19 20:22
I voted for Obama after falling under the spell of his oratory. But now I return to where I was before getting suckered in - the system is a sham and the masters play the servants like violins. We point this way and that way and argue over the semantics of whether we are a democracy or a republic (I agree we are theoretically the latter) when the crooks are robbing us blind regardless of what we call it. I support state seccession and a movement to stop deducting all federal taxes from workers' checks. Cut the federal government off at the knees, state by state, employer by employer, take away their system of paying tribute (for nothing!) and see if they remain unaffected. Meanwhile, I get so sick of the brainwashed among us who still serve as apologists for the wealthy, for greed, for the status quo, and for voluntary slavery. The time for apologies and polite acceptance of such is long over. I'm out of work, like many others, but I'm more than ready to fight the bastards with all I have left.
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-20 00:40
Your argument fits those who err in making big business synonymous with big government. The government your comments object to is an overly powerful one that serves the elites as opposed to a government of, by and for the people whose primary responsibility was protecting the best interests of all of us. IF by government, we're talking about governance that truly represents we the people, it couldn't possibly be big enough to satisfy me. It isn't the government that is hurting you Robert, it's the government in the elite's back pocket that is failing to protect you from "them". Eliminating or vastly shrinking government wont do a damn thing for you when the plutocracy reduces you to a peasant and dooms you to servile poverty. The issue isn't government or no government. The issue is what kind of government and I want a highly empowered federal government that serves the people. The ultimate check and balance is a peoples government to check the excessive power of the economic elites.
 
 
+6 # JohnSea 2010-10-19 21:00
Stop watching television.
Believe it or not, hypnosis is real. Repetitive messages (of gloom and doom or whatever) infect one's subconscious with the dominant program/paradig m. remember even Buddha is quoted as saying, "What we think about, we become."
Please focus upon solutions rather than problems.

When we think our own thoughts and create our own visions, we create our own economy....more people got rich during the Great Depression of the late 20's and 30's because they thought thoughts which countered the dominant [paradigm.
WHen we think independent thoughts, we create independent realities...
We can overcome the dominant paradigm by thinking and connecting independently.
Fighting the power donates energy to the power the best retaliation is to ignore the power and create one's own game...
Peace be to all beings!
JohnSea
 
 
-2 # CommonSense 2010-10-20 08:36
Finally, someone truly above the corporate mediated herd/parade!

Up with G*d;
down with Satan!
 
 
0 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-22 02:39
JohnSea...I threw out my television nearly two years ago. You are so right! I gave the same amount of time to reading now and I'm exceeding 20,000 pages a year and my regular daily schedule remains the same. I'm just not watching TV. Man, what an eye opener!
 
 
-3 # Big Wave Dave 2010-10-20 00:19
We need another Teddy Roosevelt to come to our rescue... alas Barrack will be crushed like all the rest. We are doomed to become lackies for the corporate machine.
 
 
-5 # J.H. Skalla 2010-10-20 05:08
Mr. Reich is in on it, he is a bankster.
His ridiculous claim it's the Republicans you idiots is disgusting.
Divide the people. Mr. Reich and his friends only fear that we understand what they are attempting to do.
It is one thing to be uniformed, however too tell others the truth is a lie is criminal.
 
 
+2 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-22 02:42
Quoting J.H. Skalla:
Mr. Reich is in on it, he is a bankster.
His ridiculous claim it's the Republicans you idiots is disgusting.
Divide the people. Mr. Reich and his friends only fear that we understand what they are attempting to do.
It is one thing to be uniformed, however too tell others the truth is a lie is criminal.

oh pppuuullleeeeee zzzzz...and I'm supposed to cut off name calling. Okay. I won't do any name calling. I think this comments speaks for itself. Never mind me. I'm just groaning a bit.
 
 
+3 # thomasaf 2010-10-20 09:12
I know that all Americans can be employed, educated, receive medical help, own their own homes. People shouldn't have to resort to crime to meet these basic needs. We need honest and brave new solutions. There is a segment of society who believe suffering is natural. We have to set goals to be able to meet them. Even if public school children are spending an hour a day growing food, everyone should have a healthy daily diet. It's that easy! Donating 10% of our time and skills would provide everyone's medical needs, etc. We would certainly feel better about our selves. This is not some kooky, unatainable proposal. There's nothing to but to do it.
 
 
+2 # bjw 2010-10-23 16:08
You are talking about a society where people feel a duty to come to each others aid when in need. I can remember a time when that was what we were taught until recent decades when compassion, civic pride, mutual aid and generosity were replaced with anti-socialist and anti-social and anti-society rhetoric took hold. How did that happen? Can it be reversed?
 
 
+4 # genierae 2010-10-20 13:03
The problem is not whether we live in a democracy or a republic. The problem is our intractableness , our inability to find common ground. What good would a revolution do? After we took over, no one would get along, everyone would want things their way, name-calling all around, quickly leading to blows, and we'd be right back where we started. The problem is not government, the problem is the tragic human condition. If we want peace in the world, we must create it in our hearts. If we write this down a thousand times, maybe it will begin to penetrate.
 
 
+3 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-22 02:54
Love ya' genierae. Just want to mention that Jesus, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and countless people like these, led revolutions. A rejection of the status quo is revolutionary especially and particularly if it is a decisive and complete refusal of that status quo.
YOU, who would create peace in your heart and urge others to do the same in order to change the status quo which you rightly refer to as the tragic human condition, ARE A REVOLUTIONARY. Don't discredit yourself. If our ambition is to a world responsive to the common good, the common ground that we need to find, to make change will require revolution, an ultimately all encompassing revolution. If your goal is to participate in making the world a better place, a peaceful place, this is going to simply have to go beyond creating this in our hearts. It will take action and not just a state of inner being. That's what a revolution is.
 
 
+3 # mikey 2010-10-20 16:06
In the other Washington, Bill Gate's father (God bless him) has bankrolled an initiative to implement the state's first income tax applicable only to individuals over $200,000 or couples over $400,000. Of course it will not pass because billions are being channeled into a scare campaign. Meanwhile Washington state will continue to tax its poorest residents over 17% of their income and its richest residents less than 2% through regressive sales taxes. Help your friends and relatives in Washington wake up by encouraging them to take back their state and nation.
 
 
-2 # pj1 2010-10-21 12:03
A socialist commentary without a meaningful solution. The population for the US is 307,006,550 US and Reich compares the wealth of the bottom 120m to that of the top 1%? This is a useless analysis as he left out the middle 187,006,550 of US citizens who likely would have lower quality lifestyles if the major corporations had not produced a glut of wealth to begin with. I am glad there are robust corporations here in the US and am happy some beaurocrat isn't running things (yet).

I suggest Reich (re) examines the realities of socialism, start with the USSR...
 
 
+4 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-22 03:07
For starters, I'd suggest that you go on line and check out the Presidents Annual Report on the economy, first report published in 1939. Also, a look at annual OMB reports would clearly show you that the middle class has been in severe decline for 40 years now, the dire economics we are in partly caused by the middle class having to go too far in debt just to maintain what was their standard of living back then.
As for the realities of socialism, as our country goes down the toilet, the strongest economies on earth, at least ten stroner than ours, are socialist. Never mind the USSR. We spent them into economic self destruction in the Cold War...much like our military budget is destroying us now.
Ironically, socialist countries have corporations and they don't rape their employees nearly as bad as ours does. Odd you should think we should be grateful for a lifestyle the corporations gave us. It's WE who gave THEM their wealth through our undercompensate d labor, for one thing.
 
 
+3 # genierae 2010-10-22 13:18
You are exactly right Daniel. Corporations make their money off the backs of their employees, sucking every last dime from us. I am retired now, but over the last five years that I worked, my workload increased dramatically. This included job combinations, going without breaks, forced overtime, etc., and my tiny raises couldn't keep up with the rise in my medical insurance premiums, so I had to cancel. Despite rampant burn-out, I was the only one to talk about organizing. Unions have been demonized by Republicans so much that just the mention of them horrified my co-workers. It takes courage to stand up and speak out, and courage is at a premium these days. Everyone is pursuing the American dream, when what they need to do is wake up.
 
 
+2 # bjw 2010-10-23 16:26
Corporations are parasitic by nature. I was taught in basic biology that a good parasite (a successful one in evolutionary terms) does not kill its host. This concept is lost in our present system. The middle class is being sucked dry of its blood and is disappearing.
 
 
+2 # bjw 2010-10-23 16:19
An example of what I was saying in above comments. Social obligations pre-dated all the -isms you rail against. The Golden Rule is pre-Abrahamic. It is pre-Confucian. Even animals of what we call lower orders evolved because of it. Ants and bees do it. Humans have a long successful history of it. It's in our founding documents as the reason for forming a government. It is the only basis for self-government . This is what is being destroyed as a concept.
 
 
+3 # richard nunez 2010-10-22 06:52
dear mr.Reich. I very seriously ask you to run for office. but in your articles books and t.v. programs you don't offer solutions to stop this parasitocracy may I suggest the paris comune approach before we began to eat soylent green.
 
 
+3 # wswalcott 2010-10-22 11:13
You are correct! Here is Mussolini's quote as well as one from A.L. and T.J.

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.

-- Benito Mussolini
_____________________________
"I hope we shall crush ... in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
--Thomas Jefferson

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
-- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
 
 
+4 # Otto Schiff 2010-10-23 21:35
Twin evils:
Plutocracy and permanent war.
 
 
+1 # Kevin T 2010-10-26 06:10
That is a great article. Informative enough to draw attention, even for us laymen, but soft enough to, hopefully, not repel the majority. Very scary, but I fear very true.

I think our generation will start to see terrible changes to the world that Americans in our generation and our own generation have taken for granted. Many of us have become too complacent and distracted to even notice. Others feel so overwhelmed that we don't know what to do. And the rest are portrayed as outsiders, or as nut cases who are unpatriotic and seek to destroy our nation. When in actuality nothing is more patriotic than expressing your point of view with the intentions to improve life for your fellow citizens.
 
 
+1 # Gary C. 2010-10-27 04:18
It is time for change. There are 2 problems; money and people. All things require money. Why? What does money actually do? Can’t eat it. Can’t live in it. It only implies value. It is no more than a score keeper. How much would you accept to allow someone to take your life? The insurance companies have assigned a specific dollar value to a human life. Do you agree with that figure?
The second part is people. People do things based on integrity and money. If we could fix the integrity problem, we would not need money.
Imagine; Go to the store, get the food, go to the checkout and scan them in. Then, instead of paying, stop. Go home. Your lights are on, the furniture is there, but no money. Go to work, do your job & at the end of the week, no paycheck.
See a cashless society. The hard part is fixing people. We have millions of great minds in the world. Let’s find real solutions to greed & arrogance. No more governments purchased by the wealthy and the religious fanatics. It’s time to evolve to the next intellectual level. Treat the person next to you with respect and integrity. History repeats itself; change or die. It’s happened to every civilization so far.
 
 
+1 # heinz 2010-10-28 14:24
Could it be that democracy per se actually doesn't work? The system is so messy, so apt to corruption and injustice, it constantly runs the risk of self-destructio n. Please, consider the idea of a 'social' democracy as a possible modification. Oh dear, are they yelling and screaming now! The brainwashed just can't handle the word 'social'. Social simply means living in a community of mutually responsible members, which in this case encompasses the entire country. By the way, just to clarify, 'socialism' is a completely different thing and I am not talking about that at all. To mislead, some people deliberately conflate the two. This has been preventing all possible progress for many years. Unless we educate in school and implement politically a social attitude of mutual responsibility, we will never get out of this chaotic way of living. Maybe, the really hard times still to come will finally rub our noses into this truth, which the egotism and greed of some has been absolutely unwilling to recognize and admit let alone remedy.
 

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