Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 4th, 2017

US governing system evolved into an oligarchy?

Study at Princeton and Northwestern:

Researchers from Princeton and Northwestern Universities released a study in April that found U.S. politicians more often reflect the wishes of the rich and powerful over the needs of the majority of Americans, who have a “minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”




The study, targeted for Fall 2014 publication in the journal Perspectives on Politics, examined 1,779 policy changes between 1981 and 2002. Those steps were compared to preferences expressed by Americans at the 50th income percentile and the 90th percentile, along with the positions taken by powerful interest groups.

Average Americans often have similar policy positions to affluent citizens, researchers found, and consider their interests represented when policymakers are actually making decisions based on positions of the elite. The goals of interest groups also aren’t “substantially correlated with the preferences of average citizens.”

“Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.” MARTIN GILENS AND BENJAMIN PAGE, STUDY AUTHORS

The study notes that while Americans “do enjoy many features central to democratic governance,” such as free association and regular elections, average citizens don’t play a role in the political process.


BURGOS, Capital of separatist Basque, rioting. Why?

You may have seen that the northern city of Burgos is entering its fourth of riots. On Saturday alone, 41 people were arrested and 21 hospitalised, including several police

 Jackson posted this JANUARY 13, 2014


The fuss is supposedly over the remodelling of a main street in the city, but it runs deeper than that.

The local residents don’t want the current plans.

It reduces the capacity of the street by half – which residents think will cause traffic problems.

It gets rid of 300 free parking places, and replaces them with a paid for underground car park.

And, of course, it’s 18 months of roadworks and digging.

Riots in Burgos on Saturday night

Alternate proposals put forwards by neighbourhood associations have, in the main, been rejected out of hand.

Projection of the new street over the old, by Burgos townhall

And on a bigger scale, across the town, the citizens are asking why the townhall is spending 8 million euros on this when at the same time they are scaling back rubbish collection and closing schools and OAP day centres due to cash problems.

Burgos is a town which is heavily in debt, and has seen sweeping cuts in social programmes to try to avoid bankruptcy.

Spending eight million euros -most of it borrowed, thus inflating the debt- on what is basically a “facelift” is not only seen as bad management, but has lead to whispers of corruption and back handers.

Indeed, Burgos owes the banks 135 million euros and can’t even keep up on the repayments.

And the tender for the construction has gone to a notorious builder called Antonio Miguel Méndez Pozo who has spent several spells in jail for corruption and illegal building – in the 90′s he was sentenced to 7 years after a series of building permits were found to have been faked (reduced to just one year on appeal, but hey).

The street is ours! reads the banner…..
…. but this chap doesn’t agree!

But the problems run even deeper than that. In a society where half of the under-25′s are unemployed, where overall one in three can’t find a job because there aren’t any, where the rich seem to get richer and corruption is daily in the press, this project just seems to have caused the citizens of the city to explode.

And the declaration from the Mayor, Javier Lacalle (PP), over the weekend that he was going to ignore the protests, and if necessary carry out the works with police protection, were the final spark which lit the bonfire.

Sunday morning saw 3,000 people in the main square on a peaceful demonstration to ask the Mayor to reconsider. Sunday evening saw hundreds participating in running battles with the police throughout the area.

And today Burgos is swamped with extra police, in an attempt to stop the protests.

To be honest, it’s because the mindset of the ruling Spanish is positive feudal at times.  And the idea of actually sitting down with the residents to discuss plans, just isn’t something They want to encourage.

Note: The Mayor Javier Lacalle declared on TV that this project has been voted on by 80% of the people (in a referendum?)

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January 2017

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