Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Party

Plutocracy system in the USA?

A billionaires’ election system?

Since when as the common people actually elected who they knew is right for the job?

Are the Us citizens imagining that they have just elected the new Congress?

In a formal way, they did have. The public did vote.

In a substantive way, it’s not true that they have chosen their government.

 posted this Nov. 11, 2014

Understanding and Overcoming America’s Plutocracy

This was the billionaires’ election, billionaires of both parties.

While the Republican and Democratic Party billionaires have some differences, what unites them is much stronger than what divides them, a few exceptions aside.

Indeed, many of the richest individual and corporate donors give to both parties. The much-discussed left-right polarization is not polarization at all. The political system is actually relatively united and working very effectively for the richest of the rich.

There has never been a better time for the top 1%. The stock market is soaring, profits are high, interest rates are near zero, and taxes are low.  (But real wealth generated by the working people has not materialized in this economy)

The main countervailing forces — unions, antitrust authorities, and financial regulators — have been clobbered.

Think of it this way.

If government were turned over to the CEOs of ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Bechtel, and Health Corporation of America, they would have very little to change of current policies, which already cater to the 4 mega-lobbies: Big Oil, Wall Street, defense contractors, and medical care giants.

This week’s election swing to the Republicans will likely give these lobbies the few added perks that they seek: lower corporate and personal tax rates, stronger management powers vis-à-vis labor, and even weaker environmental and financial regulation.

The richest of the rich pay for the political system — putting in billions of dollars in campaign and lobbying funds — and garner trillions of dollars of benefits in return.

Those are benefits for the corporate sector — financial bailouts, cheap loans, tax breaks, lucrative federal contracts, and a blind eye to environmental damages — not for society as a whole. The rich reap their outsized incomes and wealth in large part by imposing costs on the rest of society.

We can’t actually tote up the total spending on this campaign by the richest donors because, thanks to the Supreme Court, much of the spending is anonymous and unreported. Still, we know that the Koch Brothers, through their complex web of shell groups, put in at least $100 million and probably much more.

Many other billionaires and corporate contributions helped to raise the total kitty to more than $3.6 billion.

The evidence is overwhelming that politicians vote the interests of their donors, not of society at large. This has now been demonstrated rigorously by many researchers, most notably Princeton Professor Martin Gilens.

Whether the Republicans or Democrats are in office, the results are little different. The interests at the top of the income distribution will prevail.

Why does the actual vote count for so little?

People vote for individuals, not directly for policies.

They may elect a politician running on a platform for change, but the politician once elected will then vote for the positions of the big campaign donors.

The political outcomes are therefore oriented toward great wealth rather than to mainstream public opinion, the point that Gilens and others have been finding in their detailed research. (See also the study by Page, Bartels, and Seawright).

It’s not easy for the politicians to shun the campaign funds even if they want to. Money works in election campaigns. It pays for attack ads that flood the media, and it pays for elaborate and sophisticated get-out-the-vote efforts that target households at the micro level to manipulate who does and does not go to the polls.

Campaigning without big money is like unilateral disarmament. It’s noble; it works once in a while; and it is extremely risky. On the other hand, taking big campaign money is a Faustian bargain: you may win power but lose your political soul.

Of course there are modest differences between the parties, and there is a wonderful, truly progressive wing of the Democratic Party organized in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but it’s marginalized and in the minority of the party.

So many Democrats have their hand in the fossil-fuel cookie jar of Big Oil and Big Coal that the Obama administration couldn’t get even the Democrats, much less the Republicans, to line up for climate-change action during the first year of the administration.

And how do Wall Street money managers keep their tax privileges despite the public glare? Their success in lobbying is due at least as much to Democratic Party Senators beholden to Wall Street as it is to Republican Senators.

Is there a way out?

Yes, but it’s a very tough path. Plutocracy has a way of spreading like an epidemic until democracy itself is abandoned.

History shows the wreckage of democracies killed from within. And yet America has rallied in the past to push democratic reforms, notably in the Progressive Era from 1890-1914, the New Deal from 1933-1940, and the Great Society from 1961-1969.

All of these transformative successes required grass-roots activism, public protests and demonstrations, and eventually bold leaders, indeed drawn from the rich but with their hearts with the people: Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.

Yet in all of those cases, the mass public led and the great leaders followed the cause. This is our time and responsibility to help save democracy. The Occupy Movement and the 400,000 New Yorkers who marched for climate-change control in September are pointing the way.

Andrew Jackson 7th President: The most powerful and popular President (1829-37) in the 19th century US history

Andrew Jackson founded the Democratic party and was the least educated of the former presidents.

Born on March 1767 in a small farm of South Carolina, he got engaged at 13 in the revolutionary troops. Orphaned at age 14, his education is cut short and multiplies the small jobs. He never applied to or attended a “university” but learned enough law to be admitted as lawyer in North Carolina in 1787.

In 1788, he is appointed district attorney general of what is currently known as Tennessee. He speculated and lost and was about to experience prison for defaulting. This adventure would mark Jackson and his apprehension for banking institutions.

Jackson is elected to the convention that discussed Tennessee Constitution and became the first representative of this State in Congress in 1796, then senator in 1797, and was appointed member of the Supreme Court of this State (1798-1804)

Jackson is elected militia chief of Tennessee and became a national hero during the 1812 war against England. The British troops entered the Capital of Washington DC and burned it.

He defeated the Indian Creeks before saving New Orleans from the British siege in January 1815.

Jackson confronted the Indian Seminole and colonized Spanish Florida. This non-declared offensive war, not approved by Congress, expanded the US territories to the east of Mississippi.

Jackson becomes governor of Florida in 1821. By 1823, he is a federal senator.

In the 1820’s, the debate over slavery in the opened western lands for colonization is raging. A sectional compromise is agreed upon: slavery is prohibited North of 36 degree and 30 minutes latitude and accepted south of this latitude. This consensus was the work of strong Congressmen such as Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster. President Monroe had no say in it.

The southern States import most of its consuming goods and reluctant on paying import taxes, while the northern States want to preserve and protect their industries from foreign competition.

Opposition to Federal financing of transportation infrastructure is another major hurdle to surmount.

The year 1819 experienced a financial crisis that halted the speculative trend in the newly expanded territories westward.

The latest creation of the second Bank of the USA in 1816, after the expiration term of the first national bank, is raising resentment.

Six of the new western States agree on the universal vote for all white citizens, and thus, you don’t need to be an owner of properties to vote. In 1828, 18 states have adopted this “democratic” voting system

The caucus system is still applied for the selection of the Presidential candidates: The political parties select their candidates, and consequently, only weak Presidents are selected to consolidate the power of the legislative body.

In 1823, the future President, John Quincy Adams was minister of foreign affairs and originated the Monroe Doctrine of the US neutrality in European affairs and guarding the American continent from any European incursions.

The Republican party is divided and refuse to abide by the caucus system. On July 20, 1822, Tennessee support the candidate Andrew Jackson.

Andrew Jackson is first in popular votes but the 99 votes of Grand Electors is far short of the absolute majority of 131. The speaker of Congress Henry Clay managed to elect John Quincy Adams as 6th President.

The string of Presidents from Virginia is broken. Jackson resigns from the Senate and retires to his property at the Hermitage. Jackson’s friends are mobilized to forming the “Democratic Party” or the “men of Jackson” against the men of Adams. Jackson is promoted as the Man of the western frontier, a region that was in full expansion, in opposition to the elite classes of the East.

Jackson got 178 votes of the Grand Electors in 1828 and 647,000 popular votes against 508,000 for Adams. The popular vote broke the 50% in participation.

Jackson opposes his veto to the renewal of of the chart of the second Bank of the US in 1832, and take out the federal funds the next year. This second national bank held one quarter of the nation’s deposits and had the monopoly of keeping all federal funds.

Jackson uses the veto as  a weapon to oppose any law that does not serve the White House policies.

Jackson relies more on his “Kitchen Cabinet” formed of informal counselors and exercises for the first time the power of firing ministers and federal employees who are nominated by the President.

The French explorer and political analyst Alexis de Tocqueville coined the term “Jackson’s Democracy”, though only white males can vote. Jackson’s opponents called him “King Andrew”.

Jackson leave the White House on March 1837, but remained the most influential man until his death in 1845.

Jackson’s Democratic Party focused its identity around liberty of enterprises and States Rights facing a weakened Federal State.

The Whig opposition favors Federal financing of transport infrastructure, raising import taxes and a centralization of banking system.

The election of 1828 changed the caucus format to the national convention of the political parties that select the candidates and their vice presidents as a “ticket”. Consequently, you had to belong to a party in order to be a candidate.

Certain States adopt the concept of “winner-take-all” and others rely on the proportional system for sending delegate to the convention.

Can US political system be reformed? (Jan. 12, 2010)

            Detroit voted Barak Obama. The counties of Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne, black, white, lower and middle classes voted Obama.  Ground Zero Detroit lost 70,000 homes to creditors in the last two years; everyday, houses are burned to capture insurance and move to suburbs; from 2 million in 1950 Detroit has shrank to 700,000. The jobless rate is 40% and barely Ford of the “Big Three” is surviving.  Detroit voted Obama for his universal health care project; the now apathetic voters never considered that Obama will send a law that pleases the hysteric Republican Party. They believed than a margin of 8 million votes would make Obama believe that time for serious political decisions are ripe and he was elected to LEAD.  The voters hoped that Obama will urge them to get moving to the Capitol to pass “their health care project”; instead, the republican got on the move to kill any hope for reforms.  If you are out of work then your health insurance is cancelled; you have to seek Luther Keith, pay $20 to see a physician, and then get a working relative to guarantee payment.

            President Obama has to take a stand on three decisions:

            First, every cabinet member and assistant has to read all of Obama speeches.  The members who do not believe that “What I said is what I mean” should be fired on the spot; then Obama can start to delegate responsibly.

            Second, Obama has to re-connect with all the syndicates and organizations and rally most of them to the Democratic Party. Only a unified front of workers and middle classes with a serious new perceived value “health and safety for all” can change the lobbying political system.

            Third, Obama has then to start sending reform laws as he promised his people to do and not what might please the losers in the election.

            In the Senate, if 40 out of 100 veto a law then the discussion can be prolonged indefinitely. Senator Joseph Lieberman vetoed the creation of “public option” for Americans with no health insurance.  Deputy Dennis Kucinich harangued his colleagues in those terms “Are we the Congress of the USA or the administrative council of Goldman Sachs?” President Obama had preached “I didn’t campaign to aid the big bonnets on Wall Street” but he did bail them out with $700 billion. Sure, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan, UBS, and Morgan Stanley did contribute to Obama’s campaign as they contributed to the other party too. What was the fraction of contributions of these multinationals? Was it worth it to appoint Wall Street lead man Timothy Geithner as Finance Secretary?  Was it worth it to appoint Lawrence Sumners who is the architect of financial deregulations?

            Appointing the enemies to reform programs has nothing of pragmatic; Hillary Clinton is not pragmatic: she loves “Pride and Anger” of late Oriana Fallaci and disseminated the book to all her acquaintances. Obama foreign policies turned out carbon copies of Bush Junior toward the Islamic World.

            The US political system is Not “separation and balance of powers”; this myth has been proven wrong in critical periods.  The US system is a multilayered duplication of levels so that money can enjoy the last word.  How can a President vanquish well entrenched structures and when the opposition is hysteric for being ousted and refuses to submit to rational judgments?  The US multinationals are active free agents ready to falsify and fabricate crisis, instill financial crashes, provoke depressions and then take pleasure profiting from the blood and miseries of the little people.

            Obama has to start taking stands in the interest of the little people who voted him in. Time is running out and compromises with the enemy have proven lethal.  The world is shedding blood, miseries are rampant, and famine is waiting on the corner.

            Obama, your credibility as a leader is being tarnished.  There are no harms trying alternatives but when faced with the inflexibility of your enemies then you should not conciliate; you have to react with vigor and determination as a victor leader and the people will back you up when you ask them to march.  Take responsibility: You won the election and political decisions are yours to deliver on your promises.

Part 1.  Two main factors:  For discriminating among developed capitalist economies, (Jan. 9, 2010)

How stable are developed capitalist economies?

Election law systems and political decision of the winning coalition in election that generates State’s initiatives programs constitute the two main factors that differentiate among the capitalist economies in developed nations.

First, the election voting system determines the type of capitalist economy.

Political conflict is at the heart of an economic system:  It results in irreconcilable interests among winners and losers in elections. Political conflict is related to the kind of consensus among political alliance blocks, representing the popular and the middle classes interests. Only a political decision of the winner in election can resolve the impasse: society has to admit this fact, instead of investigating the secondary factors for economic recovery, development, and stability.

Machiavelli and Carl Schmitt claim the autonomy of politics, and invite to think institutions as a way of resolving conflicts that alienate periodic social changes: this position refutes the concept that conventional rules and regulations contain economic activities that are meant to re-structure market deficiencies.  Institutional reforms (for modernization, efficacious productivity, and emerging branches in economies) are modeled relative to political conflicts: it is the political alliance that pressure reforms to please their constituencies.

The capitalist social-democratic system in Germany is the outcome of stable agreements between the lower and middle classes, which translated to job protection and generous social security system: the election law is proportional and multiparty.

The British (Westminster) election law is a bipartisan majority rule; it over represents the interests of the middle classes.  Thus, it favors socio-political compromises that admit job market flexibility (read, easy firing policies and lesser social security protection).  The needy class in England suffer from harsh universal health delivery system and long delay for non-emergency hospitalization.  Margaret Thatcher managed to rally the major political groups behind strategic radical reforms of the institutions, which created for her a social base supporting her economic programs.

France has been experimenting with a variety of election systems, but has been following the German’s model trend in the last decades. The majority system is based on two turn election, which permits the expression of political minorities.  Recently, French election system is leaning more toward the British system with the emergence of two major political blocks and the adoption of 5-year plans.

The emergence of “categorical” syndicates that are no longer interested in considering solidarity with other groups is weakening the social-democratic compromises: Syndicates are dissociating from uniting with single political blocks.

The US bipartite presidential election law is favoring the middle and higher classes, simply because the majority of worker syndicates failed to rally to a single political party. The US economy is going to suffer from major instability in direction because the Democratic Party declined the challenge to taking political decisions based on the winner’s rights to taking responsibilities.  The maimed universal health plan is one consequence; so is US position on climate changes and foreign policies.

The economic instability is also evident in that small local firms are different from small, but global enterprises.   Their heterogeneous demands are being expressed accordingly: Thus, these unstable political coalitions witnessed in European States.

The second main factor or State’s initiatives economic programs will be discussed in part two.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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