Political And Socioeconomic Inequality In The U.s.: Who Governs?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Okiefreak, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    Recent discussions on HF lead me to believe that lots of folks have wildly different ideas about how the United States is governed and the extent of inequality in this country. One poster tells us: "Only children would continue mindlessly believing that presidents are something more than figureheads owned by money...Trump will do exactly what he is told to do, just like Obama." Along the same lines, another said of Al Gore:"there's no way he would ever have become president if he didn't intend on satisfying corporate America's wishes. Our choices for president are limited on the basis of whether or not they will do this." Also, "I see the candidates as sled dogs vying for number-one position in the pack. There are perks that come with being lead-dog, but the dogs are controlled by the sled-driver, and the dogs know it. Part of their job, for which they are rewarded, is to play their parts in the play that the public has come to believe is reality." On the other hand, we learn from another poster that the United States is becoming too democratic and that it is supposed to be a "republic not a democracy."

    Then we are told that:"We are being oppressed. The wishes of the American people have no clout whatsoever. It's all about the wishes of the donors. And none of the donors want what we want. They just want more money, and that money will come from the American taxpayer. They will put us down and rob us, no matter who is in the White House." And "Basically social mobility has pretty much stagnated in the US meaning that if you were born poor you are likely to die poor and if born rich you’ll die rich." But another responds: "Seems rather sociopathic to me to tell disadvantaged people there is no hope for them. But I guess that's what the left wants; a disadvantaged class they can exploit for votes for generations to come."

    So I thought it might be useful to take these sound bites and look at them in greater depth and more critically. Are U.S. leaders just puppets in a marionette show run by an elite operating behind the curtain? Is the notion that the gap between haves and have nots in this country is widening and ossifying "sociopathic"?
     
  2. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    All you have to do is look at what changes with each passing president. Nothing changes. Each president continues to forward the same overall agenda with perhaps some slight alterations as to maintain an illusion of being different from the previous president. Every president in recent years, regardless of party affiliation, has been pro-war, is funded by corporate money (though some will argue that does not apply to Trump), and supports fascist, Big Brother legislation like the Patriot Act and domestic surveillance. Meanwhile the size and scope of government continues to increase, the currency becomes increasingly inflated, the living standard continues to dwindle, and people lose more and more freedoms to an encroaching police state which can only be described as totalitarian.

    Obama was Bush on steroids, and I say that Trump will forward the same exact agenda as the two clowns before him as he does the opposite of everything he said he would, just like Obama. These puppets always promise so much on the campaign trail, only turn their backs on almost everything they promised they would do once in office.
     
    2 people like this.
  3. storch

    storch Senior Member

    Well, go ahead.
     
  4. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    I guess it depends on what you consider to be significant changes. I think it made an enormous difference that we got Nixon instead of Humphrey in 1968, Reagan instead of Carter in 1980, Bush 41 instead of Dukakis in 1988, Clinton in 1992 instead of Bush 41,G.W. instead of Al Gore in 2000. etc. G.W. , for example,stocked his cabinet with neo-cons, who proceeded to implement the neo-con playbook: throw U.S. weight around, invade Iraq, make the world safe for Israel, and bring to the Middle East the blessings of U.S.-style "democracy". Gore didn't have much truck with neocons, and was far more cautious in his style. G.W. gave us two wars, torture, escalation of the national debt, Supreme Court Justices who decided Citizens United and rolled back voting rights protection for African-Americans, and the greatest "recession" since the Great Depression. . Looking at the Trump lineup for cabinet positions, his impending appointment of the deciding vote on the Supreme Court, and the noises from Congressional Republicans about rolling back social and environmental programs. I don't see any indication that Hillary would have done that.

    I think the United States is what political scientist Robert Dahl calls a polyarchy or plural elite system in which multiple elites who share basic values such as capitalism and neo-liberalism, but also differ on important issues including war, the environment, and social safety nets, set the constraints in which politicians compete for the people's vote. There is no evidence that they get together and dictate a policy agenda to the politicians on all or most issues, and it matters quite a lot what the support base and political advisors the politicians bring with them into office.
     
  5. Meliai

    Meliai Senior Member

    I think we are living in a terrifying time where our very livelihoods are being held hostage in the name of profit and money for the elite few in the top 1%.

    I dont believe in some nefarious man behind the curtain, like the illuminati, per se...i just think the majority of people running this country are motivated by money, simply put. And greed motivates them to cause a lot of human misery for their own self interests.

    It is a tale as old as time, really.

    There are a few topical, specific examples of putting greed before the very livelihood of people that have particularly disgusted me lately, i'll put up some links when i have time. One particular instance that i think everyone is familiar with is Standing Rock and the continued construction of the pipeline even after their permit was denied.
     
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  6. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    Okie - you forgot to mention that Obama continued to forward the neocon playbook once he got into office by going after the same countries slated for "regime change" by the neocons in Bush's administration.
     
  7. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    But what is money to the people at the very top of the financial system, who control the central banks of the world and have the ability to print money out of nothing?
     
  8. Meliai

    Meliai Senior Member

    I have no idea. I'm sure power is just as appealing as money to some.
     
  9. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    But he withdrew from Iraq against the insistence of the neocons.
     
  10. 6-eyed shaman

    6-eyed shaman mama's boy

    There was also Clinton's war in Bosnia, and his bombing of Iraq in 1998. Dubya was terrible, but I think there might've have been roughly the same amount of war under a president Gore.
     
  11. Meliai

    Meliai Senior Member

    The United States currently has active deployed troops in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Uganda, and Cameroon, and is engaged in drone strikes in Yemen (not to mention warships right off the coast of Yemen) and Pakistan.

    While we aren't seeing the huge swell of ground troops in Iraq that we saw under Bush's war, overall American foreign policy hasn't exactly changed that drastically between Democrat and Republican presidents...

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/03/obama-doctrine-wars-numbers/474531/

    https://www.poynter.org/2014/fact-checking-the-war-comparisons-between-obama-and-bush/272471/
     
  12. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    The difference in scale is major. Depends on what you mean by drastic. And the reduced scale was a subject of great controversy, and criticism of Obama throughout his terms in office. Obviously the elites didn't agree.
     
  13. storch

    storch Senior Member

    Was Obama right to withdraw troops from Iraq?
     
  14. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    Does that question relate to the topic?
     
  15. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Member

    The US is a modern day welfare state in the tradition of the Roman empire. Its a mixture of mob rule and oligopolies all controlled by an estimated 1,700 international conglomerates with all of them adopting the same essential Three Stooges strategy of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and constantly arguing over the definition of stupid and who is the better example. You can forget about Trump being in charge or anyone else because its basically a game of cutthroat poker where nobody can even sit at the table unless they are armed to the teeth. Hence, the reason when Trump was elected we started having riots in the streets and cops being executed in broad daylight because we have the best justice that money can buy and violence is the only other way to get what you want.

    The Roman emperors faced this same problem with the peasants routinely storming the palace in winter when ships couldn't get into the harbor and they started starving. The emperor Claudius doubled the number of aqueducts and built the first sheltered harbor so they could ensure the food and water kept flowing, but all of the Roman emperors had their own private Germanic guards because you can't trust anyone in a game of cutthroat poker and Claudius actually became emperor only because he was 32nd in line and all his relatives killed each other. Trump will do whatever the hell he can get away with, but even he knows if he threatens to destabilize the game by trying something stupid like dismantling NATO or crashes the economy like Bush he will be immediately removed from office or executed on the spot. The Russians influencing the election are already pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable by exposing how the game is rigged.
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. storch

    storch Senior Member

    According to your last two posts, yeah. Why do you ask?
     
  17. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    I turned on the news today. The Dow is about to reach 20,000 for the first time in history, and investors are all excited. The market started its dizzying climb the day after Trump was elected. Why is that? I'm no economist, but my guess would be that the financial class is expecting a big change in the way things have been run--especially major stripping away of all those nasty regulations to protect consumers and the environment and adoption of more tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations. This suggests to me that the elite perceives real differences among the politicians who are supposed to be its puppets.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    Because I'm not really interested in whether or not Obama's decision to withdraw from Iraq was good or bad, but I am interested in the fact that he did something that many neocons and other elite elements criticized him for. Trump said he and Hillary were the "founders of ISIS" for getting out of a region that had been a quagmire for the U.S. and that Obama won an election promising to get out. Whether or not he got out too abruptly is an interesting question to debate, but unless it relates to the main point of presidents being puppets of the elite, I think its off topic.
     
  19. storch

    storch Senior Member

    I told you that the president is simply the lead dog on the sled team. That means that when the sled driver cracks its whip, the lead dog obeys. Do you think that the president is the head of the ruling body who cracks the whip?
     
  20. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Member

    Its not a dog sled, but a pack of wolves with the Alpha deciding how much they are allowed to fight among themselves.
     

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