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

democracy elites the 1% income inequality



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#1 Okiefreak

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Posted December 14 2016 - 05:51 PM

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"?


Edited by Okiefreak, December 14 2016 - 06:05 PM.


#2 Pressed Rat

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Posted December 14 2016 - 05:57 PM

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.


Edited by Pressed Rat, December 14 2016 - 06:13 PM.

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#3 storch

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Posted December 14 2016 - 06:08 PM

So I thought it might be useful to take these sound bites and look at them in greater depth and more critically. 

Well, go ahead.



#4 Okiefreak

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Posted December 14 2016 - 06:21 PM

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.

 

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 every thing they promised they would do.

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.


Edited by Okiefreak, December 14 2016 - 06:41 PM.


#5 Meliai

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Posted December 14 2016 - 06:28 PM

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.

Edited by Meliai, December 14 2016 - 06:29 PM.

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#6 Pressed Rat

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Posted December 14 2016 - 06:28 PM

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.


Edited by Pressed Rat, December 14 2016 - 06:29 PM.

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It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out
It doesn't matter much to me

#7 Pressed Rat

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Posted December 14 2016 - 06:41 PM

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.


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?
Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out
It doesn't matter much to me

#8 Meliai

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Posted December 14 2016 - 06:53 PM

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?


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

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens ~Tolkien


#9 Okiefreak

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Posted December 14 2016 - 07:18 PM

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.

But he withdrew from Iraq against the insistence of the neocons.



#10 6-eyed shaman

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Posted December 14 2016 - 07:30 PM

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.


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