texshelters

Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Michelle Bachman’s Not the Problem

In Current Events, Economics, Election Politics, History on August 31, 2011 at 01:40

Michelle Bachmann exists as a symptom and a distraction. While the left (and others) writes endlessly about Bachmann, what we need to do is address the ignorant nationalistic and dominionist right-wing ideology from which she sprang.

First, we must address religious intolerance and the moral superiority complex of the far right in the United States.

Bachmann believes in Dominionism, the idea that people of faith are mandated by God to be politically involved. They believe that they need to be politically involved because they are the chosen people and the only ones that can faithfully carry out God’s plan. But Dominionism did not start nor will it end with Bachmann. Dominionism has also been called, “Christian Nationalism”, “Kingdom Now Theology”, “Dominion Theology”, or “Restoration Theology”. Bachmann and her ilk, from George Bush, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and others practice this politicized brand of faith. And even if a candidate is not a Dominionist, groups like the Southern Baptist Convention, the Christian Coalition with their legislative agenda, Assembly of God (known for funding John Ashcroft’s congressional campaigns) among others push candidates to accept their far-right religion infused legislative agenda. They help choose the Republican Congressional candidates, in many cases being King, or should I say Queen, makers.

From gay marriage, reproductive planning, education, immigration laws, and other policy areas, Dominionists are actively trying to create public policy based on their theology. And if you are not of their faith, you are out of luck. Freedom of Religion is merely an obstacle to dominionists, not a right of all people in the United States. And if you are a practicing Muslim, dominionists won’t care about your immigration status, years of residence, community standing or law abiding history. All Muslims are suspect to the religious right. Herman Cain called forth the specter of McCarthyism by saying that Muslims would have to take a loyalty oath to work for him. Republican leaders fought the Muslim community center in New York City, Oklahoma banned Sharia law  (as if it was about to be applied), among other bigoted acts and fear mongering involving Islam and the far right. Attacks against innocent people in the United States solely because of their Muslim faith increased dramatically after Sept 11, 2001. The language of the Republican party against Muslims only makes such attacks more likely.

If Republicans take over the White House and gain control of the Senate, they will pass Jim Crow style laws against Muslims as soon as they take power. After they are done with the Muslims, the atheists will be next, then non-Christians and so on.

We must also educate each other and our children to fight Republican historical revisionism.

History and economics doesn’t deter the far right from promoting failed economic policies. We have had ten years since the Bush tax cuts, and the far right still argues that tax cuts create jobs. One look at the rise in unemployment since the Bush tax cuts will disprove that theory, and a look at historical tax rates show that high tax rates can be correlated to high employment. Notice, I didn’t say that correlation of high taxes with high employment proves causality, for I am not a Republican who confuses correlation with causality. The point is, there is no evidence that tax cuts create jobs and there is plenty of anecdotal and historical evidence that tax cuts don’t work.

Republicans and the far right also argue that cutting spending at a time of high unemployment will rescue the economy. The fact is that cuts in spending leads to public and private sector layoffs.  This leads to cuts into the amount if money in the economy and thus spending, which leads to further layoffs. But these economic and historical facts don’t deter the far right from demanding spending cuts, nor does it deter President Obama from considering them.

Bachmann and the right want desperately to have a gun in every pot, and so they make up history to meet their gun loving ideology. Sarah Palin, a staunch gun defender, told us that Paul Revere took his famous ride to warn the British not to take our guns. You see, she wouldn’t let historical facts get in the way of her ideology. The truth is that no Congress has ever tried to pass a ban on gun use in the United States, and they never will.

When fear of Islam was failing Bachmann, she called on the fear of the Soviet Union to rescue her. Recently on a Christian radio show, she reminded us what Americans fear, “They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward.” Doesn’t Bachmann realize that the Soviet Union is deader than Ronald Reagan?

But it fits in with her fear of the outsider and fear of the foreign, and she won’t let history deter her from calling on that fear to garner support.

Republicans like Representative Kurt Zellers ignore the fact that voting is right in order to pass laws to restrict the vote. When asked about laws restricting voting, he failed to get the facts straight, “I think it’s a privilege, it’s not a right.” Actually, it’s a right written in the Constitution in several places.

Republicans ignore the history of the Great Depression where unfettered capitalism created a run on the stock market, overproduction of goods with no buyers, and the worst economic collapse in world history, so far. They ignore this history because it interferes with their free market fetishism. They even ignore the recent history where over production and over investing in housing led to the recent recession.

Instead, the Republican leadership once again call on tax cuts as the solution, because as we have seen, tax cuts lead to reinvestment, right? And tax cuts lead to public spending cuts and leads to more layoffs. The trick is repeating that tax cuts will lead us out of the recession over and over again and convincing enough people that this is true to avoid a complete revolt.

There is also the myth that regulation hurts investment, but there are fewer regulations today then there were in the Clinton era when the economy did well. There is no evidence that a reduction in regulation helps our economy and will lead to investment, unless you count as evidence the self-serving statements of corporations who will benefit financially if they can pollute the environment and poison us with impunity.

“An analysis conducted by the Washington Post at the end of Bush’s first term found that since he took office, federal agencies had begun roughly one-quarter fewer regulations than President Clinton and 13 percent fewer than Bush’s father during their first terms.”

So, if cutting regulations will improve our economy, why after all the cuts in regulations under Bush isn’t our economy booming? The cutting of regulations leading to a better economy is a lie looking for evidence. Yes, we can find examples of over regulation and regulations that might cost us, in the short run. But regulations are put in place for the long term health of the economy.

Author Nomi Prins worked at Goldman Sachs before writing books on economics from an insiders perspective including, “It Takes a Pillage.” The book lays out the facts that a large part of the mortgage industry collapse that lead to the current recession was due to deregulation of the banking and mortgage industry. So much for deregulation saving us. It has instead lead to the biggest economic collapse in decades. Republicans lie about deregulation being the cure all because it would help out their patrons if they didn’t have to be concerned with ethical, ecological, and health and safety concerns when creating and selling their products. Again, they demand larger profits at the expense of people.

Republicans also ignore the history of abortion before and after Roe V. Wade to promote their pro-fetus agenda. Certainly, no one is “pro-abortion.” However, as this doctor points out, it is only option for some women, “The familiar symbol of illegal abortion is the infamous “coat hanger” — which may be the symbol, but is in no way a myth. In my years in New York, several women arrived with a hanger still in place. Whoever put it in — perhaps the patient herself — found it trapped in the cervix and could not remove it.”

And what of the women that didn’t make it to the hospital for medical help? While the statistics on abortion related deaths are uncertain, ranging from 1000-10,000 deaths a year before the Supreme Court Roe V. Wade decision, a thousand deaths is too much to tolerate, and banning abortion won’t change the reality that some women will die during an illegal procedure. But in the world of Republicans, a woman’s life isn’t worth that of a fetus, so safe procedures, and contraception, should be banned.

It is clear by all accounts that making abortion illegal won’t end abortions. It will, however, make them less safe for women without means. On the other hand, abortion will remain safe for the wealthy who can travel or hire private doctors to do the procedure. Republicans want to ignore this reality because they live in a fantasy land where unwanted and unsafe pregnancies won’t happen to them and theirs, and everyone has options when they become pregnant. This is not true. Not all women have options when they become pregnant.

Many of the religious right are also against the main tool used to reduce unwanted pregnancies, contraception. No one is “pro-abortion”, and it’s the far right that ignore the real consequences of a ban on abortions for their fantasy-land ideology and hatred of reproductive freedom.

We must acknowledge that Bachmann, Perry and Palin are symptoms and act accordingly.

If Republicans didn’t have Bachmann, they’d have to invent her. For too long the Democrats, progressives, liberals and moderates have let the racism and nationalism of the far right go unaddressed in policy forums. And “professional liberals” spend too much time mocking easy targets like Bachmann while ignoring the systematic exporting of jobs and cash by large corporations and the criminal military contractors like Blackwater that Jeremy Scahill writes about.

While the largest media outlets in the United States talk about Bachmann, apparently unimportant issues like corporate earnings, corporate welfare, poverty, unemployment, and a growing income gap get largely ignored. Poverty continues to be overlooked because it’s depressing and we don’t want to read or watch stories about things we can’t solve. However, “In the past six months, the Post has published online or in print 34 staff-written stories plus 12 wire service stories on Bachmann” and only five about Ron Paul who has spent twelve terms in Congress compared to Bachman’s three. Liberals need to stop adding to the Bachmann chorus and start writing about the issues.

Other underlying issues that must be address so fewer Bachmanns get undeserved press attention include: poverty, income inequality, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, fear of change, election laws and corporate speech, and lies about “family values”.

Let’s work on the issues that concern us and fight the Bachmanns of the world by promoting education, inclusiveness and good governance.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Republican Plans for Amerikkka: A New Stormfront

In Election Politics, History on August 24, 2011 at 16:42

The projected far right’s final solution, platform, for America in 2012

Republicans have been shy about their true agenda. As the economy collapses and wars rage, 2012 is an opportunity to come from behind the shadows of our past leaders and tell America where we stand, a time to demand Americans to follow or be left behind. We are the number one people on the planet, and we need to start acting that way. As the party of God moves further to the right of Joseph McCarthy and Nathan Bedford Forrest, here is my vision for a more expansive America and what I foresee as their 2012 platform. 

1. As part of the Corporate class of America and its allies, we demand that all people unite under a single banner to create a greater United States for real Americans.

2. We demand equal rights for the all people and respect from other nations and the cancellation of all debt to China and all creditor countries.

3. We demand lower taxes, Bibles, and flags to feed our People and tranquilize our excess population.

4. Only Corporatists (People of the Dollar) can be Citizens of the State. Only persons of American blood can be Corporatists, regardless of bank affiliation. No Liberal can be a U.S. National.

5. Any person who is not a Citizen will be able to live in the United States only as a guest and must be subject to registration and strict supervision. Only a Citizen is entitled to decide the leadership and laws of the State. We therefore demand that only Citizens may hold public office, regardless of whether it is a national, state, or local office.

6. We demand that the State make it its duty to provide opportunities of employment first of all for its own Citizens. If it is not possible to maintain the entire population of the State, then foreign nationals, Muslims, gays, gypsies and liberals, (non-Citizens) are to be expelled from the nation.

7. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-citizens who entered the United States after Sept. 11, 2001 be forced to leave the Empire without delay.

8. All Citizens must have equal rights and duties as the Corporostate allows.

9. It must be the first duty of every Citizen to carry out intellectual or physical work at the lowest possible pay except for specialists determined by the state. Individual activity must not be harmful to the Corporate interest and must be pursued within the framework of the Corporation and for the general good of said Corporations.

We therefore demand:
10. The abolition of all income obtained without labor or effort, i.e. the end of all Social Security including SSI, food stamps, disability payments, veteran’s benefits, free lunches for children, tuition deferments without labor, and so forth, to be determined by the Corporate head of state.

Breaking the Servitude of Interest

11. In view of the tremendous sacrifices in property and blood demanded of the Empire by every war, personal gain from the wars must limited to contractors and suppliers to the war effort. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war related media and information not sponsored by the media monopoly and approved by the board of the FCC.

12. We demand the nationalization of all enterprises and moneys to be converted into Corporations or for the use of said Corporations.

13 . We demand profit-sharing in large Corporations to members of Congress that pass laws for them…Please.

14. We demand the large-scale dissolution of old-age pension schemes.

15. We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound upper class; the immediate corporatization of the American people, which are to be leased at low rates for profit making enterprises. We demand the most careful consideration for the owners of corporations in orders placed by national, state, or community authorities. We demand the continuation of no-bid contracts so competition won’t drive down costs or profits.

16. We demand land reform in accordance with our Empire’s needs and a law for expropriation of land without compensation for Corporate purposes. Abolition of rent for Corporations and prevention of all speculation in land not by Monsanto and other large agra-business firms and Corporations worth less than $100 billion will be prohibited.

17. We demand ruthless battle against those who harm the common good by their activities. Persons committing base crimes against Corporate profit in general are to be punished by death without regard of religion or race and without due process.

18. We demand the replacement of the New Deal, which serves as a wealth sharing and life saving set of socialistic creeds, by the laws of a pure free market, a market that we will continue to control for our own wealth enhancement.

19. In order to make higher education—and thereby entry into leading positions— available to every able and industrious Citizen, the Corporation must provide a thorough restructuring of our entire public educational system. The courses of study at all educational institutions are to be adjusted to meet the requirements of practical life. Understanding of the concept of the State and Corporations must be achieved through the schools (teaching of the Bible, Ayn Rand and Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom) at the earliest age at which it can be grasped. We demand the education at the public expense of specially gifted children of wealthy parents. We demand that the arts, ethnic studies, and unapproved versions of history be eliminated from the class room.

20. The State must raise the level of national health by means of pharmaceuticals, the banning of alternative medicines, achievement of physical fitness through legislation for compulsory gymnastics and sports, and maximum support for all organizations providing physical training such as MMA organizations and NASCAR. Sports will be a unifying force for America, and thus we will ban all sports in which we don’t excel, like soccer.

21. We demand that more of the budget goes into the creation of a national army.

22. We demand laws to fight against deliberate political lies be eliminated. It is our right to lie, and to the best liars go the spoils.

Thus, we demand:

a) all editors and editorial employees of newspapers appearing in the American language must be American by race;

b) non-American newspapers require express permission from the State for their publication. They may not be printed in the American language;

c) any financial participation in an American newspaper or influence on such a paper is to be forbidden by law to non-Americans and the penalty for any breech of this law will be the closing of the newspaper in question, as well as the immediate expulsion from the Empire of the non-American involved.

Newspapers which violate the public interest are to be banned. We demand laws against trends in art and literature which have a destructive effect on our national life, and the suppression of performances that offend against the above requirements. The Corporostate will determine what “American” means.

23. We demand freedom for all Christian denominations, provided that they do not endanger the existence of the Corporostate or offend the concepts of decency and morality of the American race. The Party as such stands for positive Christianity, without associating itself with any particular denomination. It fights against the Muslim-terrorist spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a permanent revival of our Nation can be achieved only from within, on the basis of:

Corporate Interest before Public Interest.

24. To carry out all the above we demand: the creation of a strong central authority in the Empire. Unquestioned authority by the political central Corporate state over the entire Empire and over its organizations in general. The establishment of trade and professional organizations to enforce the Empire’s basic laws in the individual states.

The Party leadership promises to take an uncompromising stand, at the cost of their own lives if need be, on the enforcement of the above points. Houston, August 21, 2011.

A special thinks to the coauthors of the Republican platform.
http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/25points.htm

Remember, friends don’t let friends vote Republican.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

 

Unions are the Unpatriot, Jihadists, Liberal, Terrorist, Atheist, Neighbor Who Wants to Kill you

In Current Events, Economics on August 20, 2011 at 19:43

Tex Shelters here, and I assert that unions are dangerous. They have done so much harm to real America that they alone are the reason we are in dire debt to China.

Back in late 1800s, the Knights of Labor cut into our profits by forcing us to consider the eight hour day. After about 50 years of labor agitation, the Adamson Act was passed in 1917. It forced railroads to institute an eight hour day and pay overtime. It is not a coincidence that this bill passed the same years as the Russian Revolution; the eight hour day was was a communist attack on America. The American Federation of Labor forced the government, through threat of strike, to cut back on worker’s hours, thus reducing our constitutional and God given right to exploit workers for maximum profit.

Union workers get higher pay which leads to inflation, and working families pay more for goods and services. Forget the fact that these same families have members in unions that make higher pay and will thus be unaffected by the slight increase in the cost of consumer goods. Forget the fact that when union workers get paid more, all workers get paid more.  No, we must focus on the inflationary effects of rising wages. And remember non-union workers: union workers are out to get you by making more money than you and getting benefits you don’t have. You must attack union workers and NOT attack the increasingly wealthy corporations and CEOs that keep cutting your pay and benefits and moving your jobs to another state or country. It is fellow workers that are out to get you, so you must get them first. Thank you.

Please America, keep thinking that unions cause unemployment, for that helps us manipulate the reserve pool of labor we have created in the United States. Yes, when a union worker makes more money than you, it means we have less money to hire more people, for we must keep our giant bonuses and luxury homes and hire more management to deal with unruly union workers and the restless unemployed. Moreover, our security costs go up as we have to defend against the retribution of the increasing number of workers we lay off. All this is the fault of unions, so go after them and leave us alone.

You must avoid unions because in a union you vote. In many unions, you vote directly on issues that affect you at work, and we don’t like direct democracy. Unions are corrupt bastions of collective people. If people work alone, like Bernie Maddoff or Martha Stewart or Bernard Ebbers of WorldCom, or Ken Lay of Enron, and many many more, then there is less room for corruption. But working collectively, like unions do, leads to corruption. For example, it was unions that forced Wall Street to commit corporate crimes and manipulate the markets leading to the recent economic collapse.

The most criminal thing that unions have done to America is to keep young children out of the work force. Unions worked with feminists, another cause of the current economic crisis, to rid the land of child labor. What did this group of mothers and laborers have against children? Women pretended to care about stunted growth, lost childhoods, lack of education, injuries and exploitation of children in factories because they were lonely at home for 10-12 hours a day as their eight-year-olds explored workplace opportunities shoveling coal and sewing garments for wealthy children.

And unions were even worse. They wanted these cushy jobs for themselves. By preventing children from working, they not only raised the cost of clothing and other goods for the people, they increased the power of unions and created a more educated, more dangerous, population of future progressives that lead to the progressive movement in the early 1900s that we have never recovered from.

Modern day unions have made our schools unsafe for god and guns. Teachers are the most dangerous type of worker left in the United States because they are the only large block of union workers left, outside of the police and firefighters. And we can’t attack the police and firefighters and get away with it. Thus, we attack the teachers because they get in the way of corporatization of the educational experience and work to prevent the dumbing down of the learning experience. If teachers weren’t in the way, we would have a population of worker drones willing to live off of slop and ready to let the Republicans and their patrons control everything from whom we vote for to where we shit.

As you can see, unions are dangerously getting in the way of our final solution for America. Won’t you join me in attacking unions and other workers and help us subjugate you?

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Bosses lies about unions
http://www.socialistalternative.org/publications/fastfood/ch5.html

Let the Riots in Britain be A Warning to America

In Current Events, Economics on August 13, 2011 at 16:48

Dear President Obama:

I admire you in many ways, but when dealing with jobs and the economy, you have been a disappointment to me and the American people. You continuously acquiesce to Republican demands on economic matters while millions of Americans remain unemployed. You don’t stand up to them on taxes and you don’t defend the social safety net. You have coddled Wall Street and done little to change the employment situation. We hired you to work for the all the American people and not just the moneyed elite and the Republicans. In this task, you have failed.

Millions of Americans with no hope and nowhere to turn are at best a burden society. At worst, unemployment and desperation are a threat to our nation. In the long run, compassion toward desperate Americans is not only the most humane course of action, but it is the most fiscally sound.

Your jobs programs have been lacking or nonexistent. Where are the public works programs we desperately need? How do you expect to have additional revenue in the United States if by cutting the budget, you increase unemployment while not raising tax rates on those that can most afford it?

Poverty in the United States has been growing for thirty years, and none of the decisions made to address the deficit will address the poverty crisis. “In 2009, 43.6 million people were poor, up from 39.8 million in 2008. The number of people in poverty in 2009 is the largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available.” There are more children in poverty than ever, about 20%, and the fixed income the poor and elderly live on has been shrinking due to inflation and lack of increases in Social Security and other payments. Regardless of these and other facts about poverty, Congress and the White House has decided to focus on deficits and debt.

Congress and the White House decided in the recent debt ceiling agreement that cutting spending, which will lead to layoffs, was a good idea in the midst of a slow economic growth. And with the agreement, the opportunity to temporarily increase spending if we face a national crisis such as a natural disaster has been severely curtailed.  Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate in economics recently wrote, “When you’re bleeding profusely from an open wound, you want a doctor who binds that wound up, not a doctor who lectures you on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you get older.”

So instead of getting the much needed infusion of stimulus money to help create jobs while at the same time strengthening our weakened infrastructure, we get a lecture about how we’re giving too much to the poor. While cutting into social spending, military spending remains untouched and no new sources of revenue have been added. Any stimulus spending would be temporary, but it needs to be large enough to jump start our flagging economy. I fear if we don’t start addressing long term unemployment and poverty, we will be met with a crisis such as the riots in England of the past week.

This year, official youth unemployment in Britain has been over 20%. The youth unemployment rate has been even worse in the United States. For teenagers, 16-19, the unemployment rate is about 25%. But that’s not the whole picture. Hispanic youth have an unemployment rate of 35%, and African Americans as a whole have an official unemployment rate of over 15%.

There is an international youth crisis in employment. The Arab spring was in large part fueled by youth who had no jobs and no prospects.

President Obama, do you want to be responsible for riots in the streets of America, do you want to be seen as an oligarch who doesn’t care about his people, a modern day Hoover, or do you want to be seen as the second man in our history to save the United States from revolt and save it for future democracy and future capitalism? The time is now President Obama. Heed the warning signs of riots in Britain and protests across the Middle East, or go down in history as the man who failed to take action when his nation needed him.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Tex Shelters’ Speech at the Conservative Republicans Engaged in Excessive Politics, C.R.E.E.P

In Humor on August 8, 2011 at 17:21


Tex Shelters’ Speech at the Conservative Republicans Engaged in Excessive Politics, C.R.E.E.P., meeting at Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs.

(yelling) FELLOW SELFSERVATIVES! (raising hands in what looks like a combination Nazi salute and black power fist)

(Tex waves his hands to calm down the hooting and hollering of the crowd)

Thank you, thank you! I am so glad to be here with you fellow conservatives of CREEP. President Obama couldn’t be here tonight, he’s out asking forgiveness from Wall Street for talking about raising taxes. (the crowd laughs, hoots and hollers)

Our triumph is nearly complete. We are on the doorstep of making everyone in the United States beholden to corporations, for everything. A special thanks to those that arrived here on the Greyhound bus today, you Tea Baggers. Without you hard working class racists and paranoid white folks, it would be a lot harder to take your Social Security and Medicaid money to reinvest in jobs, (pause) overseas. (A scattering of laugh among the well healed)

And to the folks that arrived in Jets, now that we have extended your tax cuts for years to come, I am sure you met no turbulence. (chuckles)

So we have extended the tax cuts and are now chipping away at the last defense against complete fascist rule! (Yeah!) But there is more work to do.

We must continue to go after a woman’s right to choose and force women to be baby incubators for future soldiers and slave labor.

We must also continue to take voting rights away from college students, the poor and others living on the margin. Without the vote in the wrong hands, we won’t have to rig the voting machines and scare voters away from the polls or use other means of persuasion.

We must rid our nation of the minimum wage. It’s too much to pay, and it’s not the starvation wage we had hoped for.

We must privatize the police to ensure they spend even more of their time protecting and servicing us, the top 1%, not you Greyhound bus riders…(pause) who of course can continue to defend yourselves with the guns we protect from liberal regulation. It’s a slippery slope from keeping automatic weapons away from serial killer rapists and taking away guns from everyone.

The military, keep it up. The earnings from military contracts couldn’t be better. And now, our media has convinced the joint chiefs that Libya is a threat (laughter). (raising a glass) Onward to Iran!

And to the media, you are doing one hell of a job focusing on the elections almost two years in advance, talking about Casey Anthony and the Norway “crazy” killer, Anders Breivik, and talking about the debt ceiling instead of discussing unemployment and the jobs crisis. Way to go! (Tex salutes).

I would also like to put a special thinks out to the Koch Brothers and their (finger to lips, in a whisper), shhhhhhh, Americans for Prosperity  for funding the Tea Party and writing so many damn good talking points for the media and Michelle Bachmann. Way to go on the “job creators” (thumbs up) line about the wealthy who avoid creating jobs and the idea that “Social Security is insolvent”. We’re selling shit, and public is buying.

(Looking at the camera) And special thanks to the American public. As the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6-8,  “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

(Raising hands) God Bless America.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Defending the Power Elite in America Against the Interests of the People: The Case of the United States Government

In Election Politics, History on August 3, 2011 at 09:48

This is a special updated edition of an article that lays to bear the problems with government that have been all to evident in the “debt crisis” talks. Not only have the latest talks shown that public opinion means less and less to our federal government, but it demonstrates how the wealthy classes are the protected class in our society. They are protected from taxes to pay for what they receive from us, responsibility to protect the environment, workers and customers, and accountability for the mistakes they made to get us into this recession. Instead of laying out the debt crisis and the problems with the talks, what others have done better than I could, I have laid out what must be done to start the path toward democracy in the United States.  

Defending the Power Elite in America Against the Interests of the People: The Case of the United States Government

The form of our government in the United States is one that is not conducive to change and radicalism. It is set up to prevent big sweeping changes and thus promotes the interests of those in power, the moneyed and political elite. Elections for political office do little to change the underlying body politic, changing one face for another, and are only cosmetic in nature.

There are several ways the status quo, government run by the powerful and not the people, is protected in the United States.

1. The two party monopoly

Many democracies have multiparty systems. Having more parties means more competition, but apparently the two parties in charge only like the mythical competition of the economic markets and the competition on the football pitch. When it comes to political competition, they want to limit it as much as possible.

While I believe that many Tea Party supporters are deluded and extreme if they feel the Republican Party cares about them, they are challenging the two-party monopoly. I support that even if it comes from the far right. The complaints from the left of Obama’s own party makes it clear we could have a more liberal party than the Democrats. But in the United States you have two flavors of political ice cream, vanilla and vanilla bean: same basic corporate flavor with a different name. (link)

Another thing that the two-party monopoly does is limit the acceptable background of politicians in the United States. At the moment, it is unlikely we would have a candidate, let alone a president, from the lower classes like Lula Da Silva of Brazil. To become President in the United States you must be religious (not atheist or agnostic), Protestant (with the exception of President Kennedy thus far), you must have college degree. Being a lawyer is a major advantage and having a business degree is also helpful.

Furthermore, out of our forty-three Presidents, only one has been not all white, and there have been no women. There are no blacks in the current Senate. That is not representative. There are, however, forty-four blacks in the House of Representatives, which is the approximate percent of the population (close to 10%). This amplifies my arguments that the Senate is undemocratic. What about Hispanic representation? Two in the Senate and thirty in the House of Representatives. While the Senate is ruled by wealthy Whites, the House is much closer to what the United States actually looks like. (link) The two political parties in the United States are richer, whiter, and more educated that the rest of the United States. How could they ever have the interests of the working classes at heart when they aren’t one of us? It’s possible, but Congress demonstrates more clearly by the day how out of touch they are.

2. The Constitution

You might be wondering why I put the Constitution on a list discussing the barriers to a more democratic society. There are several reasons, some of which I discuss throughout this article. To put it in broad terms, it is a barrier because it codifies some of the problems with our democracy such as the Senate and the process for electing our presidents. The other reason is the sacred nature of the document. Like the Bible, the Constitution is taken as gospel, until you disagree with it. “But it’s in the Constitution”, or “But it’s not in the Constitution” are oft used phrases when one wants to end political debate. However, like the Bible, the Constitution accepted slavery and even made allowances for it with the 3/5s rule as well as containing other undemocratic policies. (link)

The Bill of Rights, if we adhere to them, is what’s best about our secular/holy document, but the plan of government needs updating, and we need to add amendments protecting people’s voting rights and ending corporate personhood to improve our failing democratic institutions.

3. Winner takes all

In a winner takes all election, you can win a congressional seat by one vote. The loser gets nothing. For example, the Senate candidate in California could win a seat with 6,000,001 votes while the loser gets 6,000,000 votes. That means there are 6 million voters who have no representative of their choosing. If we had a proportional representation system in the Senate (a body I want to dismantle as you will see later), the losing party would get the number of seats in proportion to the votes they received. In the case above, they would get half of the seats, minus one. Thus the “loser” would have a say and those views would be represented. Some people say that the system we have works, so why change it. Take a look at Congress and tell me if it’s really working. (link)

Sociologist G. William Domhoff has made a career studying elections and political systems.  He discusses the advantages of a proportional representation system,

In contrast to a system based on districts and pluralities, countries with systems of proportional representation usually have four or more parties, and would have even more if there wasn’t a minimum vote that has to be reached to receive any seats at all. Although the centrist parties soak up most of the votes, these countries are often governed by a coalition of two or more parties. Roughly speaking, there are left-of-center, center-left, center-right, and right-of-center coalitions. In this kind of system, everyone’s vote counts, and voter turnout is therefore very high. (link)

In Domhoff’s book “Who Rules America”, he reviews statistics comparing winner-takes-all systems versus proportional representation. It is clear from the data that proportional representation systems have much higher voter participation while providing more choices, and they are thus more democratic. The two ruling parties in the U.S. will not allow a proportional voting system that would interfere with their two party monopoly.

The positive side to the Tea Party ideology is that is shows a split in one of the major parties that could, over time, lead to a sustainable third party in America. We could also sustain a left of center party to compete with the corporate Democrats. Until the rules on elections change to allow more third party challenges, rules from registration requirements to costs for entry and proportional representation, citizens are doomed to vote between two inadequate parties.

4. Money Dominated and not Vote Dominated Elections

Money controls politics to a large extent in the United States. Those that defend this say that it has always been this way and that it would be undemocratic to not allow unlimited money from the wealthy to be used in elections. That means Congress is for sale. (link) By allowing unlimited campaign donations for corporations, the Supreme Court has moved the already corporate dominated U.S. Government even further toward a day when one just need buy a seat in Congress without the pretense of voting. Until we limit this money in elections, end the lie of corporate personhood, and treat everyone’s money as equal, our elections will be corrupted by those that can pay the most to have their candidate elected. Read my post about this here.

Post on the Supreme Court “Citizens United” ruling that gives corporations unlimited donation power.

5.
Presidential Election System

Our presidential primary system starts in two less populated states, Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Iowa primary is not even a vote by the people. It has a caucus (group meetings with the party faithful) that favors party insiders and not candidates with alternative ideas. The primary in New Hampshire has very small turnout. For example, only three to four percent of voters nominated McCain in New Hampshire. (link) So a few thousand votes in a small state decided who would represent the Republicans in 2008.

Furthermore, many state party primaries block those not registered with one of the two major parties from their primaries, and thus they promote the two party monopoly. Independents, non-aligned voters, don’t have a say. Thus, voters are coerced to sign-up with one of the two parties or have no vote in the primaries that determine the choice for president. And by the time the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries are over, most of the candidates, often those with the most interesting ideas, have been eliminated. Iowa and New Hampshire, with about 2.5% of the U.S. population, have more say about the nominees that other states.

New Hampshire is mostly rural. So is Iowa. They are also states that have a higher percentage of White people than most of America. So why are those the first two presidential primary states?  If Brown of CA, Scott in FLA and Cuomo in NY (Governors of three populous and diverse states) pushed for a change and asked their legislatures to move up their primaries, the primary system would have an outside chance of changing.

Iowa compared to US demographics
New Hampshire compared to the United States

Other problems with the primary process are the debates that limit participation of candidates, even those on the ballots, and the system of super delegates that allows only party insiders votes. These groups are by nature about uniformity and not rocking the boat, and they insure that no reformer gets on the ballot to challenge the fundamental power of the ruling elite. If a candidate outside the mainstream of the Democratic elite gets a lot of popular support, if they might challenge the neoliberal and imperialist model of our nation state, the super delegates can override the popular vote. So while people say we have a democracy, the choice of candidates is severely restricted by party insiders, money, and the election process.

6. The Electoral College System

We should of course rid our selves of the undemocratic Electoral College system that allows candidates with fewer votes to win the presidency. (link) The electoral college was set up because the founding fathers believed that the average citizen was too easily manipulated and couldn’t be trusted with the direct election of the president, “Hamilton and the other founders did not trust the population to make the right choice.” We are not trusted with democracy, so we can’t directly vote for president and have to rely on the college.  (link)

7. The Senate

The Senate is a “representative” legislative body that gives inordinate power to less populated states that skew toward a more traditionalist, conservative politics. Because they are over represented, less populated states take more resources per capita than more populous states and can block policies that would help the more urban states. It is counter to our stated ideology of one person, one vote. One vote in Montana for Senator is equal to the value of 70 votes in California. It also skews the Electoral College, based on the number of representatives in Congress, toward the less populated states. Before rejecting this unusual idea of eliminating the Senate, read my complete criticism here. (link)

We vote every fall or spring hoping that might make a difference, and some times it does. But As long as we have a two party system in the United States run by money and limited choice, we will never have a government by the people and for the people. Our presidents will also continue to be beholden to corporations such as big oil, big agra, big pharma and Wall Street bankers and investment firms like Goldman Sachs, AIG and Bank of America. Until the rigged game changes, the people of the United States will always have inadequate representation. And, the voice of the majority of the population will be subverted by corporate money and ideology.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

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