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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 09:04 AM
Original message
The level of political corruption in America is staggering.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010...

America's cracked political system
US politics, often decried for its 'partisanship', is all too bipartisan in its deeply dysfunctional consensus on tax and wealth
Jeffrey Sachs
Tuesday 28 December 2010

<edit>

The Republican party's real game is to try to lock that income and wealth advantage into place. They fear, rightly, that, sooner or later, everyone else will begin demanding that the budget deficit be closed in part by raising taxes on the rich. After all, the rich are living better than ever, while the rest of American society is suffering. It makes sense to tax them more.

<edit>

This may take time. The level of political corruption in America is staggering. Everything now is about money to run electoral campaigns, which have become incredibly expensive. The midterm elections cost an estimated $4.5bn, with most of the contributions coming from big corporations and rich contributors. These powerful forces, many of which operate anonymously under US law, are working relentlessly to defend those at the top of the income distribution.

But make no mistake: both parties are implicated. There is already talk that Obama will raise $1bn or more for his re-election campaign. That sum will not come from the poor.

<edit>

Obama swept to power on the promise of change. So far, there has been none. His administration is filled with Wall Street bankers. His top officials leave to join the banks, as his budget director Peter Orszag recently did. Obama is always ready to serve the interests of the rich and powerful, with no line in the sand, no limit to "compromise".

If this continues, a third party will emerge, committed to cleaning up American politics and restoring a measure of decency and fairness. This, too, will take time. The political system is deeply skewed against challenges to the two incumbent parties. Yet, the time for change will come. The Republicans believe that they have the upper hand and can pervert the system further in favour of the rich.

I believe that they will be proved wrong.

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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. Historically, once corrupt, there is no going back
Maybe I'm not thinking straight so early in the morning but I can't think of any government that has been corrupt becoming un-corrupt without a bloody revolution. And I can think of many countries failing due to their corruption only to find themselves in worse condition.
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closeupready Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I like to be an optimist, but yes, if history is a guide to matters, pessimism seems warranted here.
I can always hope. Reform movements are sometimes successful.
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dfgrbac Donating Member (378 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. History has repeatedly shown revolution - but must it be violent?
I think the problem is that the people (citizens of whatever country) do not have enough faith in themselves. The people far outnumber the minority in power, and their numbers include their family members in the military. So there is no reason for revolutions to be violent. It is simply a matter of getting our collective majority minds together and making the effort together in unison.

In the USA, our Constitution even guarantees that the people have ultimate power over their government to change it as we see fit. Former U.S. Senator from Alaska Mike Gravel has spent a large part of his life designing legislation to empower American citizens in changing the rules of their government. With input from other experts in democracy, the National Initiative for Democracy was created. As U.S. citizens, we can enact this legislation ourselves to become lawmakers along side of our elected representatives.

Once we, the people, begin deciding some of the most important issues ourselves, we can solve most of our problems. We have the intellectual experts who know what needs to be done, they just have no power because they can't get elected to office even if they wanted to. And they are ignored by those in power.

We can change things nonviolently if we use our Constitutionally guaranteed power.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 08:16 AM
Response to Reply #7
24. the Constitution? That quaint little piece of paper?....
right. We've seen reports in here from Michiganers of the elite building communities behind huge berms with single gated entrance with security. Sales of 2-year emergency dried food stores have skyrocketed. Everybody knows what's coming, which pretty much ensures it will come.

Their mercenary army is trained. The prisons are in place. They taser grannies and little children, for cripes sakes.

Just because they're rich, doesn't mean they're stupid and doesn't mean they're not thugs. They know what's coming. Their preparations are in place....
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janet118 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #7
29. Revolution Rule #1: Capture a national television station first
the people will follow.

Oh wait, the right wing already did that.

I know they say that the revolution will not be televised but in these times television has become our Big Brother/Parent/Information Gatekeeper. A vast majority of people do not believe anything unless they see it on the TV. Remember the Bush inauguration? I was watching it on C-Span and saw the crowds booing and throwing food at the motorcade before the limos sped away and the cameras focused elsewhere. Not until Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 did I see that footage of the inaugural parade again. I also heard about two protesters who were able to get into the swearing-in ceremony. During Bush's oath of office, they took off their clothes to display anti-Bush and anti-election fraud slogans on their bodies. And this went unreported outside on an Internet radio station. Had this been Obama's inauguration - it would have been shown on a loop.

I was in New York City in 2003 when a million people marched against starting a war in Iraq. We were put behind barricades, arrested and herded by riot police, some on horseback. It was not reported on any major television station or in any major newspaper. They reported on European protests but were mum about those in America. Only Jimmy Breslin wrote about NYC in a Newsday column.

How about the arrests of Coleen Rowley, Daniel Ellsberg, and Chris Hedges outside the White House? Why wasn't that covered more by the mass media? The whole world is NOT watching.

Can you organize people without a large media outlet? The Tea Party was organized and trained and publicized by corporate money. They have the ability to finance a faux revolution. Do regular people have the resources to fight back? I doubt it. By the time they are desperate enough to do so - it won't be pretty . . . and may lead to authoritarianism, not democracy.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #29
33. If anyone is still watching our corporate-press, they are clueless....
Put the TVs in the closet --

If they're tuning you out -- tune them out!!

And all of their ads and violence!!

Here are two major things we can do -- aside from watching Olberman and Maddow, Schultz --

STOP watching TV --

and STOP eating animals --

Right there, we could create a tremendous change in the economy/capitalism --



MY BEST WISHES TO ALL FOR PEACE AND LOVE IN THE NEW YEAR !!



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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #7
32. Agree -- Berlin Wall fell without violence ... AA's overturned Segregation, Inc. w/o violence ....
and Howard Zinn suggested slavery would have fallen w/o the Civil War --

from which many elites profited --

Women's movement remains non-violent --

HOMOSEXUALS are pretty much succeeded in freeing themselves with non-violence --

the violence against all of these groups is clear, however and continues on --





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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. That is a big consideration.
Edited on Wed Dec-29-10 07:12 PM by truedelphi
Corruption breeds more corruption.

And once a third world banana republic is established, well, until the revolution happens, the following is true:

1) Elections exist in name only - as both candidates are corrupt, and both candidates are for the corporations that have given them the money
2) Bureaucracies are inflated, with many regulations,often for no discernable purpose, and absolutely no perspective on these laws and regulations.
(The citizens determined to get ahead are too busy making fun of the people who want to see the old standards of freedom and justice apply. And so those who are willing to tolerate corruption, get ahead far faster than those who won't tolerate it.)
3) Cronyism prevails.
4) The court system no longer provides anything resembling justice. Already people all across the country are terrified of our court system, and it no longer matters if you are talking about Criminal Court, Civil Court of Family Court.
5) The Bigger the Financial Entity is, the more likely it will survive. Especially given that the Bigger Financial Entities write the rules that everyone else has to follow. (This influence is seen in the travesties that currently pass for "historic legislation, including the HC "Reform", the Financial "Reform" Act, the Recent Tax Cut provisions, and many other laws written at the state level.
6) The Big Media is totally ineffective as a mechanism for relating to the populace as to what is really going on. It is controlled by the Corporations, and by the Secret Government. Most of all our Talking Heads are now CIA, and even if they haven't signed on the dotted line, they' re only up there reading the news because they have gone along with what the Secret Government wants them to say.

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closeupready Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
2. Very true. K&R
n/t
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somone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
4. Always, always watch what they do, not what they say
Speechwriters are cheap
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
5. Capitalism by any means necessary. n/t
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
6. Kick
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vssmith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
9. Sadly, revolution often brings in worse than it replaces
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 11:35 PM
Response to Original message
10. I'd love to think that viable third parties could triumph
but that seems less and less likely all the time. It's hard enough to unseat an incumbent simply because people are too afriad of the unknown. Getting them to vote third party; that's an extreme challenge.
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Jim Lane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. Before we have the votes for a third party, we'll have the votes to make the Dem Party progressive
People don't seem to recognize the democratization that's occurred in the U.S. political system in the selection of candidates. It's no longer a bunch of party bosses in a smoke-filled room. There are open primaries. They can't keep you out!

We can take a lesson from the Tea Partiers. A few people on the right have followed the siren song of "third party" and waste their votes on the Constitution Party or the Libertarians. Many more, however, decided to fight to make the Republican Party what they wanted it to be. They mounted ideological challenges to the party establishment, and in many cases they won.

Of course, some of their victories were Pyrrhic. They nominated extreme conservatives (e.g., Christine O'Donnell), who lost, where more centrist figures might have won. In other cases, though, they got their candidate elected (Rubio, Toomey). If they had instead tried to build a third party, they would have done nothing except elect some Democrats by splitting the conservative vote.

The third-party dreamers on the left should identify Conservadems who might be successfully primaried, by a candidate who'd have a chance to win the general election, and put their energies there.
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Chisox08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 07:25 AM
Response to Reply #12
18. I agree it is time to do to the Dempcratic Party
what the teabaggers did to the Repukes. We need all progressives in the Democratic party and the Greens to push the Dems to the left.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #18
35. If Dems were listening to the people, that's where they'd be ... to the LEFT ...
We've had 50+ years of right wing political violence -- stolen elections --

and lies -- it's the only way the right wing can rise.


We have a Congress and candidates who are pre-bribed and pre-owned and they

are listening to those who bought them -- not us!

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Zanzobar Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
11. The level of political corruption in ________ is staggering.
Ask any citizen of any nation, of any state, of any planet.

Same answer, don't you think?
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 05:26 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. pretty much. but that doesn't make it right, right?
my contention is that in the vast majority of cases politicians are sociopaths. look who has ruled countries over millennia--greedy, bloodthirsty, machiavellian types. it's no different now, though the masks may be different.
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 07:05 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. No
Here is the essential question to ask of average citizens:

Do you feel our government works for you?

In America, it's very hard to answer "yes." Only the rich answer in the affirmative. In MANY other countries, middle and lower income citizens would answer yes, with qualifications--but "yes." There is a totally different level of satisfaction with how the country is being run and how resources and opportunities are distributed.

Until we can address the level of corruption effectively, this country will flounder and come close to collapse.
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #11
20. Your example only gives us individual opinions which are NOT facts.
Yes, I'm sure that each individual citizen believes that parts of their government are corrupt.

But we have NOT seen the level of corruption here in the US that we currently have. Every branch from the Dancing Supremes to the executive office has been completely corrupted by the wealth of corporations. Even the 4th estate, though not an official government branch, has been corrupted by the wealth of a handful of people who own and run the corporations. And never before have the corporations played such an active role in corrupting all our institutions.

Corruption through corporate wealth permeates everything in America. The corruption is blatant and obvious.
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MedicalAdmin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #11
26. As applied to the 3rd world that is partially true.
But on the whole there is no country with such high ideals / propaganda that is also so corrupt.

But nice try to misdirect the topic.
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Zanzobar Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #26
30. I would argue it's no more corrupt than ever
There's just more exposure and money which tends to increase the scale, but not the level of corruption. These arguments given in the OP are typically myopic.

Are we more corrupt than when Reagan was president?
Are we more corrupt than during the Vietnam period?
Are we more corrupt than when we were dropping nukes on innocent civilians?
Are we more corrupt than during the '20s prior to the crash?
Are we more corrupt than when we drove a civilization from the earth?
Are we more corrupt than when we stole Texas from Mexico?
How about the civil war? No money based corruption there.
Shall we keep going?

Money.

Shall we look at other countries corruption?
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MedicalAdmin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #30
41. I would love to see your thoughts on other countries.
Good points by the way.

Corruption is a constant in the equation of government - is this your thesis?
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 05:22 AM
Response to Original message
13. bipartisan--exactly! it's what i've been saying all along.
the guardian gets it. can you?
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 05:41 AM
Response to Original message
15. New age of the Robber Baron- We need a new TR to come in and literally CRACK HEADS!
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #15
36. They're making quite sure that never happens again ....
and we've had 50+ years of right wing political violence to make sure that

no new FDR rises -- they even attack liberals now before they rise to leadership.

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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #36
40. TR would have been Dean-screamed out of a political career no doubt...
Edited on Thu Dec-30-10 01:44 PM by JCMach1
today...
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #40
42. Hard to say ... so much of the Dem party has been sold out that not only
would there be no support coming from the party and members --

but in Dean's case, he was also being attacked by DLC!

Look at Sen. Byron Dorgan who tried to finally get Medicare price

negotiation on drugs thru Congress -- he got NO support from the party.

In fact, Obama made a back room deal with Big Pharma to assure them

them Medicare wouldn't get that right! Dorgan was also planning to put

thru legislation on restoring Glass-Steagall -- and he was abandoned on

that one, as well!!

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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 07:20 AM
Response to Original message
17. K&R-I recently saw that cars costing $40 to $60 thousand are not selling well, but
cars costing $100,000 and up are selling out. The very rich are having a wonderful time, the rest of us are lucky to get by and are making less than we were 10 years ago.I see credit card interest rates of near 30%, and I wonder who is paying that and how much money is being made from it.

The politicians of both parties are to blame...the GOP primarily, but the Democrats have nothing to be proud of either...Look at Obama's huge contributions from the financial businesses and banks in 2008...

It might be time for a real revolution.


mark
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 07:39 AM
Response to Original message
19. It's All About Money...
The '08 election cost upwards of a half billion dollars...2012 promises to double that, if not higher thanks to Citizens United. The election system has become a big cash cow for consultants, pollsters and the corporate media. We live in an endless campaign cycle where no sooner is one election done then the next gets geared and fast. The average Congresscritter will need several million to keep their gigs and Senators upwards of 20 million or more. This money's gotta come from somewhere. The $25 and $100 donors are pocket money...it's those who write the five, six and seven figure ones that get the calls answered.

Right now all politicians up for re-election are looking at their bank accounts and looking at ways to bag those big bucks. The little guys only matter after the nominations are secured and the bulk of the money is collected. The media benefits as a lion's share of the money is spent on TV ads and are a big windfall...the more they drive the divides and yank the chains the more money will fall into their pockets in 2012. It's in their interests to create the tension...amp up the anger and watch the money fall from the skies.
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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. "Follow the money."
Good advice.
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DaveinJapan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 07:51 AM
Response to Original message
22. I really hate bullshit hyperbole, and there is some in this article.
For example...

"Obama swept to power on the promise of change. So far, there has been none"

Sorry, but that's just a load of crap.

None!?

Well, let's just pack it in and call it a day. NOTHING has changed. No better conditions for healthcare for many, no drawdown of the troops from the ill-fated Iraq war, no fairer pay for women, no better health standards on food or a reinvigorated nuclear treaty with Russia, and its' back into the closet for gays in the military (as though the right wing would even JOKE about doing THAT when their bigoted asses are in power!).

Yeah, nothing has changed.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #22
25. better health INSURANCE for some, paid for by
Edited on Thu Dec-30-10 08:26 AM by northernlights
less health care for others. Just look around this site and see how many people's health insurance is skyrocketing worse than before, deductibles rising to where they can't afford any actual health care after they pay the insurance premiums. And the uninsured levels just rose to 50,000,000. That was just announced the other day...maybe you missed it on the Greatest Page.

Renaming some Iraq troops "noncombat" and sending others to fight in Afghanistan is real big change. :eyes: The same warslaves are fighting 3, 4, 5, 6...ad infinitum tours, just now in mountains instead of desert.

While opening secret fronts in Yemen and Pakistan. Big change. right.

Better standards for food? Written by Monsanto? You joking? Why don't you head down to New Orleans and eat some shrimp. Real good these days. You won't need to put any oil in the pan before you fry it, either.

Waiting 2 years to throw a bone to the gays may bring some people back to Obama for a moment or two. Until the confetti clears and they watch him "address" entitlements like, ya know, Social Security. Which some of us have paid into for 35 years and are watching evaporate in front of our eyes.

Face it. As they stand today, the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. The side with the tail may kick your teeth in, but the side with the prettier face will bite your face off.

Politicians are all alike. Parasites. A bunch of scummy, useless parasites.
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russspeakeasy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. northernlights...you nailed it..Thanks.
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Locrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 08:01 AM
Response to Original message
23. they're not done, just getting started
Edited on Thu Dec-30-10 08:03 AM by Locrian
Read Namoi Klien's "Shock Doctrine".

Think there will be "reform"? Not yet. The next step is plain as can be: privatization of EVERYTHING. Cities/States are on the verge of collapse - enter "private" money to take over any and all natural resources (or whatever is left) in the guise of "baling them out". And the people get shafted AGAIN. The only role the government will play is "enforcement" of the ownership class.

Happened in South America, Africa, Russia, all over the world. Will happen here as well.


Dont believe me? Look whats *just* starting with education. Look at Katrina, BP, etc, etc. Look for it to ramp up as even more "tax cuts" are passed and local/state gov starts looking for money.
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sirthomas66 Donating Member (336 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
28. Until we get past the notion that contacting our representatives,
including Bernie Sanders--who is one of the few honest men in Congress--for help, will result in anything, we are doomed. Once we get serious and understand what we must do to succeed, we will go forward slowly. But we need a leader in the top spot. We don't have one. Since Reagan, who actually began the destruction of America, we have had one self-aggrandizing immoral crook after the other. We need a Roosevelt, either one will do.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #28
37. Right ... what's the figure on lobbyists now ... 1600 for every 1 member of Congress ... ????
It's some totally outrageous figure --

Was watching Michael Moore's "Capitalism" last night --

didn't know that John McCain had gotten "special" loans -- at least three --

from one of the banks -- they had a special VIP of these "friends of Angelo" loans -- !!!

Wonder why the new financial regulations are so weak?

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dfgrbac Donating Member (378 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. Have you voted for the National Initiative?
I like your footnote, Defend.

We can have democracy if we vote for it. Have you voted for the National Initiative for Democracy?

We can retake control of this political crisis with the National Initiative. We have tons of experts in all fields here in America, but they have no political power. Solutions to our problems are well known, but those in power will not implement those solutions. We, the people, can do this ourselves with ballot initiatives. Our experts will help us create initiatives and The Electoral Trust will help educate the people before each vote. Special interest and corporate money will be eliminated from campaigns.

The power of government is in law making. Vote for and support NI4D, and ask everyone you know to do the same.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Thank you -- will look at it later today -
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
31. K/R --
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AsahinaKimi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-10 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
34. I think I knew this
Edited on Thu Dec-30-10 10:12 AM by AsahinaKimi
Once I learned that Nancy Pelosi took Bush/Cheney off the table. Oh, and there's that little thing about the Supreme Court giving the Election to George Bush...
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