Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Is the United States a representative democracy or a mirage democracy?

From FireDogLake courtesy of AlterNet:

A major problem is the two party duopoly acts much like a two party dictatorship. Despite nearly 60% of Americans wanting a third party and only 35% believing the two parties do an adequate job, the two parties work together to prevent more choices on the ballot. They have put up road blocks to independent challengers through ballot access laws, campaign finance rules, exclusion from debates and the winner take all electoral system. The corporate media plays an important role of keeping independent candidates off the air so people do not hear about their existence or positions. As a result only the two parties, both funded by the corporate oligarchy, and their corporate-approved candidates appear on most ballots. Most Americans end up voting against their interests for what has commonly become known as voting for ‘the lesser evil.’

The courts, which play an essential role in applying constitutional limits on government in the U.S. Republic, have become a tool of the financial elite, actually weakening elections further. They have issued rulings that further empower the money-class in their control of democracy. The court has allowed unlimited spending by corporations and individuals in the Citizens United decision; and recently found the Arizona Clean Elections Act unconstitutional. Thus striking two blows for the wealthy – they can spend as much as they like, but government cannot provide matching public funds for elections.

President Obama, rather than pushing for clean elections, is going from big donor event to big donor event to become the first candidate to run a billion dollar campaign. More and more Americans recognize that his health care policy, which re-enforced and expanded the power of the insurance industry, likely resulted from their $20 million in donations to his first campaign. Obama kept single payer out of the debate despite years of polls showing large majorities of Americans want single payer and vast evidence showing it is the best model to control costs and the only model to provide health care to all. The insurance company’s profits came before the necessities and preferences of the people. We see people from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan and other big financial institutions not only being bailed out but being put in the Obama administration rather than prosecuted for crashing the economy despite strong evidence of criminal wrongdoing. These are two examples of many. Obama has advocated corporatism on every issue and is now going to those special interests to fund the most expensive campaign in history.

More here.

Bush was the bad cop; Obama is the good cop. But either way, they're both cops. And you know what happens when you question a cop's authority whether he's good or bad: he busts your head and hauls you off to jail. If you know what's good for you, that's when you shut the fuck up.

So, as you know, I didn't vote for Obama. Actually, I try to avoid voting for any Democrats at all these days, but he so obviously didn't represent my own political views, on almost everything, that I absolutely had to vote for a guy who did, Ralph Nader, even though he was certain not to win. But I figured, what the hell, give the guy a chance. I mean, I was critical of him from the very start of his administration, but I often wouldn't name him--I would talk about "the Democrats," instead; I mean, same thing, but I wasn't ready to start blasting him right out of the gate. But he quickly squandered whatever chances I was willing to give him. All the free money rewarded to bankers for nearly destroying the economy, the kid gloves in dealing with BP, the multi-billion dollar giveaway to the insurance industry known as health care reform, and on and on, all this shit locked in and made crystal clear my previous notion that Obama is nothing more than a tool of the corporate oligarchy. Just like his predecessor. I mean, different political bases, so somewhat different emphases, but, in the end, he's totally opposed to democracy.

And let's not forget how he essentially continued Bush's foreign policy despite all the groovy "end the wars" rhetoric he gave us on the campaign trail.

So sure, he's a nice guy and all. He says nice things that are easily perceived as "liberal." But it's all bullshit. Obama is in many ways as bad as Bush; he's just friendlier about it all. And that's what's wrong with this country: democracy has been reduced to consumer marketing campaigns, while real power, the kind of thing that dictates what's going to actually happen in the world, is the sole preserve of corporate interests and the wealthy elite.

President Obama is not on your side. President Obama is an enemy of everything we hold dear in this country. His carefully crafted public persona is very appealing to the American left in many ways, but it's a total fiction. Like the good cop who seemingly treats you decently in the interrogation room, who apparently is able to afford you some dignity and humanity, he's just as ready, willing, and able as the bad cop to crack open your skull and watch the blood pour down your face while he laughs. He's a fucking scum bag and it doesn't matter how nice he is, how smart he is, how he is part of a historically oppressed racial minority.

He's one of them. He's a fucking cop. Fuck you hippie. This is a democracy only if you have money. Now shut the fuck up before I smash your face again with my steel-toed boot.