Guest Post: Concentrated Wealth and the Purchase of Political Power: Democracy's Death Spiral

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Sat, 10/30/2010 - 13:40 | 688032 zevulon
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yes, this is why fascism is coming. maybe not that soon. or maybe it is here and we don't even know it. 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:07 | 688057 B9K9
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From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

When the strong man comes, the People will be literally begging for salvation, regardless of cost, from our cruel tyrants. Just try and make sure you're not part of the group(s) that will be considered an expense.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:19 | 688077 Bay of Pigs
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Coming? Patriot Act? Homeland Security? TSA goons? All we're missing now is guys with machine guns on every corner like they had in Bulgaria.

Thank goodness for our new political rallies and movements like Glenn Beck and Jon Stewart.

What a bunch of bullshit. End the Fed. Zero chance of reform until this happens.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:36 | 688258 Ragnar D
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Beck may be a clown, but he's a functional one.  I don't see how you can compare him to Stewart/Colbert, whose only function is rallying bratty college kids to keep the control freaks in place.

At the end of the day, at least Beck is screaming to push back against thug government, rather than expand it faster than ever.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 20:43 | 688454 midtowng
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At the end of the day Beck represent large corporate interests.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 00:36 | 688669 jesus
jesus's picture

Yes, the Glenn Beck who works for Fox News and used to be a "shock jock" on the radio (now he is just the same wrapped in the flag/cross on TV instead).

 

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 10:13 | 688835 Aghast in Midlothian
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Agreed, Ragnar...and in my experience, the folks who don't like Beck are generally toadies or apologists for the current administration. They don't dispute his facts, nor even his conclusions...they, rather, engage in name calling (and junking).

I don't agree with all of Beck's conclusions, and generally am a fan of testing beliefs with contrary facts and analyses...but these are generally not forthcoming from Beck's detractors. Instead, their intelligence, wisdom and courage is usually brought into question through their resorting to name-calling and other deflections. 

 

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 11:21 | 688883 DeeDeeTwo
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Most centrists who trash Beck... do not understand what he is doing, baby. He's a Master Propagandist who's beating Obama at his own game... by pitting the Founding Fathers against the Marxists. Beck is pushing back HARD. And he's winning... see Nov 2nd, it's a start.

And for the Professional Complainers here, including and especially Tyler. Any idiot can delineate 1,000 "insurmountable" problems. That's what makes you a smug LOSER with $10K of gold in your mattress.

Successful people are optimistic and VERY busy solving problems... not many of them left here, baby. They all looooooong gone.

 

 

 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:50 | 688330 morkov
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hey pig,

greeting from complacent Bulgaria.

no machine`guns around here. it's low, but not that low.

btw, no chance even after "ending the Fed". enjoy the show.

 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:30 | 688086 Milestones
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Complete the circle begin another cycle. And the beat goes on. Milestones

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:07 | 688129 Azannoth
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Most people are predisposed to follow 'lidership' regardless how incompetent or how damaging to their own interests, look at North Korea or China, power concentrates naturaly as people want a Leader to follow (especialy in tough periods), the whole monoteistic religion fad(going on for 2000 years) shows how people crave a 'Messiah' if the right person can impersonificate this figure people will follow 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:38 | 688309 Blano
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You really think the North Korean people have any say at all??  Surely you jest.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:39 | 688162 Triggernometry
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"Fascism is nothing more than state sponsored corporatism."

-Benito Mussolini

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:40 | 688260 squid_pro_quo
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This was never a democracy - the article is

Oligarchy's Death Spiral

 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 22:07 | 688538 Cognitive Dissonance
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You are correct. This was never a democracy. It was, and believe it or not still is, a representative republic. While I'm sure this will sound like nit picking to some, when a person uses the words and vocabulary of the enslaver, that person is truly enslaved.

I will not disagree that our representatives are been co-opted and corrupted. Of this there is no doubt. But we are told we live in a Democracy for very specific reasons, primarily because it helps feed the illusion that we all have a say in our lives, which additionally feeds into the false belief that we are "free".

While it has always been the case in America, in particular over the last 60 or so years or from the end of WW2, what we have experienced is not "freedom" but rather freedom to choose from a relatively narrow list of choices. And most of the choices offered are themselves manipulated, distorted and hijacked.

But once the slave has accepted his captivity, he either decides to die or he gets down to the business of denying his captivity as best as he can, often in small and seemingly inconsequential ways, in order to muck out an existence. This is the true utility of denial. In our case, the ruling elite graciously offer us illusions and false choices to help the bitter medicine go down. Or he fights back.

I don't say this to rub our noses in it, but rather to declare that maybe it's time to reexamine everything we think we know with the intention of getting down to the business of changing it all, beginning within. 

We can argue all we want about who gets short sheeted because the master won't give us enough sheets to go around or we can get busy taking matters into our own hands. It's up to us. The master only has the power because we hand it to him on a daily basis. Don't you think maybe it's time for a change?

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 00:16 | 688650 RockyRacoon
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I guess a real Democracy is not one limited by a Hobson's choice, but that is what we are dealing with. I dare say future historians will refer to what we have by some new nomenclature.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 03:00 | 688736 squid_pro_quo
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might that nomenclature be "The Postmodern Dark Age"?

We're all guilty of watching the Republicrat dog and pony show and thinking it could result in something meaningful.

The funny part is that the oligarchs have it so good. They're the ones really taking a chance remolding the behavior of the masses yet again. "You can't squeeze blood from a stone."

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 16:43 | 700939 Geoff-UK
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Just because you can't squeeze blood from a stone doesn't mean you can't beat the living shit out of the stone trying...

 

I think the middle class are the stones.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 21:52 | 688524 Lucius Corneliu...
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+++

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 07:19 | 688780 Slartibartfast
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Welcome to Feudal Capitalism. Too Big To Fail, or Too Big For Rules?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:14 | 688192 TBT or not TBT
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Hmm:     "The only sources of that amount of cash are other Financial Power Elites and State-funded fiefdoms like teachers unions, and so each candidate sells their soul to the few "special interests" with deep enough pockets to harvest and contribute millions of dollars."

I excerpt this statement because it is instructive to look at how political capture has happened in other countries, and in the different U.S. states.   In France, the gigantic omnipresent central government gives a better deal to its employees in nearly all respects than private sector employees can hope for.   This destiny (fear in loathing in the private sector VS cushy perma job in civil service) is determined by tests conducted regularly on graduating students.   Those that make it in, are "in" for life, and vote in a block, and donate mostly to politicians that keep the public sector gravy train rolling and growing.   A lot of those who don't make it "in", and who aren't all that employable in the private sector, or who want to live on the dole, vote for various flavors of lefties as well.   The overworked overtaxed private sector workers who aren't in something unionized to death don't have much voice, and their votes are split between warring versions of left of right of center, and center parties, plus one or two overtly xenophobic, nationalistic, and/or racist parties.   So the polity lurches forward with a heavy state, slowing to a halt and going backwards in wealth and health under the burden of antiproductivity leachism.

California has copied that system to a lesser degree over the past decade or two, with similar results:  capture of the state and local governments by large unionized voting blocks and expansion of the taxing regulating state.   The politicians they send to national office are of a similar bent.

As to the fate of the United States, note carefully that THERE ARE GRASSROOTS DONOR GROUPS that have been very effective of late, such as (quoting Obummer himself) Americans for Prosperity and Moms for Motherhood(sic).    These are effective, and they are based on the sum result of lots of private sector and limited government loving(i.e. Constitution enamored) donations.   We know these are effective because they've driven the TOTUS to direct the POTUS to say, on at least 18 different occasions, that this one grassroots driven organisation represents "secret" money and so on, which is a lie(by the TOTUS...the POTUS is just reading the TOTUS).    Meanwhile, ASFME (gigantic amalgamation representing public sector unions) has been the number one donor to democratic campaigns this election cycle.   See above paragraph about France's and California's fates.

All and all I'm going to say that as long as public sector unions are legal, and assuming they remain legal, as long they are able to give to political causes, all other donor types who are US organisations or persons should be able to give and publish and advertise to their hearts' contents.   

Why?   So we don't end like France and California, among so many others(most of the PIIGS for example)

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 20:45 | 688457 midtowng
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So unions are the problem? LOL

Unionized workers composed to working class people and represent just 14% of the workforce.

Perhaps you don't understand the concept "wealth concentration".

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 13:47 | 689078 TBT or not TBT
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PUBLIC SECTOR unions are the problem   Reread.    Public sector union money given to Democrats (the government party) outstripped donations by Americans for Prosperity or the US Chamber of Commerce in this election cycle.  Nevertheless TOTUS hammered on these two impressively transparent and forthright organisations as being representative of suspect and secret money, in speech after speech.    This is the guy who collected shitloads of money in 2008 by allowing donations from ANY valid credit card number, turning off ALL checks versus the name, address, phone number, and so and so forth.    This permitted anyone on the planet to give to his campaign.   And they did!     Lots of credit card numbers associated with names like Loving You, among so many other obvious frauds.   Hamas and Quaddafi claimed to have given to Obama's campaigns, OK?  That's illegal, but nevermind.   Eric Holder and the Dem Congress can't be bothered.  And now they are on the stump whining about the influence of money in politics.   

Why is it that it is OK for public sector unions and private sector unions to give without limits but it is not OK for corporations to do so?    Citizens United was a scary decision only in that it was decided 5-4.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 20:41 | 688452 midtowng
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And yet people still argue that we need to cut taxes for the rich. Amazing.

It really has come down to this: if you believe in democracy then you must oppose letting the wealthy becoming wealthier.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 13:54 | 689088 FreedomGuy
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This presumes that all the wealthy have the same beliefs and political agenda and use their influence to the same ends. I am not sure that is true. I think a lot of it depends on how someone achieved their wealth along with their own character development. Rupert Murdock is wealthy.

What I see is the problem of the concentrated interests versus the diffused interests. That's why a 14% union interest can be equal to many times that number in the general public. The other 84% of the public has diverse views and interests...or is even completely uninterested. Fortunately, union members do not always vote as a block but their money does go to the official party of the state, generally democrats in the U.S. and socialists everywhere else.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 13:45 | 688035 weinerdog43
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Well said Charles.  Combine with a clueless and corrupt Supreme Court (see Citizens United) which allows anonymous corporate wealth to add to the problem, and you have a citizenry that opts out of the process.  Why vote for "change" when it's just more of the same?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:09 | 688061 Cistercian
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 Consider how insanely difficult it is for non-agents of the matrix to even get on the ballot.The current election would send actual new people to DC....if they were on the ballot.Serious reform of the election process is needed so normal people can get on the ballot, as opposed to the current rigged pile-o-shit.

  Revolution will probably be needed to effect this much needed reform.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:22 | 688197 TBT or not TBT
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Oh dear lord.   Vivement Citizens United!    See my above screed about the fates of California and before that France, and how to avoid going there.   Citizens United just helped level the playing field between limited government interest and statists' interests.   McCain-Feigold tilted toward the statist's interests, this in a country conceived on the principles of limited government, ever divided into three coequal branches.     Unless we stop the advance of the state, the defacto fourth branch of government, the unelected permanent out of control regulatory bureaucracy that writes law, judges, and punishes willy-nilly, will take over "democratically".

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 01:29 | 688699 weinerdog43
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No sir, I am not going to read your 'screed' about the fates of California as it appears that you are a corporate funded astroturfer.  Please move to Somalia where you can enjoy the benefits of your nutty theories and let us normal people alone.

Mon, 11/01/2010 - 01:12 | 689976 TBT or not TBT
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Being for limited government and against public sector unions does not make one a corporate funded astroturfer.   Also not understanding how embracing the constitution turns us into into Somalia.   Rule of law is lacking there, last time I checked.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 09:16 | 688814 ATM
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I don't think that the SCOTUS is clueless at all. In fact that decision to allow corporate money was correct. The real problem is the scope of the federal government. If it was truly a limitied and restricted government all that money wouldn't mean and shouldn't mean squat. The problem results form the government that has assumed powers that no one is willing to end, including the SCOTUS and that's the problem.  

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 10:02 | 688830 anarchitect
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Precisely. The problem isn't the abuse of power, but the power to abuse. This naturally attracts a ton of lobbying and money.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 14:02 | 689100 FreedomGuy
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Exactly right! The problem is the enormous power our Imperial Congress now has. They can regulate, tax and generally coerce with abandon given a compliant Supreme Court.

Large companies or interest groups don't tend to spend billions on lobbying Peoria city council because Peoria cannot do anything significant to them. It has no power (OK, other than locally.) and therefor cannot draw the lobbying money. The root problem in the unlimited powers of Congress. You must lobby or a regulatory brick comes through your window in the congressional protetion racket. And if the brick is coming no matter what (financial reform, healthcare reform, cap and trade) you lobby to get it down to a pebble.

Corporations like individuals have to represent their concerns in elections. Part of freedom. Take away Congress' power if you want the lobbying to abate.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 13:50 | 688037 economicmorphine
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Yawn. Not again, Durden.  This is getting boring.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:01 | 688046 traderjoe
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Please elucidate us with your fascinating opinion. Or not. Actually the latter.

Troll. 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:02 | 688047 B9K9
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Yawn. Not again, EM.  This is getting boring.

Website 'troll' jailed

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-11650593

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:28 | 688085 Ethics Gradient
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So you want to defend an article about the loss of democracy (and by association, the power of the individual) from any negative critique by inferring that anyone that posts anything that's not to your liking should go to jail?

I think you may have lost that one....

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:26 | 688151 rwe2late
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 What you claim was a "negative critique"  was nothing but an ad hominem insult, that Tyler was "boring".

 Responding to such a comment with sarcasm was more than polite, and not too subtle for most to understand.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:34 | 688158 Ethics Gradient
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Wasn't he saying that he's read it before - and more than once?

I missed the sarcasm.

You need to look up the meaning (and not just the translation) of ad hominem.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:18 | 688076 Dapper Dan
Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:11 | 688135 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

No 'self made' person would spend this much for a dumb wine bottle

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 21:22 | 688494 asianist
asianist's picture

That's because there aren't that many 'self made' rich people in Asia.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:24 | 688081 Milestones
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Ah, the westwrn slope dilettante once again. Whereabouts buckaroo; Aspen, Vail, Telluride, maybe Durango?

Getting bored? Why not just take a hike and relieve it and us?

Milestones

 

 

 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:34 | 688090 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

Do you know what Marla's job description means?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 22:15 | 688555 defender
defender's picture

Yes, I do.

However, I am curious how that is relevant to the conversation.

I am also curious why you chose a Wankle piston as your avatar.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 07:47 | 688788 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

1. I was addressing the question to Milestones.

2. An alternative opinion can help to highlight various truths. TD seems to like a foil (otherwise why advertise having one?). That's a pretty relevant observation to make when someone with an alternative opinion turns up and gets dismissed just for having one.

3. Wankles don't have pistons.

4. It's self depricating.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 18:35 | 689428 RECISION
RECISION's picture

You have spent WAY too much time in academia...

p.s.  It's also spelt "WANKEL".

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 19:12 | 689488 Ethics Gradient
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Half right!

I also misspelt deprecating.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 20:42 | 689601 RECISION
RECISION's picture

Yes, I noticed.

But decided that was most probably deliberate...

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:49 | 688111 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

Just watch Fight Club and it will all become clear.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!