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Princeton Study Confirms 'US Is An Oligarchy'

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

 

- From a recent study titled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens by Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin I. Page of Northwestern University

In response to the publication of an academic study that essentially proves the United States is nothing more than an oligarchy, many commentators have quipped sentiments that go something like “so tell me something I don’t know.” While I agree that the conclusion is far from surprising to anyone paying attention, the study is significant for two main reasons.  

First, there is a certain influential segment of the population which has a disposition which requires empirical evidence and academic studies before they will take any theory seriously. Second, some of the conclusions can actually prove quite helpful to activists who want to have a greater impact in changing things. This shouldn’t be particularly difficult since their impact at the moment is next to zero.

What is most incredible to me is that the data under scrutiny in the study was from 1981-2002. One can only imagine how much worse things have gotten since the 2008 financial crisis. The study found that even when 80% of the population favored a particular public policy change, it was only instituted 43% of the time. We saw this first hand with the bankster bailout in 2008, when Americans across the board were opposed to it, but Congress passed TARP anyway (although they had to vote twice).

Even more importantly, several years of supposed “economic recovery” has not changed the public’s perception of the bankster bailouts. For example, a 2012 study showed that only 23% percent of Americans favored the bank bailouts and the disgust was completely bipartisan, as the Huffington Post points out. 

Personally, I think the banker bailouts will go down as one of the most significant turning points in American history. Despite widespread disapproval, Congress passed TARP and it was at that moment that many Americans “woke up” to the fact they are nothing more than economic slaves with no voice. That they are serfs. Even more importantly, once oligarchs saw what they could get away with they kept doubling down and doubling down until we find ourselves in the precarious position we are in today. A society filled with angst and resentment at the fact that the 0.01% have stolen everything.

Another thing that the study noted was that average citizens sometimes got what they wanted, but this is almost always when their preferences overlap with the oligarchs. When this occurs it is entirely coincidental, and in many cases may the result of public opinion being molded by the elite-controlled special interest groups themselves. How pathetic.

I read the entire 42 page study and have highlighted what I found to be the key excerpts below. Please share with others and enjoy:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

Until very recently, however, it has been impossible to test the differing predictions of these theories against each other within a single statistical model that permits one to analyze the independent effects of each set of actors upon policy outcomes.

 

A major challenge to majoritarian pluralist theories, however, is posed by Mancur Olson’s argument that collective action by large, dispersed sets of individuals with individually small but collectively large interests tends to be prevented by the “free rider” problem. Barring special circumstances (selective incentives, byproducts, coercion), individuals who would benefit from collective action may have no incentive to personally form or join an organized group. If everyone thinks this way and lets George do it, the job is not likely to get done. This reasoning suggests that Truman’s “potential groups” may in fact be unlikely to form, even if millions of  peoples’ interests are neglected or harmed by government. Aware of the collective action problem, officials may feel free to ignore much of the population and act against the interests of the average citizen.

 

As to empirical evidence concerning interest groups, it is well established that organized groups regularly lobby and fraternize with public officials; move through revolving doors between public and private employment; provide self-serving information to officials; draft legislation; and spend a great deal of money on election campaigns. Moreover, in harmony with theories of biased pluralism, the evidence clearly indicates that most U.S. interest groups and lobbyists represent business firms or professionals. Relatively few represent the poor or even the economic interests of ordinary workers, particularly now that the U.S. labor movement has become so weak.

 

What makes possible an empirical effort of this sort is the existence of a unique data set, compiled over many years by one of us (Gilens) for a different but related purpose: for estimating the influence upon public policy of “affluent” citizens, poor citizens, and those in the middle of the income distribution.

 

Gilens and a small army of research assistants gathered data on a large, diverse set of policy cases: 1,779 instances between 1981 and 2002 in which a national survey of the general public asked a favor/oppose question about a proposed policy change.

 

In any case, the imprecision that results from use of our “affluent” proxy is likely to produce underestimates of the impact of economic elites on policy making. If we find substantial effects upon policy even when using this imperfect measure, therefore, it will be reasonable to infer that the impact upon policy of truly wealthy citizens is still greater.

 

Some particular U.S. membership organizations – especially the AARP and labor unions– do tend to favor the same policies as average citizens. But other membership groups take stands that are unrelated (pro-life and pro-choice groups) or negatively related (gun owners) to what the average American wants. Some membership groups may reflect the views of corporate backers or their most affluent constituents. Others focus on issues on which the public is fairly evenly divided. Whatever the reasons, all mass-based groups taken together simply do not add up, in aggregate, to good representatives of the citizenry as a whole. Business-oriented groups do even worse, with a modest negative over-all correlation of -.10.

 

The estimated impact of average citizens’ preferences drops precipitously, to a non-significant, near-zero level. Clearly the median citizen or “median voter” at the heart of theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy does not do well when put up against economic elites and organized interest groups. The chief predictions of pure theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy can be decisively rejected. Not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all.

 

By contrast, economic elites are estimated to have a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy. This does not mean that theories of Economic Elite Domination are wholly upheld, since our results indicate that individual elites must share their policy influence with organized interest groups. Still, economic elites stand out as quite influential – more so than any other set of actors studied here – in the making of U.S. public policy.

The incredible thing here is that they use the 90th percentile to gauge the “economic elite,” when we well know that it is the “oligarchs” themselves and the businesses they run that call all the shots. It would have been interesting if they isolated the impact of the 0.01%.

These results suggest that reality is best captured by mixed theories in which both individual economic elites and organized interest groups (including corporations, largely owned and controlled by wealthy elites) play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.

 

In our 1,779 policy cases, narrow pro-change majorities of the public got the policy changes they wanted only about 30% of the time. More strikingly, even overwhelmingly large pro-change majorities, with 80% of the public favoring a policy change, got that change only about 43% of the time.

Amidst all of the bad news in this study, there is one conclusion from which we can find a silver lining.

The importance of business groups’ numerical advantage is also revealed when we rescale our measures of business and mass-oriented interest group alignments to reflect the differing number of groups in each of these categories. Using this rescaled measure, a parallel analysis to that in table 4 shows that on a group-for-group basis the average individual business group and the average mass-oriented group appears to be about equally influential. The greater total influence of business groups in our analysis results chiefly from the fact that more of them are generally engaged on each issue (roughly twice as many, on average), not that a single business-oriented group has more clout on average than a single mass based group.

 

Relatively few mass-based interest groups are active, they do not (in the aggregate) represent the public very well, and they have less collective impact on policy than do business-oriented groups – whose stands tend to be negatively related to the preferences of average citizens. These business groups are far more numerous and active; they spend much more money; and they tend to get their way.

What the paragraphs above demonstrate is that the public has become very, very bad at organizing and that they aren’t even in the same ballpark as the the business groups. While mass-based interest groups will never be able to compete financially, we now live in a world of crowd-funding and a great deal of angst. Thus, there appears to be some low hanging fruit available for the activist community to pick at and become more organized.

Furthermore, the preferences of economic elites (as measured by our proxy, the preferences of “affluent” citizens) have far more independent impact upon policy change than the preferences of average citizens do. To be sure, this does not mean that ordinary citizens always lose out; they fairly often get the policies they favor, but only because those policies happen also to be preferred by the economically elite citizens who wield the actual influence.

But sure, keep chanting USA! USA! and keep sending your children to die overseas for no good reason.

Of course our findings speak most directly to the “first face” of power: the ability of actors to shape policy outcomes on contested issues. But they also reflect – to some degree, at least – the “second face” of power: the ability to shape the agenda of issues that policy makers consider. The set of policy alternatives that we analyze is considerably broader than the set discussed seriously by policy makers or brought to a vote in Congress, and our alternatives are (on average) more popular among the general public than among interest groups. Thus the fate of these policies can reflect policy makers’ refusing to consider them rather than considering but rejecting them. (From our data we cannot distinguish between the two.) Our results speak less clearly to the “third face” of power: the ability of elites to shape the public’s preferences. We know that interest groups and policy makers themselves often devote considerable effort to shaping opinion. If they are successful, this might help explain the high correlation we find between elite and mass preferences. But it cannot have greatly inflated our estimate of average citizens’ influence on policy making, which is near zero.

So what’s the conclusion? Well we aren’t a Democracy and we aren’t a Constitutional Republic. As I and many others have noted, we have descended into something far worse, an neo-fedualistic Oligarchy.

What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute troubling news for advocates of “populistic” democracy, who want governments to respond primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our  findings indicate, the majority does not rule -- at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

 

A possible objection to populistic democracy is that average citizens are inattentive to politics and ignorant about public policy; why should we worry if their poorly informed preferences do not influence policy making? Perhaps economic elites and interest group leaders enjoy greater policy expertise than the average citizen does. Perhaps they know better which policies will benefit everyone, and perhaps they seek the common good, rather than selfish ends, when deciding which policies to support.

 

But we tend to doubt it. We believe instead that – collectively – ordinary citizens generally know their own values and interests pretty well, and that their expressed policy preferences are worthy of respect. Moreover, we are not so sure about the informational advantages of elites. Yes, detailed policy knowledge tends to rise with income and status. Surely wealthy Americans and corporate executives tend to know a lot about tax and regulatory policies that directly affect them. But how much do they know about the human impact of Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, or unemployment insurance, none of which is likely to be crucial to their own well-being? Most important, we see no reason to think that informational expertise is always accompanied by an inclination to transcend one’s own interests or a determination to work for the common good.

 

All in all, we believe that the public is likely to be a more certain guardian of its own interests than any feasible alternative.

 

Leaving aside the difficult issue of divergent interests and motives, we would urge that the superior wisdom of economic elites or organized interest groups should not simply be assumed. It should be put to empirical test. New empirical research will be needed to pin down precisely who knows how much, and what, about which public policies.

 

Our findings also point toward the need to learn more about exactly which economic elites (the “merely affluent”? the top 1%? the top 0.01%?) have how much impact upon public policy, and to what ends they wield their influence. Similar questions arise about the precise extent of influence of particular sets of organized interest groups. And we need to know more about the policy preferences and the political influence of various actors not considered here, including political party activists, government officials, and other non-economic elites. We hope that our work will encourage further exploration of these issues.

 

Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

So when Sam Zell or any other oligarch prances around on television saying that the “poor should be more like the rich,” what he’s really saying is you need to sell your soul and attempt to become an oligarch. Otherwise, you’re fucked.

This is a truly excellent study and I suggest you read the entire thing here, if you have the time.

 

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Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:38 | 4671513 Rican
Rican's picture

Thank you Princeton for telling us what we already know and probably spending tons of money to do it.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:41 | 4671525 Maxter
Maxter's picture

I think you are being too harsh on them here.

People will now be able to reference this study when they claim that the U-S is an oligarchie.  Remember that most people still doesn't realise it.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:45 | 4671536 Nigh Eve
Nigh Eve's picture

Wouldn't Plutocracy be the more appropriate term?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:45 | 4671541 Maxter
Maxter's picture

Maybe Idiocracy

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:48 | 4671547 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

Definitely a Kleptocracy

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:57 | 4671588 freewolf7
freewolf7's picture

Out of the chairs and into the streets.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:59 | 4671594 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Psychopathocracy.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:10 | 4671637 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Well, short my freakin’ sheets..

Whoda’ thunk a handful of evil,  greedy, .scheming bankers could destroy the greatest republic designed by man even after they stole the legislative authority from the states, the control of the currency, and the livelihoods of the populace through confiscatory taxes in just three initiatives in 1913.

Its’ not like they were some kind of fascist nazi’s or anything.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:25 | 4671685 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

 

 

Until otherwise demonstrated by evidence, I think it is fair to confirm what Tyler and Krieger are saying: it's the 0.01%!

But oligarchs at the top do not necessarily mean a unified totalitarian state.. I believe that factions within our Elite will keep things from getting really, really bad; really, really quickly.  It is not a strong reed to pin our hopes on, so I continue to prepare.

All of you should too.  It's up to us.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:03 | 4671826 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Princeton Study confirms thesis of Occupy Wall Street

Well... this is awkward.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:38 | 4671916 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Sorry folks...."economic elites" are not 90th percentile in income.....

2012 household income at 90% is around $140,000.....that's just two middle class folks working in professional jobs...meaning requires some brain work 50+ hours/week in rational fashion and lives in high cost large cities where bus drivers make $80,000/year

 

I don't think you want to be in a nation where high school drop out gangbangers decide what to do with college graduates.

 

But the problem is with top 10% hardworking educated folks versus the real elites ....the capitalists with $10,000,000+

 

Princeton just disproved Occupy Wall Street by hiding the truth that 0.1% are the real enemy.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:54 | 4671948 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Princeton just disproved Occupy Wall Street by hiding the truth that 0.1% are the real enemy.

Not at all, the princeton study shows that concentrated economic interests control public policy. Who the most influential individuals are within that framework is a related but separate issue.

Lot of people on here saying 'so obvious' and then talking about free markets lol ...apparently, not so obvious after all. 

pg 28 - 33

http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%2...

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:01 | 4672186 markmotive
markmotive's picture

No sh!t! And all this time I thought it pure coincidence that two Bushes became president.

That oligarchy crosses into the Middle East too...

http://www.planbeconomics.com/2014/01/the-bush-bin-laden-family-connecti...

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 08:09 | 4672530 weburke
weburke's picture

truth is, you can write a book detailing all the facts about electronic voting, and get the book in the hands of all the senators and congressmen and state governers, and media, and nothing happened.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:58 | 4672262 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture
  • It is all around you — the feudatory, the diocese, the corporation, the platoon, the sports club, the dance troupes, the rebel cell, the planning council, the prayer group… each with its master and servants, its host and parasites. And the swarms of alienating devices (including these very words!) tend eventually to be enlisted in the argument for a return to "those better times." I despair of teaching you other ways. You have square thoughts which resist circles.
    • The Stolen Journals
Fri, 04/18/2014 - 02:25 | 4672280 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Nice 2 hour segment tonight about this on Coast to Coast AM with Craig Hulet talking about the Oligarghy, the banking Fraternity, the Corporatocracy, the elites:

http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2014/04/17

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 08:15 | 4672541 N2OJoe
N2OJoe's picture

I actually read some of this princeton study and as expected it just devolves into:

Labor and .gov Unions represent the people, NRA et al are bloodthirsty oppressors.

Typical Princeton drivel.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:55 | 4672077 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

Its likely that the true 'powers that be' are at a much higher level than the $10M that you site.

Try $1 Billlion + with a lot of that money coming from illicit sources not reported.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:25 | 4672127 old naughty
old naughty's picture

"Try $1 Billion +..." Real-ly?

And they manipulated: " America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened " as if we have had demo-crasy all these times?

Playing both hands...Not how much, but how successful. Money has nothin' to do with it.

They got us all by the balls (no-balls) and minds (no minds).


Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:16 | 4672174 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

#PrincetonfailedButsucceededInadvertentlyBecauseTheyAreBluebloods.

"Blue blood" 

"Translated from the old Spanish phrase "sangre azul", blue blood derives from the Medieval belief in Europe (among other places) that the blood of the royalty and nobility was blue; since the royal family and aristocrats were wealthy and powerful enough to pay commoners to labor in the fields for them, their skin was translucent and pale enough for their blue veins to stand out.

It also refers to old money families: families that have been aristocrats for many generations.

The blue blood disdainfully looked upon the unrefined manners of the nouveau riche (aka "new money").

The blue blood of the elite could not be tainted by the blood of commoners, lest the whole line be polluted (disregarding the risks of inbreeding)."

See also, Cleveland Steamer.  Ich bein ein Cleveland.

 

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 02:11 | 4672272 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

Good stuf.  I told my old lady she may be royalty, but it turns out they're varicose veins.  Pretty common in the elderly she says.

She was much more enthused about the Cleveland Steamer.  

All aboard!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:39 | 4671918 franzpick
franzpick's picture

"O'ligarchy".

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:36 | 4672043 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

When we cut off the Federal Reserve printing press under a multitude of questions . Nobel winning scholars like Krugman will be painted against the wall. His defense mode is to create the failed unity between the Democrats- Republican. Krugman and others want to kill the dollar and answer to a new global entity. New universal law of law, new currency to index the market growth. 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:20 | 4671674 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

Ochlocratic Autarchy.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:56 | 4671792 spqrusa
spqrusa's picture

Nice one.

Mobocracy is the one that always comes to mind. We can rest assured that the mobocracy *is* a psychopathocracy.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:52 | 4671950 PT
PT's picture

If the mob was truly in charge then the handouts would come with zero strings attached (Yes, I know, many of them do).  The fact that so many "hand-outs" come in the form of a loan tells the truth.  Banksterocracy?

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 03:30 | 4672333 laboratorymike
laboratorymike's picture

Loan programs serve three purposes:

1) Guaranteed return for sponsoring banks. Where else can you get 6.8% guaranteed except student loans?

2) Giving away freebies (by forgiving most of the loans later) while telling the taxpayer it will cost nothing because "of course the recipients will pay it back!"

3) Raising taxes for handouts/vote buying by pretending to not raise taxes now, because when #2 happens, some other politician will be forced to pay for all of the defaults!

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 06:47 | 4672428 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Damn, cause i'm about to run out of weed and need a #2 or my brain will default.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:55 | 4671793 spqrusa
spqrusa's picture

Nice one.

Mobocracy is the one that always comes to mind. We can rest assured that the mobocracy *is* is psychopathocracy.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:44 | 4671931 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Democracy is nature's way of getting people to embrace tyranny.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:35 | 4672039 sleigher
sleigher's picture

Maybe it's the beer, but that statement really makes me want to embrace anarchy.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:27 | 4671686 G-R-U-N-T
G-R-U-N-T's picture

Like I've said before, like that old boy in Tunisia who lit himself on fire setting off the Arab Spring, there will be a triggering moment in America where the people have had a enough. What that moment is is anybodies guess. Most of us feel it in our gut that there is something deeply rotten in Washington and sooner or later the people will have to take care of it!

What's tragic is all throughout history Statism residual effects always end in dictatorship, economic slavery then destruction!!!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:46 | 4671766 surf0766
surf0766's picture

The Arab spring was set off in 2008 because of rising wheat prices  ,,,  debasement of the dollar and fire in the wheat fields in Russia. 2008 was the first dry run.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:01 | 4671796 Clint Liquor
Clint Liquor's picture

 The 'old boy who set himself on fire in Tunisia' name was Mohamed Bouazizi. He proved; When people have nothing left to lose, they lose it

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:41 | 4671922 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

that's what welfare and TV is for.

 

Americans "losing it" (they lost too much money in vegas) is much different than someone in Africa "losing it" (starvation + AIDS)

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:04 | 4671976 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Sadly so many people need things like that proven to them. I can just start rattling off significant names and dates in history where the same thing has occurred before. One was here in this very country at a place called Fort Sumter. 

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:44 | 4672486 Offthebeach
Offthebeach's picture

Just finished Victor Klemperer's two volumes of memoirs of life in Hitlers Germany.
Westerners rairly loose it. We are so institutionally program.
Right to the ovens door or Russian front, willingly.

Napoleon said he could rule europe by awarding ribbons and badges.

Revolts are rare, thats why they are in the history books.

But maybe this time its different.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 03:32 | 4672337 laboratorymike
laboratorymike's picture

Exactly. I've been told the rule of thumb is that society hits an instant dead end when food prices exceed 85% of average incomes. Without food stamps we might already be there.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 06:49 | 4672433 negative rates
negative rates's picture

At 86%, you just move to Jupiter and hope to live out your days in the colder end of the solar system.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:50 | 4671561 Slave
Slave's picture

I'm glad the article finally pointed out it is the .01% not the 1% who are fucking us.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:35 | 4672146 Idiocracy
Idiocracy's picture

Maxter is right of course

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:36 | 4672147 Idiocracy
Idiocracy's picture

Maxter is right of course

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 08:29 | 4672569 The Wizard
The Wizard's picture

I have seen the term "corporatocracy" recently. I believe this is a more accurate term.

Also, do we see how the brilliant researchers at Princeton fail to identify the government of this country as a republic. A mere continuation of dumbing down the masses as to indoctrinate them into believing they have power and authority in this form of government called a democracy.

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 00:28 | 4674936 IronForge
IronForge's picture

Wizard:

LinkTV had a Documentary (avail via DVD if not by Stream) called "The Corporation".  With the Advent of Corporate Personhood here in the USA, the Filmakers go and correlate Definitions and Operations of Commercial Corporate Entities to Psychological Profiles of Socipaths.

http://www.linktv.org/programs/special_corp1

 

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:24 | 4672894 rubiconsolutions
rubiconsolutions's picture

 

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy)

An American system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, whereby the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers. The people receiving paychecks for these programs don't even know they are on welfare; which is what all this bullshit is.

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 00:01 | 4674906 IronForge
IronForge's picture

Klepto-Ochlo-Kakistocracy...

 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:46 | 4671542 SMG
SMG's picture

So the question is:  What are we going to do about it?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:51 | 4671556 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

I call for a round of Nobel prizes for the study authors!  What a bunch of Captain Obvious imitators.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:51 | 4671565 Rican
Rican's picture

We're gonna reference this study, brother!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:38 | 4672050 tickhound
tickhound's picture

I don't remember everyone holding this study so self evident.

Just as the bamabots thought he'd make a difference, there were idiots here claiming Romney could do it... And then there's Sarah Palin... Go read those comments.

There's still those who see no corporate control. They see parties and voting... To them there is still choice.

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 03:38 | 4672340 laboratorymike
laboratorymike's picture

Voting only makes sense if you join a party and get involved internally. By the time the general election rolls around, all of the real decisions have already been made.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 06:52 | 4672435 negative rates
negative rates's picture

All the real perceived decisions.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:16 | 4671661 TammanyBrawl
TammanyBrawl's picture

Go long pitchforks and torches and short consumer discretionary.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:44 | 4672062 sleigher
sleigher's picture

We're gonna post on ZH like we always do.  What do you want to do about it?

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 02:22 | 4672279 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

I'm gonna do what i alsways do.  Rub one out and fall asleep at the computer.  did you have anything in mind?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:37 | 4671733 chemystical
chemystical's picture

"People will now be able to reference this study when they claim that the U-S is an oligarchie. Remember that most people still doesn't realise it."

You're not being harsh (or realistic) enough.  95% of Americans don't know what an oligarchy is.  At least half wouldn't give a shit even if they did know and even if they read and understood this study and what it means to them.

Must be my night for cynicism.  Listening to someone tell me today (quite passionately) why the Nevada rancher and his family should be shot...well, that really put a damper on things.  And he votes.  (probably more than once)

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:33 | 4671900 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

You're not being harsh (or realistic) enough.  95% of Americans don't know what an oligarchy is.  At least half wouldn't give a shit even if they did know and even if they read and understood this study and what it means to them

95%? Half wouldn't care? ... so where are your stats coming from?

And he votes.  (probably more than once)

Apparently (as enlightened as you are) you missed one of the central points in the highlighted study above. 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:01 | 4671969 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

That person IS the enemy of Freedom and Liberty.

 

He will probably kill you when it all breaks down.

 

Eh...Nobody lives on this planet forever...Nobody.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:55 | 4672177 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

That is the kind of guy who you look in the eye and challenge with, "Well, you might as well shoot me too."  Follow with a stare down and make him defend his position now that you are the target and you are standing right there in front of him, living and breathing and real. 

These people are very brave when other people do the killing and dying.  Not so much when they are faced with it.  In the end, if you are still alive and he hasn't changed his tune, call him a coward for not being man enough to do the job himself.

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 07:43 | 4700723 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Only 1 way to settle this dispute: a Mark Dice petition :-)

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:15 | 4671862 plane jain
plane jain's picture

Maybe it is just preachig to the choir here, but could be this might at least crack the shell of willful ignorance wrapped around so many minds.  I've shared the view that parties don't really matter since they are both bought by the same interests.  And I've still got one senior on the right determined to vote stratight ticket R because the gays and another one on the left who believes the Ds can save us and can not see how different Obama's actions have been from his original campaign rhetoric.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:53 | 4673147 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Usually when something fairly convincing comes around, it gets banned from being shared on Facebook, and back to Square 1 we go...  It really is that simple for these slippery bastards, at the moment.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:44 | 4672064 Bach's_bitch
Bach's_bitch's picture

No sane, genuinely rational human needs a reference to studies to be convinced of a reality that is obvious and readily observable. This is just another case of an academic "study" saying what anyone with half a brain already knew in better English.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:57 | 4672179 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

Yeah but our numbers are so limited we have to lower our standards.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:49 | 4671549 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

Reposting! Because it says all that we need to 'grasp'

Epic Quote on Capitalism

By Stephanie McMillan

It might be tempting to hope that capitalism will collapse on its own. Unfortunately, the system isn’t going to smash itself. Capitalism in crisis becomes even more ruthless.

They no longer even bother to keep up the pretence of caring about the future. Resource depletion and natural disasters aren’t problems for capitalists— in fact, scarcity makes prices and profits soar, and catastrophes are huge investment opportunities.

The only panic that a capitalist feels when contemplating the melting of the Arctic is that he won’t get to the newly uncovered oil first. They don’t care where they get their energy, as long as they control it all.

The system is dynamic, adaptable, and infinitely ruthless. Capitalism will ultimately destroy itself, but only when it’s destroyed all life on the planet, which is too late to matter.

 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:08 | 4671629 rehypothecator
rehypothecator's picture

What we haven't isn't capitalism, it's corporatism.  It is impossible to cure a problem that you can't even correctly diagnose.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:35 | 4671726 intric8
intric8's picture

Not just any kind of oligarchs, NEOCON oligarchs- the absolute worst variety when it comes to the destruction of our freedoms, with Rogers and Feinstein paving the way

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:02 | 4671804 Clint Liquor
Clint Liquor's picture

Close inspection will reveal that Neocons and Progessives are one in the same.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:26 | 4671889 intric8
intric8's picture

"progress" was chosen as an Important neocon propagandic tool word. You might be interested in reading orwells 'politics and the english language, 1946'
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:49 | 4672070 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Oh.. f me with a 40 inch diameter proboscis.

Anytime I hear the anti-capitalism mantra I want to drink another gallon or two of Everclear.

Capitalism is dead and buried in this socialist state.

Repeal the 16th, 17th  Amendments and the f’n federal reserve act..

Put wood chippers big enough to deal justice to a dozen bankers at a time on every corner and then make some comments about capitalism.

..outside of that, love thy neighbor.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:10 | 4671640 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

Jesus, another idiot who thinks that crony capitalism (aka fascism) has anytihing to do with free market capitalism.

So what is it you want.

Seriously.  

Tell us.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:20 | 4671672 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

LOL, perhaps he/she wants to skip the analysis of capitalism and go straight to communism, after all that is sooo much better for the planet, noooo pollution nor ineffecient resources allocation in centrally planned economies!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:29 | 4671705 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

What's communism? Is Chile a communist country?

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:48 | 4672166 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

Chile has challenges to keep it at bay:

http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/south-america/item/17189-freedo...

During her last stint in Chile’s highest political office from 2006 to 2010, the Socialist Party leader avoided much of the extreme statism so prevalent across Latin America — leaving the nation and its foundations mostly intact as one of the few remaining outposts of relative freedom and prosperity in a region now dominated by socialist and Marxist machinations. This time, however, she has vowed to radically transform Chile, starting with the liberty-friendly Constitution that economists argue has been a key component in the country’s extraordinary success thus far.

If Bachelet gets her way, a radically larger and more intrusive government will take over healthcare, higher education, and more. Big tax hikes and huge spending increases are also on the agenda. “Chile has looked at itself, has looked at its path, its recent history, its wounds, its feats, its unfinished business and this Chile has decided it is the time to start deep transformations,” Bachelet claimed in front of supporters on Sunday after winning the election against the more liberty-oriented Evelyn Matthei.

The president-elect also promised to “responsibly” carry out the “deep reforms” that she claimed were allegedly “needed” in the wealthiest nation in the region — presumably an effort to soothe escalating fears of a Hugo Chavez-style socialist revolution that could plunge the nation into poverty and chaos. With her alliance with the Communist Party having secured a large enough majority in the legislature to push through much of her agenda, Bachelet also claimed that those who “want change” represent a “broad majority,” and so, “it’s time to put them into action.”

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:38 | 4671735 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

Dick, "Free market capitalism"?

What does this slogan mean?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:59 | 4671809 Clint Liquor
Clint Liquor's picture

It is the opposite of a Centrally Planned Economy.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:29 | 4671893 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

Centrally Planned... free market. All curse words.

However, say that the US, sometime in the pass, was a free market, or whatever that means, can you tell us the date... of such.

 

 

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:59 | 4673163 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Gnerally speaking, you are probably looking at around 1880-1913.  Maybe 1830-1913.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:52 | 4671890 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

All economic systems beyond subsistence (wherein one consumes what one produces and no more) are capitalistic, the question being which system produces the most capital (i.e., excess production to trade for another's excess production) at the least expense for the greatest number.

Only a free market — aka freedom — does this, and humanity would still be beastial (if it still existed) without it.

Freedom was, is, and ever will be our only hope.

Which is why its nemesis, the state, can kiss my ass.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:12 | 4671996 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

So Dick, what does the US produce in excess... say, to pay 'just' for imported oil.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:15 | 4672111 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

Fiat Currency, the US Dollar, is what has been produced in excess. What is amazing is that there is still a demand. People actually still trade hard assets, as OIL, for those damned US Dollars.

 

But, TO THE POINT, the USA has not had a Free Market Economy. It has been a kleptocracy for quite a long while.

 

That is called setting up a "Strawman Argument". Dick is not claiming that the US has a Free Market Economy.

 

Yet you propose that he made that claim? That is ludicrous.

 

Thus your posts are called "trolling". You will find out that it is unappreciated in the Comments Section of ZH.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:03 | 4672193 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

It is what paid disinformation agents do.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 06:34 | 4672418 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

How much are you getting? Or, what is your point?

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 06:36 | 4672420 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

Fiat currency? Bingo. For the rest, it makes no sense. Sorry! But I'll read your comment again.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:57 | 4672079 PT
PT's picture

DB:  Yeah, crony capitalism exists, where as free markets have little existence outside of a definition in a textbook, followed by a number of conditions listed that are necessary to ensure that free markets work as advertised.  The list of conditions are often ignored when trying to describe the real world.  Just like, if I get a multimeter and measure my skin resistance I get 300 000 ohms which suggests that I can safely work with live electricity because the current running through my body will be insignificant.  In the real world, 240 Volts breaks down my skin resistance and the I=V/R thing doesn't quite work as advertised.

Hint.  In the real world, not every job is put out to tender because the tender process is expensive.  So for small jobs, the engineer tends to stick with a contractor that has demonstrated quality work and value for money in the past.  Now if he entrusts that contractor with the small jobs (saving money not only in the tender process but also in avoiding fuck-ups from hiring unknown, low-quality tradesmen), why wouldn't he throw a few of the big jobs his way, knowing that the higher sticker price pays for itself with a quality end result, no call-backs etc?

The point being, at exactly what point does sensible capitalism stop and cronyism start???  We know real capitalism when we see it.  We know real cronyism where we see it.  But the transition from one to the other has no well-defined border.  Especially when often-times, the one calling, "cronyism" is only intent on replacing one set of cronies with his own set of cronies.

I like capitalism but at the same time, Fuck Capitalism.  Those at the top of the tree only use it when it suits them and so should you.  If Capitalism worked as perfectly as advertised, then so would Communism, and Monarchies - there really would be some all-wise, all knowing king out there.

If the results of the experiments don't quite match the theory, then perhaps the theory is at 90 degrees to the truth and you need some other way of looking at the problem.  Perhaps instead of saying, "Fuck Capitalism" I should have said "Fuck the whole Capitalism/Communism dichotomy".  You're like the guy that tries to explain an ac circuit using dc principles.  Or the guy that ignores resistance and inductance effects in a thousand mile long transmission line.  Or the guy that ignores feedback and instability effects in a multi-transistorized circuit.

Remember the conditions necessary for capitalism and look at the real world.

Better still, just look at the real world.  In case there is another condition that wasn't mentioned.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:03 | 4672116 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

Its pretty simple.

Free markets involve the voluntary exchange between people.

That's all well & good.

As long as others are not harmed by our actions, we should be free to do such exchanges.

If we take actions that harm others, we must compensate them for their loss.  There also may be criminal proceedings for harm caused with certain characteristics determined by the people as a whole. For example, murder is harm that has far greater penalties than just paying money in most societies. - Causing pollution to an area that would harm the ability of surrounding people to use their property would entail paying them damages - at minimum.

Cronyism is when some individuals use the power of the state (ultimately backed by the use or potential use  of physical force) to gain advantage over competitors. (The example you gave is not cronyism.) Those who bribe politicians to enact laws that give them an advantage over others by raising their production costs - are engaging in this kind of cronyism. Examples:  Big pharma & insurance companies wriiting the legislation to force everyone to buy their products whether they want them or not, or are satisfied with what they have already or not. Big corporations given a pass on enacting provisions in o-care while small companies don't get to do so.  Big banks promoting regulations that smaller banks are less able to afford, even though it was the big, not the small banks that committed fraud and were the source of the nations financial problems.  These same big banks then buy up their smaller competitors.

Cronyism isnt inevitable with capitalism. Its even more prevalent in fascist and communist societies, where the much reduced goods produced go to connected insiders and everyone else goes wanting.

Personally, after doing tons of research, I think the problem is more psychological than economic. A certain percentage of the human population are psychopaths. They are attracted to and work themselves into positions of power where they act as predators and parasites on the rest of the (usually naive) population. They operate within various kinds of apparent economic systems - but ultimately its about their criminal behavior (the worst of which they make 'legal').

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:07 | 4672204 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

There is one facet of your argument I disagree with.  For penalties, fines and such may be a punishment but what we are missing is full restitution.  This would mean if you break it, you fix it, and you pay a fine or some other penalty.  This makes bad behavior unprofitable versus the massive fines banks way while laughing all the way to the... well, bank with their ill gotten profits. 

Punishment is not enough.  Full restitution is necessary first in order to have justice.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:31 | 4672231 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

Its true that there are many aspects to the subject. (For example, the definition of those defined as being able to engage in voluntary exchanges. Does that include an 8 year old ? And penalities can be made as severe as agreed to - including the complete dissolution of companies, seizure of all assets, and imprisonment of the guilty parties.)   But, what I wrote was quite long for this medium. You can, and people have, written many books on the various aspects of this. Thanks for your input.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:07 | 4673183 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The fiction of a corporation as a person needs to be abolished.  Once executives are exposed to criminal prosecution, the positions of power won't look quite as attractive.

"Personally, after doing tons of research, I think the problem is more psychological than economic. A certain percentage of the human population are psychopaths."

Yep.  About 2% maybe.  And thing is, no sociopath or psychopath has ever been rehabilitated.  Their lack of conscience makes them, for lack of a better word, prone to evil.  Political Ponerology.

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 16:34 | 4701746 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

In the real world the only thing that impedes capitalism is a central government.

In the real world what impedes that central government is shooting the mafia to death who run it.

Then free markets aren't impeded anymore by a mafia that kidnaps people, steals all their productivity & tries to do so while producing nothing at all.

"Remember the conditions necessary for capitalism and look at the real world."

Ya, I have goods, Bob has goods, and we own them, and we trade them. Done. No problem.

If anyone else gets in the middle we stop that party and if need be, with guns.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:59 | 4672182 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

Disinformation agent.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 06:30 | 4672414 Nimby
Nimby's picture

Why would there be oil in the Artic?

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 06:55 | 4672437 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Well if Jesus rose the dead, there can be oil in the artic.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 20:34 | 4674515 PT
PT's picture

'cos so far it has been waaaayy too difficult to dig it out of the ground.  There's probably gold there too.  And diamonds.  And even Residential Mortgage Backed Securities!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:55 | 4671552 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

R.I.P. Michael Ruppert.

He raged against this oligarchy we have now.  And it broke him.  But his message remains.  We remember Mike.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoZ0RvwjYF0

This is one of his last interviews......you can see how everything.....our government.....the financial delusion American suffers under broke him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNVHbzlzUS8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWWdeTERAsc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvRJN2rblp4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCz_xEp_4yA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRPmxQqn3tg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBwH0_EP5zo

 

Once you watch the above documentaries.....it would behoove you all to watch this one as well.  Dovetails very, very nicely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fbvquHSPJU

 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:09 | 4671612 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

Michael Ruppert had a Q clearance at age 19 thanks to his father.  The CIA tried to recruit him for drug sales in 1976 and 1977.  He declined.  Then he became a whistleblower on the CIA drug sales in America like investigative journalist Gary Webb who wrote about CIA crack sales in California to fund the Nicaraguan Contras.  Gary Webb committed suicide by shooting himself twice in the head.  Ruppert claimed that he was a CIA target since 1978. Now he has apparently committed suicide like Gary Webb.

If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch his movie "Collapse" for free.

http://www.amazon.com/Collapse-Michael-Ruppert/dp/B0040IO4LY/ref=sr_1_14...

In the course of investigations in the mid 1970s, he came across information the CIA was trading drugs in order to fund covert operations. He was forced out of the LAPD in November 1978 after being shot at and threatened for speaking out about CIA drug activity.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/remembering-michael-c-ruppert-wall-street-t...

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:07 | 4671622 illyia
illyia's picture

What? Did he die? No shit...

Now there is someone who died for truthout...

I can't believe it...

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:10 | 4671639 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

I learned just today from a post on http://www.resilience.org/ that he had comitted suicide this past Sunday.

A real kick in the gut for me.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:38 | 4671693 illyia
illyia's picture

So, "they" won... Either way. If he killed himself out of complete desperation or was "suicided" as old Mr. Story used to say, before he was not "suicided"...

Ruthless is being kind.

http://cherispeak.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/michael-c-ruppert-suicide-note-released/

Pass it on.

 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:41 | 4671751 chemystical
chemystical's picture

Sad.  I learned it when I read your posts.  Use to be an avid reader of FTW.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:53 | 4671567 Normalcy Bias
Normalcy Bias's picture

dbl post

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:54 | 4671571 Normalcy Bias
Normalcy Bias's picture

Actually, they should be commended for their bravery in publishing this in the current political environment.

Perhaps it will wake some people who've been sleeping...

 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:45 | 4671762 chemystical
chemystical's picture

Thanks for the hope, but when the airwaves and the water are full of 'Sominex', I'm betting against the Great Awakening.  Too many somnambulists today.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:30 | 4671704 chemystical
chemystical's picture

"Thank you Princeton for telling us what we already know and probably spending tons of money to do it."

Spot on.  I'm an egghead with dual PhD's, and this lengthy piece could have been more succinctly put as:

"Attention 99% of America!  Neither the leaders you put into office nor the staffs they hire give a fuck what you think."

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:00 | 4671813 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture

 

 

until you decide to DO something about it..

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:12 | 4671995 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

Just do not advertise what you do against it.  Quietly assault the Beast.

 

Lone Wolf attacks are quite affective.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:16 | 4672211 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

@ chemystical - LOL thank you. I've been around a few egghead PhDs and have read too many of their papers - - -Yours was the most succinct and spot on statement by a PhD that think I've read anywhere. 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:36 | 4671906 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

IQ will always oversee getting lead by cultural debt educational bullshit. When Math is skewed, the education system is going to collapse under common core US State Standards. Claps my hands…

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:36 | 4671910 kellycriterion
kellycriterion's picture

More old lefty disinformation. It's a crime syndicate model. Or at least a post Luciano CSM. The pretense that the people with their hands on the control leverss defies all history,logic, experience.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:08 | 4672848 Bankstein Swiss...
Bankstein Swissgoldberg's picture

that's why i regret having studied sociology: you spend one year to prove what everybody knows from common sense. And as everyone thinks there 's no difference between both cause it's the same result. However, process matter when it's about science. It's no enough to talk about politics with the butcher instead of the specialist, but that's what media do.

So you knew it, but you were not able to prove that you were you right, it's quite a tricky task to gather data and a defendable theorical model. I think that Princeton brought a huge improvement to that situation: legitimity!

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:18 | 4673504 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

As Gerard Celente has said time and again,

"The problem with America is bullets, bombs and banks; Harvard, Princeton and Yale."

First step:  nuke Princeton!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:39 | 4671519 MeMongo
MeMongo's picture

NO SHIT!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:42 | 4671528 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Roll the motherfucking guillotines!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:44 | 4671535 planet psyop
planet psyop's picture

how many thousands of years has this sad state of affairs been going on ?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:20 | 4671671 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Depending on where you point on the map, anywhere from 1 to 12 thousand years ago, with the mean being around 5.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:34 | 4672038 Cornfedbloodstool
Cornfedbloodstool's picture

Longer, man is ancient.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:47 | 4671537 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Thank God an 'authority' has finally declared the obvious is.....well......obvious.

So does this mean we will have a constitutional convention to rewrite the constitution to fit the present day reality? Looks like this is the next step in order to make everything legal that is presently illegal, but practiced none-the-less.

Grab your ankles boys and girls cus this is gonna hurt a whole bunch.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:07 | 4671625 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

That's biggest worry about a constitutional amendment. It would just reflect the current landscape. It would be rewritten to grsnt everyone the right to free shit, not freedom. Personally, I would rewrite the 2nd to simply say 'the right to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed", and repeal the 16th and 17th. Something else I noticed about that study is about even when things were favored by 80% or the population, the legislation only passed 43% of the time. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Once people figure out they can vote themselves free things bought with other people's money, our republic is lost( paraphrasing). Take the whole 'universal background checks' and registration schemes, which are allegedly supported by 80% or so of the populace. That most assuredly should not be I acted as it is not in keeping with the constitution. Yet it is largely favored because maybe 10% of the country understands that registration ALWAYS leads to confiscation.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:17 | 4671807 chemystical
chemystical's picture

I concur Carl, but if the 80% were correct (whatever that means) only 80% of the time we'd still be ahead 64 to 36.

On many issues TPB ignore the 80% and use schools and media to push the disfavored agenda and bide their time.  Consider homosexuality and it's tangents.  Laws governing employment in that regard and marriage in that regard.  You wouldn't need to travel back far in time to find a point where 80% of America was not in favor of the gay agenda.  Enter MTV, the NEA, CDC, A&E, Will and Grace,m Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Ellen, etc...et voila.

Illegal Immigration?

Foreign Aid?

Voter ID?  The inroads made in the last 4 years on that issue are astonishing.  In 4 more years Americans will loath themselves for ever having harbored the thought that someone should prove who they are and prove that they have the right to vote (once).  Getting into the Dem National Convention* otoh...well, duh, of course you need an ID for that.  Getting an indoor tan?  Please. 

* no that was NOT an endorsement of (R); just an illustration

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 06:33 | 4672416 Nimby
Nimby's picture

You don't have to be a (R) to note that the democrat party is the cheerleader for tyranny, while the republicans are simply scrambling to figure out how to catch up.

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 16:39 | 4701779 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Never seen this 'gay conspiracy agenda'.

All I've seen is they get beat up or killed for being gay and want not to be beat up and killed.

I thought that was everyone's agenda.

Maybe you think they all just should have got guns and killed everyone who killed gays and left it at that?

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 02:08 | 4672269 RichardParker
RichardParker's picture

"Once people figure out they can vote themselves free things bought with other people's money..."

Therein lies the problem with "democracy".  You can vote anything into law.  I really wish the US was still a democratic republic.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 02:22 | 4672281 Seer
Seer's picture

"I really wish the US was still a democratic republic."

And no one was voting for handouts then?

Fantasies are nice, but we have to deal with reality.  As long as you have ANY voting the outcome will be that "some" will decide for "others."  And in my mind therein lies the REAL problem.  Of gods and masters...

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 03:23 | 4672322 PT
PT's picture

But politicians BREAK PROMISES ALL THE TIME!!!!!!  How do the FSA vote themselves a free ANYTHING when there is no guarantee that any promise is kept?  Our govt doesn't even respect referendums and you expect me to believe that the FSA has any power?  How about the FSA is a useful begging tool for the banksters?  They can't say, "give me money" but they can say, "You must let me lend money and bail me out when the idiots don't repay me.  It's not my fault that I lend money to idiots ..."

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:35 | 4672925 sleigher
sleigher's picture

http://conventionofstates.com/

 

Looks like it may actually happen, but I say careful what you wish for.  We are gonna wind up with some crazy amendment that says all people have a right to healthcare or something.  The 2nd amendment will be completely removed or worse...

If anything we should repeal everything after the 13th and put the original 13th back in.  The titles of nobility.  F'in Lincoln...

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:47 | 4671546 stinkhammer
stinkhammer's picture

no shit dick tracy!  and barry lies and sucks dick for cocaine    wake up

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:49 | 4671548 RaiZH
RaiZH's picture

Known this for quite a while... but still, this is just sad. 

Same goes for many other Western countries I assume.  

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:50 | 4671564 Duc888
Duc888's picture

 

 

" Remember that most people still doesn't realise it."

 

Are they desensitized to the sharp pain in their ass? (only half joking)

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:53 | 4671574 Duc888
Duc888's picture

 

 

Cog:So does this mean we will have a constitutional convention to rewrite the constitution to fit the present day reality?

 

 

The state of Michigan has just became the 34th state to vote that a Constitutional Convention be called, and no one really noticed. Now the required 34 States Call for Constitutional Convention.

 

What is a Conctitutional Convention?

 

  1. constitutional convention
  2. A constitutional convention is a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising an existing constitution. A general constitutional convention is called to create the first constitution of a political unit or to entirely replace an existing constitution.

http://beforeitsnews.com/politics/2014/04/the-u-s-constitution-is-going-...

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:17 | 4671664 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

If the institution having the convention is in violation of the document to be "amended" then said convention is not possible until said institution is no longer in violation of that document’s tenets. If such a convention by said criminal institution is held, all results and outputs should be held to be null and void.

Or put another way, can I rob a bank and then demand that the bank robbery statutes be amended?!

"If you're not Constitutional, you can't amend the Constitution."

 

"'A Goddamned piece of paper,' backed by guillotines."

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:36 | 4672042 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

Get ready to lose all of your Civil Rights. Goodbye 2nd Amendment. The last time this happened was in 1787 and it totally scrapped the Articles of Confederation.

 

This was most likely backed and funded by lobbyists with United Nations money.

 

This is very bad news.

 

This needs to be on the front page Tyler.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:44 | 4672063 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

If I lose, some of them will "lose" with me.

 

"We are multitude, and are payment is Liberty not lucre."

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 00:02 | 4672087 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

I will stand with you on that.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:47 | 4672957 sleigher
sleigher's picture

"Get ready to lose all of your Civil Rights. Goodbye 2nd Amendment. The last time this happened was in 1787 and it totally scrapped the Articles of Confederation."

 

 

Everybody should understand this 100%.  The Articles of Confederation were scrapped because the FEDS didn't have enough power.  Think about that while we go to another Constitutional Convention.  Think about the state of the Federal government.  Do we really want a convention right now?

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 07:46 | 4700726 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Welcome to the United Electrolytes of Murrika! Obawndo, the Liberty Mutilator

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 02:27 | 4672283 Seer
Seer's picture

Yeah, because we all know that all one has to do in order to affect change is to ask the thugs, nicely...

I'll wager that any new sets of "rules" is going to be predicated on continuing the REAL problem- pushing the perpetual growth on a a finite planet meme.

Sorry, but only a change in population or resources is going to have any real impact, and I'm pretty sure most know what this means.... (hint: starts with the letter "W")

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 20:54 | 4671579 carlnpa
carlnpa's picture

Couldn't they move the data set forward, alot, from 2002?

Since about 2008 the scale has violently shifted from this earlier data set toward the oligarchs.

I guess its to keep us from going all medieval on the oligarchs.

We'll have our day.

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 03:01 | 4672305 Seer
Seer's picture

"Since about 2008 the scale has violently shifted from this earlier data set toward the oligarchs."

It's all in line with the exponential function.

"We'll have our day."

Live for today! (tomorrow you may not be here)

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:15 | 4671605 One And Only
One And Only's picture

I don't give two shits about Sam Zell. I do know that a lot of rich people started out poor though which is why when I read shit like this...

"So when Sam Zell or any other oligarch prances around on television saying that the “poor should be more like the rich,” what he’s really saying is you need to sell your soul and attempt to become an oligarch. Otherwise, you’re fucked."

...it kind of chapps my ass.

Why? Because the most basic search of Sam Zell on the interwebs yields the following:

"Zell was born in Chicago in 1941 to Rochelle and Berek Zielonka, Jewish immigrant parents from Poland who fled the country just before the German invasion in 1939.[3]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Zell

But more on Sam Zell here:

http://homebuying.about.com/lw/Business-Finance/Real-estate/Sam-Zell-Rea...

Sam Zell - born to poor jewish Polish refugees (to escape the Nazis) in 1941 worked hard and become a billionaire. And Mike Krieger wants to cry about it because he said poor people should be more like the rich. Boo fucking hoo Mike. He's been both rich and poor...and he's right.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:06 | 4671618 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

.01%?!

My list is a lot longer than that.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:10 | 4671619 Demogorgon
Demogorgon's picture

No duh. Old news.

I'm just some dimwit commenter on ZH and I front-ran Princeton on this one by many years. What's my prize? Where's my $25,000/month?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:08 | 4671627 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

Overall, Princeton and others are doing a bad job...

It is rather late in the game to analyze mistakes of the past,

while proving even at this late stage an ignorance of the motivations of the Self-Absorbed (the Narcissist and Sociopath in places of influence),

which left alone will muck it all up, eventually.

Well, it's all mucked up now, and "Princeton" still doesn't have a clue.

And just for added fun...

This is the dynamic that leads to further attempts at Control, and the turmoil that comes with it.

 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:54 | 4671790 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture

 

 

yep..

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:10 | 4671636 Danno Anderson
Danno Anderson's picture

<<<<  

Princeton Study Confirms 'US Is An Oligarchy'  >>>

Princeton and the rest of the ivy league schools is where the problem orignated and perpetuates itself. 

 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:15 | 4671655 Alethian
Alethian's picture

No shit, Sherlock.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:18 | 4671666 The Joker
The Joker's picture

Not yet a kleptocracy.  There is one more step, to disarm the populace.  So yes, still Oligarchy.

Kleptocracy:

1) disarm the populace and arm the elite.

2) Make the masses happy by redistributing much of taxes received in popular ways

3) Use the monopoly of force to promote happiness by maintaining order and curbing violence

4) Construct and ideology or religion to justify the kleptocracy.  Shared ideology (patriotism) or religion helps solve the problem of how unrelated individuals are to live together without killing each other.  It also gives them a motive for sacrificing their lives on behalf of others.  USA! USA! USA!  or Do the "morally right" thing.

 

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:34 | 4671676 Demogorgon
Demogorgon's picture

Well stated.

And we're on our way there, as the masses continue to bow to the elites with the illusion that they will save us from ourselves. Yet, those same masses have not a hint of perspective that the damage being done to them is being done by those that they bow to.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:59 | 4671967 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

According to your new friends at Princeton, disarming the populace is democratically favored.  Look at the line about gun rights groups being opposed to what the people want.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:23 | 4671681 kurt
kurt's picture

Little Lord Fontleroy Says...

 

 

 

Fuck Princeton, no don't. Don't want to reward them. Of course the goddamn school of the prick class would declare it to be so. They are the Oligarchs until we kill them. How far is this shit gonna go?

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