Jimmy Carter Rages At What The U.S. Has Become: "Just An Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Eric Zeusse,

On July 28th, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question were merely an aftethought), asked him his opinion of the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns. Carter answered:

“It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for President or being elected President. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we’ve just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. …


At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell.”

He was then cut off by the program, though that statement by Carter should have been the start of the program, not its end. (And the program didn’t end with an invitation for him to return to discuss this crucial matter in depth — something for which he’s qualified.)

So: was this former President’s provocative allegation merely his opinion? Or was it actually lots more than that? It was lotsmore than that.

Only a single empirical study has actually been done in the social sciences regarding whether the historical record shows that the United States has been, during the survey’s period, which in that case was between 1981 and 2002, a democracy (a nation whose leaders represent the public-at-large), or instead an aristocracy (or ‘oligarchy’) — a nation in which only the desires of the richest citizens end up being reflected in governmental actions. This study was titled “Testing Theories of American Politics,” and it was published by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page in the journal Perspectives on Politics, issued by the American Political Science Association in September 2014. I had summarized it earlier, on 14 April 2014, while the article was still awaiting its publication.

The headline of my summary-article was “U.S. Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy Says Scientific Study.” I reported: "The clear finding is that the U.S. is an oligarchy, no democratic country, at all. American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it's pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation's 'news' media).” I then quoted the authors’ own summary: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” 

The scientific study closed by saying: “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes.” A few other tolerably clear sentences managed to make their ways into this well-researched, but, sadly, atrociously written, paper, such as: “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.” In other words, they found: The rich rule the U.S.

Their study investigated specifically “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,” and then the policy-follow-ups, of whether or not the polled public preferences had been turned into polices, or, alternatively, whether the relevant corporate-lobbied positions had instead become public policy on the given matter, irrespective of what the public had wanted concerning it.

The study period, 1981-2002, covered the wake of the landmark 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Buckley v. Valeo, which had started the aristocratic assault on American democracy, and which seminal (and bipartisan) pro-aristocratic court decision is described as follows by wikipedia: It “struck down on First Amendment grounds several provisions in the 1974 Amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act. The most prominent portions of the case struck down limits on spending in campaigns, but upheld the provision limiting the size of individual contributions to campaigns. The Court also narrowed, and then upheld, the Act's disclosure provisions, and struck down (on separation of powers grounds) the make-up of the Federal Election Commission, which as written allowed Congress to directly appoint members of the Commission, an executive agency.”

Basically, the Buckley decision, and subsequent (increasingly partisan Republican) Supreme Court decisions, have allowed aristocrats to buy and control politicians. 

Already, the major ‘news’ media were owned and controlled by the aristocracy, and ‘freedom of the press’ was really just freedom of aristocrats to control the ‘news’ — to frame public issues in the ways the owners want. The media managers who are appointed by those owners select, in turn, the editors who, in their turn, hire only reporters who produce the propaganda that’s within the acceptable range for the owners, to be ‘the news’ as the public comes to know it.

But, now, in the post-Buckley-v.-Valeo world, from Reagan on (and the resulting study-period of 1981-2002), aristocrats became almost totally free to buy also the political candidates they wanted. The ‘right’ candidates, plus the ‘right’ ‘news’-reporting about them, has thus bought the ‘right’ people to ‘represent’ the public, in the new American ‘democracy,’ which Jimmy Carter now aptly calls “subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.”

Carter — who had entered office in 1976, at the very start of that entire era of transition into an aristocratically controlled United States (and he left office in 1981, just as the study-period was starting) — expressed his opinion that, in the wake now of the two most extreme pro-aristocratic U.S. Supreme Court decisions ever (which are Citizens United in 2010, andMcCutcheon in 2014), American democracy is really only past tense, not present tense at all — no longer a reality.

He is saying, in effect, that, no matter how much the U.S. was a dictatorship by the rich during 1981-2002 (the Gilens-Page study era), it’s far worse now.

Apparently, Carter is correct: The New York Times front page on Sunday 2 August 2015 bannered, "Small Pool of Rich Donors Dominates Election Giving,” and reported that:

"A New York Times analysis of Federal Election Commission reports and Internal Revenue Service records shows that the fund-raising arms race has made most of the presidential hopefuls deeply dependent on a small pool of the richest Americans. The concentration of donors is greatest on the Republican side, according to the Times analysis, where consultants and lawyers have pushed more aggressively to exploit the looser fund-raising rules that have fueled the rise of super PACs. Just 130 or so families and their businesses provided more than half the money raised through June by Republican candidates and their super PACs.”

The Times study shows that the Republican Party is overwhelmingly advantaged by the recent unleashing of big-corporate money power. All of the evidence suggests that though different aristocrats compete against each other for the biggest chunks of whatever the given nation has to offer, they all compete on the same side against the public, in order to lower the wages of their workers, and to lower the standards for consumers’ safety and welfare so as to increase their own profits (transfer their costs and investment-losses onto others); and, so, now, the U.S. is soaring again toward Gilded Age economic inequality, perhaps to surpass the earlier era of unrestrained robber barons. And, the Times study shows: even in the Democratic Party, the mega-donations are going to only the most conservative (pro-corporate, anti-public) Democrats. Grass-roots politics could be vestigial, or even dead, in the new America.

The question has become whether the unrestrained power of the aristocracy is locked in this time even more permanently than it was in that earlier era. Or: will there be yet another FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) to restore a democracy that once was? Or: is a President like that any longer even possible in America?

As for today’s political incumbents: they now have their careers for as long as they want and are willing to do the biddings of their masters. And, then, they retire to become, themselves, new members of the aristocracy, such as the Clintons have done, and such as the Obamas will do. (Of course, the Bushes have been aristocrats since early in the last century.)

Furthermore, the new age of aristocratic control is not merely national but international in scope; so, the global aristocracy have probably found the formula that will keep them in control until they destroy the entire world. What’s especially interesting is that, with all of the many tax-exempt, ‘non-profit’ ‘charities,’ which aristocrats have established, none of them is warring to defeat the aristocracy itself — to defeat the aristocrats’ system of exploitation of the public. It’s the one thing they won’t create a ‘charity’ for; none of them will go to war against the expoitative interests of themselves and of their own exploitative peers. They’re all in this together, even though they do compete amongst themselves for dominance, as to which ones of them will lead against the public. And the public seem to accept this modern form of debt-bondage, perhaps because of the ‘news’ they see, and because of the news they don’t see (such as this).


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Panic Mode's picture

That will never make the news

TruxtonSpangler's picture

lol "Sometimes get favors" way to sugar coat it Jimmy

NoDebt's picture

Thank God there is finally a real adult in the room, speaking truth to power.  When all is dark and hope is nearly gone, you send in James Earl Carter.  And the people cheer "Thank, God!  Jimmy Carter is finally back!  We're like...... saved...... or something."



SWRichmond's picture

will there be yet another FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) to restore a democracy that once was?


whotookmyalias's picture

Read what the founding fathers wrote. Most of them were very well read and knew much more about government than the average person does today.  Their predictions and what they tried to protect this country from have become reality.

saints51's picture

Yep they were and still some were tricked. What a timeline to be apart of. Just think no tech anywhere.

SMG's picture

Carter's right.  So what do we do now?

nuubee's picture

I have no problem with money being in politics, so long as money itself is never corrupted. We live in a world of money that is corrupted by centralized control, and then we ask those same people with central control not to print more.. it's a conflict of interest.

Four chan's picture

well the supreme court thinks corporations who live forever, are people. so what did any one expect? on a side note, the supreme court is made up of compromised shills for whatever party granted them royalty statius not quite what the founders intended i would think.

booboo's picture

and Unions, don't forget Unions.

kralizec's picture

I love these moments when a statist POS goes off their meds and starts jabbering about what he and his ilk have been up to and make it sound like none of it was his fault...


Georgia_Boy's picture

He's pushing his book, of course.  But he always did at least project an image of being in the government but not of it.  After Nixon, people wanted the anti-Nixon, reverend Jimmy.

Buzz Fuzzel's picture

Jimmy has correctly identified the problem but as usual he does not accurately see the cause and would likely not agree with the best solution. 


The Rules are the problem. In the past 200+ years our elected representatives have changed the Peoples House into an institution run by oligarchs. We no longer have equal representation in Congress.  If your Congressman or Senator is not a member of the "leadership team" they vote the way they are told to by the "leadership team" or they are attacked and ostracized by their “Superiors”.  It is the rules which give the leadership team this leverage and power. The only possible hope to end this situation is for the People to bring suit and have the court force Congress to restore equal representation. Checks and balances and the separation of powers were designed for just this sort of situation. Yes the Constitution provides that each branch of the Federal Government has sole authority to establish their own operating rules but We the People are injured parties, having lost equal representation and we have standing to bring suit against Congress to have the court declare that our lack of equal representation in Congress is Un-Constitutional and require that Congress re-write the rules to restore our equal representation.

These changes to the rules would make a good start:

1.       All elections for leadership or recall of leadership in both houses of congress and in all political party caucuses for all positions must be by secret ballot.

2.       All committee assignments must be chosen by lot regardless of seniority.

3.       All committee leadership must be chosen by lot regardless of seniority.  Committee Chairman will serve at the pleasure of the committee membership.  Leadership may be removed with more than 50% of its members voting no confidence.  If committee leadership is removed by the members the new leader must be chosen by lot regardless of seniority.

4.       There will be no consideration of Seniority for any purpose in the operation of either house of Congress.  All members are considered and treated equal by the operating rules of both houses.


kralizec's picture

I think the local chapter of the progressive butt-buddy club is paying a visit to ZeroHedge today.  No doubt this post will also get junked.  I take that as a compliment.

y3maxx's picture

Tomorrow's News is out

.....Jimmy Carter was nail gun suicided in his swimming pool.

Stackers's picture

All this from a man hand picked by David Rockefeller

The Rockefeller Trilateral Commission all but ran the Carter admin and bragged about it on several occasions.


Manthong's picture

So the old peanut farmer and part-time home handy man finally figured it out   ??????

.. at least they named a sub after him.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Stackers and manthing are dead on! Carter was an establishment man...completely and totally, CFR AND Trilateral commission FOUNDER MEMBER...


  Carter, the Atlanta Establishment, and the National Power Structure Jimmy Carter was a wealthy landowner and agribusiness-man when he launched his political career in the early 1960s. By the time of his 1970 campaign for governor, Carter was personally close to, and supported by, central figures of the Atlanta Establishment-the upper class leadership group which runs that city and which has great influence throughout Georgia and the entire southeastern United States... These and similar connections led, by 1971, to meetings between Carter and both David Rockefeller and Hedley Donovan, then editor-in-chief of Time magazine and now Carter's senior adviser on domestic affairs and media relations. Carter was consequently no stranger to these national leaders when they decided to form the Trilateral Commission in the Spring of 1973. At that time, David Rockefeller, with George S. Franklin Jr., a Rockefeller in-law, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Owen, Robert Bowie, and Gerard C. Smith-the last four, now members of the Carter Administration- selected members for the Commission. 
r00t61's picture

Carter dissing the globalists now that he is out of power reminds me of Greenspan talking up gold again now that he is also out of power.

MontgomeryScott's picture

Carter's staring at the mirror, now, I think. He's seeing the horror that he was a part of, and is doing his best to make amends (on Earth) for his part in this everfucking fuckshow.

People like to state that Carter was the 'worst president ever' (before Barry Soetoro), but they speak in IGNORANCE. ACTUALLY, Gerald Ford holds this title (that unelected, especially selected FUCKWAD who served on the WARREN COMMISSION and allowed for the vacuum to be filled by this fucking HOLY ROLLING, NEW-JERUSALEM-MINDFUCKED PEANUT FARMER).

Coming clean before his impending demise is actually probably the ONLY 'honorable' thing this man has done. I'm all out of 'Billy Beer', so I won't drink a toast to him, Mr. Indian. This would like be honoring GREENSPAN because he returns to his ORIGINAL thoughts about GOLD being a 'store of value' (Is THAT fucker DEAD yet? WHY the frack NOT?).

President Comacho is watching, so I'd better shut up now.

teslaberry's picture







frankly scarlet's picture

kralizec, your's is the best comment here...Carter was just as free with his "favors" as any president before or since. Even FDR in a personal letter to a close political confidant acknowledged that the "federal political system had been "owned" since the days [after] of Andrew Jackson". Its just that a few more everyday Americans (and other westerners) are finally waking up to the fact that their nation(s) are a "big club",a la George Carlin's preachings, that see as you and I do. Most just take the warnings as a Carlin moment, a humorous line instead of the dire warning given. The same with the BIS nad IMF as the most important main stream banking institutions with the very best inside information giving out warnings that the economic system is in grave danger of implosion....who is paying any attention to them either?

Greenie's picture

Founders never envisioned  3 jews sitting on the supreme court. They must be rolling in their graves.

Thirtyseven's picture

Or 1.75% of the population making up 13% of the Senate and roughly 8% of the House.

mkkby's picture

Jimmy was actually a decent prez, but was proof that the US is IMPOSSIBLE TO GOVERN.  The CIA screwed him by creating the hostage situation in Iran.  Then the fed raised interest rates to the moon right before the election.  In other words, the deep state wanted him out and Reagan in.

In George Washington's day, one man could wrap his head around the job.  Now there's 340 million people, a full time opposition party and media strategy, the MIC, and a million fighting special interests. And for some insane reason, they feel that's not enough -- you have to police the whole god dammned world.

We should eliminate the federal gov and go back to independent states, bound only by a free trade agreement and mutual defense treaty.  Now that I think of it, this last sentence would make a nice constitutional amendment.

Milestones's picture



frankly scarlet's picture

The modern form of slavery is the most insidious as it precludes any contact or contractual obligation of any humain kind. The modern slave has to pay for his own up keep as well as foolishly trying to work off his life long indenture to state and bank as one entity and their corporate entourage that feed at their trough, all supported by the "slaves".


So where and to whom do most of your earnings go to?  Peasents with television sets......

Ayreos's picture

Giving value to things that have no value by themselves inherently corrupts. Holding paper or rocks with a high relative value to them trivializes said value. It makes the value itself feel like a lie, because the paper/rock is material and in your hands, while the value and power it represents is not. That means that the simple act of holding or owning currency perverts and corrupts. The world will grow up when that obvious truth will be accepted. 

Many cool things are possible with currency, but alas, none are actually necessary.

Land and tradition are necessary, the rest is a problem.

Thirtyseven's picture

Where dem scissors be at?

nosam's picture
nosam (not verified) SMG Aug 3, 2015 10:15 AM

Carter is a CFR gatekeeper. Don't get fooled by the kindly old man image(a la uncle Buffet).

frankly scarlet's picture

nosam,  yes...a limited hangout if ever there was one!!

ThroxxOfVron's picture

"Carter's right.  So what do we do now? "


He is arguably a far better option than Hillary or Sanders for Democrats.



Republicans would laugh until it became apparent they aren't gonna win Trump/Bush or not...

bigdumbnugly's picture

Most of them were very well read and knew much more about government than the average person does today.


wow, you're really going out on a limb with speculation there.

btw, F you Jimma

Fahque Imuhnutjahb's picture



Yeah, that's a bunch of bull, I read my Enquirer while sitting on the can watching TMZ on my i-pad.

And he has the temerity to say I'm not well informed!!

rejected's picture

" Most of them were very well read and knew much more about government than the average person does today. "

They traded the state supremacy model - The Articles - for a Supra National supremacy model, the constitution.

I agree that they were very well versed in government,,,  which is why I suspect they knew it would turn out the way it has.  When the very first President violates the constitution by signing the first central bank and sending federal troops to quell a tax revolt - the very thing the war was fought about - you know something is not quite right.

If you read their letters to each other as prophesy rather than warnings the puzzle fits much, much better. 

large_wooden_badger's picture

I love Ben Franklin's prescient words: "A republic, if you can keep it, ma'am."

frankly scarlet's picture

"Ma'am"  women didn't get the vote in the so called enlightened west until on average the 1930s but we consider ourselves so advanced???

Raging Debate's picture

Whotookmyalias - If the founders could see where we wouldnt surprise them at all. Jefferson didnt think our Republic would last more than 20 years. The brakes they set up worked well. However, all brakes fail like in a car. We probably cant build better brakes until after WW3 where 1/3 of the people die on earth. I am an optimist for our species but the cycles of evolution are what they are.

Success creates excess which attracts predators. Also, those that seek power are generally your sociopathic predators (lots of founder references to wolves) and most unfit to lead.

I had people asked me why I dont be ome a politician my reply is that pissing in the wind and it blowing back on my face is not my cup of tea. Kudos to the Ron Paul types that slowed down our decent into inevitable hell but now there is no stopping the upcoming violence that will teach through pain. A shame our species must learn mostly that way instead of being proactive.

MalteseFalcon's picture

In the 1930s powerful corporations wanted to ditch the republic and install a straightforward fascist regime.  FDR deflected all that.

Not sure he exactly restored the republic.

malek's picture

They could not have ditched the republic back then since it deceased under Lincoln.

They might have tried to ditch democracy (a/k/a mob rule) for pure oligarchy, but what they didn't get back then they have made up in the decades after.

frankly scarlet's picture

MALTESE...NO,  Marine General Ret. Smedley Butler foiled the plot by revealing it when apporached and asked to lead the armed part of the insurection. None of the corporate leaders of the coup plot (Dupont and such) ever faced any prosecution. They learned their lesson and performed the same coup operation through total control of the economic situation and through stick and carrot - blackmail - bribery tactics.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3_EXqJ8f-0


FL_Conservative's picture

I guess it was perfectly acceptable when only labor unions were able to shuttle big bucks into the candidates' campaigns?  If someone was serious about fixing the issue, campaigns would be financed by equal, finite contributions or reimbursements from the government election fund and preclude use of personal fortune and supporter contributions.  As long as it's all about who raises the most money, nothing will ever be different.