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The Greatest Story Too Rarely Told: America Is an Oligarchy


#1

The Greatest Story Too Rarely Told: America Is an Oligarchy

John Atcheson

OK. Enough. It’s time to quit being “balanced” or “non-partisan” or whatever other euphemism the elite establishment media uses to justify ignoring the two biggest elephants in our national living room.

After Trump was elected there was a lot of concern about allowing his idiocy to become the “new normal.” But in truth, we’ve been accepting an unacceptable level of insanity in our national body politic for decades now.


#2

Atcheson is right on point with this piece. It should also be said that what has transpired in this country is a natural outcome based on the content of our Constitution. It's a property rights document, not a human rights document like the Declaration, and the nation has advanced past the point where it recognizes corporations as people with human rights to the point where property (corporations are property) is actually running the government. The design of the Constitution ensured that an oligarchy would rise and hold onto power. The property owning class have the Courts at their disposal and have used them throughout our history to change law and gain more and more advantage over We the People. Meanwhile, We the People have had to mount huge social movements to gain the protected negative human rights (what the government cannot do as opposed to declaring the rights with which a free person is born) and force change into the Constitution legislatively. It can be done, but it's nowhere near as easy as getting nine unelected people to make law (Supreme Court).

It should also be mentioned that some of our founding fathers were fierce democrats. The thirteen states developed their constitutions, clearly democratic, based on the Declaration before the US Constitution was written. For the most part, the states were ready to practice real democracy as were most of the revolutionaries who actually bore arms. Many of those founders were delegates to the Second Constitutional Convention, where they lost the debate. Democracy went down to be replaced by a system of government that looks democratic but was clearly oligarchic from the gitgo. The new nation did a U-turn--no monarchy or aristocracy for the colonists but no democracy either. They negotiated one helluva swindle.


#3

Reach further John Acheson!
We are trying to remove blindfolds and blinkers so that folks see the totally inebriated hephalumps in the rum. The oligarchy is a kleptocratic stratochcracy.

Permanent war is not something new. Why can no media discern the stratification bindings between the elimination/ 'externalization' (read: YOU DO NOT EXIST!!!) practices of narcissistic predatory capital in indigenous genocide, rape (an ancient tactic to destroy an 'enemy' in war), the toxic waste resulting from 'planned obsolescence' (read: IT DOES NOT EXIST).

Noam Chomsky is right. Schizophrenia is an accurate description of the system. Anything beneficial about it is the result of SUCCESSFUL RESISTANCE based on mutual respect, sustainable/sustainability principles, love and simplicity. All of which are superb nutrients of creativity!


#4

John Atcheson has the most fascinating and eloquent way of pointing out what most of us who are watching know to be the facts. You certainly don't have to look too hard to see that the Democrat Party sold it's progressive membership out a long time ago. I don't know when it started but Bill Clinton surely gave crushing progressive policies new life and helped establish the Democrat Party to become just another conservative party. And then progressives were expected to elect Hillary last year. Many progressives probably voted for Hillary because the alternative was so unthinkable.

If there is a way out of this rule by oligarchy it's certainly not clear. Especially with propaganda machines like FOX rolling out their drivel twenty four hours a day. Not real news but an entertainment which is conditioning the minds of the rabble who seem addicted to watching it. The rest of the "news" on other networks is not too far removed from what FOX is doing with their own assessments of the "facts" and the avoidance of or bending of the actual facts.

I think this country has been run by irrational policies for a long time. And now we even actually have a bona fide psychotic in the White House with his floundering and clueless off spring helping. Let's not forget that we have at least two more sadistic and irrational miscreants running the Senate and House. Why do so many in the present GOP seem to take such delight in making life so much harder for so many?


#5

"In a race between those appealing to the passionately ignorant with contentious wedge issues and those paying lip service to progressivism while governing for plutocrats, the passionately ignorant always win."
I agree with this, as a statement, and it describes our political process played out in our media, well. However, on closer reading, my thoughts contain some caveats to agreeing with it. (Though I like Mr.Atcheson's writing and analysis very much, usually).

This description leaves out the fact that it was not only wedge issues that carried off working lower income maybe former unionized voters to Mr.Trump.
The de-industrialization by corporations loyal to nothing but their shareholders (mostly the elites, the wealthy) that brought joblessness or much lower paying jobs and despair to so many here in the U.S. were not just "wedge issues"--and Trump spoke to these folks about it. He said he would pay attention and bring jobs back. The fact that this won't happen, and Trump isn't really going to do this, but rather is working for his and his kind to enrich himself and them--doesn't make their (the jobless or underpaid) objective status less compelling, and it remains SO not a "wedge issue." I agree with the general thrust of his argument though, describing what a mess we are in in Amerika at present. I believe resistance, and taking over the Dems with real dems is possible. At this point, we have vital human needs, not wedge issues, on our side. Heath care is in focus, and so many have been made aware of the stark contrasts presented by the conservatives in power, and what is at stake for their own families. Look at this struggle around the ACA and single payer, look at N. Carolina and fight against voter suppression. Look at the rise of anti-gerrymandering groups in states. Not to mention the young people and Native people and environmentalists fighting against fracking and pipelines, and for renewables. So perhaps the capture of decisive sectors of voters by "wedge issues" may not always hold sway.


#6

With those two elephants in the room, little wonder there's no room for we the people.


#7

===========

Agreed - in spades !!!

I would like to focus on possible solutions,

or perhaps the thinking that will allow them.

=============

First - a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

"It has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have labored and others have, without labor, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits".

This is wrong - and should not continue"

I am currently reading a new book (2016): "ISRAEL: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn", by Daniel Gordis.

There is apparently a word in use among the Jewish community - Kishinev, which originated from the Easter Sunday pogrom in Kishinev (now Chisinav, Moldava), which was so horrific it added even more passion to the Zionist cause and the eventual creation of the state of Israel.

The word now refers not just to the city where the pogrom took place, but - well - let me quote from an inspirational leader of early Zionism:

"Kishinev exists wherever Jews undergo bodily or spiritual torture, wherever their self-respect is injured and their property despoiled - because they are Jews. Let us save those who can be saved."

  • Theodor Herzel, Sixth Zionist Congress, 1903.

For Jews - substitute all of us who have existed in civilization - i.e., ultra hierarchical societies, since the time of the Vedic and Egyptians at least, including our democracies, where one is lucky to have half the eligible population vote..

Then you have the observations of constituional lawyer turned individual anarchist Lysander Spooner:

"What then is legislation? It is an assumption by one man, or body of men, of absolute, irresponsible dominion over all other men whom they can subject to their power... of a right to banish the principle of human rights, the principle of justice itself, from off the earth..."

  • "Natural Law..." (1882)

And of Herman Melville in the classic "Moby Dick":

"Long exile from Christendom and civilization inevitability restores a man to that condition in which God placed him, i.e., what is called savagery... Your true whale hunter is as much a savage as an Iroquois. I myself am a savage, owing no allegiance but to the King of the Cannibals; and ready at any moment to rebel against him."

Finally. there is the classic account "Life among the Apaches" (1868), by John Cremony:

...the Apaches are pure democrats, each warrior being his own master, and submitting only to the temporary control of a chief elected for the occasion."

================

Bear with me, if you will ?

I read a couple of years ago about an analogue to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, called "MORAL INJURY".

"Moral injury is not a mental illness. It is realizing your value system doesn't match your experience anymore, and the painful, disorienting process of building a new one."

  • from "Beyond PTSD: Some vets tormented by 'moral injury' "

by Justine Reichel, Epoch Times Staff, August 7-13, 2015.

I am thinking I finally understand why half of us don't vote.

I am thinking it is not so different from the Jewish condition, displaced for some two thousand years - morally injured.

So badly that Theodor Herzel realized only "some" could be saved.

I understand why I left civilization to climb mountains for seven years, "for to see an' for to admire".

It restored me to my nature - that of the savage.

I prefer this way, having seen both sides - up close and personal.

As you note - solutions are unclear - but surely self examination in the light of history is useful.

In Calgary.

  • 30 -

#8

Bill Clinton did NOT "bring triangulation to the Democratic Party".

The 1985 Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) formation simplified the Party's mission to GET MORE CORPORATE MONEY THAN THE GOP.

1986 tax "reform" was the Party's first success at proving it could be as Republican as the Republicans. After extensive corruption training in Arkansas the Clintons were a shoe-in for the 1992 nomination and promptly proved that they were second to none in attracting corporate money to the Party, all at the expense of the 99%.

Former POTUS Carter and Ralph Nader, among others have been labeling the US an oligarchy for some time.


#9

I remember this kind of thing! The press used to do it all the time years ago. You'd pick up a paper or magazine and out of the middle of nowhere (or so it seemed) you got a clear eyed synopsis of current events and a bunch of factual data so that you could make up your own mind on the subject now that you had learned something about it. Everybody simply took such skillful and talented writing for granted. That's what the press got paid for, right? Skill and talent when explaining the facts and the added extra of a well informed opinion about how some issue was going to affect all of us. You simply expected the press to earn their pay by telling the truth! You got to know a reporter's or newsperson's ability to write well and more importantly, their grasp of the facts on some subject you wanted to learn about. It was the newsperson's job to research the facts and lay them out for the reader. It was how adults continued to learn about the real world now that they were out of school.

I do remember when things were that way with the press. You learned something reading a well written news article. Let me rephrase that. You enjoyed learning something by reading a well written news article by your favorite reporter.

I really enjoyed reading this piece. It brought back memories of when the press were one of us too. A free people in a free country with freedom of the press.

Thanks John.


#10

It's called a "bourgeois republic."


#11

Tell it like it is John! Couldn't have said it better myself.


#12

We either have democracy or oligarchy.. To call direct democracy "mob rule" is like calling established science mob rule.

If two heads are better than one, how much better are 300 million heads (the people) than 500 heads (the politicians)?


#13

See "This is a White Man's Government":


#14

I view this article as a clarion call to the left: step into the gaping void left open by a dying D-party and lead.

But where are our leaders? Where is our unapologetic Jeremy Corbyn? I realize great leaders don't grow on trees, but there has to someone with a strong enough message to unite the D-party's former base? Bernie had a moment, he wasn't brave enough to seize it. Now we're squandering a huge opportunity.

Damn, that frustrates me.


#15

Wake up America, you have never had a true democracy! Time to end the political party system, for it is outdated, decisive, bought off, and has stolen the voice of the people. Time to bring in THE COUMCIL OF THE PEOPLE and put all the decision-making powers directly into the hands of the people, then the people will have a voice, and. You will have a true democracy. That would be a true revolution! You


#16

Mr. Atcheson is right--Consider the current nattering on the cable news networks and elsewhere about the Russian "kleptocracy" run by Putin and a small number of fabulously wealthy oligarchs--"Oligarchs" is now the preferred term of reference for this class in Russia in American media reporting--There's an uncanny mirroring in this language, in which we could turn around and see this country in the same terms!--It looks like Lenin was right (about a lot of things) the ruling class is international, the American oligarchs have more in common with their Russian counterparts than they have with the rest of the 99% here--They talk to each other (sanctioned or not) schmooze and do deals--Trump is just the most visible!


#17

This piece is entirely on the mark, and describes what should be heard and said DOZENS of times a day by a democratically-operated Media ... but, alas, is not!

• WE ... must take it upon ourselves to SAY such truths, and insist to media outlets to do the same — even if they don't.


#18

During the 2016 election, Jill Stein offered Bernie and his supporters a potential to join with the Green Party and create a coherent people-oriented ticket. We don't know what the outcome of that would have been, but it certainly would have been better than what we got ... since it was always clear that the Dem-oligarchic Establishment was never going to let Bernie and the Berners get the nomination, no matter what.

Soooo ... it COULD have been better, and we likely would now HAVE the nucleus of a new alliance ... if not the presidency itself ... and the Oligarchy and the Media Phonies would have taken a tremendous HIT with millions finally waking up to a New National Narrative!


#19

The Great Lurch Backwards to nightmarish redux of the Robber Baron era is complete. Enjoy living in the Second Gilded Age.


#20

Ah yes, I remember all those facts.
The 200 Communists in the State Department.
The US navy being attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin
The missile and bomber gaps
The Weapons of Mass Destruction
The total none reporting of the illegal USA bombing Cambodia and Laos.
Ah the good ol' days eh?