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Measuring the Deep Corruption of the U.S. Political System

January 24, 2019 | By | Reply More
Measuring the Deep Corruption of the U.S. Political System

How corrupt is the U.S.? This video by Represent US gives us the shocking result. We have the best government that money can buy.

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It’s Time to Clean Up Missouri Politics: About the CLEAN MISSOURI Ballot Initiative

April 19, 2018 | By | Reply More

Today I had the privilege of attending an informational meeting regarding the CLEAN MISSOURI ballot initiative. The organization will be finished collecting signatures in a few weeks, and is on target to having the initiative on the Missouri statewide ballot this coming November. Who could possibly be against a Ballot Proposition that will read exactly like this:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
● change process and criteria for redrawing state legislative districts during
reapportionment;
● change limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state legislature can
accept from individuals or entities;
● establish a limit on gifts that state legislators, and their employees, can accept from
paid lobbyists;
● prohibit state legislators, and their employees, from serving as paid lobbyists for a
period of time;
● prohibit political fundraising by candidates for or members of the state legislature on
State property; and
● require legislative records and proceedings to be open to the public?
State governmental entities estimate annual operating costs may increase by
$189,000. Local governmental entities report no fiscal impact.

Here is the Policy Summary.
Here is the actual text being proposed for the Missouri Constitution.

Here is the website for Clean Missouri.

If you would like to get involved in this effort, contact Campaign Director Sean Soendker Nicholson at sean@cleanmissouri.org.

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New Harvard Business School Study: U.S. Federal Government Is Increasingly Good at Being Bad

September 15, 2017 | By | Reply More
New Harvard Business School Study: U.S. Federal Government Is Increasingly Good at Being Bad

Here’s how a new Harvard Business School study sums up our Federal Government:

America’s political system was long the envy of the world. It advanced the public interest and gave rise to a grand history of policy innovations that fostered both economic and social progress. Today, however, our political system has become the major barrier to solving nearly every important challenge our nation needs to address. . . In areas such as public education, health and wellness, personal safety, water and sanitation, environmental quality, and tolerance and inclusion, among others, U.S. progress has stalled or gone in reverse. In these areas, where America was often a pioneer and leader, the U.S. has fallen well down the list compared to other advanced countries.

The study concluded that the political system is not actually failing. It is working, but its function is different than the one taught in high school textbooks:

Most people think of politics as its own unique public institution governed by impartial laws dating back to the founders. Not so. Politics is, in fact, an industry—most of whose key players are private, gain-seeking organizations. The industry competes, just like other industries, to grow and accumulate resources and
influence for itself. The key players work to advance their self-interests, not necessarily the public interest. It’s important to recognize that much of what constitutes today’s political system has no basis in the Constitution.
As our system evolved, the parties—and a larger political industrial complex that surrounds them—established and optimized a set of rules and practices that enhanced their power and diminished our democracy.

The title to the study is: “WHY COMPETITION IN THE POLITICS INDUSTRY IS FAILING AMERICA Here is the full study.

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On interfering with elections

April 25, 2017 | By | Reply More

The U.S. has accused Russia of interfering with the recent U.S. Presidential election. That accusation needs to be viewed in context:

The U.S. has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries – it’s done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a database amassed by political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University.

That number doesn’t include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn’t like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring.

This ?information is from a detailed article in the LA Times, with many specifics. For instance, the U.S. tried to interfere with the election of the Russian leader in 1996. According to the same article, Russia attempted to interfere with “36 foreign elections from the end of World War II to the turn of the century.”

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Comedian Lee Camp offers a sobering view of the state of the world

March 18, 2017 | By | Reply More

Lee Camp summarizes what is going on. He’s a comedian, but it’s getting ever more difficult to hide his deep concerns behind his laugh lines. I suspect that what is especially bothering Lee Camp is something that Trump and his dysfunctional friends are immunized from: Facts.

In this second video, Camp and his guest, Alnoor Ladha, set for an alternative to the current U.S. priority of Banks and Tanks.

Ladha is Executive Director of an organization called “The Rules”:

The Rules is a worldwide network of activists, artists, writers, farmers, peasants, students, workers, designers, hackers, spiritualists and dreamers, linking up, pushing the global narrative in a new direction. We’re tired of the incremental reforms. The corrupt CEO’s. The tax havens. The esteemed economists. The development industry. The secrecy regimes. The empty promises. The cancelled futures.

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GOP can’t afford $75B/year to provide public college to everyone, but CAN afford handing $600B tax cuts to top 1%

March 12, 2017 | By | Reply More

When Bernie Sanders proposed that the US spend $75 Billion per year to eliminate tuition to those attending public colleges and universities, the GOP scoffed and said that this money wasn’t available and that Sanders’ plan was irresponsible. For example, see the criticisms by Betsy DeVos, President Trumps’s Head of the Department of Education.

Now we hear that we can make America great again by handing the highest earning taxpayers (mostly the top 1%) a giant?tax cut of $600 Billion stretching into 2026. And that $600 Billion tax cut also buys the horror of throwing tens of millions of Americans into the status of lacking health insurance.

Therefore, we can’t afford $75 Billion per year to give young Americans a college education, but we can afford to threaten the health and lives of tens of millions of Americans in order to hand the 1% $600 Billion in?tax cuts. It’s time to rename the GOP for what it is: The Social Darwinist Party.

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David Frum discusses the era of Trump

February 26, 2017 | By | Reply More

Fascinating conversation: I just listened to a discussion on Donald Trump involving long time conservative David Frum and Sam Harris. What did Trump do that resonated deeply, according to Frum? A) The pain felt by rural America, B) That America’s trade policy is not working well for most Americans, and C) Immigration does impose often invisible economic and cultural costs on many Americans in the bottom 30-40% of Americans.

None of this suggests that Trump should be President. He is massively incompetent and disorganized, and has failed to make appointments. The U.S. has great power to end human life through it’s nuclear arsenal. Trump is erratic and therefore dangerous. It’s like being in a car with a hopelessly drunk driver. Trump is not a strategic visionary. He makes impulsive bad decisions, and digging out of his messes by blaming others. Trump is not Hitler. He is filled with bitterness and rage. His advisors are filled with rage–none of them are fully functioning people. Millions of people filled with rage are delighted to see Trump be rude to the snobs out there. His followers don’t care about detrimental effects to themselves.

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Lee Camp: BREAKING: How The Recount (& Election) Was Rigged By Both Sides!

December 26, 2016 | By | Reply More

We aren’t taking democracy seriously. If we were, we’d make sure that each citizen could vote and that every vote was counted.

Lee Camp Reports:

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The United States is not much of a democracy

December 25, 2016 | By | Reply More

The United States is no much of a Democracy, and it wouldn’t have mattered much going forward had Hillary Clinton become the next president:

[T]here’s the brazen falsehood of the widespread belief that the U.S. is a “great democracy” in the first place, to be subverted by Russia (or anyone else). Over the past three-plus decades, leading academic researchers Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamin Page (Northwestern), both establishment, liberal political scientists, have concluded, the U.S. political system has functioned as “an oligarchy,” ruled by the few wealthy elites and their corporations. Examining data from more than 1,800 different policy initiatives in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Gilens and Page found that wealthy and well-connected elites consistently steer the direction of the country, regardless and against the will of the U.S. majority and irrespective of which major party holds the White House and/or Congress. “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” Gilens and Page write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” As Gilens explained to the liberal online journal Talking Points Memo two years ago, “ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.” Such is the harsh reality of “really existing capitalist democracy” in the U.S., what Noam Chomsky has called “RECD”—“pronounced ‘wrecked’ by accident.”

The Inauthentic Opposition

The late Princeton political theorist Sheldon Wolin considered U.S.-style RECD a form of “corporate-managed fake-democracy” and “inverted totalitarianism.” He called it “democracy incorporated.” It’s a “democracy” in which the only two officially viable and corporate-captive political organizations, the Democratic and Republican parties, both stand well to the right of majority progressive-populist public opinion. The right-wing leadership of these two corporate and militarist parties skews the game against those in their party who would campaign and perhaps govern in accord with that public opinion.

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