If you ask Google “Has American Democracy been destroyed?” you get 56,800,000 answers. You don’t need an exact count to see that the yeas have it. It is straightforward to list members of a set of sufficient, already existent conditions to kill our democracy. The list is not complete, but it is enough to decide whether the Democracy is still viable.
More than Sufficient
Classical government takeovers involve potential resistance from the existing government branches, the military, the free press and the people. The roles of future elections, education and the success or failure of the financial infrastructure are crucial.
At present, all three branches of existing government are corrupt, mistrusted and dysfunctional.
The takeover began with money and it is maintained by money. Lobbyists used the wealth promised by the “revolving door” to get Congressmen to allow them to determine and write legislation to deregulate the financial industry and let it run wild. The oil and mining industries followed suit. Citizens United made the process legal and permanent.
The rich now control, determine, or influence the present and future members of elected and appointed offices in all three branches of government at the federal and increasingly, the state level.
Nothing illustrates the amplified effect of money in elections as much as the observation that although the approval rating of Congress is less than 10%, about 85% of incumbents can be re-elected without penalty. Historically, the largest party changes in the House resulted from a shift of less than 80 members. The so-called “Republican Revolution,” occurred when the GOP took only 54 seats from the Democrats in 1994. The 60 seat pickup by the Republicans in 2010 was the largest number of House pickups since the Democrats picked up 75 seats in 1948.
The endless “War on Terrorism” has established executive supremacy permanently. The President(s) condone torture, assassination, imprisonment of whistleblowers, and violate the Constitution at will. Obama promised, and failed to deliver, government transparency. He praised whistle-blowers, whom he described as “often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government.” In his first 26 months in office, he prosecuted more people for whistleblowing than all previous presidents combined. He refuses to acknowledge the incompetence and corruption in America’s security agencies.
The extension of executive supremacy to allow assassination of American citizens has caused little more than a few left wing tantrums.
The Constitution, through indefensible interpretation, has been stripped of its essence and converted to a tool for corrupt Supreme Court ideologues who help elect candidates and implement programs for rich Republicans. The lies they use to defend politically-biased decisions are demonstrable, documented and not punishable in the existing system.
The military is passive, indifferent, and loyal to supporting corporations. Fifty percent of its personnel is comprised of corporate mercenaries.
The “free press” is owned in large part by the rich. The national failure and increasing collapse of local newspapers into a single unopposed entity has resulted in the situation where “fact checking” is a failing industry that the MSM uses for outsourcing their prime responsibilities. Outrageous lies go unchallenged on a daily basis.
Elections depend on a small fraction of the undecided and uninformed population. Voting of the critical group can be suppressed and the machines being used to count the votes are manufactured and easily altered by organizations affiliated with Republican candidates.
The two party system has been converted to an effective one party, the Republicans. The Republicans publicize that they have a single goal, to prevent the President and the Democrats from passing any and all legislation including positions they themselves originated.
Antedeluvian Republicans are campaigning on revoking abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act on their first day in office. Both issues have important economic components.
Unpaid medical bills have become a major cause of bankruptcy for low income homeowners. Pharmaceutical corporations control national health care. They have spent approximately 200 million dollars on lobbyists in the last decade. The top 10 pharmaceutical companies made more profits than the other 490 companies in the S&P500 combined. Crooked hospital chains have paid billions in federal fines. The World Health Organization rates US health care as the worst of all industrialized nations. The ACA is designed to change this.
A continuously increasing portion of universities and their faculties are for sale to the rich. Republican Governors and state legislators destroy teaching unions and tenure and encourage support of religious charters. The Koch brothers virtually buy faculties, and individual academicians at George Mason University and Florida State University. Failing banks paid university professors who knew of the coming collapse to publish papers claiming the banks were sound investments. Insiders got rich on the collapse.
By outsourcing both manufacturing and labor, wealth has been used to develop a two tiered population, the super-rich, and those whose welfare and survival depend on the rich.
Through the removal of financial regulation, and because the corporate-controlled government has given virtual immunity from prosecution and punishment to financial institutions, these institutions have initiated crises where they profit from both the crises and the aftermaths. Trillions of dollars of middle class treasure along with one in four homes have been destroyed in the subprime mortgage crisis. After the taxpayer bailout, bank profits and CEO salaries and bonuses reached all time highs. Together with corporate outsourcing, the crises have been used successfully to destroy the working and middle classes and move them into the poverty component and politically less threatening part of the lower tier. Some of the people most responsible for the cheating that caused the crises have been financial advisors to both Bush and Obama. The present status is sustainable and resistant to any available political correction.
The concept of a conventional revolution to correct the situation is useless. We have spitballs and they have drones.
How to fight back: IMAGINE!
Consider Alexander the Great’s solution for the Gordian Knot. Imagine the simplicity. Cut the cord. It works well for tiny new people.
Imagine you force whoever wins the Presidency to make a list of 10 new candidates to run DOJ. Discard all of them immediately. Place them on the suspect list. Appoint Matt Taibbi and Eliot Spitzer as prosecutors with executive supremacy. Give Taibbi the tie breaking vote.
Begin the trials of investment bankers and hedge fund managers in order of decreasing incomes. Replace the court room flag with a guillotine. (For ambience only.) Replace the President’s picture with a portrait of Madame DeFarge. Engrave the frame with her raison d’etre,
“Tell Wind and Fire where to stop, but don’t tell me.”
Select the jury from the unemployed and former subprime mortgage holders who are now homeless. Instruct the jury that for all defendants who received bonuses exceeding 10 million during the crisis, the rule is guilty until proven innocent.
Appoint Alexis Goldstein judge. Have Rachel Maddow replace her on Tuesdays and Thursdays and during coffee breaks. Allow photographers. Take pictures of both handing out sentences. Make a Scrapbook. Flood the internet. Start on the regulators when all the bankers are in chains.
Have a separate “town hall” trial for Supreme Court Justices who voted for Citizens United. Hold it in the largest sports facility in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Give free tickets and transportation to the 257,325 people needed to fill it. Have a show of hands for guilty. If more than 5 hands are raised, use the excess as the number of years for sentencing each of them.
Resurrect Devil’s Island. Build a prison capable of holding 1% of the population. Operate it under the conditions used in Middle Age leper colonies. Modernize the caretakers. Replace the monastic monk volunteers with Catholic priest child molesters. Have them share sleeping quarters with convicted CEOs and Supreme Court Justices. Modernize the food. Replace homemade bread and local fish with genetically modified corn and Japanese swordfish.
Build a separate cell for the Justices. Make them eat, drink, and sleep in their robes. Make them vote on a different choice for each meal from a 300 page menu. Require a minimum of 1500 words defending each choice. Require a second choice with a minority opinion of equal length. Do this three times a day, every day.
Forget both choices. Feed them genetically modified corn and Japanese swordfish.
Place loudspeakers in every cell and prison courtyard. Play Mitt Romney singing ” America the Beautiful” over and over. Nonstop. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Paint everything yellow, the color of Greed. Call it “The Hotel California”. On the front gate, hang a plaque with the Eagles’ ‘Rules of the House’,
“Relax, said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “
Since the “god” that advises the Republicans on rape and evolution seems to have a weird sense of humor, this could happen. Alevei!