The real threat to our democracy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Bfgrn, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Bfgrn

    Bfgrn Gold Member

    Apr 4, 2009
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    "Harry Truman once said, 'There are 14 or 15 million Americans who have the resources to have representatives in Washington to protect their interests, and that the interests of the great mass of the other people - the 150 or 160 million - is the responsibility of the president of the United States, and I propose to fulfill it.'"
    President John F. Kennedy


    James Madison famously wrote in the Federalist Papers (#51), "If men were angels, no government would be necessary."

    We've learned the hard way, most starkly in the Great Depression and now in the Great Recession, that men and women are anything but angels, and that government first and foremost must protect the American people from the unmitigated avarice of the private sector.

    The problem is, what has happened to that lofty, Founding Fathers notion of government as our protector? To me, the most important contribution, and the most disturbing part of Janine Wedel's brilliant new book, "Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government and the Free Market", is that she has laid bare the lie that we have functional separation today between the public and private sector. Over time, capitalism and democracy have become gradually melded into corporatism in the corridors of power in Washington (and in many other national capitals around the world). Public and private are now substantially blurred, as the "transnational" political elites and the financial elites have become literally the same people. It is a condition which leaves the people feeling unrepresented, unprotected and utterly disregarded, a prop in their own play, a hollow feeling the great Peruvian journalist Gustavo Gorriti once eloquently described as "cosmetic democracy."

    According to Janine, whose unflinching social anthropological work I have respected for years, three out of four people doing the work of the federal government today are actually private contractors. Think about that a minute...That means private company employees -- with less stringent conflict of interest requirements and also not generally obligated to adhere to the Freedom of Information Act -- increasingly have become the government and now substantially rule the roost.

    When I directed the Center for Public Integrity earlier in this decade, we discovered a mercenary culture far more extensive than I had ever imagined. For example, in 2002, in a report entitled "Making a Killing: The Business of War", we identified 90 private military companies operating in the world, hired by governments or corporations. In early 2003, we reported that nine out of 30 members of the Defense Policy Board, then chaired by Richard Perle, had ties to defense companies with $76 billion in Pentagon contracts in just the preceding two years. In late 2003, the Center issued "Windfalls of War", first revealing that Kellogg, Brown & Root, then a subsidiary of Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, was the top recipient of U.S. war contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq. That report, which won the first George Polk award for online reporting and was produced by 20 researchers, writers and editors, also revealed that the most of the major contractors had close employee or Board ties to the executive branch for Republican and Democrat administrations and cumulatively they had contributed many millions of dollars to the political process.


  2. ihopehefails

    ihopehefails BANNED

    Oct 3, 2009
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    I've kind of noticed that as well because it seems like the rich and powerful always seem to be connected to the political machine in some way. People like Goerage Soros come to mind. I don't mind people being rich but I do wonder why they are so integrated into the political machine now. It use to be, when government was quite weak, that this did not happen but the stronger government gets the more it attracts those that wish to use it for their own purposes.

    Also, you can't escape a single political conversation with a liberal without hearing I'm against racism or anything else that is evil. I think most people can agree with this but for some reason the left have turned it into something 'political' or something that belongs in the public sphere. There is no private sphere anymore about anything we believe. If we are christian then we are republican and if we are atheist then we are democrats. My question is this; WTF does your religious beliefs have to do with any policy that the government plans to implement? Is there a proposed law somewhere that is going to mass convert us to a certain religioius belief?

    I'm happier without the government and not turning everything into something political.

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