Newsletter: Living In The Illusion Of Democracy

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The United States is in the peak of the very long election year. The presidential debates are running in full swing. The media is deep into coverage of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. And, the people are feeling unrepresented.

Democracy not a market dictatorshipIn this environment it can be hard to step back and see the full picture. We’ve published many articles that describe the oligarchic plutocracy – a government that serves the wealthy and privileged – that we live in. In the midst of the presidential campaign, we have an opportunity to see how the 1% maintains control and prevents a government that serves the 99%.

The Democrats and Republicans Have Created Fraudulent Debates

The hubris and manipulation of the two establishment parties is evident in the presidential debates. The two Wall Street-funded parties decide who is allowed to participate in the debates. The so-called debate ‘commission’ is a disguise apparatus of the Democratic and Republican parties. It is a commission in name only, in reality it is a corporation created by the two parties and controlled by the two parties. When the disguise is removed, it becomes obvious that the Democrats and Republicans are choosing to only debate Democrats and Republicans, and preventing any competition.Democracy Not Plutocracy

In 1988, the Republican co-founder, Frank Fahrenkopf, who remains a co-chair, indicated at the news conference announcing the ‘commission’ that they were “not likely to look with favor on including third-party candidates in the debates.” The New York Times quoted the Democratic co-founder, Paul Kirk, saying: “As a party chairman, it’s my responsibility to strengthen the two-party system.” As a result, there has not been a third party candidate in the debates for 24 years, even though there have been third party candidates on enough ballots to win a majority of electoral college votes in every election. Closed debates create the illusion that there are only two candidates running for president.

When the ‘commission’ was founded, the League of Women Voters warned that the parties taking over the debates would “perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.” They resigned their historic role as the non-partisan sponsors of the debates because they refused to be “an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.” They foretold the truth, and now we must all work to undo the hoax.

Go to www.facebook.com/CampaignForOpenDebates and "like" the page

Go to www.facebook.com/CampaignForOpenDebates and “like” the page

This year, 76% of voters want four-candidates in the debates. A majority of people in the US believe neither party represents them. The two parties are shrinking and now each make up less than 30% of the voters, with a record 50% of voters considering themselves independents. The two establishment parties have nominated the two most unpopular candidates in history with six in ten voters disliking Clinton and Trump.  An Associated Press/GfK poll found that four out of five voters fear at least one of the two nominees, and 25% fear both, a number confirmed by Gallup. Three-quarters of those planning to vote will do so based on whom they dislike rather than whom they support.

This is why three-quarters of voters want Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party included in the debates – people want more choices. Both will be on almost every ballot but voters will not get to hear from them and learn what they stand for. The dislike of the two parties and their candidates is also why the fake ‘commission’ must do all it can to prevent voters from knowing that they have more choices for president.

Oligarchy cartoonAnd, they have an ally in the media which expects to receive $6 billion in political advertising in 2016.The media wants that advertising more than they want a real democracy. As the CEO of CBS  said, “Super PACs may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.” As a result, you will see no criticism of the fake debate commission. Jill Stein was able to briefly sneak in an article on The Hill website about her experience during the first debate last week, i.e. being excluded from the debate, escorted off campus when she was doing media interviews, holding a people’s debate outside the debate area and 22 people being arrested for protesting the closed debates, as well as how her campaign used social media to break through. The article was up briefly, but quickly disappeared from the front page.

In almost every election a large majority of US voters want more candidates in the debates but the phony commission serves as a blockade, preventing real democracy.  If we want a democracy that is of, by and for the people, it is critical we end the debate commission’s fraud on US voters. Rather than creating barriers to participation, the rule should be simple and objective: if a candidate is on enough ballots to win 270 electoral college votes they should be included in the debate as very few overcome the ballot access hurdles placed before independent parties.

The United States is in a Democracy Crisis

The fraudulent debates are one example of many of how US democracy is manipulated and managed to ensure that only candidates who represent the wealthy can be elected. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs reported this year on the extent of the democracy crisis. They found the legitimacy of US government has disappeared:

“Nine in 10 Americans lack confidence in the country’s political system, and among a normally polarized electorate, there are few partisan differences in the public’s lack of faith in the political parties, the nominating process, and the branches of government.”

Plutocracy definedThere is close to unanimous consensus that the elections fail voters and do not create a legitimate government. The poll taken as the primary season came to a close found “only 13% say the two-party system for presidential elections works.” The elections have left most Americans feeling discouraged with 70% saying they experience frustration and 55% reporting they feel helpless. Only 13% feel proud of the presidential election.

The excluded parties are taking unusual steps to reach voters. Jill Stein accomplished a historic breakthrough during the first presidential debate, by using cutting edge social media tools to insert her live voice into the debate in real time. The Stein-Baraka campaign used Facebook, Twitter and Periscope to reach approximately 15 million voters within 24 hours of the first debate, “Jill Stein” trended at #1 on Facebook on debate day and Google searches spiked with one of the top search phrases being “How do I vote for Jill Stein?”  No 3rd party candidate has reached such a large audience since Ross Perot was included in the debates 24 years ago. But, this cannot compete with the two party debates which appeared on every network with an audience of more than 80 million and constant discussion in the media leading up to the debate and after it.

Ajamu Baraka and Jill Stein at Green Party Convention, August 2016

Green Party nominees, vice president Ajamu Baraka and Jill Stein, president, at Green Party Convention, August 2016

During the upcoming vice presidential debate on Tuesday, candidate Ajamu Baraka will be using the same social media tools as Stein as well as being inserted live into the debates by Democracy Now. Baraka will answer every question as if he were included by pausing the debate and then returning to it after he answers. This three-candidate debate can be viewed on Jill Stein’s Facebook page and website, as well as on Ajamu Baraka’s Facebook page and on Democracy Now.

Presidential debates are not only about getting someone elected, they are also about setting the political agenda for the country. With only the Democratic and Republican nominees included many key political issues are not being discussed. The debates spend a lot of time on nonsense while ignoring many important issues that impact the lives of the people of the United States as well as ensuring a liveable planet.

"OccupyChicago" Protestors Keep Camp In Front Of Federal Reserve Building

“OccupyChicago” Protestors Keep Camp In Front Of Federal Reserve Building

In the first debate, time was spent on whether President Obama was born in the United States, or whether Donald Trump’s criticism of a former Miss Universe was inappropriate. But there was no discussion of tens of millions of people living in poverty, what the country can do to confront climate change, how to erase student debt or whether the United States should be an empire.

In fact, the word “empire” has never been in a presidential debate as the political elites do not want to discuss the reality of US global domination. They do not want people considering that an empire economy is the reason for many of our economic problems. These are a few issues among many that will not be discussed this election season.

And, if an issue like healthcare is discussed there will be no one on stage who represents the views of the 60% of voters who support a single payer, improved Medicare for All, because neither of the establishment party nominees do. There will also be no one on stage to talk about key movement issues like the systemic racism exposed by Black Lives Matter, the wealth inequality demonstrated by Occupy, and the protests against pipelines by Indigenous Peoples and communities across the country. On these and many other issues there will be no discussion or only discussion from the point of view of two Wall Street-dominated parties. The political agenda will be warped and ignore the people’s concerns.

We Must Mobilize for Real Democracy

Join the #NoLame Duke uprising. www.FlushTheTPP/nolameduck (Photo: SumOfUs/cc/flickr)

Join the #NoLame Duke uprising. www.FlushTheTPP/nolameduck (Photo: SumOfUs/cc/flickr)

The divide between the people and government is a growing chasm. As we can see on the Popular Resistance website, large numbers of people refuse to accept the injustices we are suffering at the hands of a government that fails to represent the people’s interests. An election designed to ensure the oligarchs win will result in rising anger which should lead to the protest movement growing as people fight against politics for the wealthy that put the profits of donors ahead of the people’s necessities and protection of the planet.

The people are not powerless. Right now, people need to be protesting the debates manipulated by the two parties.

  1. “Like” the Campaign for Open Debates Facebook page.
  2. Sign up on the Jill2016.org/debates page; and if you are a fan of Gary Johnson do the same on his website.
  3. Plan your own protest at a television network showing the debate. The media should not be playing along with the deceptive debate commission, which ensures only the two parties will debate.
  4. After the election, join in the effort to stop the TPP. Sign up here for the lame duck rebellion with thousands of others.
  5. Plan for organizing and mobilizing people when the new administration comes to power under the hash tag #NoHoneymoon to send an immediate message that the next president will face people who are mobilized and ready to use their power to set the agenda.

Real DemocracyThe people are developing a consensus that would transform the nation into a real democracy where the people rule, where the economy is fair, where the necessities of the people are met and the environment is protected. There is amazing agreement among the people. The division is between the people and the government which represents the wealthy.

It does not have to be this way. Everyday more people are seeing that democracy is an illusion. The fraudulent two-party debates are an example so blatant that when people understand it, then they also understand that the elections are manipulated. Once people understand that the government is illegitimate, because it is designed not to represent people, then they will have the spark to organize and mobilize in order to take action to create the future we want to see.

  • TecumsehUnfaced

    There’s a problem: I don’t go near Facebook, its Zuckerbergish morality, or its cooperation with government thugs.

  • Ghost

    Three frackers vs climate survival: http://www.whoisjillstein.com/the-other-three/

  • Mensch59

    Instead of oligarchic plutocracy, why not simply “call a fig a fig, and a trough a trough”?
    It’s a tyranny.

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  • History301

    Excellent article. It provides more statistical evidence proving why the LOTE (Lessor of two evils) argument is fatally flawed. However, this doesn’t stop the left, including Sander’s supporters, from using the same fear tactics as the right. The sky is falling does work with many of the ill informed and corporate media reaches the majority of them, repeats and preys on such fear 24/7. Can social media and others means of communication overcome such a disparity? I’d like to think it could and with the level of dissatisfaction with the system nowadays, it’s more possible than in years past. If not this time, then when? It’s hard to comprehend another four years of the status quo and it’s too many to name ills and injustices here, but can the planet itself survive and continue to support life as we know it another four years should we keep the same old thing?

  • Aquifer

    Good post EXCEPT at the bottom where it says to vote Dem for Senate EVERYWHERE except in MD where Flowers is running – but there are other Green Sen candidates running in other states as well – they oughta change that on the site …

  • Linda Jansen

    I agree. My Dem senators are bought and paid for by Boeing, etc. They are as docile in the face of the carnage Obama has been wreaking as little lambs. Cannot vote for them on principle.

  • Prince

    You people know that America was never a democracy right?

  • Al

    You think voting for Green/Stein is going to do anything? It’s not. It’s not just the duopoly, it’s the entire national political system that is a farce. We should be boycotting this election, not participating in it by voting for Stein. Politicians within this system are not going to save us. I think until you realize it’s the system that needs to be changed, not the politicians, then you’ll continue to be the left gatekeeper you are.

  • Al

    And an oligarchic plutocracy, or an oligarchy (Congress) controlled by a plutocracy is called a plutarchy.

  • DHFabian

    The ideal was one of representative government. It was never achieved, but there were periods when progress was made, most recently in the 1960s/’70s. In the 1980s, we spun around and reversed course. Especially when it comes to class and fundamental human rights, the US has quite dramatically regressed. (There is no hint of this changing in the foreseeable future, since even liberals reframed their “economic inequality” discussion to simply exclude the masses of jobless poor.) Today, the rich have full representation, the middle class have some, the poor have none.

  • DHFabian

    Which “you people?”

  • DHFabian

    In a sense, the sky IS falling. Or at least, the US is. There is legitimate reason for fear. We’ve been transitioning into something more like a third world labor state for years. Many of us are balancing on a tightrope with no safety net below, a single job loss from losing everything, with no way back up. And many have already been pushed out of the economic system, into the hell of real poverty.

    There isn’t a hint of a chance for change without discussion. The US has had a communication problem for years, with media (unfortunately) serving to narrow the discussion. The middle class appear to be utterly oblivious to how extreme conditions have become for many of the poor, and black people don’t even know that white poverty exists (note: The majority of US low income and poor are white.) Class/economic status is a survival issue.

    The US shut down/shipped out an entire chunk of our jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s, and we all pretend there are no consequences. At the proverbial end of the day, what matters most to people — all races — is whether they have the means to keep their families together, housed and fed. Many don’t.

  • DHFabian

    A lot of us have known that for years. Many DO boycott elections — and predictably, liberals howl that they were “too lazy to vote.” Many of us know that the system is broken, and there doesn’t appear to be anything we can do about it. We’d love to have a revolution, but can’t get enough time off from work. And we sure can’t risk losing our jobs.

  • DHFabian

    Where today’s liberal discussion goes wrong is in thinking that our situation is as simple and clear-cut as the 1% vs. the 99%. In reality, we’re rich vs. middle class vs. poor.

    It seems easy for the middle class to forget that we’re 20 years deep into one hell of a war on the poor. Maybe this is because they really do believe that our deregulated corporate state is so successful, that everyone is able to work, there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief. The middle class actually benefit (if temporarily) from the oligarchy — the corporate state. Most employers that pay middle class wages are corporations.

  • DHFabian

    Americans have an insatiable thirst for oil. Few things can destroy a political career like high prices and long lines at the gas stations.

  • DHFabian

    No, it’s more complicated than that, and Obama has had to lean to the right to get any support from Dems in Congress. The Reagan Democrats of the 1980s stepped to the right to become the Clinton wing of the 1990s. Much (most?) of the liberal media then leaned to the right (esp. on core economic issues) in support of the Democrats. Certain liberal media began trying to sell Hillary Clinton as a “bold progressive” last year, before she launched her latest campaign. Clinton’s record of support for the right wing agenda has been consistent, and goes back decades. The only time she broke from their agenda was to nod to LGBT concerns.

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  • Aquifer

    No – boycotting sends no message – folks have been staying home for years and all that does is permit the system to get worse – we have to vote positively, send a very clear message that this is what we want, this is what we will vote for and we will settle for nothing less …
    TPTB are quite happy of dissidents don’t vote – leaves the field to them …

  • Prince

    I refer to all American imbeciles that believe America has ever been a democracy, instead of a Constitutional Republic.

  • Jon

    (from above) “They found the legitimacy of US government has disappeared:” Exactly!! We need to emphasize this point over and over. When they use the phrase “the economy” we ought to correct them and say “their economy” meaning the1%. Would it be possible to get x number of Republicans to pledge to refuse to vote for Trump and and an equal number of Dems to refuse to vote for Hillary? They would cancel each other out and allow them all to vote for Johnson or Stein.

  • Jon

    By voting for Jill, not Hill, we are making an emphatic statement of rejection of the empire, that’s why! It is a way of self-empowerment rather than resignation (sigh).

  • Al

    We can do it anyway, we have the power of the internet, what many said was going to be the great equalizer. It still can, by giving a voice to as many people as possible. The problem is those who are able to do this need to agree on what the hell it is we want. Do we want to take down the criminals, or do we want 15 bucks an hour? It really comes down to whether we want to challenge the ruling elite, which is what needs to be done. We can use power in numbers, i.e., democracy, if we organized and focused on one goal. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Because if not we’re just f**ed.

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  • 2fatdogs

    really? tell me, which article of the constitution creates anything like a democracy? What the hell would prompt americans to think that they have EVER had a democracy? It’s not even in the foundational scheme! In fact our framers expressly eschewed democracy, famously describing it as two wolves and a sheep discussing lunch. On the first day of the constitutional convention, the rich guys who were meeting on it agreed that they would avoid democracy, and that they’d keep the whole convention secret until they were done.

    and NOW, 200+ years later, y’all whining about fucking democracy? WTF?

  • BeUtahful

    Sorry no money left I donated all to Bernie Sanders

  • BeUtahful

    NSA-CIA-FBI-CORP-book! Share everything with them? as long as you don’t do anything wrong you’re ok yeah but what if they do something wrong that is the question

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  • Imbebe Umbeaucoup

    Sigh…

  • Imbebe Umbeaucoup

    Sorry bro, but AT&T has the power of the internet.
    Whose side do you think they’re on?

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