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samedi 19 avril 2014


The following news item in the BBC pages were not revelatory but certainly disturbing!
A superb democracy which promote democracies around the world, at times using very undemocratic methods, at times falls prey to the powerful forces of money..

It is of interest to those of us who are seriously interested in the principles of the United States, generosity, hospitality, friendliness..

But this article shows that it is all good and fine as long as you don't touch the oligarchs, the drug companies, the oil barrens, the media moguls or the agricultural conglomerates, and the food companies that make you fat so that their other oligarch friends can increase their profits too, in an indirect sort of way.

It is no coincidence that the oligarchs belong to the party which would be much more at home in Nazi Germany than a modern democratic state, they admire Putin for his policies, oppress the already oppressed, take away from people who already have little to give..

In my field of Medicine, I can see that most of the practicing doctors who are not serving the government or the people, are in one way or another tied up with some of these oligarchs, by becoming their peons. It is not uncommon to see these peons at all levels of medical practice from GP at a neighborhood to some of the professors at some second rate universities such as Tulane University in New Orleans.

This kind of de-democratization is extending its tentacles to all walks of life. I am a traveller and thus member of a few Frequent Traveller Programmes, and i see that their worth is being eroded for the ordinary traveller but being upgraded for those who are in the upper levels of spending . Those who have travelled in the USA based airlines either in the USA or abroad would have noticed this definite two class system of the Favoured and not so favoured sons of the Land of the Free?

At least at Airline Clubs, Hilton Hotels and Certain airline call centers, there are distinctions and it has nothing to do with how much you are paying for their services just that day, which would be much more than a frequent traveller who is feted and fed would be paying.

So, here is the article from BBC
Be warned, some of the information would be offensive to ethically minded honest citizens of this world!
White, Older, Suit, wedding ring, gold watch, Financial Times, Leather Sofa, look of disdain for poor, immigrants and foreigners, faithful church goer, donates to NRA, don't have to tell you which party he would be voting for ! (these comments are mine)

The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite.
So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page.
This is not news, you say.
Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here's how they explain it:
Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.
In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power.
The two professors came to this conclusion after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues. They broke the responses down by income level, and then determined how often certain income levels and organised interest groups saw their policy preferences enacted.
"A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time," they write, "while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time."
On the other hand:
When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.
They conclude:
Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.
Eric Zuess, writing in Counterpunch, isn't surprised by the survey's results.
"American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it's pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation's "news" media)," he writes. "The US, in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious 'electoral' 'democratic' countries. We weren't formerly, but we clearly are now."
This is the "Duh Report", says Death and Taxes magazine's Robyn Pennacchia. Maybe, she writes, Americans should just accept their fate.
"Perhaps we ought to suck it up, admit we have a classist society and do like England where we have a House of Lords and a House of Commoners," she writes, "instead of pretending as though we all have some kind of equal opportunity here."