R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:26 am

ronnewmexico wrote:"Light a candle rather than curse the darkness"....what!!!


Talk is cheap. Take political action. When was the last time you were at a meeting of your local political party? Most people never go, ever. :stirthepot:

Of course if you voice an opinion that runs counter to the majority you will be marginalized as a crazy person ...... :tantrum:

Judge Alito would seem to disagree. Perhaps you could have a town hall meeting in your community and debate the proposition.

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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:44 am

kirtu wrote:
The peoples of America even the poorest are comparatively wealthy on a global scale and programs such as social security(which named communist republics like China does not have) do exist.


As for the relative wealth of even the poorest people - it doesn't matter one bit to people who die from lack of access to health care or heat in the winter. Is it still true that more people freeze to death in the US every year because their heat was turned off than the total killed fleeing East Germany (actually even I think that one is a bit suspect but are over 100 people still freezing to death every year due to lack of heat and homelessness)?


I looked it up. It does appear that more people die every year in the US from freezing to death than died trying to escape from East Germany.

Officially only about 200 people were killed trying to escape from East Germany. Probably the figure is closer to 500. Every year about 60 people die from freezing to death in Atlanta of all places. One year recently over 100 people died from lack of heat in Boston. So this looks like a problem found in many, many cities and it would appear likely that each year over 500 people freeze to death in the US. Mostly homeless and poor people.

This doesn't make the press too often ....

However, this probably doesn't have much to do with corporate interests. It does fly in the face of the mythology of the US being the best place on earth though ....

Who was the last anti-people-freezing-to-death candidate? Carter? Don't think he addressed the problem. Reagan? No he kicked all the marginally capable and less than capable people out of institutions and feed us the Kool-Aid that corporations are best and government is incompetent. Bush? No, he marginalized the problem. Clinton? No, he fought for his second term and showed his true colors as a conservative. Bush? No, he made excuses during Katrina about not being able to legally help a drowning city (too bad he didn't call John Woo for a creative and fresh view of the law). Obama? Not so far, but he has been busy trying to save the country from the effects of an economic Depression and kept us from plunging into a deeper Depression.

Corporate interests don't totally run the US. Classism, racism and just general heartlessness play a far bigger role. Don't have money? You're not a person in the US.

Really not so significantly different from pre-1937 USA.

But perhaps a nice corporation motivated by moral people (Soros [well, usually], Gates Foundation) can help advocate on this issue and elect anti-freezing-to-death candidates.

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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:58 am

What????

You posted this..."I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the implication that the US had democracy to begin with. When was this?

Hasn't the US from it's inception mostly always been a system of serf-creation (and for some 260 years direct slave creation if you had the wrong skin color] and exploitation of the poor and lower class peoples?"

Kirt.

Well you did get one thing right assuredly....your name.
Let me explain my point one more time slowly so you may understand, is such fashion...
if your points were true the US never had a democratic form of government a system of serf-creation and exploitation of he poor and lower class peoples.....there would exist, no US citizens individual wealth(one of the highest in the world), no social programs of any sort to include social security and medicare.

Can you not understand that?

If there was this total control you allude to.... who and what would be able to provide those items to the American public....you???
Do you think the corporations would provide those things?
Why would they?

The answer is obvious...there is no complete control, serfdom you allude to. Those contentions...absurd.
Do you even know what comprises surfdom....I suspect not.

You're really going to have to get real. This propoganda is simply not verifyable by the existing present conditions.
Will those things be present 30 years from now...I'd say each and every one will be lost due to this change in donation status to campaigns. Corporations simply have not a single bit of interest to maintain any of them and with total control of the politic they will not.

As to this nonsense....."When was the last time you were at a meeting of your local political party? Most people never go, ever."
That is quite personal, nevertheless I will respond....I run through my election my local political party. I ran the elections that decided the party presidential primary through my position, in my areas, and have helped many a politician with their campaigns through my office which I have held for about 6 years.. to include one state appeals court judge. The judiciary is not even remotely unfamiliar to me.l Two days from now I will be running a process which selects delegates to the state and county political party convention. I have run a voter registration program in 03 which resulted in the registration of thousands of voters. So that is part only part of what I do. All at a nopay status.
Ever been to jail for your political involvement....well I have. Ever have 600 peoples refuse to seek release from being jailed at political demonstration until you and several others were released....well I have. Demonstrated against the Iraq war when almost all of the peoples you call serfs supported it...I have. Should I go on. I could quite fill a page with these things. Your presumption of any of my credentials speaks of one thing, that those presumptions are of course completely wrong and unbased.

Which is exactly why i care enough to know exactly what is going on always....I am a professional in all my fields of endeavors. To be less is less than I can be. Buddha, the Buddha, his life story has him first succeeding at the things of life. I would be hard pressed to be voicing any opinions if I did not at least minimally follow his excellent example and succeed firstly at things of this life. I have almost completely, with rare exception. Now I also endeavor the spiritual. His life story is not just a story but a example..as how to be. He fullfilled his duty to provide a heir to his princedom....and he did.To win his wife, the daughter of another ruler...he excelled at all the mundane pursuits, athletically based at that time. The Buddha was simply the best before he became the Buddha. That is a very real part of the story that is his life and example of how to be. First master the realm. He was born to the warrior class not the brahamin class...that was no accident. I emulate his example in my own small fashion. I have mastered it all, and some vistages such as the political they still remain though my focus has changed. This I suspect is why some may succeed completely and some may not...we must lay the groundwork for success in every endeavor. Such is firstly habit formed by succeeding at things of this realm. Then
we can use that habit of sucess to much greater aim. So I do follow his example as I may.
There is no qualifier of such on this internet. But this internet matters not to me, as does the actual successes matter not to me, not a whit, and I speak exactly the truth on this thing.

I won't ask you your credentials it is quite personal and none of my business. YOur posts speak to that I suspect, but It matters not. The issue is not my credentials which abound, but the illogical nature of your posts. They just simply do not make sense.

Serfdome....geeze Louise....where do they get this stuff?? Is there some magical hat in lala land this stuff is pulled out of?? I suspect there is, I quite suspect there is.....
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:19 pm

:offtopic:

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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:24 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:As to this nonsense....."When was the last time you were at a meeting of your local political party? Most people never go, ever."
That is quite personal, nevertheless I will respond....I run through my election my local political party....


I have not posted anything intended to be personal at all. It is a demonstrable fact that the majority of US citizens are completely uninvolved in the political process.

You are not. You will then have even better ideas than I have proposed to engage in the political discussion around this issue.

Quite frankly the majority of people who are aware of the ruling are uncertain about it's ramifications. So perhaps you could outline those ramifications in detail (rather than merely decrying it as the death of democracy, etc.).

Kirt
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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:51 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:if your points were true the US never had a democratic form of government a system of serf-creation and exploitation of he poor and lower class peoples.....there would exist, no US citizens individual wealth(one of the highest in the world), no social programs of any sort to include social security and medicare.


The US has practically speaking no social programs. I am asserting that. Please compare the anemic social programs in the US (on which I will admit 2/3 of the federal budget is spent - so money is indeed spent) with those in Scandinavia, western Europe or Canada (don't bother with Japan as they tend to be as bad as the US on this issue).

Social security and medicare are recent innovations historically in the US. Denmark began their implementation 200 years ago.

Personal wealth in the US is a funny thing. Until I lost my job recently I was well-paid and was paying off my debt. However my personal income had declined by 50% compared with 5 years before. Now I may well become homeless. Part of my family comes from some money and part of it is impoverished (mostly but not entirely due to family divisions between my mother and father).

US personal wealth is usually narrowly defined in terms of current purchasing power rather than also considering indebtedness. Even when indebtedness is considered, the value of non-liquid property is listed as an asset rather than a liability. As many, many people have discovered recently they cannot actually pull money out of their house/condo directly and they might not be able to sell their property for a profit or at all.

If we consider personal wealth as liquid cash on hand (including bank accounts and some classes of liquifiable investment accounts) - all debt (including mortgages) most US citizens have negative wealth. Therefore most US citizens are impoverished (they are actually bankrupt). This is not a recent development (not over the last decade) but is a persistent condition that arose with the loosening of credit in the 70's.

If you are in debt and cannot pay it off in 30 days, you are a serf - you are dependent upon your job and other people. And in most cases your job is something that one did not themselves create.

Furthermore, in the US there is no universal access to health care. People who have health care usually have it through their employment. Therefore they are tied to their current job in this way as well (and in fact members of both the Democrats and Republicans have recognized this issue and have proposed solutions which have so far gone no where).

A better metric overall would be one of the human sustainability metrics on which the US usually comes in between 10-25th place.
Here is a link to the 2009 UN Human Development Report page.

Kirt
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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:26 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:What????

You posted this..."I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the implication that the US had democracy to begin with. When was this?

Hasn't the US from it's inception mostly always been a system of serf-creation (and for some 260 years direct slave creation if you had the wrong skin color] and exploitation of the poor and lower class peoples?"

Kirt.

if your points were true the US never had a democratic form of government ...



We may be talking at cross purposes. I'm talking about democracy rather than a democratic form of government (Soviet Russia had "democratic forms").

At what point can we say that the US adopted democracy? I will use the following definition of democracy suggested by Ven.Payutto:

In olden times countries were usually governed by monarchies, in which the King had absolute power. In such a structure, the assumption is that the greater mass of people are not capable of governing themselves, they need the guidance of one who is more gifted or capable. In more recent times we have come to feel that people are more educated and possess sufficient knowledge and understanding to govern themselves, to think rationally and make decisions for themselves, to discern between right and wrong and to act accordingly. When people govern their own country like this, it is called "democracy."


I think this is a low bar to meet. So, was the US a democracy during pre-independence colonial times? The Founding Fathers didn't think so and anyway there was a large slave population that could make no real decisions about their lives. There had been an indentured servant population as well. And women had no voice to speak of in most politics of the time. And even rich males had grievances with the Crown that they felt were unaddressable (and at least 1/3 of the common non-slave folk felt the same). Okay, were the states under the Articles of Confederation a democracy? Well, we still had a large disenfranchised population, again mostly slaves, women but also definitely the poor at this point as male voting as based on land owning. So a minority of the population had the possibility of engaging politically. Okay, was the US a democracy after the adoption of the Constitution in 1789? No again, due to the disenfranchised population at least of slaves, women, non-landowners and people who didn't own enough land. However certain liberties were guaranteed to a US citizen based on the Bill of Rights (except for the slaves who were only 2/3rds of a person).
Okay, was the US a democracy after the Civil War? Perhaps, as people had legal guarantees to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (except women still couldn't vote so probably not). However the actual facts on the ground were that Blacks were oppressed and murdered as a fact of life (and Indians were considered non-people generally). This was intensified during Reconstruction. In fact after women got the right to vote, US citizens were still disenfranchised from politics and from the actual, factual exercise of the right to participate in the governing of their own country. In many places they were told where they could and couldn't live and where they could and couldn't work and who they couldn't engage in personal relationships with. This situation persisted until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So, was the US a democracy then? Well, different groups of people still could not live freely in many parts of the US, so I'm hesitant (and BTW there were still many people disenfranchised from actual participation in the political process due to sexual orientation and according to some, religion).

However it would appear that the US can first lay claim to being a democracy in 1964, 19 years after it saved the world from complete barbarism and taught democracy to Germany and Japan.

However, people who have been historically deprived of liberty on the basis of their ethnicity or skin color might take exception to this. One, is an Hispanic friend of mine from Texas born in the 40's. His personal experience growing up was overt oppression as he tells it. More recently Indians (Native Americans) and Chinese have been able to take part fully in the political process.

One cannot claim that the US was a democracy prior to 1964 based on the above definition. One must also admit that the US still had barriers to political participation and the simple liberty to live where one wanted, marry who one wants, have equal access to employment and many other supposedly secure liberties of a citizen until 1968-1972.

So, if we now take the US to be a democracy, it is a very recent democracy.

Kirt
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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:50 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:The answer is obvious...there is no complete control, serfdom you allude to. Those contentions...absurd.
Do you even know what comprises surfdom....I suspect not.
...
Serfdome....geeze Louise....where do they get this stuff?? Is there some magical hat in lala land this stuff is pulled out of?? I suspect there is, I quite suspect there is.....


There have been different forms of serfdom historically. In the classic European model a person is born in a place and thought of as tied to the land (the serf). The land in turn was owned by a knight or lord of some sort (or an institution like the Catholic Church) and the lord had allegiance to a king. The serf ordinarily could not leave the land and work elsewhere and had no other opportunities in life (actually as the institution developed they had more freedom than this and could usually become a monk even in it's most restrictive implementation). Serfs also variously had some rights and protections.

The institution of serfdom survived in Russia until 1861. Russian serfs had various rights and were not technically tied to agricultural life in all cases but in most cases they had no real opportunity because they were not trained to do anything else. And their mobility was highly constrained (they did not have the right of free movement). Serfs in Russia were unfree peasants. They could not own land, they could not marry without permission, etc.

US citizens are similarly serfs because: they have highly restrictive employment opportunities, they have no real freedom of employment, they are dependent upon an outside source for most employment, they are tied to their debt and if they loose their employment they are often devastated, they have no access to health care (at least some 15% or so do not have access to health care), health care is usually dependent upon one's employment, they do not have guaranteed access to educational or training opportunities, they usually do not have the necessary knowledge to create a small business.

The definitions are different but the main elements are that people are highly constrained by dependence upon uncertain employment and the uncertainties engendered by other people significantly determining outcomes.

Kirt
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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:58 pm

No, sorry....you are taking facts and making illogical extensions from them.

The US has always been a republic and not a pure democracy. It is founded and functions under democratic principal only.

Compaing disadvantaged peoples of no economic means to serfdom....simply absurd. As you corrrectlly mention the serf was owned part and parcel by the lord, considered part of his assets. NOthing is comparble in the US presently.That the poor and suffering exist equally in the US, does not infer in any manner shape nor form those are equal to serfs.

I have expressed in this thread exactly the threat to democracy in the US by and in this thread, if you care to read it in totality. YOu do not, but care to throw potshots into it. So feel free, your points are illogical contentious ones, your comparisons not able to be justified, and your manner of portrayal of these things inefficient.

YOur initial contentions were I suppose, that we should not talk about these things as we should instead focus on the positive....which is total nonsense. This is certainly a viable topic for discussion as it implies the future of the most powerful nation on earth presently. And in a Buddhist context this will produce much harm.

Your next contentions were that this was a simple misread nothing has changed with this decision i mention. Which is of course is nonsense, I explain how this has serious implication.

You introduce the personal when that is responded to you claim the response it off topic.

You continue to claim a absurd position that the US has no social programs, when they evidently do because that is the only defense of your absurd contentions.

And you continue with your other absurd proposition that the US citizens are serfs of a sort, which is another patent falsehood, to try to legitimize your contentions.

Good luck with all that, I am quite finished with you sir...

Good day to you.

Come back when you make sense. I will respond to sensical posts.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:30 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:No, sorry....you are taking facts and making illogical extensions from them.

The US has always been a republic and not a pure democracy. It is founded and functions under democratic principal only.


So the US is not a democracy? I can name several countries off the top of my head that in fact are democracies (at least one of which was taught democracy by the US).

Compaing disadvantaged peoples of no economic means to serfdom....simply absurd. As you corrrectlly mention the serf was owned part and parcel by the lord, considered part of his assets.


As I mentioned there were different kinds of serfdom so while "owned part and parcel by the lord, considered part of his assets" is the classic definition, in some implementations the serf had some rights.

NOthing is comparble in the US presently.

Work opportunities are wholly owned by the corporations/work provider with few protections afforded to the worker. This varies somewhat but basically the modern worker is a de facto serf.

That the poor and suffering exist equally in the US, does not infer in any manner shape nor form those are equal to serfs.

Really? Institutions will in most cases treat the poor and homeless the same as upper middle-class and rich people? I'm afraid that your statement runs counter to what I have observed. In fact numerous groups make the same claim (Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, the Sojourners, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Zen Peacemakers).

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Re: R.I.P. Democracy in the United States

Postby Nemo » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:45 pm

I've been to West Virginia. Serfdom sums it up nicely. The brief shining moment of a democratic egalitarian society only seems to bloom for one generation. Then it starts to wither IMO. One of the most ironic parts is that the huge pension funds that were created to support the working middle class are now run by the most ruthless of the corporate raiders. They will destroy the middle class to support middle class retirees. Obama is looking like Jimmy Carter. The tea party looks to me like a reverse French Revolution. The poor and disenfranchised are taking to the streets in support of the tiny elite. NO! Don't let those bastards in Washington give me health care or an indexed pension!

Lets just put the tax rate back to where it was 50 years ago. Middle class taxes would be the same. But the high end was 91% not 38%. Goodbye deficit and fat cat bankers.

Partial History of
U.S. Federal Marginal Income Tax Rates
Since 1913
Applicable
Year Income
brackets First
bracket Top
bracket Source
1913-1915 - 1% 7% IRS
1916 - 2% 15% IRS
1917 - 2% 67% IRS
1918 - 6% 77% IRS
1919-1920 - 4% 73% IRS
1921 - 4% 73% IRS
1922 - 4% 56% IRS
1923 - 3% 56% IRS
1924 - 1.5% 46% IRS
1925-1928 - 1.5% 25% IRS
1929 - 0.375% 24% IRS
1930-1931 - 1.125% 25% IRS
1932-1933 - 4% 63% IRS
1934-1935 - 4% 63% IRS
1936-1939 - 4% 79% IRS
1940 - 4.4% 81.1% IRS
1941 - 10% 81% IRS
1942-1943 - 19% 88% IRS
1944-1945 - 23% 94% IRS
1946-1947 - 19% 86.45% IRS
1948-1949 - 16.6% 82.13% IRS
1950 - 17.4% 84.36% IRS
1951 - 20.4% 91% IRS
1952-1953 - 22.2% 92% IRS
1954-1963 - 20% 91% IRS
1964 - 16% 77% IRS
1965-1967 - 14% 70% IRS
1968 - 14% 75.25% IRS
1969 - 14% 77% IRS
1970 - 14% 71.75% IRS
1971-1981 15 brackets 14% 70% IRS
1982-1986 12 brackets 12% 50% IRS
1987 5 brackets 11% 38.5% IRS
1988-1990 3 brackets 15% 28% IRS
1991-1992 3 brackets 15% 31% IRS
1993-2000 5 brackets 15% 39.6% IRS
2001 5 brackets 15% 39.1% IRS
2002 6 brackets 10% 38.6% IRS
2003-2009 6 brackets 10% 35% Tax Foundation
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