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U.S. Society Is in Deep Trouble

For all the enervating political tumult and shouting emanating from Washington these days, there is remarkably little to show for it except what has become virtually routine political paralysis.

None of the key differences that are fought over by the politicians seem to directly relate to these five most crucial and threatening specific issues confronting the American people:

1. The erosion of American democracy by a political system flagrantly dominated by great wealth, the big corporations, Wall Street and the major banks. One person may have one vote, but a billionaire — by virtue of funding certain candidates — has the equivalent of thousands of votes on Election Day and in the federal and state legislatures and executive offices thereafter. This more closely resembles an oligarchy (rule by a small group of powerful people and interests) than genuine democracy.

2. The grave weakening of civil liberties and the privacy rights of the American people by the Bush and Obama Administrations has in a dozen years transformed the United States into a global Surveillance State. Whatever happened to the “checks and balances” that were supposed to exist in the U.S. political system to protect the people from such abuses? Our postal mail, email, Internet practices, phones and other electronic devises are now hacked at will by the U.S. government and many law enforcement agencies. Somewhere in the U.S., a potential Big Brother regime is patiently waiting in the wings for conditions to ripen. The apparatus is at the ready.

In this connection the Washington Post reported October 5: “David Sanger, the New York Times reporter who has spent two decades reporting in Washington, says that the Obama administration is the ‘most closed, control-freak administration’ he’s ever covered. That criticism comes from a forthcoming report on U.S. press freedom written by former Washington Post editor Leonard Downie Jr., in which he claims that national security reporters face ‘vast and unprecedented challenges’ as a result of government surveillance, secrecy and ‘sophisticated control’ of the news media’s access to government.”

3. Rapidly rising economic inequality has reached the point where about half the population now is either low wage or poor while the middle class is being depleted and the top 1% to 5% is living like royalty. Meanwhile, unemployment and foreclosures remain high while social programs that benefit the people are on the chopping block. How can there be a healthy democracy if there isn’t even the semblance of economic democracy for the poor, the working class, the lower middle class and now large sectors of the middle class as well?

4. Climate change is already upon us and yet — despite some recent White House mumblings about lowering greenhouse gas emissions — the U.S. will shortly become world’s largest crude oil and natural gas producer, thanks to Obama Administration policies and the proliferation of hazardous fracking. Washington always demands to be recognized the world leader, by force if necessary, and now it’s leading the world toward a disaster by ignoring the climate crisis for fear of disrupting corporate and financial profits.

5. The U.S. government is determined to remain the world’s military superpower, spending over $600 billion a year on the Pentagon and an equal amount on various “national security” endeavors — more than an annual $1.2 trillion all told.  President Obama is currently fighting ground or drone wars in Afghanistan, West Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, while continuing to increase the military buildup against China. In addition, Obama is sending special military forces of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) to scores of countries around the globe to advance U.S. interests — and most Americans have no idea this is happening.

Obviously, from a left perspective, the main danger is the Republicans — the far right wing, the Tea Party reactionaries, most of big business and finance, libertarians, intimidated moderates, fundamentalist Bible thumpers, and remnant racists. They usually oppose abortion rights and deny global warming. Many want to “shrink” the federal government in order to eliminate Social Security and all social programs that benefit the people,  destroy all regulatory oversight of big business, and erect nearly insurmountable barriers against the labor movement.

However, the five key issues listed above are the product of both the Republican and Democratic Parties. The libertarians and the Tea Party strongly oppose the erosion of civil liberties. The libertarians are staunchly against imperialist war. Indeed, most Democrats seem to shrug off both issues when their party occupies the Oval Office.

The Democratic Party is a secondary danger (or lesser evil, if you prefer). Despite controlling the White House and Senate for five years and the House for two of those years — it has proven itself incapable of mounting an effective counterattack against rampant right wing ideology, not least because the center-right Democrats have neither the political orientation, nor the will to adequately serve the needs of American working families. Both parties, after all, are wedded to a private enterprise system utterly based on economic inequality at home and imperialist wars abroad. Can this be honestly doubted by liberals and progressives, even as they undoubtedly will pull the lever for Hilary Clinton and more of the same in 2016?

What has the Democratic Party done to halt the erosion of American democracy? What has it done to strengthen civil liberties? What has it done (in the last 50 years) to reverse the ever-widening inequality gap between rich and poor? What has it done to end wars and substantially reduce the bloated military/national security budgets in order to invest in social programs? What has it done to promptly take major steps to convert from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy? It has done nothing of significance.

Our American society is swiftly changing for the worst. We all can see this. It has a way to go yet, and can be stopped and reversed before the rightist momentum becomes uncontrollable. To accomplish this, a new progressive/left politics is absolutely necessary. The march of the right wing must be halted and pushed back. The march of the left (not the center right lesser evil) must commence. All else, in our view, is wishful thinking.

by Anonymousreply 3811/01/2013

Bump

by Anonymousreply 110/27/2013

[quote]New York Times reporter who has spent two decades reporting in Washington, says that the Obama administration is the ‘most closed, control-freak administration’ he’s ever covered.

Maybe, but I'm on my 11th President, and I think I've read that about every single one.

by Anonymousreply 310/27/2013

The political system is stacked against third or fourth parties. Americans don't like to think about things, they like to feel because it isn't as difficult. MSNBC and Fox news is how many people get their 'news'. I know I'm missing some other things...

by Anonymousreply 510/27/2013

R4 is what is wrong with this country.

Libertarianism: the bizarre believe that you owe nothing to the society that sustains you.

Libertarians: selfish elitist arrested adolescents existing in a bubble of white male privilege, completely clueless about how and why the world works as it does.

WE THE PEOPLE are the government. It is not evil. In fact, it is the only think that keeps us from being indentured serfs to corporate fascism.

The problem is, thanks to ignorant libertarian assholes, the corporations are effectively buying the government away from "we the people".

libertarians: so wrong, and yet so damn smug and arrogant.

by Anonymousreply 710/27/2013

[quote]Our American society is swiftly changing for the worst.

Oh, Dear.

by Anonymousreply 810/28/2013

Yes, yes, we all know, if you have enough guns and seeds you don't need no gummint.

by Anonymousreply 910/28/2013

R9- you preach!

by Anonymousreply 1010/28/2013

Yes, OP. All that and TrollDar, too!

by Anonymousreply 1110/28/2013

SLA! SLA!

by Anonymousreply 1210/28/2013

We're FUCKED, FUCKED I SAY. WAH fucked, so fucked, fuckety fuck fuck fucked. I give up, thanks OP

by Anonymousreply 1310/28/2013

Thanks R14, you just gave me the runnies, hope you're proud of yourself.

by Anonymousreply 1510/28/2013

Thank God I'm upper class!!!

by Anonymousreply 1610/28/2013

[quote]The problem is that the government is given too much power. Decentralize the power, then the problem becomes more manageable.

We have settled that question and dealt with people like you more than once, R6. We handled it in the Constitution and again in the Civil War.

You lost. Deal with it. Normal people are sick to death of your endless whining, government obstructionism and inability to comprehend the history of this nation.

The answer is no. Move on.

by Anonymousreply 1710/28/2013

R14 is incorrect. Rates will not climb substantially until the economy recovers and grows. As it grows the Treasury's coffers will grow fat additional tax money from that growth. Our debts will be paid in full.

by Anonymousreply 1810/28/2013

R13-

There is still time. Don't shit yourself for me!

by Anonymousreply 1910/29/2013

R17-

Your stunning ignorance of the origins of the US CONstitution is only overshadowed by your view of the War of Northern Aggression.

Sad.

by Anonymousreply 2010/29/2013

R18-

Keep believing that fairy tale.

When you understand real economics, come back.

by Anonymousreply 2110/30/2013

[quote]Rates will not climb substantially until the economy recovers and grows.

Tell that to Zimbabwe, or Weimar Germany.

[quote]As it grows the Treasury's coffers will grow fat additional tax money from thatadditional tax money from that growth. Our debts will be paid in full.

So, paying a debt in a currency worth half promised isn't "default".

Oh, and when is the economy going to grow- 5 years on, the REAL economy is still shrinking.

Please help me understand.

by Anonymousreply 2210/30/2013

And the band played on. I'll have another banana daiquiri, wouldja?

by Anonymousreply 2310/30/2013

How apropos, R23

Nero fiddled.

The band played as the Titanic sunk.

The morons that believe the shit MSNBCNNABCFOXNEWS spews cannot fathom a day when the $US is worthless. China could, if inclined, make those $US asset worth a dime on a dollar. Very, VERY, few people can see this. They still worship at the altar of the government of The Supreme, and refuse to see how fucked they are.

by Anonymousreply 2410/30/2013

[quote]For all the enervating political tumult

sorry, but enervating means sapping of strength, is that the intention here?

by Anonymousreply 2510/30/2013

word, r7.

by Anonymousreply 2610/30/2013

Right on! R7! You are a righteous dude! Pass the ganja.

by Anonymousreply 2710/30/2013

does anyone have any reality spray? the tedious libertarian troll has infested this thread, and needs to be killed with it.

r7 said it well: [quote]WE THE PEOPLE are the government. It is not evil. In fact, it is the only think that keeps us from being indentured serfs to corporate fascism.

[quote]The problem is, thanks to ignorant libertarian assholes, the corporations are effectively buying the government away from "we the people".

LIBERTARIANS AND THEIR GOP BUTT BUDDIES HAVE RUINED OUR COUNTRY. THE KOCH BROTHERS ARE LIBERTARIANS.

by Anonymousreply 2810/30/2013

Clearly R28 must be in highschool using his daddy's $18 credit card.

by Anonymousreply 2910/30/2013

enervating!!!!

by Anonymousreply 3010/30/2013

R28-

Anyone who thinks the Koch brothers are libertarian is obviously too ignorant (or stupid) to offer commentary on the government.

Libertarians HATE the Koch bros- they are crony capitalist thugs.

Please read some Rothbard (who named the Cato Institute, and then got blacklisted by the Koch's because he realized how toxic they really were) and come back and offer some intelligent commentary.

Don't steal. Don't kill. Don't defraud. Interact peacefully with everyone. That is libertarianism. Period.

When you can justify theft, murder and lying---well, you must be a Republican! Or a Democrat! But NEVER a libertarian.

by Anonymousreply 3110/30/2013

Funny how the Republicans don't want government interference, but many in that party want to tell us who we can and cannot marry.

OP, you are forgetting Peak Oil. It is acknowledged by the oil industry. It is happening now, IMO and the opinions of others. The USA will most certainly NOT be an oil exporter, as many want to believe.

by Anonymousreply 3310/31/2013

R32-

Have you been studied by professionals?

Your bizarre and disturbing posts mean you are probably a budding serial killer or politician.

PLEASE, for the sake of all humanity, seek help and commit yourself to an insane asylum where they can keep you from normal people.

by Anonymousreply 3411/01/2013

R34, save the "humor" for others; you are *really* not good at it.

[quote]You are 100% right. Once interest rates return to normal, US debt will eat +100% of taxes. The dollar will die, painfully (for us) and the US will be knee deep in shit.

So you've been claiming for years and, like all of your other claims, it has never even come close to coming to pass.

[quote]When you understand real economics, come back.

ROFL.... Oh, the irony....

by Anonymousreply 3511/01/2013

[quote]while the middle class is being depleted and the top 1% to 5% is living like royalty

Not exactly. I'm in the 96% according to the whatsmypercent calculator, and I'm this close to being wiped out. My income is made possible by an education I could obtain only by student loans, the interest of which I cannot write off because I make too much money. I am self employed and have shitty health insurance, so a medical problem would destroy me.

You would think being in the top 4% would come with some security or something, but it doesn't, because that's where the middle class used to be. I should be in the 60-70%, tops, at my income.

by Anonymousreply 3611/01/2013

I mean as long as people have $300 to come to my concerts, who gives a shit, right?

by Anonymousreply 3711/01/2013

We certainly don't have a democracy and we haven't had one in a long time.

by Anonymousreply 3811/01/2013
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