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Is America a Democracy?

Posted on April 23, 2006
Filed Under Uncategorized |

The results are in, and it’s a landslide. In the latest Bull! Not bull poll, “Is America a democracy?” a paltry 20.6% responded in the affirmative. 79.4% of respondents said no, America only has the appearance of democracy.

poll results

Is America a democracy? Was it ever? More importantly, what are we going to do about it?

While you’re thinking about that, take a moment to consider the current threat to the internet:

Congress is pushing a law that would abandon Network Neutrality, the Internet’s First Amendment. Network neutrality prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you — based on what site pays them the most. Your local library shouldn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to have its Web site open quickly on your computer.

From Save the Internet

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71 Comments so far
  1. Nish April 24, 2006 3:13 am

    I do not think US was ever a democracy. They say, it was built on the bones of the indians and on the back of blacks.

    Since the 1900s the exploitation has been more abroad, Korea, Viatman, South and Central America, Africa, Middle East, Phillipines, Haiti, Cuba, the list goes on and on. We, who believe are free have been enjoying the fruits for quite some time. US in all other countries is known for its good life, “Buying more stuff”.

    There is a way to end this, which is to become independent again of big government and corporations and replie more on ourselves, families, friends, and neighbors.

    Independence from money - Dump your savings in gold, silver. Use a bartar system with friends and family.

    Independence from BIG OIL - Install solar panals, drive civics and hydbrids and bicycles and public transportation.

    Independence from Corporate Foods - Buy at local Farms. Eat at locally owned restaurants. Drink locally brewed beers. Grow some veges in the summer. It is good for the soul.

    Please join in and add to the list

  2. Dave April 24, 2006 3:28 am

    America was never a Democracy, it is a Republic.

  3. Peter April 24, 2006 6:55 am

    We live in a world that is governed by lies and ruled by violence. I doubt if there has ever been much of what one might call democracy anywhere in the world since the invention of writing. One the other hand you can say that democracy is all there has ever been. The peasantry must agree as a large group that the ones who are the leaders can tax them and tell them what to do. Sometimes a charismatic leader seems to arise from nowhere and inspires the peasantry to revolt. The aristocracy throw them a few crumbs of privilages in a pretty package of propaganda. Notice i didn’t say rights. The hierarchy continues on it’s merry way proudly prancing down the primrose path to perdition. Wasn’t there some Roman poet who said, “Give the peasants enough bread and circuses and they will never revolt?” The only thing that actually changes human behavior is new technology and/or the positive and negative economic externalities that result.

    Now, everyone needs to attract some amount of social attention in order to stay alive from one day to the next. Money is a measure of that attention that everyone agrees is the most important measure of that attention. Who are these people who make the money the rest of us must earn? Much time, money and effort have been spent researching the propaganda techniques that will sway the masses in a direction chosen by the fearless leaders. This is to avoid resorting to violence which appears to be the most costly solution. It is undesireable to allow the peasants to descend into a state of fearlessness. When they assume they have nothing to lose they have nothing to fear. Religious doctrine and political ideology, if packaged correctly, will move the masses to a desired pattern of behavior before despair and fearlessness overcome them. Should they reach a state of fearlessness the charismatic hero will appear. Sometimes it’s wise to silence this person. Sometimes it’s not.

  4. ron April 24, 2006 7:33 am

    Great list Nish, I’ll add investing in PBW, the clean power etf as an environmentally sound alternative to investing in gold, silver, or oil. This might be a good time to re-allocate from high flying energy investments.
    Living in smaller homes is a good way to save energy and reduce exposure to our asset bubbles. This is a good way to reduce the temptation to buy so much stuff also.

  5. alphacarpenter April 24, 2006 7:50 am

    I agree with the majority here that the USA only has an illusion of a democracy. The illusion is so strong that only a select few on and off the net can see it. The majority of hard working Americans are brainwashed by state controlled news and years of conditioning in public schools or by the PSY-OPS that was 9/11. Welcome to the Imperial United States of America folks, we have military bases all over the globe and plenty of national governments that do our govt.s bidding. And guess what, our Empire is hungry, we need more of that Jesus juice(oil) and we need to make the world safe for democracy(ImperialUSA). Which makes one wonder how do we stop this juggernaut and make Amerika a more isolationist state? What I’m going to do is educate those hard working joes and my brainwashed comrades until everyone understands the facade that is our current reality.

  6. william huegel April 24, 2006 9:22 am

    educate yourself and read some mighty fine books about the criminal aspects of our now dim military empire….”killing hope” by william blum….and “preputal war for preputal peace” by that old wiley rascal, gore vidal…(our current historical man of letters but, alas, under appreciated and unread by most dim amerikans). Kurt vouganet is another good writer, as is David Korn of nation magazine. Turn off you CNN watching and stop mastubation over that blonde idiot, Paris Hilton. read a book and get informed of our most recent historical past….in the words of Saytana the spanish writer…”those who forget the past, are destined to repeat its mistakes”. Did you copy that piece of info George and Dick??

  7. Loren April 24, 2006 12:52 pm

    It’s a funny concept that just allowing people to vote will induce some kind of nirvana. A dictatorship will take on the character of the dictator. A democracy will take on the character of the majority of the voters. In one you get what you’re given, in the other you get what most of you deserve.

    America is becoming a democracy, but was originally a Republic. I prefer a Republic as long as the ground rules are reasonable. A democracy has no rules that can’t be changed overnight by the will of the mob.

  8. Marty Riske April 24, 2006 1:26 pm

    The United States was born a “constitutional republic”, but now our national government is a democracy. The biggest change came with nominating our presidential candidates in a primary rather than a national party convention. At a primary, whoever gets the most voters to vote for them wins. At a national convention, a delegate from your neighborhood goes to the convention, promotes your values in the party platform, then ideally picks the candidate who’s best at promoting your platform values.

  9. cornhusker April 24, 2006 1:56 pm

    I filled up my Chevy Suburban today and the pump actually shut off at exactly $75…I paid at the pump with a credit card. The truck was full, but I’m wondering…is this an early form of rationing?

    When gas hits $6/gallon later this year, does this mean I’ll only be able to fill my truck half-full? This happened in Omaha today (pretty big city). I wonder what kind of rationing plans are in the works right now that we don’t know about…

  10. qrswave April 24, 2006 3:14 pm

    America is neither a republic nor a democracy. Although it started out as a republic and now claims to be a democracy, it is feudalistic oligarchy of bankers and industrialists and has been that way for quite some time now.

    The question is, what are we going to do about? And more importantly, how are we going to organize if they manage to pull our only line of communication - the internet?

  11. ron April 24, 2006 4:52 pm

    Our political system is a hoax. The repugnocrats combined don’t represent even a minority. Power is wielded on behalf of capital, as has been the case since before the advent of nation states. Try running for office against an opponent with corporate or AIPAC funding. Notice that third parties aren’t even allowed to debate. Where gerrymanding fails our votes are simply counted in secret, under phony terror alert pretenses. The media is dominated by a tiny group that profit from military contracts and all manner of cronyism. Government policies are developed in private by those who gain at the public’s expense. Representatives spend very few days in the legislature and rubber stamp legislation which has seen no debate. Usually they don’t even read what they vote for. Under the present regime laws are altered after representatives vote on them. It takes quite a propaganda network to convince 20% of us that this constitutes “democracy”. Kleptocracy seems more accurate.

  12. Steve April 24, 2006 5:05 pm

    America started out as a republic. But long after its founding,it has morphed into another dimension.

    America’s founders were well aware of history and had no intention of making the mistake of using democracy as a political model. The famous democracy of classical Greece ultimately devolved into a free-for-all and managed to last only about 40 years. Democracies are inherently unstable for a political region of any size or diversity, because each “citizen” has an equal right express his or her opinion and cast his or her vote in the official law-making forum. Democracies tend to be noisy, unruly, dominated by strong individuals or cliques, and short-lived. Plato felt that democracies were temporary constructs between some prior form of government and a subsequent tyranny. Greece’s classical democracy was replaced by a tyrant!

    Also, there is nothing in the democratic form which prevents a tyranny of the citizens from being directed at noncitizens. In the Grecian democracy, many of the citizens were slaveholders.

    America’s founders chose the more stable, republican form because of historical knowledge, the vastness of the country, and broad differences between regional political views. A republic is in effect, a democratic process attended by representatives of the citizens. While citizens would not conduct the affairs of state directly, they would be the underlying strength of the republic by providing guidance to their representatives. The authority of the citizens would stem from their being educated, informed, and involved.

    Over the years, squandering the legacy of those who built the greatest nation on the face of the earth, the citizens got fat, lazy, and dumb. Withdrawal of the citizenry from active oversight of the representatives allowed this oversight to be assumed by special-interest groups. These special-interest groups did not form to protect the public interest, regardless of what their vision and mission statements say, but redirected the state to serve the efficient interests of capital — the ascendancy of the monied class! (2% of Americans own 80% of the nation’s assets — Barrons & Doug Henwood’s “Wall Street.”)

    If one draws a continuum from total individual freedom across to absolute state control, at the individual freedom end we will start with anarchy — where one is free to be a saint or sinner, whatever he or she can get away with (Hobbes’ bruitish, state of nature) — next will be democracy, then republicanism, then limited monarchy, and finally, the point of no (easy) return: absolutism. Absolutism can be subdivided into two parts: recognition of some form of citizen property rights (fascism, socialism, “right-wing” dictatorship, sun-king, etc.); or prohibition of citizen property rights (dictatorship of the proletariat, communism, etc.).

    I feel that America has long been in the political region of “limited, rotating monarchy/oligarchy,” but current trends (Patriot Act, illegal wiretapping, porous borders, questionable invasion of Iraq, etc.) indicate that we are moving past the point of no (easy) return into some form of fascism — corporate/state socialism. The hollowing-out of the American industrial base; the dumbing-down of the electorate; unlimited, illegal immigration; and impending, national bankruptcy seem to suggest that we no longer have the necessary strength or will to reverse course.

    A fascist America will offer tremendous individual freedom to the very rich and the political class; restricted freedoms to the ever-shrinking middle-class; and close, oppressive control over the under-class. Freedom for the masses will be widely advocated in official pronouncements, but severely punished if practiced. If you are not a zillionaire, or closely related to one, your life from birth to death will be spent in service to the faceless, apathetic, all-knowing, and all-powerful state.

    Although this is a bleak prognostication, perhaps Fat, Lazy, and Dumb do not deserve any better!

  13. ron April 24, 2006 8:01 pm

    In America we have religion imposing in government. Trillions are unaccounted for in pentagon spending. An illegal drug industry thrives to a degree unknown in other countries despite the millions we imprison. We are monitored by video cameras while in public or at work. People are afraid to engage in community issues because of slapp lawsuits. Our schools teach nonsensical myths and don’t encourage critical analysis. Ownership of media is extremely concentrated. Most subjects are so dominated financialy that they have to work excessive hours and cannot participate in thier family or social affairs. Does any of this sound like a democracy?

  14. Bad Bob April 24, 2006 8:25 pm

    Face it! No nation in history has maintained freedom of it’s citizens. If you were in power would you advance your family or the unwashed masses? Bread and circuses or Suv’s and oversized brick houses - both calm us and enslave us to the man. It makes no difference if you vote Democrat, Republican or Independent (can’t win party) you get fed the same Pablam. T.V. has taught us to be politically correct (good lil boys and girls) too bad El-Jazerra does’nt use this propaganda tool - the Jews would be looked up to and emulated in the middle east. Face it - the Muslims hang on to their beliefs while ours are completely adulterated in the last 40 years (theirs have lasted houndreds of years). I am a Christian, but the truth cannot be avoided. Most modern churches in America are glorified daycare centers. I (as an average American) can’t even recognize the America live in. Sheep get led to slaughter. BAAH!

  15. Mustora April 24, 2006 8:30 pm

    United States is more appropriately described as a corprocracy. In addition to what has been said earlier by other posting fellows, I would add one quote from FDR where he said the following to Colonel House in a letter which goes something like this: “The real truth of the matter is as you and I both know, that the financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.”

  16. Michael Von Brah April 24, 2006 8:31 pm

    THE US OF AMERICA IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN A MIX OF COMMUNISM AND FACISM. MR BUSH IS A MIX OF HITLER AND STALIN WITH A HINT OF CHURCHILL.

  17. KTM April 24, 2006 8:41 pm

    “Democracy” is one of the most overused and least understood concepts in our political discourse. Many people believe it’s a panacea with no downside and politicians everywhere want more of it. Our republic devolved during the 20th century under creeping democracy (popular election of senators, limits on the size of the House of Representatives, universal suffrage, etc.), and now we are at the tipping point. IMO the next step will be elimination of the electoral college with the popular vote determining the presidency. This will be the final straw and the dumb masses will eventually elevate some charismatic pol to assume the role of emperor.

  18. Bad Bob April 24, 2006 9:00 pm

    Drink your Starbuck’s coffee, take your Zanax, work your 80 hours per week, leave your latch key children to be educated (brainwashed) by the T.V., second mortgage your house for the next vacation, Max out your credit cards instead of living within your means. Check how many businesses are owned by foreigners - hotels, convenience stores, donut shops, hair salons ect… and how many average Americans are working for Walmart? The I.R.S. is as feared as the Gestapo of 1930’s and 1940’s Germany, what can we learn from this? BAAH ! BAAH ! Hello modern age Jew !

  19. Bad Bob April 24, 2006 9:12 pm

    This will be my last post. If you have first amendment rights, then why does everyone say the “N” word or the “F” word? This is not the beginning of the end, it is the “END” of the end. Gays and illegal aliens are more tolerated than the “AVERAGE AMERICAN”! I would say “WAKE UP” but that is not going to happen. So, accept your fate!

  20. Marc Authier April 24, 2006 9:19 pm

    Democracy for the wealthy and slavery for the poor. Washington, Jefferson and all the bunch, dealt in the commerce of slavery. Plutocracy is a more exact word. You have money, you have assets, you dictate the agenda of the Nation and you control the politicians. You are poor and without assets. You have nothing to say. Oh you vote but in reality it changes nothing. ONLY MONEY COUNTS. When each presidential candidate has to spend 1 billion EACH! per race, guess who wins? Answer: Money and the people who control it. Nothing else. In this context what is the difference between a politician and a prostitute? None. You could USA a peaceful PROSTITUCRACY.

  21. the stranger April 24, 2006 9:38 pm

    qrswave- that bugged me for a while, it is our only line of communication.

    Looks like we all said, “It’s not a democracy,” but there is a democracy somewhere in this empire and fledgling police state; and a powerful one at that. Or perhaps it’s more of a pseudo-democracy. It’s a whole different faction from the police state and just as creepy.

    With virtual voting and manufactured consent directing peer pressure and mob rule you got danger everywhere outside your own head. Sometimes I feel I’m in that old sci-fi movie where the pod-people turn-on-me if I say, “read this book?” Democracy is scary if you’re thinking outside the herd and a fake democracy even worse.

    Was it Churchill that said democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others? I always though I understood that – kind of a “nothings perfect” statement. But that’s not what it means to me now. Is the word democracy even in the constitution? Democracy subsidized the self licking ice cream cone and now a pseudo-democracy worships it. Maybe we’re supposed to be afraid of it; like a natural instinct against collectivism.

    I picture us spreading democracy by dismantling it here, packing it all up for shipment - and crashing the plane.

  22. David Soori April 25, 2006 1:05 am

    ” If you want to be a slave and pay the cost of your own slavery, let the banks create the money”
    ” Let me control the issue of a nation’s currency, I care not who write the laws”
    We are all enslaved, in the First World with an albatross hanging around our neck from cradle to grave.We are kept alive on rubbish so that we could be cannon fodder.
    We live in a trpartie totalitarian dictatorship, i.e Press, Elected and Financial

  23. Orson April 25, 2006 4:36 am

    America was never founded as a democracy. It was founded as a republic.

    A democracy is one person, one vote. A republic is representative government where people elect leaders to make decisions for the constituency.

    I think the unfortunate situation is that the US has become more democratic, contrary to the wisdom of the founding fathers, and in the process has become closer to socialism. For example, Senators were once appointed and Representatives were directly elected. This balance ensured that only proposals agreed by a large consensus of different interests were ratified and all others failed. However, since 1913 (Amendment 17), Senators were changed to directly elected persons, making them virtually redundant to Representatives. At this point, the US became a largely democratic institution, violating the basic principles that the founding fathers went to such great pains to establish.

    Democracy is majority rule. As Richard Maybury writes, majority rule is mob rule. Mob rule is inherently inflationary, since everyone will attempt to “vote” money into their own pocket, demanding jobs for themselves even if it means increasing the debt burden on someone else. When no one will offer to take on the debt burden, the mob will vote to force everyone else to take on the debt burden, thus giving birth to the political nightmare we live in today, whereby lobbyists and legislators act as the agents for negotiating who is forced to take the debt of someone else.

    The primary means of enacting mob rule has been through the expansion of government and the resulting ownership of business enterprises by the government. The defense industry is an easy example of de facto government ownership of business. But another example is government bail-out of businesses(remember Chrysler?) or government assumption of liabilities such as defaulted pensions (remember US Airways?). These bail-outs do not come free - in exchange, the government takes on equity stakes. Ergo, the government owns stakes in private businesses. If this sounds familiar, it should - complete government ownership of businesses is called “socialism”, as in “United Soviet Socialist Republic”.

    And while we are on the subject, the USSR wasn’t communist, it was socialist, but that’s another story.

  24. scorchedearth April 25, 2006 5:56 am

    America is an oligarchy moving towards fascism.

    Money is god. Nothing else matters. We are slaves to the faceless machine that could care less about our general well being.

    Tough times are ahead.

    Good luck to all.

  25. Brian Farmer April 25, 2006 6:33 am

    The Founding Fathers never meant to create a democracy. That word does not appear in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.

  26. Marc Authier April 25, 2006 7:00 am

    The last comment is real convincing. It’s true. Nowhere is the word democracy mentionned. It’s like the section of the constitution on the “right to happiness”. Originally
    it wasn’t written that way. It was the “right to property.”
    Money, money, money and nothing else. That’s what these rich wasps gentlemen and slave owner farmers had in mind. The rest is fiction, fantasy, and is the fruit of your imagination or the result of the good work made by image makers and political propaganda to electors and the rest of the world.

  27. alphacarpenter April 25, 2006 7:19 am

    That icon on this website of Uncle Sam seems to be working.

    The idea that the USA is a democracy is laughable, we have to realize that we are run by a one party republicrat system. Yeah you have a right to vote, but you are shopping from a monopoly. …Ughh would you like to have a republicrat for president or would you like to have a republicrat?

    I’m starting to think that the US is in a civil war and it is True Patriots vs. NEOCONS(that are orchestrating the terror attacks around the world, so that we will attack Arabs out of fear and who actually are not our enemy. Our enemy is within)

    The good news is that anti-war protestors don’t get shot at anymore(ie Kent State) but are put in a FREE SPEECH ZONE hahahaha.

    US colonies, COLLECT THEM ALL!!! :)
    Germany, Italy, UK, Spain, Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Iraq,
    South Korea, Japan, Diego Garcia, Iceland, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzgovina, Hungary, Kuwait, Israel(could be a partner), Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan, Singapore, it goes on and on but we are getting close to building a respectable collection.

  28. Darryl Schoon April 25, 2006 7:46 am

    “In 1835, Alexis deToqueville, wrote his extraordinary work,’Democracy in America’. DeToqueville saw democracy in America as flawed - an impossible marriage between two conflicting desires: the desire to be led and the desire to be free.”

    “DeToqueville pointed out that Americans, having placed their freedoms in the hands of a central authority, believed themselves free because the central authority was of their own choosing. To DeToqueville, however, that Americans elected their master did not make them free. It only meant they chose their master.”
    from “Light in a Dark Place”, http://www.bolinaspress.com

  29. bp April 25, 2006 9:58 am

    I think the founding fathers put together a government that was the best they could do at the time, considering the makeup of our society - a lot of small shop owners, landowners, no corporations, no multinationals. Times change, circumstances change, old forms wear out and new forms need created - I figure this governmental structure we have has run its course - it has to fall - the question to me is what form of government can be created to match the society we now have, or will be left with - these terms everyone is throwing around are old school…wornout - someone needs to go beyond our current perspectives to meet the needs of the time…and not try to return us to the past. Perhaps corporations and multinationals should be restricted - their power taken away. Other things can be done that would benefit the members of society while balancing individual freedom with the need for law and order. We may be entering a period of darkness but I do see hope for the future - it’s just going to take some work…and letting go of concepts that don’t work anymore, or at least reinterpreting them in light of the new.

  30. Orson April 26, 2006 6:14 am

    Democracy is the idea of “one man, one vote”. Capitalism is the idea of “one dollar, one vote”.

    If the US is a democracy (and that’s a big “if” as the thread above shows), then it is at odds with Capitalism. The friction between Capitalism and Democracy is where the Federal Reserve lives. The primary means of mediating between these conflicting needs is monetary inflation.

    Monetary inflation provides the Democratic need to take care of every peron’s desire to solve short term problems while simultaneously aiding the long term survival of Capital, which is smart enough to take care of itself.

    As Richard Russell says, “inflate or die”.

  31. dud April 26, 2006 7:55 am

    I see a lot of whining about being “slaves” but we have lived within this system our entire lives.It has evolved with our cooperation and acquiescence.The only freedom you really have is to buy your way out of the labor pool.Choose a career that is valued above most others, put in your time and learn how to work within the system.Relative freedom can only be bought by the individual.This was true when the country was formed and is really the only right you have in the constitution.All the rest is just freedom from other men’s and/or government intrusion into your life. Now even that is gradually being taken away.

  32. King George April 26, 2006 8:11 am

    America is an empire, an empire that is collapsing before our eyes!

    Article found at :
    http://www.energybulletin.net/newswire.php?id=4474

    ——————————————————

    Imperial Entropy: Collapse of the American Empire
    By Kirkpatrick Sale

    It is quite ironic: only a decade or so after the idea of the United States as an imperial power came to be accepted by both right and left, and people were actually able to talk openly about an American empire, it is showing multiple signs of its inability to continue. And indeed it is now possible to contemplate, and openly speculate about, its collapse.

    The neocons in power in Washington these days, those who were delighted to talk about America as the sole empire in the world following the Soviet disintegration, will of course refuse to believe in any such collapse, just as they ignore the realities of the imperial war in Iraq. But I think it behooves us to examine seriously the ways in which the U.S. system is so drastically imperiling itself that it will cause not only the collapse of its worldwide empire but drastically alter the nation itself on the domestic front.

    All empires collapse eventually: Akkad, Sumeria, Babylonia, Ninevah, Assyria, Persia, Macedonia, Greece, Carthage, Rome, Mali, Songhai, Mongonl, Tokugawaw, Gupta, Khmer, Hapbsburg, Inca, Aztec, Spanish, Dutch, Ottoman, Austrian, French, British, Soviet, you name them, they all fell, and most within a few hundred years. The reasons are not really complex. An empire is a kind of state system that inevitably makes the same mistakes simply by the nature of its imperial structure and inevitably fails because of its size, complexity, territorial reach, stratification, heterogeneity, domination, hierarchy, and inequalities.

    In my reading of the history of empires, I have come up with four reasons that almost always explain their collapse. (Jared Diamond’s new book Collapse also has a list of reasons for societal collapse, slightly overlapping, but he is talking about systems other than empires.) Let me set them out, largely in reference to the present American empire.

    First, environmental degradation. Empires always end by destroying the lands and waters they depend upon for survival, largely because they build and farm and grow without limits, and ours is no exception, even if we have yet to experience the worst of our assault on nature. Science is in agreement that all important ecological indicators are in decline and have been for decades: erosion of topsoils and beaches, overfishing, deforestation, freshwater and aquifer depletion, pollution of water, soil, air, and food, soil salinization, overpopulation , overconsumption, depletion of oil and minerals, introduction of new diseases and invigoration of old ones, extreme weather, melting icecaps and rising sealevels, species extinctions, and excessive human overuse of the earth’s photosynthetic capacity. As the Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson has said, after lengthy examination of human impact on the earth, our “ecological footprint is already too large for the planet to sustain, and it is getting larger.” A Defense Department study last year predicted “abrupt climate change,” likely to occur within a decade, will lead to “catastrophic” shortages of water and energy, endemic “disruption and conflict,” warfare that “would define human life,” and a “significant drop” in the planet’s ability to sustain its present population. End of empire for sure, maybe end of civilization.

    Second, economic meltdown. Empires always depend on excessive resource exploitation, usually derived from colonies farther and farther away from the center, and eventually fall when the resources are exhausted or become too expensive for all but the elite. This is exactly the path we are on-peak oil extraction, for example, is widely predicted to come in the next year or two-and our economy is built entirely on a fragile system in which the world produces and we, by and large, consume (U.S. manufacturing is just 13 per cent of our GDP). At the moment we sustain a nearly $630 billion trade deficit with the rest of the world-it has leapt by an incredible $500 billion since 1993, and $180 billion since Bush took office in 2001-and in order to pay for that we have to have an inflow of cash from the rest of the world of about $1 billion every day to pay for it, which was down by half late last year. That kind of excess is simply unsustainable, especially when you think that it is the other world empire, China, that is crucial for supporting it, at the tune of some $83 billion on loan to the U.S. treasury.

    Add to that an economy resting on a nearly $500 billion Federal budget deficit, making up part of a total national debt of $7.4 trillion as of last fall, and the continual drain on the economy by the military of at least $530 billion a year (not counting military intelligence, whose figure we never know). Nobody thinks that is sustainable either, which is why the dollar has lost value everywhere-down by 30 per cent against the euro since 2000-and the world begins to lose faith in investment here. I foresee that in just a few years the dollar will be so battered that the oil states will no longer want to operate in that currency and will turn to the euro instead, and China will let the yuan float against the dollar, effectively making this nation bankrupt and powerless, unable to control economic life within its borders much less abroad.

    Third, military overstretch. Empires, because they are by definition colonizers, are always forced to extend their military reach farther and farther, and enlarge it against unwilling colonies more and more, until coffers are exhausted, communication lines are overextended, troops are unreliable, and the periphery resists and ultimately revolts. The American empire, which began its worldwide reach well before Bush II, now has some 446,000 active troops at more than 725 acknowledged (and any number secret) bases in at least 38 countries around the world, plus a formal “military presence” in no less than 153 countries, on every continent but Antarctica-and nearly a dozen fully armed courier fleets on all the oceans. Talk about overstretch: the U.S. is less than 5 per cent of the world’s population. And now that Bush has declared a “war on terror,” instead of the more doable war on Al Quada we should have waged, our armies and agents will be on a battlefield universal and permanent that cannot possibly be controlled or contained.

    So far that military network has not collapsed, but as Iraq indicates it is mightily tested and quite incapable of establishing client states to do our bidding and protect resources we need. And as anti-American sentiment continues to spread and darken-in all the Muslim countries, in much of Europe, in much of Asia-and as more countries refuse the “structural adjustments” that our IMF-led globalization requires, it is quite likely that the periphery of our empire will begin resisting our dominance, militarily if necessary. And far from having a capacity to fight two wars simultaneously, as the Pentagon once hoped, we are proving that we can’t even fight one.

    Finally, domestic dissent and upheaval. Traditional empires end up collapsing from within as well as often being attacked from without, and so far the level of dissent within the U.S. has not reached the point of rebellion or secession-thanks both to the increasing repression of dissent and escalation of fear in the name of “homeland security” and to the success of our modern version of bread and circuses, a unique combination of entertainment, sports, television, internet sex and games, consumption, drugs, liquor, and religion that effectively deadens the general public into stupor. But the tactics of the Bush II administration show that it is so fearful of an expression of popular dissent that it is willing to defy and ignore environmental, civil-rights, and progressive groups, to bribe commentators to put out its propaganda, to expand surveillance and data-base invasions of privacy, to use party superiority and backroom tactics to ride roughshod over Congressional opposition, to use lies and deceptions as a normal part of government operations, to break international laws and treaties for short-term ends, and to use religion to cloak its every policy.

    It’s hard to believe that the great mass of the American public would ever bestir itself to challenge the empire at home until things get much, much worse. It is a public, after all, of which, as a Gallup poll in 2004 found, 61 per cent believe that “religion can answer all or most of today’s problems,” and according to a Time/CNN poll in 2002 59 per cent believe in the imminent apocalypse foretold in the Book of Revelation and take every threat and disaster as evidence of God’s will. And yet, it’s also hard to believe that a nation so thoroughly corrupt as this-in all its fundamental institutions, its boughten parties, academies, corporations, brokerages, accountants, governments-and resting on a social and economic base of intolerably unequal incomes and property, getting increasingly unequal, will be able to sustain itself for long. The upsurge in talk about secession after the last election, some of which was deadly serious and led on to organizations throughout most of the blue states, indicates that at least a minority is willing to think about drastic steps to “alter or abolish” a regime it finds itself fundamentally at odds with.

    Those four processes by which empires always eventually fall seem to me to be inescapably operative, in varying degrees, in this latest empire. And I think a combination of several or all of them will bring about its collapse within the next 15 years or so.

    Jared Diamond’s recent book detailing the ways societies collapse suggests that American society, or industrial civilization as a whole, once it is aware of the dangers of its current course, can learn from the failures of the past and avoid their fates. But it will never happen, and for a reason Diamond himself understands.

    As he says, in his analysis of the doomed Norse society on Greenland that collapsed in the early 15th century: “The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs over adversity.” If this is so, and his examples would seem to prove it, then we can isolate the values of American society that have been responsible for its greatest triumphs and know that we will cling to them no matter what. They are, in one rough mixture, capitalism, individualism, nationalism, technophilia, and humanism (as the dominance of humans over nature). There is no chance whatever, no matter how grave and obvious the threat, that as a society that we will abandon those.

    Hence no chance to escape the collapse of empire.

  33. bp April 26, 2006 10:33 am

    King George - good capture - that article said about all there is to say, except I think this time we (America) will take the rest of the world down with us - definitely looks like an ugly mess we’re facing - I just read Lyndon LaRouche’s article - World System On Weimar Collapse Curve - seems everywhere I look there is more and more confirmation of this point of view.

  34. barter this April 26, 2006 12:07 pm

    Is America a Democracy?

    As historians Charles Austin Beard and Mary Ritter Beard wrote in 1939: “At no time, at no place, in solemn convention assembled, through no chosen agents, had the American people officially proclaimed the United States to be a democracy. The Constitution did not contain the word democracy or any word lending countenance to it, except possibly the mention of ‘We the people,’ in the preamble… When the Constitution was framed, no respectable person called himself a democrat.”

    Are we a “democracy” as President Clinton so often claims? Why do they teach this “we-are-a-democracy” concept in school, when each school day begins with “I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic, for which it stands…”?

    Are we a Democracy?
    “Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship …Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”

    –Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II
    Sound familier, famous last words…

    We have never been a democracy. Democracy is an idiology in the making ONLY. It is a utopia in the future, something to work toward as a socity, and we are along way from there these days.
    Texas is still a republic in itself, only apart of the United States as long as it wishes to be a part of the United States. If I am not mistaken we are still owned by England by way of THE LONDON WORLD BANKS.
    Demacrocy? no…

  35. barter this April 26, 2006 12:41 pm

    P.S.
    Currently all we do is exchange FED money (interest attached) for real U.S. money (interest-free) dollar for dollar as Kennedy tried to do. We should not be required to pay interest on our own currency. According to Benjamin Franklin, this was one of the primary reasons we fought the Revolutionary War. Today we are still fighting the same family of bankers.

    I love this site…You people are a real HOOT. The inteligence here is something to behold. I wonder if King George and all the presidents men are watching us as we speak? I hope so…
    Ignorance is not bliss and my only hope is that the SHEEPLE wake up…Excuse my spelling, I’ll blame it on the “dumbing down” of the school systems…LOL

  36. the stranger April 26, 2006 6:29 pm

    barter, I was thinking the same thing - I could go all week and not find a person who understood the difference. But here it’s “democracy? what democracy? …on every post” Aside from educational, this site reminds you that you’re sane.

    bp, second that
    Lyndon LaRouche’s article - World System On Weimar Collapse Curve

  37. Decoymaker April 28, 2006 6:06 pm

    The United States is NOT a Democracy. It was intended by the founding Fathers to be a Republic, formed by the vote of the peoples wishes. Our country was founded on Common English law or the Magna Carta . But it was formed to protect the people from despotic politicians,courts, judges and stop government agency making and give government limited powers. The USA has more internal agencies that have as much power as a Supreme court judge has in some instances. It makes you wonder how many Americans know that their IRS are promoted & trained under the UN. And that our Monetary system is also controlled throught the UN NOW! Who the HELL is this CFR to make foreign policy for Americans? Did you or I, elect any of them? NOPE! None of us did. So why does our government always Bow to this group of men? Because the truth will scare you……….Because our government is connected so obtusely to the UN, it’s not even American.
    Welcome to the Para-Military fascist democracy called The United States Corporation. That’s right and it’s the truth. You & I are now just mere assets to be used by government anyway they wish. Your will became Probate the day you were Born. Is that Freedom? Hell no it is not! It is a form of Slavery. So subtle have Americans been put into involuntary servitude, they eat their own hand that feeds them.
    Take Back your governmetn america, or We are doomed….as a nation of good people , with good values. That believe that hard work, pays. And Honesty & Integrity is the best honor we could bestow for our children & their Futures.

  38. Decoymaker April 28, 2006 6:15 pm

    I owe I just wanted to add. That the Law Americans are now under is called Admiralty jurisdiction or ROMAN Civil law.
    If you donot believe me. Look up title 4 on the laws of the Flag and treaty laws on Flags and the US Flag.
    You’ll will find that the only time a US Flag can have a Golden or yellow Fringe on it is under Military code.
    Now think hard on that. The only constitutional lawful american Flag that can be flown in America, is a flag (without) a gold or yellow fringe. Symbolics are Powerful.
    Then walk into a country courthouse tomorrow and ask yourself why there’s a Military gold or yellow fringes flag in the courtroom that is NOt suppose to be there?
    That flag with that gold fringe represents to you and by LAW says to you, that YOu have just entered into a foreign enclave. You have no rights in that courtroom anymore. Because you automatically surrendered them when you walked into that courtroom with that Flag. That Flag is a MILIRAY representation of the form of government you now serve. Special huh? And don’t feel bad, you aren’t the first to notice it. Because waking up from the dream, is a BITCH!

  39. Decoymaker April 29, 2006 8:43 am

    To all who invest. If you want a true alternative to investing in gold. I’d suggest that you start investing in Wind power generater components companies.
    Wind generation is the new energy solution for these days. It is reletively affordable, and most places in america have a sustained average wind speed of 9-12.8 mile per hour. plenty to generate a wind machine.
    Battery caches’ become the most expensive part then rewiring to acommodate the 12 - 24 volt systems to run things. Of course people going to low energy, high efficiency energy usage will have to start using low energy utilities such as stoves, etc. Which maybe a very good investment, if demand for low energy use utilities becomes a new market. IMHO Let me know what You folks think?

  40. the stranger April 29, 2006 11:56 am

    Demonstrated repeatedly in the above posts, is that all here understand the US is a Republic, not a democracy as advertised. And that knowledge alone makes possible more understanding. If a pseudo-democracy allows cover for a number of ills, one can be the regulatory break down allowing increased rapacious greed (bear with me here).

    Following that, it’s a misconstruction of economic concepts that leads society to dysfunction and collapse. So, while I’ve considered capitalism equally misunderstood, I have no problem labeling our current system predatory-capitalism.

    I just read an excellent article “The Predator State by James K. Galbraith” I wanted to share. I think it’s on subject. The article not only expresses my thoughts, it distilled some new ones. Here’s three excerpts;

    — For in a predatory regime, nothing is done for public reasons. Indeed, the men in charge do not recognize that “public purposes” exist. They have friends, and enemies, and as for the rest—we’re the prey.

    — The predator-prey model explains some things that other models cannot: in particular, cycles of prosperity and depression. Growth among the prey stimulates predation. The two populations grow together at first, but when the balance of power shifts toward the predators (through rising interest rates, utility rates, oil prices, or embezzlement), both can crash abruptly. When they do, it takes a long time for either to recover.

    — In a predatory economy, the rules imagined by the law and economics crowd don’t apply. There’s no market discipline. Predators compete not by following the rules but by breaking them. They take the business-school view of law: Rules are not designed to guide behavior but laid down to define the limits of unpunished conduct. Once one gets close to the line, stepping over it is easy. A predatory economy is criminogenic: It fosters and rewards criminal behavior.

    After digesting the article it started to ring familiar. Where have I heard this before? Then I remembered - the gazelles… I didn’t get it on the first pass; may have to eat my own words.

  41. qrswave April 29, 2006 5:29 pm

    It’s a good article. But, the most important line, in my opinion, is “The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One.”

    Therein lies both America’s problem and its solution.

    Depending on HOW money is employed it is either a blessing or a curse.

    Call them predators, cheetahs, vampires, parasitoids, vipers, leaches, you name it. Once they’re allowed to control the money supply, humanity is screwed.

  42. the stranger April 29, 2006 10:04 pm

    Yeah, I know – that line struck a chord. It reminded me of a line from Don Henley, "A man with a briefcase can steal more money than any man with gun.”

    That’s what gets me I guess, it looks like we’re past the point of no return; critical mass in the rear-view mirror. Something you get prepared for, you don’t waste time and energy on futile repairs. Humanity is screwed and we can’t unscrew it because the system’s now terminal. Not a negative assessment, per se, just bad news.

  43. qrswave April 30, 2006 8:12 am

    You’re right. You can’t unscrew people, but you can mitigate their pain and you can try to stop criminals from screwing others.

    This system may be beyond repair, but as long as blood courses through human veins there’s a struggle to be fought for human dignity.

  44. bp April 30, 2006 8:34 am

    stranger - that was a good article, and it kinda gets at my problem with some of Michael’s poll questions, and the discussions here - the labels used don’t really capture reality anymore - terms like capitalism, socialism, democracy, republic, are red herrings - almost a way to divert peoples attention away from the problems under the surface - it seems a big question today is how to break these Robber Barons/predators before we all go down the tube, or else how to survive going down the tube and rebuild a better system afterward. That article also seemed to give me the impress that the development of the middle class in this country was just a temporary step in eliminating the competition of the Soviet Union - once it was out of the way then the elites could focus cannibalizing the middle class - almost makes me want to root for China, sheesh

  45. qrswave April 30, 2006 11:21 am

    bp said: “almost a way to divert peoples attention away from the problems under the surface”

    That’s PRECISELY what these words are for. The evil we confront does not stand a CHANCE against humanity without DECEPTION.

    The single most important step in defeating the enemy is IDENTIFYING it.

    That’s why I cannot stress enough how important it is to expose the media for what it is - OUR WORST ENEMY.

  46. ron April 30, 2006 3:01 pm

    Robber barrons preach thier religions and ideologies to enable thier further plunder. All such must be examined in this light. We have been removed from our traditional values for so many generations that we have no knowledge of our natural social order. We have to aproach progressive change with our minds open to that which has been villified by the myths that wev’e been taught. In medieval Europe, society was hierarchical but birthrights and social responsibility were shared by all. If you tried to privatize a water source and charge what the market would bear you would be tarred and feathered. The same thing would occur if you price gauged a commodity in short supply.Only fair prices would be stood for. Today we are conditioned to worship an elite who profit at our expense.

  47. bp April 30, 2006 5:15 pm

    qrswave, your comments on the media made me think of this from TomDispatch - http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=80922

    its odd to me to see the disconnect between what I see going on around me and hearing talking heads putting their spin on it. I don’t know if there is a conspiracy, or just that there is a common mindset of these people that run the mass media, or whether it is just the culmination of various forces and trends in our society, but I do sense something going on that I don’t like - personally I blame it on the marketing mentality - I tried to major in Marketing in college but got out of it after a year - I couldn’t stand the attitude that people believed it was ok to tell whatever lies they had to in order to sell the product. I know there are stories of corruption tied to some of these mass media owners like Sinclar and the guy that owns the Pittsburgh newspaper, but yet I find it hard to believe they are working on some master plan, it just seems that corrupt people are drawn to power. IMHO, it is these corrupt people that are drawn to power that are our worst enemy - the institution may need to be reformed, but in and of itself - I don’t see it as the enemy.

    Maybe it is time to start hitting the streets in demonstrations.

  48. qrswave April 30, 2006 5:51 pm

    To conspire, btw, is Latin for “come together” + “inspire”

    So, conspiracies are as natural as coming together and breathing. Don’t believe the hype about conspiracies being either hard to accomplish or rare. They happen all the time - not always sinister, but always around.

    Don’t go by average Americans (laborers) who as a group have been deliberately atomized (divide and conquer) such that they have trouble coming together as couples let alone as a group.

    Also, corruption starts from the top down. Never the other way around. So, when you think of it in those terms then it’s easier to conclude that there absolutely must be conspiracies, at the very least within media organizations which are highly hierarchical.

    But, even between outlets, all the media outlets approach all the same stories, in practically the same ways, all the time. It’s just too much of a coincidence to be anything other than a deliberate conspiracy.

    I was a skeptic before, but now I’m convinced. I will only concede that it is not necessarily a tightly knit conspiracy. In other words, they all have similar interests but each group is a potential loose cannon, should at any given moment their interests diverge. But, for the most part they’re on the same page - them against us. You know, the haves vs. the have-nots.

    The first people on the list of suspects are the newswires: AFP and Reuters, which produce a large majority of the world’s news. It’s scary. If we’re reading a news story, it’s almost always filtered through their lenses. All that has to happen for a conspiracy to emerge is the CEOs have lunch with each other and zap, they can agree not to cover something or to cover something else excessively. Who’s going to know? THEY provide the news, we don’t know unless they tell us.

  49. Decoymaker April 30, 2006 6:32 pm

    qrswave says:THEY provide the news, we don’t know unless they tell us.

    We do know when something is going on when it starts to kill us though. Or we are informed by people whocare about what’s going on that investigate these kinds of folly.
    Like Corporations poisoning ground water in their communitties, etc. The Scandals that are coming out more and more about government. I hope it wakes people up and makes them realise just how far things are out of control by the controllers. These people will stop at nothing, even cut their own ties throats to produce their ends. I’m
    finding it very amuzing to see who gives up who in the scandals of late.
    Eventually. Corporational entities will all die. Because the rate of enabling enviromental resources to be able to renew themselves is being out stripped at the rate corporations are using them up. This is what all the next wars are going to be about. Who gets to use them, and who doesn’t and ………dies.

  50. Rich April 30, 2006 8:22 pm

    John Kenneth Galbraith just died today, lately he was very outspoken. After a lifetime within the establishment he appeared to be quite anti-establishment by the end of his life.

    He will be remembered as a great man and a huge contributor to economic thought in the 20th century.

    Cheers Rich

  51. bp May 1, 2006 9:29 am

    qrswave, I can agree with you as long as you’re not talking about conspiracy with a capital C, I do think it is a tendency of those that hold the wealth and power to enter into collusion for their own benefit versus that of the public. I noticed Stephen Lendman wrote a piece - The Corporate Control Of Society and Human Life, that seems to come to similar conclusions:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12842.htm

    Basically, I think it is a problem of power and wealth becoming increasingly consolidated into the hands of a few - whatever institution/group you want to name.

    I’ve been told that Isreal once had a Jubilee system where every 70 years the wealth was redistributed/leveled across all members of the society, for now I would like to see power broken down and made responsible to the public.

  52. BetterLateThanNever May 1, 2006 10:42 am

    I know this thread is about spent out but I just found these quotes that are most on topic. Enjoy!

    James Madison, 1787, Federalist Paper #10:
    “Democracy is the most vile form of government … democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

    Fisher Ames, author of the words of the First Amendment:
    “A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.”

    John Adams, 1815:
    “Democracy … while it lasts is more bloody than either [aristocracy or monarchy]. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

    John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court:
    “Between a balanced Republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”
    Dr. Jedediah Morse, one of the authors of your Bill of Rights: “A simple democracy is the devil’s own government.”

  53. Decoymaker May 1, 2006 1:59 pm

    John Kenneth Galbraith.
    I believe it was his Great Uncle who owned some farm land in Iowa and sold it back in the early 60’s to help get started up a new better community called, Clinton, Iowa.
    I also believe he sold it at a loss. But was said to not be concerned, Because he was helping establishing something better than a Profit.
    He will be missed. Best Regards, Decoymaker

  54. Decoymaker May 1, 2006 2:01 pm

    Hey Rich? How about these crazy gold/silver, & Oil markets?

  55. ron May 1, 2006 2:30 pm

    bp, Iv’e heard about this jubilee system you describe but I had heard it was only debt forgiveness and every 50 years. I’m no Jewish scholar, perhaps another reader can tell us more. My understanding is that this allowed them to practice usury over long stretches of time without the cyclical economic contractions caused by concentration of wealth.

  56. the stranger May 1, 2006 3:06 pm

    I heard once that to make a point, “one must exaggerate much and omit much” and I’ll apply that to the “humanity is screwed” comments; it’s just an admission of an approaching darkness. I have hope for humanity too. Perhaps our musings can mitigate some of the confusion.

    The subjects bp, can be difficult to stay-on-topic for sure. This site’s covered a lot of ground (I’ve noticed as a new-comer) and the topics are a good for building the big picture. I imagine Michael struggles (successfully) as much as us giving this thing shape. Information Clearing House – always an information gold mine. Our worst enemy – pow, nice punch.

    Got to add my two-cents on conspiracy theories, and I don’t mean to equivocate but I’m of slightly two minds.

    One - as this show plays out live with no rehearsals, it just evolves and it’s too complex for conspiracy. Kunstler maintains this position and sometimes I think he does it to increase credibility. But I’ll take him at face value; it can depend on your focus.

    Second, and this is where I hang out – the American people seem trained to smirk when the “conspiracy theory” laugh track activates. And that’s Bull. Conspiracies exist and you can buy em’ by the pound. The concept is valid and I’m not ripping one page from my dictionary. Snubbing the concept out-of-hand is newspeak again in action.

    Conspiracies are so central to our discussions I guess I wanted to paraphrase and reiterate what qrswave already stated. I think you can have a conspiracy in a conspiracy in a conspiracy. But it’s the ones at the highest levels that make others unknowingly complicit.

    Regarding media, here’s a favorite…
    Alexander Cockburn, from The Megalomania of Rupert Murdoch November 24, 2003
    “Page’s detailed and compelling case, based on his investigation of Murdoch’s operations in Australia, Britain, the USA and the Chinese People’s Republic, amounts to this: as an international operator, Murdoch offers his target governments a privatized version of a state propaganda service, manipulated without scruple and with no regard for truth.”

  57. Rich May 2, 2006 5:14 am

    Hey Decoymaker.

    Was just in Houston for 4 days, buried in work, but always able to spend a minute or two on the price of gold, and other commodities.

    It’s crazy, but we’ve all been watching this play out now for 5 years, so it’s also kind of overdue.

    I wrote an article on the last site, Depression2.tv, called Long Gold Long Short. So I was long gold for a long time, but earlier this year, after years of stagnation (and losses), I finally sold my short positions and anticipated the market rising.

    I took the short positions and converted them to oil. I already had some oil (somewhat reluctantly because of the profit taking and nature of oil ownership, etc.) but now I’m heavily in to gold, silver and oil.

    The real problem with my positions is that the more successful my investment strategy the more messed up our world. This is an unfortunate fact of modern life and trying to beat real inflation. Pure logic drives me to invest in commodities that are the proverbial canary in a gold mine! The more they rise the closer to extinction we all are!

    Gold reaches $2,000, silver goes to $50, oil goes to $120 and Peak Humanity begins the slide down the slope of die-off! Ouch!

    I must say I do have a very positive view of the future of the humanity. We are destined to learn from our grave errors, but we are also constantly evolving. We need to go through what is coming, it is part of the process, and it’s no individuals fault (not even the secret societies and elites - although we need to learn that we don’t need them). Its a process, we will survive it and we will evolve to the next level as a race. Individually, and especially those of us in the US, we may need help getting through what comes next!

    Cheers Rich

  58. bp May 2, 2006 8:16 am

    hm, thought I’d get my last 2 cents in here before Michael moves on. I had a couple points I wanted to touch on –
    1. I think we doth protest too much about not being a democracy - we may not be a true democracy, but being a Republic we are a representative democracy
    2. I think we may be confusing what Michael is pointing at with the term he used. I am just guessing, but i think the real issue here is that our representatives no longer represent the public good, no longer represent the people that elected them democratically. We are losing our voice in our government, losing our Rights, our Freedoms, our Liberties to special interests - our representatives are bought and paid for and no longer responsive to our needs. Surely there is a lessening of democracy in this country. So maybe it is a matter of to what degree are we a democracy, and is it increasing or decreasing. I think we all agree on the answers to that.

    and 3. a question to Rich - you seem to be following gold and silver closely - I hear hedge funds have invested heavily in the precious metals - do you know if they have, and if so, what effect will that have on your approach to these.

  59. barter this May 2, 2006 8:27 am

    All civilizations we know of were shaped by exclusive minorities of kings, prists and “intelectuals”, (with their ideas and values), that owned the courntries.

    America is or was the only civilization shaped with the values of the common man and woman. No ELITE would ever have felt at home in America until the last fifty years or so. Why is this?
    The “open-air journalists” who recited their their articles in the street and marketplace have fallen by the wayside. All are OWNED by those self same intelectuals with the values of those in power.
    The common folk have no way to judge what is truth, so after a short while the truth doesn’t matter so much any more.
    Being told what is right and true by the Intellectual elite who have always had an ingrained contempt for the common people who did the world’s work, regarding them as no better than slaves and unfit for citizenship.

    We need to raise up a new “men of words” to raise their voices in defense of the weak and oppressed.
    Today the bureaucracy which manages and controls every field of activities controlled by people who consider themselves intellectuals. Writers, poets, artists, scientists, professors, journalists and others engaged in intellecgtual pursuits are given the high social status of superior civil servants.

    Because of mr. bush’s processed faith and the power of words and the irresistibility of the truth which suposedly shape his course, he cannot be satisified with mere obedience. He tries to obtain by force a response that is usually obtained by the most perfect persuasion, and he uses Terror as a feaful instrument to extract faith and fervor from crushed souls.

    He says “get used to it” and “stay the course”. For how long?

    The advancement of the common folk is at most a by-product of the uniquely human fact that discontent is at the root of the creative process that the most gifted members of the human species are at their creative best when they cannot have their way, and must compensate for what they miss by realizing and cultivating their capacities and talents: That time has come for ALL OF THE MASSES not just the immigration masses to stand up and say “WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH”…
    A little long winded I now, but I am getting real tired of with way things are going…Barter This

  60. Robert Sczech May 2, 2006 9:09 pm

    The answer to the question “Is America a Democracy” is a clear NO. Democracy can exist only in relatively small states. America is simply too large for Democracy. If our population would be one tenth of its present size (30 million or less), then we could possibly have a chance to be a democracy.

  61. qrswave May 2, 2006 10:43 pm

    barter said “We need to raise up a new “men of words” to raise their voices in defense of the weak and oppressed.

    Today the bureaucracy which manages and controls every field of activities controlled by people who consider themselves intellectuals.”

    You struck right at the heart of the problem. The people who shape our discourse are the ones who have ‘made the rules’ over the decades. They happen to be corrupt, arrogant bastards who twist every word to their advantage whenever possible.

    Above all, we need “men of words” who are HONEST and MODEST. They must not think themselves above others just because God blessed them with some talent and the opportunity to develop their faculties.

    Rules should not be “made up along the way” by anyone with power and influence. In order to establish a lasting system of justice, a nation must be centered around fixed principles that do not set one group of indidivuals above another. Unfortunately, this is precisely what the copyright (patent) clause in our constitution does. It should be abolished.

    The clause for controlling money is okay, but it was subverted almost from day one.

  62. Rich May 3, 2006 5:24 am

    Hey bp.

    You ask a very pertinent question regarding hedge funds and precious metals right now.

    This morning gold shot to $677, up $12.80. It is pretty obvious that this kind of price action is coming from the hedge funds at this point. So we’ve entered a frothy speculative stage of the game.

    Perhaps this means we will get very wild swings in the price going forwards, with dips and rallies in the $50-100 range becoming common.

    My position is that gold is going over $1,000, and perhaps $2,000. At $1,000 I’m not moving, at $2,000 I’m out. I’ve watched this for so long now that I am confident of the $1,000 price point, and suspect that when the mania hits it will pop to $2,000 - but that is a stretch.

    I expect speculative mania to hit at some point, and that point is approaching faster now. Once the world wakes up to the investment power of gold and the guy on the street is asking his broker how to get in, then the POG will fly.

    Timing the market, as we all know, is almost impossible, so getting out at the top is probably not an option, selling at a good profit requires discipline, picking the exit point is key.

    With the hedge funds now involved I think the POG will become more unpredictable, but will still continue to rise.

    Here’s a great article on hedge funds and commodities from the Independent:

    http://news.independent.co.uk/business/analysis_and_features/article361612.ece

    Finally, I’m still telling people to buy the dips, but very few do. Some of my closest friends have finally followed me in to gold in the past couple of years, as they’ve seen some of my prognostications materialize, and they are now loving the action (while being a little scared for the future).

    Cheers Rich

  63. tz May 3, 2006 6:15 am

    We are a democracy and that is exactly the problem. The tyranny of the majority.

    About 100 years ago, the consitution was changed to change from state appointed senators to directly elected ones. And Wilson’s interventionism, the IRS, welfare, and many other curses came in its wake.

    The United States was originated on diffusing power to prevent tyranny. The States handled most things, not the Federal government, and jealously guarded their powers. The Federal government was designed to be divided and to fight, not cooperate. The house of representatives was to represent the people, but the senate the states, and the president the people as a whole, and the courts simply to resolve contradictions.

    I would also note the average american wants to cheat if they can get away with it, game the system to his advantage, doesn’t want to work hard but get gain.

    In what way is the Federal Government not representative of the majority of americans?

  64. Rich May 3, 2006 8:21 am

    Hey tz, we must be living in 2 different America’s then!

    I don’t see this place being a democracy anymore than it’s a republic.

    We live in a rapidly evolving corpocracy where the power is with the people who count the votes (that has been demonstrated adequately I believe).

    As far as the average American is involved, most Americans are generous of nature and heart, but deluded about reality. When you peel back the layers most Americans want the same things, and want them for everybody.

    It is true that people everywhere will stick their hand out if someone is giving away goodies, just go to Costco and sample the freebies. So I don’t blame Americans for dipping in to a system that they’ve been conditioned from birth to rely on. I don’t like it, but humans are humans.

    The issue is that the people are conditioned by the corpocracy (oligarchy, synarchy, whatever) to feel entitled to something for nothing. Re-educate them to believe they need to be self sufficient and they will become self sufficient.

    I see the tyranny of the masses at play in what I’d call “petty-democracy” where local political iniatives (like smoking in pubs) is banned by local people voting in local elections. Personally I think this is a mistake too, it truly is the tyranny of the masses, but the BIG issues of Federal government aren’t subject to this pettiness. Petty Democracy is another form of opium for the masses, it gives us peasants something to influence, and a feeling that we are actually in control of something!!!

    Cheers Rich

  65. bp May 3, 2006 8:54 am

    thanx Rich, let me push it just a tad further and see what you think. So you get out at your designated cap, be it $2000, or whatever - then I suppose you go into cash, wait for the bottom to hit in gold, or there abouts, and re-enter?

    It’s hard to foresee all the twists and turns possible, but it is wise to have an idea of possibilites and how one could deal with them. Beyond the precious metals speculation cycle it is hard to figure where things will go.

    What I am expecting is that at some point in here the house (economy) collapses. I may be wrong, but to me it seems this problem could go global and all markets could crash - so at some point I will be interested in basically trying to preserve value, maybe even survive, and not make a bunch of money.

    Definitely interesting times we live in!

  66. RIch May 3, 2006 2:02 pm

    Hey bp.

    You make a good point……it would make a good article…..”Beyond Gold?”

    Most gold bugs can’t foresee a future where they actually divest of the gold, because its been decades since they believed in a peak in the price and an opportunity to sell!

    However, as this global economy unwinds, and gold becomes ever more popular (and ultimately a very political football being kicked around due to its position as the ultimate hedge against a failing dollar) the need to get out if it and into something else as a store of value will become key.

    The problem with gold, as I’ve stated before, is it is the proverbial canary in the gold mine. When it squaks to $2,000 it means the death of the dollar and life as we knew it!!!

    So, what could we all possibly invest our over-inflated dollars in when gold is bursting and the dollar is on its knees?

    I’m guessing we’d have to sell out of gold and into Euro’s or Renminbi (Yuan), or something similar.

    The problem is if the dollar is going down it will take the global economy with it. If you bail out in to cash you may need a wheelbarrow of the stuff for a loaf of bread.

    So, what to invest in when the proverbial hits the fan??

    This could be the subject of the next blog!!

    Cheers Rich

  67. Decoymaker May 3, 2006 11:10 pm

    Rich writes:As far as the average American is involved, most Americans are generous of nature and heart, but deluded about reality. When you peel back the layers most Americans want the same things, and want them for everybody.

    That’s exactly right Rich. The USA’s people donot want to see any culture of people suffer under despotism from anyone. But Americans will protect their own to survive the dilemas perpatrated by people who are using the systems in corrupt mannerisms, to serve their views of how life should be. But these people never really ever had to ……How should I say it? Get dirt under their finger nails to make a living.
    I see it like this. If you never had to sweat and burden once or twice to earn your keeps in this life. You haven’t done anything yet.
    Not all people who are rich and wealthy are lazy folks. Some work very hard at it. but some of these folks have forgotten just what that took to get there and they forget what burden they place onto their workers. This is the sad state of affairs. But you are right. We need to go threw what is coming. It will help people remember what good things life gives and why they are so hard to come by.

  68. Turk May 8, 2006 5:24 am

    I can only think of one term that most accurately describes the U.S. and actually the world in general as we find ourselves in it today: Corporate Monarchy. The trick for the average guy is to keep on figuring out how to thrive in the system when you aren’t connected to those who pull the strings. Democracy, Republic or America by any other description you choose, and I mean the country we have known since the end of WWII, has indeed changed. The mind set, in fact a Christian value, where the least among us has a say and a place, seems to be fading into a shark pool where only the strongest will survive.

  69. Rich May 8, 2006 6:11 am

    New Blog, New Blog, New Blog!!

    C’mon Michael, get off your butt and fire up something new.

    Cheers Rich

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