Elections

US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy, says Scientific Study

by Eric Zuesse

study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, "Who governs? Who really rules?" in this country, is: 

Comcast, Time Warner and Congress: Perfect Together

by Michael Winship

The US Senate on Wednesday held its first hearing on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner deal — a $45 billion transaction that will affect millions of consumers and further pad some already well-lined pockets — so now seems a good time to look at how our elected officials have benefitted from the largesse of the two companies with an urge to merge.

Although the ultimate decision will be made by the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a reliable, nonpartisan watchdog, “The number one and number two cable providers in the country are also big-time on the influence circuit, giving upwards of a combined $42.4 million to various politicians and groups since 1989.

The Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Explorer tool also shows that the two companies have spent a combined $143.5 million lobbying Congress since 1989 on issues including telecommunications, technology, taxes and copyright.

Presidential Prospect or Not, Elizabeth Warren Has a Lesson for Democrats

by John Nichols

Many thoughtful media reports on the remarkable address that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren gave at the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Humphrey-Mondale Dinner have focused on the fact that she took apart Paul Ryan.

There is no question that the senator from Massachusetts shamed the congressman from Wisconsin.

One report was headlined: “Elizabeth Warren schools Paul Ryan on poverty in 80 seconds.”

Another announced: “Elizabeth Warren Picks A Fight With Paul Ryan.”

Still another reported: “Elizabeth Warren Slams Paul Ryan On Inner City Culture Comment.”

All true. All accurate.

(Another) Poll Finds Increased Nationwide Support for Legalizing Marijuana

by Marijuana Policy Project

Majority of Americans think marijuana should be legal for adults and is less harmful than alcohol for the user and society; nationwide legalization seen as inevitable

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center showed that for the second year in a row a majority of Americans (54%) support making marijuana legal.  This represents a two percent increase in support from last year.

Only 42% support keeping marijuana illegal. Three-quarters of those polled think that the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide.

The poll also revealed that 69% of respondents see alcohol as more harmful to individual health than marijuana, and 63% think alcohol is more dangerous to society.

Pew’s nationwide survey of 1,821 adults was conducted February 14-23. Detailed survey results are available at here.

With McCutcheon Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy

by John Nichols

Any doubts about the determination of an activist United States Supreme Court to rewrite election rules so that the dollar matters more than the vote were removed Wednesday, when McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was decided in favor of the dollar.

The court that in 2010, with its Citizens United v. FEC decision, cleared the way for corporations to spend as freely as they choose to buy elections has now effectively eliminated the ability of the American people and their elected representatives to establish meaningful limits on direct donations by millionaires and billionaires to campaigns.

How to Fan the Flames

by Alexandra Bradbury and Jane Slaughter

We troublemakers keep hoping for the spark that will set a wildfire of workers in motion. The worse our situation gets—economically, politically, ecologically—the more we yearn for a vast movement to erupt and transform the landscape.

Where will the next big movement come from? Fights in the workplace can be the training ground. (Photo: OUR Walmart)

Corporate Welfare and the Minimum Wage

by Joslyn Stevens

(Photo: SEIU)

The arguments against raising the minimum wage are bullshit. The majority of Americans including conservatives support an increase yet congress continues to drag its feet on doing right by the people they claim to serve.  The conservative “pull-yourself up-by your-bootstraps” mentality has become an acceptable excuse to justify kicking people when they’re down. The greedy and elitist attitudes of CEO’s and bankers have created a culture of entitlement in this country in which stealing from others less powerful is the best way to get to the top regardless of the social cost.

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