Why Thomas Paine’s Common Sense Is Important: Chris Hedges, Cornel West, and Richard Wolff (2014)

Published on Dec 12, 2014

From the 2014 Left Forum in NYC
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thomas paine image
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Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an English and American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the rebels in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called “a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination”.
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Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an English and American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the rebels in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called “a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination”.

Born in Thetford, England, in the county of Norfolk, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution. Virtually every rebel read (or listened to a reading) of his powerful pamphlet Common Sense (1776), which crystallized the rebellious demand for independence from Great Britain. His The American Crisis (1776–83) was a prorevolutionary pamphlet series. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said, “Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.”

Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. He wrote Rights of Man (1791), in part a defense of the French Revolution against its critics. His attacks on British writer Edmund Burke led to a trial and conviction in absentia in 1792 for the crime of seditious libel. In 1792, despite not being able to speak French, he was elected to the French National Convention. The Girondists regarded him as an ally. Consequently, the Montagnards, especially Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy.

In December 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of his pamphlet The Age of Reason (1793–94), in which he advocated deism, promoted reason and free thought, and argued against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. He also wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1795), discussing the origins of property, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income. In 1802, he returned to the U.S. where he died on June 8, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity.

Thomas Paine has a claim to the title The Father of the American Revolution because of Common Sense, the pro-independence monograph pamphlet he anonymously published on January 10, 1776; signed “Written by an Englishman”, the pamphlet became an immediate success.[21] It quickly spread among the literate, and, in three months, 100,000 copies (estimated 500,000 total including unauthorized editions sold during the course of the Revolution)[22] sold throughout the American British colonies (with only two million free inhabitants), making it the best-selling American title of the period.[22][23] Paine’s original title for the pamphlet was Plain Truth; Paine’s friend, pro-independence advocate Benjamin Rush, suggested Common Sense instead.

The pamphlet came into circulation in January 1776, after the Revolution had started. It was passed around, and often read aloud in taverns, contributing significantly to spreading the idea of republicanism, bolstering enthusiasm for separation from Britain, and encouraging recruitment for the Continental Army. Paine provided a new and convincing argument for independence by advocating a complete break with history. Common Sense is oriented to the future in a way that compels the reader to make an immediate choice. It offers a solution for Americans disgusted with and alarmed at the threat of tyranny.[24]

Paine was not, on the whole, expressing original ideas in Common Sense, but rather employing rhetoric as a means to arouse resentment of the Crown. To achieve these ends, he pioneered a style of political writing suited to the democratic society he envisioned, with Common Sense serving as a primary example. Part of Paine’s work was to render complex ideas intelligible to average readers of the day, with clear, concise writing unlike the formal, learned style favored by many of Paine’s contemporaries.[25] Scholars have put forward various explanations to account for its success, including the historic moment, Paine’s easy-to-understand style, his democratic ethos, and his use of psychology and ideology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_P…

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EXCELLENT BLOG BY JILL DALTON OF THE ABOVE PRESENTATION:

THE ANATOMY OF REVOLUTION: PART I: THOMAS PAINE

 A Report from the Left Forum (6-1-14) with: Chris Hedges, Dr. Cornel West, and Richard Wolff.

Moderated by: Laura Flanders.

By Jill Dalton, NYC June 5, 2014

This seminar was part of the Left Forum’s three day symposium,Reform and/or Revolution: Imagining a World with Transformative Justice, held at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City (May 30 – June 1). The turn out at this conference was their largest to date, which I consider a very good sign.

Chris Hedges, Dr. Cornel West and Richard Wolff began a ten-part series starting with, according to Chris Hedges, America’s only real revolutionist, Thomas Paine. In Paine’s three great works,Common Sense, The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason, he laid down the foundations by which rebellion is morally and legally permissible. With the rise of the corporate state, they ask whether the conditions set by Paine have been met, and if Paine’s call to overthrow British tyranny should be our own.

Continued at link.

Thomas Paine image on reason

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FINALLY i HAVE ADDED A FREE AUDIO BOOK “COMMON SENSE” BY THOMAS PAINE

Published on Nov 13, 2013

Common Sense by Thomas Paine, Audiobook, Audio Philosophy.
Thomas Paine has a claim to the title The Father of the American Revolution because of Common Sense, the pro-independence monograph pamphlet he anonymously published on January 10, 1776; signed “Written by an Englishman”, the pamphlet became an immediate success. It quickly spread among the literate, and, in three months, 100,000 copies (estimated 500,000 total including pirated editions sold during the course of the Revolution) sold throughout the American British colonies (with only two million free inhabitants), making it the best-selling book ever. Paine’s original title for the pamphlet was Plain Truth; Paine’s friend, pro-independence advocate Benjamin Rush, suggested Common Sense instead.
The pamphlet appeared in January 1776, after the Revolution had started. It was passed around, and often read aloud in taverns, contributing significantly to spreading the idea of republicanism, bolstering enthusiasm for separation from Britain, and encouraging recruitment for the Continental Army. Paine provided a new and convincing argument for independence by advocating a complete break with history. Common Sense is oriented to the future in a way that compels the reader to make an immediate choice. It offers a solution for Americans disgusted and alarmed at the threat of tyranny. (Introduction by Wikipedia)
Common Sense by Thomas Paine [Philosophy Audiobook]

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Stop Drilling in the Arctic! Obama betrayed us Again…

doctom2010:

“Why do people support Obama when he supports drilling in the Arctic, offshore drilling, murdering prisoners, 27 unnecessary wars of choice, the suspension of habeas corpus, sending illegal drones knowing each kills an average of fifty innocent people.

If you want this irresponsible drilling stopped, contact the most powerful man on the planet… as if if would do you any good.”

Originally posted on The Peace Resource:

Greenpeace activists board the ice breakers Fennica and Nordica in Helsinki. The activists protest against Shell's Arctic oil drilling plans by dropping banners reading "Save the Arctic. Stop Shell". The government owned company Arctia Shipping has contracted the ice breakers to support Shell's drilling for the drilling seasons 2012-2014. Greenpeace activists board the ice breakers Fennica and Nordica in Helsinki. The activists protest against Shell’s Arctic oil drilling plans by dropping banners reading “Save the Arctic. Stop Shell”. The government owned company Arctia Shipping has contracted the ice breakers to support Shell’s drilling for the drilling seasons 2012-2014.

Why do people support Obama when he supports drilling in the Arctic, offshore drilling, murdering prisoners, 27 unnecessary wars of choice, the suspension of habeas corpus, sending illegal drones knowing each kills an average of fifty innocent people.

If you want this irresponsible drilling stopped, contact the most powerful man on the planet… as if if would do you any good.

https://thepeaceresource.wordpress.com/…/stand-up…/

(He is not on our side, he is in Shell’s pocket.)

Obama administration grants Arctic drilling approval to Shell

Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, called it the wrong choice.

“This decision puts the fate of…

View original 350 more words

Richard D. Wolff: I’m Becoming a Fan of Pope Francis: “Capitalism Runs Counter to the Plan of Jesus” + What is Community Wealth Building?

doctom2010:

Excellent post from Dandellion Salad of Richard Wolff and extra on Community Wealth Building!
“These programs begin with 30 minutes of short updates on important economic events of the last month. Then Wolff analyzes several major economic issues. For July 22nd, these will include:
1. Greece and the choking of Europe’s welfare state
2. Capitalism’s shift from “old centers” (north America, western Europe, and Japan) to “new centers” (China, India, Brazil, etc.) brings harsh politics
3. Financing workers coops as a better way forward.”

Professor Wolff’s Website: http://www.rdwolff.com

Originally posted on Dandelion Salad:

Pope Francis rips capitalism and trickle-down economics Image by Devendra Makkar via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

with Richard D. Wolff

RichardDWolff on Jul 22, 2015

Global Capitalism: Monthly Economic Update

“Winners and Losers in Today’s Shifting Capitalism”

View original 232 more words

Honoring the Works of Chris Hedges, No. 2, Important Video Presentations and Books

chrishedgesComposed by Thomas Baldwin

July 25, 2015

INTRODUCTION:

In “Honoring the Works of Chris Hedges, No. 1”  I focused on his most recent work, especially his new book, “Wages of Rebellion:  The Moral Imperative of Revolt” by showing at least two video presentations he had made since the book’s release. Included in that blog were also a Hedges and Richard Wolff presentation on “Marx, the System is the Problem”, Hedges interviews with scholar Sheldon Wolin (and his concept of Inverted Totalitarianism), a multipart interview of Scheer on “They Know Everything About You” and a Gary Null audio interview of Hedges.  In Hedges most recent book and in his talks he displays his knowledge of revolts and revolutions that he has directly witnessed in other countries, and applies his knowledge of history in concluding that the U.S. needs a full scale revolution to rid ourselves of the “Corporate State” and the two party Duopoly which has become its servant.  He further concludes that no meaningful change can occur within the electoral system with its current dominance from corporate elite control.

In the Fall of 2014 Eric Zuesse reported that two professors, Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, concluded the U.S. is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy.  In a detailed statistical analysis they showed that in over 1700 policy decisions,  that the average American had essentially no influence on measures passed by Congress.  These policies all reflected corporate desires and demands made of Congress independent of  the American public needs and wishes.  I have frequently used the term “corporate fascism” to state that we are a government of where our real rulers are corporations which have “merged” with the state to make all meaningful decisions about the welfare of the citizenry. The reason for this is, of course, the vast unlimited amounts of money poured into campaigns and lobbying, which is none other than “legalized” bribery. Historically, this has often simply been simply dismissed as “special interests” at work but this term discounts the real magnitude of our government dysfunction in not being representative of the people.  Each electoral period via corporate media propaganda, we are led to believe that our “voting” will make a difference.  It does not!!  And that is vividly demonstrated again by the election of Barack Obama in 2008, when he was easily elected by the corporate money “invested” in his campaign as, for example, the Big Banks on Wall Street.  Although his forked tongue rhetoric was intended to disguise that fact, his policies and practices (results) tell a vastly different story.

Chris Hedges has spent the last several years attempting to document those trends and has urged us to pay attention to what the political system has actually  “DONE”, not what is “SAID”  but the noise created by the media propaganda is designed to hide this.  Why?  It’s simple. The media is controlled by large corporations too, and they benefit tremendously financially by continually telling these lies over and over again.  It is, as if they are simply following the script of George Orwell in his popular book, “1984”.    As Orwell also wrote:  “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”  Obama has helped prove that by prosecuting more “whistleblowers” (and even under the espionage act) than all other presidents combined.  Any one who hasn’t recognized these trends,  lying about new wars and interventions and recently emphasizing the desperate need for new trade agreements controlled by multinational corporations is simply engaged in self delusions.  It is, as if we are reliving the experience of the 1930’s in Europe which was completely dominated by fascist control and ultimate devastation.

In this blog, I further present examples of Hedges body of work which has been intended to educate us but which many Americans are still not familiar.  Corporate media won’t touch it, of course, because it would lead to complete exposure of these dastardly deeds.  It is my hope that this new addition to version “No.  1” makes it easier for people to learn the truth. In my opinion, there is no one in the country other than Chris Hedges who has been our Number 1 teacher and educator in the last decade or so!

NOTE TO READER:  THIS BLOG WILL BE CORRECTED, ADDENDED AND MODIFIED AS NEEDED. IT ALONG WITH THE “NO. 1″ BLOG IS INTENDED AS A REFERENCE DOCUMENT.   IF YOU FIND MISTAKES OR OMISSIONS PLEASE CONTACT ME VIA A COMMENT ON THE BLOG AND/OR EMAIL AT  doctom2010@yahoo.com as changes can be made electronically and automatically corrected in the original post.

Thank you,  Thomas Baldwin

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VIDEO PRESENTATIONS:

By way of an outline and focusing, I will present some good videos of Hedge’s presentations of his numerous important books leading up to his most recent book (and some relevant other talks).  These are available online and most, if not all, are available on YouTube productions  or at Book TV.  This is not necessarily an all encompassing representation but a good assortment of the best videos found.  At the end of the video presentations, I will give a list of Hedges books.

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JANUARY 1, 2012

In Depth with Chris Hedges

(Click on title (link) to see video)

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges talked about his life and work and responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. … Chris Hedges is the author of nine (14 are listed later)  books: War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning (2002 — National Book Critics Circle finalist); What Every Person Should Know About War (2003); Losing Moses on the Freeway: The Ten Commandments in America (2005); American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2007); I Don’t Believe in Atheists (2008): Collateral Damage: America’s War Against Iraqi Civilians (2008); Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009); The Death of the Liberal Class (2010); and The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress (2011).

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This is one of my all time favorites from Hedges presentation in Seattle on his book tour recorded June 9, 2015.  It is a great talk and excellent quality video.  It has been reproduced from the earlier “No. 1″ blog honoring Chris:

Talk by Chris Hedges author of “The Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt” recorded June 9, 2015 at Town Hall Seattle.

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Published on Jun 16, 2015   Chris Hedges speaks at Community Worker Program’s Tommy Douglas Institute May 2015
 
 

 

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JANUARY 30, 2011

Book Discussion on The Death of the Liberal Class 

(Click on title to see video)

Chris Hedges, fellow at the Nation Institute, argues that America’s liberal class has collapsed and with it the citizenry’s protection against what the author deems, the “corporate state.” … Hedges contends that the liberal class, which includes universities, labor movements, the press, the Democratic Party, and liberal religious groups, has been gradually corrupted by corporate entities. … Chris Hedges discussed his book at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon.

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Chris Hedges: Empire of Illusion

83 minutes | Journalist Chris Hedges discusses his recent book Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. In it, he charts the dramatic rise of a post-literate society that craves…

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CHRIS HEDGES–EMPIRE OF ILLUSION (SHUTDOWN YOUR ELECTRONIC HALLUCINATIONS–MARCH 13, 2013

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APRIL 27, 2008

Book Discussion on I Don’t Believe in Atheists

(Click on title/link to observe video)

Chris Hedges talked about his book I Don’t Believe in Atheists, published by Free Press. … Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School, examines the debate on religion and faith in America. … Hedges says that extreme sides of the religious spectrum are a threat to society and that there needs to be moderation and tolerance added to the debate.

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JANUARY 28, 2007

Book Discussion on American Fascists

(Click on link to observe video)

Chris Hedges talked about his book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, published by Free Press. A former New York Times foreign correspondent and Harvard Divinity School graduate, Hedges warned that the Christian Right is threatening a tolerant, free American society. … Hedges was part of a New York Times’ team of foreign correspondents that won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of global terrorism.

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JULY 13, 2014

Panel Discussion on Thomas Paine

(Click in title/link to observe video)

Chris Hedges, Cornel West, and Richard Wolff talked about the importance of Thomas Paine and his most influential works: Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and The Age of Reason.

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CHRIS HEDGES:  THE AMERICAN EMPIRE IS DEAD–HOW CORPORATIONS & FINANCE HAVE RUINED THE U.S

(Click on link/title to observe video)

Also see list of videos on right after opening.

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Chris Hedges – The Pathology of The Super Richby The World As It Is39,732 views

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JANUARY 7, 2013

Occupy Movement and Economic Inequality

(Click on link to observe video)

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KSHAMA SAWANT RALLY WITH CHRIS HEDGES IN SEATTLE–This is a great short talk!!

Published on Jun 7, 2015  ‘Seattle is doing exactly the right thing. We must wipe out the Democratic and Republican Parties.”
 
 
 
 

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CHRIS HEDGES ON LIES AND ILLUSION OF BRAND OBAMA

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CHRIS HEDGES:  OBAMA IS A “POSTER CHILD FOR THE DEATH OF THE LIBERAL CLASS” 

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JULY 13, 2014

WWW.FILMSFORACTION.ORG

(Click on title/links to hear Ralph Nader radio show with Hedges)

“Ralph and … Chris Hedges talk about why the American people need to revolt and MIT professor and globalization expert Dr. Nicholas Ashford talks to us from Greece about what is really going on over there.”‪#‎BernieSanders ‪#‎ChrisHedges ‪#‎RalphNader ‪#‎Greece

Chris Hedges: Bernie Sanders is Lending Credibility to a Party That is Completely Corporatized,…

Dandelion Salad with Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader Ralph Nader Radio Hour July 11, 2015 Ralph and acclaimed journalist/author Chris Hedges talk about…

DANDELIONSALAD.WORDPRESS.COM

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CHRIS HEDGES, WAR IS A DRUG

(Click on title/link to hear audio)

Chris Hedges: War is a drugPulitzer Prize winner Christopher Hedges spent decades as a war correspondent before the suffering he witnessed became too much to bear. In the fall of 2014, he gave a lecture at Ryerson University in Toronto. He later joined Paul 

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BOOKS PUBLISHED BY CHRIS HEDGES:  (From Hedges Amazon page, not an endorsement of a particular supplier)

Chris Hedges is a cultural critic and author who was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio. He reported from Latin American, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He is a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute and writes an online column for the web site Truthdig. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto.

Learn more at Author Central

BOOKS BY CHRIS HEDGES
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I Don’t Believe in Atheists by Chris Hedges (2008)

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Fear This by Anthony Suau (Jun 15, 2005)

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Iraq: A War by Associated Press and Chris Hedges (Nov 15, 2006)

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Matter of 437 people of all the real war should know about the war (2004) ISBN: 4087734102 [Japanese Import]

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> See search results for author “Chris Hedges” in Books

President Bernie Sanders: What Would it Mean? by John Spritzler

Bernie for sheepdog articleReprinted from www.NewDemocracyWorld.org

By John Spritzler

July 8, 2015

(Minor modifications including the addition of images and an embedded video by Thomas Baldwin, editor of this blog.)

 President Bernie Sanders! The very thought of such a thing gives many people hope for a better United States. It gives them hope that finally our country will be removed from the ruthless grip of the billionaire class who are making our society more and more brutally unequal. A President Bernie Sanders, many hope, will be a champion of ordinary people able to marshal the executive power of the federal government on the side of “We the People” for a change. What a wonderful thing THAT would be! Like a dream come true.

But is it dream and merely wishful thinking, or is it really possible? I don’t mean, Is it merely wishful thinking that Bernie Sanders could be elected president? Maybe he could be. I mean, Is it merely wishful thinking that a President Bernie Sanders would turn our country around from the awful direction it has been going and usher in a new era in which we begin heading towards equality and genuine democracy instead of the virtual dictatorship of the rich we’ve been suffering under for so long?

Do We Live in a Democracy or an Oligarchy?

To believe that it is not just wishful thinking but a real possibility, one would have to believe that the electoral system of government in the United States is truly what we are told it is. One would have to believe, in other words, that the election system allows ordinary American citizens, merely by flipping a lever in a ballot booth, to choose people to truly and genuinely represent them (and not Big Money) in the Oval Office and in Congress. One would need to believe that these representatives would then write laws that truly and genuinely represent the values–equality and mutual aid–of the ordinary people who elected them and not the opposite values of Big Money. And one would need to believe that the president in the Oval Office would then execute these good laws as the vast majority of ordinary Americans want them to be executed.

But the reality is that we live in a dictatorship of the rich, in which the election system does not at all allow ordinary people to shape government policy. It’s not just I claiming this. This is the conclusion of a widely cited academic paper reporting on a study with an enormous data base, online here and also here(Business Insider: “Major Study Finds the US is an Oligarchy”) and here (TPM: “Princeton Study: US No Longer an Actual Democracy”) and here (BBC: “Study: US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy”). Additional proof is provided here.

The history of elections in the United States, if one actually studies it, makes it virtually impossible to believe that the election system is what we are told it is. If one examines the promises made by elected presidents versus what they actually did in office (as I do for all U.S. presidents from FDR to Obama in my article here,which I hope you will read before deciding how much faith to put in the election system), then one sees that there is simply no correlation between the promises and the actual behavior of the promissor once in office. The promises are what most voters want. The actual policies pursued, once the candidate is elected, are always very different. This holds equally for Democratic Party and Republican Party presidents. The only president since FDR who in any serious way went against the policies favored by Big Money was JFK, and he was assassinated by (according to very persuasive scholarship) the CIA.

The reason presidential candidates forget their campaign promises after being elected is not necessarily because they never intended to carry out their promises. Maybe they really do intend to do what they promise to do. (I think this is rare, but it can happen.) But whether the newly elected president wishes to honor his or her campaign promises or not, the reality is that he or she cannot do so if it means going against the will of the Billionaire class. The reality is that money is power, and the Billionaire class has the money.

The policies of the federal government are determined by private organizations set up by and controlled by the Billionaire class. These are restricted-membership organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations (in which foreign policy is worked out in meetings where what is said by anybody is officially never revealed to the public, and from which organization practically all the topexecutives involved in implementing foreign policy come, no matter who is president) and the Committee for Economic Development (where domestic policy is worked out, for example market-driven health care, as described in this article) whose “members are chairs, CEOs and senior executives of major corporations; university and college presidents; former corporate leaders; and leaders of prominent NGOs.”) There are other similar “think tank” organizations, such as the Trilateral Commission and the Brookings Institute, which, like the others, limit who may join them, and exercise enormous influence because they represent the billionaires. The Council on Foreign Relations was set up by the Rockefeller family and David Rockefeller later on founded the Trilateral Commission.

WHO RULES AMERICA DOCUMENTARY (A five part series, about 25 minutes each.)

From Press TV Documentaries:  Published on Oct 29, 2012.  Provides a comprehensive look at the so called democratic governing system of the United States of America and reveals the actual powers who are ruling the nation.

Not only is our government a dictatorship of the rich, but our whole society is also. Most Americans have to work for somebody else, as their “hired hand,” and do what the boss orders them to do or else be fired. The boss in many cases is the section of the very wealthy class that owns the corporation one works for. There is not even a pretense of democracy “on the job.” In a real democracy, people at work would, as equals, democratically decide on shared goals and ways of achieving them. But in our dictatorship of the rich, the goal of work is decided by the people who own the company and their goal is generally to make themselves richer off the labor of the workers. In this sense, most Americans are “wage slaves.” Those who do the hardest work in our society are the poorest, and those who do the easiest work in great luxury (in fancy office buildings and five star hotels) or who do no work at all are the richest. This is how it is when money is power and most people have practically none while a few are billionaires.

YES! We Can Turn the Country Around in the Right Direction

In order for a person, once elected to the presidency of the United States, to turn the country around and cause it to go in the direction opposite to the direction favored by the Billionaire class, the power of money would have to be rendered null. But the only thing that can do this is a fundamental social/economic/political revolution, carried out by literally hundreds of millions of people where they live and work, that aims EXPLICITLY to remove the rich from power and to render the power of money null by having no rich and no poor (a moneyless society, as described here.). Such a revolution is NOT a pipe dream; it is NOT just wishful thinking. In the years from 1936 to 1939 such a social revolution took place in half of Spain (it is called the Spanish Civil War in the text books, but it was actually an egalitarian revolution led mainly by anarchist, not Marxist, ideas.) An egalitarian revolution is indeed possible in the United States, because it is in fact what the vast majority of Americans would LOVE. The proof that most Americans would love such a revolution can be seen from the fact that when one actually asks random people on the street what they think about the idea of removing the rich from power to have real not fake democracy with no rich and no poor, they say it is a great idea. (To see videos of people on the street saying this, watch this video, and see other similar ones here).

To make an egalitarian revolution requires building an egalitarian revolutionary movement, as discussed here. In order for people to build such a movement they need to know two important things: #1) that most Americans today already would love an egalitarian revolution to take place; and #2) that simply voting in an election cannot make an egalitarian revolution.

The Billionaires Use Elections to Stay in Power

The ruling class (the Billionaire class) works very hard to make sure that people do not know the #1 and #2 facts cited above. Regarding the #1 fact, the rulers use their control of the mass media and the alternative media (such as Democracy Now!) to make sure that Americans never see or hear their fellow Americans saying they would love to remove the rich from power to have real not fake democracy with no rich and no poor. Even though most Americans feel this way, their egalitarian revolutionary aspirations are rendered invisible to their fellow Americans by the mass and alternative media literally censoring them. As a result, most Americans feel that, in having revolutionary egalitarian aspirations, they are a hopelessly weak and small minority, and therefore it is pointless to even think about egalitarian revolution, never mind talk about it (and risk scorn) or act upon it. Given this hopelessness, people reluctantly “hold their nose” and vote for the “lesser evil.”

Regarding the #2 fact, the rulers use politicians making wonderful promises to keep people thinking that they can make the government do good things just by voting for this or that candidate for president. As long as people have faith in the fairy tale Big Lie that elections allow us to control the government, then they will be far less willing to do what it takes to build a mass revolutionary egalitarian movement. The angrier people are at the policies of the Billionaire class, the more radical and even revolutionary the promises of a politician must be in order to maintain people’s faith in the election system.

The question, therefore, is not whether one will vote for Bernie Sanders or not. The question is whether one will work to build an egalitarian revolutionary movement or not. But, let’s be realististic. To the extent that one places one’s hope in Bernie Sanders and the election system, and to the extent that one tells other people to place their hope in Bernie Sanders and the election system (i.e., campaign for him), then to that extent one is helping the ruling class prevent the growth of an egalitarian revolutionary movement–the only thing that can remove the Billionaire class from power.

Who is Bernie Sanders--caricature

What about Bernie Sanders’s Platform and Views?

Up to now, I have not assumed anything negative about Bernie Sanders’s personal integrity, because that is not the main issue in deciding whether or not to vote and campaign for him. But, even though it is not the main issue, it is an issue. So let’s look at Bernie Sanders, the man and his platform and views.

The most striking fact about Bernie Sanders is that he supports the Israeli government’s policy of refusing to allow the Palestinian refugees (from the 78% of Palestine now known as Israel) to return to live in that part of Palestine from which they (or, now, their parents and grandparents) were violenty driven out in 1948 and again in 1967 (and are continuing to be driven out.) The Israeli government uses the violent removal of non-Jews from Israel to ensure that Jews will be a robust majority of the population inside Israel, on the specious grounds that Jews cannot live safely among non-Jews.

What the Israeli government refers to as “the existence of Israel” and (the need to do whatever is necessary to protect) “the security of Israel” is code for the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from 78% of Palestine. To see that this is so, it is only necessary to consider that if Israel ended the ethnic cleansing (by allowing the Palestinian refugees to return), made non-Jews and Jews equal under the law, and fairly compensated Palestinians for property stolen from them by the Israeli government (which would indeed mean the end of Israel as a “Jewish state”; so what?), then the Palestinians would no longer have a grievance against Israel and the conflict would end and ordinary Jews inside Israel would be FAR safer than they are today. Even if some individual Palestinians continued to advocate violence against Jews, they would now be considered criminals by the vast majority of ordinary Palestinians, whose anger at Israel is anger against ethnic cleansing, not anti-Semitism. (Before the Zionist movment linked Judaism with ethnic cleansing, Jews and non-Jews in Palestine lived peaceably together, contrary to the Big Lie that Jews and Muslims in Palestine have been fighting for thousands of years.) But a just resolution of the conflict is the very last thing that Israeli and American rulers want.

A just resolution of the conflict does not happen because both the Israeli and American ruling classes have a social-control strategic reason (Israel’s ethnic cleansing creates the bogeyman enemy that their Orwellian Wars of social control need in order to work) for supporting Israel’s brutally violent and decades-long ethnic cleansing, which reason I discuss in my articles titled “The Israel Lobby’s Power Comes from the American Ruling Class” and “Israeli Leaders and Hamas Need Each Other.” Every serious American politician, Jewish or not, supports Israel because they know that this is presently a condition for gaining the status of “serious politician” in the mass media controlled by the ruling class. Expressing support for Israel is the way a politician indicates to the ruling class that he or she is not REALLY trying to remove the ruling plutocracy (oligarchy) from power, no matter what else they may say on the campaign trail.

And so Bernie Sanders supports Israel’s “right to exist” and “right to defend itself.”* The Jewish Forward reported on Bernie Sanders’s views on Israel here. The article explains that Sanders tries to avoid talking about Israel, and has been critical of specific actions of the Israeli government, but points out:

“I know he’s often rated as the most liberal senator,” said Aaron Keyak, a Democratic political consultant and the managing director of Bluelight Strategies. “When I see Senator Bernie Sanders, I see someone who is a typical pro-Israel Jewish Democrat….He prefers for Israel to have a left of center government, but he still fundamentally supports Israel.”

When pressed at a town hall meeting to condemn Israel’s ethnic cleansing (not just its “disproportionate” use of force in carrying it out) forthrightly, Sanders got angry, as reported here.

Sanders supported Israel’s brutal massacre of civilians in Gaza (more than 70% of whom are refugees Israel does not allow to return to their villages inside the “Israel” part of Palestine) by supporting the Senate resolution “Supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas,” as Sanders’s own website here reports:

“Israel-Palestine The Senate last week passed a resolution without a formal roll call vote by unanimous consent supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas. Writing for Salon, David Palumbo-Liu noted that Sen. Sanders “voted” for the resolution which actually passed without a vote. LINK

David Palumbo-Liu writes here:

“Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., a co-sponsor of the resolution, was absolutely right when he said, “The United States Senate is in Israel’s camp.”

“For many outside the U.S. Senate, the discovery that even progressive stalwarts such as Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Al Franken, D-Minn., voted for the resolution is more than disappointing. It does more than confirm U.S. Senate support for Israel. It pushes that statement beyond any rational or ethical or moral framework imaginable.

“The resolution not only gave the green light to the invasion—it gave the IDF a high-five and armaments as they crossed the intersection. All this after more than 400 civilians already had been killed by Israeli forces, the vast majority of them children. It was as if that bloodshed were not of a sufficient quantity.”

On domestic issues, Bernie Sanders, despite whatever he means by calling himself a democratic socialist, absolutely does not say that the rich should be removed from power. On the contrary, he says that they should ease up on how terribly they treat regular people. One can examine Sanders’s own websites and never find even a hint that the rich should be deprived of the power that they have as a result of personally owning (illigitimately!) billions of dollars of wealth. Nothing that Bernie Sanders advocates would change the fact that Americans would remain wage slaves, working for a wealthy class as their “hired hands” with no say over the goals of their work (for example, to make “guns or butter”).

Yes, Sanders advocates “Getting Big Money Out of Politics.” But this is eyewash. Campaign finance legislation–no matter how “stiff”–will never remove the rich from power because such legislation does not remove the rich from their money. Here’s why removing the rich from their money (i.e., having a society not based on money) is so important.

TPP--the ultimate power grabThe power of the billionaire class comes from their billions of dollars and the fact that in our society money is power. Money is the power to buy and control newspapers and radio stations, and determine whether or not they report that Joe Shmoe is a serious and responsible politician or a lunatic dangerous kook. Money is the power to offer a senator (or senator’s spouse or child or friend) a cushy job or not, depending on how loyal a friend the senator is. Money is the power to tell a community that if it doesn’t provide a sweetheart tax break to a corporation then the corporation will leave town and the community will lose jobs. Money is the power that enables billionaires like Bill and Melinda Gates todetermine how our children will be treated in our public schools, specifically how the poorest and most working class children will be abused and told (with high stakes standardized tests that give the poorest and most working class children the low scores) that they are not deserving of a good-paying job. And the list goes on and on. Writing a law that limits how much money somebody can donate to a campaign may help to disguise the dictatorship of the rich, but it does not diminish its power.

Why Is the “Democratic Socialist” Sanders Portrayed So Respectfully in the Capitalist Media?

Bernie Sanders is calling for some things that Americans want very much, such as medicare for all. Why does the ruling class let him do this and still treat him respectfully in their capitalist-owned mass media? American history suggests why.

There are times in American history when some Americans have won some important improvements. During the 1930s the American working class waged extremely militant strikes, sometimes regional general strikes that the media and people in FDR’s administration claimed were virtual revolutionary insurrections. The federal government used federal troops against workers in every region of the country. FDR and his wealthy class as a whole literally feared revolution. This is why FDR decided it was necessary to grant reforms (such as Social Security and unemployment compensation), to persuade the working class that they didn’t need to make a revolution to live decently. The point is that the reforms were granted not because FDR was president, but because the ruling class faced an increasingly revolutionary working class and judged that they needed to grant reforms to stay in power. Likewise, in the 1960s the Civil Rights Movement waged a ferocious fight in the streets to abolish Jim Crow, and it gained the support of most Americans for that just cause. THIS is the reason why the politicians at the time, who just happened to include LBJ–a man who directed the horrendous killing of about two million Vietnamese peasants for no just cause whatsoever!–passed the Civil Rights Act. They feared the consequences of not passing it. The politician in the Oval Office is not the cause of the government doing something that people want it to do; the cause is the people in the street.**

The fact that at one point a majority of Americans supported the Occupy Wall Street movement, and other similar facts, have made something very clear to the American ruling class. The rulers now realize that in order to prevent the growing numbers of dissaffected Americans from starting to think that it is necessary to make an egalitarian revolution, there need to be at least some politicians who, in their rhetoric and promises, address the concerns of these Americans. That is why almost all politicians today, as never before, talk about the problem of inequality. They need to do this in order to maintain “street cred.” They need to do this in order to keep people from deciding that elections are just a hoax and revolution is necessary.

The more disillusioned with the system and angry at the Billionaire class Americans get, the more radical and revolutionary the politicians’ rhetoric and promises need to be. At the same time, these politicians (if they wish to maintain their good standing in the mass media) need to be only as radical as necessary, but no more so. This perhaps explains why Bernie Sanders advocates things like medicare for all, and in general says the rich should ease up on people, but does not call for building an egalitarian revolutionary movement to remove the rich from power and have no rich and no poor. At this time, his “radical-lite” rhetoric is judged sufficient to keep people believing in the election system.

If there ever is a President Bernie Sanders, all of the evidence indicates that within a few years the people who voted for him will be as angry at him and regretful of being decieved by him as people who voted for Barack Obama are today angry at him and regretful of being deceived by him. Because the fundamental role of the federal government will continue to be to serve the Billionaire class, its policies will continue to anger most people, despite the presence of a Bernie Sanders in the Oval Office. The choice for Americans will remain what it has always been: either suffer to live as wage slaves*** in a dictatorship of the rich that gives a bit more one day only to take it back the next, or make an egalitarian revolution to live as free and equal citizens in a genuine democracy.

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* This video shows Bernie Sanders answering a question about Israel. Sanders makes it clear that he has the same view about Israel that Barack Obama has and, for that matter, that George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush had, which is that Israel should stop expanding its settlements in the West Bank in order to make possible a “two-state solution.” The “two-state solution” means flat-out denial of the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees to the 78% of Palestine known today as Israel. The denial of this right is far and away the #1 grievance of the Palestinians. Refusing to grant the Right of Return means perpetuating the conflict at its root by continuing the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from 78% of Palestine.

** President Nixon’s actions illustrate this. He was a notorious conservative and a hawk. Yet it was Nixon who withdrew–ignominously–from Vietnam. Why? Was it because he had changed into a dove? No. It was because American GIs were by this time (1975) refusing to obey orders to fight the Viet Cong, as the military brass well knew and had informed Nixon. (Read more about this here and here.) Nixon was arguably the most liberal president of that century: he initiated Affirmative Action, strongly supported Head Start and similar “war on poverty” programs, and even considered having the government provide a guaranteed minimum wage. Why? Was it because he had turned into a liberal? No. It was because, at the time of his administration, people “in the street” were, in the judgment of the plutocracy, best controlled by such measures (the carrot rather than the stick.)

*** “How the Unions Killed the Working Class Movement” discusses how a real “political revolution” (Bernie Sander’s new rhetorical phrase) is about ending wage slavery, not getting a higher minimum wage. 

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About John Spritzler:  

Gender Male
Industry Science
Occupation Biostatistician (retired)
Location Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Introduction Senior Research Scientist at a major School of Public Health in Boston, MA. (retired) Editor of www. NewDemocracyWorld.org Resident of Boston, MA since 1974
Favorite Books We CAN Change the World, by Dave Stratman

Report from PSC Candidate Tom Blanton on Miss. Power Proposed “New” Rate Increases

Originally posted on Progressive Voice Activists--Mississippi Edition:

Kemper-facility-aerial-view-thumb-300x209 From Bigger Pie

This brief blog (Prepared by Thomas Baldwin with permission of Tom Blanton) contains two items:

1)  The video broadcast of Tom Blanton interview by Doug Manfield on WKFK, Channel 7, Pascagoula.  In that you will learn the details of the Miss. Power Kemper “Clean Coal” calamity that has resulted in electricity rate increases in the past two years.  Those rate increases were found to be illegal and improper by the Miss. Supreme Court and refunds were ordered by the court.  Those refunds are imminent and total over 300 million dollars.  In addition, Miss. Power was ordered to rescind the rate increases and those new decreased rates should begin to appear in your electricity bills by the end of July.  

2)  Further, Miss. Power filed a request to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to increase rates again to address an “emergency” funding need to continue with Kemper.  Tom Blanton and…

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If war is working for you, vote Sanders… but if you want peace, justice and freedom: Shine with Stein!

doctom2010:

“More on what some are trying to do to support third party candidates as alternatives to the Duopoly.
“Sanders is an older man, relatively conservative in spirit and deed, but a careful politician. His populist campaign rhetoric can be compelling, if you are willing to settle for “lesser evils.” But he told us it’s his job to deliver voters for Hillary. If she gets the keys to the kingdom established by Obama (claiming the right of kings to kill at will) we’re in real trouble.”

Originally posted on The Peace Resource:

JillSteinSanders is an older man, relatively conservative in spirit and deed, but a careful politician. His populist campaign rhetoric can be compelling, if you are willing to settle for “lesser evils.” But he told us it’s his job to deliver voters for Hillary. If she gets the keys to the kingdom established by Obama (claiming the right of kings to kill at will) we’re in real trouble.

The only candidate who has the guts and determination to challenge the corporate elite is Doctor Jill Stein. She may not have the charisma of deceivers like Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama… nor does she have the fiscal power of the Bush dynasty, but she is speaking truth to power. And there are more of us than there are of them.

“We have been tricked, trickled-on and lied to.”

https://tfightbackhewordsmithcollection.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/we-have-been-tricked-trickled-on-and-lied-to/

“Our leaders murder prisoners at home and innocents abroad

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