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How Can You Laugh at a Time Like This?

Gypsy and Willy

No. 456

Promise 'em anything, give 'em what they get.

May 17, 2010

The title of this blog seems to be the credo of modern democratic elections, at least in the U.S.. While such flagrant betrayal of promises is the norm, the reason is tied to the necessity of raising huge quantities of money in order to buy media time and other "necessities" for election campaigns. However, any reasonably intelligent politician in the U.S. knows that while he or she can promise anything at all, what can actually be accomplished is only what the majority of his or her colleagues are willing to deliver. But, since the guiding principle of these compatriots is to be reelected, the only reliable source of so much dough are the corporations, long ago declared to have the same rights as individuals by our equally corrupt Supreme court and recently allowed to "donate" as much as they wish on first amendment grounds. These "individuals" REAL individuals...expect something in return for their contributions...and they usually get it due to the amounts they are willing to dedicate to the process. This means that the majorities necessary to fulfill any of the promises made during campaigns can be easily thwarted by pressure on the completely sold out legislative bodies. Of course, corporations are hardly unified in what they want, each attempting to buy the loyalty of those who will advance what they see as their particular causes. But, all that is necessary to stop maintain the status buying enough votes to kill majority on the issue.

European democracies, with parliamentary systems where the executive is chosen from the legislative branch have taken a lot of the money out of elections. This was done by a series of rulings like mandating shorter campaign seasons. Still, it is worth remembering that Hitler was himself brought to power by democratic elections in the early 1930's and he did it by making a whole lot of extravagant promises to the German people ostensibly to return some of the glory lost in WW I and the Treaty of Versailles. What the German people got, of course, was not only utter ruin to their infrastructure, the death of 13 million of their citizens but also the shame of the Holocaust being carried out in their name. What ALL European countries got was not that dissimilar to what Germany achieved. This resulted, due to very clever opportunism by the U.S. politicians, an economic dependency on the U.S. that persists into the present, as evident from the recent collapse of U.S. financial institutions which dragged the entire world along for the ride.

Obama, like Nixon, vowed to his followers to end unpopular wars. Instead, Nixon gave us many more years of war...many, many more deaths of U.S. and "enemy" soldiers. Obama seems to be doing exactly the same. Both inherited these wars from their immediate predecessors, but it should be "perfectly clear" that neither had any intention of actually carrying out their promises without a bit more flexing of U.S. military muscle...before admitting defeat...or, alternatively...declaring victory and bringing the troops home . Obama promised a lot of other things as well, but as the recent debacle of the passage of a "health reform" bill shows, his promises have turned into a feeble stirring of the status quo pot, like the drugstore cowboys, lots of hat but no cattle. Stop torture? Sure. But hey, like the Shah of pre-revolutionary Iran, we only torture a "little." Equal rights for gay people? Maybe later. End the wars? For sure, later.

So what is to be done? We think a good start would be to change our representative governments into true democracies. That is, give the people of the world more direct access to the wheels of power, more say in what is done. The tools for doing this have long included the referendum...where laws are initiated and put into effect by direct elections by the people...the recall...where politicians can be directly unelected by the people and other methods collectively deemed to be "progressive...only progress toward what end? Indeed, states like California and several in the Midwest have tried these remedies, but they haven't worked out as intended. Similar results have obtained in Europe, where referenda have brought laws into effect that seem to justify the fears of those who hate direct democracy...which has been deemed "mob rule" by that clique...and which, by the way, included the majority of our "founding fathers." The reasons are complex, but the fact remains that representative government is still equated with "democracy" and continues to get ever more corrupt as time passes.

We believe, in the age of the Internet that there is another, simpler solution which we call democracy by proxy. The usual justification for electing representatives lies in the undisputed fact that most people do not WANT to be part of government on a day to day basis. Most of us have more important, or at least more desirable, ways to spend our time. Suppose that instead of each of us voting on every issue, we were allowed to vest our vote in somebody else, with the option to withdraw this mandate AT ANY TIME and either cast a vote ourselves, or pass it on to somebody else. This sounds like a recipe for chaos. It appears to lack the checks and balances claimed to be revered by our aristocratic leaders. However, with each branch of government as corrupt as it is, it has become the blind leading the blind...or, more accurately...the foxes taking over management of the chicken house.

In our next blog, the second to last of this series, we will show that it would be relatively easy to incorporate checks and balances into a proxy democracy, using tools that are readily available.

Talk to you later...

To contact Gypsy or Willy and comment on what they have written...or anything else...write to (Willy Chaplin).or (Gypsy)


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