Norman D. Livergood
The United States constitution defines our form of government as a representative democracy. According to this system, informed, aware citizens elect congressional representatives, a president, and vice-president who are to "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
That's the ideal the U.S. constitution provides. However, from the founding of the United States, our democracy has been subverted in actual practice into a fascist plutocracy, with a capitalist cabal maintaining its power over everyone.
"Let the people think they govern and they will be governed."
William Penn (1644–1718), founder of Pennsylvania
The de facto government of the United States is a plutocracy, the rule by the wealthy. America has never been a complete or true democracy, though it has achieved a large number of democratic features. A small group of wealthy people in America has always ruled the nation for its own benefit, not for the welfare of the people. William Penn and other founders of our nation realized that the American people could be fooled into thinking that we govern if our nation is called a democracy, rule of the people.
The Subversion of American Democracy
American democracy has been subverted through:
- The stealing of the 2000 and 2004 elections by the Republicans
- The take-over of federal and state governments by American plutocrats resultinig in a one party system
- The Supreme Court coup d'etat of 2000 resulting in a tyrannous Bush administration
- The use of opinion polls for plutocratic goals
- The American people failing to educate themselves to be able to institute a true democracy and take back their government from the plutocrats
A One-Party Government of Corporate Plunder
The "energy/natural resources" sector of the economy contributed almost a quarter of a billion dollars from the 1990 election cycle to the 2000 election. Of that total, well more than half came from the oil and gas industry alone. It went overwhelmingly to Republicans by a ratio of 68 to 31%, but since the Republicans took over Congress in 1994, their share of the take has never fallen lower than 72%.
The Republicans maintain their lead in every industry or category within this sector except one: alternative energy. Here the Democrats enjoy a comfortable 69-31% advantage—but the $1.3 million involved is barely 1% of what oil and gas gave, and just 0.6% of the sector totals.
Not surprisingly, unelected-President Bush was the big winner in the race for all this money in 2000. He got a whopping $2.8 million—almost 9 times the piddling $327,914 Al Gore got, coming in seventh after 5 Republican and one Democratic Senate candidates. (McCain and Bradley came in 15th and 18th respectively. Ralph Nader was nowhere to be seen—just like on TV.)
The big pork contributors were headed up by Enron, but Edison and PGE were also in the top 20.
This is what plutocracy looks like.
Table 1: Sector & Industry Breakdown
$ To Democrats
$ To Republicans
% to Dems
% to Reps
$64,632,428 $17,478,114 $17,165,646 $29,988,668 $15,732,743 $48,331,641 24% 75%
$40,617,735 $10,062,531 $14,989,180 $15,566,024 $11,181,177 $29,340,150 28% 72%
$43,869,438 $12,889,138 $13,905,117 $17,075,183 $11,637,912 $31,842,979 27% 73%
$27,790,043 $8,730,268 $12,933,203 $6,126,572 $11,704,158 $16,055,115 42% 58%
$32,505,114 $12,109,499 $13,600,077 $6,795,538 $12,772,748 $19,616,160 39% 60%
$16,413,944 $4,747,572 $11,666,372 N/A $7,285,265 $9,126,779 44% 56% Total $225,828,702 $66,017,122 $84,259,595 $75,551,985 $70,314,003 $154,312,824 31% 68% Oil/Gas $124,989,404 $43,546,758 $37,764,498 $43,678,148 $33,323,625 $90,581,784 27% 72% Alt. $1,328,268 $336,525 $144,543 $847,200 $916,563 $411,705 69% 31%
Table 2: Individual Federal Pork-Buyers
Rank Organization Amount Dems Repubs 1 Enron Corp $2,387,848 28% 72% 2 Southern Co $1,419,265 26% 74% 3 Exxon Mobil Corp $1,372,280 10% 89% 4 BP Amoco Corp $1,298,124 30% 70% 5 Chevron Corp $1,083,827 28% 72% 6 Koch Industries $1,081,456 10% 90% 7 Dominion Resources $1,072,933 36% 64% 8 Nat'l Rural Electric Coop. Assn $1,053,786 47% 53% 9 El Paso Energy $837,380 6% 94% 10 Lehman Brothers $833,350 3% 97% 11 Edison International $826,035 39% 61% 12 Reliant Energy $813,713 21% 79% 13 Texas Utilities Co $813,574 22% 78% 14 FirstEnergy Corp $809,735 20% 80% 15 Usx Corp $793,817 18% 82% 16 FPL Group $769,592 11% 89% 17 Edison Electric Institute $740,378 40% 60% 18 PG&E Corp $700,796 45% 55% 19 AEI Resources $693,496 9% 91% 20 American Gas Assn $626,725 45% 55%
Table 3: Would-Be Federal Pork-Sellers
1 Bush, George W (R)
$2,854,073 2 Lazio, Rick A (R-NY)
$459,186 3 Abraham, Spencer (R-MI)
$414,698 4 Allen, George (R-VA)
$368,030 5 Burns, Conrad (R-MT)
$350,468 6 Bingaman, Jeff (D-NM)
$337,187 7 Gore, Al (D)
$327,914 8 Gorton, Slade (R-WA)
$327,671 9 Ashcroft, John (R-MO)
$301,571 10 Santorum, Rick (R-PA)
$297,597 11 Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R-TX)
$296,206 12 Barton, Joe L (R-TX)
$252,940 13 Ensign, John (R-NV)
$235,463 14 Thomas, Craig (R-WY)
$223,745 15 McCain, John (R)
$205,975 16 Grams, Rod (R-MN)
$205,021 17 Young, Don (R-AK)
$194,708 18 Bradley, Bill (D)
$193,230 19 Franks, Bob (R-NJ)
$192,676 20 Tauzin, W J "Billy" (R-LA)
The decision of a commission of Democratic and Republican appointees to exclude former Reform Party presidential candidate Ross Perot and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader from the televised debates in the 2000 election reveals the hollow shell that American democracy has become. A candidate who received 19 million votes in the 1992 elections is barred from participation by the decision of 10 unelected functionaries of the Democratic and Republican parties.
"We knew from past elections that participating in the presidential debates, ruled by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), was probably the best and only way to reach tens of millions of American voters. It was the Khyber Pass to the electorate. By contrast, a fifty-state campaign would only personally reach the population equivalent of several large football stadiums.
"Although we planned and met our objective of campaigning in all fifty states--the only candidate to do so--by June 2000, only a small fraction of the audience was reached, compared to the forty to ninety million people who were expected to watch each of the nationally televised debates. The CPD was the barrier, and for obvious reasons. Organized as a private corporation in 1988 by the Republican and Democratic parties, this supposedly educational organization was actually an exclusionary mechanism to keep out third-party competitors. Funded heavily by companies such as Philip Morris, Anheuser-Busch, Ford Motor Co., and AT&T, the CPD decided all the rules, including the number of debates, their location, the format, and who would ask questions. No one close to this hybrid had any doubts that the two nominees were the final decision makers.
"To make the barrier even higher, the CPD's cochairs, corporate lawyers Paul Kirk (Democrat) and Frank Fahrenkopf (Republican), held a press conference in Washington on January 6,  to announce that no third-party candidate would be invited if he or she did not reach a 15 percent average in five designated major polls by September 2000. This, of course, creates an intentional catch-22. Since all these chosen polling companies were owned by the major media, such as the television networks, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and the like, and if their editors and reporters did not cover third-party campaigns, there would be little chance of rising in the polls. Moreover, if these candidates were not high in the polls, the media would say they were not important enough to merit regular coverage. So the media givesthe CPD a monopoly, and the circle is complete. I made all these pointed criticisms at the time, but to no avail."
Ralph Nader. (2002). Crashing the Party: Taking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender
Even the window-dressing of two parties does not conceal the fact that both parties are controlled by the same money powers. If we look at the record of the Democratic and Republican parties over the last twenty years, there is very little difference, though the Democratic party leaders have sometimes taken the side of the working class.
The Supreme Court Coup d'Etat of 2000
The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 marks a turning point in U.S. history. Its placing George W. Bush into the presidency constituted a fundamental and irrevocable break with democracy and the traditional forms of rule by law. There is no precedent for the action taken by the Court. After an election in which 100 million people voted, the result was determined by five unelected judges in a five-to-four split decision.
Now that both the 2000 and the 2004 were stolen through criminal behavior and Obama the con-man was foisted on Americans in 2008, our right to elect our leaders and representatives has been taken from us, and whether we regain that right or not is an open question. The U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Republican officials in 2000 and the Florida and Ohio Republican officials in 2004 perpetrated and perpetuated a coup d'etat:
- The electronic voting machines are owned and manipulated by cabal fellow travelers, some of whom are known criminals
- A president was put into power (not elected) twice through massive election fraud, partisan politics, and conflict of interest
- A puppet president (Obama) was put into power in the 2008 election in which both candidates were chosen by the cabal
The Use of Opinion Polls for Plutocratic Ends
"An opinion on a point of conduct, not supported by reasons, can only count as one person's preference; and if the reasons, when given, are a mere appeal to a similar preference felt by other people, it is still only many people's liking instead of one. To an ordinary man, however, his own preference, thus supported, is not only a perfectly satisfactory reason, but the only one he generally has for any of his notions of morality, taste, or propriety, which are not expressly written in his religious creed."
John Stuart Mill. On Liberty
We don't have opinion polls in the United States, because the majority of Americans aren't informed enough to have a genuine opinion. An opinion requires judgment or appraisal, which involves examining evidence and coming to a substantiated conclusion.
What we have instead are "popularity" polls--exactly like beauty contests in which people merely express their personal preferences. As Mill says, a so-called opinion not based on reasons is merely a "liking," a purely subjective feeling.
The so-called opinion polls, therefore, are worthless. All they reveal are the ignorance and gullibility of a large number of American people. Yet these "opinion polls" are being used as the pretext for the cabal's campaign to make the world safe for corporations such as Golcmann Sachs, JPMorgan/Chase, British Petroleum, Halliburton, and Carlyle.
During Bush's first yearS in office, it's claimed that he had a "high approval rating." Supposedly, a large percentage of people "polled" indicate that they approve of his performance as president.
Ignored are those unfavorable polls, such as the January 15, 2002 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll that indicated that only 49% of registered voters said they would "vote to re-elect President Bush," and 21% said they would "vote for the Democratic candidate." Another 14% said their vote would depend on the Democrat or that it is "too soon to say." It's never mentioned in the mainstream press in 2005 that Bush now has the lowest approval rating in history for a newly-selected president.
Using only the favorable "polls" and avoiding any possible analysis of whether polls are created and administered in a scientific manner, the Bush administration has run roughshod over American constitutional liberties and fought a war for oil in Afghanistan.
In most opinion polls, the sponsors' names are never mentioned. The polling companies and the news media describe the samples to some extent, but don't explain how the samples were targeted or if the questions were loaded. Never mentioned is the fact that the "major polls" are owned by the plutocrats.
In recent years, opinion polls have been used to influence voters. In many instances the polls are released when some voters have still not cast their ballots, adversely affecting the voting process. Opinion polls in general are being used to sway the emotions of the population, encouraging them to fit their own ideas into the supposed "opinions" of the majority of Americans. So, if most Americans approve of increased military spending, who am I, says John and Jane Doe, to disagree?
How the opinion polls are used depends on what the plutocrats want to accomplish. In the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, a single banking billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife, provided the bulk of the financial backing to Kenneth Starr, Paula Jones, and other legal and political campaigns directed against the White House. In this case, the plutocrats wanted to attack the institution of the American presidency and the opinion polls became irrelevant to that criminal purpose.
The opinion polls during Clinton's administraton showed two-thirds of the public thought Clinton's admission of a relationship with Monica Lewinsky should bring the Starr investigation to an end. But the attack on the presidency came first, public opinion be damned.
Americans in the twenty-first century must remember that a maniacal, murderous dictator like Adolph Hitler was remarkably popular with the German people in the 1930s. Popularity does not mean that a leader is right and in fact can mean that he is merely a devious manipulator of public feelings.
So a vicious circle is at work here: the American rulers create an illiterate, uninformed citizenry, then use the baseless "opinions" of the citizenry as the excuse for implementing policies that destroy the American way of life.
As we've seen, the American media are to an appreciable extent responsible for the ignorance and unawareness of citizens. We've also examined how the gullibility and idiocy of a large number of Americans has been brought about by the deliberate devastation of American intelligence--education and critical thinking--by American rulers. And we examined how vulture capitalism attacks the very lives of American working class citizens, forcing them into unemployment, loss of retirement funds as with Enron, and marginalization.
"Whatever people believe, on subjects on which it is of first importance to believe rightly, they ought to be able to defend against at least the common objections. . . [If a person is] unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. The rational position for him would be suspension of judgment, and unless he contents himself with that, he is either led by authority, or adopts, like the generality of the world, the side to which he feels most inclination." John Stuart Mill. On Liberty
It's bad enough that the Republicans are using opinion polls as the excuse for tyrannous policies, but the Democrats are allowing themselves to be hamstrung by those same polls to avoid any real program of needed reform. Obama's lame answer to the reactionary Tea-Parties is an attack on the Republicans for stopping the unemployment payments.
How Polls Are Supposed to Work
There are about 195 million adults in America, of every imaginable background and circumstance. The polling agencies say that a survey of only 800 or 1,000 adults can indicate what the entire country is thinking? How can a thousand people speak for us all? They use what is called a random sample of the American population. Taking a random sample is similar to a blood test; we don't have the doctor take all our blood to test for a problem, we have him take a sample.
There are a number of potential problems with "opinion polls" which are seldom addressed. Poling agencies claim that their sample audiences are a fair representation of American citizens, but seldom do they give precise details as to how the sampling was carried out.
As Neil Postman indicates in his book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, the public's "opinion" on almost any issue will be a function of the question asked. Unless we can actually examine the questions used in the poll, and can determine that the questions were value-neutral and non-leading, then we have reason to question the poll results.
But all these potential difficulties with opinion polls are actually completely beside the point, because opinion polls are flawed at their core. We saw above that there really can be no opinion polling because most Americans don't inform themselves enough to have authentic opinions. Opinion polls merely record the subjective whims of the persons questioned.
What's wrong with that? Let's take an example. Suppose you're to be judged by twelve people as to your being guilty or innocent of a murder of which you're accused.
A. Would you want to have a 12-person random sample of the community merely polled as to what they feel about your innocence or guilt without their having any real knowledge of you?
B. Or would you want them to be informed in as complete a manner as possible as to the facts concerning the case? And would you also want their deliberations and judgement to be based on rules of evidence and other factors of critical thinking?
"We compel [the members of the jury] to hear both sides before casting their vote. We compel them to hear those two sides according to some rational rule of evidence and advocacy; and then, having taken these precautions, we take the further precaution of having the evidence summarized by an expert in the shape of the judge, who shows its relation to the law. Only then have we some hope that their decision may be broadly a sound one."
N. Angell. The Public Mind
Of course, any of us would choose B above. A mere survey of subjective feelings about critical issues is useless. And that's why opinion polling is useless; it merely reflects the uninformed opinion of people, degenerating into a popularity contest. We should not allow these polls to be used by our leaders as the excuse for their policies and actions.
The American people are failing to educate themselves to be able to institute a true democracy and take back their government from the plutocrats.
What We Must Do--Now
- Actively support the few congresspersons who have been bold enough to speak out during this time of crisis:
- U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and the House Republican Black Caucus members who were brave enough to contest the fraudulent 2004 Ohio election returns
- Join in activist programs to demonstrate against an imperialistic war and legislation to limit civil rights to take back our government
- Know our rights and not allow them to be abrogated in any way
- Make certain that our congressional representatives know that we will not re-elect them if they do not stand up to the current constitutional crises
- Do away with the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) which makes it impossible for third-party candidates to get a fair hearing
- Don't allow ourselves to be distracted by the terrorist crisis while the plutocrats try to plunder our hard-earned tax dollars and weaken our civil liberties
- Develop cooperative commonwealth communities to provide benefits to all members