Many of us were told as children that this is a democratic society where we all have an equal opportunity to prosper and anyone could even become the president of the United States. Condoleezza Rice repeated this claim at the Republican National Convention in the following excerpt.
This certainly sounds good, and it would be if it was true; however it is hard to imagine that there is much if any truth to it once anyone thinks about it for much more than a brief amount of time. This is even more ironic when you consider the fact that she made her speech while nominating one of the richest and well-connected presidential candidates that we have had in history.
It doesn’t take much searching around to realize that a large percentage of the people that we elect to political office come from the same class of people and the vast majority of public don’t rise to a position where they can run a “viable” campaign, according to the mass media, that won’t provide coverage. There are only a handful of people who can successfully run at the grass roots and win and this is almost always to low level offices where they can run campaigns that are local and they’re much more likely to personally know a significant percentage of the electorate. This is especially true when it comes to offices that require campaigns that are statewide and at the presidential level there are no exceptions as far as I can tell.
Huh, oh sorry Clint I didn’t even see you sitting in that chair. What was that you said?
What do you mean? You don’t think the political system only allows certain people to get coverage?
Well that seems reasonable; I was going to do that anyway. There’s no reason you have to believe me without evidence, even though I think it is incredibly obvious. There are actually several ways of providing an enormous amount of evidence; one is just to point out that there are a relatively small number of political families (Wikipedia list) that manage to get elected to an enormous amount of offices. The list at Wikipedia may seem pretty long but when you consider the fact that it covers the history of the United States and that there are now three hundred million people in the country it is relatively small. Also, if you look at many other locations where most of us live you will almost certainly find few if any people that are related to people that hold public office or come into contact with them. I have lived in several places where this would be considered a joke and I have no doubt that there are many other places like these places that never have any chance of producing a candidate that can get media attention and get elected to office.
This isn’t limited to people that hold political office; it also includes the people that have access to the corporate media and have an opportunity to present their views to the vast majority of the public. And there are other jobs that the ruling classes do but the rest of us have little or no chance of getting. For the most part the jobs that we are able to get are ones that many of the members of the ruling class don’t want and rarely if ever do. I have made my own list of Political and Media Families as well as other careers that are mostly reserved for those that have political power. This is intended to cover what they haven’t included in their list they created to better understand it. It didn’t take long to get dozens of names on it but there are many more than that.
This won’t explain everything of course but it does provide a lot of solid facts that are hard to dispute although many people will try anyway. It would also help to understand their culture and what makes them believe they should be entitled to lead while the rest of us are expected to accept the role of followers, and how they manage to keep only people from their own class from getting into positions of power. The reason they believe they should be able to rule has a lot to do with the way they’re raised form early childhood; they’re often taught that they should be obedient to their superiors until they get old enough to “earn” their right to rule others. This generally involves strict disciplinarian child rearing practices which I attempted to explain further in Authoritarianism and Psychology of the Ruling Class, White Collar Tyranny. Chris Hedges also explained it well in “The Empire of Illusion” although he focused more on how they were raised as teenagers or adults.
Huh, what was that Clint?
You don’t think Chris Hedges is reliable? Have you read what he’s written? Or kept up with his columns on Truthdig?
Well whether you believe me or him is up to you of course but there is plenty more evidence to indicate that there is a ruling class that has dominant control over the government and the economic system as well as the decision making process when it comes to fighting one war after another based on lies.
One example of how one sector of the public has an enormous amount of influence is what they call the “Revolving Door” for lobbyists and politicians. Many members of the ruling class, which gets elected to public office, leave and get jobs for the same corporations that they previously regulated creating an enormous conflict of interest. This has been documented by several sources at least and it can be investigated even more showing an enormous level of corruption for the elite ruling class. One of the most extreme examples where a major corporation has enormous amount of access to the government is demonstrated clearly when you Google “Monsantos Revolving Door.” this involves activities that may endanger peoples lives since it includes a history of falsifying data when it comes to our food supply and many other things that are being done with tacit, at least, of the government. The majority of the public doesn’t have any chance of getting these positions and they often have to pay the price when they lobby for their clients and pass an enormous amount of laws that enable corporations to avoid accountability. This revolving door also includes people that go back and forth from the media to the political administrations that they cover when they’re in the media.
Another practice that the corporations use is interlocking board members that control the decision making process and concentrate power with a surprisingly few people. This is especially important since the government has rolled back most anti-trust laws and allowed the corporations to consolidate into a small number of oligarchies and at the same time they continue to pass laws that protect trade secrecy or proprietary information, which is by definition a conspiracy that allows corporations to hide many of their deceptive or fraudulent practices from the public so that they can avoid accountability. They argue that this is to protect innovation but and enormous amount of evidence has come out to indicate that it is being used for many other things ranging from seemingly trivial things like increasing the amount of water in shampoo so the customer gets less for their money when they buy this to much more important things like safety hazards that destroy the environment and lead to accidents that kill many people including the BP oil rig disaster.
Part of these interlocking board members and the revolving doors is the fact that when ever they change administrations they always seem to have the same people join the new administration as they had with the last one of the same party including cabinet members and many other people. This is why you see people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld keep coming back and on the Democratic side it is people like Lawrence Summers and Zbigniew Brzezinski. We’re led to believe that we have a choice over who is running our government but no matter who we elect they bring in the same people and of course we always have chosen from the people that have been presented to us from the corporate media, or at least we have in the past; I suspect that might be changing soon; perhaps much sooner than the elites would like if enough people “wake the fuck up” as Samuel says.
What was that Clint?
Regardless of what you believe about the revolving doors or the interlocking boards there is still a long history of members of the ruling class like Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. and Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr. participating in activities that clearly contradict the best interest of our national security and the claim that we defend democracy by participating in coups against foreign leaders like the one that installed the Shah to power in 1953 and has led to a long history of conflict with Iran since then. This is rarely mention in the corporate press any more but it is a widely acknowledged part of history and it still ahs major impacts on current foreign policy since the Iranians will never forget this or many other activities that the USA has been involved in even if our own press doesn’t remind us or presents a distorted version of the truth.
This is just one of many deceptive activities that the ruling class has been involved in that has been contrary to the claim that we have been defending democracy against the aggressors for the past century or longer. One of the more recent incidents involves Sir Mark Thatcher “s participation in an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea which was reported in a much more negative way than the coup in Iran since most people are much less likely to look the other way about this and it was done at a time where the opposition to this type of activity is much more vocal. Mark Thatcher was portrayed as the black sheep of the family by some and they tried to present it as an isolated incident that the rest of the family wouldn’t be involved in; but there has been an enormous amount of activity by many of the people in the same family, or the ruling class in general, that does much more damage to the majority of the public that doesn’t seem quite so blatant so it is easier to spin.
Mark Thatcher wasn’t even stripped of his title as a night for his behavior, nor was Norman Schwartzkopf, Sr. or Kermit Roosevelt Jr. held accountable for their actions. This didn’t stop their families from maintaining their status as members of the ruling class and Norman Schwartzkopf Jr., of course, went on to be the superstar of the first gulf war which could have been prevented if the Bush administration spoke up clearly about their intentions before Sadam Hussein invaded. Sadam had the support of the US government before they decided it was better to consider him an enemy. This is of course standard operating procedure for the members of the ruling class and the corporate media, which is run by other members of the ruling class, routinely provide the propaganda to distract people from inconvenient facts and they even portray those that bring them up as “fringe conspiracy theorists” even when these researchers rely on information from the traditional media that is no longer being emphasized.
A closer look at the details routinely shows that the activities of the US government haven’t been designed to “protect freedom around the world” as they have implied and many researchers like the contributors to The American Empire Project and many other authors have little opportunity to get their message across to the majority of the public that don’t take the initiative to look for their own information when the corporate media doesn’t provide it. They don’t have much promotional opportunities from the traditional corporate press and they rely on word of mouth or other low profile methods to get the word out while the corporate press has the opportunity to get their message out to the vast majority of the public and they can repeat it over and over again; which is why many people believed that Sadam Hussein had something to do with 9/11 and many other things that they get from the corporate propaganda machine.
What was that Clint?
You think they’re just a bunch of conspiracy theorists too?
Did you read their books?
No well how about other books on the subject like “The Shock doctrine” by Naomi Klein or anything else on the subject?
No? …. You don’t have to …. You know it’s just a bunch of bunk by people that hate America?
Well how do you know that if you don’t check any of the facts?
Bush and Romney would never lie to us? The same Bush who led us into war with Iraq based on weapons of mass destruction and the same Mitt Romney that changes his facts more often than his underwear?
Well I can’t argue with that kind of logic so I’ll just move on.
The people from the ruling class also control the education system so that, for the most part, only those that have enough money can gain access to higher election in most cases by pricing it out of reach for most people through means that simply aren’t necessary. On one occasion at the New York City School Teachers Association in 1909 Woodrow Wilson said "We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." “Weapons of Mass Instruction” By John Taylor Gatto You’ll rarely ever hear that quote from the traditional mass media and if it was brought in front of someone like, perhaps Clint, then they might down play it, spin it or something like that but a closer look at the way the system is handled clearly indicates that this is the truth.
One of the biggest methods they use to ensure that the working class doesn’t get as good an education as the ruling class is to make sure that education is paid for by property taxes at the local level and they’ve been simultaneously making sure that the wages for working class people have always been lower than they should be. This ensures that people from wealthy neighborhoods will always have much more funding for their kids’ education and that it will be much tougher for lower or middle class people to get ahead. On top of that the people from lower classes have to work longer hours for less pay so they have less time to spend with their children and help them out if necessary and even if they do have time to help them with their homework they don’t have the benefit of a higher education to pass on to their children.
To make matters worse they even declare that a large portion of the information that children need to access as part of their education is “intellectual property,” in the form of copyrights; which means that the members of the ruling class can charge more for access to this information than they would otherwise have been able to do and threaten people with law suits if they spread this information without permission. This drives up the cost of textbooks dramatically and they’ve been extending the terms of copyrights much longer than they originally intended them to be. For a long time one of the leading experts on this was Melville Nimmer, who wrote “Nimmer on Copyright.” This essentially means that the members of the ruling class decide what information can be distributed and at what cost. The needs of the people that need access to this information takes a distant back seat when it comes to making the laws about how much control copyright should have over the distribution of educational material.
Melville Nimmer was even portrayed as a defender of free speech because he argued a major case before the Supreme Court in 1971. This isn’t uncommon when you consider the times and the fact that there was an enormous amount of grass roots pressure on the government to actually respect the rights of free speech during that time period when there were large protests against the Vietnam War. When this happens it isn’t uncommon for a member of the ruling class to take a leading role in reform movements after it is already clear that if they don’t do so then the grass roots level will do so without their help and they will lose their legitimacy as members of the ruling class. As with many other people of the ruling class he passed on his copyrights to his son, David Nimmer, who became the new expert on copyright law.
When making these laws they don’t even seem to remember what the original purpose of these laws was; it was initially intended to protect authors artists and other creators of written or artistic work wasn’t limited to a single tangible object but instead it has been used largely to protect the wages of copyright lawyers and publishing companies, in many cases without even providing adequate protection for the authors that they were supposed to protect. Also it enables publishing and promotional companies to have more influence over who’s written work becomes valuable thanks, in part, to promotion of material that might suit the agenda of the ruling class while the material that they don’t approve of gets little or no promotion except at the grass roots level. This can be most clearly seen when you look at all these high profile TV pundits that spend an enormous amount of time promoting their books on TV. People with books that don’t have a regular show that provide material that the ruling class approves of can have ample opportunity to make the rounds of all the talk shows during a book promotion tour while those that don’t provide material that the ruling class approves of don’t get any air time at all. I could create a long list of examples but a couple simple ones include the fact that Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell have plenty of time to promote their books when they write them and they are almost certainly useless but when someone like Barbara Coloroso or James Garbarino write books that do much more to educate people about how to reduce violence by teaching children properly they receive virtually no promotion on national TV; their promotions are limited to reviews that target people that are more likely to look for that type of information anyway. The truth is that if we’re going to solve many of our social problems the true target audience should often be the ones that aren’t looking for it and that is where the media could make a big difference if they wanted to but it doesn’t suit the purpose of the ruling class.
Colleges are also controlled by people that support the agenda of the ruling class either because they’re born into the ruling class or because they rise through the ranks learning that they have to toe the agenda or be marginalized just like media spokespeople and politicians. This has included people like John Silber, William Bulger and Lawrence Summers. Apparently having as brother on the ten most wanted list isn’t a deterrent to gaining power when you become a member of the ruling class. They have an enormous amount of influence on the curriculum and they can also have a major impact on the steadily rising price of college. College is, on some occasions where they recruit people for certain jobs even political office or appointed political positions. But the only people that get the support of the corporate press are those that follow the agenda of the corporate press even when they pretend to represent the public like Elizabeth Warren, who is NOT a “consumer advocate!!”
You agree Clint? Good I was beginning to wonder about you.
What? You think Scott Brown is the one that really represents the people of Massachusetts? How did you come to that conclusion?
“He drives a truck.” And that makes him qualified to represent people?
And “he meets with Kings and Queens?” Well I can’t argue with that.
Back to what I was saying even though it is clear from what I have seen about Elizabeth Warren not being a “consumer advocate” and being prepared for the political arena with the help of political advisers that instruct her on how to tell people she’s “not a politician” when she is preparing in the usual way that many other people that were “not a politician” did she made a legitimate point about how colleges divert money from education to sports driving up the cost of college so that it is out of reach for more people in her book “The Two Income Trap.” She mentions that, “….Columbia University allocates even more, redirecting $7 million of its general revenue to make up the shortfall in athletics.”
This is just one of the ways the ruling class has been influencing education and they have even been attempting to minimize opposing views for decades by intimidating many professors who don’t follow the agenda.
There you go again Clint.
I know that it would be reasonable to be skeptical about that claim but if there is any doubt you should read the Powell Memo which was written over thirty years ago by Lewis Powell shortly before he was appointed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The memo alone still shouldn’t be enough to lead people to believe that there has been an effort to suppress debate about issues that go against the agenda of the plans of the elite; but a review of the history over the past thirty years and beyond does provide an enormous amount of evidence to indicate that the ruling class is calling the shots and that the majority of us have little or no real power. There is even some indication that they may even believe many of the blatant lies that they tell and that they may be in denial about many facts that don’t suit their beliefs.
At one point he cites how Ralph Nader is part of what he calls an “Attack of American Free Enterprise System” and the evidence includes a statement by Nader saying the corporations are "defrauding the consumer with shoddy merchandise, poisoning the food supply with chemical additives, and willfully manufacturing unsafe products that will maim or kill the buyer." (For full context see the Memo) He goes on to describe this as an attack on the system without doing anything to indicate whether or not there is any legitimacy to the claims being made by Ralph Nader. At other times he indicates that “The traditional role of business executives has been to manage, to produce, to sell, to create jobs, to make profits, to improve the standard of living, to be community leaders, to serve on charitable and educational boards, and generally to be good citizens. They have performed these tasks very well indeed.” This statement isn’t accompanied by any scrutiny from the critics even after citing the previous statement by Nader raising some doubts about at least part of it; and things have gotten much worse since this memo was written. Many of the elites continue to discuss things as if they’re doing what is in the best interest of the majority even while citing some of the things that they do to oppress the majority as clearly indicated in Romney’s notorious speech about the 47%. With the enormous increase of fraud in the economy the business community isn’t doing much if anything to improve the standard of life and the charitable activities that the members of the ruling class participate in routinely comes with strings attached that enable them to get the credit for repairing a small part of the damage they do without taking the blame for the things that they don’t repair. Even when they do partially repair the damage they often do they don’t acknowledge it was their fault in most cases instead they expect us to think of them as the saviors.
This is also made clear in the "The Crisis of Democracy" by Michel Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, and Joji Watnuki. Samuel P. Huntington wrote the following:
No doubt that what he calls an "excess of democracy" can have its draw backs but that doesn’t mean that we should do away with it or allow the few to rule without scrutiny over the many as they seem to have in mind. His objections to the "excess of democracy" were presumably based on the fact that at the time there were an enormous amount of people that objected to the decisions made by the elites with just cause including the fact that they had recently fought the Vietnam war based on a bunch of lies and there were more to come after that.
Samuel Huntington’s objection to an "excess of democracy" were presumably based on the assumption that the people challenging authority were wrong and that the authorities were right; however the evidence clearly shows the exact opposite!
This is why a sincere democracy requires an open exchange of ideas and adequate access to education for all involved so that these mistakes can be corrected.
What Clint? You still think we don’t have a corrupt ruling class?
Well if we don’t have an elite ruling class how do you explain the fact that those with political connection routinely manage to steal millions if not billions from the tax payers in the form of corporate welfare like when George Steinbrenner, owner of the Mets obtained an enormous subsidy at tax payers expense and even billed the tax payer for the lobbying that was done against the best interest of the taxpayer as indicated by David Kay Johnson:
This is just a small sample of the enormous amount of corporate welfare the rich get while they spread an enormous amount of propaganda implying it is the poor that are living off the government!
Oh great if you say so its “just a bunch of stuff” what ever that is supposed to mean.
Fine have it your way I’m not going to argue with you but there I one thing I would like to ask what was up with that speech you gave at the convention?
I don’t really know what I mean I can’t figure out what you were doing and why neither can anyone else seem to; which is why there seem to be a lot of conspiracy theories around about it or other explanations that don’t make any more sense than your performance. I know the “Republicans Were 'Dumb' To Ask” you “to Speak at RNC” but that hasn’t stopped the conspiracy theorists.
Really? Then you must be the only one that hasn’t heard about some of this. Some people were wondering why you endorsed Mitt Romney in the first place since they were talking about your famous half time commercial might have been a campaign commercial for Barack Obama; many people came to the conclusion that that was your way of endorsing them and you even told them at the time that if they wanted to use it that way they should go ahead.
You didn’t just pretend to endorse Mitt Romney so that you could put on that ridiculous performance at the RNC and sabotage it for Mitt Romney.
Yea I didn’t think there was anything to that one either the only thing more ridiculous than that was the one about you using that as part of some kind of sociology research project.
You didn’t hear about that either? Well I guess some people think you did that so that a bunch of sociologists and psychologists could study people that came up with a bunch of copycat split personality skits where you’re the one that is sitting on the chair; sort of like a silly blog contest.
Look Clint I got to go but it’s been nice talking to you.
What, you want to know what I expect to accomplish with this page about tracking the ruling class? I was beginning to think you were a lost cause; well that’s simple enough. I started this list of Political and Media Families because I started noticing one media pundit after another that turned out to be related to a politician or another media pundit and I began to wonder whether they really had a diverse point of views in the corporate press. First it was Mika Brzezinski who turned out to be the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski; then Andrea Mitchell who I later found out was married to Alan Greenspan and even Chris Wallace who I wondered why they treated him as such an expert newsman when I never thought he was that impressive until I finally realized he was the son of Mike Wallace and when I looked closer it turned out he was the stepson of another media executive.
No for a long time I didn’t know this in fact once I started looking and making a list I realized that there were many more of them that I never noticed before. And I have only listed a fraction of the relations that I have noticed and there are almost certainly many more. In many cases I can find this by simple looking at the Wikipedia page of people and find their relations but in at least one case when I looked for a relation that I knew was there it wasn’t; this was Kelly Ayotte who is the daughter of a well known lobbyist and she got elected partly by flirting with the camera in her cute jogging suit and making fun of Paul Hodes like the cool girl in high school.
That’s how we often elect people now. We don’t discuss issues any more; instead we treat this like a popularity contest where only the members of the privileged class are allowed to participate and get any attention from the corporate media.
The point is that I want to make a list of people that have influence and indicate how many other people don’t so that more people will understand that we don’t really live in a society that is nearly as democratic as we like to believe. This will make it easier for people to understand that if they want to have a real democracy that they have to choose their own media outlets and candidates instead of letting the corporate press.
This is why I created a list of alternative media outlets and I added a list of alternative political parties. There is still plenty of other media outlets out there and political elites and alternatives that are being ignored so I’ve turned it into a long term hobby that anyone can help with if they have items that could be added, since it is a Wiki.
Yea I know there is only one political party on the list; I just created it and will add more. If you want to you can add any that you think are worth mentioning. There’s no need to let me have all the fun; in fact if you look some of these up for yourself it will be much clearer that we’re being ruled by a ruling elite that do little or nothing to represent the majority.
Thanks Clint but it would sound a lot more convincing if you weren’t rolling your eyes when you said, “Yea, I’ll get right on it.”
If you do want to do it here are the list of web pages that I told you about involving Interlocking Corporate Boards, revolving doors and other related subjects so you can read up on it if your interested instead of just dismissing anything you don’t want to hear as a “bunch of stuff” what ever that means.
Interlocking directorate Interlocking Directorate or Overlapping Corporate Boards members
OVERLAPPING BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES FOR CORPORATE GOVERNANCE PDF In: Financial Contagion: The Viral Threat to the Wealth of Nations (ed.: Robert W. Kolb), John Wiley & Sons, February 2011 CHRISTA H.S. BOUWMAN Assistant Professor of Banking and Finance at Case Western Reserve University and Fellow at the Wharton Financial Institutions Center
The Significance of Board Interlocks for Corporate Governance PDF by Gerald F. Davis
Web of board members ties together Corporate America
Many more at Google Overlapping Corporate Boards members or Interlocking Corporate Boards members
Joshua Hedlund’s 218 reasons NOT to vote for Obama
OpenSecrets.org at The Center for Responsive Politics
The Project on Government Oversight
Revolving Door: From Top Futures Regulator to Top Futures Lobbyist