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Democracy, Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Fascism: Further Discussion of the Degradation of Democracy by Capitalist Oligarchs

2018-01-06

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A month ago, I began to discuss the terms democracy, socialism, capitalism, oligarchy, and so on (using definitions from Wikipedia) and I touched on forces distorting democracy.  In the US, oligarchy has grossly distorted and degraded democracy.  A fundamentally incompetent, mentally unfit candidate with a persuasive speaking style and personal charisma has been elected President, with the help of the oligarchic Russian government.

With the publication of Michael Wolff’s new book on the White House and its current occupant, a few former supporters have begun to change their views of 45th president.  There are several things about which they have been in denial:

First, there is the outside interference of another country in our election– interference which was openly welcomed by the candidate, who stated in a speech that he wished the Russians would locate and publish “33,000 missing Hillary emails.”   There is good evidence already, with more to come, that the candidate’s campaign and possibly the candidate himself conspired with the Russian government in a successful plot to rig the election.

Second, there is the manifest incompetency of the leader, which has become more and more apparent to his closest associates.  Such details as the statement that the leader neither reads anything he  is presented with nor listens to anyone who tries to give him advice have been laid out in the new book.  In response, the leader has seen fit to assert that he is “stable” and “a genius”– both manifestly false, consistent with everything else that comes out of his mouth.

Third, there is the blatant racism, nativism, and sexism displayed by the leader on a daily basis.

Wolff’s book describes the progressive disillusionment of the entire staff of the White House over their leader’s incompetence, infantile behavior, tantrums, and refusal to take sane advice.

One adviser who attempted to explain the Constitution to the leader was met with rolling eyes and complete loss of interest or comprehension by the time he reached the Fourth Amendment.  The adviser must not have gotten to the Amendment dealing with methods of succession if the President should be compromised.

According to the book, Steve Bannon made it clear, shortly before he was fired, that our leader would not end well.  He enunciated three possibilities: first, “due to Democratic incompetence”, the President might last into 2020.  Second, with the support of Republicans in the House, the leader could be impeached (although chances of this happening before January 2019, when a Democratic majority may untie the hands of the House, are not high.)  Third, the Cabinet and Senate could invoke Article 25, which allows them (if united) to remove the President immediately for inability to effectively exercise the responsibilities of his office.

As I noted before, in December a dozen Congress-people were secretly and extensively briefed by a psychiatric expert in the evaluation of “dangerousness”– that is, the chances that a patient could cause harm to come to others through his derangement.  This, of course, relates to the leader’s possession of the nuclear “button”, among other things.

A clear deficiency of our form of government is the fixed times at which Presidential elections are held; in most other countries with Parliamentary governments, elections can be held at any time, particularly when the government in power has lost the confidence of the people or of a strong coalition in Parliament.

The most “conservative” members of Congress and the Republican Party as a whole have continued to fiercely back the President and to attack FBI special investigator Mueller without mercy.  Two Senators have gone so far as to attempt to have the author of the infamous “Steele dossier”, retired master spy Michael Steele, indicted for supposedly lying to the FBI about his contacts with the news media.

The Steele dossier, a brilliant piece of opposition research funded at first by Republicans and then after their convention by supporters of Hillary Clinton, reported damning facts which have (despite the lies of their detractors) been largely corroborated.  Taken together, they show a web of business connections with Moscow which have enmeshed the current President for many years, even as far back as 1986.  Many of these connections appear to be money laundering– that is, the export of ill-gotten gains from one country (Russia) to another (the US.)  For example, Russians have made enormous investments in real estate in the US and other countries through the leader’s companies that appear to be designed to lose money.

One such occurrence was the sale of an estate in Florida to a Russian billionaire (estimated net worth $12.8 bn), Dmitry Rybolovlev, in 2008– “for investment purposes” (not as a personal dwelling).  The price was $95 million, the highest price ever paid to that time in the US, and an advance over the price the current President paid in 2004 (the estate was bought in a bankruptcy filing for $41.35 million.)  (The property had been on the market for two years with no takers, and the original asking price was $125 million; after the sale, the house was demolished and the lot broken in three, with one piece already sold for $34 million.)  In four years, the leader’s real estate company made a profit of over 100%, realized at a time when real estate values were collapsing due to a severe recession then beginning.   These circumstances smell of money laundering.

Ryobolovlev has denied ever meeting the leader, but his airplane curiously appeared, touching down  at the time and place of five of the candidate’s rallies during 2016.

Purely by coincidence, he who must not be named stepped up his talk about Russia’s positives in his speeches and tweets in 2008, although he had already been laudatory.  Since then, the leader has never made a statement criticizing Russia or its leaders.

Then there is the $268 million (so far) in financing that Jared Kushner, the leader’s son in law, has received from Deutsche Bank (who may have been backed by other foreign entities; Mueller is studying this issue now) to help him keep the old New York Times building– when no bank in the US would lend him money

Thus, we have, in a nominal democracy, the selection of a Supreme Leader who is manifestly incompetent, panders to the worst racism and nativism in his followers, is unable to govern his White House– and is financially beholden to the Russian oligarchic government.

The influence of large donations from rich backers was shown in, for example, the support that Richard Mercer supplied after the Republican Convention.  It was estimated that at least $50 million would be needed to run a competitive final campaign for the Presidential election, but the candidate himself refused to contribute any of this money.

At that time, Richard Mercer stepped forward to offer the money; the candidate was persuaded to provide a $10 million loan to bridge the organization until Mercer’s support was guaranteed.

Apparently, the candidate himself refused to fund his own campaign despite his public promises to avoid being beholden to rich donors by self-funding.  There are two possible reasons for this refusal: he was certain he would lose the election and he didn’t want to throw away the money, and he may not have been able to afford it (despite his claim to be worth billions.)

Members of the new President’s campaign include Secretary of Education and reputed philanthropist Betsy de Vos, whose primary qualification (other than her political views) is that she is the daughter of wealthy industrialist Edgar Prince, daughter in law of the founder of Amway, the brother of the founder of the security service Blackwater, and reputed to be worth $5.8 bn.

Oddly, despite de Vos’ reputation as a philanthropist, her total outlays over the last twenty years amounted to less than $3 million– $1.7 million of which went to identified Republican causes, mostly campaign committees.  She personally did not donate any money to the candidate’s campaign and was publicly cool to his candidacy.

It is possible that the candidate nominated de Vos because of a positive statement she made in September 2016, after he released a plan to redirect $20 billion to a grant program for school vouchers that would support private, religious, and charter schools– apparently her sole advocacy position at the time.  She said, according to Rebecca Savransky of The Hill on 11/23/16 , “We applaud the Trump campaign’s focus on school choice and laying out common-sense proposals to help all children access a quality education.”  This is consistent with the candidate’s usual behavior, in which he cleaves to rich people who have made public statements specifically supporting him.

This is what happens when rich people run for public office or try to influence public policy: they usually get what they want because it is legal and easy to provide money to organizations which, and politicians who, advocate and carry out their public policy desires.  However, they do not necessarily show any compassion, intelligence or political experience in implementing their wishes.

The bottom line is that our democrat process has been overtaken by rich people, who use their money to buy propaganda and votes.  Once they are inducted into office, they put in place policies that enhance their fortunes and those of others in the same position.  A prime example of this is the new tax bill, from which the President himself is bound to benefit, possibly by as much as $15 million a year.

The tax bill, as passed, is likely to drastically increase the deficit, which will activate a contingency plan already in place that reduces Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid spending.  This result would be impossible otherwise, even if it was proposed in Congress, as it is politically extremely unpopular except among extreme small-government conservatives.

The suffering this would cause is suggested by the following quote from an article by Christy Bieber in yesterday’s Motley Fool: “For 50% of married couples and 71% of singles, Social Security provides at least 50% of retirement income, according to the Social Security Administration.”

This means that disaster looms for our most basic public welfare programs, the ones the Republicans really hate.  Fighting this result will be extremely difficult as it is built into current law, just like the awful sequester that has already literally decimated (cut by 10%) the federal government.  Yet we must resist.

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